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Old 08-02-2017, 07:39 PM   #1
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Default 1997 Roadtrek 190, Onan Generator, Hour meter?

I'm looking at a 1997 Roadtrek 190 to purchase, however the generator does NOT have the hours listed inside where the on/off is. I'm interested to know the usage of it to know that it has been used "enough" to where it won't fail (the current owner says they basically never used the gen which has me worried).

In addition to actually being able to find it, how many hours should I be looking for? The vehicle only has 50k miles on it so only 2.5k/yr average, and I'm not sure either of the first two owners has kept the Gen up to date. They definitely cared for the vehicle, etc., but I will actually want to be using the generator at times where they weren't so I'd like to make sure I can and it won't fail shortly after purchase.

Thanks!
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Old 08-02-2017, 07:46 PM   #2
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If it has an hour meter it will be on the remote panel where it is turned on, AFAIK.

You can check for the condition of it be loading it fully, which is easier than doing the slip ring resistance tests, IMO.

Start it, warm it up, and put on loads with portable heater, hair dryer, etc to get to 2800 watts, turn them on and off while running to make sure it picks up and drops the load smoothly. Run it for at least 30 minutes that way with occasional cycling of loads. If you have a clamp on ammeter, you can use it to confirm the watts, as many of the appliance ratings are not very accurate, but you will need to find a single wire on the AC side to measure on.

I did this test on our Onan when I sold it, so I could show the buyer the condition, and we actually got about 5% over the rated 2800 watts.
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Old 08-02-2017, 09:56 PM   #3
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Also, if you haven't already done so, change the gen set oil. I would check the oil level before draining to get an idea of how well maintained it may have been.
Suggest changing fuel filter to gen set as well.
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Old 08-02-2017, 10:02 PM   #4
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Okay great, will check that stuff out beforehand for sure!

So if there is no hour meter next to the On/Off, it just doesn't have one at all? It definitely doesn't, here's a pic:

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Old 08-03-2017, 03:15 PM   #5
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Make sure that you run the generator for longer than 30 minutes, it needs to run for an hour. I will be surprised if it checks out OK. Mine wasn't run enough before I purchased my used unit, and it had to have new carburetor($500), service and adjustment. So plan to spend $800 or so on it.
Mine was a 2015 unit with 39hrs, so I think it was probably in better shape than the one you are looking at.

Good luck
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Old 08-03-2017, 05:12 PM   #6
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If the Onan on/off switch doesn't have a hour meter, there might be one on the generator itself.
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Old 08-06-2017, 01:59 PM   #7
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I have an older model B also, yr2000, it also has a 2800w onan. What I've noticed is when reading voltage in a 120v outlet the available volts can vary. While trying to understand what was going on and the real purpose of this size generator I realized that it couldn't handle the full load of what was available for electric appliances. That told me the gen set was sized for emergency & remote circumstances. When remote you should stager your usage of appliances to keep from running compressors, microwaves etc, on low voltage. With a volt meter reading volts in and outlet turn on and stager appliances to keep available voltage above 105 t 110v. and if nothing is being used but recharging batteries your reading can be as high as 135v. This is all accomplished by adjusting your operating rpms. What I've found out also about onan 2800w gas 2000 era, is that the governors aren't like what you see on larger portable units. These run at a rpm to produce an acceptable voltage and when on a draw they load up minimally.
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Old 08-06-2017, 05:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crvph View Post
This is all accomplished by adjusting your operating rpms. What I've found out also about onan 2800w gas 2000 era, is that the governors aren't like what you see on larger portable units. These run at a rpm to produce an acceptable voltage and when on a draw they load up minimally.
I think you will find that Onan rpm only controls the frequency (60 hz). The voltage is controlled by the amount of current in the field.
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