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Old 06-26-2022, 05:31 AM   #1
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Angry New Cummins OnanŽ Diesel generator does not start

We just took delivery on our 2022 Winnebago View 24D. After taking delivery, I had about a 1.5 hour drive to get it home. On the way, a large storm moved in. So I pulled into a Chevron/McDonald's combo that had spaces for trucks and RVs. I got some food and hunkered down.

Being in Florida, it as around 90 F. I decided to try out the more efficient 3,200-watt Cummins OnanŽ Diesel generator (https://www.cummins.com/generators/onan-qd-3200) to run the A/C rather than leave the MB engine running.

I pushed the display button, waited, and then held down the Start button and it started right up. I turned the house A/C on and everything was great! I turned off the MB engine and sat down and started to eat (much needed after the delivery process took over 5 hours to complete).

About 15 minutes later, the A/C stopped and the generator just died. On the panel it said "Generator Alert". I tried a few more times and it wouldn't start (it would crank, but not start up). I gave up and turned back on the MB engine to keep cool for the rest of the storm.

The next day, I checked the generator. The oil was clean and 3/4 full, within the recommended range. The "Generator Alert" no longer displayed, but it still could not be started. I checked breakers and didn't see anything flipped. I read through Cummins manuals, watched 20+ YouTube videos, read the Winnebago View 2022 manuals, etc.

The only thing that I found that seemed relevant was in the Cummins online manual (not provided with the RV), where it explained that there are only three causes of the "Generator Alert" message (see attachment).

It doesn't look like any of these are things that I can/should try to address myself. Am I missing something here?

Did I really run into an issue that requires a Cummins service call and technician after less than 1 hour of taking delivery?

I'd appreciate your feedback. Thank you.
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Old 06-26-2022, 05:44 AM   #2
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I don't know about the gen problem but idling the Mercedes engine is a bad idea. Idling with the Mercedes emissions system can lead to many problems. The engine needs to be under load and rpm up.
However it is your Rv and you can do as you want with it.
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Old 06-26-2022, 06:05 AM   #3
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Yes, I would like to avoid that, but I need a working generator to do that.

I am on shore power now at my house, so there is no need to idle the MB engine.

It also got a good 45 minutes more of driving after the storm passed.
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Old 06-26-2022, 07:08 AM   #4
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Checking all of the wire connections between the panel and the Generator would be my first step, followed by calling the dealership and asking them to take a look at it under warranty.
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Old 06-26-2022, 08:27 AM   #5
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One thing that can sneak up on us is "possible" if you are not aware. How was the fuel level? Many RV gensets are set so that we can't totally run out of fuel and they stop at about a 1/4 left.
Any chance you have less than 1/4 tank left?
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Old 06-26-2022, 08:41 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morich View Post
One thing that can sneak up on us is "possible" if you are not aware. How was the fuel level? Many RV gensets are set so that we can't totally run out of fuel and they stop at about a 1/4 left.
Any chance you have less than 1/4 tank left?
That's a good thought, but in this case, I had just filled up. I don't know if it's an issue that I stopped at Love's Truck Stop and their Diesel (#2) had BioDiesel in it. I will avoid their truck stops in the future if I can find diesel in Florida that doesn't have BioDiesel.
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Old 06-28-2022, 07:17 PM   #7
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I checked all of the connections that were accessible to me, including unscrewing the panel and checking the connection to it. Everything looked good. Plus it primes the generator and cranks just fine, I would assume that wouldn't be the case if the connection to the panel was bad.

I talked to a local Cummins repair shop today. They went through a lot of the same questions posted above. In the end, he said that they will have to take a look at it under warranty. He said that they will have to take the generator out, plus the wiring harness, and the panel so that they can test and get to the bottom of the issues.

I know that RV quality these days is really poor, but I never seriously thought that it was so bad that I would need to take my brand new generator in for a warranty repair that involved taking apart my RV, with only 1 hour on the generator...
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Old 06-28-2022, 08:11 PM   #8
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That sounds pretty extremeto say they will have to take it and the controls out to look at it and before they even look at it! Kind of sounds like taking a car engine out to test it??

I don't know how thw warrenty part works, etc but I might consider checking with some other places, perhaps even an RV shop that might be more agreeable to just looking at a few things before going extreme.
There are times when we get really bad stories, just because folks are not really interested in working on RV as they can seem really hard if not used to all the little quirks that come with RV.
You do seem kind of hung between two bad choices, though!

But just as a simple idea,since it was running fine and then quit, it sounds more likely just some connection fell off? Does your generator have a switch on the generator itselfthat lets you start it there? Possibly trying that switch to see what it might do---if you have one. Not at all sure on the new ones but olderhad one that was pretty obvious to use at just inside the door where you check oil, etc.
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Old 06-28-2022, 08:18 PM   #9
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Thank you for the response.

This shop is a Cummins warranty repair shop that specifically handles RV repairs. They had some good reviews related to RV generator repairs on Google Maps. My other option is going twice as far in the other direction back to the dealer, who wants me to wait 45 days for service, and who I generally don't trust. I need the generator working here in hurricane season and can't wait 35 more days.

I'm sure that they will look at it before just ripping it out, but no this generator doesn't have any way to start it other than the panel.

I'm certainly hoping that it's just an internal connection in the generator that they can get to and fix w/o taking it out.

However, in looking at the 3 options, 2 of them don't seem to be possible (1 and 2) and the only remaining option seems to be a faulty generator inverter. I don't think that this can be replaced/resolved w/o taking it out and taking it apart.
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Old 06-28-2022, 09:58 PM   #10
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If I understand it your generator will turn over but not start? That indicates a typical ignition or fuel problem with the engine, not a generator problem unless there is some monitored fault that prevents it from running. Perhaps with new ones there is some fault code that gets set and must be reset before it will run, can't say about that.

That's what I dislike about some of the new stuff. Simple things become complicated. I can't imagine anyone thinking the unit has to be removed to resolve what is usually a simple problem.
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Old 06-28-2022, 10:29 PM   #11
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It's not showing the "GENERATOR ALERT" message anymore.

It turns over but never starts. I don't get any kind of error code or info atm.
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Old 06-28-2022, 10:47 PM   #12
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Hey sorry, I just reread your original post and missed the diesel part earlier.

Diesels don't have ignitions like gas engines, but have glow plugs or heaters for the incoming fuel for the initial cold start.

So, if it's a warm day and it still doesn't start I'd say you have a fuel issue. But that is much more complicated as I assume you have an electronically controlled injection system. Might be worth checking to make sure you have fuel getting there, but care is required when working on fuel systems like this. The fuel might be under high pressure...
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Old 06-29-2022, 07:44 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Splaktar View Post
I know that RV quality these days is really poor, but I never seriously thought that it was so bad that I would need to take my brand new generator in for a warranty repair that involved taking apart my RV, with only 1 hour on the generator...
It’s really a shame that you’re having this issue. And I hope you get this fixed quickly and easily. But, when thinking RV quality has “really gone down lately” it’s best to remember that Onan built your generator, not Winnebago. And, for the most part Onan generators are super reliable.

They are complicated machines and as such can have problems even though brand new. It seems what you are experiencing is a bit of bad luck in that your RV got a generator installed in it that has a bad problem. No doubt once this is fixed things will start looking up.
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Old 06-29-2022, 08:11 AM   #14
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One of the big things that we all see is that we are getting far more problems with things we buy.
But one of the things we also need to keep in mind is that what we are buying if often far more complex than we bought even 20 years ago!

I drove a 53 Ford for years and never had trouble with the stereo, door locks, air conditioner, power steering, power brakes, power seats, or power windows.
I never had trouble with any of that stuff but I did have lots of trouble keeping the ignition points cleaned, keeping the mirrows pointed the right way when people bumped them and I always had to take my keys out of my pocket to unlock the doors and had to get out to even open the trunk!

I even had to get a paper map out to find St. Louis!

Some days I wish life were that simple again! I never had trouble with a generator till I got an RV!!! Even the windows in the tent camper were easy to fix!

Yup! They need to build things better but I want them to give me more options next time. It's such a drag to get up to turn the lights on!
And my wife is beginning to fuss when I want a cold drink. Wish I had a remote for that !
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Old Yesterday, 10:15 AM   #15
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I took the generator to the local Cummings authorized shop on June 29th, 2022. It took quite a while, but they finally did get it out of the RV (using a forklift since they didn't have any RV lifts). Thankfully, they didn't rip out the wiring harness.

But unfortunately, that meant that they had to order the control panel and wiring harness from Cummings to debug the issue. I thought that would be no problem and only take a week or so. It's not possible to debug/test work with these new Onan diesel generators w/o the panel and wiring harness. There are very few functions accessible directly on the generator itself.

It turned out that the control panel didn't arrive until July 22nd and the wiring harness didn't arrive until August 12th.

So now it's been 1.5 months and the local tech is finally in a position to start investigating the problem. But his entire staff is currently out with Covid-19, so things are being delayed longer.

On August 13th, I got this update:

Quote:
I have connected the harness and control.
The set wakes up. Goes through fuel prime and pre-heat. It will not send the open signal to the internal fuel solenoid.
We now have more than we did but there is more going on.
Then later that day I got this clarification:

Quote:
I think the solenoid is good.
As soon as I can restore some order in the shop my intents are:
- Perform a detailed study of the switching logic on the engine harness.
- The tech manual is vague at best but that's just another day at the office.
- Gather notes and form a presentation for myself.
- If it does not jump right up and I say " oh I'm a dummie", I will at least have coalesced the required data to send up to Cummins Engineering.

They are great guys and I clearly understand to gather basic data before submitting.
They are working through a couple of other machines with me right now.
So I've been without a generator in my RV for almost 100% of my ownership time so far and during hurricane season. Thankfully it's been quiet so far, but something will likely change soon. This has limited us from taking any leisure trips here in Florida during the summer since just parking for an hour or so will heat it up over 120 F w/o the generator and A/C.

At this point, I'm still holding out hope that he can repair this w/o having to order a part that is back-ordered for multiple months...
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