Generating Fuel Problems

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I didn’t have enough room in the October show issue to include all the information from dealer Kenneth Holloway of K&S Power Equipment in Mauriceville, Tex., 20 or so miles northeast of Beaumont, which was heavily damaged by hurricane Ike. As with every major hurricane that affects millions in a given region, generators are in extremely high demand and worth their weight in gold.

Holloway said one thing he noticed in the aftermath of Ike was that mass merchants were holding firm and not exchanging “won’t work” generators for brand new ones, like they do with many other types of equipment. Making matters worse, Holloway said, was that many homeowners, in getting ready for the storm and filling up old and rarely used gasoline containers, were inadvertently washing out fuel varnish as they filled their generator fuel tanks, leading to carburetor problems. After reopening soon after the storm passed, Holloway said he was doing almost as much gummed-up generator carburetor work as chain saw work.

Making matters worse, Holloway said, were many homeowners overworking their generators, either by trying to run too many electrical products off them, or running them for days at a time, burning up oil and lubrication systems. (Not to mention starting fires trying to refuel super-heated generators that were in operation and had been running for days at a time.) As an aside, not sure if they ever caught the guy, but Holloway noted a dude in a van was selling “refurbished”—which in this case Holloway said meant “don’t work”—generators in the area, mostly from interstate exits and only for a few hours at a time in any location. Makes sense, especially if you’re going to sell products that don’t work at disaster-area prices.

We’ll be watching the ethanol and alternative fuel issues closely as more information develops and would love to hear about other dealers’ experiences with ethanol, bad fuel and new fuel blends.