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Hank F.
Hank F., Technician
Category: Small Engine
Satisfied Customers: 15006
Experience:  Certified on Onan and Generac generators
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4KY gas onan genset troubleshoot flashing code 36, which implies

Customer Question

4KY gas onan genset troubleshoot flashing code 36, which implies spark plug. Gas is full. Any chance it can be fuel filter or clogged fuel line... or most likely spark plug?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Small Engine
Expert:  Hank F. replied 5 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 full model number of the genset?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Model 4KYFA26100K . Code 36 says either insufficient gas or spark plug. Plenty of gas and spark... sounds strong when trying to start but acts like its not getting fuel.
Expert:  Hank F. replied 5 years ago.
Code 36 is Engine Stopped Without Command from Controller - it is almost always fuel related, but can also mean an internal engine issue.

Since you have already verified spark, here is what you need to do next.
Remove the air filter.
While cranking the engine, spray in some gasoline or carb cleaner.
Does the engine try to start like this?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
It ran briefly when sprayed, so it apparently isn't getting fuel. Next step?
Expert:  Hank F. replied 5 years ago.
The next step is this: Test the fuel pump.

We can easily test the pump.

To do the test, remove the fuel line from the carburetor. It will be necessary to cut the crimp-type hose clamp.

Place the fuel line in and empty container.

Press and hold the 'STOP/PRIME' button for about 10 seconds.

When you first press the button, there will be a 3 second delay before the fuel pump activates.

When the fuel pump does activate, it should make a faint 'humming' sound. It should not make a loud 'clacking' sound. A loud 'clacking' sound indicates that there is air in the pump, and can indicate either a faulty pump, or no/not enough fuel getting to the pump.

There should be an immediate strong, steady flow of fuel in a pulsing flow.

If there is no fuel flow, or if the flow seems very weak and thready, locate the fuel supply line.

The supply line is attached to the left side of the set, about midway between front and back.

If you look down the left side of the set, you will see a large black ground cable, then a gray conduit (this conduit is the AC output wires), and then the fuel line.

The fuel line attaches to the fuel filter, and the fuel filter is screwed directly into the pump, which is located inside the set, all the way to the left.

Remove the supply line from the filter, and attach a length of fuel hose to the filter.

Place the end of the hose into a gas can.

Now press and hold the 'STOP/PRIME' button again, for about 10 seconds.

If you still do not get sufficient fuel flow, the pump is bad and needs to be replaced.

If you now get good fuel flow, but did not on the first test, either your coach is low on gas (there must be at least 1/4 tank for the set to run), or the fuel lines between the tank and genset are bad.

If the pump is working, your problem is going to be in the carburetor.

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.

If this is the case, you will need to change the oil and filter, if it has a filter.

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.

This is an EPA compliant carburetor, and as such, is not supposed to be taken apart or adjusted.

When you have an issue with it, you are supposed to replace the entire carb.

But, sometimes it is possible to clean them. Just remember, that as an EPA compliant carb, there are no parts available for it, so if you lose or break anything, you will definitely need to get a new one.

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.

Hank F. and other Small Engine Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks. You're probably right re the varnishing effects. Will not be able to tear into it for a few days... will yell if further questions.
Expert:  Hank F. replied 5 years ago.
Not a problem at all, my friend.
Have a safe and happy New Year.