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Old 02-03-2020, 10:22 PM   #1
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Default 2016 ERA Generator won't kick on

it's winter in northern michigan so my sprinter is in pole barn plugged in with heat on 45. last year i went out monthly, disconnected shore power & started generator, running it for half hour (exercise per their manual). this winter, up to now, i've done the same.
today, it wouldn't kick in on autostart although it tried hard. gave it a rest & tried again, but no luck. anybody had this problem & figured out a solution that doesn't call for crawling under in this weather (i'm a 71 year old woman not in the best of health).
thanks in advance for any suggestions you can give!
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Old 02-03-2020, 10:29 PM   #2
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it's winter in northern michigan so my sprinter is in pole barn plugged in with heat on 45. last year i went out monthly, disconnected shore power & started generator, running it for half hour (exercise per their manual). this winter, up to now, i've done the same.
today, it wouldn't kick in on autostart although it tried hard. gave it a rest & tried again, but no luck. anybody had this problem & figured out a solution that doesn't call for crawling under in this weather (i'm a 71 year old woman not in the best of health).
thanks in advance for any suggestions you can give!

Propane tank got enough in it?
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Old 02-04-2020, 12:31 AM   #3
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Default wall system shows prop tank 3/4 full

i believe so, booster. the inside wall system shows 3/4 tank. but, i guess i'll go back out tomorrow & take a look at the gauge on the tank! assuming it's ok, any other thoughts?
i remember first spring (before i knew about monthly 'exercise' it needed), winnebago told me to have someone crawl under & prime it - and that did work. it's only got 10 hrs on it so don't think servicing needed yet. thanks for the idea tho - inside reading could be false!
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Old 02-04-2020, 12:33 AM   #4
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Try getting your cooktop to light first then the generator. Propane hates to sit and I think your cooktop is the longest run from the tank. When I do my maintenance startups I always get my cooktop lit, then the fridge, and then the generator.
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Old 02-04-2020, 01:02 AM   #5
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Default propane is in use running furnace

magicbus, thanks for response. i have the furnace set on mixed use (propane & elec) at a low temp so i thought that was enough propane flow to keep it from sitting. when booster wrote that maybe i'm out of propane, i started thinking that i wouldn't know by heat still being on since i think the mix setting will allow straight up elec if prop runs out. but long as i'm going out to check the propane in the morning, i'll see if the stove will go on! thanks!
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Old 02-04-2020, 02:40 AM   #6
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Last year, before replacing the house batteries, when it got below 50 degrees, I had to start the sprinter before I could get the Onan to start. Perhaps your house battery(s) do not have enough cranking power when it is cold for your generator? Just a thought.
We have a 2014 ERA 70A
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Old 02-04-2020, 03:09 AM   #7
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Default new house batts & plugged in while stored

thank you for your reply. i'm thinking that's not the issue (even tho it's very cold up here) because i keep the shore plug in and the batteries are new just this past november. the onscreen system shows house batteries at full charge. but, i am going to try starting it while rv is running just to see if that could be the issue - i did not know you could have the generator on while the vehicle was running!
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Old 02-05-2020, 02:41 AM   #8
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Does the generator just crank but never start? Had that problem with our 2015 Era 170X. I took it into a Cummins Coach Care who determined the choke was stuck open. They rebuilt it with a stronger spring and now it starts instantly! I also replaced the propane regulator at the same time with the recommended (by other Era owners) Marshall Excelsior MEGR-298.

The RV is new to us since Dec 2019 and the generator only has 30 hours on it. The previous owner did tell me heís always had issues with it, but it would start.

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Old 02-05-2020, 04:26 PM   #9
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Does the generator just crank but never start? Had that problem with our 2015 Era 170X. I took it into a Cummins Coach Care who determined the choke was stuck open. They rebuilt it with a stronger spring and now it starts instantly! I also replaced the propane regulator at the same time with the recommended (by other Era owners) Marshall Excelsior MEGR-298.

The RV is new to us since Dec 2019 and the generator only has 30 hours on it. The previous owner did tell me he’s always had issues with it, but it would start.

Tom
Welcome to the forum Tom!

Informative first post. Enjoy your 170X and safe travels!
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Old 02-05-2020, 04:29 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Trudy View Post
it's winter in northern michigan so my sprinter is in pole barn plugged in with heat on 45. last year i went out monthly, disconnected shore power & started generator, running it for half hour (exercise per their manual). this winter, up to now, i've done the same.
today, it wouldn't kick in on autostart although it tried hard. gave it a rest & tried again, but no luck. anybody had this problem & figured out a solution that doesn't call for crawling under in this weather (i'm a 71 year old woman not in the best of health).
thanks in advance for any suggestions you can give!
Trudy, sorry to hear of your generator problem, but you're in good company as many of us have had our issues (mine is still not fully resolved after 1-1/2 yrs).

Probably a good a good decision on your part not to crawl underneath. There are clearance problems just getting under there, tight quarters, and difficult access to generator through an obstructed access door.
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Old 02-06-2020, 04:15 AM   #11
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Default trudy's nonstarting generator issue

tom -
i printed your suggestion and will ask one of my mechanic income tax clients to check that out if none of the other thoughts members sent me don't work. my propane had issues right from the start as i picked it up new from a dealership in missouri and all the propane leaked out on the way back to northern michigan. a local prop company owner replaced the regulator when he was repairing it - not sure what he put in but it was sent to him by winnebago.

cannot imagine why winnebago thought it ok to house both the batteries and generator under the rig - even with space being an issue. there's this huge empty storage space under the 3rd seat in my era 70a that could have easily housed at least one or the other.

i won't try to get under it but soon as the weather clears up a bit i do plan to get out there and check propane level at tank, turn on a stove burner, try starting gen with rig running, etc. thank you all so much for great ideas.
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Old 02-07-2020, 01:36 AM   #12
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Good luck, I hope itís something easy and not too expensive.

As this is a new rig to us Iím just learning the ins and outs of it myself. Iíve had travel trailers and a 36í Class A prior - each had their own nuances. Forums like these are a wealth of information!!

Learning from other ownerís experience Iíve already upgraded the propane regulator, upgraded the non-working solenoid under the front passenger seat (allow house batteries to charge from the alternator while driving), added Sumo Springs and Koni shocks, and ordered the Duallyvalve replacement valve stems (due to arrive tomorrow) so I can actually check the inside dually tire pressure! Itís these basic things you just wish Winnebago would spend the very little extra money to install from the beginning. Iím thankful for the other owners for sharing their knowledge, and I hope to share what Iíve learned too!

Iím fortunate I have a Cummins Onan service center in my town, they do amazing work and know these generators inside and out!! If you search ďCummins Coach CareĒ maybe you have one nearby too!

Best of luck.

Tom
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Old 02-07-2020, 02:01 PM   #13
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In your Onan manual, it should list error codes that are displayed by a blinking of a light on the generator. Mine was a green light that was next to the manual start switch on the generator. I think the code for no fuel was the light blinking 4 times. On our 2014, the light was visible when looking from the backend of the van. FWIW You might be able to determine if it is a fuel issue. We had that happen once and replaced the LP regulator and generator started right up. I went to a propane dealer for the repair. The dealer would replace regulators on with camp trailers/RV's.
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Old 02-09-2020, 06:46 PM   #14
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Having owned 2 Sprinter WGO RVs, an ERA, and a Navion, I'd bet your issue is both a propane regulator and the fact that you are trying to start the gen off the batteries alone.
Another suggestion, rather than starting the van is start the gen with the 120v power still plugged in and on. I do it all the time and it won't hurt anything to do this. Then after it's started up you can kill the outside power.

Another suggestion is to install a Trik L Start or Battery Tender brand trickle charger on your chassis battery to keep it up while sitting in storage. An easy and relatively cheap insurance for the battery up front. Also, you do disconnect your chassis battery at the ground above the accelerator pedal when the van is in storage don't you? That's a standard Sprinter storage recommendation
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