TWO of my emails from Chinese Diesel Generator Set users are below.
The second is from a user of the smaller "Yanmar Clone" type
Changchai Diesel engines
Mon, 23 Apr 2001 18:56:20
From: "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>
I was searching for a used small diesel engine for a friend of mine
who needs it to run a 10KW generator and found your page on china
diesel generator set.
We'll I'm ashamed to admit that I'm an owner of a Mingdong Electric
15KW generator set using a Changchai 395D 3 cyl. engine. A bunch of
friends and I bought about a dozen or so Chinese Diesel Gen sets. Two
15KW 395D, and the rest 8,10, and 12KW sets using the 295D. We've
been running both 395Ds and 6 of the 295D daily. A friend of mine
has been running his 295D 24/7. But of course his had some problems.
Beside all of the problems that you noted on your web page, his
fuel pump leaked massive amounts of fuel into the engine case. Luckily
no permanent damage has occurred. The fuel pump seal was fixed and
up and running. However it's still has had many more problems, like
radiator leaks and fuel line leaks galore. I think that's due to
vibration problems though. He has his setup on 6"x6" studs underneath
the runners. Another friend with a 295D has also had leaks with
the radiator and fuel lines. His is also mounted in a similar way.
Yet another friend of mine has his mounted on concrete pad. He ran
his about 6 hours a day without a problem. Somewhere around 600 hours,
on of his pistons broke through his crank case. He took good care
of his too.
I run mine about 5 hours a day now switching to 9 hours a day. The
leaks oil near the bottom pan screws. To keep this email short,
these ChangChai diesel engines are of really bad quality.
One of my problems is that my bushings keep disintergrating into dust.
I've used rubber and polyurethane bushings, but they only last about
250 hours. You mentioned that this is due to an alignment problem.
I would greatly appreciate it if you could email me on how you
got yours aligned properly.
p.s. I've got about 650 hours on mine.
I read about your experience with Chinese made generators and thought that
you may be interested to know that the genset I bought came with one test
hour on the hour meter and ran for two hours for me, which is a grand total
of three hours. The "warranty" does not include shipping charges which makes
it totally worthless given that the round trip charges approach to price of
the genset. So the Chinese made gensets represent money totally wasted.
The real trouble with the Chinese gensets is that people buy them for an
emergency and only find out that they don't work once they need them. Had I
not run the genset when it came it would have been an unpleasant surprise
when the power is off. The situation is bordering on fraud.
From: Josef Cerny [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, December 26, 2006 7:00 AM
Subject: Chinese generators
I have run across your website where you ask that I share my experience with
the Chinese generators with my friends to promote your business. I can see
the reason and would certainly do so, but I am not sure that you would still
want me to do it after you consider my experience.
I bought three of the 6.5 kW Chinese made gensets. One to supply emergency
power at my house, one at my friend's house and one at my friend's cabin.
The reasoning was that for this application, a few hours of run time a year,
these would be just fine. We have examined the gensets when they arrived and
were generally impressed by the design of the enclosure and the assembly of
the machines and the electrical interface.
I decided to test run mine because there was a wind storm coming and in our
area populated by tree huggers, the fiercely protected trees are usually
brought down by wind, taking the overhead power lines with them. Then of
course we are out of power for hours, sometimes days.
After filling the engine with oil and connecting a fresh battery, I started
the engine. It started fine and ran well with about 2 kW load. No smoke and
little vibration. Quite smooth actually. Then I noticed that the fuel filter
housing was leaking fuel. Taking it apart I found that the seal used in the
housing that was designed for a gasket, was an "O" ring. It could not
possibly work. In addition I noticed that the gasket face of the filter
housing was not machined, but left as crude as it came out of the cast, so
it would not have worked even with a proper gasket. Although I could machine
the gasket face of the housing smooth, I could not locate suitable gasket.
There was nothing to do except to remove the fuel filter housing completely
and replace it with an in-line filter. This is quite acceptable solution but
there is now no fuel shut off valve, since the valve was an integral part of
the fuel filter housing.
I re-started the genset and it again ran fine, this time with no fuel leak.
For 2 hours. After about 2 hours of running the genset started sputtering
and emitting black smoke, until finally died, by the time I got to it.
Examination showed that the engine overheated, as the insulating foam was
completely melted. Further examination detected no obstructions in the air
intake system or the exhaust system. The engine would start, but run at
about half speed and emitted black smoke, even with the air filter
completely removed. The injector seemed to work fine at a test bench, but it
showed some heat damage at the injector's body. The next step in the
investigation revealed the cause of the problem. The fuel pump lifter, the
steel rod that operates the fuel pump being driven by a cam on the engine
shaft was deformed by the 2 hour operation. The type of damage that could
have been inflicted by banging it with a small hammer. In addition the
lifter was quite crudely machined and working as a file, it worked its way
into the engine block damaging the guide hole. As it got gradually banged
out of shape, the engine timing was affected until finally the engine
The people that I bought the gensets from could only offer some not too
helpful suggestions, but did offer to refund the purchase price. This is
probably not an option, since the shipping costs and the accompanying hassle
make the exercise pointless. I just hope that the other two machines that I
brought for my friend will not suffer from the same problem. It is however
likely that they will, since the lifters are made in batches and are likely
to be identical in metallurgy and machining.
These machines did not come from you and even if they did, you or any other
vendor, could not be blamed for problems such as these. But this experience
demonstrates the problem with recommending the Chinese gensets to anybody.
The rank incompetence shown by the deficiencies of the fuel filter housing
and the metallurgy and machining of the fuel pump lifter negates everything
else that is attractive about these gensets. We have run several Yanmar
gensets in my company as portable generators for about 25 years now and they
have never ever failed and have never ever required any service beyond an
oil change. The most important thing about an emergency genset is that it
starts and runs when one needs it. Otherwise all one has is a pile of scrap
metal at 32 cents a pound and a dark house without power. I am sure that
eventually the Chinese will get it, just like the Japanese did, but
meanwhile, I am afraid, it is back to Yanmar.
The generators that we bought are sold all over the place by several
internet front ends but basically are all the same machines, certainly made
in the same factory. They all call them the 6.5 kW "Silent Diesel". I am not
sure though if they all come with the same flaws. You can see the genset on
the website of the distributor, out of whose warehouse in Georgia they are
all shipped, regardless who sells them. (optigenerators.com) The price
differs. We paid US$1,495.00 each and the ones we bought were labeled
"Aurora Generators". (auroragenerators.com) They were customized to the
extend that they were equipped with an hour meter and a remote start/stop,
which surprisingly worked, while the genset worked. I have inspected one of
the machines upon arrival and it looked well put together and the enclosure
was quite well designed.
The machine comes with two manuals, one for the engine, which is
comprehensive, written in perfect English and looks like an exact copy of
the manuals that used to come with the Yanmar gensets, pictures and all. The
company refers to itself in the manual as the Eastern Tool and Equipment,
Inc. The engine appears well made and it is certainly a copy of the Yanmar
engine, whether made under license or otherwise.
The genset manual is equally well put together, although the illustrations
are less perfect. The one point of interest in this manual is the
recommendation that the engine be broken in using light load only, which is
contrary to the usual break-in procedure for diesel engines. Again the
company refers to itself as the Eastern Tool and Equipment, Inc.
It is hard to believe that this well designed and good looking, reasonably
priced product could be compromised by such basic incompetence as the
deficient and poorly assembled fuel filter housing and the obviously poorly
machined and probably metallurgically defective fuel pump lifter. Of course
there could be other hidden problems not yet identified. It seems that these
units were and are manufactured by the hundreds, if not thousands, and I
wonder how many are now sitting in garages all over North America and
Europe, waiting to surprise their owners the first time the power is out.
One does not expect machines like these to run and last for ever. They are
supposed to be emergency generators expected to START! and run few hours a
year. Their design is simple enough to do exactly that and they have been
doing that, as proven by the Yanmar gensets over the years. But three hours
of operation is just cutting it too close. One of our Yanmar gensets was
found in the warehouse under a cover of dust accumulated over about fifteen
years. After blowing off the dust and connecting a battery to it, it started
without hesitation regardless of the fifteen years old fuel in the tank.
There is no reason that the Chinese made machine should not display similar
reliability, except rank incompetence. Using proper metallurgy and CNC
machines, it should make no difference where the product is made, unles of
course one needs a small part like the lifter, to finish the assembly and
the lifter is made on a poor lathe from unsuitable material.