Smoking 6kW Ecogen

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jm75
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Sun Mar 03, 2019 3:31 pm

Hello,
I have a 6kW Ecogen propane powered backup generator for an off the grid solar power system on our cottage. This winter it failed to start during some very cold weather and the whole system went down. When I was finally able to get to it after about 3 weeks, I replaced the battery. The generator started right away and ran normally for about 5 min. After about 5 min, the motor started to sound if it was going to cut out and smoke started to billow from the exhaust and the fan/blower housing on the top. I made sure that there was no obstruction of air intake or exhaust. I also removed the air filter to make sure it was not plugged. The air filter itself was fine but there was oil or an oil-like liquid being spit out of the air intake. In a short period of time a puddle of oil accumulated where the air filter goes. I only left it running in the few minutes it took to this and then shut it down. After I a while I tried restarting it but there was still smoke coming from the fan/blower housing so I have left the generator off.

Has anybody had a similar experience? Any ideas as to what the problem could be? How should I proceed? Getting a technician in difficult due to the remoteness of the cottage so I would like to troubleshoot as much as possible on my own.

Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks
John
Chris
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Sun Mar 03, 2019 5:06 pm

Everything you're saying is telling me that the engine is overfilled with oil, so the first place I'd start is to pull the dipstick.

That generator (while I'm not super familiar with the system) has an oil makeup system that adds oil to the engine to make up for lost oil during long runs. It sounds like the device that monitors the level is stuck. Pulling the dipstick will confirm, but everything you've described is exactly what happens when you overfill the exact same 530CC engine without the system on it... You will need a new set of plugs and an air filter as well, since both cylinders have most likely flooded with oil, thus the smoke and oil pouring out of the exhaust system.
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jm75
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Tue Mar 05, 2019 8:16 am

Thanks Chris,
I did pull the dipstick and it did not appear that the oil was overfilled but I will check it again. Agree that I need a new air filter since it was soiled with oil. Will also replace the spark plugs. Is there something in the oil make up system or valve that should be replaced or how can check it if is working?
John
Chris
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Tue Mar 05, 2019 4:53 pm

Can you post the serial number of the unit so that I can look up a parts diagram for it? Like I mentioned, my knowledge of the older EcoGen stuff isn't all that great since we don't deal with them here in Michigan very often. There is a vacuum powered oil pump from what I remember with a valve system to identify when oil is needed. I'm guessing that has either frozen due to extreme cold, or has gone bad completely. The oil can be really hard to see on the dipstick sometimes!
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John Mits
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Sat Jun 01, 2019 4:36 pm

Hello,

I’m having the same issue, originally unit shut down with low oil (it was coming out of exhaust), redid an oil change for proper crank case oil.

Did a compression test today, came in at 180 per cylinder, started unit... 3 minutes later started smoking from fan housing and exhaust.

Have you resolved your issue? And suggestions?

John
Chris
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Sat Jun 01, 2019 4:45 pm

Have you pulled the crankcase dipstick out? It sounds like the recovery oil tank is overfilling the main crankcase with oil!
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John Mits
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Sat Jun 01, 2019 5:31 pm

Thanks, I emptied the tank, proper level in crank case, same result?
Chris
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Sat Jun 01, 2019 7:38 pm

How much oil was added to the engine with the oil change? How many hours on the unit?
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John Mits
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Sat Jun 01, 2019 9:33 pm

700 hours, compression is good, empty the crank case, changed filter and added 1.15 litres, reservoir is empty
Chris
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Sat Jun 01, 2019 9:54 pm

I'm really surprised to hear it's blowing by that much oil at such low hours. Those 530cc engines are great motors!

Is it smoking really badly like it's coming through the exhaust or just leaking oil?
Generac tech for over 12 years. I'm here to help!
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