You know you have a fuel leak when you see a puddle of gas or smell strong gas fumes coming from your generator. I’ve listed the items to check to help you find the location of the leak.
A Champion generator may begin leaking gas from the carburetor due to a worn carburetor bowl gasket or stuck float. It may also leak from the fuel filter, fuel lines, fuel tank, or fuel shut-off valve.
Always work in a well-ventilated area and allow the generator to cool. Follow the safety precaution found in your Champion operator’s manual.
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Follow all safety instructions provided in your equipment operator’s manual before diagnosing, repairing, or operating. Consult a professional if you don’t have the skills, or knowledge or are not in the condition to perform the repair safely.
This is Where a Champion Generator is Leaking Gas
The carburetor is where a little gas is stored after it leaves the fuel tank. The gas sitting in the carburetor creates varnish that can cause its small parts to stick so it no longer regulates the amount of fuel allowed to enter the carburetor. This can cause it to overflow.
In addition to internal components no longer working right, the carburetor bowl gasket can fail and cause a leak.
Gasket failure in the carburetor bowl
Begin looking at the area of the carburetor where the bowl is attached. Between the carburetor and bowl is a thin gasket that looks like a rubber band.
The gasket seals the two pieces to keep gas from leaking. When it no longer seals, gas will seep out of this area.
It is common for this gasket to become hard and brittle over time. Because it is located close to the engine, the gasket heats up when the engine is running and cools down when it is not.
This constant heating and cooling put a lot of stress on the gasket causing it to lose its sealing ability. When you find a leak in this area, it’s time to purchase a new carburetor bowl gasket and install it.
Steps to replace the carburetor bowl gasket:
- Shut off the fuel supply using the fuel shut-off valve. You can also use pinch pliers to crimp the fuel line to stop the flow if your generator doesn’t have a fuel valve.
- Wipe the outside of the carburetor so you don’t allow any dirt to enter the carburetor while removing the bowl.
- Have a rag or small container available to collect any fuel remaining in the bowl.
- The carburetor may have a screw located on the side of the bowl to empty the fuel bowl. If yours does, remove the screw, drain the fuel into a container, and replace the screw. If not, proceed with the next step.
- Remove the screw from the carburetor bowl and remove the bowl.
- Remove the old gasket and replace it with the new gasket.
- Reinstall the carburetor bowl.
- Reinstall the screw to hold the bowl and carburetor together.
- Wipe down the carburetor again to remove any spilled fuel
- Turn on the fuel supply and check for additional leaking from the carburetor.
Next, look for a fuel leak near the air intake port. When you find a leak in this area, you could have a stuck float that can no longer regulate fuel flow into the bowl.
Fuel keeps flowing into the carburetor bowl and then overflows out of the carburetor when you have a stuck float.
Take your carburetor apart when you find a stuck float to determine the actual cause of the failure. You may be able to clean the carburetor to keep the float from sticking.
You may also have to rebuild it to get the carburetor to work right or you may have to replace it with a new carburetor.
Stuck float needle
The last thing you should check on your carburetor is the float needle. The float needle works with the float to keep gas flowing into the carburetor bowl. If the needle gets stuck, it will need to be repaired.
You will have to take your carburetor apart to fix the float or you can take it to your local small engine mechanic to have the carburetor rebuilt.
2. Cracked or Soft Fuel Filter
Next, look at the fuel filter if your model generator uses a plastic inline filter. (Many Champion generators have a fuel filter located at the bottom of the fuel tank or a narrow filter inserted in a fuel component that is not easily accessible).
If the plastic housing is cracked or the plastic has become soft, it can begin leaking gas.
Gas can weaken plastics over time. If you don’t replace your fuel filter regularly, it can become soft and begin leaking at the seams.
When you find your filter leaking due to a crack or soft plastic you must replace it with a new one.
Be careful when removing the ends of the inline filter from your fuel lines. The soft plastic can break off in the fuel lines.
3. Fuel Tank Failure
Your Champion generator may have a metal fuel tank or a high-density polyethylene tank. Whichever kind you have, they can both develop leaks as they age.
- Polyethylene tank: the seams can fail and begin to leak.
- Rust tank: Fuel sitting in a metal tank can corrode the metal and form rust spots that may develop a hole.
The best thing to do when you find a leak in the fuel tank is to replace it with a new one.
However, if you have a metal tank on an older model that is no longer being manufactured, you may not have this option. You can attempt to repair the hole, but you’ll need to make sure you remove rust.
4. Faulty Shut-Off Valve
It is common for the fuel shut-off valve to begin leaking. It doesn’t matter if the valve on your Champion generator is made of plastic or metal, they are both prone to leaking.
If your shut-off valve has a sediment bowl, a leak can develop when the seal between the bowl and valve fails. Replace a bad fuel shut-off valve. If the leak is from the seal in the sediment bowl, you may be able to replace the seal.
5. Fuel Lines
Fuel lines will become dry and brittle with age. They will develop cracks over time where fuel will begin leaking. Any cracked fuel lines need to be replaced.
In addition to looking at the age and condition of the lines, make sure the hose is securely connected to the fuel components and the fuel isn’t seeping.