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Re: Life expectancy of Generac 410cc generators

Discussion in 'Home Power and Microgeneration' started by Bughunter, Dec 7, 2005.

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  1. Bughunter

    Bughunter Guest

    The general wisdom is that...

    A propane or gas powered generator of that size will have a longer life than
    a generator with the same engine running on gasoline. Gasoline has a
    tendency to wash down the cylinder wall and contaminate the oil.

    A unit with pressure lube and filters will have a longer life than the same
    engine without design attention to lubrication. That is, unless the pressure
    lubrication itself fails to do it's intended job. Sometimes, simpler is
    better because it is less prone to failure.

    Diesel powered generators have a longer life expectancy than both gasoline
    or gaseous powered generators. The fuel itself is a lubricant, and diesel
    generators have to be constructed more ruggedly to withstand the higher
    power of the detonation of diesel when the cylinder fires.

    Slower rotational speed means longer life. Fewer rotations means less wear.

    The care in design, quality of materials and precision of manufacture will
    also influence the expected lifetime.

    How well you maintain the unit, change oil, quality of oil used, filters,
    temperature, environment, and load will all influence lifetime. Cold
    starting in the dead of winter is hard on an engine.

    Higher quality will typically have a higher initial cost, but may have a
    lower total cost of ownership. High price is not necessarily an indicator of
    high quality. You might not get twice the lifetime from a unit that is twice
    the price.

    Units built on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays will have a longer
    lifetime than those built on Mondays and Fridays.

    I have three generators. A 10 year old propane fired B&S Vanguard engine. I
    have abused it by infrequently changing the oil, low intermittent usage for
    11 years and high continuous use for 2 years. I am amazed at how clean the
    oil stays. +1 Voltage and speed regulation are not that great (simple
    mechanical governor). It is noisy, but reliable and puts out ~5000w as the
    nameplate indicates. -0 I have had to clean carbon deposits from the valves
    once in those 13 years, and it was a simple task. +1 I was less than
    meticulous about oil changes. It has no oil filter. This was a medium priced
    unit and it has provided excellent service for the price.

    I have owned a Honda EU3000ie for about two years. Voltage and frequency
    regulation is always dead on. +1 It gets preference for use because it is
    very quiet. +2 My load (A SW4048 inverter) is fussy about voltage and
    frequency regulation. Having to deal with gasoline for refills is a pain
    compared to propane. -.5 Lack of remote controls is a pain. -.5 Very compact
    and portable which is mostly an advantage except hat it is easier for a
    thief to walk off with it. -0 The jury is still out on longevity, but this
    is my most beloved unit. It might be because I am attracted to Honda red. +1

    I got a Generac 5500xl (a supposed long life model with pressure lube and
    real spin on filters). +.5 I have only fired up the unit once to test it. It
    has very few hours on it and did not look like it had been abused. Had
    trouble starting it because the oil pressure switch was defective. -1 It is
    very noisy, and vibrates all over the place. -2 This came with a house that
    I bought, so I didn't choose it but it did cost $1000 which is about 60%
    less than the Honda and about twice it's rated output. I am not impressed
    with it but will probably hold on to it as an emergency backup for my
    on-grid home. I might consider converting it to propane for my off-grid if
    and when my B&S ever dies.The color is close to Honda Red, but for some
    reason that I can't put my finger on, it does not inspire the same adoration
    as the Honda.

    Your load ( 7hrs/day for 3 days per week) probably falls into the category
    of "near continuous duty". Longevity will be an issue for that usage

    You selection of propane of NG was probably a good one for your situation. I
    will add to longevity over gasoline, and it is relatively carefree in terms
    of refueling, starting and cost of fuel.

    A slower speed NG or Propane unit would give you a longer expected lifetime
    ( at higher cost) if that was one of your priorities.

    Slow speed diesel would probably have been the best choice for longevity,
    but might not have met your cost constraints or other factors.

    I don't necessarily think you made a bad decision. The reasoning behind it
    has merit from what I understand of your situation. Others might have chosen
    a different path, but that doesn't mean that you took the wrong path.
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