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Old 12-16-2009, 08:08 PM   #1
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Honda 2000 generators won't start

I own two Honda 2000 generators, which I bought new. Have used them each of the last two winters for a month or two.

After the first winter, I started each one once per month till the next winter. This past year, I ran each one till the gasoline ran out. Had changed the spark plugs one month prior. Oil too.

So now I fill them half way with gasoline and try to start them up. This time, one runs on full choke only. The other does not run at all - not a full choke, part choke, no choke.

I worked on the one that does not run. Checked the air filter - looks clean. I even tried to start it with the air filter off - no luck. Spark plug looked good - not too much carbon, and a good color. Put a new one in - won't start. Next I dumped the new gas in it and filled it with gas from a different station (in a different city). Still nothing. I pulled a bunch of times and could smell gasoline, confirming gas to the carb.

One I could understand, but neither one runs right now. Only thing I can think of is the gas turned to varnish in the carb. But both carbs? And one still runs at full choke?

I'm stumped.
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:41 PM   #2
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Bruce sounds like both gens have plugged main jets. Take the carb bowls off and clean with carb cleaner from any auto parts store. Spray cleaner through all jets and in to fuel line. If this does not get them running you will need to take carbs off and rebuild them. Hope this helps.
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Old 12-17-2009, 08:57 AM   #3
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Thank you Mr. Fish. I feared this as the answer. Of course, I'm testing them just before I need them, like that does a lot of good.

For reference if others find this thread, here is a procedure for removing the carburetors

This is a widely experienced problem with the EU1000i and EU2000i generators, which have very tiny fuel jets. It's caused by gas evaporation in the carburetor fuel bowl from leaving the generator stored with fuel in it between uses. The main jet and holes in the emulsion tube get gummed up. I did it with both of mine. Stabil in the fuel didn't prevent it and carb cleaner additive in the fuel did not fix the problem.

To clean them, remove the air cleaner cover, the air filter, then the air cleaner itself.

I can't remember if the air cleaner screws held the carburetor on the intake manifold or if their were a couple of more screws that did that, but the carburertor has to be loosened up to tilt the bottom of it out so you can remove the phillips screw on the bottom that holds the carb bowl on. Be VERY careful when removing the bowl to not bend the floats and change their setting. Unscrew the main jet and catch the emulsion tube when it drops out. If it doesn't, you can push it down in the carb throat and it will fall out.

Soak both in carb cleaner and use a very thin wire (like a bristle from a brass wire brush) to poke through the holes back and forth. You may find corrosion in the fuel bowl. If so, clean out any that's loose. Reassemble everything.
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Old 12-22-2009, 09:58 AM   #4
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I had a similar situation with a different generator, old gas and "varnished" carb. I filled the tank with fresh gas and started it using starting fluid. Apparently the starting fluid dissolved the varnish to the point it began to run on the clean gas. The clean gas then dissolved the rest of the "gunk" and it has been reliable ever since.

CAUTION: Excessive use of ether or starting fluids can cause engine/compression ring damage!
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Old 12-22-2009, 10:53 AM   #5
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Lots of folks mistakenly think simply running the tank dry before storage eliminates fuel deterioration problems - but many carburetor designs leave substantial fuel in the carb float bowl after the engine will no longer run - if allowed to remain over longer periods of time, it will turn to varnish and cause problems as described here...
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Old 12-22-2009, 10:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary - K7GLD View Post
Lots of folks mistakenly think simply running the tank dry before storage eliminates fuel deterioration problems - but many carburetor designs leave substantial fuel in the carb float bowl after the engine will no longer run - if allowed to remain over longer periods of time, it will turn to varnish and cause problems as described here...
I agree.

I've never had a problem using Sta-bil.
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Old 12-22-2009, 04:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FleetMan View Post
I had a similar situation with a different generator, old gas and "varnished" carb. I filled the tank with fresh gas and started it using starting fluid. Apparently the starting fluid dissolved the varnish to the point it began to run on the clean gas. The clean gas then dissolved the rest of the "gunk" and it has been reliable ever since.

CAUTION: Excessive use of ether or starting fluids can cause engine/compression ring damage!
Confirming your own brilliant idea , I tried that very same method a few days ago. Even put some carb additive to the gas tank. I was able to start the non-starting generator, but only till it used up the starting fluid. Running the other gen that does start with fuel with additive didn't make a difference.

Still stuck in the same place. Looks like I need to pull and clean those carbs as others in this thread have suggested. Good thing I have two months in Tucson to get around to it.
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Old 12-22-2009, 04:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary - K7GLD View Post
Lots of folks mistakenly think simply running the tank dry before storage eliminates fuel deterioration problems - but many carburetor designs leave substantial fuel in the carb float bowl after the engine will no longer run - if allowed to remain over longer periods of time, it will turn to varnish and cause problems as described here...
Yeah, looking over the manual now, looks like I missed a step
Loosen the carb drain screw and drain the gas from the carb.
I don't remember doing that.
Live and learn.
As a wise man once said, "I learn from my mistakes and can repeat them exactly."
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Old 12-23-2009, 10:59 AM   #9
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Glad this thread was brought up - motivated me to go out and fire up our own Honda 2000 - I keep it gassed up in case it's needed for the occasional power outages we get out here in the boondocks of eastern Oregon - I keep the fuel level sorta low so I can keep recycling it with fresh stuff - and add a judicious percentage of Stabil and carb cleaner to what's in the tank, just in case...
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Old 12-31-2009, 12:03 AM   #10
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Anyway, on the unit that will not run, as you slowly pull the starter cord and the piston rolls over top-dead-center can you tell if you have any compression?

A couple of years ago I bought a brand NEW EU-2000, added some gas and used it for about 2 hours. A few weeks later it took a couple of pulls to start and it ran great for about 2 more hours and I turned it off. The next morning it would not start. It appeared to have no compression. I took it to the dealer and the problem was the intake valve had stuck open. The valve was stuck in the valve guide. The dealer claimed it was MY FAULT for not draining the gas and for not using Stabil. Rubbish as I had done this and drained the carb. Regardless I had to pay $90 to have the intake valve cleaned. A week later I used it and it worked great. Next morning.... once again it would not start. No compression!!! I took the carb off and was able to use brake cleaner spray to spray the intake valve shaft which allowed the valve to work free and eventually close. I used brake cleaner as this was all I had and it is much less caustic than carb cleaner. Carb cleaner will destory plastic and will destroy most rubber gaskets...like carb bowl gaskets.

Later I was told there is basically ZERO clearance between the valve and valve guide and any varnish on the valve will cause the valve to stick open. This may only be an issue with generators that are almost new, or with very few hours.

So, as you pull the starter cord You should be able to feel a small amount of compression as the piston rolls over top-dead-center. Or, can you tell if the compression seems normal, or similar to past times when the unit ran? You can't measure the compression with a gauge as there is a compression release mechanism and the reading will not be accurate. If you have removed the carb you can look into the intake and you can see the intake valve open and close as you slowly pull the starter cord. The valve should close smoothly and rapidly.
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Old 12-31-2009, 12:43 AM   #11
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I'm shocked that no one here has mentioned SeaFoam. This clogging is pretty common and I have read many many posts with people recommending it. So when both my EX650 and the EU2000i both got a little wonky (the 650 wouldn't run at all), I gave them both a SeaFoam treatment. Problem solved.
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Old 12-31-2009, 08:37 PM   #12
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Ooof. I read Roadking's post, then found that I couldn't type. I had put my hand over my eyes halfway through and started humming, "La la la!" in hopes of drowning out what he was saying.

But then SCVJeff suggested Seafoam. Which I had never heard of before. Read a thread about it, with high praises for it cleaning out the carb and cylinder. In fact, someone also said
I put a dab behind each ear in the morning. Drives the chicks wild. Coincidentally my hearing has improved 99%.
But I'm not sure I believe the part about his hearing.

Being thoroughly lazy, I'll try the additive first. If not, I'll send a PM to Roadking to find out where he is staying. Obviously he knows more about this problem than I do.

Stay tuned....
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Old 01-17-2010, 09:06 AM   #13
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Tried the Sea Foam. Ran it for a while. Some smoke from the exhaust. After a coupla days, the generator wouldn't run at all. Just like the other one!

I took them to a small engine repair shop, as I need the generators before I can get back to my home base to fix 'em. Engine shop said that they don't like Sea Foam, that it sometimes gums up the engine. A Honda company guy recommended it, but they don't.

More to come....
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Old 01-17-2010, 09:40 PM   #14
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I'm probably wrong, but my bet is the Intake valves are stuck open, or they are so sticky they don't close quick enough. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
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