I don’t use my portable generator that often, other than maybe testing it once every month or two, so in my opinion it is critical to perform an engine tuneup at least every 12 months.
Thankfully, no special tools are required. I do, however, recommend a siphon to drain the gas:
- Spark Plug Gauge Gap – Either Lisle 67870 Spark Plug Gauge Gap or A & E Hand Tools 4450A E-Z Grip Spark Plug Gap Gauge
- Heavy Duty High Speed Siphon Liquid Transfer Pump with Bendable Suction Tube (TRDP15 is cheap and reliable); there are battery operated ones like these but I don’t want any possible spark sources around my gas vapor;
- Sockets and a Ratchet;
- Nitrile gloves (I like to cook so I need to keep my hands relatively clean; I buy these in bulk;
- Small funnel to use when filling engine oil (inexpensive ones like these will do the job);
- Spark Plug – You can buy either a Champion RC12YC (5017), Champion RC12YC (71G) Copper Plus or Autolite 3924 Copper Resistor Spark Plug;
- Air Filter – Briggs & Stratton 491588S Flat Air Filter Cartridge;
- Engine Oil – I prefer synthetic 5W30 because it provides a wide range of operational temperatures (SAE30 = 32 F or higher; 10W30 = -4 to 100 F, 5W30 = 32F and colder); I usually buy 5QT of Mobil 1 120764 Synthetic Motor Oil 5W-30;
- Disconnect the spark plug cable;
- Remove old gas using a liquid siphon; I don’t recommend tipping your generator to empty out the gas because it can get messy and I do not want my electronics to soaked with gasoline;
- Drain the used oil by tipping the engine at about 30 degrees;
- Replenish with new engine oil;
- Replace the air filter;
- Remove the old spark with a new Champion spark plug with gap set to 0.030;
- Add fresh fuel (preferably premium or 93 octane gasoline);
- Add Sta-Bil to new fuel and let is sit for 30 min;
Using synthetic oil is probably an overkill, but it allows me to use the same engine oil throughout the entire year (and it is supposed to make the engine last longer) so it’s a worthy investment for me.
Thanks for reading and good luck with your tuneup!