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Old 10-18-2021, 06:39 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Ljwt330 View Post
Leave the seller alone, this is your problem.

You live in Ca. and used vehicle sales are “as is” unless provisions are in writing. Seller made good faith attempt to repair. Generator ran at time of purchase. Both you and the seller believed the generator was repaired. You accepted the repair, sale was completed. End of seller’s responsibility.

From your description, the generator could have very well been properly repaired when you bought it, but it suffered internal damage from oil diluted by starting fluid. That damage was due to repeated running, and the seller had no control over that.

Get it repaired and move on.
While this post may seem a bit "harsh", I completely agree with the initial recommendation. This isn't the seller's fault, and you would most likely quickly lose in court.

Find a competent shop to replace the motor in the genset, and move on so you can enjoy your new ride.

FWIW, I don't believe the claim that the generator motor oil was contaminated by "starting fluid" because that stuff is designed to become a highly flammable gas the instant it comes out of the aerosol can. As a vapor, it can help get a motor started, but I don't think it can return to a liquid state and dilute the oil in a crankcase. It is more likely that badly worn or broken piston ring(s) allowed raw fuel to dilute the oil.
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Old 10-18-2021, 06:44 AM   #16
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It became your problem when you took possession. How do you know that the shop you took it to isn't wrong about the diagnosis. Go get a second opinion.
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Old 10-18-2021, 09:23 AM   #17
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Its a good thing I have thick skin on the matter . I appreciate all the inputs for my situation, I think I knew the answer all the along just needed it confirmed. It really is a bummer but its almost always the case when you buy used. I just now secured a new 8k unit coming out of Kentucky. My boss (wife) made her decision to buy new rather than used for $3k less. I am ok with it and I will take the advice on keeping the old unit and rebuild the engine and maybe trying selling on my own. There are a lot of brand new parts that were put on just before I took delivery. Thanks again for all the input, much appreciated.
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Old 10-18-2021, 09:47 AM   #18
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Old 10-18-2021, 10:12 AM   #19
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Its a good thing I have thick skin on the matter . I appreciate all the inputs for my situation, I think I knew the answer all the along just needed it confirmed. It really is a bummer but its almost always the case when you buy used. I just now secured a new 8k unit coming out of Kentucky. My boss (wife) made her decision to buy new rather than used for $3k less. I am ok with it and I will take the advice on keeping the old unit and rebuild the engine and maybe trying selling on my own. There are a lot of brand new parts that were put on just before I took delivery. Thanks again for all the input, much appreciated.
Thanks for the feedback and I, for one, commend you for your positive attitude.

Yes, you opened yourself up for some blunt responses (mine included,) but you have done everyone a service by relating this unfortunate experience and the lesson learned.

Good luck and enjoy your new RV.
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Old 10-18-2021, 10:26 AM   #20
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While this post may seem a bit "harsh", I completely agree with the initial recommendation. This isn't the seller's fault, and you would most likely quickly lose in court.

Find a competent shop to replace the motor in the genset, and move on so you can enjoy your new ride.

FWIW, I don't believe the claim that the generator motor oil was contaminated by "starting fluid" because that stuff is designed to become a highly flammable gas the instant it comes out of the aerosol can. As a vapor, it can help get a motor started, but I don't think it can return to a liquid state and dilute the oil in a crankcase. It is more likely that badly worn or broken piston ring(s) allowed raw fuel to dilute the oil.
I agree with your last comment. If the generator has been running, no way that "starter fluid" was still around since it is highly volatile. Not sure I would trust the shop that looked at your generator if that is their diagnosis.
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Old 10-18-2021, 10:27 AM   #21
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I'm no lawyer but I've read plenty of Reddit and Quora where this sort of question often comes up and believe that verbal agreements are usually just as binding as written agreements. That's the theory but ... in practice, I don't think that will help you much.

The problem of course is proving what was agreed to. Even if both parties are honest and reasonable, there can be a misunderstanding.

I don't know how small claims court works but I guess if the judge or whoever asks the seller "Did you promise to repair the generator?" and he answers "Yes" then just maybe you have something there. Or, if there is a credible independent witness or a voice recording. But if his answer is that he "promised to make a good effort to fix the generator" then it all becomes a bit fuzzy. There's also the question of maybe it was fixed when you picked it up but another problem happened before you got home.

I feel bad for you but if the seller says "not my problem", I doubt that there is much point in pursuing it.
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Old 10-18-2021, 10:56 AM   #22
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"As-is, where is" UNLESS the seller knowingly and intentionally made misleading or untruthful representations to a buyer regarding condition and/or operability prior to sale. It seems the mechanic did little more than soak the generator with ether to start it. I would question the seller about the alleged $3k repair bill and obtain the receipts for that work. If the mechanic made X repairs to the generator and was paid for it, there is some expectation the issue's been resolved. Starting fluid is used somewhat sparingly--there's a reason it's called "starting" fluid, not "running" fluid! But if this "mechanic" used so much it pooled up in the crankcase, then he clearly has no idea what he's doing and has apparently caused real damage. Hopefully he's insured. Beware these "mobile technicians". Anyone with a '98 Mercury Mystique, two screwdrivers, and a pair of jumper cables can be one. You should probably seek advice from an attorney.

Edit: I just realized you have a diesel generator. If this mobile mechanic used ether starting fluid in it, it will likely need rebuilt. Would be much cheaper to locate a used generator. Ether is for gas combustion engines, whereas diesels are compression engines.

Where did this theory come from, just curious. I use ether on diesel engines sparingly but very, very seldom on gas engines as it does not work well because of the low heat created because of lower compression. What am I missing?
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Old 10-18-2021, 11:23 AM   #23
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The Romans knew it many centuries ago...Caveat emptor.

You took possession, now it's your problem.
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Old 10-18-2021, 01:06 PM   #24
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While this post may seem a bit "harsh", I completely agree with the initial recommendation. This isn't the seller's fault, and you would most likely quickly lose in court.

Find a competent shop to replace the motor in the genset, and move on so you can enjoy your new ride.

FWIW, I don't believe the claim that the generator motor oil was contaminated by "starting fluid" because that stuff is designed to become a highly flammable gas the instant it comes out of the aerosol can. As a vapor, it can help get a motor started, but I don't think it can return to a liquid state and dilute the oil in a crankcase. It is more likely that badly worn or broken piston ring(s) allowed raw fuel to dilute the oil.

Ed I am glad you pointed this out, when I read it that was the first thing that glared at me. The time line and symptom don't match, not to mention the amount of starting fluid it would take to get the oil to smell like starting fluid.



I would not have faith in any shop that gave me that diagnosis, and would be pulling my rig outta there so fast heads spin.
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Old 10-18-2021, 07:56 PM   #25
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Keep your eyes open on Facebook Marketplace for genny . I see them ocassionally for good price.
Put yourself on sellers shoes paid 3k to get genny fixed seemed ok . Now ask for 6k to split brand new one for you. Like mentioned . Ether would have flashed off out of oil at near 190f running temp. I doubt if you could even get a whiff of any after the fact.
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Old 10-19-2021, 09:34 AM   #26
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I disagree with most. I believe that if you can show the receipts for repair and phone log showing you made contact with the seller, explain your agreement to a judge I think you have a case. Now whats it worth I couldn't say and how about your time. Chances are you will need to travel to his county to file and return for the hearing
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Old 10-19-2021, 09:40 AM   #27
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The last dozen posters need to rush on over to the "Do you read" thread.

OP has purchased a new generator. Of course you won't read this either so what is the point.
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Old 10-19-2021, 09:45 AM   #28
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I'm no lawyer but I've read plenty of Reddit and Quora where this sort of question often comes up and believe that verbal agreements are usually just as binding as written agreements. That's the theory but ... in practice, I don't think that will help you much.

The problem of course is proving what was agreed to. Even if both parties are honest and reasonable, there can be a misunderstanding.

I don't know how small claims court works but I guess if the judge or whoever asks the seller "Did you promise to repair the generator?" and he answers "Yes" then just maybe you have something there. Or, if there is a credible independent witness or a voice recording. But if his answer is that he "promised to make a good effort to fix the generator" then it all becomes a bit fuzzy. There's also the question of maybe it was fixed when you picked it up but another problem happened before you got home.

I feel bad for you but if the seller says "not my problem", I doubt that there is much point in pursuing it.
I am not a lawyer however I am familiar with the law in this regard and all similar contracts which is that there can only be either a verbal agreement or a written agreement (not both). Regardless of what either party claims verbally, if the sale provides a written contract such as a "Bill of Sale" then that is the contract and there is no legally binding contract outside of what is written. For example if the seller stated to you that he would fix any issue for say 6 months, and that statement is not in the Bill of Sale, then there is nothing legally you can do to collect on it.

A point of clarity, when there is both a verbal agreement and a written agreement (ie: bill of sale), the written agreement takes precedence and any verbal agreement is not enforceable, therefore any important aspects (verbal agreements) to the purchase or sale needs to also be included in the written agreement and signed by both parties and in some states notarized. ~CA
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