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  • How to service your own generator

    Use our comprehensive and illustrated guide to service your own generator and keep it running well for longer:

    Stale fuel is the No. 1 cause of generator starting problems. Manufacturers advise adding fuel stabiliser to the fuel to minimise fuel breakdown, varnish and gum buildup. But it's no guarantee against problems.

    We would recommend emptying the fuel tank and the carburettor once you're past a season or are going to store your generator for some time. If your carburettor has a drain, wait for the engine to cool before draining. If not, empty the tank and then run the generator until it's out of fuel. Always use fresh, stabilised fuel in your generator.

    service generator caravan motorhome boat


    Oil Change

    1. Loosen the cover screw and remove the left side maintenance cover.

    2. Remove the oil filler cap.

    3. Drain dirty oil into a container thoroughly.

    4. Refill with the recommended oil, and check the oil level. 5. Reinstall the left side maintenance cover and tighten the cover screw securely.


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    Air Filter

    A dirty air filter will restrict air flow to the carburettor. To prevent carburettor malfunction, service the air filter regularly. Service more frequently when operating the generator in extremely dusty areas.

    1. Loosen the cover screw and remove the left side maintenance cover.

    2. Press the latch tab on the top of the air cleaner body, and remove the air cleaner cover.

    3. Wash the element in a high flash point solvent and dry it thoroughly.

    4. Soak the element in clean engine oil and squeeze out the excess oil.

    5. Reinstall the air cleaner element and the cover.

    6. Reinstall the left side maintenance cover and tighten the cover screw securely

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    Spark Plug To ensure proper engine operation, the spark plug must be properly gapped and free of deposits.

    1. Remove the spark plug maintenance cover.

    2. Remove the spark plug cap.

    3. Clean any dirt from around the spark plug base.

    4. Use the wrench to remove the spark plug.

    5. Visually inspect the spark plug. Discard it if the insulator is cracked or chipped. Clean the spark plug with a wire brush if it is to be reused.

    6. Measure the plug gap with a feeler gauge. The gap should be 0.6-0.7mm(0.024-0.028in). Correct as necessary by carefully bending the side electrode.

    7. Install the spark plug carefully, by hand, to avoid cross-threading.

    8. After a new spark plug has been seated by hand, it should be tightened 1/2 turn with a wrench to compress its washer. If a used plug is being reinstalled, it should only require 1/8 to 1/4 turn after being seated.

    9. Reinstall the spark plug cap on the spark plug securely.

    10. Close the left maintenance cover


    Cleaning the Carburettor (Advanced)

    The carburettor sits on two studs behind the air cleaner assembly. To access it, first undo the large screw that secures the air filter cover. Remove the filter and the casing. Disconnect attached rubber hoses and slide the carburettor off the studs.

    After draining the float bowl of any remaining fuel (and replacing the screw), undo the large bolt in the middle to take the float cover off. Carefully remove the parts from the carb and clean any deposits.

    If the holes are clogged you can strip a piece of wire and use one of the strands to pass through the holes to clear it out. Do not use anything bigger the jets are made of brass and can easily be made larger, which could cause running problems later.

    Also spray with carburettor cleaner and make sure you get a good stream coming out of the emulsion tube and main jet. Reverse process to assemble.

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  • The Ultimate Generator Guide: How to buy the best generator for your leisure needs

    There are many makes and models of generator out there (at Sail and Trail, we stock more than 100!) so it isn’t always easy knowing which generator is the best fit for you and your needs.

    Essentially you should be basing your purchase on four things; its portability, power, noise and fuel requirements:


    Kipor Suitcase Generator for Caravan Camping

    First things first, if you’re after a generator for leisure use (camping, boating etc) you want it to be quiet and portable – avoid back up or standby generators as these are designed for blackouts or hefty models that are meant to aid construction work.

    Suitcase generators are the lightest and most portable. The Kipor IG1000 pictured here is an incredibly popular model.



    Work out how much power you’ll want or need. If it’s for your motorhome or caravan you’ll need to think about your air con / heating unit (if you have one) as well as adding up all the electrical devices you may need or want to run at one time.

    At the lower end of the scale a 700w generator is mainly for charging, small TVs and mobiles/laptops. But the most popular models are the 2000w models as this will run just about everything you could throw at it in a motorhome/caravan apart from some household kettles which can be above 3000w and any air conditioning or electric heating units

    If all you are looking for is to be able to charge or power small items then a 1000w generator will be fine, but it won't cover items like a microwave or a hairdryer. This is because even though an 800w microwave in theory should run under 1000w, most items with a heating element start at double or even triple their rated wattage, so an 800w microwave will roughly start at 1600w. This is why you will see a peak power and then a constant power on the descriptions for generators.

    If you’re boating or camping then you’re likely to be fine with 1,000-2,000 watts. If you want to work out the exact figure, add up the power of everything you are likely to want to be running at the same time (If it is given in amps, multiply the amps by volts to get the watt value).

    However it is important to remember that the power requirements are balanced, and while many people in a motorhome might add up all of their appliances and get 4kw, not all are turned on at once; so if you use the microwave for a few minutes, you might not be able to boil the kettle until it is finished.



    SDMO quiet generator for camping and caravanning SDMO quiet generator for camping and caravanning

    All generators make noise but now there are some models out there that are actually quieter than a normal conversation.

    EU regulations mean a generator's sound has to be measured from a certain point, rather than in standard decibels which can be a little confusing.


    To get a better idea of how decibels work, regular conversation is about 60 decibels and painful noise about 140!

    The SDMO Inverter PRO models are some of the best when it comes to keeping the noise down. In fact, the 3000 model pictured above is so quiet we say it’s ‘whisper quiet' at only 51dB(A) @ 7m.

    Fuel requirements

    LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) generators are the most popular generators for leisure use as they are more efficient and cheaper to run than petrol or diesel generators.

    In fact LPG is about half the price of petrol, and because it produces cleaner emissions you’ll be able to use it in many public spaces unlike with a diesel or petrol generator.

    However, they do have a higher initial cost than a petrol generator, so provide the best value when they are used regularly.

    Petrol generators can be converted to LPG generators with conversion kits like these ones.


    We have lots of technical guidance at Sail and Trail, first of all check out our handy guide https://www.sailandtrail.co.uk/generatorfaq.

    If you have any questions don't hesitate to get in touch with one of our experts by phone or email.


  • Updated Generator FAQ

    We have just released an update to our generator frequently asked questions. Covering some questions such as the reverse polarity issue and adding the manuals for the Honda EU range and our new Yamaha range of inverter generators. You can view the latest FAQ here

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