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Old 06-19-2009, 06:12 PM   #1
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Generator Problem

Onan 7.5 diesel. Coolant changed 3/09 (Optimax). Oil changed 3/09 (Rotella). We are beginning a 2 month tour of the Olympic Peninsula. The unit will run for 10-15 min and shut down with a single repeated flash. (Over heat) I've checked the air intake grill. I checked the coolant level in the recovery tank fill. Is there a recovery tank? I added 1/2 gallon to the top of the tank fill. (blue cap) Where is the Cold mark? The additional 1/2 gal. did not solve the problem. Can someone out there give me some ideas about what to do next? Thank you.
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Old 06-19-2009, 07:08 PM   #2
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The single blink is overheat as you indicate. There is a secondary code to indicate if it is the coolant temp or the inverter heat sink temp (33 or 34). To get that, press Stop three times within five seconds to restore blinking. Note that the last fault logged will blink, even after the condition that caused the shutdown has been corrected. 34 = blink, blink, blink, pause, blink, blink, blink, blink.

IIRC there is a high limit gizmo, 1/4" NPT w/wire to it; there should be 2 of them, one for coolant & one for heat sink (might be other than 1/4"NPT). The coolant one should signal for shutdown if it sees about 230 degrees. Couldn't tell you what the heatsink one should be set at.

One of these may be bad & you can replace it. The 1/4" NPT one can be replaced w/a plug to leave the original dangling and that may work for a get-by, or zip tie an cold beer to it. Same might work for the heat sink sender if its NPT.

There's a possibility you are actually overheating. You can tell w/an infrared thermometer or thermocouple type. If so it may be coolant cap (14psi) which should be changed every two years because its seals can deteriorate and begin to leak per owner's manual.

Can't tell you where the senders are located; you'll hafta hunt around unless somebody else has experience to post. Hope this helps.
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Old 06-19-2009, 08:02 PM   #3
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Just filling the reservoir does not fill the engine properly. You need to remove the cover where the circuit breaker is located and remove the radiator pressure cap to check the coolant level and/or fill the engine. When the Generator stops does fill hot or just warm? As EMike suggested you should check w/an infrared thermometer or thermocouple type.
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Old 06-19-2009, 08:12 PM   #4
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Chris,

On my 2001 Alpine Coach, once, after I had the oil and coolant changed out, I had the same overheating problem that you mention. The problem was actually insufficient coolant, but checking the coolant level in the overflow tank always showed full. When the technician totally drained the coolant and refilled it, he added the new coolant through the overflow tank. Adding the coolant by this procedure does not get enough coolant into the actual radiator, which the inexperienced technician did not realize.

To get sufficient coolant into the actual radiator, you have to take the cover off the GenSet, pull UP sufficiently on the hose with the radiator cap on it to the point where the bend/kink in the hose is not there, then add coolant until the radiator is full.

On my 2006 Alpine Coach, I had the same overheating code shortly after picking up the coach from the factory (from factory delivery). The cause of overheating in this case was air in the system, which can only be flushed out by actually running the GenSet while the hose with the bend/kink in it is straightened out. Do this until there are no longer any bubbles rising in the hose.

By the way, that hose with the bend/kink in it looks like a design flaw, but it is not according to Cummins Coach Care in Albuquerque.
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Old 06-19-2009, 09:30 PM   #5
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Thanks guys for your quick response. Tonight we're on 50 amp. so I won't be fiddling around w/ the gen-set.

E- I will use the infrared thermometer first thing. What does IIRC and NPT mean? One of these 1/4 npt gizmo's is not firmly wedged in its holder. Could it be too close to the main hose and getting a faulty reading of whatever it's supposed to read?

Dave:--The main hose (under the cap) was full when cold.

Dale: I will again pull out that kinky hose and do as you suggested.

However, no one answered my 2 questions. Is there an actual overflow tank and where is the COLD marking on the overflow?

I'll keep you informed and thanks again.
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Old 06-20-2009, 12:37 AM   #6
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If I Recall Correctly
National Pipe Thread i.e. standard pipe fitting threads
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Old 06-20-2009, 05:35 AM   #7
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NPT is also a slightly truncated and tapered thread.
Unless it must be grounded, such as an oil pressure or temperature sending unit (which are usually 1/8 NPTF), wrap it with Teflon tape (2 wraps) before you install it and run it in until quite tight. Do not apply tape or pipe dope to sending units because that may interfere with grounding them to the engine.
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Old 06-20-2009, 09:54 PM   #8
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Its hard to follow but the fill cap and dip stick on the outside of the engine IS the coolant overflow tank. The actual radiator cap is inside the engine cover/cabinet--and yes it has a designed kink in the hose. You have to make sure the "inside" radiator cap is filled and all air is displaced. In theory, a warm engine that is low on coolant would draw coolant from the overflow tank as it cools but since your engine isnt getting warm, its not drawing coolant from the tank...make sense?
PS--you can get at the cap --sort of--via the small flat/metal tab buts its a tight fit and be careful how you remove the tap as it is close to some wiring underneath and you can cause a short/spark. More work but removing the entire top of the engine cabinet gives complete access to the cap--plus you can inspect the engine compartment for dirt and clean the radiator fins.
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Old 06-21-2009, 03:45 PM   #9
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I would be VERY reluctant to disable any temperature sensors. If you are wrong about it being bad and the real problem is overheating, you might do big expensive damage to your generator. I have done this on my own spa heater, as a temp fix until I could get new part. In that case there were 2 sensors and only one was bad, so I had backup.
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Old 06-21-2009, 05:44 PM   #10
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On our coach the cold and hot fill marks on the generator on the side of the small translucent white plastic panel in the front of the generator under the fill cap. They're a little hard to see but if you look on the front under the fill cap you should see them.
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Old 06-22-2009, 01:56 PM   #11
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Well guys, Thanks for all the help. I tried everything and nothing worked.
The temp w/ the heat gun was 125 at shutdown. That doesn't seem excessive. Is it?

I pulled the main cap( what an engineering joke) and looked for air bubbles when running for 5 min. No bubbles.

I found out the two gizmo's next to the cap are fuses. Where are the temp sensors?

It still shuts down after a few minutes of running. I guess I'm going to have to make a service call, if I can find someone.

Thanks again, any other ideas will be happily tried.
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Old 06-22-2009, 06:15 PM   #12
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Hello Chris:

From what you have checked and have eliminated I believe it is the Temperature Sensor in the Blocks Water Jacket has gone bad. The sensor is designed that when the engine over heats the sensor closes and completes the circuit by going to ground causing the engine to shut down. If the sensor is bad it will complete the circuit by going to ground and the generator will shut down. I have seen others with this problem cut/disconnect the wire to the sensor as a temporary fix until the sensor is replaced. Although not recommended I have seen it done as it takes several hours to replace the sensor.
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Old 06-22-2009, 06:51 PM   #13
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Thanks Dave: Is the Blocks water jacket somewhat user friendly or should I wait to take it in? Where is the Blocks water jacket anyway.
Thanks
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Old 06-23-2009, 02:51 PM   #14
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Hello Chris:

The Water jacket as it is called is cast when the block is manufactured and is a open area which surrounds the piston sleeves and allows the water to flow across the sleeves for cooling. Temperature sensors are placed into the water jacket or head directly in the water flow for the most accuracy. On the Onan Quite Diesel the temperature sensor is in the block and it takes time several hours of work to remove all of the shrouding to access the sensor for replacement. That is why several owners have temporarily cut the wire leading to the sensor so they can run the Generator until it is replaced.
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