A couple of years ago I purchased a Honda EU200i generator based on all of my research showing that they were/are the best generators on the market. I got it home, did the pre-start steps, fired it up, and was immediately impressed at the ease of starting, the very quiet nature of it, and the Eco-Boost. I plug in a couple of different pieces of equipment, ran them to prove that it worked as advertised, then shut it down.
Next I followed the long-term storage to the letter and placed the generator in the garage in a location that was easily accessible should the need arise. And those needs might be:
- Short-term power outage
- Power source for running my mobile Ham radios and recharging my handheld Ham radios
Those situations never developed. But, a new need did show-up…working on my cabin in AZ. To be more specific I needed a generator to power an air compressor during the day along with various power tools. None of which would be run simultaneously. And at night I needed some lights. The Honda generator failed at all of the above.
Now, let me give you the reason why, and add a little clarification as well. Technically the first day the generator ran fine, no issues at all. The next morning I fired it up and it ran fine for about three minutes, then it started to sputter as if it were out of gas. By the time I could get to it, it died. Trying to start it proved fruitless. I was dead in the water without power.
I headed to town, got some “fresh” gas and a couple of new spark plugs. Changed out the gas, swapped the spark plug, and it fired right up. I was back in business. Well, till mid-afternoon…it died again…the same way.
Fortunately my buddy from Eager was coming out with his generator, a massive Briggs & Stratton 5500w unit. It ran all day without a hitch. I just let the dead carcass of the Honda EU2000i rot in the sun.
I brought the Honda back home with me (along with the spark-plug that I had removed) and headed to my dealer-friend. Explained the situation to him and asked for help…whatever it took to figure out why it wouldn’t do its job. He assured me he would turn it over to his imminently qualified Honda expert mechanic. I got a call a few hours later, here are the results:
- The original spark-plug looked good and was fine.
- The currently installed spark-plug was good as well
- The carburetor had gummed up.
- He had super cleaned the carburetor.
- Since I was running the generator at approximately 6000’ elevation he did a carburetor “jet port job” on it to run better at that elevation.
The problem had been something I suspected but had no way to deal with…bad gas. No, not the gas that I was currently running in it…the gas I had run through it before I put it in storage. And it gets a little complicated but I will give a try to explain it based on what was told to me.
Almost all gasoline sold today has some amount of ethanol in it…and that is a bad thing, a very bad thing. Ethanol has water in it and that is not good for engines, especially small engines. However, almost all gasoline sold today also has various solvents and other chemicals in it as well. Most of those are good for modern vehicle engines but bad for small engines. And, although I followed manufacture’s directions for putting my generator into long-term storage, they were wrong. Vehicles have the ability, via the various computers, to adjust the engine to run on most gas with ethanol in it in varying stages of going bad. Small engines don’t have that capability.
The gas I had used originally had coated the jets, fuel system, and the entire carburetor system before it ran dry. The gas and solvent film then broke down with the introduction of the new gas when I tried to use it at the cabin. That eventually clogged the jets and caused the generator to sound as if it was running out of gas. Technically the carburetor was being starved of enough gas to keep it running even though the tank was full.
The mechanic explained the real way to put it into storage:
- Run the engine out of the gasoline containing ethanol that is in the tank until the engine stops running.
- Drain the fuel system with the little screw at the underside of the carburetor like the manual directions say.
- Put about a pint of TruFuel in the fuel tank and start up the engine. Run it for a minute of so.
- Shut down the engine, turn off all valves, but do not drain the fuel from the system.
TruFuel is 91 octane fuel without any additives or ethanol. Your engine is now good for about two years.
The best fuel to use in small engines such as the Honda EU2000i engine is a non-ethanol fuel of 91 octane or higher without any additives (i.e. solvents, etc.). Gasoline stabilizer such as Pri-G or Stabil is fine. TruFuel meets that standard but runs about $19 – 21.00 per gallon.
You can usually obtain non-ethanol fuel at airports and marinas. Many marinas put stabilizer in the fuel when they buy it from bulk distributors so ask them before you add any more. Some airports will not sell their aviation fuel to be placed in fuel cans by individuals. Marinas will sell their fuel for about $1.00 per gallon more than regular gas. Airports charge about $2.00 more per gallon. And technically it is not the airport selling the fuel, it is one of their on-site fuel suppliers. And aviation gas is 92 octane or higher if I am not mistaken, plus it is “low-lead” not “unleaded” gasoline.
Back to my story…
I take my reworked generator (I don’t want to say repaired) back to the cabin for another long weekend of work (5 days). It was cold at night so I took along a 1500-watt space heater. But I would still be using a variety of building site tools during the day.
That freaking little Honda EU2000i generator ran virtually non-stop (24/7) for 5 straight days. It never even sputtered! I was using 91 octane fuel from a name brand gas station to ensure quality fuel. All was absolutely fine…I couldn’t have been more pleased.
Here is a little tip…You know the Honda only has a .9gal fuel tank. That will run it for up to 8 hours at lower power usage (Eco-Boost) and 3 – 5 hours under heavy usage. So I had a dilemma…the space heater. A 1500-watt space heater is running the generator at near maximum capacity and so the fuel usage would be near maximum as well. Ah, that means about somewhere between midnight and 1am I would have to fill it back up with gas…and maybe one more time around 5 or 6am. When it is 20 – 30 degrees outside…that is just unacceptable!
So let me introduce you to the 6gal bulk tank add-on…
This thing is simple to set-up and use. It is very cost effective and all-round great!
With shipping the tank cost me $149 from Northern Tool (http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200402013_200402013). It was very simple to install the fuel line…and that was all there was to it.
Next came hooking it up to the generator. You use the supplied replacement fuel cap, top off the generator fuel tank, install the cap, hook up the bulk tank, and you now have 7 gallons of gasoline to run your generator to 1 – 4 days.
Hint #2 – If you use the Honda EU-2000i “companion” unit in conjunction with the primary EU2000i that is no problem as well. The company has a dual-feed system from a single bulk fuel tank. (http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200408951_200408951)
The Honda EU2000i is the perfect sized generator for me. I have no intention of running my entire house, nor any major equipment that requires more than 2000w running capacity. The Honda runs super, super quiet. I had the generator 50’ from the cabin and I couldn’t hear from inside the cabin it running at night. Its sound signature is so low that you simply can’t hear it at all from more than 50 – 75 yards away on a dead-still cold night.
The fuel usage of that generator is amazing! I set my space heater on 45degrees, set the Eco-Boost on, and used less than a gallon of gas over a 12-hour night.
The Honda EU2000i lives up to the sterling reputation that Honda enjoys!
Should I ever have the need to have more power (i.e. >2000w) I will simply buy a second EU2000i in the form of the Companion unit. With a “companion kit” installed I can enjoy 4000-watts of capacity while still maintaining all the benefits of the Honda sound and fuel usage. When I don’t need the 4kw of capacity I simply shut down the companion unit. And there is the added, and significant, advantage of having generator redundancy.
Any way you look at it…the Honda EU2000i is worth every penny. Just make sure you:
- Run the right fuel.
- Store it the right way with TruFuel.
- Change the oil every 100 hours using Amsoil Synthetic.
- Keep it off the ground out of the dirt.
If you do the above the Honda EU2000i will run forever and it won’t fail you when you need it for emergencies, disasters, or grid-down.
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