Winter Generator Oil

Messages
31
Location
Minnesota
It has been a while since I posted here. I am looking for advice for a cold weather oil for a generator.

For years I ran a 2 stroke blue colored no name generator for my fish house, which saw most of its use November through February. I never once had a problem with that engine, it started in 2 pulls every time, even in the coldest of cold. It was always a little small for what I needed, it was rated 900 watts/ 700 running, and I was always up there (I think my small crock pot alone was 600 watts, and that got used weekly, running all day). The final straw was last spring I smoked the generator portion while using a circular saw, something I had done before. No worries, I got a good 3-4 years of hard use of of something I paid $50 for. I tried the Harbor Freight 2 stroke versions, and they blow. They must have some planned failure for the coils, because they only work sometimes. Even on a good day, gas or starting fluid right down the carb, they still take 20-30 pulls to start. I exchanged 2, the third I said just give me a refund.

I looked around, and lucked into a sale on the Sportsmans brand 2000 4 stroke generator for $120. This one has been decent. In warm weather, it starts in 1 or 2 pulls, runs great, way more power than I've needed, big tank lasts forever. It is very loud compared to the 2 stroke, but I don't care about the noise. The big problem is once it gets down to about 10 degrees, where I use it 90% of the time, you can't pull it over. The oil is so thick, there is no chance of ever starting it. I'm running the recommended 10w30, I tried my usual Delo semi synthetic 10w30, and later tried Valvoline 10w30 with no change. My solution last year was that I had to warm it up by the furnace for a half hour before starting it, not an ideal situation. I started researching lighter oils, and this is where I'm starting to get confused. I always figured a 0w30 was lighter than a 5w30 or 10w30, but from reading, that may not be the case. I don't need special oil pump flow characteristics, I simply need a thinner oil that I can pull start in the winter.

Now I did pick up a Honda 2000 recently for other uses, but don't plan to use that for my hunting/fishing rig, but it could be a backup incase the Sportsman fails. I have wondered about going to something like a 5w20, but I can't find anybody recommending such a thing online. I would rather not wreck this engine, but I wont loose any sleep over it either. So what would be a good oil to try this year for cold weather?

Unrelated, does anybody know of a good, larger capacity 1500-2500 watt 2 stroke generator?
 
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Messages
3,829
Location
Slovenia EU
I would look @ euro 0w30 or 5w30 oils...

Euro....because they are HTHS 3.5min! (ACEA C3....vw 504/507...MB 229.51 BMW LL-04)
Pennzoil Euro.....L? something (I am a Shell fan...dont know yours "Pennz..." designations) :)

Mobil1 ESP 5w30.....
 
Messages
3,829
Location
Slovenia EU
 
Messages
833
Location
Pacific Northwest
Any synthetic 0w30 oil would be my choice.

It sounds like what you really need is some 12v LED lights, a deep cycle battery and a small propane cook stove.
 
Messages
12,685
Location
Indiana
10*F for OPE is cold regardless of oil used. I’d try a Euro 0w40 or even an energy saving 0w30. I’m not sure on a 5w20. I’d entertain it in a $120 generator personally and only use it in the harsh cold.

Is it possible to store in a heated garage until you need it?
 
Messages
336
Amsoil AFF Formula 4stroke Powersports I have been using this in winter use in blowers for years. Many Fleet Farms cary it as mine Cary a wide variety of Amsoil products.
 

20pss

Thread starter
Messages
31
Location
Minnesota
I did everything I could to the HF generators. New spark plugs, starting fluid, I even went as far as crimping on a new terminal on the spark plug wire, as they have the chinciest set up you ever saw.

I can find Shell Rotella, but is 0w40 really thinner than a 0w30 or 5w30? There isn't much choice in 0w30, I see Mobil 1 is about it, and some on this site are claiming 5w30 is actually thinner than that for some reason.

Leaving the generator in a garage is not an option, this is my outdoor rig. It spends 4 months of the year on our land, and is my second home in the fall. 2 to 3 months it stays on the ice. Ice fishing, I suppose I could keep it at the house, and haul it out with me every time, but that would be a royal PITA. Hunting, it is too far a drive, it would be cold by the time I got there. It gets way below 10 degrees, that's just where the problems really start. For much of the winter, 10 degrees is an average high for the day. -10 is a real typical early morning day for ice fishing.

I do have a 12v light set up, and also have an inverter for the TV and other stuff. The stove is a decent size propane stove, which the furnace is also propane. I still have to charge the batteries though, and that's essentially what the generator is for. I also have stuff like a crock pot, which I leave on all day, and is more than my inverter can handle.

It is easy to let it warm by the furnace. I simply don't like the idea of that much gasoline only a few feet away. Plus all that condensation can't be good for it.

It's easy to change oil, so I can try a few.
 
Messages
235
Location
Iowa
I’d run your favorite flavor of 5w30 and motor on. I use 5w30 in my Wen generator year round. Most use is in the summer though. I use 5w30 in the snow blower also for comparison. Blower is going on 16 years old on Mobil 1 changed annually.
 
Messages
138
For your use, I would use 0w20. Years and years ago, snowblowers speced 5w20. Then I can't remember how many years ago, I couldn't find that anymore and went to 5w30. This was before wide spread use of synthetic oils.
 
Messages
9,028
Location
Marshfield , MA
You said it was easy to drain. Immediately after shutting off drain the oil into a can. Set can on stove or furnace to warm to say 150f dump in engine pull string and enjoy. Leave a note to yourself so you dont start without oil. 😃
 
Messages
207
Location
WI
For ice house duties use any name-brand synthetic 0w30 or 5w30 and make sure it stays full (check oil before starting every morning). (Amazon, NAPA, O'Reilly, & WalMart store brands also count as "name brand" oil.)
 
Messages
71
Location
South Dakota
Literally any full synthetic 30 or 40 weight oil will be fine. FWIW my Champion 196cc generator will start in two pulls in the absolute worst freezing cold one can imagine with Rotella T6 in it.
 
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