Generator Exhaust Repair

L and I went into Assiniboia today to try to find some flexible steel tubing to fix my generator exhaust. I also wanted to buy a 20lb propane tank that was on sale at Peavey Mart and L wanted to have a nice meal out.

Charles suggested we try the farm supply places for the tubing. John Deere had nothing. We went to Young’s Equipment where one of my neighbours works and he sent us to NAPA.

NAPA had exactly what we needed. YAY! L thought we were so lucky that I should ask if they might have an air filter, too. YES! We couldn’t believe it!

Feeling jubilant, we went to Peavey Mart and then across the street to the Co-Op to fill the propane tank. There, L and I both had the same notion that the sales discount hadn’t been applied to the tank. It hadn’t. We went back and it turns out the sale wasn’t till Friday. The cashier didn’t bat an eyelash and refunded me the $4 and tax knowing that that was cheaper than loser a customer. Smart girl.

We then went to Nash’s, a Greek restaurant, and had a good lunch. L had ‘New York cut’ steak and I had the chicken pita with homemade tzatziki sauce. We shared baklava for dessert. It was all very yummy and I would like to go back one evening to try their dinner menu.

It was about 3:00 when we got in and L had almost no difficulty in getting the flexible tubing in. And that’s when the flexible tubing on the other side of the muffler gave. CRAP. L looked at the bit and hemmed and hawed and considered MacGyvering it until I could get to an exhaust repair shop. Finally, he decided that the best course of action was to go back to NAPA and get more pipe and more clamps. So we did.

He’s under the rig now getting this new section in.

I can't believe we found a new air filter! The other one was just about black.

I can’t believe we found a new air filter! The other one was just about black.

This is what we replaced.

This is what we replaced.

Shiny new pipe before the muffler.

Shiny new pipe before the muffler.

This section after the muffler snapped while L was working on the other side.

This section after the muffler snapped while L was working on the other side.

Now, I know what y’all are wondering, how expensive has my generator repair been?

Oil: about $4 for a quart of it (a few weeks ago)

NAPA gave us a ‘preferred customer discount’ after L asked for a senior’s discount, so I am putting the full price in brackets after the price paid:

Flex tubing: $3.41/ft ($4.39) x 3 = $10.23
Clamps: $2.10 ($2.26) x 2 = $4.20
U-Bolts (they were out of clamps on the second trip): $1.46 ($1.46) x 2 = $2.92
Air filter: $7.05 ($15.46!!!)

Total before tax at NAPA: $25.86 ($26.84 with tax).

So counting the oil, I’m at just over $30.

The spark plug is good and there is absolutely no reason to replace it.

The only other issue is that the choke isn’t working automatically. I have to manually close it to start the genny and then release the catch so that it will open. Not a biggie.

L suggests that I run the genny regularly until the winter. If I have no issues with it, then I should look at having the brushes replaced. But he doesn’t want me to spend that money now since the genny has sat so long as it would suck for the motor to throw a rod or whatever a month down the road. Smart man.

Oh, and there is the issue of it not starting from the button in the kitchen, which is an electrical and possible electronic issue. I am not going to worry about that at this time since I don’t have an automatic transfer switch. Therefore, I have to go outside anyway to plug the shore power cable into the genny from the inverter or vice versa.

I am going to continue leaving the cable plugged into the inverter as being the default plug in condition. The genny will just be for charging or giving me a boost in grey weather. I look forward to seeing what its gas consumption is compared to the engine.

I’m still reeling from disbelief that my generator is working.

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10 Comments

  • My Onan guy told me my 4 KW unit burns a half gallon per hour at 75% load. Yours is probably similar.

  • That is HALF of what it takes to idle my engine. That’s a full gallon per hour. I doubt that I will ever run it for any length of time at that much capacity.

    Tomorrow will be the first big test. I will be starting it around 10AM and will run it for a full hour so I can do computer backups and print stuff. Then, I am going to run the vacuum cleaner in here!

  • (you’re not impressed by the cost of parts?)

  • there is a HUGE markup in auto parts. Here at Lordco Auto Supplies we say, “Retired Telus” and get a similar pretty substantial discount. Maybe not 50% like you did on some things, that is impressive!

  • You may as well charge the batteries at the same time. Or are you getting enough sun right now to keep them charged?

  • Well, charging is automatic the minute I flip on the converter breaker. I am getting enough power from my solar to get by, but I have to be VERY careful. If I have a series of grey days where the batteries get really low, I’ll go the extra step of plugging in my dedicated charger, which is more efficient than is the converter. We’ve had this conversation a few times. 😉

    I’m glad L was there to ask for a senior’s discount!

  • Yes, I meant the stand alone charger. The generator prefers to run with a load, so you may as well give it one.

  • More than being more fuel efficient, the generator is capable of outputting a lot more power than the alternator of the engine. Idling an auto engine is very wasteful just for charging batteries, and automobile alternators are not designed to fast charge a battery anyway. There’s just no need for car makers to do that for a starting battery.

    RV batteries are different and are best charged with a smart charger for this purpose, which can also make full use of the wonderful power available from the generator. That minimizes the genset run time. The original stock converter is usually just crap.

    So, I disabled the stock converter and wired in a Progressive Dynamics 3-stage smart charger. It’s available in different versions, of 30A up to 80A. Mine cost $150, and can stuff 40A into the batteries. Wonderful stuff! Hope your stand-alone charger is as good.

    Note that a beefy RV smart charger gobbles up enough power to do its deed, such that it can trip the breaker of the 4KW generator if the AC and microwave are also used at the same time. Yes, it is that powerful.

  • Just saw elsewhere that your stand-alone charger can do 15A or 100A. I suspect it is not smart enough to stop when the batteries are full, and may cause them to boil over at 100A, if left unattended. The 15A is a bit slow.

    The advantage of a smart charger is that it is all automatic and takes good care of the batteries for you, the same as a good solar charger would do with solar charging.

  • Idling the engine: http://travelswithmiranda.uskeba.ca/?p=18456

    With my continuous duty solenoid, I was putting in 15A or more when I needed it, and the batteries did the rest. Expensive on fuel (1 gallon per hour) but still http://travelswithmiranda.uskeba.ca/?p=18456efficient.

    As for my charger, I use it with my battery monitor to check my state of charge and I never use it to get to 100% capacity. That’s what my solar is for.

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