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What do I do when I get a low oil fault/shutdown on my Honda GX690 powered PSS12?

Low Oil Fault/Shutdown


The Honda GX690 uses a float switch to monitor the amount of oil in the crankcase. It will shut down the engine if the float switch drops to the set point. This switch is instantaneous, so even a momentary low oil level will cause the generator to stop.

The PSS12 has a low oil fault/shutdown code that will appear on the Deep Sea 3110 Controller display; until you press the red ‘stop’ button to clear it.

Shutdown Code

If you experience this oil fault/shutdown on this model, refer to the follow troubleshooting techniques in this article.

Oil Level

It is normal for air-cooled engines to consume some oil as they operate.  Therefore, it is recommended by Honda and is important that the engine oil level is checked each day the generator will be run – prior to startup.  For best results and to avoid low oil shutdown on a cold start, we find that it is best to keep the oil level topped up all the way to the fill line on the dipstick.

The PSS12 has a float inside the oil level switch. If the engine was not run at the appropriate temperature first, the old oil and deposits could remain in the float and in other areas of the engine. Those deposits can affect operation and lifespan of the switch.

Oil Change Intervals

The Honda Oil Level Switch inside the engine uses a probe arm that bolts into the side of the engine block. The probe arm has a float in the end of it to monitor oil level in the sump.  If oil change intervals are neglected, deposits and build-up can remain and can potentially gather inside the float, affecting operation.  Honda recommends performing the 1st oil change after 20 hours, and every 50 hours of operation after that. The oil filter should be changed every 200 hours.  Even with low hour usage, we recommend that you change engine oil and filter at least once per year to address condensation. Contaminated engine oil can become acidic, and lead to accelerated corrosion and wear inside of your engine.

Running the engine up to operating temperature before draining the engine oil is recommended; Doing this can help prevent deposits and increase the life expectancy of your engine. (If the engine was not run to operating temperature before draining the oil for an oil change, then the old oil and deposits could remain in the float and in other areas of the engine. As a result, those deposits can also affect operation and lifespan of the switch.)

WINCO offers premium quality, private labeled synthetic oil and engine maintenance kits to keep your engine at peak performance!

Oil Change

Ambient Temperature

Was the ambient temperature factored in when choosing which oil to use?

Normal Operating Temperature
Ambient Temp

Each engine manufacturers have certain requirements on oil type in regards to the ambient temperature. Honda specifies that their air-cooled engine operate in a maximum ambient temperature of 105 degrees Fahrenheit .

Cold Weather Operation

Engines running on LP or NG may experience difficulty starting in temperatures below -10 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, an oil heater kit should be used in areas were the ambient temperature can reach below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.


How level is the generator?

In order for the float to work properly, the unit must be level. You shouldn’t assume the mounting pad is level. Since the ground can shift over time, when a technician is inspecting the unit, they should also inspect the pad .

PSS12 Installation

Place a good level on the concrete pad, preferably underneath the engine to see if the ground has settled and your pad is now out of level.

We have found that the majority of customers who experienced this issue have been able to correct and prevent it by addressing the items listed in this help topic. Very few generators have actually needed to have this part replaced. If you are having trouble with a generator or have any questions, please give our Service Department a call at (507) 357-6831.

You can find more troubleshooting information in the PSS12 manual.

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