Author Topic: Keeping your Generator Happy  (Read 5229 times)

Offline Madathlon

  • *
  • Posts: 185
  • Life on the Road starts with a flat tire
  • Year: 1984
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Chieftain 26RB
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 454
Keeping your Generator Happy
« on: February 02, 2011, 05:16 PM »
OK proud RV owners. Here are a few tips to keep your generator just as happy as your RV motor.

Many people simple don't treat there generator properly and don't know it.

So lets go over some things that will help your generator perform the best it can.

First rule: NEVER use your generator compartment as a extra storage compartment, This is the biggest cause of fires in generator's

Second Rule: Always start and shut down the generator with NO load. This mean nothing that uses AC running.

Third rule: MAINTANCE is a must.

So lets get to the itty gritty.

Air Filters. need to be check and replaced regularly. Clogged filters cause a loss of usable power, BUT no filters also cause over revs and to run Lean. Yes the Air Filter is directly related to fuel air mixture. Never run without one.

As many of you have notice your older  generator has no Oil filter or oil cooler. ( Newer models do but we are speaking of older  generator's here) You need to check your oil at lest once a day for ever day of use. If you are using it heavily (more then 12 hours daily for over 4 days ) you should consider changing the Oil monthly. Now you want to use a good oil. Check oils leave deposits that build up and wont let the  generator cool itself properly. I personally recommend Pennzoil high mileage vehicle 10w30.

Now onto Fuel. Today's Gasoline is a mixture of at lest 10% denatured fuel ethanol and gasoline other wise known as E10, you can also find mixture as high as 85% denatured fuel ethanol and gasoline known as E85. While this is a cleaner burning gas it comes with its own problems. So lets go over a few and there simple fixes.

E10 eats old rubber hoses. It is a well documented fact. So first thing to do is replace your old fuels line with newer ones. You should also do this for the RV's motor also. Also this new gas also goes bad much faster. Fuel stabilizer is your best friend. I used it in everything at all times.

Another issue that the generator's has is carbon build up. Air Cooled engines get carbon build much faster then water cooled ones. You need to decarb the engine at lest once a year. They are many ways to do this. One way is a spray in the carb decarb spray. But I bet many of you don't want to take apart your Generator's to do this one, So what I suggest is in tank treatment such as “Seaform” but you want to do this every few weeks of running time. (Its also good for the Rv's motor anyway)

Now onto the winter storage. Many of you have boats and have them winterized. DO NOT DO THIS TO YOUR GENERATOR. While this would be good for the engine side it does not protect the rotor or stator of the generator. You have to exercise it monthly. This is also a plus for other equipment in your RV.

Proper exercising means not just starting it, but also placing a load on it and working it. So you need to start it ( All AC items off in RV (No Load)) and let it warm up for 5 minutes. Then walk through your RV and turn things on like you RV AC. Lights, refrigerator (AC Side), and even a electric heater ( I recommend a oil filled radiator style ) let them run a few minutes each. Then one buy one shut them off unloading the generator. Once all items are off let the generator idle for 5 minutes and shut it down.

Now you may ask why not winterize your generator. Well it comes down to the brushes in the generator. They can stick and shatter if left sitting to long.

Your Friend

   Madathlon
   CWO4 Motor Pool Chief (retired)
   Onan Master Installer/Service Tech
   Mercury Marine Golden Wrench
   OMC Master Marine Tech
   ASE Master Tech
Madathlon
   CWO4 Motor Pool Chief (retired)
   Onan Master Installer/Service Tech
   Mercury Marine Golden Wrench
   OMC Master Marine Tech
   ASE Master Tech

Offline HandyDan

  • *
  • Posts: 655
  • 6 year member
  • Member since: 2010
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1984
  • Make: Holiday Rambler
  • Model: Imperial
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 454
Re: Keeping your Generator Happy
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2011, 09:52 PM »
Thanks, Good things to know.  I suppose a temperature of 2 degrees won't hurt it to exercise it.  If so, I'm going to run mine tomorrow, since I can't go to work because of the cold and snow,  I might just sit in her and daydream about spring while the heater warms up.
1984 Holiday Rambler
1997 Newmar Kountry Star

Offline ClydesdaleKevin

  • 11 year member
  • *
  • Posts: 3707
  • Member since: 2005
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1989
  • Make: Holiday Rambler
  • Model: Imperial 35 Anniversary Edition
  • Chassis: Chevy/Oshkosh/HRC
  • Engine: 454
Re: Keeping your Generator Happy
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2012, 09:48 PM »
Good point, Robert.  These member articles are full of facts that were earned by experience...and that's a LOT more useful than book knowledge. 

We use our genny often, so we don't even have to think about down time or winterization...but most do...its good to know, and good in practice.  Genny repairs are expensive...maintenance is cheap.

I highly encourage ALL members to post their own articles...either repair knowledge, maintenance knowledge, product reviews, campground reviews, recipes...everything!  That is what makes this group great, and an invaluable resource to current and future members.

Kev
Kev and Patti, the furry kids, and The Nautilus, our 1989 Holiday Rambler Imperial 35 Anniversary Edition.

Offline Madathlon

  • *
  • Posts: 185
  • Life on the Road starts with a flat tire
  • Year: 1984
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Chieftain 26RB
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 454
Re: Keeping your Generator Happy
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2012, 09:54 PM »
I'm Glad to see people are reading this and hopefully finding that these simple tips does save them money in the long run by having fewer and lower repair bills
Madathlon
   CWO4 Motor Pool Chief (retired)
   Onan Master Installer/Service Tech
   Mercury Marine Golden Wrench
   OMC Master Marine Tech
   ASE Master Tech

Offline ClydesdaleKevin

  • 11 year member
  • *
  • Posts: 3707
  • Member since: 2005
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1989
  • Make: Holiday Rambler
  • Model: Imperial 35 Anniversary Edition
  • Chassis: Chevy/Oshkosh/HRC
  • Engine: 454
Re: Keeping your Generator Happy
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2012, 10:39 PM »
Thank you Madathlon for taking the time in the first place to post it and share your knowledge with us.

Kev
Kev and Patti, the furry kids, and The Nautilus, our 1989 Holiday Rambler Imperial 35 Anniversary Edition.

Offline circleD

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  • Posts: 483
  • Any day you wake up is a great day
  • Member since: 2013
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1984
  • Make: Holiday Rambler
  • Model: Imperial 33
  • Chassis: p30
  • Engine: 454
Re: Keeping your Generator Happy
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2014, 08:27 PM »
Here's my 2 cents about generator care. I had a friend that works for Onan and retired fireman charge me for parts only and no labor to look at and tune up my Genny that hadn't been cranked in 15 YEARS!!! It was a total of $60 because luckily its an old school one and built tough. He said just like the others about running it at least monthly and spend a little for tune up materials and they'll be there when needed. The only issue I've had was not connecting the battery cable tight enough  :-[ 

Offline hammerdwn1955

  • *
  • Posts: 4
  • Member since: 2015
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1986
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Chieftain 33
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 454 cu. In.
Re: Keeping your Generator Happy
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2015, 12:13 PM »
Ty for the info   It helped me alot on my 1986  33 ft   Onan 6.5   


 

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