Briggs and Stratton Product failed < 1 year, CustService Atrocious!

Nov 07, 2012
review #357271

I purchased a Briggs and Stratton 10kW emPower 40243 Home Standby Generator after the extended power outages that we faced last year with Irene, knowing that a long-term power outage will likely happen again. Finished with installation around December, when I set up the weekly diagnostics, put in brand new oil, all set to go.

Just a few days before Hurricane Sandy hit, I ran an automatic test just to make sure that my generator would be good to go before the storm hits. After disconnecting the house power, the engine would fire up as normal.. but then would shut itself down after 10 seconds of running. It would wait a few seconds, and do this again.

After five or six times of doing this, it came up with a Fault code FC_04. This basically means "Engine failed to start." Great. So now I go through all of the basic troubleshooting: complete shut off and test again (no luck), check oil levels (levels are good, oil is still clean), check air cleaner (still clean), etc. Still no go.

Of course, Hurricane Sandy came in like a beast, and knocked out my house power, and my B&S generator is not working. After being out of power for a few days, I was eventually able to get an official Briggs and Stratton installer in my area to come and take a look. After at least an hour on the phone with B&S tech support, and tearing apart the entire unit, they eventually discovered that the Stator and rotor went bad. Please note, this is a major component in the generator that basically helps in translating the motor movement to electricity. Because it was not providing power, the generator would automatically shut down.

In short, I have a lemon in my hands. Even though the replacement parts and labor are under warranty, this is like performing open heart surgery on a product that is less than a year old.

What bothered me the most was when I called Briggs and Stratton customer support myself, asking to see if there were any other routes that I could take, like get another unit to replace my complete dud. The person that I got on the phone was completely apathetic to my situation, and just repeated something off a script saying that I had no other options.

I would not consider myself a wealthy person, but I made a conscious decision to research and invest in a solution that theoretically should have helped me in a power outage scenario. Considering that I spent so much money to have this backup equipment installed for situations exactly like the past week, only to have the equipment fail on me, on top of the lack of consideration from customer support, really left a bad taste in my mouth. I have no other kind words for this company.

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Tony

Aug 05 Barrington, Illinois

wow, after searching for help on my issue, I came across this review and this is the exact same thing that happened to me with the same model generator. My 10kw standby generator was installed about 3 years ago and its worked well for the most part, aside from fouling plugs and the fact that it burns a ton of oil. so my unit started doing the same thing, it would start and run well for 10 seconds, shut down, restart, etc. and then go to the FC4 fault.
I called Briggs and Stratton and just got a rude girl telling me that I'm not an authorized dealer so they will not help me. I would expect a $2500 piece of equipment to last a bit longer and also to get friendlier support from Briggs.
Now I'm stuck with a 700lb paperweight and need to decide whether to throw $1500 in parts at a "discontinued" unit, or maybe look at a new generac. By the way, Briggs discontinues their models every year so good luck finding parts on these.
As for all of you "authorized dealers" out there, its just a lawnmower engine with an alternator, voltage regulator and control board... not rocket science and there is no reason to not release service manuals for these devices just so you can gouge people. Millions of people fix their own cars, lawnmowers, etc. and these are no different.

0 0 Reply
Been there

Jul 19, 2013 Cambridge, Massachusetts

I am a dealer for GE/B&S generators. I used to be a Generac dealer but got sick of the BS associated with them. The thing you have to remember the units are a complex piece and you should be properly trained on the installs. There is a proper checklist to go through upon start up. Did you do the check list and make any needed adjustments to frequency, speed and voltage. Most likely you did not. When we do an install we check all the components and if there is a defective part it will be shipped out immediately and replaced. Engines, rotors stators etc. B&S stands behinds the product a lot better than generac.. Call a authorized service dealer.

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mowman

Dec 08, 2012 Conneaut, Ohio

if it was covered under warranty you lost nothing, did you install? should of had automatic power disconnect and test cycled weekly for 5-10 minutes.Something sounds fishey here. Besides the amount of units produced there are bound to be defects that is why they honor their warranties! Most times it comes down to the operator

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maingearinarkansas

Nov 16, 2012

I have acreage and have purchased a lot of small motorized equipment (lawn tractors, tillers, mowers, etc.) Everything that has a Briggs and Stratton engine on it has failed prematurely, and I mean engine failure.

I will NOT ever buy anything that has a Briggs and Stratton engine.

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cooper

Nov 15, 2012

Your experience mirrors ours with the following exceptions - we purchased a GE/Briggs & Stratton 13KW unit thru Home Depot that was installed in Feb 2012. It was used for the 1st time during storm Sandy and shut down after 5 hrs of operation. The same parts you mention failed in our unit & we haven't gotten anywhere with Home Depot, B&S or GE in our quest for a replacement. Wish I knew what criteria these cos. use to recognize a quality control issue - maybe there is none.

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Bob

Nov 08, 2012

A company is not just going to replace a unit due to having an issue with this. There is a warranty policy in place to take of any issues that may come up such as the one that you had. I could see getting angry if the company/ service center didn't do a thing. The unit should have a scheduled exercise time once a week. If it was not exercising this could have caused the issue that you had. If it was then it was pretty much a wrong place wrong time scenario.

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