When you live off grid, and off road, maintenance matters! There is no way to quickly take something to the shop if it goes out, so keeping equipment in prime working condition is a must. Kyle and I realized how much it sucks to loose things we use often when our generator went kaput last week. We went without it for a bit while having it serviced, which wasn’t to bad, but it wasn’t ideal as the generator is needed for running our cell phone booster so we can call out in an emergency. Not to mention I need the generator on if I want to Youtube how to fix it!
The good thing about this whole situation is Kyle re-read the manual and found out we weren’t changing the oil often enough! We also realized how important it is to know everything possible about your tools and equipment. Luckily I have done a lot of engine trouble shooting with my dad, as we both have a penchant for cheap craigslist cars (thanks to Dad I can also keep a car running with electrical tape and bungee cords, go me!). I was right on about what was wrong with the generator (water in the gas) and I did try to fix it before we took it in, but the water actually in our gas cans so there was nothing to be done at home for it anyway. I did find out they make a cool funnel with a water/gas filter that won’t let water into your engines. So now we will use that for all of our stored fuel use.
Turns out fuel needs maintenance as well if you store it. I thought it’d be fine as long as it was in a plastic fuel container, but apparently those leech water into them, especially with ethanol mixed fuel! So now we are using a stabilizer/engine cleaner and adding it to our gas right at the gas station.
This situation also pushed us to look at our other tools and pay a little closer attention to what is running less than optimal and how we can fix it. Being off grid isn’t easy on our equipment. We’ve put over 1,000 miles on our 4 wheeler since we purchased it, and broken it twice (first the drive shaft, then the bearings when I wrecked it). The chainsaw gets the most regular attention, but now we’ve put aside some time to change the fluids in everything and are keeping track of maintenance on a calendar.
Hopefully our next homestead lesson will be this easy as well!