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I'm not sure what bothers me more, the problem with a generator I bought last July (the Champion 2000w inverter), or the fact that I cannot get any help, or even acknowledgement from Champion.
The generator worked fine the first 4 months, even when I used it in a Colorado snowstorm (12" and 0degF. But when I returned to Minnesota, I started having problems. While running it one evening I noticed it working extra hard, bogging down, and smoking like it's burning oil (I had just turned on the 1,000 watt microwave. It was late so I turned off the microwave and it ran ok overnight. The next time up to my hunting trailer (in January), the problem was worse and the generator shut off with a failure indicator (not low oil). I restarted it and had the same result, even with no load on it. I went to a hotel that night, and the next day I called Champion when I was put into their phone answering menu for 45 minutes. [Periodically being told how important their customers are to them]. I gave up, packed up and went home.
Then at home, after it had warmed up (i.e.Feb.) I changed the oil. The old oil was completely black. But it was fine before the problems started, although it did seem to use up oil rather quickly - even when it was new. I checked the spark plug, it was fouled, I replaced it. I got the generator started, but it wouldn't stay on with anything plugged in. I thought maybe a carb problem, I added some SeaFoam and let it run with nothing plugged in. It ran about an hour (running rough), then quit. I checked oil and plug. The oil was black and the plug was fouled. It had only run for about an hour.
I called Champion again, and again spend 45 minutes on hold by the answering phone menu system. I went to their website and submitted an email. No response after 1 week. I sent another email - yaa, after 3 days I got a response asking for more detail. I responded, that was over a week ago and I've not heard anything since.

The symptoms seem to indicate, at least to me, a problem with the engine. Does anyone have any suggestions?
I'd like to get this working since I use the generator power my CPAP at my place in the woods, and also to power my electric blanket.
Could running it in the cold (sub-zero F) have caused a problem with the engine? oil seals?

Thanks, in advance, for any thoughts and suggestions.

Dave
 

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lot's of things and lot's of questions.
the exact model number of the gen set please.
what fuel are you running?
what oil are you running?

yes on a carb issue, you could need a new carb or a pro clean on the carb you have.
there are passages inside that could have trash in them to make a rich mix.
and same on an engine tear down and clean if it is impacted with oil wet carbon.

or you could have an issue with the crank case breather valve.
sucking direct drops of oil in the intake...

are you running an oil magnet dipstick and magnetic drain plug if it has one?
if not get one asap. that helps to hold down the black trash in the oil.

first look in to the battery option for your cpap or bipap unit!
then look in to solar, wind generator with a portable battery "generator / inverter" setup.
they are quiet and are good to charge your battery during the day if solar.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
lot's of things and lot's of questions.
the exact model number of the gen set please.
what fuel are you running?
what oil are you running?

yes on a carb issue, you could need a new carb or a pro clean on the carb you have.
there are passages inside that could have trash in them to make a rich mix.
and same on an engine tear down and clean if it is impacted with oil wet carbon.

or you could have an issue with the crank case breather valve.
sucking direct drops of oil in the intake...

are you running an oil magnet dipstick and magnetic drain plug if it has one?
if not get one asap. that helps to hold down the black trash in the oil.

first look in to the battery option for your cpap or bipap unit!
then look in to solar, wind generator with a portable battery "generator / inverter" setup.
they are quiet and are good to charge your battery during the day if solar.
The generator is a Champion 2000w Inverter, model 100478. I bought it last July 18, 2020 and used it a couple times in September befor taking it to Colorado in October. Then a couple more times in November. When it's used it's probably for about 25 hours at a time. Oil change about after 75 hours. It always seemed to use up oil quickly, I used Valvoline 5W-30 oil. The generator would shut off after about 20 hours for low oil alert, when I'd add more. The used oil was always clean and I'd need to add about 10oz, more than I expected would be needed after only 20 - 30 hours runtime. Then, when problems arose in December, the oil became black. Not expected so suddenly and when only 5 months old.
I use only non-oxygenated 91 octane fuel.
The unit was only 5 or 6 months old when problems developed, I wouldn't have expected major carb problems so quickly. This model does not have a drain plug, but a magnetic dip stick would be a good idea.

My backup power for my CPAP is a wheel-chair battery. I can get two nights out of it if I run the CPAP without the heated hose and water tank. I also have a 100w solar panel to charge a separate battery bank (3 group 27) for the Trailer. I plan to run a separate 12v cable to the trailer bedroom so I can run the cpap of it as well. If the temperature where I sleep gets below about 45F, I get condensation in the cpap mask - can't sleep. So the battery bank is also to run the fan associated with the heater.
 

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That unit has a 3 year warranty, so maybe try bringing in for service and see if they find any manufacturing defects. It could be a bad piston ring or something.

If you need a reliable small inverter genset for critical use, I'd get the Honda EU2200i, even though it is more expensive. You could get the Champion repaired and keep it as a backup unit. See if you can get ethanol free fuel to use in the generators....the carburetors will have fewer problems.
 

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I don't mean to poke the OP but, many folks are using the wrong type/weight oil! Nothing against Valvoline, just the wrong oil for the application. Why a 5w30 oil in an aircooled engine is beyond me, unless it's in a snowblower application, where it makes sense due to the cold temps. In any other application even if a manual states 5w30 the best oil would be straight 30 conventional or 10w30 or 10w40 synthetic. We see the evidence in the above statement "generator would shut off after about 20 hours for low oil alert, when I'd add more". Unfortunately the cause is that the lighter portion "5w" was burning off causing low oil and carbon issues inside the engine. Probably turning into a straight 50w possibly or thicker? If you do at least one thing right, use an oil that was made for motorcycles. They are mostly hot running/high revving engines similar to the extremes that generators have to run at. Some companies make an oil specifically for small engines and I use Amsoil Small engine oil myself. I'm thinking that the Champion engine is now too worn out to run right without a rebuild, but hopefully I'm wrong. Keep us posted. My 2 cents, Dutchy
 

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I don't mean to poke the OP but, many folks are using the wrong type/weight oil! Nothing against Valvoline, just the wrong oil for the application. Why a 5w30 oil in an aircooled engine is beyond me, unless it's in a snowblower application, where it makes sense due to the cold temps. In any other application even if a manual states 5w30 the best oil would be straight 30 conventional or 10w30 or 10w40 synthetic. We see the evidence in the above statement "generator would shut off after about 20 hours for low oil alert, when I'd add more". Unfortunately the cause is that the lighter portion "5w" was burning off causing low oil and carbon issues inside the engine. Probably turning into a straight 50w possibly or thicker? If you do at least one thing right, use an oil that was made for motorcycles. They are mostly hot running/high revving engines similar to the extremes that generators have to run at. Some companies make an oil specifically for small engines and I use Amsoil Small engine oil myself. I'm thinking that the Champion engine is now too worn out to run right without a rebuild, but hopefully I'm wrong. Keep us posted. My 2 cents, Dutchy
Yeah, I use 10W-30 in my Honda and I change it regularly. It doesn't have a chance to get black. I also have a magnetic dipstick to help with the metal bits and shavings.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks all for the feedback. I agree that a Honda EU2000i would probably be a more reliable choice. I was thinking that but couldn't resist the Champion unit at half the price. I'd like to get my generator looked at by a Champion service center, but I haven't gotten a reply from Champion, yet another reason to go with another manufacturer.
I understand about the oil recommendations, I think those would all be good choices, but I don't think using the oil recommended by the manufacturer would cause problems so early in the generators lifetime. I was thinking of switching to a synthetic, but the generator was using oil rather rapidly. For example, getting a low oil shut-off after about 20 to 25 hours runtime. Is that normal?
I'm curious about the effect of running the generator in extreme cold - say 0F or -10F or -15F. I assumed that it might be harder to start, but once started it'd be OK. But, it seems to me that problems started after / during running in sub-zero temperatures. Could extreme cold affect the engine performance somehow? Specifically, the engine seals?

Again, thanks for the advice!

Dave
 

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Regarding the black oil. The oil seemed to turn black rather suddenly, i.e. when problems arose. Prior to that it was the normal, new-like, color for several months.
And now, the oil turned black after less than 1 hour run-time - with nothing plugged in to the generator. And, the plug was fouled - after 1 hour?!

Dave
 

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Y
Regarding the black oil. The oil seemed to turn black rather suddenly, i.e. when problems arose. Prior to that it was the normal, new-like, color for several months.
And now, the oil turned black after less than 1 hour run-time - with nothing plugged in to the generator. And, the plug was fouled - after 1 hour?!

Dave
. Yep. Wrong Oil. Online Champion recommends 5w30 below freezing. Your Oil burned off and caused excessive wear. You said that the Oil looked good after you topped it up. That’s not how you do it. Buy a Honda and take care of it properly ... Dutchy
 

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A couple clarifications.
I was using 5W-30 oil, just not a synthetic. It was using oil so quickly, I didn't think using synthetic was worth it.
The oil that had been running looked OK, before I added more oil.

Dave
 

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A couple clarifications.
I was using 5W-30 oil, just not a synthetic. It was using oil so quickly, I didn't think using synthetic was worth it.
The oil that had been running looked OK, before I added more oil.

Dave
Gotcha, my misunderstanding. However, use an Oil that’s a 10w.. in the future. And preferably a good synthetic. See my response and AMSOIL link to Optomist asking about the best Oil to use. Dutchy
 

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Gotcha, my misunderstanding. However, use an Oil that’s a 10w.. in the future. And preferably a good synthetic. See my response and AMSOIL link to Optomist asking about the best Oil to use. Dutchy

Open the link then the Technical Specifications and then the Data bulletin. Read that the AMSOIL small engine oil 10w30 pours to -40C/-40F and the flash point is 246C/475F. What other oils do that?? You can compare the 5w30 and the 10w40 commercial oils right there too. Not many oil companies make that info so readily available, because they fall short. Dutchy
 

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Did I miss read or was your first oil change at 75 hours of use with Valvoline 5W-30 conventional oil? Isn't the first oil change on these small air cooled engines usually in the 5 to 10 hour range. My Briggs generator asked for an initial oil change at 5 hours of use, then they recommended 5W-30 synthetic oil. This was to minimize oil burn off. The 5W-30 synthetic is preferred over conventional 10W-30 which tends to burn off according to Briggs.
 

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Did I miss read or was your first oil change at 75 hours of use with Valvoline 5W-30 conventional oil? Isn't the first oil change on these small air cooled engines usually in the 5 to 10 hour range. My Briggs generator asked for an initial oil change at 5 hours of use, then they recommended 5W-30 synthetic oil. This was to minimize oil burn off. The 5W-30 synthetic is preferred over conventional 10W-30 which tends to burn off according to Briggs.
Yes. I’m not sure what he did with his first service. Maybe he can remind/advise us. You’re right though that 5w30 synthetic is better than conventional 10w30. But 10w30 synthetic is even better, especially when it’s good to around -40 and up. Wow, Dutchy
 

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Did I miss read or was your first oil change at 75 hours of use with Valvoline 5W-30 conventional oil? Isn't the first oil change on these small air cooled engines usually in the 5 to 10 hour range. My Briggs generator asked for an initial oil change at 5 hours of use, then they recommended 5W-30 synthetic oil. This was to minimize oil burn off. The 5W-30 synthetic is preferred over conventional 10W-30 which tends to burn off according to Briggs.
He stated 75 Hrs was his first oil change. No wonder.
 

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yup abused gen set...
should to have had the first oil change at 10 hours or less...
and at every 50 hours when they are new...
then after 500 hours go to the 100 hour oil change at the max with good quality oil.
too bad..
i agree to get the first oil out fast of the gen sets...
and you always want to use a magnetic dip stick and a magnetic drain plug if it has a drain plug on the larger gens.

try returning the gen set to the dealer, or at the least take it for warranty repair.

it may turn out to be a school of hard knocks deal..
yea stick with the honda eu2200i...
"trying to save a nickle will always cost you a dime!"

on dyno oil change it with lower hours...
the synth oils can run 2x the hours or more if it is clean!
check the oil every 6 hours on any new gen under 500 hours!
if it starts to use oil... just stop! and find out what is wrong before you trash a good gen set.
 

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I'm not sure what bothers me more, the problem with a generator I bought last July (the Champion 2000w inverter), or the fact that I cannot get any help, or even acknowledgement from Champion.
The generator worked fine the first 4 months, even when I used it in a Colorado snowstorm (12" and 0degF. But when I returned to Minnesota, I started having problems. While running it one evening I noticed it working extra hard, bogging down, and smoking like it's burning oil (I had just turned on the 1,000 watt microwave. It was late so I turned off the microwave and it ran ok overnight. The next time up to my hunting trailer (in January), the problem was worse and the generator shut off with a failure indicator (not low oil). I restarted it and had the same result, even with no load on it. I went to a hotel that night, and the next day I called Champion when I was put into their phone answering menu for 45 minutes. [Periodically being told how important their customers are to them]. I gave up, packed up and went home.
Then at home, after it had warmed up (i.e.Feb.) I changed the oil. The old oil was completely black. But it was fine before the problems started, although it did seem to use up oil rather quickly - even when it was new. I checked the spark plug, it was fouled, I replaced it. I got the generator started, but it wouldn't stay on with anything plugged in. I thought maybe a carb problem, I added some SeaFoam and let it run with nothing plugged in. It ran about an hour (running rough), then quit. I checked oil and plug. The oil was black and the plug was fouled. It had only run for about an hour.
I called Champion again, and again spend 45 minutes on hold by the answering phone menu system. I went to their website and submitted an email. No response after 1 week. I sent another email - yaa, after 3 days I got a response asking for more detail. I responded, that was over a week ago and I've not heard anything since.

The symptoms seem to indicate, at least to me, a problem with the engine. Does anyone have any suggestions?
I'd like to get this working since I use the generator power my CPAP at my place in the woods, and also to power my electric blanket.
Could running it in the cold (sub-zero F) have caused a problem with the engine? oil seals?

Thanks, in advance, for any thoughts and suggestions.

Dave
High altitude jets installed?

Otherwise, unit burns rich...

Also had the 4000/3250 RV setup open frame for 14 years. Did my own carb rebuild and repaired recoil pull. Otherwise ran fine. Just bought 4550/3650 RV electric start. So far, so good...
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Hi All,
Sorry for the delay, I was "up-north" in the woods. I confess, that I was long on the 1st oil change, probably in the 40 to 50 hour range. Yes, too long. It had already begun using (burning) oil pretty quickly.
I decided to buy a Yamaha generator, the 2400, while I see about fixing the Champion generator. Yes, I'll be sure to give the 1st oil change within the recommended time period. I think it's also 10, or maybe 20, hours.
I also want to find a magnetic dipstick for the generator - somewhere I saw a link...

BTW, Champion finally contacted me to try and resolve the issue. I still don't think the problem is due to the oil, or oil changes.

Thx, Dave
 
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