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Starting a 40 year old generator, not ran for 20 years.


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About 30 or more years ago, I bought a small Honda E300E generator, it was second hand but in good condition and little used.  I used it caravaning and camping, mainly to charge a 12V battery.  Then we moved to Scotland, it got stored in various places while we built house no 1.  I tried to start it 10 years ago and it would not start.  Now house No 2 is all but finished I have more time, so time to blow the dust off this and have a go at getting it going.


It turned over, plenty of compression, nice spark on it's tiny little plug, and for good measure I fitted the new spare plug.  but no sign of life.  Plug remaining dry so no fuel.


I opened the float chamber drain and nothing came out, so no fuel to carb.  Time to start taking it apart to get the fuel tank off.  Problem found, no fuel out of the fuel tap.  Dismantled the tap and it's filter to find everything completely jammed up with crud.  Cleaned it all out and now fuel leaks out of what should be a vent hose.  More investigation needed there.


So before I spend too much time, time to rig up a temporary fuel supply, a little tiny funnel to feed a small drop of fuel to the carb inlet hose.  Second pull off she goes and runs like a dream until the little bit of fuel ran out.  At least the carb is not in the same state the fuel tap is.


So time to sort the fuel tap.  I had thought just buy a new one until I started searching.  It turns out this was Honda's first "suitcase" generator launched in 1965, and is somewhat of a collectors item now, but everywhere you look you can find parts lists, and most things, including the fuel tap are not available.


Looks like i am going to somehow have to refurbish the one i have, which might be a challenge.


I will take pictures later.

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10 hours ago, Redbeard said:

Can you maybe find a union which will fit in the tank tapping (assuming there is one) and then find an in-line tap?

The tap is unusual.  It fits to a flat flange on the tank with 2 screws a bit like the way a carburettur fits to a cylinder head.  so that flange must be the right size and shape.


Then it does not have a handle as such, just a shaft with 2 flats.  Onto that goes the ignition kill switch then a knob.  So it needs to be the right part.  I will investigate further later.

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Yes photos please. These Honday gennies are almost always fixable...when they need fixing. I've got an old one I bought nearly 20 years ago that was second hand even then. Still starts every time.

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The long awaited photos.  Sorry annoying things like having to go out to do some work have got in the way.


The bare generator with all the casing and tank removed.  This bit works fine.




The petrol tap, in the tank (though fixing screws not inserted)




The holes in the petrol tank, fixing holes are 30mm centres.  Note the extra tiny hole as well as the main one.




And the tap on it's own.




So here is what I think is happening.  The petrol tap is in fact two taps.  The main fuel is picked up through the big hole in the tank, through the petrol tap and out via the large hole, the one without a hose currently fitted.


The tiny hole, appears to connect inside the tank to a tiny pipe that goes right high up in the tank.  That when the tap is on, connects to the small hose that is still connected to the tap.  This I believe is the tank vent.


But since dismantling the tap to de crud it, as soon as you turn it on, petrol comes out of this vent pipe.  It never used to.


I need to dismantle the tap again and photograph the individual components and work out what is going on.  I think it very unlikely I am going to get a replacement tap so fixing the one I have looks the best hope.


Even if a different tap that fitted could be found, I can't see how it would ever function properly unless the spindle exited in exactly the same place.

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To compound the issue I have seen reference to 2 different part numbers for the petrol tap, I have found what i think is the serial number of my generator 1271536  I wonder from that how you can tell the age and whether it's classed as early or late for the petrol tap variants?

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16 hours ago, ProDave said:

connects to the small hose that is still connected to the tap.


Where does this still connected pipe go to on the engine or does it simply vent to atmosphere? When you took apart the tap originally was there any sign it could be a vacuum or pressure mechanism?

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The small pipe just goes down past the engine and out of a small hole in the casing.


My theory is the little pipe in the tank is a vent pipe that goes high in the tank, so no petrol will come out.  and the tap is in fact 2 taps, one opening the fuel and one opening the vent pipe.


I think what has gone wrong is petrol is bypassing between the 2 either I have put it back together wrong, or there is something damaged.  I will investigate more and take pictures when I do.

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does the valve rotor fit in 180deg out? is there a seal or is it metal-metal?


can you see a pipe rising inside the tank as a vent? No chance it's actually a tank drain?

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So some progress.


I had another look at the fuel tap.  There is a fixed part and a rotating part, and between them is a ported rubber washer.  When you offered the rotating part into the fixed part, it did not seem to fit flat, it wobbled about it's centre, that did not seem right.


These are the two parts






In the centre of each part is a "pip" which seems to serve no useful function, but it appeared these two pips were touching and preventing the 2 halves pushing together and sealing against the rubber washer.  So I ground some off the rotating part, and now they mate together and don't wobble.  My guess is over time the rubber washer has compressed and it is not as thick as it once was.


Here is the tap back together on the tank on the generator with the engine kill switch fitted




So that's the tap working shutting fuel off and not leaking.  Time to crank her up




All looks well in the picture but it is not a happy bunny. It will only run with at least half choke and when you stop the engine, fuel then starts dripping out of one of the jet holes next to the air inlet.  Lets just say fuel flow through the carb is not right.  So that will be the next job, take the carb off and investigate.  Here it is.  it looks easy to remove, in particular the throttle mechanism looks easy to detach which can be difficult on some engines.



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Looks like Peter was correct.  The bottom of the float chamber was full of similar crud to that I cleaned out of the petrol tap.  Every other jet I inspected looked clean and free of blockages.  Back together again and it still flooded.


I then had to adjust the float height, don't ask me why I should have to, but it was simply not shutting off in time even though the valve was clear and working.  First try at that resulted in too little fuel in the float chamber to pick up.  So somewhere between the two and no petrol pouring out and she purrs like a kitten with no choke, running nicely.


Just got to clean things up and put it all back together and then change the engine oil.



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That's it all back together and running nicely.  I load tested it.  It's rated at 300W ac and the smallest power tool I have is a 350W jig saw.  It runs that, but the start up current nearly stalls it.


Last thing left is i need a new air filter.  It's only a foam filter and the original has turned to dust.


I found once person selling the original. but £15.  https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/154823546691?hash=item240c33d743:g:DKcAAOSwtJhh-nq2


It's just a square bot of foam with a hole in it.


I could buy this for £2.33  https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/203106988816?hash=item2f4a1eb310:g:2QMAAOSwSw1gW1wT


I can cut 2 the size I need from that so very tempting. Anyone tell me why not?

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