The much maligned Harbor Freight Tailgator 700/900W Generator

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

  1. JimmyM

    JimmyM Well-Known Member

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    In my top post I have links and part numbers for the parts I bought.
    I tried to fire it up after sitting for a month, I had to spray carb cleaner into the carb to get it started. Once running, it smokes while cold (still have 40:1 in the tank). But once it's warmed up, the smoke goes away.
     
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  2. Ductape

    Ductape Well-Known Member

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    Did you end up running it in Vt. at all ? If so, were you satisfied?
     
  3. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    I'm a bit confused on this. What's the point of the resistor plug / boot? I went with the plug that is a direct cross reference from the Torch F5TC OEM spark plug. Every cross reference I find shows for an NGK the BP5ES plug. Doesn't say anything about a resistor plug or cap...
     
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Well-Known Member

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    I couldn't find a non resistor plug boot. The plug boots I've found recommended are all resistor boots. So I got one with the minimun resistance. Also, the plug I chose didn't come in a non-resistor version. It isn't a big deal.

    No. Didn't need it. The panels worked well enough on Saturday that they put enough juice back in the batteries.
     
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  5. xvz12

    xvz12 Well-Known Member

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    oops
     
  6. xvz12

    xvz12 Well-Known Member

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    oops.
     
  7. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    Well, got the regular cross reference plug, and the replacement for the Torch F5TC as per http://www.sparkplug-crossreference.com/convert/torch/F5TC is for those that prefer NGK plugs is the BP5ES. Which I do not believe is a resistor plug.

    Still need to locate my spark plug gap gauge and get this done.
     
  8. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    Well, I finally grabbed that gap gauge. When did they start charging for them at the auto parts stores? They used to give them away like Home Depot gives paint can stir sticks and can openers... I set the gap to .028 (the OE plug was set to .034, seriously?) and ran everything together. Just need to fire it up and find out if it works... Still need to swap that fuel line and add the filter...

    ****UPDATE****
    So I test fired it up. Ran for about 15 minutes. Now mind you, this is a LOT colder than normal, so it took some fiddling with the choke to get it started and keep it running. I somewhat suspect it was flooded, because when it first fired up it smoked like Willie Nelson for sure...
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Well-Known Member

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    What color smoke? Mine smokes blue/white while its cold.
     
  10. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    Blueish white. Mostly white, with a strong stink of 2 stroke mix..... Like I said, looked like I probably flooded it. I am a coastal Texan that puts my lawn tools up before the temp dips below 60.... Not super familiar with manual choke operation....

    Not that I have never used one, I did grow up in the Pacific Northwest, but moved to Texas to find work as a young adult... Last manual choke I used prior to this, was on a 1953 Chevy half ton pickup... (farm truck).

    I sort of thought the choke on this thing was an all or nothing sort of thing. I initially forgot to set it (duh), about 5 pulls before I remembered, oh yeah, choke. I was actually starting to worry something wasn't right with the way the plug wire end went on... Set the choke, 5 or 6 pulls, sputtered to life, obviously not happy and spewing blue white smoke. A LOT of it, stammered a bit, smoothed out and seemed to start choking off, so I threw it to run, smoothed out to about 10 seconds of run then die.... Reset choke, restart and gradually slide the choke from start to run, and it smoothed up and ran like a top...

    Ran it for about 5 minutes with a light load (60 watt incandescent bulb, it was all I could find I was willing to tack onto it at the time....) no problems, no apparent flutter, and for a 2 stroke, ran smooth as silk... Yes there IS a notable difference between the OEM plug and wire end and the replacement pieces. It ran good with the OE, it runs great, at least so far with the replacements.... Probably fire it up again tomorrow to prove it wasn't a fluke...
     
  11. JimmyM

    JimmyM Well-Known Member

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    Yeah. Choke takes a little fiddling. I do full choke til it sputters, then pull it back to half while it warms up for a few seconds, then go completely open. After a few min like that, I figure it's ready to go. After maybe 5 minutes with a load, the smoke is pretty much gone. I am going to switch to Amsoil Saber. At 80:1 it shouldn't smoke at all.
     
  12. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    Never heard of any Amsoil 2 stroke oil. I am using Briggs and Stratton at 50:1 per the onwers manual.

    Yeah, that method with the choke is what I did to get it going. There was more smoke than I anticipated for sure, but then again, it sputtered out the first time I tried it, and like I said, most likely flooded as I messed up the choke...

    My initial attempt I completely forgot about the choke, and had about 5 failed pulls before my brain kicked in. Another 5 pulls with the choke on, till it sputtered a bit then I went full open (dummy) and it died after about 10 sec I guess... Restarted it and went start, midway, full open gradually as it started stammering at each stage... Seemed to work, but there was a LOT more smoke than in previous starts...
     
  13. xvz12

    xvz12 Well-Known Member

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    If you're interested, <here's> a link to the Amsoil 2-stroke oil. I have no affiliation with Amsoil, nor do I advocate it, I just decided to use it with this relatively cheap generator to appease my own curiosity. I have a couple of chainsaw engines converted for R/C model airplane use, & using my optical tachometer, I see a 5-600 r.p.m. increase in top engine speed, which prompted me to buy a new engine, & run the Amsoil exclusively, just to see if it matched the company's claims...so far I am impressed.
     
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Well-Known Member

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    Yeah., The Amsoil Saber is sold in 1.5oz size (as well as others). But the 1.5oz in 1 gallon of gas works out to 85:1. between their 80:1 severe service and 100:1 normal recommendations. So, that's convenient.
    I'll be ordering some soon.
     
  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM Well-Known Member

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    I received the Amsoil Sabre a few weeks ago and ran the tank dry that had the 40:1 Valvoline oil in it. I mixed up a batch of the Sabre and filled it up. No smoke at all. The Sabre isn't exactly cheap, but I don't use a lot of it. I ran it for an hour with a 300W load. Ran like a champ.
    Oddly, the 1.5oz package says, "Mix with 1 gallon of gas for 100:1 ratio". Plainly their math is off.
    Conveniently though, my 1 gal gas can has marks for 1 gal, 1.1 gal (1 imperial gallon), & 5qts. So if I use the 1.5oz of Sabre with 1.1 gallons, that works out to 93:1.
    In any case, I'm going to stick to the 1 gal to 1.5oz.
     
  16. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    So question for those of you that own / have owned these generators. Is it a good idea, even with StaBil in the fuel, should I run the generator every month for how long to keep things moving as they should?
     
  17. BikeNFish

    BikeNFish Well-Known Member

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    I run my 2000W inverter genny at least once a month for 10 to 15 minutes.
     
  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM Well-Known Member

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    I run mine every once in a while with a moderate load, then disconnect the load and shut off the fuel and let it die by itself. I always use sta-bil in my 5 gallon can I use to store power equipment gas. It rarely sits for more than 4 months.
    I just blew through 2 gallons while snow blowing.
     
  19. CeJa

    CeJa New Member

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    Bot tailgator and setup today. Started ok. Ran for 15 minutes and started surging. Surged for about 5 minutes
    with lots of smoke and burnt smell. Engine froze. Called local HF. Told me to bring it in and pick up another?
    Will try one more. Hope have better experience. Great cooperation from HF.
     
  20. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

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    Our ran well for many years. But alway was to loud and smelled like it was burning rich. Never felt it was one I wanted to take camping.
     

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