The much maligned Harbor Freight Tailgator 700/900W Generator

Discussion in 'Power - Site Power/Batteries/Generators/Solar' started by JimmyM, Jul 2, 2018.

  1. BikeNFish

    BikeNFish Well-Known Member

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    Was there oil in it?
     
  2. joet

    joet Well-Known Member

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    Just shut mine off after running for 30 minutes with a 500watt load. So far no complaints
     
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Well-Known Member

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    It's a 2-stroke so you only have to add oil to the gas. Sadly you got a bad one. It definitely happens. I'm on my 3rd and it seems like a keeper.
     
  4. nineoaks2004

    nineoaks2004 Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday

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    Never use carb cleaner in a 2 cycle engine, it destroys the little o rings and other things inside the carb. that you cannot get to. They don't even have rebuild kits for them anymore, once you use carb cleaner you have to buy a new carb. The shop where My son works P.T. has a test unit for these carbs. to see if carb cleaner has been used, if it has you can see the little pieces of rubber squirting out of the carb.
     
  5. dbhost

    dbhost Active Member

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    Always, always always, no matter if it is Harbor Freight or Honda, break in properly, test, and maintain a generator prior to actually trying to use it in the field...

    One of my hunting buddies had the same thing happen with a Honda generator right out of the box. Am I saying HF is equal to Honda? Not even close. The point is every mass manufactured product can have factory defects.

    15 minutes of surging and smoking is a pretty good indicator that either...

    #1. You failed to use 2 stroke oil and killed the engine. The presence of the excess smoke says that isn't the case... Or....
    #2. You got a factory dud.

    I ran mine in for 30 minutes prior to putting a load on it, even then not much of a load, a simple lamp with a little 3.5 amp orbital sander. Thrashed the crud out of it using that. That is effectively just under half load on the generator..

    Thus far I have used the generator on 5 occasions for topping off the charge on my Everstart jump 1100 am jump pack that I run my CPAP off of. It does the job nicely and has gotten me back out to camping when I otherwise couldn't. State parks are 6 month waiting lists here, so I have to pick campgrounds with no power in order to get a site...
     
  6. Kampus

    Kampus Active Member

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    I run mine once every 3 months in the off season, along with the bigger one for the house. Always starts in 3 or 4 pulls.
     
  7. dbhost

    dbhost Active Member

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    How long do you run it, and with what kind of load?

    Like I mentioned above, I use mine to charge my Everstart jump starter, and it gets run about once a month for an hour....
     
  8. Kampus

    Kampus Active Member

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    I usually run it 15 - 20 mins after warming up a minute or two. I plug my 500watt halogen work light into it. I unplug the light and shut the fuel off to kill the engine when I am done.

    Last camping season, we had our deep cycle die just after arriving on site. We ended up using this little gen on and off all weekend....it saved the trip. I usually only have it to run a coffee maker for the wife. Around the house I will use it occasionally in the back yard for the hedge trimmers and a couple times during power outages to run a lamp or two and the deep freezer...not worth getting the big one out.
     
  9. xvz12

    xvz12 Well-Known Member

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    .
     
  10. xvz12

    xvz12 Well-Known Member

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    .
     
  11. Beornls

    Beornls New Member

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    Home Depot sells a little Sportsman brand 1000/800 watt inverter generator for $179 on their website, but occasionally I think I've seen it on sale for $149. Not a huge stretch beyond those 2 stroke HF ones and it'll get you into an inverter so should run much quieter.

    Here is a link
     
  12. John Bedsole

    John Bedsole New Member

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    I just bought a Carrol Stream DS 2000 generator. So far so good. Going to yellow stone this year and they also have a high altitude carb for it. Check it out
     
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  13. JimmyM

    JimmyM Well-Known Member

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    Great tips, guys. I like the sound (no pun) of that $180 HD inverter gen. I'll check it out.
     
  14. John Bedsole

    John Bedsole New Member

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    Paid 225 for a 2kw gas at 53 dB . High altitude carb is only 60 delivered . I have been totally impressed with Carroll Stream
     
  15. dbhost

    dbhost Active Member

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    An update on my HF Tailgator Genny. Summer's here, and for my monthly run, I did some reading on the info tag, and decided to load it up by seeing if it would run my 6.5K BTU window unit AC just in case I need it after a hurricane this year.

    Sure enough, it runs the ac through the compressor cycling on and off for at least an hour in 90 degree temps.

    Once loaded down with the AC, it smoothed right out.

    Mine is the item #63024. There are 2 different item numbers, 63024, and 63025, that are of similar spec, but different MFGs, and VASTY different quality control.



    I have been using mine at least once a month to run some sort of load. I have run 2 tanks of fuel through it so far.

    I've done the spark plug and plug boot swap. To say those things are junk is to be exceedingly kind to them... The plug was okay-ish. But boy the spark plug boot these come with is abysmal at best...

    One item I want / need to upgrade before I can feel comfortable relying on this generator is replacing the fuel line with a quality line, and swapping in a good fuel filter since there does not appear to be any sort of filter on this thing. Yeah that can't be good for the carburetor...

    I digress though. This was bought for us to use to recharge my starter / power pack that I run my CPAP off of, and it does a good, fast job of it. The fact I can run the AC off of it is great since that means I can air condition my tent away from power...

    Having said that, there are things that are making me VERY uncomfortable about this generator.
    #1. The tiny amount of power this thing makes. I know it CAN handle both my AC and my CPAP if need be, but it is maxing the little thing out, and once we get into the pop up that means a bigger AC to run. This won't cut it.
    #2. Fuel consumption. For such a tiny little engine, it drinks gas relative to other small generators. From the reviews and ratings of this generator which has a 5 hour runtime at 50% load with a 1 gallon capacity (Is it a full gallon?) comapred to the Sportsman 2,200 watt inverter generator, which is over 3x the cost, but has a 7 hour runtime at 50% load with a 1 gallon tank. And those are just the ratings. I have seen youtubers showing running small RV air conditioners off of the Sportsman for 10 hours between refills...
    #3. 2 stroke. This means having to keep a separate fuel container from the vehicle to fuel the generator. So in a pinch, your generator gas couldn't be reasonably pressed into service to get you to the next gas station should you massively screw up...
    #4. Long term durability. This is a HUGE question mark for me...

    So with the good, bad, and ugly. What's the verdict?

    It's a cheap generator, it does what it is supposed to, but several key, but cheap and easy to replace components scare the living snot out of me. Once the plug, plug boot, and fuel line / filter are replaced / installed this SHOULD be a good, hassle free generator. It seems to be holding together fine for now... I am glad I have it for camping, and at least VERY MINOR emergency use.

    Long term, I am probably going to use and abuse the tar out of this poor little thing until it breathes its last miserable breath, and then replace it with at least a 2KW inverter generator.
     
  16. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    All small 2-strokes I've worked on have a filter inside the fuel tank on the end of the tubing.
    That would be a major screw up. I've dumped mixed gas in the lawn mower and my truck at the end of the season many times with no problems.
     
  17. dbhost

    dbhost Active Member

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    Wouldn't the oil foul plugs on a 4 stroke?
     
  18. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    Our lawn mower has only had one plug change in 15 years and turns out that wasn't the problem. My f-150 has the same plugs that were in it when I bought it with 91k miles, it now has pushing 300k miles. It's not something I would do on a regular basis, but a gallon or two when I'm done with the weedeater for the year hasn't caused a problem. The lawn mower will get weedeater gas in a heartbeat if I need it to finish the lawn and the mower can is empty.
     
  19. roybraddy

    roybraddy Well-Known Member

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    I got my 2KW Honda back in 2008 mail order from a place in PA Antenna Farm or something like that...

    Been waiting for it to quit on me so I can get the new 2200 Watt Honda Model but it just keeps on ticking... I'm going to get the CAMO exterior color on my next generator... I have mine secured in the tail gate corner of my truck bed which is also covered with the folding hard top bed panels... Best place for it for my camping needs… Just drop the tail gate and pull it out onto the tail gate... My generator goes where I go haha...

    [​IMG]
    Roy's image

    Roy Ken
    https://i.imgur.com/SoQ6BfGm.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2019
  20. JimmyM

    JimmyM Well-Known Member

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    Maybe with the old 20:1 & 30:1 mixes. But newer 50:1 mixed gas should be fine. I ran several tanks of 40/50:1 through a log splitter I rented to get rid of it. It had been sitting a while. No problems. I'm using Amsoil Sabre at ~85:1 in my HF. That would run fine in a car/truck.
    The nice part of the Sabre at 85:1 (They recommend 80:1 for severe duty & 100:1 for normal use) is that there's almost no smoke at start up and zero when warmed up.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2019
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