How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask PK. Your Own Question
PK., Small Engine Technician
Category: Small Engine
Satisfied Customers: 1052
Experience:  Retired Owner of a full service shop and national parts sales website.
Type Your Small Engine Question Here...
PK. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My 2-cycle generator engine runs for 3-5 minutes, then shuts

This answer was rated:

My 2-cycle generator engine runs for 3-5 minutes, then shuts down. I can restart it immediately, and it runs another 3-5 minutes before shutting down. There is a "clacking" sound that seems to be associated with the problem. It seems to increase right before it shuts down. This happens even when there is no load on the generator.
Can you tell me the make and model number? Thanks, PK.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

ETQ Model TG1200 made by Eastern Tools and Equipment Company. FYI, Generator is running fine now, but has intermittantly had the described problem. It still clacks while running. I'm now thinking it's been shutting down automatically when it's been overheating. You can call me at(NNN) NNN-NNNNif you like. I'm in Houston without power, so I appreciate the help!

We're really not allowed to call or email, I don't know why your number showed up, generally it'd be all X's.


I found a parts breakdown of your engine and unfortunately it's of a design that's difficult to check out. Some 2-cycles allow easy access to the connecting rod and piston assembly for inspection and replacement, yours doesn't. Something you can check is the flywheel, hopefully one of the fins is smacking the shroud or something else is loose. I can't tell how the flywheel is secured from the manual. It shows a keyslot in the crankshaft but no key nor a key on the parts list. So maybe the flywheel is slipping a little. Check that it's tight and doesn't spin loosely on the crank.


What's likely happening though is that the piston pin has a scored needle bearing or the pin is loose in the piston. This creates a lot of friction and will overheat an engine and cause it to shut down. Take a long screwdriver, put the handle end to your ear and put the other end to different areas of the engine, like a stethoscope. The clacking noise should be easy to pinpoint this way. If it appears to be internal to the engine, you can further check this by removing the flywheel shroud and the spark plug and turning the flywheel back and forth until you hear the clacking noise. It could also be one of the bearing assemblies on the crankshaft, but it sounds like piston slap or a rod knocking to me.


The other thing to check is that it could be the shaft in the electrical generator itself. If the bushings or bearings it rides on are faulty then it could make a similar noise as could a loose magnet in the generator.


I'm sure you're right that the engine is overheating and shutting down. The last thing I want to hear from a customer bringing something into the shop is that it's making a "clacking" noise and shutting down. Compounding this is your particular position right now. You need this generator to work. Unfortunately, there's not going to be a quick fix if there's an internal problem in the engine or generator. So we'll have to hope you can find something loose. If the noise is internal to the engine, I'd increase the ratio of oil to gas, maybe to 40:1 instead of the manual's recommendation of 50: This can cause its own problems and may foul the plug and won't stop the rod or whatever from knocking, but it might keep the engine in one piece a little longer if it is an internal engine problem.


This is the link to the manual. It should be of some help in looking for the problem. Thanks and let me know if you pinpoint the noise.


PK. and 2 other Small Engine Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Your answer is acceptable. The generator is running fine, but still clacking. It only cost $150, so if it crashes, so be it. But it's running for hours at a time without shutting down. I noticed that some trickle-charge transformers that I had plugged in that overheated (a lot!), so that could have been part of the problem. I'm no longer using them.

Anyway, thanks for all your research and timely responses. I'll troubleshoot the problem once I get power back.

I'm completely satisfied, so thanks a lot!

Best Regards,

Hal Payne

Thanks for using Just Answers and please come again. PK