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Old 11-25-2005, 09:27 AM   #1
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I have an Onan Emerald Plus 5kw gas generator in my Chieftain that has developed a problem. When I press start I hear the starter motor running but it goes not engage. The starter is on the back side so is rather hard to get to. Anyone have a guess as to what the problem may be? I took some digital photos so I could see what it looked like back there. Looks like there are two bolts that hold it in. I think I may be able to remove them to get the starter out without removing the entire set from the motorhome.

Any thoughts or tips are welcome!!
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Old 11-25-2005, 09:27 AM   #2
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I have an Onan Emerald Plus 5kw gas generator in my Chieftain that has developed a problem. When I press start I hear the starter motor running but it goes not engage. The starter is on the back side so is rather hard to get to. Anyone have a guess as to what the problem may be? I took some digital photos so I could see what it looked like back there. Looks like there are two bolts that hold it in. I think I may be able to remove them to get the starter out without removing the entire set from the motorhome.

Any thoughts or tips are welcome!!
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Old 11-25-2005, 11:22 AM   #3
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Does the starter turn the motor over, or does it just spin. If it only spins and does not turn the motr over, then the Bendix spring is not doing its job of making contact with the flywheel to spin it. This would require pulling out the starter and having the bendix freed up.
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Old 11-25-2005, 12:16 PM   #4
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The starter spins but does not turn the motor over. Will see if I can get it out if it warms up a bit. 25 degrees here in Iowa today.
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Old 11-25-2005, 01:31 PM   #5
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The spring returns the bendix to the rest position. The bendix engages due to centrifical force caused by the spinning motor. The bendix on this starter is plastic and is probably just worn out. Rember most current starter motors use powdered metal permanent magnets which are glued in place, so never strike the motor with anything, even a plastic hammer in an attempt to free up a stuck bendix. Once in a while you will find one that is stuck due to operating in extremely dusty conditions. When you remove it also be careful not to drop it as those magnets are very brittle.
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Old 11-27-2005, 09:42 AM   #6
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Depending on your application but you might be able to get under the coach and get behind the generator to remove it from the rear. Pull it and take it to a starter shop, exchange it for a new one, they are cheap, about $100.00 or so. Way cheaper than a new one from Onan and the same thing, even got the same part numbers on it. As mentioned previously, cheaply made and not worth messing with.
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Old 11-27-2005, 03:39 PM   #7
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Update on my starter problem.

It was over 50 here in Iowa today so I got the starter out. Came out quite easy. The plastic pinion gear was in the pieces. Off to my local Cummins place in the morning for parts. As I understand it the parts to fix it are about $30. Near as I can tell the starter motor is fine.
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Old 12-13-2005, 11:08 AM   #8
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The end to this problem cost $32.60 from my local Onan parts place. That was for part number 191-2187 which is the drive kit. I was able to remove and reinstall the starter without removing the generator from the motorhome.

I think I will get a spare drive kit. I do not have much faith in plastic starter drive gears!
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