Generator Selection HELP!

Messages
6
Location
Texas
Hi All,

I am in a pickle here and need the advise on generator selection.

Here we go:
I live in Houston and just went thru the Texas winter apocalypse, during which I ran a generator converted to run on natural gas.
The genset I used was a SamsClub Blackmax 7500 watt generator with a Honda powerplant. (GX390) I have it plugged into my house via 30 amp manual transfer switch.

It ran great, the only time I stopped it was to perform a couple OCIs. Its a new generator and that was the first time running it aside from a short startup when I first bought it and installed the conversion kit. After the storm was over I was at Costco and stumbled upon a Firman 7500 watt Tri Fuel generator so I picked one up to check out. I am extremely impressed by this unit, the build quality seems second to none, also I like the layout of the machine better than the Blackmax.
I like the idea of having a Honda Engine in a generator but dont want to get drunk off that fact.. I also have to remember I have "tricked" the Honda into running off natural gas. The Firman is designed to run off of NatGas and has a Honda clone motor.

The next thing I thought about was availability of parts - you can get Honda parts readily. When I spoke with the Firman folks you have to order the parts thru them but they have the parts readily available as well. I have talked to both customer service departments - the Blackmax customer service is ok (USA based), and the Firman was way more helpful and based out of Phoenix. The Firman generator also seems les bulky and easier to store. Also, did I mention the Firman was $300 cheaper?? not that that really matters..
I am at a crossroads and can utilize the return polices from either of the stores and/or sell the generator. I think I might be leaning towards the Firman?

My question would be which genset would you keep?

Blackmax - https://www.samsclub.com/p/7500w-generator-honda-gx390-gas/prod22041931
Firman - https://www.costco.com/firman-7500w-running--9400w-peak-tri-fuel-generator.product.100648883.html
 
Messages
2,553
Location
Deep in the heart of Jersey
What you went thru 2 weeks ago isn't a regular thing as you know. So what you need to ask yourself is, how often will I be using either generator in the course of a year?. I exercise my generator several times a year just to be fairly certain it will work when I need it to. I bought a Harbor freight model that runs on gasoline, and it has never failed to start easily. I would prefer to have a nat gas model but that would be a pita to setup. So If your only going to use it sporadically, and your running it on nat gas or propane, I wouldn't be too concerned about replacement parts. Maybe get a spare spark plug, and some oil. Any lawn mower repair place would probably have any other parts you might need in a pinch.,,
 
Messages
5,104
Location
Pittsburgh,PA U.S.A.
If you are going to have only one, the true Honda would be my bet for the one that would be the most reliable.

Look into how often the valves should be checked and or adjusted if needed on both of them. If the Firman requires more often valve checks and adjustment that would indicate lower quality metal and or design used.

If you put enough hours on the Honda already to warrant valve adjustment then do not over-look that important maintnce item.

Many engines, including Honda may have the exhaust become too small of a gap if the valve adjustment is not done when required. And if the exhaust valve gets too tight to the point that the valve does not close all the way, the exhaust valve will burn, and damage the valve and valve seat. Intake valves can become too loose, and not open enough if not adjusted when required and then the engine will not be able to produce enough power.

If I lived in Texas on hot summer days I would use Mobil 15W-50 for many reasons, but the strongest recommendation to use it is the results CUJET who lives in Florida has had with it on hot Florida days during long outages when his engines continued to run without problems while his neighbors engines did not last.
 
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Messages
67
Location
NB Canada
I recently bought the tri-fuel Firman at Costco. It serves as emergency only and will do my best to run only NG and propane, trying to avoid bad gas. If the valves ever need attention, I will be more than happy to perform the work myself.
 

WELCOMETOTEXAS

Thread starter
Messages
6
Location
Texas
If you are going to have only one, the true Honda would be my bet for the one that would be the most reliable.

Look into how often the valves should be checked and or adjusted if needed on both of them. If the Firman requires more often valve checks and adjustment that would indicate lower quality metal and or design used.

If you put enough hours on the Honda already to warrant valve adjustment then do not over-look that important maintnce item.

Many engines, including Honda may have the exhaust become too small of a gap if the valve adjustment is not done when required. And if the exhaust valve gets too tight to the point that the valve does not close all the way, the exhaust valve will burn, and damage the valve and valve seat. Intake valves can become too loose, and not open enough if not adjusted when required and then the engine will not be able to produce enough power.

If I lived in Texas on hot summer days I would use Mobil 15W-50 for many reasons, but the strongest recommendation to use it is the results CUJET who lives in Florida has had with it on hot Florida days during long outages when his engines continued to run without problems while his neighbors engines did not last.

Ill look into the valve adjustment, the Blackmax calls for 30weight in hot weather, 10w-30 in cold weather both dino oil. I like the idea of using a 15w - 50 though. I bought this(these) generator(s) mainly for hurricane use, it just happened to come in clutch for this ice storm.

The firman calls for many different types of oils including synthetic.

On a side note the Firman claims to have a "fathead block" that supposedly performs better in hot weather, when I run a genset I always have a boxfan leaned up against it for both airflow help and to dilute the exhaust fumes.

Id love to hear some more opinions.
 
Messages
105
Location
Kansas
Contact Honda and ask if your generator can run on natural gas, with a conversion kit, in its current configuration. I believe that propane and natural gas have less btu's than gasoline so you should be good. I would use name brand synthetic oil only in your engine. M1, Pennzoil Platinum, Amsoil, etc.
 

WELCOMETOTEXAS

Thread starter
Messages
6
Location
Texas
Contact Honda and ask if your generator can run on natural gas, with a conversion kit, in its current configuration. I believe that propane and natural gas have less btu's than gasoline so you should be good. I would use name brand synthetic oil only in your engine. M1, Pennzoil Platinum, Amsoil, etc.

I dont want to call Honda because it will void my warranty, Ive converted many engines to run off natgas for family and friends. Ive gapped the spark plug appropriately and adjusted the engine to run @ 60hz running on Natgas.
 
Messages
4,914
Location
Southeast
For emergency use I’d favor the true Honda unit. In many applications the loncin and other clones are just fine - but for instance my predator motor has random teething pains with the decompression release, which, after full disassembly and reassembly, still requires occasional hammer therapy.

we had tornadoes here a decade ago, resulting in a weeks outage. I owned a little Honda eu2000i. Thing just sipped fuel, 3 gallons every 24 hours. once I figured out that it didn’t matter if i let it run 24 hours a day vs 12 hours/day with mine and the neighbor’s fridges cycling, I just let it run day and night. Puttputtputtputt..... I really appreciated the reliability.
 
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