Common Diesel Power Generator Problems & Solutions

Diesel generators are a great asset for ensuring the availability of power for a facility whenever there is an outage.

Like any other running machine, there are several simple and sometimes complex issues associated with the power generators.

The most common diesel generator issues are failing to start, generator stopping suddenly, generator consuming excess fuel, generator fuel, oil or coolant leakages, and generator running without producing power.

Let’s look at each of these issues and the common causes and solutions to generator problems.

1. Why does your generator fail to start?

Power diesel generators may fail to start if the;

       i.          The control is not set to auto,

      ii.          The battery’s charge  is too low

     iii.          The fuel level is low,

    iv.          The choke is locked,

      v.          The carburetor is dirty or its nozzle is clogged

    vi.          The fuel filter is dirty

   vii.          The electric fuel pump has failed

  viii.          The stop electric magnet locked in the closed position

If your power generator fails to start, start by checking the basics such as the auto position, the choke, and the fuel level.

If the generator does not still start have a qualified technician check the generator for any of the above problems.

2.  Why does your power generator suddenly stop?

Power diesel generators may start and then turn off almost immediately because

       i.          The generator has no oil.

The oil level indicator on the control panel will light up red.  To solve this top up the oil level immediately

      ii.          The generator has no fuel.

Check the fuel gauge to check if the generator has fuel. You can also check the fuel tank manually whenever possible. Top up the generator with fuel and start again

     iii.          The motor has overheated.

If the generator motor overheats, the temperature indicator on the control panel will light.

Check if the generator has enough air intake and exhaust hot air to the outside. It should be installed where there is a good flow of air to prevent overheating.

3.  Why does your power generator consume excess fuel?

Generators may consume fuel at a high rate, resulting in costly generator running costs.

Excess generator fuel consumption is mostly caused by worn-out injector tips. The faulty injector tip pushes fuel into the cylinder even when the generator is idle.

An indication of excessive fuel consumption is black sooty smoke from the exhaust.

To solve the problem of excess diesel consumption, replacing worn-out injector tips immediately.

4.  What causes generator fuel, oil, or coolant leakages?

The three types of leaks common with generators are fuel leakage, oil leakage, and coolant leaks.

A leak can affect the performance of the generator over time. 

Generator fuel, oil, and coolant leaks are mainly caused by gasket failure, high running temperatures, malfunctioning fuel gauge, and wet stacking.

Generator fuel Wet stacking is the build-up of unburned fuel in the exhaust system.

Regular maintenance is important to identify and fix leakages. It is recommended that pipes should be replaced after two years depending on the generator use. During the maintenance, check the fuel levels manually in case the gauge is stuck and not working properly.

5.  Why the Power generator is running but there is no power?

A power generator running without producing power occurs when the generator alternator is de-energized or when the stator or rotor is damaged.

A quick re-energizing using a battery will solve the problem. If after re-energizing the generator still does not give a current, the stator or rotor may have blown. This should be checked by a technician.

At we are committed to ensuring that you are safe and your electrical equipment is protected whenever running your generator.

Call Us Free on 0800 211 245

Eng. Muchemi

Eng. Muchemi is an Electrical and Solar Engineer with experience in designing, installing, repairing and maintaining electrical and power systems. He enjoys making pizza and barbeque when he's not working with wires.

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