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Modern onboard generator maintenance


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Several months back i was reading about genny maintenance. Wish i could find the thread. There was a guy who seemed very knowledgeable talking about how generators are built out of different materials these days. Running the generator under load once a month was for older technology, even though instruction manuals still tell people to do so. I think it had to do with burning moisture off certain parts. 

For us glamis folks who mostly live in low humidity, is running the genny under load once a month a total waste of time? I feel our biggest enemy is ethanol gasoline more than moisture on the parts that produce the electricity. 

Bonus question: What about rooftop A/Cs? To me they go together. I normally use the A/C's to put an over 50% load on the genny. (5500Evap)

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I have a 21 year old Generac generator that did not see too much use the first 10 years, but see's use daily while its dune season.  about all its used for now though is running the microwave & charging up the trailer batteries. 

each off season I put some Stabil Fuel treatment in the tank & run the carb out of fuel.  I think Ive changed the plug in it 2 or maybe 3 times.  I change the oil every 2 or 4 years but check it every year.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Bobalos said:

run the carb out of fuel.

 

 

Thats another fun topic. Does not relate to your 21 year old Generac. 

To you Onan owners the carb has a drain. A lot of mechanically inclined duners dont even realize its there. 

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17 minutes ago, wopachop said:

Thats another fun topic. Does not relate to your 21 year old Generac. 

To you Onan owners the carb has a drain. A lot of mechanically inclined duners dont even realize its there. 

Those of us who've had to do the tear it down & clean it out in camp Halloween weekend sure do 😜

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Would running the generator once a month and under load cause any damage? No, it won't. And if the owners manual says it's a good idea then why not do it? I understand if it's in storage and not convenient but that's just one cost of our chosen sport.

If you're worried about long term storage with ethanol fuels you can buy 93 octane NON ethanol fuel from F&L fuels in Long Beach, CA and put that in the tank. I put it in the kids quads and my Honda 3000 and 6500 in the off season 

 

Screenshot_20210527-205632_Instagram.thumb.jpg.6600446b6b1f8fb46b8e89249c7cd9ad.jpg

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Running it once a month is just a simple way to make sure you dont have a problem.  I would rather have a problem in the driveway than when I pull into camp.

 

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Lot's of people fire it up right before the season starts and then they have to buy a carburetor, or clean it out.

I mark it on the calendar, and get notified when it's time. I've never had a problem so I just stick with what works.

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2 minutes ago, Jaybird95 said:

Lot's of people fire it up right before the season starts and then they have to buy a carburetor, or clean it out.

I mark it on the calendar, and get notified when it's time. I've never had a problem so I just stick with what works.

Almost 20 years of owning toy haulers and I put them to bed at the end of the season and did nothing...and I've never had to clean a carb or had issues.  

I actually have a spare carb and fuel pump for a Onan 5500 that I never used and are for sale now. 

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1 minute ago, Mac said:

Almost 20 years of owning toy haulers and I put them to bed at the end of the season and did nothing...and I've never had to clean a carb or had issues.  

I actually have a spare carb and fuel pump for a Onan 5500 that I never used and are for sale now. 

That's Awesome! 

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Run mine about every 45 days in the off season. 30 min with the AC running. And I add stabil. Have been doing that since 2002. 

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8 hours ago, Bobalos said:

Yes but... I prefer to spend my $$ with those thst support our hobby of offroading. Besides being a USA business F&L Fuels sponsors numerous offroad races in the US and Baja. There are tons of parts for prepping cars that I could buy on Amazon and have delivered the next day. But again, I prefer to spend my $$ at Kartek and Mckenzie's because they support us. 

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1 hour ago, L.R.S. said:

Yes but... I prefer to spend my $$ with those thst support our hobby of offroading. Besides being a USA business F&L Fuels sponsors numerous offroad races in the US and Baja. There are tons of parts for prepping cars that I could buy on Amazon and have delivered the next day. But again, I prefer to spend my $$ at Kartek and Mckenzie's because they support us. 

I agree with everything you said.  My point was that there are other options. 

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I've got a Husky (Subaru engine) 5000 generator since 2008?  Tried to run every month or so.  Used for multiple long power outages, 1-4 days for house.

Never drained carb.  Always ran with sta-bil or trufuel.

Never an issue.  ***knock on wood.

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for the Onan, not running the Generator often can clog up the carb and have starting issues,  I run mine once a month or every 6 weeks, mostly to move the fuel around, i do a oil change once a year, oil sitting can decay the oil value do to the unburnt fuel in the oil,  

I have ran the China Carb and the Original Onan Carb,  both had there issues, the Onan Carb clogs easier, and the china carb seems temperamental on starting, the china carb i have to manual hold the choke to start quick,   My last onan car the float broke just out of warranty, and tried to change the float and destroyed it,  

I get the Onan air filter and oil change in a Kit seems easier,  Amazon.com: Onan Generator Maintenance Kit For HGJAB Gas Generators (with OIL), Contains 7 items: Automotive

 

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On 5/28/2021 at 2:39 PM, L.R.S. said:

Yes but... I prefer to spend my $$ with those thst support our hobby of offroading. Besides being a USA business F&L Fuels sponsors numerous offroad races in the US and Baja. There are tons of parts for prepping cars that I could buy on Amazon and have delivered the next day. But again, I prefer to spend my $$ at Kartek and Mckenzie's because they support us. 

I am a firm believer in supporting the brick and mortar stores that are like minded.  Sometimes because of time or availability I may buy online and even from amazon as a very very last resort but If I can, I support businesses who support my interests.    

 

To the OP question, running under load once a month is still very valid with diesel gensets.   These units are specified for their largest possible load and are prone to "wet stack" under normal conditions.         

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I use my motorhome all throughout the year so it never goes 2-3 month without usage. When I do take it out, I at least make sure I run it and put it under a load. Usually while driving with the AC(s) on in summer. Fires up every single time.

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On 5/31/2021 at 12:14 PM, Five.five-six said:

To the OP question, running under load once a month is still very valid with diesel gensets.   These units are specified for their largest possible load and are prone to "wet stack" under normal conditions.         

That brings up many other questions and observations. Think about how many people cycle an RV genny well below 50% load. Camping in glamis during the winter with a WFCO converter. A 4000w or 5500w Onan might never see 30-60 mins of over 50% load. Most it sees will be 5 mins of brewing coffee and even that is under 50% unless you also bring a 120v plug in heater. But even then you would need 2 of them at 1500w plugged in to give a decent load. (i do this during the winter when i cycle my 5500w genny)

How about a new question. Im more interested in the parts that produce electricity over the carburetor. 

-----

New Question:

Pretend your 5500w Onan genny is filled with non ethanol gas and you also drain the carb after a glamis trip. Its summer in southern california. How often do you really need to start the genny to burn off moisture from the slip rings and contacts? Also how often can you go before you want to spread oil around the engine? From what ive read i think doing a once a month start up is a little overkill for us in non humid parts of socal or AZ. 

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