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Old 06-02-2019, 05:49 PM   #1
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Default Getting brand new generator soon

Next week Cummins Onan is installing a brand new generator in my RS Adventurous....

Hopefully, this new "overhead cam".... replacing the 2011 overhead valve model will work better and be more reliable?

My old generator is apparently "dead".... just shy of 46 hours.... it's been at the Cummins Onan dealership for almost two weeks... and they've spent over 14 hours of their own labor time trying to figure out what happened ?

It will not start and run properly... and when they try to start it it sounds like a "jackhammer"....then shuts down .

Imagine, this is on the bench at the dealership and they had two technicians working on it... and cannot find the problem.... last I heard was that they are consulting their internal engineering team and waiting for a special diagnostics tool...

My advice for all of you after speaking with them and some other people who knows generators is run your generator as much as possible... apparently, generators love to run and they can go for 4,000 to 5,000 hours.... but, if you don't use them they fail...

When I purchased my RV two years ago I noticed that there was only 11 hours on the generator... I told the sales person...WOW... it's like brand new....he said YES.... what a bunch of BS....he should have known... please, don't fall for this.. .

Anyway, really don't see any good alternatives to the Cummins Onan on the Class B.... not having it is a hassle trying to find power everywhere we go.

At least we're going to have a 3 years warranty.....
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Old 06-02-2019, 06:00 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Roadtrek Adventuous RS1 View Post
Next week Cummins Onan is installing a brand new generator in my RS Adventurous....

Hopefully, this new "overhead cam".... replacing the 2011 overhead valve model will work better and be more reliable?

My old generator is apparently "dead".... just shy of 46 hours.... it's been at the Cummins Onan dealership for almost two weeks... and they've spent over 14 hours of their own labor time trying to figure out what happened ?

It will not start and run properly... and when they try to start it it sounds like a "jackhammer"....then shuts down .

Imagine, this is on the bench at the dealership and they had two technicians working on it... and cannot find the problem.... last I heard was that they are consulting their internal engineering team and waiting for a special diagnostics tool...

My advice for all of you after speaking with them and some other people who knows generators is run your generator as much as possible... apparently, generators love to run and they can go for 4,000 to 5,000 hours.... but, if you don't use them they fail...

When I purchased my RV two years ago I noticed that there was only 11 hours on the generator... I told the sales person...WOW... it's like brand new....he said YES.... what a bunch of BS....he should have known... please, don't fall for this.. .

Anyway, really don't see any good alternatives to the Cummins Onan on the Class B.... not having it is a hassle trying to find power everywhere we go.

At least we're going to have a 3 years warranty.....
Are you purchasing the onan from the same outfit that could not or have not diagnosed an onan with 46 hours or 1000 hours.

"Imagine, this is on the bench at the dealership and they had two technicians working on it... and cannot find the problem.... "

I hardly can. My problem is believing it, what you were told. If simply the engine, there are how many small engine mechanics in the US that can diagnose it in relative short order.

Bud
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Old 06-02-2019, 06:21 PM   #3
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Default It's the dealership... what don't you understand?

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Are you purchasing the onan from the same outfit that could not or have not diagnosed an onan with 46 hours or 1000 hours.

"Imagine, this is on the bench at the dealership and they had two technicians working on it... and cannot find the problem.... "

I hardly can. My problem is believing it, what you were told. If simply the engine, there are how many small engine mechanics in the US that can diagnose it in relative short order.

Bud
Bud
Bud, with all due respect, what makes you think that an ordinary mechanic knows more about the engine than a factory trained specialist who works at the dealership?

That's like saying that your gas station mechanic knows more about my Mercedes Benz than the Mercedes dealership. Ridiculous.
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Old 06-02-2019, 07:34 PM   #4
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"Bud, with all due respect, what makes you think that an ordinary mechanic knows more about the engine than a factory trained specialist who works at the dealership?

Experience (my own with a small engine, kept me in the air), life, common sense. Also applies concerning second opinions when "a factory trained specialist who works at the dealership" can't diagnose a very simple small engine. Again, if you are saying it is the engine.

Simply google small engine diagnostics or the like, there are many many websites that will explain how to do it.

"Are you purchasing the onan from the same outfit that could not or have not diagnosed an onan with 46 hours or 1000 hours."

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Old 06-02-2019, 08:36 PM   #5
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Default Yes, I'm getting a replacement engine from Cummins Onan..... what else do you suggest

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"Bud, with all due respect, what makes you think that an ordinary mechanic knows more about the engine than a factory trained specialist who works at the dealership?

Experience (my own with a small engine, kept me in the air), life, common sense. Also applies concerning second opinions when "a factory trained specialist who works at the dealership" can't diagnose a very simple small engine. Again, if you are saying it is the engine.

Simply google small engine diagnostics or the like, there are many many websites that will explain how to do it.

"Are you purchasing the onan from the same outfit that could not or have not diagnosed an onan with 46 hours or 1000 hours."

Bud
Bud, I'm open to hear what you think, but, you know, it's a Class B.. and there's no space besides underneath the chassis for a generator.... unless I were to pull a small utility trailer 😡😡😡. Not happening.

As for reliability, I've had my RV for two years now and the generator had a tune up and replaced the voltage regulator and rotor last September by Cummins Onan dealership.

About 5 weeks ago on a trip the generator failed and after I finally got an appointment to bring it in ... they looked at it and couldn't find where the problem was....at first they thought it was a fuel problem and just went through the entire generator and still don't have any idea. .. that's a pretty huge deal to check everything.....


It could just be a lemon??? Remember, it's their machine, they built it.... you don't think they know how to check it?

A couple of people I know outside of Cummins
suggested that it might be a bad piston? It doesn't matter, they can't get it to work.

It's a propane generator....I don't know if there's an equivalent Honda that's the same size..or what?

What do you think? I really want to know.. Tell me... please.
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Old 06-02-2019, 09:19 PM   #6
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Bud, I'm open to hear what you think, but, you know, it's a Class B.. and there's no space besides underneath the chassis for a generator.... unless I were to pull a small utility trailer 😡😡😡. Not happening.

As for reliability, I've had my RV for two years now and the generator had a tune up and replaced the voltage regulator and rotor last September by Cummins Onan dealership.

About 5 weeks ago on a trip the generator failed and after I finally got an appointment to bring it in ... they looked at it and couldn't find where the problem was....at first they thought it was a fuel problem and just went through the entire generator and still don't have any idea. .. that's a pretty huge deal to check everything.....

Me? Mine is flawless, near 400 hours. That is luck with this B. I've had the worst luck with tires, than I've had with many vehicles added together.
It could just be a lemon??? Remember, it's their machine, they built it.... you don't think they know how to check it?

A couple of people I know outside of Cummins
suggested that it might be a bad piston? It doesn't matter, they can't get it to work.

It's a propane generator....I don't know if there's an equivalent Honda that's the same size..or what?

What do you think? I really want to know.. Tell me... please.
Me? I've never had to troubleshoot an onan due to my careful maintenance, due diligence, and I've threatened the onan about I would do if...... And if you believe any of that - It is just good luck the opposite of your situation, bad luck. But I've also had the worst luck I've ever had with tires, bad luck also and expensive. I'd never heard of a bubble. 2 of them, difference manufacturers, and more bad luck. I would guess a little more $'s than half the price of a new onan installed.

I don't recall your mentioning until today about anything indicating it might be internal "when they try to start it it sounds like a "jackhammer"....then shuts down", " A couple of people I know outside of Cummins suggested that it might be a bad piston?" Others need to chime in here.

I would want to know what's wrong and what it is going cost to find out. Then decide. My perception of an onan is the problems are not the engine itself, rather everything else, and there are Lots of pieces parts to fail. If engine, it might just total the thing - onan Labor. Others need to chime in here.



I might be in your situation any time, all of us with an onan. I might go with a Honda 2200, or by that time maybe a new B, sell mine without the onan. Your B is worth noticeably more with no onan affecting the price too much would be a guess - not that you need another B, you have a very nice one now.

Bud
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Old 06-02-2019, 09:31 PM   #7
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I forgot to mention, losing the engine is really really bad luck, bummer. I feel for you.

I trying to recall if someone has posted over the years a 2800/2500 engine failure.

Mine is terrific running wise, but I'm still going to use of those 12 gage automatics. Maybe we'll be standing there shoulder to shoulder Blasting Away. I hope you Do Not have one to donate.

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Old 06-02-2019, 09:52 PM   #8
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Default No, I don't need a new Class B RV

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Me? I've never had to troubleshoot an onan due to my careful maintenance, due diligence, and I've threatened the onan about I would do if...... And if you believe any of that - It is just good luck the opposite of your situation, bad luck. But I've also had the worst luck I've ever had with tires, bad luck also and expensive. I'd never heard of a bubble. 2 of them, difference manufacturers, and more bad luck. I would guess a little more $'s than half the price of a new onan installed.

I don't recall your mentioning until today about anything indicating it might be internal "when they try to start it it sounds like a "jackhammer"....then shuts down", " A couple of people I know outside of Cummins suggested that it might be a bad piston?" Others need to chime in here.

I would want to know what's wrong and what it is going cost to find out. Then decide. My perception of an onan is the problems are not the engine itself, rather everything else, and there are Lots of pieces parts to fail. If engine, it might just total the thing - onan Labor. Others need to chime in here.



I might be in your situation any time, all of us with an onan. I might go with a Honda 2200, or by that time maybe a new B, sell mine without the onan. Your B is worth noticeably more with no onan affecting the price too much would be a guess - not that you need another B, you have a very nice one now.

Bud
Bud, you're probably right that it might not affect the value too much, but, it is a major component and sometimes we don't have power, not having the generator is major inconvenience for A/C and the Microwave convection oven. We cannot function without that power unless we're plugged in.

I do have a 180 watt solar panel that charges the two 6 volt AGM batteries but, that's it. And very limited space on the roof for another panel although I might be able to get another small one up there, we'll see. Still not enough power for the major systems.

Bad luck... yeah, I agree. If I had known, which I didn't, I would have looked for an RV with more hours and service time on the generator. I don't think Onan is bad... I've heard many good things about Cummins Onan, they have been in business a very long time. Some people swear by their diesel engines.

This "brand new" replacement has updated technology and will automatically shut down if the oil is too low... interestingly enough, the oil in my old generator was fine, no problems there. They just can't find it , curious.
I don't know if you remember "Click and Clack" the Tappet Brothers, they had a radio show for years.... they had a bit called "Stump the Chumps"... I wish they were still around, it was a great show. One of them died a few years ago and the show was off the air. Anyway, this is a case of too few hours and "lack of use" and care by the previous original owners who I think plugged in everywhere and never even had the 50 hour service done to the machine. When I brought the generator to Onan last September they said it looked like the thing had never been serviced since it was installed in 2011, I have a 2012 RS Roadtrek.

The great news is that the OHC (overhead cam) is much more efficient and a little quieter ( all relative with generators I suppose, 70 decibels; I think the old one is a little higher) each number on the decibel scale is quite significant. OHV ( overhead valve technology) is so old school.... and no automatic detection of low oil … NOT GOOD.

I can't control what other people have done. I purchased my RV two years ago for what I thought was a decent price and have had a few issues for sure.

We got it with 26,000 miles and now it has just under 46,000 … so, that's 20,000 miles in two years. We're definitely using it and are part timers.

It drives and handles great, but, I've done some things to it like a new suspension, anti-sway, upgraded mobile electronics, solar, new bicycle rack, now a new generator.

I think these things are really "boats on wheels", but, more practical if you know what I mean.

On your tires, may I suggest Costco... Costco's are everywhere and if you have a problem you can just go there and get an adjustment. My Michelin tires are wearing great, no problem. Outside of that, make sure you don't have a shock problem; bad shocks will also prematurely wear out your tires.

At least the new generator will have a 3 year warranty. Heck, I might sell the RV in the next 3 or 4 years, who knows.

It's a beautiful machine, we get 18 to 20 MPG and are having a lot of fun with it for now. In the overall scheme of things, once you've lost your fanny what's the other cheek? Here's some pictures of the my rig.

This will be my first and only RV.... why.... it's pretty expensive .

I figure it's all part of the RV experience... you can't take it with you!

I've lost confidence in the old generator after two failures and now they cannot even get it started and running...last straw.

--Mark
Attached Images
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File Type: jpg Inside the RS.jpg (245.4 KB, 15 views)
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File Type: jpg 2012 Roadtrek RS with bicyles .jpg (398.8 KB, 15 views)
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Old 06-03-2019, 05:21 AM   #9
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Beautiful RV. My 97 PW has the wiring and startup switch for a generator but never had one. The only time I've used the AC was when at home in the Phoenix heat and doing some routine cleaning. In 4 hours we can be in the high country where it's cooler. Even when we went to Glacier in August last year we always camped in route at higher elevations. But everyone's needs are different and I understand why many use their AC.

If I did get something for the PW it might be a Honda carbed to run off propane. They're quiet. I wouldn't have to carry extra gas and could carry it outside on the back of the van. Not sure about it's capability to handle the AC, though. Would have to investigate.

Good luck and safe travels.
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Old 06-09-2019, 08:50 PM   #10
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Low hours on a used generator is the "kiss of death"... I have been through a few problems with Onan's , but I have never seen or heard of a properly maintained generator motor failing. I am sure it has happened, but it is certainly not common. A low hour Onan might have fuel issues, but I don't see why the motor would fail unless it was run low on oil. Most units I have seen in the last 20 years have a low oil shut off which should prevent a low oil failure. I think I would get a second opinion...
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Old 06-09-2019, 09:08 PM   #11
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The Onan dealer could be very generous in their offer, low cost for the new unit, no charge for 24 hours labor and free disposal of the old unit
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Old 06-09-2019, 09:18 PM   #12
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A low hour Onan might have fuel issues, but I don't see why the motor would fail unless it was run low on oil.
Despite his or her unwillingness to accept the obvious, OP is almost certainly dealing with an incompetent tech. We were told that this same shop did a "tune up" recently. I suspect that this fact has explanatory value.
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Old 06-09-2019, 09:44 PM   #13
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Low hours on a used generator is the "kiss of death"... I have been through a few problems with Onan's , but I have never seen or heard of a properly maintained generator motor failing. I am sure it has happened, but it is certainly not common. A low hour Onan might have fuel issues, but I don't see why the motor would fail unless it was run low on oil. Most units I have seen in the last 20 years have a low oil shut off which should prevent a low oil failure. I think I would get a second opinion...
When I got my RV I was too new to recognize that low hours was the "kiss of death"... but, I agree with you... The salesman was definitely not helpful... making me think it was good..... NOT GOOD. Shame....

When it failed, yes, it had plenty of oil, has compression, not a fuel problem.. actually they don't know what happened.....YET.... still supposed to find out... eventually.

When they tried to start it, sounds like a machine gun or jackhammer....very percussive sounds....

Any ideas you may have?

I didn't feel as though I had any alternatives to taking it back to the Cummins Onan dealership....

They put in a new rotor and voltage regulator last September 2018... everything seemed OK until recently failed.
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Old 06-10-2019, 04:05 AM   #14
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Default George... I'm not paying for the 24 hours of labor time

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The Onan dealer could be very generous in their offer, low cost for the new unit, no charge for 24 hours labor and free disposal of the old unit
George, just to be clear, they're not charging me for the additional labor hours they did to find out what happened... that's entirely on their nickel.

They did give me a price competitive match on the internet/ Amazon... and are charging me for a normal install.. that's very reasonable...

Of course they are disposing my old machine...as soon as they are finished with the "post mortem".
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Old 06-10-2019, 11:50 AM   #15
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The only way to determine if itís a bad piston or a broken valve or basically something internal is to remove it and tear down the engine. At this point the repair is going to be as expensive as replacing the unit due to the time required. Then itís pretty hard to determine what damage was done by metal shavings circulating through the engine.
Put the new one in with a warranty and move on.
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Old 06-10-2019, 02:49 PM   #16
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The only way to determine if itís a bad piston or a broken valve or basically something internal is to remove it and tear down the engine. At this point the repair is going to be as expensive as replacing the unit due to the time required. Then itís pretty hard to determine what damage was done by metal shavings circulating through the engine.
Put the new one in with a warranty and move on.
YES, that's exactly what I'm doing.
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Old 06-10-2019, 03:07 PM   #17
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The only way to determine if itís a bad piston or a broken valve or basically something internal is to remove it and tear down the engine. At this point the repair is going to be as expensive as replacing the unit due to the time required. Then itís pretty hard to determine what damage was done by metal shavings circulating through the engine.
Put the new one in with a warranty and move on.
On a one cylinder like these with the generator already out, it takes maybe 5 minutes to pull the head so you can see all the top end and valvetrain except the cam in a pushrod engine. Broken pistons nearly always leave marks on the cylinders as do broken rings. If any question 5 more minutes has the pan off to see the bottom end. There is no reason to spend 20+ hours guessing.

I would agree that on many small engines rebuild cost can be more than a new engine is, but first at least find out if it is bad or not.
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Old 06-11-2019, 06:49 AM   #18
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Default Shared your 5 minutes story with the Cummins dealer, here's what they said..

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On a one cylinder like these with the generator already out, it takes maybe 5 minutes to pull the head so you can see all the top end and valvetrain except the cam in a pushrod engine. Broken pistons nearly always leave marks on the cylinders as do broken rings. If any question 5 more minutes has the pan off to see the bottom end. There is no reason to spend 20+ hours guessing.

I would agree that on many small engines rebuild cost can be more than a new engine is, but first at least find out if it is bad or not.
Oversimplification...it's a lot more involved than 5 minutes....

They methodically went through a series of diagnostic tests eliminating each cause and ruled them out by the process they follow....

It's not guess-work...Ö

It's really a moot point now...new generator is installed...runs very smoothly and slightly quieter....it's a generator...none are whisper quiet..
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Old 06-11-2019, 04:07 PM   #19
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Oversimplification...it's a lot more involved than 5 minutes....

They methodically went through a series of diagnostic tests eliminating each cause and ruled them out by the process they follow....

It's not guess-work...Ö

It's really a moot point now...new generator is installed...runs very smoothly and slightly quieter....it's a generator...none are whisper quiet..

You have obviously never done it, but many of us have. Diagnostic steps can and should be used or many things in trouble shooting, but can't pinpoint everything. Engine noise diagnostic doesn't take long, mostly just type of noise and stethoscope. Much of the time it boils down to open it up and see, but you can often tell if top end or bottom. And yes, the head and pan on an Onan single cylinder that is sitting on the bench would likely be about 5 minutes each.


Once out of the lawn tractor so the engine on the bench, I had the entire twin cylinder Kawasaki engine completely disassembled in about 1/2 hour so I could inspect parts after an overheat episode.
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Old 06-11-2019, 04:17 PM   #20
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Very soon one like this could show up on the Craigslist or eBay, refurbished like new, fully tested with a stethoscope.
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