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Ranwell1, Small Engine Technician
Category: Small Engine
Satisfied Customers: 10304
Experience:  I Own a Lawn Mower Sales and service business (37years). Have 2-cycle and 4-cycle certification.
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My Generac Wheelhouse keeps staring and then stopping after

Customer Question

My Generac Wheelhouse keeps staring and then stopping after a few minutes. This is the first time i've used it.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Small Engine
Expert:  Hank F. replied 6 years ago.

Thank you for choosing Just Answer for the solution to your problem.
My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am going to assist you with this.


What is the model number of the genset? The model number will be on a tag on the genset, along with the serial number.


About how old is this set?


Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Wheelhouse 5500


About 3yrs old. Boxed never used.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Model # XXXXX
Expert:  Hank F. replied 6 years ago.


First, make sure the oil is full


Next, make sure the fuel shut off valve under the tank is completely turned on.


Next, loosen the gas cap, but do not remove it.

See if the set will run now.

If it still will not stay running, time it.

I need to know how long it will run.

Also, while it is running, is it running at a steady speed, or is it continually speeding up and slowing down?


Let me know what happens.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.

OK. I will fire it up.


It had been running rough.


I'm running my computer from my car right now. Hurricane Irene passed through yesterday.

Expert:  Hank F. replied 6 years ago.

I understand.

I'm 99% sure I know what is going on, but those checks will either confirm or deny my suspicions.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.

It just stopped at 9 min 53 sec


It had been running, then almost stopping, then running again, then finally just stopping.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

You still there?

Expert:  Hank F. replied 6 years ago.

Yes, I am still here.


Sorry, with the storm, we are absolutely swamped today - I don't think there is a genset on the east coast this IS running.


This is most likely going to be a dirty carburetor.

Yes, even though it is brand new, the carb can still need cleaning.

When the set is run at the factory for testing, the carb does not always get cleaned properly.



This is a classic symptom of a carburetor that has become plugged with varnish.


As gas gets old, it turns to varnish and clogs up the passageways inside the carburetor, not allowing enough gas to get to the engine.

This condition is cumulative. Every time gas sits, the varnish builds up just a little more, like coats of paint, until eventually gas can not flow. It will not happen overnight, but the symptoms can show up all of a sudden, even while simply stopping to refill with gas.

The use of fuel additives, such as Sta-Bil or Sea Foam will not stop this process from happening. They will greatly slow it down, but the gas will still go bad.


When this happens, either the engine simply will not start, or it will not run without the choke on (this reduces the amount of air getting pulled into the engine, changing the fuel/air mixture), or it will run but surges.


Another issue that varnish in the carb can cause is that the varnish may not allow the float needle to seal properly against the seat, causing the flow of gas to not shut off when the bowl is full. The result will be gas overflowing the carb and running into the cylinder, and possibly out the air intake. If the gas gets into the cylinder, it will seep past the rings and down into the crankcase. This will be evidenced by your oil level being over-full and/or the oil smelling like gas.


The only 2 solutions are to either replace the carburetor or give it a good, thorough cleaning.

When removing the carb, make sure to take a good picture, or make a good drawing of where all springs and linkages are attached. This will make reassembly much easier.

Most people believe that cleaning a carb involves removing the bowl and wiping it out, then spraying some carb cleaner through it.

This is simply insufficient.

To properly clean the carb, you must remove it, disassemble it (making sure to remove all non-metal parts), and soak it in a commercial solvent for several hours. Soaking it overnight is even better.

Then clean all solvent off with a spray type carb cleaner, making sure to get lots of cleaner into every hole and passage there is. Pay special attention to the tiny holes in the bore of the carb, under the throttle plate for the carbs that have these holes. Use lots of cleaner. And make sure to wear safety goggles to avoid getting the over spray into your eyes. There will be over spray.

Dry the carb with low pressure compressed air.

When reassembling the carb, make sure to use a carb kit, when one is available for your carb.


Occasionally, even a good cleaning is not going to be sufficient, and you may end up having to replace the carb anyhow. Be prepared for this.


If for some odd reason this does not help, please let me know so I can assist you further.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Wait a minute. This is the very first time I've ever run this generator. Now your telling me I may need to buy a new carb. This doesnt make sense to me.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
The carb cleaning process you describe is not doable. I don't have the supplies or time or expertinse to take a carb completely apart and soak for several hours.
Expert:  Hank F. replied 6 years ago.

This is what needs to be done.



Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality. I would like another opinion on how to solve my generator problem.
Expert:  Ranwell1 replied 6 years ago.



Hank is right when he says the carburetor needs to be cleaned. When the factory puts these together they put fuel in it to test it. Then they run it dry......but.......When any engine is run dry, there will still be 10 to 12 drops of fuel left in the carburetor. This is what turns to gum and varnish and dirt and restricts the passages in the carburetor.


I do have a possible Quick fix for you, but you must use what I tell you.


DO NOT USE regular CARBURETOR CLEANER such as GUMOUT or something similar. These will ruin the rubber parts of the carburetor.


HEre is the possible Quick fix.:


There is one good thing you can try. It is called "Mechanic in a bottle". It is usually available at WALMART or many autoparts stores. Even some Mower repair shops. We cary it at my store.


It is designed to help clean the carburetor without damaging the diaphrams and rubber parts like regular carburetor cleaner. Click on this site and it will tell you all about it.


This helps sometimes, but other times it does not.and the only solution is to to clean and rebuild the carburetor.


The mechanic in a bottle is NOT a conventional carburetor cleaner.

It actually breaks down the varnish into it molecular components and it completely dissolves. It DOE NOT clog up the jets as conventional carburetor cleaners do. Conventional carb cleaners just loosen the varnish and the varnish particles will go into the jets and filters and clog them up.... usually causing much more problems that was originally there. The conventional carb cleaners also will loosen the "GUMK" that has formed in the gas tanks and cause all of that gunk to go through the carburetor as well.


The Mechanic in a BOTTLE is a completely revolutionary product that will in many case alleviate the need to tear the carburetor down and rebuilt it..... unless there is mechanical wear and tear that would require that parts be replaced.


In addition, the special formula actually is designed to soften and restore the rubber parts in the carburetor such as the needle and seats and gaskets.


Mechanic in a bottle is NOT a cure-all but it can help customer get going in many cases without them having to tear the carburetor apart. If the customer is NOT mechanically inclined, it might save them a trip to the repair shop.


Yes I was very skeptical about this product when I first was introduced to it, but the Distributor demonstrated it and we have tried it on many occasions with terrific results.


If you need any more help with this, you can contact me here at this question...even after you have hit the "ACCEPT" button to pay me for this answer.


Please click "ACCEPT" or I won't get paid.

You may also consider sending a "BONUS" if I have been helpful, Please leave POSITIVE feedback for me as this is how I'm rated. Remember, a neutral is nearly as bad as a negative. If not satisfied, contact me and I will make it right. Thanks


Ranwell1, Small Engine Technician
Category: Small Engine
Satisfied Customers: 10304
Experience: I Own a Lawn Mower Sales and service business (37years). Have 2-cycle and 4-cycle certification.
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