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Old 09-19-2009, 09:10 PM   #1
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Default 05/06 R/T Onan Gen run problem

Hi folks - sold my Van a while back but the new owner called and said he's having trouble getting the Generator to run. Says it'll start and run for a very short time, then quit. Said he hadn't started it for a couple of months. I'm starting to think it might be a carb problem (gas sitting ?). Any opinions, suggestions, etc that I might be able to pass along to him ? (I suggested that he sign-up to the various forums, do searches and post the problem - so he might be here in a bit). Let me know what you think. Thanks.. Bill
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Old 09-19-2009, 09:20 PM   #2
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Default Re: 05/06 R/T Onan Gen run problem

Yup, probably some gunk in the carb.

Tell him to make sure the RT has more than half a tank of gas. I'd start the RT then start the gen & see if it will run longer when the van motor is also running. He could also tray to spray some carb cleaner into the carb.

My Onan 4000 has a solenoid attached to the bottom of the carb bowl. It is fairly easy to take off clean the gunk off.

I didn't have a generator on my Roadtrek so I never had the pleasure of working on one.

If he gets it going then run it for an hour our more.
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Old 09-19-2009, 10:04 PM   #3
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Default Re: 05/06 R/T Onan Gen run problem

Might tell them to pick up a can of SeaFoam Gas Treatment and put the whole can into the gas tank; it will clean out that carb varnish that has built up and get it up to peak. He can pick it up in WalMart ($6.8. Also, if he is so inclined to tackle spraying down the carb, I'd recommend a product called Deep Creep (Same as S/F but in spray version). I have used these for years and they really do the trick. This ethenol gas is playing havoc with folks also, so the StaBil (Blue type) is being sold pretty quickly.
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Old 09-19-2009, 10:28 PM   #4
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Default Re: 05/06 R/T Onan Gen run problem

thanks to both of you for the replies - I've sent both to the fellow

Marco your suggestion about the Van's gas tank jogged my memory - I remember reading that R/T - Onan has a safety thing built in where the Gen can only use the Van's gas down to a certain level (1/4 tank remaining ?) and then it'll shut down - so that it can't fully deplete the tank.

I suggested, via email, that the fellow check the Van's gas quantity and make sure the Van is parked somewhat level - so as to not expose that "certain level"

I also told him that I used to start the Van, then the Generator, then load it up with the a/c AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK and run it for 15-20 minutes - I believe the Owners Manuel suggests that it be "exercised" frequently..

Thanks guys. Bill
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Old 09-20-2009, 04:19 AM   #5
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Default Re: 05/06 R/T Onan Gen run problem

I'm guilty on not excrecising and whenever I start it up I run into the same thing. In fact it happened today. I found if I put fresh gas and just letting it run will do the trick. I also have put gumout in the gas tank to help clean everything. I take it that the seafoam product is similer. When doing that I think it cleans the carb faster. After running it for a hour or two it seems to be fine.
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Old 09-20-2009, 11:21 PM   #6
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Default Re: 05/06 R/T Onan Gen run problem

For a newbie RVer it may well be the fuel level is too low in the gas tank.
You were right about the 1/4 tank cut off level in Roadtreks.
After that, possiblly gunk in the carb, try carb cleanout, as suggested here,
and once started, may need a good long run time for exercise, at least an hour.
So far, I've found with my '02 2800 Microlite, it does seem to start better
and keep running when the batteries are enabled first, and the van's engine
is also already running, before hitting the start generator switch.
They also apparently have a low oil level shut off, so that might be worth a look.
I was having problems with mine a while back, and after poking around the van's many parts,
I discovered a loose/corroded battery connection from the generator to the coach battery.
Once that was fixed, the starting was much better. (I think markopolo originally suggested
checking the battery connections during my diagnostics. )
I also note when starting my gen, the coach lights dim (they run off the coach batteries),
and my battery gauge indicator needle also waggles below charged when the start button is
pressed, so it seems to be drawing from the coach AND chassis batteries when starting.
(At least on mine it does, but I still have a flaky battery isolator, until next month, I hope!)
So check those battery connections. Could be a part of the problem.
If all else fails, google Onan repair facilities and suggest they take it in.
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Old 01-02-2010, 04:11 AM   #7
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Default Re: 05/06 R/T Onan Gen run problem

As you can see from some of my posts. I have had my share of problems with my Onan Gen. In reference to the gas line to the vehicles fuel tank beeing set for 1/4 tank shut off. It is suppose to be just that but one of the problems with mine was the copper tube to the tank was not bent correctly. My gen. would run out of gas at better that a 1/2 tank. I had to pull the line and adjust to 1/4 tank. I have tried carb cleaners and pulled the unit out and cleaned the carb. However, I still have not got the thing to run correctly. Sometimes it will run great and others it will run for a while and quit. I have been working on it on and off for two years. I usually start the vehicle first, start gen. and let run for a few min. I then turn on the breaker and add a load. This seems to work best for starting. I am going to take it in to the Cummings repair and let them look at it. When I find out what was wrong will post same. Maybe save someone else some time and trouble.
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Old 01-02-2010, 09:48 PM   #8
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Default Re: 05/06 R/T Onan Gen run problem

There's nothing more frustrating than a problem that won't go away,
even when you've tried everything you, and everyone else, suggests as a
possible cause.
Like I said, sometimes the only way to find out why something isn't working quite right,
is to bite the bullet and get a qualified service center to take a look at it.
I've looked around up here in Ontario, and there's a couple not too far from me.
I'll be taking mine in sometime in the next month to get an oil change and a
once over, just to see what else they think my Onan might need.

Regarding Onan generators and their problems, it has been mentioned on here that
the fuel lines aren't always perfectly bent, or lowered far enough into the main gas tank to
to get to the fuel to run when the tank is more than 1/4 full. So, it isn't surprising that yours
wasn't quite right. It has happened before.

I recently changed an old, tired, and apparently leaky lead acid wet deep cycle battery,
for a newer AGM version, and my Onan 2800ML seems to start better, ever since.
The Onan is only supposed to draw from the house batteries (I have 2, one wet, and
one AGM now) to start, and I think it's getting more cranking power from the new AGM
I added to the coach battery mix.

It might be worth looking into the quality and age of your house battery(ies?), if you suspect it/they
are getting too tired to start the generator, replacing it/them might help.
When you do find out what else was wrong, do post it up.
We can all benefit from our experiences.
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RV - 2002 Roadtrek 190 Popular (Chevy) - SOLD.
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Old 01-03-2010, 02:25 PM   #9
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Default Re: 05/06 R/T Onan Gen run problem

My '96 Class B has an Onan Microlite 2800 with 28 hours on the meter.... ( yeah.)
It started first try in the summer. I was gone awhile and now in the cold, I doesn't start. I run the van engine a few mins 1st. I look at test panel,shows house battery green light ( altho I know the house batt is dried out and doesn't hold a charge). Genset will NOT start.... oil ok and clean, van gas tank full. I read troubleshooting in manual. Any ideas? I am headed south soon. Maybe it'll start in warm weather (like me) :>)
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Old 01-03-2010, 06:01 PM   #10
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Default Re: 05/06 R/T Onan Gen run problem

Shezonit, change out that battery.....it will be the source of many future problems. You mention you haven't started in a while, but put in fresh gas. Pick up a couple cans of SeaFoam and drop them in the tank and drive it so as to get it mixed good in the tank and lines. With a new batter, the SeaFoam, you should be able to start it, it will run rough for awhile, but it will smooth out. You need to try and exercise it regularly, it is one of the best devices you carry. Safe travels and enjoy heading South.
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