Equipment Maintenance & RepairGeneratorU Do ItVideo

I bought a Generator from a Scrap Yard – Will it Run

I bought a Generac GP5500 Generator from a scrap yard but will it run when I try to start it? My mentor challenged me to find items, repair them, clean them up and sell them. I visited our friend Jim Matteo’s business Matteo Iron & Metal in Thorofare, NJ on Saturday, November 5th to see what they had just received. After looking through everything I found this Generac GP5500 Generator on a pallet just sitting there. I bought it and they loaded it up onto my truck bed using their forklift.

I got the generator home and needed help. So our son Johnny helped me unload it from the truck before he left for the gym. It is too heavy for one person to safely lift unless you are regularly lifting 500 pounds at the gym. I placed my piece of cardboard for small engine repair on the driveway and rolled the generator on top of it. The first thing I wanted to do was see if I could get it to start. I sprayed Gumout starting fluid in it and began pulling the starting cord. Not what I hoped for but what I expected was that it didn’t start.

Fixing the Generac GP5500

Having had my success with my pressure washer videos thanks to my neighbor Joe’s empowering support in this video here “My Pressure Washer Won’t Start” I have the right mindset to conquer this Generator. At any point you can watch what I went through by jumping to the point in the video that interests you.

Tools and Materials Needed

You will need the following tools:

  • Metric Socket Set (10mm and 14mm socket)
  • Gloves
  • Eye Protection
  • Starting Fluid
  • Carburetor Cleaner
  • Carburetor Cleaning Tools
  • Clean gas
  • Bucket or pan to catch gas
  • Shop Towels or Paper Towels

For Small Engine Repair Tools, carb cleaner, starting fluid and more see the list here:

Trying to Start the Generator from a Scrap Yard

0:00 Generac GP5500 Generator
0:40 Filling generator with gas and initial start

Inspection of Generac GP5500 Carburetor

Since it isn’t starting it is clear that the engine isn’t getting fuel (at least that is what I remember from Joe’s help). The carburetor could be clogged, the fuel filter clogged, contaminants could be in the fuel or a combination.

1:57 Remove Air Filter Assembly with 10mm Socket
2:28 Remove Fuel Line from Carburetor
3:25 Flush out tank with fresh gas
3:45 Remove governor spring and rod
4:20 Remove Carburetor

Inspect the Bowl Nut

Once you remove the Bowl Nut you can inspect the three holes to see if they are clogged. This is a typical problem with dirty fuel or evidence that the generator sat for a long time with fuel in it. The bowl nut was completely sealed with gunk.

4:26 Remove Bowl Nut with 14mm Socket
4:42 Inspect Bowl Nut

Clean Bowl Nut

The Bowl Nut was so clogged that I couldn’t even get my cleaning tool to pierce the gunk in it. But once I did I was able to clear out everything with the Carb Cleaner.
4:58 Clean Bowl Nut with Carb Cleaning Tools
6:40 Clean Bowl Nut with Carb Cleaner
7:20 Clean Main Jet in Carburetor with Carb Cleaner

Remove and Clean Carburetor Bowl and Float

As you can see in the video the bowl was dirty and so was the float. It is very important that all of this is clean so that it will not clog up again in the future.

8:07 Remove Bowl from Carburetor
8:30 Clean Float and inside of carburetor with cleaner
9:10 Ensure bowl is clean
9:26 Clean out Main Jet with a tool
9:44 Spray clean the Main Jet

Reassemble and Test

After I cleaned out the carburetor, I reassembled it. I tried to start it but it still wouldn’t start. This means that fuel is not making it into the bowl even though we know fuel is flowing through the filter. Something is preventing the fuel from entering the carburetor bowl. You can learn from my mistake and skip this step and go straight to cleaning out the fuel intake and the needle and valve area.

10:10 Reassemble and Test
13:00 Fuel not getting into bowl

Disassemble and Inspect Fuel Intake

I could have saved time if I skipped jail and went straight to go. The carburetor fuel intake needed to be inspected. This is the tube that the fuel line connects to on the carburetor all the way through the needle. The needle wouldn’t budge and I had to forcefully remove it. I was able to verify that it was clogged with gunk and clean it up.

14:06 Disassemble with goal to inspect fuel path
14:38 Spray carb cleaner in Fuel Inlet in Carburetor
14:56 Remove float pin
15:18 Carefully remove needle and float – it was stuck in mine
15:36 Clean out port where needle seat is
16:18 Clean off Needle – Careful not to lose spring
17:36 Ensure Needle is cleaned well
19:00 With Needle, Spring and Float reassemble
19:34 Install Float Pivot Pin
20:30 Install Bowl and Bowl Nut
21:04 Install Carburetor and Reassemble

Reassemble and Test

Reassemble the carburetor onto the generator and attempt to start it. If it starts, then you were successful. If not, then there is another problem waiting for you. For me, the Generac GP5500 started.

21:30 Spray with starting fluid and Test

Next Steps

Who would have that that a Generator from a Scrap Yard would run? Now we need to see if the generator will generate power. Check back here for the next video. Even if I don’t get it to work I will post a video of my results.

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