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Old 03-27-2011, 03:13 PM   #1
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Generator exercise

In the generator manual it suggests exercising the generator for 2 hours at half power at least once every 30 days. The default from WRV was 45 minutes every 21 days. The manual also says that one longer period is better that 2 short periods. We haven't had any generator issues (except for the automatic exercise start, which occasionally misses it's cue) running it 45 minutes every 21 days, but I'm curious as to what other folks do to exercise the generator.
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Old 03-27-2011, 03:22 PM   #2
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Yes monthly Jan,feb,march when it's winterized.
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Old 03-27-2011, 03:38 PM   #3
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I was service mgr. for a allegro fleetwood roadtrek and gulfstream dealer. We had to run the gen. to keep the carb. from gumming up. Running the gen. brings fresh gas into the carb. It also warms up the seals and keeps the rubber seals soft. the most troublesome carbs. were on the microlites. Smallest gens., smallest carbs. The manuals call for 2 hours per month. You must remember the manuf., wants to limit their liability the most they can. I feel like thirty minutes every two months is enough, for the 5.5 & up. thirty min. every month for the microlite. Almost all the Onan Reps. I talked to at trade shows agreed with me. On our lot, we did not have any problems as long as we followed this schedule.
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Old 03-27-2011, 06:31 PM   #4
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As a retired electrician, when I run mine monthly for at least 30 minutes, I'm exercising the engine and putting a load on it to dry out any moisture in the generator windings.

I also have a 5550 TroyBilt and run it the same. I keep Stabil in the troyBilt gas tank as well. I find that a electric space heater puts enough load in it that the generator will got hat as well as the engine.

Hey traveler, which dealer do you work at.
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Old 03-28-2011, 02:56 AM   #5
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As a certified RV Tech, I run everything for two hours a month. That means while the genset is running, I run one a/c for a while, then the other one on heat pump for a while then switches them around. I then run the Hydro Hot for those two hours on diesel side so the fuel gets run through the system. I also run all the electronics as well. Since our storage facility does not have any power at the building we are in, running everything also charges up the batteries, since even when switched off, there is some parasitic load on them. I also treat the fuel with fuel conditioner so algae and water don’t get into the fuel system. Machinery which sits around won’t last as long nor perform as well as when it’s run like it was designed too.
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Old 03-28-2011, 05:09 AM   #6
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I find that telling the generator to run for a bit results in no action... I think its too lazy to do any running, wont even walk, I have to carry it EVERYWHERE
Its a great excuse to go free-camping(boondocking) tho
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Old 03-28-2011, 05:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dapope View Post
I find that telling the generator to run for a bit results in no action... I think its too lazy to do any running, wont even walk, I have to carry it EVERYWHERE
Its a great excuse to go free-camping(boondocking) tho
As long as you keep it on a lease and does not shock anyone....
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Old 03-28-2011, 04:06 PM   #8
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I was service mgr. and tech. for fifteen years at Bankston Motor Homes in Jonesboro, Ga. Before that i was with Delta Air Lines for thirty two years.
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Old 03-28-2011, 07:14 PM   #9
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While we are parked for the winter here in Palm Springs, we not only run the generator once a month plus excercise other systems such as:
Remove shore power and run on batteries all day to cycle them;
Run the slides in, retract the jacks, relevel and put slides back out.
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Old 03-29-2011, 01:00 AM   #10
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Ga-Traverler. Funny you mention DAL. My uncle helped start it in Monroe, LA with C. E. Wolmann(SP) right after the war, and I played with his grandkids when I was growing up. Uncle is long gone, but remember the great way we were treated every time we took a flight. Today, no airline knows what service is period, well SW treated me good but now I refuse to fly.

Basil - Better half revolts when I tell her the same thing, so I just make sure we move every three weeks. I run the genset while we park to eat lunch or something. When home, and it's in storage, I just go up and run it abour every two weeks.

FWIW - was reading in the manual and low and behold, the coolant is suppsed to be changed every two years with a new cap. That might be the reason I have a leak. Once the weather breaks here, I have one full day scheduled to do the genset. I ordered the shop manual today, but don't expect it for two weeks earliest. I will report what I do/did to stop the leak, and my plan on flushing is as follows (after I find and fix the leak as explained below):
1)-Warm it up, then shut it down let sit for 15 minutes. Remove the radiator cap to release the pressure.
2)-Drain out old coolant, refill with distilled water (capacity is 1.2 gallons), run for 15 minutes, shut down, let cool 15 minutes.
3)-Refil with Fleetgard ES Complete, and run another 5 minutes watching the overflow tank while it's running and see the fluid level sink. Shut down, refil the overflow tank, and do this 5-6 times until no change in the overlfow tank.
While I have it apart I need to find the coolant leak before I drain it out, but I'm thinking it's one of the hoses connected to the fill tube where the radiator cap is. Won't know unit I take it apart, and the top cover will come off as well.
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Old 03-29-2011, 08:11 AM   #11
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Two points--1) the Onan engine is not a wet-sleeve design to you dont have to use Fleetgard Complete unless you want to do it; 2) the over flow tank should be drained/flushed separate from the engine--you will need to siphon out the old fluid. Tank doesnt hold much fluid but it doesnt mix / get diluted during changeover with the new fluid.
PS--lots of discussion about fluid change intervals on the forum. Assuming you drive about 10-12k miles per year, it seems that every 4 years [or 40-50k] is about right for most fluids [eg, coolants, hydraulics [except HWH], differential, transmission, etc]. Of couse, change oil in Cummins and Onan engines every year, more often with excessive miles/hours. As an "old farm kid," I cant see changing these well-filtered/non-combustion related fluids more often--but opinions will and do differ.
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Old 03-29-2011, 10:41 AM   #12
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I was taught 1/2 hour under 1/2 load every month.. I usually say 1/2 month.

In practice if I start it I normally run an hour or more.
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Old 03-29-2011, 11:29 AM   #13
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FWIW, run mine once a month at half load for an hour.
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Old 04-01-2011, 10:21 PM   #14
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OS and All - yeah I was aware the Genset is not a wet sleeve engine, but it's easier to just carry one type of coolant with me so having both diesel engines use the same one works. Cummins said it's fine to use the ES Complete type in it.
Today, I took most of the sheet metal off to find my coolant leak, and well, it's not leaking, well sort of. The overflow tank has a hose which goes down to the bottom of the diesel compartment, but is not exposed to the outside for complete drainage. So if the overflow tank is too full, and the engine puts coolant into it, this causes it to overflow over the bottom of the genset compartment, and makes it appear it's leaking, when in fact it is not. But it's nice to know what the inside of it looks like, and I changed the coolant (radiator almost) cap to a new one. I kept the old one as it looks good, so if I need a spare, I’ll have it. When the weather breaks again, I will flush out the system, put in new coolant, and then change the fuel filter. It's no fun lying on the ground, when it's wet and cold, so I will wait on those things.
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