Your Friday opportunity to have some fun at my expense
The story starts with a Champion 5,000 watt generator that I've had for a while. I'm in the habit of running it for 20-30 minutes every month or so to prevent fuel system problems. A couple of weekends ago I went to start it up and it ran for 4-5 seconds and died. Hmmmmm. Wouldn't start up again.
Suspecting a gunked up carb, I put some seafoam in the tank and gave it a quick burst of starter fluid through the air intake. It started up alright, and promptly puked gasoline everywhere then started shooting flames out of the air intake. Ooooops. I will say that the gazelle-like speed and grace with which I dashed for a fire extinguisher and put the flames out was pretty [censored] impressive.
(At this point I will also say well done to Champion as the flames were right next to the carb / main fuel line / gas tank, and nothing really bad
With the carb now a mess of melted plastic parts and full of fire extinguisher powder, and the air intake just a melted mess, I had to order new parts. They arrived, I put everything back together, and tried to start it. Once again, it puked gas everywhere. No fire though so yay! Progress.
This time I was a lot more thorough in my inspection, and noted that the brand new carb was dry as a bone on the exterior. The air intake however was soaked in gas. Hmmmmmm. I removed the plug and gently turned the engine over using the starter rope. With the air intake cover open, I could now see that the gas was pouring out of the breather tube. [censored]. Im not Ace Ventura Engine Mechanic, but I know that the engine shouldn't be spewing up gas through its breather tube.
Opened up the oil fill and I was greeted by gas pouring out of the crankcase. Oh boy. Had a brainwave (about the only one in this whole sorry story) and checked the fuel shutoff valve by pulling the fuel line from it. Yup. It had failed, and even in the "Off" position it was letting gas pour through. Sigh.
Drained the fuel tank and replaced the shutoff valve with a spare. Checked for function. Drained the crankcase and filled it with fresh oil. Checked the plug which was of course a fouled mess, and replaced that too.
Fuel: check. Air: check. Spark: check. Oil: check.
It was at this point that I hoped, as you might be doing, for a happy ending to this story. Turned the fuel on, turned the ignition on, set the choke, pulled the starter rope and...
...the ^&[email protected]
rope snapped in half.
Having let loose a stream of profanity that would make a Drill Instructor blush, I took the recoil starter assembly off. Replaced the rope, tried to wind tension into the spring, and was greeted with the click click click of doom. Fabulous. Disassembled the pulley and was greeted by the recoil spring unwinding itself all over the floor. If you've ever tried to rewind one, you'll know how much fun the next half hour of my life was.
I finally got the [censored] thing working again, reassembled the pulley, went to wind tension onto the spring, and yup, you guessed it, click click click. Somewhere in the reassembly process the spring had unhooked itself from the pulley.
You know what happened next, right? If you guessed "as you hooked it back up to the pulley it unwound itself again from the other end" then go to the top of the class. No profanity this time, just a sigh of resignation as I set to rewinding the spring. Again.
The story does end well as, having wrestled the spring into submission one last time, I was able to keep tension on it while I wound the new rope onto the pulley. Reattached the assembly to the generator, and it started first pull.
For all of the abuse, especially an engine drowned in gasoline, it merely smoked like a stoner at Reggaefest for 2-3 minutes and then began to purr like a kitten. Let it run for a while and not so much as a hiccup. Perfect 220v output. Ahhhhhhhh. The sweet smell of success.
Go ahead, give me your worst about all the signs that I missed along the way. You can't possibly give me any more [censored] than I've given myself