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Hi all,

Recently ive started buying broken generators to fix (mostly for fun). I keep the ones i like and sell the ones I dont. earlier this week i picked up a generac xt8000e. The seller sold it cheap. its covered in dirt and wouldnt run. I got it running by cleaning the carb, and using a different take for testing. Im considering a new tank for it, but i want to make sure it has life left before that investment. It has 330 hours on it.The problem is i have no context for weather this is low, average, or high. How many hours is your average portable good for? (sorry for the rambling here)
 

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My take is 330 hours / 24 per day = ~14 days it’s ran. That isn’t a lot but what you don’t know was it all at once, broke in good, conditions it ran in, how it was stored, etc. just my opinion. Sure others have there take on it.
 

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There's not much information to extrapolate from the engine hours alone. You have to look at it holistically... engine compression, leak-down, oil consumption, condition of the stator, rotor, the chassis, etc. etc.

A generator that's been neglected can go 300 hours and then immediately show signs of wear like it's been running for 3,000 hours. On the other hand, a well-maintained genset could've been running 1,500 hours and still looks and performs like new.
 

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15k hours if the oil has been changed on time on a basic gen set...

now if you have a gen set with spin oil filters.
30k hours and you should do a full tear down or replace.
if it is used all of the time...
 

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Interesting thread on some Honda generator stories/hours:
 

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Have a Honda 3000is with 25000 hrs on it and still runs good.
Standard maint of oil changes spark plugs and it still keeps running, Need f new battery but will pull start easy.
also a pair of 2000is running propane with at least that many hrs on them one uses a little oil tho,
 

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In selling or reselling I just tell the truth "as I know it." Above example, "I got this with 330 hours on it. cleaned and tuned up, replaced fuel tank, compression test, etc. if available, runs well. New cost currently $1299 at TSC, I'm asking "X." They can then kick the tires and go from there. You're just reselling something with the information you have, not a Generac dealer or authority on portable generator life expectancy.

Personally think that 500 hours on the lower cost portables is when I look at replacing. That's provided proper break in and oil change intervals were maintained. My only basis for this was a Genrac 3250 which started acting up "a little" after 450 hours and 12 years I think. Big unknown with generators is 330 hours over 14 days or 10 years.
 

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The PowerMate PM1500 I had at my cottage on the island before the Onan ran everything for 6 hours every night we were there over 18 years. Less than 3,500 hours total, IIRC.
 

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Personally think that 500 hours on the lower cost portables is when I look at replacing. That's provided proper break in and oil change intervals were maintained. My only basis for this was a Genrac 3250 which started acting up "a little" after 450 hours and 12 years I think. Big unknown with generators is 330 hours over 14 days or 10 years.
What does "acting up a little" mean? IMHO, 500 hours should be next to nothing, even on low cost units. I think that when engines starts acting up (ie. runs a little rough, hard-starting, etc.) but still eventually fires up, it just needs cleaning, tweaking, adjustments and/or general servicing.

To me, what dictates the end-of-life of a generator is when there's catastrophic failure or there's excessive wear or damage to the bore.... or if the collective parts that needs to be replaced costs more than 30-40% of the cost of the whole generator. That includes burnt windings on the stator/rotor or parts thereof that can't be repaired or replaced economically.
 

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What does "acting up a little" mean? IMHO, 500 hours should be next to nothing, even on low cost units. I think that when engines starts acting up (ie. runs a little rough, hard-starting, etc.) but still eventually fires up, it just needs cleaning, tweaking, adjustments and/or general servicing.

To me, what dictates the end-of-life of a generator is when there's catastrophic failure or there's excessive wear or damage to the bore.... or if the collective parts that needs to be replaced costs more than 30-40% of the cost of the whole generator. That includes burnt windings on the stator/rotor or parts thereof that can't be repaired or replaced economically.
It began to be hard to start which it never was before. I started to do some troubleshooting then decided I'd just replace it. It was 12 years old and Generac isn't the easiest to deal with when it comes to parts on older units. Also, being out in the country on a 60 customer line, we're pretty far down the priority list for restoration in an outage. I replaced it with a bigger Firman and gave it to a neighbor who didn't have a generator. Actually ended up helping him work on it and a new Ebay carb made it better, not "as new" but better, could it have been restored to "as shipped?" Probably, why?

I agree with your comments, provided you have the time and motivation to do the troubleshooting, willing to do the online search for parts, wait for them to arrive, etc. Back then we didn't have the "COVID" and "Supply Chain Issues," we do now, but it was still a bit of effort. For me, the decision to replace with a larger unit for under $400 with a three year warranty (Whatever that's worth)was a no brainer. Taking the carb off, dragging out the ultrasonic cleaner, (Ultrasonic cleaners do a great job, but a tear down is better) etc. was an option, but a $16 Ebay carb was a better one-provided you were willing to wait and weren't sitting in the dark.

I've been working on large and small engines for over 50 years and a retired engineer as well so very comfortable doing repairs. How much would a small engine shop charge to do the repairs? $100-150 or more? The vast majority of folks don't have the skill or tools to determine "excessive wear or damage to the bore.... or if the collective parts that needs to be replaced costs more than 30-40%" to quote you. You're correct that most things can be repaired, provided someone is willing to pay a tech, and wait. Is it smart to invest $100-150 in a 12 year old unit? In our society, everything is disposable, including generators. 500 hours and 12 years was what I used as working on a generator out in the barn with a camp lantern wasn't a scenario I cared to revisit.

Another aspect of this is how often is the generator used? Twenty years ago we routinely had outages from 1-4 days but we had winters then and ice storms in Feb. and Mar. which did extensive damage to utility lines. This winter I've run the generator about 4 hours in one outage and that was due to drunk driving.. "Roof don't leak if it don't rain" is a valid comment. I read posts here about how often to run your generator. For the average homeowner, how often you do seems a function of how long it's been since the last time you had to use it and how buried it becomes in your garage, etc.

The numbers quoted in this post as to hours run are truly impressive, however, the regular folks here seem to be technically competent, both in properly sizing and maintaining a portable generator so that is to be expected. Forums like this have a lot of visitors who don't post, just read, try to understand and apply in their situations. They read that an inexpensive unit can run thousands of hours and think "no worries" without understanding what went into supporting those numbers. Surf around the web "how long does a portable generator last" and 1,000-2,000 hours is a common answer. My "500 hours and 12 years" comment was directed at the casual visitor and not the regular folks who hang out here.
 

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I have a garden tractor manufactured in 1976. Air cooled Briggs and Stratton twin.
It's been worked long and hard all of its life. It's always been well maintained.
It has always run fine, good compression, no alarming noises, oil consumption, or leaks.
I'm guessing it has 5000 hours on it. I have no intention of rebuilding it or replacing it until it gives me reason to.

I also have an airplane with an air cooled Lycoming engine.
It's also been worked long and hard all of its life. It's also always been well maintained.
It has also always run fine, good compression, no alarming noises, oil consumption, or leaks.
When it has 2400 hours on it, I will have it rebuilt, regardless of how well it's running.

Why the difference? Just depends on how tolerant you can be of an unexpected failure.

A Generator will likely fall somewhere within these limits. :)
 

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I should add that there are a lot of variables when talking about portable generator lifespan.... different metallurgy, manufacturing quality, operating environment, availability of preventive and/or reactive maintenance, etc.

If there's actual tangible data of this somewhere, I haven't found it. What we normally see online are at best, anecdotal or subjective.
 

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most folks miss cleaning the exhaust screens and setting the valves on small engines.
if you do all of the checks and oil and air filter and spark plug changes.
a gen set will last a lot of years.

leaving any engines just setting for 5-20 years then expecting them to start with out checking a few things is a bad idea...

it all depends on how they are stored etc.

MM
and i hear you on air frame rebuilds... lol like so many pilots have stated over the years " you can not just pull over to check the engine on a plane!"
and so that is why they have mins on every thing for air craft and flight.
I think my fave was from blue tour. " how far do you think the plane will go?" white "all the way to the crash site!"
that will make any pilot do a spit take! lol!
"and i bet we beat the rescue crew by 20-30 min!"
 

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MM, I have a lot of well maintained and OLD stuff here on the farm. We sold a Farmall M a couple of years ago built in 1942, farmers had to have tractors for the war effort. It still ran well, unfortunately, other than a PTO and a very primitive hydraulic system, it just didn't mesh with modern farming attachments. My personal favorite though is a '68 Roper lawn tractor, 12HP single cylinder Briggs, runs great and has one of the, or the first auto trans for a LT/GT. I use it occasionally to pull a garden cart around.
 

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My Dad use to drive for the ambulance and drove a 100 - 200 miles per day. Anyway Dad had a citroen diesel car that did roughly 300,000miles before the gearbox got almost impossible to select gears..... But it would still start stupidly easy even with a weak battery and after it had been sitting for a few weeks/months. 3 main reasons why the engine lasted so long.....
1 The engine was having long runs without stopping/starting as the stopping/starting wears engines. And on occasions he would do airport runs meaning travelling a few hundred miles a day
2 Dad did all the the oil and filter changes his self after a certain amount of miles
3 The fact it was a diesel engine as they last much longer than petrol engines, but 300.000 miles is still dam impressive .

When we took it to a garage about the gearbox, they couldn't believe how good condition the engine was in and they tried everything to make selecting gears easier, but they couldn't. so we sold it for a few hundred £ and apparently the engine lasted a while longer before dying.
 

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Well, 330 hours is still a short time for such a generator. Although, I also recently purchased a generator from https://www.truck1.eu/construction-machinery/generator-sets, which didn't last much longer but was very efficient. I settled on the choice of diesel generators. Diesel generators are more expensive than conventional gasoline ones, but they also differ in that they have a more comprehensive power range. Since I have a large house, I thought it would be better to consider more powerful diesel generator sets. With the proper operation of the cooling system, diesel power plants can work longer without interruption.
 

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Interesting thread on some Honda generator stories/hours:
Thanks for the link, good stuff! I went down the rabbit hole on that one. 😆
According to one post, Honda will discontinue it’s lawn mowers by September 2023. 😢 Speculation was that cheaper brands with Honda engines were difficult to compete with.
 
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