In early fall we purchased a Westinghouse WH5500 pull-start generator. We've been pretty good about starting it up and letting it run for a while with a load on it each month just to keep it from sitting. In early Dec. we had our electrician wire in a transfer switch panel and we had some difficulty starting it then. Took maybe 10 pulls before it turned over.

Now I went to start it today and nothing. Probably yanked that cord 75 times over the course of the afternoon and it only sputtered one time. Switch is on, fuel valve is open, checked oil, tried different choke settings, added fresh gas, reseated spark plug boot etc. and nothing.

I doubt it's gumming or dirty spark plug as our total run time is probably under 2 hours. I may have to try some starter fluid tomorrow but every review of this unit I've seen had people saying starts 1st or 2nd pull every time and I'm worried we have a problematic generator with no way of taking it in for service.

Anyone else have this model and have any tips?

  • Any guess on how much old gas you mixed with new gas? Did you use a fuel stabilizer?
    – mikes
    Commented Jan 24, 2015 at 23:16
  • 4
    You mentioned a new transfer switch. Any chance you're trying to start the generator under load and would that make it hard to start?
    – DJohnM
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 2:52

1 Answer 1


I own a Westinghouse 9500 / 12500, which I tried for an hour and then left the gas in. After a year I tried to start it 7-8 times, to no avail. Siphoning the gas and mixing in an additive (1 gallon of fuel, 30/1 mix) did not help either.

The solution turned out to be turning on the choke on a cold start (as opposed to when it has run recently). The generator ran immediately.

As a preventative measure you should not leave gas in the generator, but rather run it dry so no gas is left in the carburetor. This gums up easily.


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