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Old 01-03-2008, 07:17 AM   #1
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I am relatively new to RVs. I made my purchase back in October. Since I am not a full timer (yet), I go by my storage lot and start my engine and generator and let it idle every two weeks or so.

Is this a smart thing to do or am I actually causing wear and possible damage to my unit?

Your thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks,
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Old 01-03-2008, 07:17 AM   #2
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I am relatively new to RVs. I made my purchase back in October. Since I am not a full timer (yet), I go by my storage lot and start my engine and generator and let it idle every two weeks or so.

Is this a smart thing to do or am I actually causing wear and possible damage to my unit?

Your thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks,
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Old 01-03-2008, 07:51 AM   #3
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I think it's a good idea to start the engine every few weeks. I would let it run long enough for the engine to completely warm up in order to eliminate condensation that will form in the exhaust system..

The generator should be run under load for at least a half hour...a full hour would be better. If it's too cold to operate the AC as the load, a hair dryer or electric heater will provide the necessary load.

Others may have different opinions...this is what has always worked for me.
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Old 01-03-2008, 08:10 AM   #4
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Dan Bowman:
I am relatively new to RVs. I made my purchase back in October. Since I am not a full timer (yet), I go by my storage lot and start my engine and generator and let it idle every two weeks or so.

Is this a smart thing to do or am I actually causing wear and possible damage to my unit?

Your thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks, </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

It seemed like the right thing to do but then I started doubting my decision to do it. Thanks for the idea on the tires. I will add that to my routine.

Thanks,
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Old 01-03-2008, 08:11 AM   #5
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Seth,Tiffany and Henry(MH Dog) Winick:
also what model is your coach, what type of engine, and what the length, </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I just added my model number to my signature. We have a 2003 Journey Model 36LD.
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Old 01-03-2008, 08:20 AM   #6
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by gypsynut:
I think it's a good idea to start the engine every few weeks. I would let it run long enough for the engine to completely warm up in order to eliminate condensation that will form in the exhaust system..

The generator should be run under load for at least a half hour...a full hour would be better. If it's too cold to operate the AC as the load, a hair dryer or electric heater will provide the necessary load.

Others may have different opinions...this is what has always worked for me. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Gypsynut,
Thanks for your advice. I am letting the engine run about 10 to 15 minutes. I believe the engine gets to operating temperature. I know it runs long enough for the air pressure to build up. I agree it should be at operating temperature and will be sensitive to that as check mark to look for before I shut it down.

Not doubting your advice on the generator but I would like to understand it. What is the purpose of running the generator under load?

Thanks,
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Old 01-03-2008, 08:24 AM   #7
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I believe it would be better to take the rig out and drive it as opposed to just idling.

That way the entire drive line will get warmed up and lubricated.

Running the generator under load is the correct thing to do.
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Old 01-03-2008, 08:39 AM   #8
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I agree with Dirk. It is my understanding, contrary to what you witness at truck stops, that prolonged idling of a diesel engine is not good practice. I know if I start my Cat and let it idle for up to 20 minutes, I barely see any rise in engine temp, certainly not enough to burn off moisture.

If you can, suggest you take the coach for a monthly spin. Turn on your genset, heat pump and other electrical stuff to exercise the generator under load (Onan suggests you run the genset under load for 2 hours for a proper exercise). We don't need to 'store' our rig for more than about 3 months max, but we find a reason to exercise it at least monthly....we take it for a 60 mile round trip to a shopping mall, eat out, etc. I and the dog watch TV while the DW shops. This offers the added advantage of an opportunity to make sure everything works and may add something to your 'fix-it' list before your traveling season begins.
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Old 01-03-2008, 08:42 AM   #9
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">that prolonged idling of a diesel engine is not good practice. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Nor a gas engine.
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Old 01-03-2008, 08:47 AM   #10
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Agree with those who say idling is not sufficient to raise temps to operating level. My routine is every 30 days I drive the MH for a minimum of 30 miles while running the generator with as much load as I can put on it (heat pump, tvs, frig, etc. I try to exercise every system in the coach except the water pump since the coach is winterized. Guess we all think what we are doing is the right thing. Best of luck to you - enjoy your coach!!
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Old 01-03-2008, 09:03 AM   #11
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Prolonged idling is bad for gass as well as diesel engines.

The proper way to take care of the coach over a long shut down is to take it out and drive it for at least 30 minutes about every 4 weeks. By driving the coach you get the seals and all of the lubricant up to temperature and circulating.

By coming up to temperature, you allow the engine and exhuast system to get hot enough to drive off the moisture. A short run will not allow enough time to get the moisture out of the engine/exhaust. The moisture lays there and combines with the by-products of combustion and can form acids.

If you are not able to actually drive the coach, you are better off to not start it at all. Prior to winter storage, change the oil, fill the fuel tank and add a fuel stabilizer and put a tricle charge on the battery every 2 to 4 weeks for a couple of days.

But do not start it and let it idle, even a fast idle for 15 minutes or so. In addition to the condensation issue, at idle, the cylinder walls are washed a bit by the slightly richer mixture and the excess fuel will wash into the crankcase and dilute the oil.

Ken
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Old 01-03-2008, 09:07 AM   #12
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Seth,Tiffany and Henry(MH Dog) Winick:
In light of that question... It is always good to start her up and let her run </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

When in long term storage diesel engines should not be started per Cummins, Cat and Detroit.

-Tom
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Old 01-03-2008, 09:13 AM   #13
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by TXiceman:
Prolonged idling is bad for gass as well as diesel engines.

The proper way to take care of the coach over a long shut down is to take it out and drive it for at least 30 minutes about every 4 weeks. By driving the coach you get the seals and all of the lubricant up to temperature and circulating.

By coming up to temperature, you allow the engine and exhuast system to get hot enough to drive off the moisture. A short run will not allow enough time to get the moisture out of the engine/exhaust. The moisture lays there and combines with the by-products of combustion and can form acids.

If you are not able to actually drive the coach, you are better off to not start it at all. Prior to winter storage, change the oil, fill the fuel tank and add a fuel stabilizer and put a tricle charge on the battery every 2 to 4 weeks for a couple of days.

But do not start it and let it idle, even a fast idle for 15 minutes or so. In addition to the condensation issue, at idle, the cylinder walls are washed a bit by the slightly richer mixture and the excess fuel will wash into the crankcase and dilute the oil.

Ken </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Thanks to all of you for your advice. It appears that the consensus is to take the unit out once per month for a 30 minute or more run with the gen set running and loaded. I will change my every two week starting routine to do just that.

I did read the "Excercising The Genset" section on the ONAN operator's Manual and found why Gypsynut recommended running the Genset under load.

I really like the recommendation of SMLRANGER to take it to the local mall while my DW is shopping although it would probably be cheaper to leave her at home.

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Old 01-03-2008, 09:34 AM   #14
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Tom N:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Seth,Tiffany and Henry(MH Dog) Winick:
In light of that question... It is always good to start her up and let her run </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

When in long term storage diesel engines should not be started per Cummins, Cat and Detroit.

-Tom </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Tom,
Not sure what their definition of long term storage is but I really don't intend the unit to be in long term storage. I would assume long term is probably 3 or more months. What do you think?

I live in Florida and go to all the Gator Home Games. With the RV, we plan to make several away games as well. This spring we are headed to Niagra Falls followed by a trip along Route 66 to LA and a 2 month stay in Colorado. This assumes that diesel fuel doesn't peak at $5.00 per gallon.

I do appreciate the information from the engine builders.

Thanks,
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Old 01-03-2008, 03:15 PM   #15
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[QUOTE]
Originally posted by Dan Bowman:
Not doubting your advice on the generator but I would like to understand it. What is the purpose of running the generator under load?
[QUOTE]

Dan, my understanding is that the purpose of operating the generator under load is so you build up heat in the electricity producing part of the generator - the stator. As in most generators it's a bunch of small wires wound up into a circular bundle that require continuity throughout to operate. If you get a buildup of moisture in the stator then you may also get the resultant corrosion that will hamper or stop the flow of electricity. Operating the genset under at least a 50% load will make heat that will dispell the moisture. I had to replace the generator in my previous motorhome for that very reason - the owners before me rarely used the generator and although the engine ran fine, the stator corroded itself to death!
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Old 01-03-2008, 03:23 PM   #16
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The windings tend to get damp and the running will heat them up and drive the water out before it can cause damage. Also, there is a concern for the rotor (big magnet) can loose some of it's magnetic field and running will help that as well.

Ken
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Old 01-03-2008, 04:17 PM   #17
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Contrary to popular belief it is specifically recommended to NOT start up and idle diesel engines on a periodic basis while the coach is in storage. Check the Cummins and CAT websites. They specifically recommend against letting diesel engines idle for extended times.

Reason is that the engine never reaches operating temperatures (about 180+F) nor does the transmission reach operating temperature (about 140+F).

So the suggestions above to take your coach out and drive it for 30 min is correct.

By letting your diesel engine run at idle only allows moisture to enter the oil and does not do the engine good.

On the other hand, running the generator monthly under load is not a bad idea. If you can run your generator (under load) monthly to exercise, this will help keep the armature in the generator well exercised and will avoid corrosion.

So moral of the story is that if you cannot drive your coach during storage, DON'T let it sit with the engine at idle.

I live in snow country, and will not allow the coach to get salted up. For this reason, I let it sit for the duration until spring.
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Old 01-04-2008, 09:43 AM   #18
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Living in snow country also I do as Pusherman does. No way could we take it out with all the salt and slop on the roads. If we have a bare winter than routine changes. This year it is run genny monthly under load and charge batteries every two\three weeks. Only other thing to do is enjoy the forum, read RV mags, attend RV shows, and try not to go crazy waiting for spring and the next RVing summer.
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Old 01-04-2008, 10:22 AM   #19
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">This year it is run genny monthly under load and charge batteries every two\three weeks. Only other thing to do is enjoy the forum, read RV mags, attend RV shows, and try not to go crazy waiting for spring and the next RVing summer. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>



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Old 01-05-2008, 01:17 PM   #20
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Dan: I was told not to let the engine idle at less than 1000rpm. Sometimes you just have to let it idle, set the cruise control at the higher rpm and don't worry about it.
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