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#4534388 - 10/05/17 08:39 AM Harbor Freight Generator
racer12306 Offline


Registered: 10/06/05
Posts: 2309
Loc: Baltimore, MD
A coworker had a little 800W 2 stroke generator sitting around. It used to work fine, but lately he wasn't able get it started so asked if I wanted it. I'm a little more mechanically inclined than he is I believe, so I took it home yesterday to see if I will be able to get it running.

Should be a fun project this weekend.
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#4534391 - 10/05/17 08:41 AM Re: Harbor Freight Generator [Re: racer12306]
Donald Offline


Registered: 03/21/04
Posts: 20469
Loc: Upstate NY
Don't spend too much $$ on getting it working.
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#4534392 - 10/05/17 08:41 AM Re: Harbor Freight Generator [Re: racer12306]
Miller88 Offline


Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 12704
Loc: Onondaga County
It's the fuel shutoff.

The one on mine doesn't work 100%. If I leave it off for more than a week with the fuel "on", it won't start unless I pull the plug and clean it off. And spray in some starting fluid.

OR ... the fuel is shut off and you are trying to start it. Mine will run with the fuel shut off ... but won't be able to get enough fuel to restart.
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#4534424 - 10/05/17 09:06 AM Re: Harbor Freight Generator [Re: racer12306]
Linctex Offline


Registered: 12/31/16
Posts: 6160
Loc: Waco, TX
I fix a lot of these.

Usually just a gummed up carb from ethanol fuel.
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#4534431 - 10/05/17 09:15 AM Re: Harbor Freight Generator [Re: racer12306]
Cujet Offline


Registered: 02/15/03
Posts: 7164
Loc: Jupiter, Florida
Known issues include crummy original spark plug, fuel line degradation and fuel shut off valve failure.

These things should be addressed even on new machines!
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#4534434 - 10/05/17 09:23 AM Re: Harbor Freight Generator [Re: racer12306]
Panzerman Offline


Registered: 12/16/06
Posts: 4203
Loc: Port Orange, Florida
80% of the time it's a dirty carb due to ethanol and failure to treat the gas.
I had one bad spark plug once in a Honda that threw me for a loop because that never happens until it did.
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#4534447 - 10/05/17 09:32 AM Re: Harbor Freight Generator [Re: racer12306]
LeakySeals Offline


Registered: 02/18/11
Posts: 6578
Loc: Hudson, NH
I'm not a fan of Seafoam in a modern auto engine, but for this project I think you should consider using it. Drain the tank, add fresh gas with the Seafoam in it. Then try getting it running. In addition to some lube and cleaners, the IPA removes water and seems to give small engines an octane boost.
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#4534515 - 10/05/17 11:05 AM Re: Harbor Freight Generator [Re: racer12306]
Chris142 Offline


Registered: 06/05/03
Posts: 16835
Loc: Deplorable in apple valley, ca
There is a bolt with a 10mm head that holds the bowl onto the carb. take it and the bowel off. then poke wire through the jets etc. That and get ride of the chinese spark plug.
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#4534573 - 10/05/17 12:44 PM Re: Harbor Freight Generator [Re: racer12306]
JTK Offline


Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 10590
Loc: Buffalo, NY
Like any cheap Chinese import OPE, the plastic and rubber parts are the weakest areas. Replacement carburetors and recoil assemblies are cheap and easy to mail order. Check the spark plug on it too. It's probably the original no-name piece of garbage. Replace it with a name brand, try fresh pre-mix and give it a go. Luckily these are pretty simple and cheap enough to keep a new one in the box for when you need it. These little 800-1000w guys are nice to have. They're fairly quiet and fuel efficient for a 2-stroke.
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#4534678 - 10/05/17 02:54 PM Re: Harbor Freight Generator [Re: racer12306]
Kamele0N Offline


Registered: 02/09/15
Posts: 2046
Loc: Slovenia
Old 2stroke gasoline....2strokes are very sensitive here! Or gunked carburetor!
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#4534732 - 10/05/17 04:08 PM Re: Harbor Freight Generator [Re: racer12306]
boraticus Offline


Registered: 04/19/09
Posts: 2909
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: racer12306
A coworker had a little 800W 2 stroke generator sitting around. It used to work fine, but lately he wasn't able get it started so asked if I wanted it. I'm a little more mechanically inclined than he is I believe, so I took it home yesterday to see if I will be able to get it running.

Should be a fun project this weekend.


If it has reliable spark and reasonable compression Clean the carb.and the exhaust. Also replace the spark plug if the spark isn't there or weak.

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#4534738 - 10/05/17 04:14 PM Re: Harbor Freight Generator [Re: Panzerman]
boraticus Offline


Registered: 04/19/09
Posts: 2909
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Panzerman
80% of the time it's a dirty carb due to ethanol and failure to treat the gas.
I had one bad spark plug once in a Honda that threw me for a loop because that never happens until it did.


Stangely enough, I had two recent incidents with spark plug failure. My Jonsereds 630 chain saw wouldn't fire so I swapped out the plug from my 670 and the 630 fired right up.

This spring, my 2006 Arctic Cat 500 failed to fire after sitting all winter. I changed the plug and it fired right up. Considering my decades of experience with dozens of pieces of equipment and only one previous spark plug failure some 30 years ago, I found this to be very unusual. To make things even more perplexing was that both plugs were NGKs.

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#4535386 - 10/06/17 12:37 PM Re: Harbor Freight Generator [Re: racer12306]
racer12306 Offline


Registered: 10/06/05
Posts: 2309
Loc: Baltimore, MD
Thanks for the tips.
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#4551773 - 10/23/17 09:09 AM Re: Harbor Freight Generator [Re: racer12306]
racer12306 Offline


Registered: 10/06/05
Posts: 2309
Loc: Baltimore, MD
Minor update, haven't had a bunch of time work really dig in, but I have done a couple diagnostic things that lead me to believe the carburetor needs a good cleaning.

I drained the tank and dumped some TruFuel in it and it will start and run on starting fluid but won't run on it's own.
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#4552472 - 10/23/17 09:38 PM Re: Harbor Freight Generator [Re: racer12306]
cronk Offline


Registered: 01/06/09
Posts: 1288
Loc: Watertown, New York
Avoid using starting fluid in a 2 stroke. Since there is no oil in it like there is with 2 stroke mixed fuel, it is basically like running the engine with no oil.
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Amsoil lubes and filters!

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