From The Forums: Not-So-General Generator Problems

May 2017


One forum member recently had troubles troubleshooting a generator problem:

ltrdayz: I have a Westerbeke generator EFI that will not run anymore. It quit working while running. It sputtered and stalled out as if it ran out of fuel. We did all of the recommended self-checks as advised by the manual. The fuel injector works. The oil sensor is good. Fuel lines were bled. Also the spark plugs are dry. Not sure if anyone else on here has had this happen. We would appreciate advice on what else we should check.

Frantically Relaxing: An engine needs only four things to run: fuel (correct amount helps), air, compression, and spark (delivered at the right time). The best that I can tell from online searching is that these are multi-port injected. If that's the case, while the injector may be working (they “tick”) that doesn't mean they're spraying fuel, and in my opinion they're not. Evidence of that is the fact the spark plugs are dry. Chances are 99.999 percent that the engine's getting air and making compression, so the problem boils down to either lack of fuel, or no spark at the plugs (or yes spark, but not even close to the right time, but that, too, is very rare).

It's easy enough to tell if you're getting spark with an inductive timing light—if it works, you have spark.

The other giveaway that it's a fuel issue is you said it “sputtered to stop like it ran out of gas.” Spark issue shutdowns usually just stop the motor cold as if you turned off the key without sputtering.

There should be, or might be, a Schrader valve on the fuel rail to test for fuel pressure. If you can't find it, it’s time to consult a mechanic. If you do locate it, any auto parts store has gauges to check the fuel pressure on these valves. Crank it over a few seconds; you should get around 30 psi of pressure if all is well.

Have you had a generator problem? Check out the forum for ideas on how to troubleshoot it at

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