Yamaha EF2000iS Portable Generator: Product Review

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We live off grid in southern Arizona. In September, 2009, we bought our first Yamaha EF2000iS portable generator.

Despite the heavy use it’s had–and a bit of unfortunate abuse due to my carelessness–it’s been running now for an average of 20 hours per day for more than 17 months…and it’s still going.

It’s using a bit of oil these days, though, and is starting to “miss” enough to indicate the need for a carburetor job or a thorough fuel line cleaning, probably both. Since we power two TV sets, one computer with printer, and two 40 watt lights–plus charging the 840 amp battery bank I use to run power tools–I’ll be ordering a second, identical model after posting this review. (Then we can power down the first unit, take it to our favorite gennie-fixer, and see what’s what.)

The problems we’ve had with all that heavy usage are minor if you know the score:

1. After a bit more than a month of running hard under low load in high heat conditions, the machine “died hard” (clearly choked to death) and would not restart. Turned out the problem was the in-muffler, cone shaped wire spark arrestor screen, which I had not cleaned regularly as should have been done.

A bigger problem was that carbon (or whatever) buildup made it impossible to remove the screen by normal methods. So I drilled it out (snagged the drill bit, but hey), then ripped the remaining shreds away with a pair of needle nosed pliers. After that, the generator worked perfectly, no starting problems at all…and no spark arrestor, either. This could be spooky in RV situations, but we’re set up so that sparks are not a problem. Since that day, the EF2000is has never failed to start and run unless the oil was low.

2. It had a tendency to wear out starter ropes, breaking them right next to the pull handle. We solved this (on about the 3rd or 4th new rope) by “sheathing” that section of rope (prior to installation) with rubber (electrical) shrink wrap, just making a bit of a “rubber baby buggy bumper” to keep the rope from scraping directly on the “exit hole”. Since then (about 8 months), the rope has not broken once.

3. The side panel that you remove to check and/or change the oil (and service the air cleaner, etc.) is normally fastened with two screws set into metal receivers. One of those receivers (the one on the left side) tore loose from its seating one day–allowing the screw and receiver to spin in place together without accomplishing much. I eventually ripped the entire thing out and have since been fastening the panel in place with only one screw…which of course has allowed the panel to warp noticeably.

But those items are “no big deal”.

Our little workhorse, the Yamaha EF2000is generator. The end panel was eventually removed for extra-quick heat dissipation.

Our little workhorse, the Yamaha EF2000is generator. The end panel was eventually removed for extra-quick heat dissipation.

The other side. This unit is, of course, the power source that enables product reviews like this one to be written and published online.

The other side. This unit is, of course, the power source that enables product reviews like this one to be written and published online.

It was only a few months ago that I changed the spark plug for the first time. There was so much carbon accumulated on the plug that the spark gap had closed to almost nothing…and yet the machine simply refused to die. I’d never before seen any engine that could run with a plug in that condition.

This will be our 4th Yamaha generator purchase (the first 2 were 1000 watt units); Yamaha is the only brand we’ll consider buying until further notice.

(For small, electronics-friendly generators, that is. As of October of 2013 we owned five different brands of larger generators, ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 watts in size. We’d likely be better off switching those out to Yamaha, too, but the big beasts are available at local stores, they’re cheaper than the better built Yamaha machines, and so….)

UPDATE: MARCH 3, 2011

We ordered a new EF2000iS (the one shown above finally wore out enough to start missing noticeably). The replacement showed up this morning, a day earlier than forecast by the shipper, courtesy of FedEx. It seemed best, despite a lot of interest from a curious Gato kitten, to do a few things indoors where tools are handy:

1. Remove from box and trash warranty card.

2. Wrap a bit of duct tape around the starter rope next to the handle. This is simply to hold down the wear on the rope which (as noted above) tends to break at that point. (Didn’t take a photo of that.)

3. Remove the two spark arrestor screens, which proved to be no small task in the case of the cone shaped screen situated inside the exhaust pipe (and extending well into the muffler itself). This of course voided the warranty immediately, but (a) the machine–as noted above–will clog up and die otherwise and (b) we have plenty of external “spark protection” in our current setup.

Not that we’ve ever seen a Yamaha generator throw even one spark out through the exhaust…but as a machine wears, anything is possible.

The manual calls for pulling that cone screen regularly to brush out the carbon. Unfortunately, it was a bear to remove; no one in his or her right mind would voluntarily go through the process more than once per machine.

The in-house photos came out pretty blurry, but here they are, anyway.

New gennie out of box; Gato kitten mostly interested in the box, not the machine.

New gennie out of box; Gato kitten mostly interested in the box, not the machine.

Removing the clamp which holds the "retaining cup" in place over the exhaust pipe. The bolt head takes an 8mm socket.

Removing the clamp which holds the “retaining cup” in place over the exhaust pipe. The bolt head takes an 8mm socket.

The cup as it appears after clamp removal.

The cup as it appears after clamp removal.

Removing the retaining cup, using the old "grab and wiggle" technique.

Removing the retaining cup, using the old “grab and wiggle” technique.

The clamp and cup (on fingers) with the conical screen still 99% inside the muffler.

The clamp and cup (on fingers) with the conical screen still 99% inside the muffler.

The two spark arrestors. Exhaust has to make it through that conical screen first, then through the round tight-screen disk--which the retaining cup held in place. Little wonder the stock configuration clogs up at the drop of a speck of carbon!

The two spark arrestors. Exhaust has to make it through that conical screen first, then through the round tight-screen disk–which the retaining cup held in place. Little wonder the stock configuration clogs up at the drop of a speck of carbon!

Don’t Forget the Oil!

The final touches prior to actually starting the generator for the first time are simple but crucial:

    1. The manual calls for a bit of oil to be added to the air filter foam. Catches and holds a lot more of the incoming dust that way.

    2. Speaking of oil, the crankcase is empty when shipped from the factory. Yamaha wires a big tag onto the starter rope handle, warning the new owner in both English and Japanese of this fact. Like all manufacturers, they pitch their own brand…but I’ve been using Pennzoil for a long time, and it’s cheaper–at least at Wal-Mart. Before the oil, though, I always throw in a touch of Slick 50. (We’re convinced the older machine wouldn’t have survived this long without it.)

    3. Gasoline. Duh.

Finally, it was time to open the gas cap vent toggle, turn on the ignition switch, pull the choke out fully, and pull the starter rope. Yep. Started on the first pop, just like every Yamaha generator we’ve ever owned.

At this moment, our new little beauty is powering this computer (and of course Fox News on my office TV). Its throaty purr is downright incredible to hear with one ear while listening to its older, worn (10,000 + hours in service) brother clankety-rumble along with the other ear, for sure for sure! But Older Bro needs to keep running, just idling along, until it runs out of fuel on its own accord–sometime this evening, mostly likely. Then it can go into storage until we have the money to have it refurbished.

Another day, another Yamaha at the Border Fort.

Yamahe EF2000is with side panel removed for servicing.

Yamahe EF2000is with side panel removed for servicing.

It's lubricatin' time!

It’s lubricatin’ time!

Yep, she's a-runnin'! First pull, as expected!

Yep, she’s a-runnin’! First pull, as expected!

Power upgrade at the Border Fort.

Power upgrade at the Border Fort.

Update: October 11, 2013: That header photo, way up there at the top of the page? That’s this same machine as it looks today, more than 18,000 usage hours later. We bought our third Yamaha EF2000iS more than a year ago, waiting for this one to wear out–but it just keeps on running. The new one is sitting in storage, still in the original box.

Product rating: Obviously, with no hesitation whatsoever, the Yamaha EF2000iS pure sine wave portable generator gets a full FIVE STARS. We’ve never seen another machine in its class that could match it.

111 thoughts on “Yamaha EF2000iS Portable Generator: Product Review

  1. Great Review! Thanks!
    We just bought one yesterday based on all the good reviews and also the fact that they are made in Japan as opposed to China.
    The demo model I listened to said made in Japan. The unit I brought home said made in China. Did not notice that fact till after taking it out of the box.
    Went back to the store today and saw that out of five boxes of new generators, three were “made in Japan” and two were “made in China”. I just happened to grab the China made one. The store was OK with swapping it out for Japan, but also noted some difference in the model numbers. The Japan model said EF2000ISC and the China unit said EF2000ISJ. Weird, Right? the o/no number on China unit says HD0426 and the c/no number is 014524. The Japan unit’s o/no is HD0385 and the c/no is 202485. Not real sure what all that means except they were packaged differently and one generator says “Made In Japan” and the other says “Made In China”. My concern was, are they really the same? Quality control etc.
    Personally, I would rather have the “Made In Japan” label even if it turns out that the parts were made in China anyway.
    Thinking on getting another one “Made In Japan” before they all end up being made in China. As a side note, the Honda version says “Made In Japan” yet it contains plastic engine parts and is not as well made as the Yamaha. I hope Yamaha didn’t go down that road with the China label. Time and an engine teardown will tell.

  2. Thanks for commenting–and that’s definitely some interesting “Japan vs. China” information you’ve posted. I’ll have to keep a sharp lookout for that when we purchase our next one.

    We did finally “retire” the 2nd generator (which was still running in October of 2013, as posted above) in January of 2014. It had finally reached the point of missing noticeably even after a new spark plug was installed. But it will still run and is definitely not being discarded, just placed on long term standby.

    The newest one seems to handle heavier power loads without flinching. Could be an illusion, but the 900 watt microwave oven has been accidentally used several times–it’s usually handled by either the solar generator or a larger 5,000 watt Homelite–without overloading the Yamaha, and sometimes with 300 to 400 additional watts being used at the same time. I didn’t expect that and am still kind of amazed.

  3. Just bought one, willo check where it is made. I tried cheaper Chinnese models,,, NO THANKS, took them back and got a full refund,,, Except for Home Depot, i had to pay the delivery freight, i was only to happy to pay $27.00 plus HST to get rid of the piece of s___ .
    Will let you no more when I pick it up

  4. I have tried to find out where it was made, everything leads to Japan, I hpe that is true. It seems to work, and start very good, louder than I hoped for.
    No Complaints

  5. Hm. Well, that all sounds good except for the noise level issue. Ours is by far quieter than any other generator we’ve tried…though I will admit to having built a baffle wall between the Yamaha and the house to hold the “perceived noise level” down a bit.

  6. When it is just running a couple of lights it is a bit louders than a Honda 2000 inverter, but when a larger load is applied, it is quite a bit louder.
    Does anybody no how to identify where it was made by the S/N?

  7. Never have owned a Honda, but if they can make motorcycles quiet enough to be dangerous (which they most certainly do), a super quiet generator makes sense.

    I don’t know about identifying where it was built by the S/N, but maybe one of our readers might. If we get lucky.

  8. First. Great website you have here. Have read through a lot of your articles and you have some great information. Ran across your website when researching my first yamaha ef2000 purchase.

    I have a pair of ef2000 and noticed with my most recent purchase that box stated “made in China” as you mention. Was curious myself as my first gen said japan. Called yamaha and they said that final assembly may now be in china, but all parts are still made in Japan. I expect same high quality as before. Hope this helps and take care.

  9. I have heard from a few people that Amozon finds the absolute best deal on pretty much anything, and that a few Yamaha inverters have been sold with issues down the road, when they go for warranty, there isn’t any.

  10. My generators were not purchased thru Amazon. I would not worry if you did, just register with yamaha for warranty purposes. Yamaha confirmed with me that 2014 models will be ef2000isJ and have SN that do not begin with “7DK” as they had in the past. Take care of your ef2000 and you should be good.

  11. Dexter: Thanks for the input; it all helps.
    ——————-
    Jim Miles: I buy a lot of stuff through Amazon, including (if memory serves) our most recent Yamaha generator. Wouldn’t know about warranty issues, though, as the generators (as opposed to inverters) have never given me reason to even fill out the warranty registration cards. They just run and keep on running.

  12. Well my new unit is made in China. I just assumed they were all from Japan.

    I haven’t started it yet because it is already broken. I was installing an hour meter. When I went to pull the spark plug cap off it sheared the plastic at the 90 degree angle.

    That’s a hard break and now I either have to change out the spark plug wire and cap or ship it for warranty.

  13. Huh. Looks like I’d best hope our current unit runs approximately… forever would be good! I’ve had had the plug caps off ours any number of times and can’t picture it shearing like that; downgrading to the Chinese-made copy will be no fun at all if/when it comes to that.

  14. I to just bought 2 of yamaha 2000watt it also says china. darn it
    The only difference is that instead of taking the back cover off now I have a little access door to get to the oil. I doubt any difference in quality unless the electronics have got cheaper to compete with champion. But I was assured at yamaha dealer the motor like direct drive gears all that stuff is still the same

  15. Huh. Well, the “little access door” for the oil sounds all right. So far, we’ve been able to stretch the life of our most recent (made in Japan) EF2000is–thanks mostly to a “nonsoon” monsoon year that has hardly even brought major overcast days, let alone much in the way of flash flooding. Which means we’ve had enough sun to use the solar generator for all but one day since April. It still starts right off, no matter how long it sits between uses, though.

  16. Ghost32
    I would recommend a magnetic oil dipstick. You will find on eBay
    I have used from day one. You wouldn’t believe all the metal fines this keeps out of the oil. And I use yamalube 10w40. 3 1/2 years later 12 to 15 hrs a day 9 months a year still running strong and still on original spark plug

  17. I agree, magnetic dip stick, or drain plug are an absolute MUST on any engine you want to keep using.

  18. Karl and Jim: That sounds like an extremely worthwhile recommendation; thanks. I never thought of that–should have, but didn’t.

  19. Gohst32
    Is it just missing??
    Using a bunch of oil?? If not 9 out of 10 times you have dirt in carb.
    Try some carb cleaner to dissolve it. Autozone has some good stuff but that’s a 50/50 chance this works.
    Take the carb jet out and clean it this will be 100% effective
    One of my new ones (china) the float bowl was filling up with gas causing it to miss and eventually started leaking all over the place
    Nobody had ever heard of this problem but leave it to me to find that one. Still can’t figure out how it was getting in there you sure couldn’t get it back out

  20. Ghost32
    I know you said you pitch warranty cards. I would strongly advise you to get on line and tell yamaha the date and where you purchased it and serial numbers
    3year warranty. It’s that easy to register it.
    I’m afraid you’re going to need it
    Mine right off the batt with that float bowl jeeez. China junck I’m afraid they are going to live up to there normal standards.
    They are awesome to copy every American invention known but quality isn’t there for yah

  21. Karl, thanks for all the advice–every bit of it good, from the looks of it. But I won’t be doing a thing to, or for, the older Yamaha generators. In the first place, they’re all at least 3 years old (or older). In the second, I have neither the need nor the desire, nor for that matter the time, to concern myself with rehabilitating them. They performed well for more than 18,000 hours each, and I’m satisfied with that.

    As a side note, none of them uses a ridiculous amount of oil. It’s been my experience with every Yamaha so far (haven’t had the misfortune of purchasing one made in China yet) that after a brief break-in period, they settle for needing a bit of oil every 3rd or 4th day (12 to 18 hour days) and that never changes. So yeah, the seniors are “just missing”.

    The current in-use Yamaha is still practically brand new, less than 1,000 hours on it. We had our portable solar generator on site and supplying most of our daily power needs before that one was ever taken out of the box, so it only needs to act as a backup unit. Which it did last night and the night before, due to heavy cloud cover that drastically reduced the solar panel efficiency. At the current rate of usage, it’s not likely to need to run for more than 800 or 900 hours annually–which gives this one (made in Japan!) a projected life expectancy of 20 years or more.

    Besides which, having sat in the box unused for the first year and a half, it’s already more than 2 1/2 years old.

  22. Wow I wish you had the time or take it in shop or put some carb cleaner in gas tank
    I’m curious how long they would actually last
    And also when you put sparkplug in you need to set the gap or at least your suppose to. Thats another cause of missing.
    At least get a magnetic oil dipstick.
    Who knows could be another 3 years left you could put your new one back in storage. Our of your feeling generous ship it to me lol.

  23. Just thought of something
    Could be possibly spark plug wire burning up not getting much of connection left
    Just a thought. I like to talk to much
    Ever need anything don’t hesitate to ask. I stayed at a holliday inn the other night and I’m full of knowledge now

  24. Karl, just for kicks and giggles (i.e. to see what we will see) I did order a magnetic dipstick from Amazon to try out. Also, I always set the spark plug gap before installing a plug. I was ranch raised and rodeo bred, spent my first two years out of high school in auto mechanics tech college, and do understand that much. ๐Ÿ™‚

    We tried wind power briefly in 2010 and found the downsides to be daunting indeed. First, our area’s wind is plentiful during some months of the year but overall rather spotty. Secondly, we bought an inexpensive unit that seemed stoutly built but got what we paid for; it never produced its rated wattage and the (heavy, 10# steel) tail fell off, nearly decapitating my stepson (missed him by a couple of feet). Thirdly, the darned things are noisy, so noise pollution in your eardrums can be a factor. Fourthly, they’re a danger to birds. As far as I know, our brief run (less than 4 months) did not kill any fliers, but the giant Coachella Valley installations in California kill dozens of high flying raptors every year. I strongly suspect we’d have nailed one of our favorite little songbirds sooner or later if we’d kept going.

    Bottom line, we’re done with worrying about wind power.

    Solar is a bit of another matter. There are quite a few ridiculously expensive solar setups out there, but after umpteen hours of searching the Internet, we found a New Mexico manufacturer who put together a trailer mounted unit for us. It was delivered in May of 2012, and we’ve been using it since. Takes a bit to learn to live with them, the daily ins and outs, but we’re glad we have it.

    Downsides:

    1. The cost was $12,000 or so–which sounds like a lot until you start totting up the price of fuel to run the traditional generators.

    2. The builder messed up and wired all four panels in series. That produced (in the fall when the weather got cooler and the voltage ran higher as it does) just enough voltage to trip the safety on the controller, shutting the whole thing down repeatedly and eventually scrambling the controller’s computer chip brain a bit before we got it figured out. He should have wired in two parallel sets of two panels each.

    3. Not the builder’s fault–he built pretty much to my specs–but we ended up with too much solar panel power for the size of the battery bank. When this first set of Trojan batteries goes dead, I figure I’ve learned enough to disassemble the entire unit and rework it as a stationary plant with twice the number of batteries. Unfortunately (naturally), the batteries are the most expensive component in the entire system.

    4. There are certain heavy-draw appliances the solar inverter (in combination with the battery bank size, or lack of it) simply cannot handle. If the sun’s not out, the 900 watt microwave has to have a gasoline powered gennie fired up to take the load. Pam’s window air conditioner can ONLY be run off of a gas generator (sun or no sun). Stuff like that.

    Upsides:

    1. Solar is silent or close to it, no sound pollution.

    2. With LED lighting (from Home Depot) installed, we have plenty of solar power (even with the limitations of the way our unit was put together) to handle lights, TV’s, computers, and at least one fan for Pam’s room on an around the clock basis except when overcast conditions have not allowed the batteries to recharge during the day.

    3. The solar unit gives us a great deal more self sufficiency. In the event of a gasoline shortage for whatever reason, we could get by just fine with nothing else. The local Shell station no longer owns us.

  25. What I figured
    I wonder if you could use them big semi truck batteries. You can get them around 80 to 120.00 a piece if so how many would it take. I’m thinking 10 or 15 would put plenty of power for 2 or 3 tv the dish and a few lights
    And I wonder how much I could expect to save on my electric bill

  26. Batteries designed for 18 wheelers would not stand up to the rigors of a solar power system very well. It’s rare that a truck battery (not unknown, of course, but not the daily routine) is deeply discharged unless there’s winter starting trouble; they usually provide a quick jolt and then get topped off right away by the alternator.

    Deep cycle batteries are built differently inside and can be heavily discharged regularly without griping about it–though of course they, too, appreciate it if they don’t have to go that route. On the cheap end, some folks do use marine batteries or golf cart batteries. The wind system I built had a bank of Interstate brand golf cart batteries from Sam’s Club, I think it was.

    For the light electrical load you describe, I’d think you could eliminate your electric bill entirely, except on overcast days when the sunshine can’t reach the solar panels. So the savings would depend on where you live. In the Amazon rain forest, it might not be a good deal. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  27. Nice thread, Ghost. We are also in AZ and have a EF2000iS. Used as backup for solar while primitive 1-2 weeks long camping. We love it.
    Karl – Thanks for the tip regarding the magnetic dip-stick.
    Batteries: Trojan golf cart batteries are deep discharge and designed to handle shock – good value in solar applications. We have tried marine, auto, etc. for solar over last 20 years and found them not suitable for solar applications. In our experience, flooded lead-acid deep-discharge storage batteries (such as golf cart and forklift) seem to provide best โ€œbang for the buckโ€. AGM deep-discharge is my second choice due to cost (2x in most cases).
    Ghost – Take a look at “Battery Equalizer” [http://www.batteryequaliser.com]. Reports indicate 2x battery life extension. I will be trying it in my auto batteries next month. I am waiting for my AGM batteries to die before replacing with a bank of Trojan 6V-225AH.

    Have a good day!

  28. Thanks for commenting, Don. batteryequaliser.com does look interesting. The only hesitation I have is the instruction to discharge and recharge the batteries a couple of times after application. With our solar system powering most of the house needs, I’ll have to think about that. Do stop back by to let us know how it works in your auto batteries.

    May the blessings be.

  29. I WISH mine was that good!
    My little ef2000is dropped a cylinder the second month, and now I have oil running out somewhere near the top of the thing as of a couple of weeks ago. (Year 3..1200 hrs)

    I do all the things that are recommended….(though I did pull the spark arrestor out pretty much on day one)

    Glad you are having great luck!

  30. Wow. Sorry to hear that, Keith. The only thing I can guarantee is that pulling the spark arrestor out had nothing to do with the cylinder dropping; I’ve done that with every one we’ve had. (Had to, obviously, or watch the machines choke themselves to death.)

  31. Oh, I wouldn’t suspect the spark arrestor caused any problems!…well…removing it anyway. Keeping it in there seemed like a plan for a disaster!

    I want to pull the case apart and suss out where the oil leak is coming from, but I know I will make a dogs breakfast out of it.

    I use it to charge up my PV battery bank in the winter, so she runs at about 11 amps for 8 hours a day 2 times a week for 3 or 4 months a year…so she is getting a bit of a workout, but nowhere near your numbers!
    The thing looks like NEW!…well..except for the puddle of oil at the bottom of the shell!

    Now I have to hope the repair cost doesn’t come close to the replacement cost.
    (small engine guys are charging out at $160.00 an hour around here)

  32. Here’s hoping you’ve got a small engine repair shop that is willing to tackle the Yamaha. Most of them around here won’t. Not entirely sure why, except the I remember one guy telling me it would cost more to rebuild one (after I’d pretty much worn it out, not like your oil leak situation) than to replace. Finally realized our (only) local RV dealer stocks them. I haven’t asked if they repair them. Hourly rate runs closer to $60 than $160 in this area, though.

    Our units do consistently “produce” oil in the bottom of the air cleaner case. Always have. But nowhere else.

  33. Afture the parts are manufactured, then the parts mark up is usually very high, like 40 to 100 % also you have to remember how many people handlethese, (manufacturers, warehouse, suppliers, dealer, and finally rebuild shop). if everyone took there piece of the markup, the item gets sold for at least 300% more than what it is worth, then th repair shop ads its labour, and you get the final result

  34. Thanks, James. Yes, I understood that, but I appreciate you spelling it out for our readers. However, the difference for the shops in this area is that if something relatively minor is wrong with most brands of generators, they will indeed work on them, with some exceptions. Like I mentioned, those exceptions include Yamaha. In addition, nobody in his right mind (here) will touch a Steele (Chinese POS, parts difficult or impossible to obtain, service manuals ditto, etc.), and only one shop will work on Generac.

  35. Unfortunately I have found that no matter what you buy anymore, even if you pay a premium price for a QUALITY MADE product, there always seems to be a weak part, and that component usually comes from China, and as we all no, a chain is only as strong as its Weakest Link.
    Manufacturers seem content in puting cheap parts in SO CALLED Quality products.
    the almighty dollar seems to be the most important item anymore.

  36. I can’t disagree with you…except for that final word, “anymore”. The almighty dollar has been a powerful force in this materialistic universe for a lo-ong time. It does appear to be gaining ascendance, though, when even Yamaha has begun farming out manufacturing to China.

  37. Rite on dude,, it would be a shame to let the name Yamaha fall short of what it really was.

  38. I have broken the spark plug cap as many have. I cannot remove the piece still remaining on the plug. Is it held in via the rubber boot? Does it just pull off vertically? I must have done thousands on cars never a problem. Any help please.

  39. The rubber boot does hold it onto the plug, but the wire end is spring loaded, it slides over a little peice of metal that is on the top of the plug. (Some plugs have muliple aplications, and this peice will unscrew).

  40. Thankyou for your reply. I have removed the broken cap, had to destroy the rubber. Way too tight a fit.I pulled my spark arrester off to clean it. On my EF2000is it is only a mesh disc. Came off easily. It appears my shuting down issue was oil related. I read in a post about the oil level. So I topped it up. Problem solved.

  41. James: Thanks for helping Ken out. In another little bit, I’m going to be offline for a week or so, so readers helping readers is REALLY appreciated.

    Ken: Definitely, the low oil level sensor will shut things down if the oil drops too far. I’ve gotten so attuned that, lazy or not, I know I’d best check the oil about every 24 hours of usage (or so).

  42. Hey Ghost,
    Well…got the bad news from the yamaha repair guy…it is not more than 10 bucks in parts and about 700 bucks in time.

    Obviously I won’t be going down that road…do you happen to have a service manual for your 2000is you want to share?

  43. Huh. Well, Keith, that figures, sort of. Sorry, no service manual here. All I’ve ever had was the basic operator’s manual. About the most extensive “repair” I’ve ever performed on the Yamaha was changing out busted starter ropes–which I quit having to do after figuring out that wrapping the couple of inches closest to the pull handle with duct tape was enough to keep the rope from rubbing itself to death.

    I did a bit of Googling, though, and found this URL where you can download the manual for seven bucks:
    https://www.tradebit.com/filedetail.php/172655990-yamaha-generator-inverter-ef2000is-service-repair-manual

  44. Unfortunatly I did buy one of those, it lasted 6 months occasional use.
    The unit is still under warranty, but I can’t get it serviced outside of usa. Aka Bahamas. As far as I am concerned stay away from it. I had a Honda b4, It did run for 30 years whit not an incident.

  45. Dancor, how recently did you buy the Yamaha that failed? That is, was it recently enough that the unit was made in China rather than Japan? We’ve been fortunate with every Yamaha we’ve owned (except for one, but that was because I hadn’t yet figured out the trick of eliminating the spark arrestor screen). However, all of ours were/are built in Japan, and we’ve been hearing rumbles that the Made in China versions are definitely lower in quality.

    We did add a Honda this year, just the right size to power my wife’s essential AC unit for the summer–and the rest of the house as well in a pinch. I have to agree it’s a great unit.

  46. It is a China made unit.
    What piss me the most, is that Yamaha doesn’t support the product.

    On the other hand, I have a cheap china gen. that I did buy new, for $250. Left it unattended for 2 years, old gas in it. Cranked it a few times and it did run.

  47. Thanks for answering my question. I’m laughing a bit, not at your Yamaha (Chinese made version) debacle, but at myself. I had one of those cheap China generators, a sizeable one. It quit on me in the middle of a job one day. Couldn’t get any service; no support from the company, and no local shop would touch it. Gave it to my stepson. He changed out the spark plug and it runs like new.

    It had simply never occurred to me to suspect the spark plug; the unit had less than 200 hours on it at the time. I finally figured out that with our larger generators, we’re usually running really light loads on them (when we use them at all) and the plugs do sometimes carbon up really fast.

    From what you’re reporting, though, my suspicions are confirmed: Yamaha is now just “living on its name”. I’ll probably never buy another one, either, though I must admit, the excellent Japan made version we still have in place as a backup unit is probably going to last for an awfully long time, anyway. Plus, as my wife’s progressive disabilities have reached the point that she can no longer safely start a generator with a pull rope, we’ve moved more and more to electric start machines.

  48. Hey Ghost32!
    So, I finally have a moment to sit down with the little oily Yamaha that was too expensive to fix.
    Turns out the breather tube froze up and this caused my oil leak issue.
    Got my hands on the service manual, but it’s not all that clear whether I have to open up the crankcase get to the oil seals or if I can pull them from the outside.

    Have you or anybody else had a go at this repair?
    The repair shop is being less than forthcoming with info/advice.

    Hope all is well…(cool Red Racer post by the way)

  49. Are you saying ALL Yamaha 2000 inverters 2 or 3 yrs old are Chinese? I have had mine for 3 yrs I believe, I made some comments about Thinking it may have been Chinese when I first bought it, but was never sure. It doesn’t have that many hrs on it as of yet, but I sure hope it IS NOT FROM China, as I have NO FAITH in there products.
    Mine was bought from a Yamaha Dealer in Hastings Ont Canada, I have the bill of sale, serial numbers etc, and have Never been able to confirm with Yamaha that it is Genuine.

  50. I flew back to Ontario end of June/July. While I was there. Let’s get the part I need for that generator. Gave the serial # of the generator.
    The answer I got. product serial # not valid.
    I’m like ???

    Yamaha dealers have no ideas where it come from
    Neither will they support it under warranty.

  51. WOW!
    Sounds like a job for CBC! ๐Ÿ˜‰ (for you non canucks it’s basically the canadian version of the BBC)
    Get your tax dollars working for you…”cheap chinese knock-offs being sold by legit yamaha dealers undermining confidence in the Canadian retail world.”

  52. JIM
    Starting in the 2014 model year Yamaha outsourced their production to China. My understanding is that all components are made at the same facilities in Japan, then outsourced to China for assembly. My source is a Yamaha representative I called a year or two ago when I noticed my newer unit stated “Made in China” on the box.

    A quick way to tell if your unit was manufactured in China is to look at the back of your EF2000 and if it has a “door” where the oil fill is, bottom right corner, then it is a 2014 MY or newer unit that will be manufactured in China.

    FWIW Honda units are outsourced as well to other parts of Asia. I believe the EU2000 is “Assembled in Thailand.”

    I myself am not worried about the newer units, but thats just me. It has performed flawlessly and I have put about 100 hours on mine over the last year or so.

    Dancor – I am sorry to hear about your misfortunes. Definitely got a dud it sounds like.
    Dexter

  53. The funny part
    I have a cheap china made Champion generator, paid $250 for it. (Candian tire, for the Cannuk)
    And it pur.

    Yamaha product stink, there customer support stink.
    Let’s spread the word

  54. Dancor,
    I think just about everything I buy these days stinks and customer service is even worse most times. Sad huh?

  55. Very very sad.
    My granpa used to say, put your pants on, and be a men.
    How many millions of us out there having to deal with lame products?
    Isn’t it time me voice our opinion, and do something about it?
    I’m in

  56. I can’t put my pants on…they have just about fallen apart after two washings! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    My own fault…thats what I get for buying crap at Wallyworld…(walmartโ„ข)

    I am just going to stop buying anything! There…problem solved…
    “Hey! who is that smelly naked guy eating grubs and shaking his fist outside of walmart?” Just me.

  57. Man you guys hit it rite on the head, I just bought a beautiful Dodge Ram Sport, all done up, looks real nice, I parked it at Wally world just before Christmas 2014 and apparently some one decided to change the appearance of my rear bumper. Luckily they missed the left dual, and pushed my bumper in about 3 inches,Dodge wanted $2000 to put a Black painted bumper on. I bought a New Chrome bumper, with cut outs for duals, new top pad, and new mounts for $395 plus tax, and I installed it myself.
    Being the curious lad I am, I put my Vernier on it,took the measurement of a Cheap Chinese bumper,it was the same thickness of the factory installed bumper.
    Wow,,, by good equipment made in North America,,, BULL.
    What else is Chinese in my truck???????????????????????????????????

  58. Keith: I’ve not tackled that repair but figure the odds are about a million to one that you’ll have to “go inside” to get at the seals.
    ———————————
    Jim: I don’t know for a fact that ALL recent Yamaha generators are being made in China…but on the other hand, Yamaha’s refusal to give you a straight answer does point to Beijing, doesn’t it? (Dexter’s response on the topic does sound like he knows what he’s talking about.)
    ——————————–
    Jim: Love your Dodge Ram story. Of course, I’m no help; my stepson and his wife, both sisters and their husbands, all drive Dodge Rams…but I’m partial to our ’96 4WD GMC Sierra (half ton, but with one ton springs added a few months ago). Over 200,000 miles so far and the engine still not using any oil between changes (but please don’t inquire too closely about the transmission!)…..:)

  59. Hey Ghost32!
    Thanks for your thoughts on the matter.
    I think I’m going to open it up and replace the crankcase gasket since I have the thing disemboweled on my desk already…but yes I think from my poking and prodding at it, the seal goes in from the outside…guess I’ll find out!
    As soon as I finish making a DIY flywheel puller. 3 hours drive to a store and 50 bucks for a bar and a few bolts is a bit much to ask of me. Besides…the city sucks!

  60. Another defective product. Sunforce wind generator, defective from the start
    8 months later they still argue about it.
    But they took my money and delivered a non working product.

  61. Keith: Interesting–and I agree; the city definitely sucks, regardless of which city we’re discussing.
    —————
    Dancor: Don’t get me started on wind generators! In 2010, I bought and set up a Wind Hog generator, only to discover over time that not only was it defective but the owner of the company was, shall we say, less than fun to deal with. I had a product review page on that one for years, though it was one I didn’t bother to keep when I got my own website going in 2013.

  62. I win!…for now anyway.
    I managed to get all the seals and gaskets replaced. (why not? It was in a million pieces on my desk anyway.) I didn’t need to pull the crankcase apart to do the seals, but I tapped one in too far and had to open it up to get it back out. So I did the crankcase gasket as well. Very simple little machine in the end.
    I had an issue with it not wanting to start after I finished, but I found the issue was the push rods had fallen out from the rockers. Placed those back, put it all back together …..(for the umpteenth time), pulled the rope and she fired right up.
    Happy days. I can easily recommend anyone go ahead and work on their machine if it is just too expensive to have repaired. It wasn’t that hard.

  63. Keith, that’s one of the most inspirational comments ever; thanks.

    Your discovery that the push rods had fallen out from the rockers cracked me up…because it reminded me of my own experience in auto mechanics college, circa 1962. My 1952 Chevy was dead in the water, needed a major engine overhaul (a 1957 Chevy straight six, 235 cc). All went well until I fired it up. Oops; that noise didn’t sound good! Turned out I’d cranked one valve adjustment too far, planted the valve smack into the top of a brand new aluminum piston.

    Luckily for me, the aluminum dented instead of breaking. With the valve properly adjusted, the Chevy did just like your Yamaha generator, fired right up. (Although I didn’t have to pull a rope to make that happen.) Ran it for another 50,000 miles before junking the beast out when the U.S. Army draft snagged my carcass for a couple of years.

  64. Yes, you have to appreciate that prior to doing this repair I had ZERO idea what “push rods” “rockers” “crankcase” etc. were or what they did.

    So if I can do it…anyone can do it.

    Probably wish you still had that 57 chevy huh?

  65. Well maybe you can figure what is wrong with mine.
    I left it alone for a month, since been away.
    I tried to start it again, just for the heck of it. After few pull on the cord it goes put put put.. At least it’s doing something.
    So keep fooling around with it. Lean it on the front side, it start but stop, Lean it on the back side, start but stop. Lean back, same. Lean it on the side of the muffler, it run and doesn’t stop. I’m like ??????????.
    So yes very puzzled.

  66. Yikes!
    Sorry Dancor. Sounds like a fuel system issue maybe.
    But remember I know less than nothing!

  67. OH!
    tilting the machine while running will trip the low oil sensor…so there is that.

  68. Dancor: Keith might have something with his idea about the low oil sensor.
    ——————————-
    Keith: It was an engine from a ’57 Chevy, but I’d put it in my ’52 Chevy after blowing the rings in the original 216 cubic inch, which came with “splash pan” oil lubrication, not a pressurized oil system. It had been a ranch family’s “farm car” before I got it; the ’52 was in no way able to handle the way I ran it. Not with 86,000 miles on the car (which was a lot back then) and me being all of seventeen. Biggest problem was not swapping the engines, but upgrading the 6 volt wiring the ’52 used to 12 volt.

  69. Would say either you have an air leak between the carb and the manifold.
    Could be a cloged jet. For that you can try to had a bit of carb cleaner in the tank.
    Also the float could be stuck. A gentle tap on the bowl could free it.

  70. Do you use ethanol free gas or an additive to keep carburetor from gumming up. The guy at Home Depot told me to do this with my mover, weed whip and blower. Has kept them running great for past couple years. Valero is our only gas station around with ethanol free gas, so hard to come by.

  71. Tim, I would certainly prefer to use ethanol free gas for ALL of our engines–but as you say, it’s hard to come by, so I decided not to worry about it.

  72. I have a brand new Yamaha Ef2000i Portable RV Generator less than 5 hours, works ok but even when the engine is warm (Ran for 30 Minutes) I still have to choke it to get it started. Why ?? I called my dealer and the Yamaha Tech and they said they do not know why ? I can use the choke every time but the down side is when you choke it throws out a big time odor and that is a problem of when I use it…..it is among a lot of people…can anyone help me solve this problem

  73. Let’s hope one of our readers can help, Ron, because I don’t have a clue. Nor have I ever had to start a generator with numerous other people in the area. Ours does require full choke to start nearly every time–if it’s been off for five minutes or more–but we’ve never noticed an odor problem. I have developed a mighty fast technique to get the choke shut down after pulling the starter rope, though; it’s usually running on its own within one to two seconds.

  74. “I still have to choke it to get it started. Why ??”

    What altitude? Sounds like the genny needs a larger starter jet.

  75. Thanks for commenting, JimBob. I should have thought about altitude; let’s hope Ron does check back in here. Didn’t know there was any such thing as a “starter jet”, though. Live and learn.

  76. Whatever the manual says, if you go by the book. We’re no longer using generators for much other than firing up the microwave oven and operating my wife’s window air conditioner in the summer, which requires a larger machine than this one.

    Changing the oil by the book (which I couldn’t locate just now, for whatever reason) would have broken our piggy bank in a heartbeat, since for years we ran this generator model for up to 21 hours per day, day in, day out. With Slick 50 helping out, I got away with changing the oil no more than once every 10 days or so, or somewhere in the 200 hour range. NOBODY would recommend that, though, and I’m not recommending it, either. Also, I no longer use Slick 50 in small engines until they’re well broken in (at least), because if I do, the rings never seat and the machine ends up using a lot of oil over time.

  77. I have worked a lot on a Honda1000. I found the fuel pilot to be set way too lean from the factory. I removed the anti-tamper cap and adjusted for performance. The results are night and day. I would think that most of the Asian generators need the same procedure.
    M

  78. Anonymous: 18k generator? Never had one of those; 18,000 watts is more than I’ve ever purchased. Would love the wattage but not the fuel consumption (or purchase price. On the Yamaha reviewed here, I started with the 2nd or 3rd oil change. With the Honda EF3000is we’re mostly using now, I’ve never used Slick 50, and the machine is not yet using any oil at all between changes. (I’m changing that one weekly during the heavy usage summer days; we use it much more sparingly during the cooler months.)
    ——————————–
    M89651: Interesting. I’ll definitely keep that in mind. Our Honda is showing no signs of running too lean so far, though. Handles fairly heavy loads better than any other gennie we’ve owned to date. What’s your elevation. (We’re right at 4300 feet above sea level.)

  79. We switched to Honda, (a) partly for size, as our solar generator is now (since 2012) usually able to handle all the smaller stuff except when too much overcast knocks the incoming sun power down, (b) partly because of the outstanding Amazon reviews for this particular Honda, (c) definitely because the Honda is the quietest machine for its size on the market and I was setting up a new three sided “gen shed” very close to the house, (d) electric start, which my wife’s level of disabilities now require, and (e) because there is an established dealership for the Honda right here in town, which there is not for the Yamaha.

  80. Hi all, is anyone still active here? I have some small engine mechanic background and live somewhat off grid with a Yamaha generator. Maybe I can help ?

  81. The page is still active in the sense that I’m still monitoring it. Don’t know if any of the folks looking for help are still eyeballing it or not. Our Yamaha is in storage, strictly as backup, since we went to a 3000 watt Honda last year as our primary home unit. Glad to see your offer to help, though, in case anybody is still hoping. Thanks.

  82. One thing for sure I will never buy another yamaha generator, dealer are hard to find. Secondly the product as been broken for a longer period of time that it has been in use.

  83. We’ve pivoted away from Yamaha as well–not because of anything being broken before its time, but you’re absolutely correct about the lack of dealers. At this point, we’re liking Honda a lot, and they do have a local dealer (a competent one, too).

  84. Mine broke down in May 2015 in the Bahamas. While still under warranty. After a call here, an email there. Was told it would be cheaper to buy a new one. LOL.
    Contacted Yamaha. They told me” we only support the product in USA”
    I’m in Florida, In the usa. Guess what? Can’t find a dealer that will repair those.
    It’s almost may 2016. A year later still have a broken generator under warranty.

  85. Sorry to hear yours broke down. And I’m getting pretty certain about the idea that Yamaha generators have gone seriously downhill after they began outsourcing to China. But also, as you point out so painfully, dealers never have been easy–or even possible–to find. Guess we “got in and got out” of the Yamahas at the right time(s). Sticking to Honda for the foreseeable future.

  86. I just ran across your site this evening for the first time, and sat right here and read every word.

    I was waiting to read about one thing and was greatly disappointed that it was never mentioned, I had real hopes that you had converted one of your generators to propane.

    I have two generators, a Honda EU2000 and a Yamaha YG2800 that are both running on propane, and I love both of them.

    I have never found any review where anyone had run nearly as many hours as you mentioned, while on propane and I was really looking forward to seeing you say that converting to propane solved the carbon problems.

    Well, maybe that is something for the future.

    Anyway, your site was sure interesting reading, frankly I have never heard of anyone getting that many hours on any small engine.

  87. Thanks for commenting, Marlin. No, no propane conversions. I figured I was doing pretty well last year, though, when we got the underground pipeline run and were able to finally start using one full sized 330 gallon propane tank for the house and laundry shed…instead of 5 separate portable tanks that were always running out and necessitating trips to town. Just never extended that to any of the generators.

    As for the carbon problem, I’m pretty sure I solved that mostly by yanking the spark arrestors at the outset. Those little conical beasts clogged up faster than the average politician can abandon a campaign promise…and they’re a bugger to remove and clean, too. Additionally, there are two other factors that come to mind which probably contribute to the number of hours we’ve been getting:

    1. We don’t load them down much, trying mostly to stick to 1/4 of rated loads or less for long term usage (with shorter, heavier bursts when cooking a microwave dinner, of course). So they get to “loaf through life” to an appreciable extent.

    2. Slick 50. I learned the hard way not to add it to the oil changes for a new engine, as it slicks up the rings and prevents them from seating. But as the machines get some age on them, Slick 50 is a real life extender.

  88. Hi,
    Thank you for sharing your time with the Yamaha.
    I wanted to ask few questions:
    1. Have you ever made any valve adjustment to it?
    2. Have you ever needed to decarbonize the valves, piston or any part in it?
    3. Did you need to clean any part (besides the air filter)?

    Thanks again,
    Moses

  89. Hi, Moses, and thanks for commenting. To answer your questions:

    1. No, there was never a valve adjustment made.

    2. The only decarbonizing ever done was getting rid of the spark arrestor screen, which soots up and chokes these machines flat to death in a hurry. Nothing on any other parts.

    3. No, never cleaned anything but the air filter–not even the outer case.

    Please note that, while all of the info here was accurate when posted, I can’t speak to the latest models of these machines, as we’ve gone to bigger Honda units due to my wife’s deteriorating health. Had to get switched over to electric start units. (Pam can still turn a switch or push a button but can no longer pull a starter rope.)

  90. Greatings, Ghost32. Very good commentary on the Yamaha ef2000i.

    I purchased my ef2000i in June of 2010. Its very good and reliable. It has run the furnace in winter and 8000btu portable a/c in summer. The longest stretch I used it was in November of 2013. The power was out for 3 days. I ran it continuously never shutting it down and very carefully adding fuel. I removed the spark arrestor based on your success. My lawn mower and snow blowers don’t have a spark arrestor so why should the generator.

    The reason I am writing this is to let you and viewers know about two identical clones of the Yamaha ef2000i. The first one is a WEN 5600i. The second one is the new Predator 2000 watt inverter generator from Harbor Freight. People are reporting the motor and alternator are made by Yamaha. The WEN has outstanding reviews! People are reporting they can be paralleled up to the Yamaha. Since the Yamaha is now made in China, why not take a chance and purchase one of these Clones for half the price.

    If one were to purchase two of the clones and run them in parallel, the overall reliability is very significantly increased by the redundancy.

  91. Thanks for commenting, Gary. I know nothing about the clones, so that information is good to have. Nor did I ever stop to think about improving reliability by running machines in parallel, but then again, I’ve never tried parallel in the first place, so…. Anyway, it does make sense that the redundancy would help.

    Your 8000 btu portable AC unit must be really frugal in the amount of electricity it draws. We have an 8000 btu window AC unit (certainly not portable) that the Yamaha generator never could handle, even for a moment. Currently using a 3,000 watt Honda to handle that.

  92. Greetings,
    My 8000btu LG portable A/C uses about 800 watts after 10 minutes running. That certainly would be a significant ware-out mechanism on your Yamaha since you are off grid. Your better off with you Honda inverter generator with the higher capacity.

    The new Yamaha ef2000isV2 has so many complaints on Amazon one could hardly recommend paying that much money when a WEN clone can be purchased for $400 on sale, $500 at full price. Time will tell if the Harbor Freight Predator is as good as the WEN.

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