How to Change the Oil on an 8 HP Briggs & Stratton Generator

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A motor-powered generator operated by an 8-horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine requires regular oil changes to the engine for increased longevity. The engine is the mechanical workhorse that turns the stator and rotors within the power generation unit; without a working engine, you have no power. Oil changes are simple, but the rewards in doing so are maximum power output and dependability of your generator. According to Briggs & Stratton's guidelines, you should replace the oil after every 50 hours of use.

Things You'll Need

  • Small brush or shop towel
  • 3/8 inch drive socket wrench and extension
  • Oil catch pan or bucket
  • Oil, quantity and type specified for your engine
  • Oil filter matched to your specific engine (only if your engine has an oil filter)
  • Funnel
  • Locate the oil drain plug on your Briggs & Stratton engine. On power generators, the oil plug will be located near the base of the engine crank case and will appear as a recessed square 3/8 inch in width. While it is rare on generator-configured engines, the drain plug may be located under the engine rather than on one of the sides.

  • Pull the spark plug wire from the spark plug for safety, using your hand only. Using a shop towel, or a small brush, clean off any dirt or oil from around the oil fill plug and from around the oil drain plug to prevent debris from entering into the crank case.

  • Place an oil collection pan or bucket below the drain plug to catch the old oil as it drains from the engine. Connect a 3/8 inch socket extension to your 3/8 inch socket wrench and insert the end of the extension (no socket attached) into the recessed square oil plug located on the engine. Turn the plug counter-clockwise and remove from the engine completely. Allow the oil to drain until the flow stops completely.

  • Replace the oil filter on your engine, if you model has one. Use a small brush, or a shop towel, to clear away all oil and dirt from around the edge of the oil filter where it mates with the engine. Since oil filters are to never be more than hand-tight, you should be able to remove it without any additional tools. Turn the filter counter-clockwise to remove completely from the engine. Apply a light amount of oil to the tip of one of your fingers and lightly coat the rubber seal of the new oil filter. Screw the filter onto the engine in a clockwise direction until hand-tight only.

  • Replace the oil drain plug and tighten until you are unable to turn it any further without applying body weight.

  • Remove the oil fill cap on the engine, near the top, by turning it counter-clockwise. Set a pouring funnel down into the oil fill neck and fill your engine with the proper amount and type of oil as suggested in your Briggs & Stratton owner's manual. If you have lost your manual, Briggs & Stratton offers free downloads of their manuals for every model of engine they produce.

  • Replace the oil fill cap and fasten down tightly by turning in a clockwise direction. Place the spark plug wire back onto the spark plug, pushing it on until it snaps.

  • Start the engine. Allow the engine to idle at low speed for two minutes before throttling it to full speed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Drain plugs can become rather tight between oil changes. If you have difficulty removing the drain plug, spray the drain plug generously with a good penetrating oil such as WD-40 and allow the oil to work on the plug for several minutes before attempting to remove. Never apply body weight when removing or tightening, as this may strip the threads of the oil plug.
  • Always clean away all caked dirt and debris from any caps and plugs before removing. Small engines are extremely susceptible to serious damage from debris entering into the crank case.
  • Never overfill a small engine with oil. This may produce excessive pressure in the crank case, causing permanent damage to your engine during operation. Always measure the oil according to the manufacturer's suggested volume. Use oil type as recommended by the manufacturer also.

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