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Old 11-28-2021, 06:00 PM   #1
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Generator question

I'm sure this is addressed somewhere in this forum, but trying to find it is a pain, so I'm going to risk it and ask for advice.


I've done some research on the subject, and it is confusing. How often does the onboard generator need servicing/rebuilding? Some search results say every 2 years, some say every 500 hours. Some results say a simple servicing is fine, others say to have it rebuilt. Our genny is running fine, and we DO use it on occasion, not frequently or for long periods of time, but we DO use it. Starts up fine with no problems. It has over 600 hours on the clock. When should we have it serviced? And WHERE?
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Old 11-28-2021, 06:19 PM   #2
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Change the oil as recommended. Use a fuel stabilizer over the winter. Exercise it every month or two while in storage to flush out the water contaminated ethanol in the carburetor.

Do all of that and it will last a long time.

David
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Old 11-29-2021, 04:30 PM   #3
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It is an LPG genny. Extremely economical, apparently! When I was using it this summer to power the AC, since the household current WON'T, it barely used any propane at all! We were astounded. Especially since the furnace GULPS the propane. I've had several people tell me to RUN the genny, since that is what they are made for. I'll keep 'er fired up once a month or so, unless we need the power for something in particular.
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Old 11-29-2021, 06:17 PM   #4
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Propane generators are a lot more forgiving. They don't have carburetors that can foul up with water/ethanol varnish. You can run it every month to heat things up and boil off moisture, but I don't think that is really necessary for propane fueled generators.

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Old 11-29-2021, 09:10 PM   #5
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Start it one a month and load it up for a 30 minutes or longer. Change oil every 50 hours or once a year if less. Do what the manual says.
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Old 12-05-2021, 07:32 PM   #6
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Hi I just had my 7k Onan services and Quality RV in El Cajon said bring it back in 150 hrs of use. So I’ll bring it back then I bought some 10-30 Onan oil so I can check it every time I take it out.
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Old 12-05-2021, 08:39 PM   #7
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Now I'm more confused than before. I can put 50 hours on my genny in less than a week - in fact I put almost 100 on it when the power went out and we had no AC during a heat wave. And I should change the oil weekly when using the genny? REALLY? And a rebuild after 150 hrs? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was told that 'servicing' the genny was basically rebuilding the engine/motor. Are they THAT delicate? Yet, they say you can leave your automobile engine idling for hours to run an inverter? Folks, you are REALLY confusing me.
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Old 12-05-2021, 09:14 PM   #8
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Oil Cange Intervals

If you think of a car going 50 miles per hour it will go 2500 miles in 50 hours, a propane generator doesn't need the oil changed that frequently, 100 or 150 hr is good enough. Propane engines run way cleaner than gas or deisel.
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Old 12-05-2021, 10:12 PM   #9
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Change the oil and do the services per the owners manual and you'll be fine. The analogy of viewing it as a car or better yet a Small Air Cooled Motorcycle traveling down the highway at 50 MPH is a good way to look at it. An air cooled motorcycle without an oil filter will need its oil changed every 500 miles while one with an oil filter will need it every 3,000 miles.

Servicing involves changing the oil and filters until you get to the time specified to check and adjust the valves. If you have not been changing the oil/filters, changing the spark plugs, adjusting the valves and cleaning the carbon out of the exhaust per the maintenance schedule then you may need to have it rebuilt sooner rather than later however it would have to be severely lacking in oil changes and maintenance to be in need of a full rebuild at just 600 hours or the equivalent of riding that small motorcycle 30,000 miles. If its running smoothly and not burning a lot of oil and the spark plugs look good when its serviced then you could get another 600 to 1,200 hours from it without needing a full rebuild.

The propane fuel while it eliminates the issue of ethanol in the carburetor does not mean it does not have a carburetor but just that it has a different type of carburetor. Propane engines can sometimes be more prone to condensation build up in the crankcase/oil so one would want to follow the schedule in the owners manual as far as oil changes, etc are concerned. If you do not have the owners/service manual for your particular generator you can download it from Onan's website and then you will have the most accurate information on the maintenance of your particular Onan Propane Generator. Note that some models of Onan generators also have a drive belt that will eventually need to be changed. Many will change the belt when they have to take the generator out of the motor home for the valve adjustment so they won't have to pay to remove it at what will more likely be an inconvenient time after the belt breaks.


Bottom line is that there is a good chance the generator will pass the required 500 hour service checks with very little drama and only need some spark plugs and routine adjustments besides an oil and filter change.
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Old 12-06-2021, 08:47 AM   #10
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I have to say I’m very, very surprised to hear of a LPG Onan Genset in a 2005 Sightseer. Are you sure about that? The Sightseer is a Gas motorhome and as a result Winnebago uses gas generators that get their fuel supply from a tap in the gas tank 3/4 of the way down the tank.

The cover on the generator has the model of your genset and using that model info you should easily find all the service info you need for that unit. The basic items are as you’ve already been told, changing oil and filter (if it has one, small Onans don’t) and running it monthly under load. If it is gas powered the fuel filter should be changed at some interval but I don’t know what interval Onan suggests. I do mine every two years.

A full rebuild is not a regular item one expects to encounter in the ownership of an RV unless something really serious goes wrong sometime.
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Old 12-06-2021, 09:00 AM   #11
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I checked the 2005 Sighteer Operator’s Manual and could not find definitive details of your genset. But did find this in the Propane section of the Manual:

Quote:
LP GAS SUPPLY
The LP gas system supplies fuel for the range, water heater, furnace and refrigerator (while in gas mode). When used and handled properly, this system is safe and economical and provides modern living conveniences wherever you travel.
You’ll note there is no mention of the generator in this information.

Maybe this is detailed in your Onan info packet. I suppose it’s possible for it to be LP powered, just unusual in my experience.
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Old 12-06-2021, 09:13 AM   #12
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Change the oil once a year. Most don't have an oil filter. There's an air and fuel filter to keep in mind. It will shut down if the oil get's low, and too high too I believe. If it starts burning oil, you'll know the engine needs work. You've likely heard that failure to run it under load periodically will result in it being gummed up and start surging up and down.
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Old 12-06-2021, 09:13 AM   #13
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According to the 2005 Sighteer brochure there were two models of Onan generators used in that motorhome- both of them gas powered.

A 4000w MicroQuiet and a 5500w MarquisGold were the two models. The 30B model and smaller models used the 4000w model. While the 33 and larger models used the 5500w unit.

The 4000w MicroQuiet Onan doesn’t have an oil filter to change. But the 5500w model does.

Here’s a link to your RVs original brochure:

https://www.winnebago.com/Files/Imag...htseer-bro.pdf
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Old 12-06-2021, 10:27 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creativepart View Post
I checked the 2005 Sighteer Operatorís Manual and could not find definitive details of your genset. But did find this in the Propane section of the Manual:



Youíll note there is no mention of the generator in this information.

Maybe this is detailed in your Onan info packet. I suppose itís possible for it to be LP powered, just unusual in my experience.
Definitely LP powered. There is no other fuel for the genny.
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Old 12-06-2021, 10:29 AM   #15
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Let me rephrase that... If the LP is not ON, the genny will not run.
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Old 12-06-2021, 10:29 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyFaire View Post
Definitely LP powered. There is no other fuel for the genny.
What makes you think that? Because it doesn't have a fuel tank of it's own?

It's possible a previous owner completely changed the generator. But it's not available with an LP version from the factory.
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Old 12-07-2021, 09:21 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by LadyFaire View Post
Definitely LP powered. There is no other fuel for the genny.

The nameplate on the generator will confirm whether its LP or Gasoline powered. While a propane generator is not a factory option on the 2005 Sightseer there is always a chance that it was special ordered with one which the build sheet in the black back will show or that a previous owner made the error of installing one, A propane generator would be a deal breaker for me since its a whole lot easier to get stop at a gas station to get more gasoline while its a lot harder to get a propane refill on the road. When your boon docking its pretty lousy to run out of propane because the generator sucked it all up leaving you nothing for cooking and heating while the gas generators in a Class A usually are set up to leave you about 25 gallons of gasoline when the fuel gets below the level of their fuel pickup usually leaving you plenty to make it out to a gas station.

According to the manual on the Microlite 4000 the 500 hour service includes new spark plug, fuel filter replacement and a valve adjustment but does not require the generator to be rebuilt.

See: https://www.cummins.com/sites/defaul.../0981-0154.pdf
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Old 12-08-2021, 06:34 AM   #18
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LPG Generator

If it is propane I would be curious how big your propane tank is. Should be 30 gals if it is propane. Travato John
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Old 12-08-2021, 08:28 AM   #19
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That's what the gas guy said when I filled it.
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Old 12-09-2021, 04:13 AM   #20
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I think your generator runs off gasoline from your one fuel tank. Could that be the reason why your propane tank gauge showed very little consumption? Just ask a reliable mechanic. Even a shade tree mechanic should be able to tell you just by looking at it.
I'm eager to hear your final discovery.
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