The Low Oil Shutoff Switch…

…also works when the oil is really cold. Remembering this will make you look less stupid.

I had an incident 4 years ago where I had to start the Honda generator when it was VERY cold, in front of other people, and it really truly didn’t want to start. At the time I thought it was because the tank had been completely drained and the carb was having a hard time priming in the cold. But a reader pointed out at the time that the real reason was probably the Low Oil Shutoff switch thinking the oil in the crankcase had turned to molasses. Probably right.

This morning I wanted to cut some wood and needed the generator again. Brought it out of the still-very-cold powershed and guess what, the generator did not even pretend it wanted to start. This time instead of working myself into a lather over it I just left it in the sun for an hour…


🙂 First pull. Live and learn.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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9 Responses to The Low Oil Shutoff Switch…

  1. Robert says:

    Huh. That is indeed useful information. Thanks.

  2. Hammer says:

    Here in Alaska in winter we bring it in and let it warm up by the stove for a couple hours before trying to start it.

  3. charles says:

    Even though the spec for that generator is 10w30, it might be worth putting a 0W-30 full synthetic oil in it. Between the synthetic part and the low initial viscosity it might be thin enough, even when cold, to not trip the low-oil sensor.

  4. AZDave says:

    We all learn one way or another.

  5. Ben says:

    I never would have thought of that little switch!

    Also keep in mind that those little Honda engines, and their Chinese clones, actually have a fuel pump. I have had to change a couple of those.

  6. Spud says:

    My little Honda eu 1000 , refused to start . I thought the same thing with it , as it had no spark. Took it to the dealer and they just started changing parts , got up to around $450 worth and still never found the problem… Told them never mind , it wasn’t worth fixing I guess. Or they didn’t know what the hell they were doing !
    Loved that little generator too. It sets in a box out in my shop totally disassembled to this day . Hoping someone can tell me why it had no sparkey

  7. riverrider says:

    those oil switches regularly stop working. check the oil, then unplug it. it’ll work fine. just keep a check on the oil level occasionally.

  8. tworesqu7 says:

    Spud, mine did the same thing. It was a broken push rod. Only way to know is to tear the engine down.

  9. Joel says:

    Riverrider is right. On ordinary small gas engine gadgets they do indeed stop working regularly. I wrote a story about one. Spark wouldn’t work for no apparent reason, easy to fix. Read it before you throw anything away. On gadgets with Briggs or other engines it’s easy to track down.

    Can’t say about Hondas, though. Don’t know where it is on the really compact gadgets.

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