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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-01-2019, 12:21 PM Thread Starter
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Looking for portable generator opinions

I bought a Generac RS5500 from Lowes last spring, got everything hooked up and working over the summer. Going through the winter I'm finding it difficult to start every month for its maintenance run. It's pull start only and I'm 54 with a bad back, takes at least 10 pulls to get it going when it's cold out. I'm looking to replace it with one with electric start.

I'd also like to bump up the RW a bit, maybe to 7000, and keep the price under a grand. What are the opinions on these two models? Are they decent or would you guys recommend something else? The Sportsman has dual fuel which might be more convenient.

Any info is greatly appreciated.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/WEN-7000...6877/203576909

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Sportsma...1606/206814691
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-01-2019, 04:42 PM
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If you're a Sam's Club member, they have this one with a Honda engine that also includes Bluetooth monitoring from your phone/tablet: Black Max 7,500W / 9,375W Honda Powered Electric Start Bluetooth Generator with App
https://www.samsclub.com/sams/7500w-...lp_product_1_2

A lot of people favor the Harbor Freight Predator - much less expensive than most others: https://www.harborfreight.com/engine...ion-63968.html

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-01-2019, 05:41 PM Thread Starter
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That Harbor Freight is cheap, will take a look at some reviews, not a Sams member so that one's a no go, thanks for the reply.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-01-2019, 08:06 PM
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I don't mean to "deflect" your question. But needing 10 pulls seems like a lot, especially for a new machine. I had an older Generac (~2000), it would usually start in 1-2 pulls. Does it have a primer? Does using a different choke setting help? I'm assuming that the carb is clean.

The Predators are definitely worth a look. They do concern me slightly for things like repair documentation, and parts availability 5+ years down the road. But that fear may well be ungrounded. I will say that it was nice having the service manuals for my Generac and Honda generators, when working on them.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-01-2019, 08:41 PM Thread Starter
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I think a primer would probably help but it doesn't have one. If you look up the model it just has a single knob that controls on/off/choke. I looked for a starter kit for it but they don't seem to exist. when it's fairly warm it starts with a few pulls, but down in the 20's it gets more difficult.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-01-2019, 09:03 PM
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If it came to it, could you use a blast of starting fluid into the carb's intake? That would be a bit of a pain, you'd have to remove the air filter first. But it might make it easier to get going.

(I don't start my generators monthly, although it is a good idea. I use stabilized gas, and run the carbs dry when shutting them down, by closing the fuel shutoff)

I've never looked into whether it's possible to add a primer to a machine that doesn't have one.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-01-2019, 09:13 PM Thread Starter
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Starter fluid might be an option, the air filter is easy to get to.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-02-2019, 01:01 PM
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I havent started my generator in the cold yet as I have only just bought it, but when I started it for the first time st started straight away when I turned the key. I would of thought it would of taken a few seconds for the petrol to get where it need to go, as it has no primer on it, its just gravity feed

As my generator is Chinese, I was really surprise when I was browsing the net and came across this site who stocked parts for Chinese generators and they had all the parts for my generator, even a "lpg/butine conversion kit"

I cant manage a pull cord start either, as I cant pull the darn things quick enough, so a key start for me is a life saver and apparently the generator charges the battery when its running so thats a bonus.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-02-2019, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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So it seems whatever is making it so hard to start is fuel related, a squirt of ether and it fired up on the first pull. I doubt it's bad fuel as this same batch is in my snowblower and it starts quickly. Only thing I can think of is that the single control knob is also a fuel cutoff so maybe it's draining the bowl? Only problem with that theory is when you turn the knob to off it shuts down immediately, I'd think it'd take longer if that was the case.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-02-2019, 06:12 PM
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I kind of like the fact that your Run knob is also a fuel shutoff. That helps avoid certain problems, like a leaking carb needle valve that lets the gas drain into the engine's crankcase & oil. Though them being integrated together makes it more difficult to shut off the fuel, and then run the carb dry.

At any rate, you're leaving the carb full of gas, if the Run knob also kills the ignition (along with the fuel flow), and shuts down the engine immediately. And when you turn on the Run knob again, the carb would refill with gas, even if it were empty.

I'd speculate that an important difference vs the snowblower is not having a primer on the generator, to help give it some extra gas. You only have the choke available.

Not knowing whether you can add a primer somehow, I'd think that if your carb is clean (doesn't run lean, speed stays consistent, vs surging up/down/up/down), then maybe the "best" approach is just a quick shot of ether before starting it in cold conditions. Or try using some gas in a squirt bottle, perhaps, instead of starting fluid. Not ideal, but if it means 1 pull vs 10, and less risk of causing back trouble, then I'd go with it. "Don't be a hero"
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