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Old 04-23-2009, 06:53 AM   #1
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Question Low fuel = Generator cut off, Any way to by-pass?

There have been several times that we needed the generator to run just a bit longer, but it cuts off at 1/4 of a tank of diesel. More often, the frustration is that even if I'm not running the generator while traveling and run the coach under 1/4 tank, the generator still won't crank up after I re-fuel. There is a lot of time getting it primed. I get it when it runs low on fuel while I'm running it, but if the generator is not on, it shouldn't affect it. I'm not running on empty, just getting below 1/4 tank occasionally and it has become a huge pain with the generator. Is there any way to by-pass this automatic cut-off? Thanks!
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Old 04-23-2009, 07:05 AM   #2
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The bypass is going to interesting. The reason is the genset fuel intake is actually mounted on the tank up the side about 1/4 the way up from the bottom. You would have to tee off the main engine fuel line which is placed at the bottom.
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Old 04-23-2009, 07:24 AM   #3
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The moral is fill the tank more often.. The plan to "T" into the main fuel line is a poor one too. Here is why

Many main engines these days use a tank mounted pump Thus the main fuel line is under pressure. Now on an older rig with an engine mounted pump it might work.. The generator (Most of 'em I suspect) still use an engine mounted pump and may well complain about the pressure in the engine line. page 2

I just figured out the old 'The generator will only run if the main engine is running" complaint. Has nothing to do with fuel.

When the tank drops below the generator outlet fuel can drain from the generator line to the tank. leaving you with a line full of air.

I have found that the prime function on the Onan line may not be all it's primed up to be. Try this.

Hold the prime button as instructed.. Then "Tap" the start switch, just one revolution of the engine should be enough, sit back, count to 10 or so, press again, see if it starts now. I've done this many times

Even with a full tank it cranks and cranks and cranks doing it normally

Do the tap, pause, press bit and it takes perhaps 5 seconds to start
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Old 04-23-2009, 10:52 AM   #4
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As noted above, the fuel pick up is located about 1/4 of the way up on the tank, so that you will not accidentally run the rig dry by using the generator. I would not change the factory set up personally.

I always start looking fro fuel at 1/2 tank and fill up by 1/4 tank when possible. On a rare occasion I will let it run under 1/4 full when it is a long haul between fuel stops.

Ken
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Old 04-23-2009, 11:17 PM   #5
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2:

Have you tried the priming technique (mentioned above) after refilling your tank? Just hold the generator switch on "stop" for 5-10 seconds, then "start". It also works when you haven't run it for a while.
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Old 04-24-2009, 11:43 PM   #6
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I understand why the function is there. But my issue with running below a 1/4 tank is that I travel the same area and like to fuel up at the same places I know have the best prices. It irritates me to pay .20 more per gallon when I know I can drive another 50/100 miles and fill up for less.

The priming function of the start switch for me takes a lot longer than 5-10 seconds after I run below 1/4 tank. The last two times, it has taken me 30 min. to get the generator to prime, holding the switch down sometimes for over a minute. (This is a new generator 8,000 Onan) Could there be something else wrong causing the "hard to prime" issue? Didn't seem to struggle this much with the original Onan. Any ideas?
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Old 09-24-2016, 02:46 PM   #7
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No what is worse you are in a hot area on the road you have just less than 1/2 a tank you have a flat tire, you have a grand child on board and 2 dogs. You have to wait for road side assistance they are on the way but an hour out. Do you wait or catch a ride with a stranger it is a bad spot. I would like to have the generator go out last as dash air is not enough when temperature is over 100 sure would like a bypass or something.
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Old 09-24-2016, 03:09 PM   #8
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If you can confirm the the lift pump is not inside the tank, and you have easy access to the feed line to the engine, there is no reason not to "T IN". I carry a 5 gallon fuel can in the basement compartment as a last-ditch emergency supply. If you carried 10 gallons, it would give you about 100 miles of reserve.
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Old 09-24-2016, 03:33 PM   #9
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There is a possibility the you have a slight leak somewhere in the line to the generator.

Because the generator draws the fuel from the tank, to it, you wouldn't see a fuel leak. But, a slight air leak would allow the fuel to drain out of the line, back into the tank. This would probably be worse when the pickup becomes exposed, above the fuel. It may also, just be, that lifting the fuel higher, causes a slight air leak, to cause you to loose prime.

It would also cause your difficulty in priming it back up. Rather the pull the thick fuel, it would pull some air into the primer pump.

Look over and tighten every connection between the generator and fuel tank.

As far as the 1/4 tank issue, if you can remove the generator fuel pickup tube, you could possibly add an inch or two to it, so it sits deeper into the tank.

I don't know of any diesel, in-tank, fuel pumps, but putting a Tee in the main line could cause problems. Maybe some properly placed manual or check valves, would make it work.
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Old 09-24-2016, 07:33 PM   #10
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A quick fix here is to stop somewhere along your route and, instead of filling up, put in 10 to 15 gallons then be on your way.
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Old 09-25-2016, 06:18 AM   #11
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Here I'll start a storm. I also got tired of the 1/4 tank problem and moved the fuel inlet to the generator to the drain in the bottom of the tank. Never had the problem again.
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Old 09-25-2016, 06:52 AM   #12
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Here I'll start a storm. I also got tired of the 1/4 tank problem and moved the fuel inlet to the generator to the drain in the bottom of the tank. Never had the problem again.
As long as you know what you did, that will work too.

As a bonus you keep the tank from accumulating water and debris.

Have you had to increase the generator fuel filter changes ?

You could also add an inch of line, to the fitting inside the tank, to keep it off the bottom.
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Old 09-25-2016, 07:10 AM   #13
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I did add a extended line in the tank so it was not drawing fuel from the very bottom of the tank and also added a external inline fuel filter.
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Old 09-25-2016, 07:39 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by 2racer View Post
There have been several times that we needed the generator to run just a bit longer, but it cuts off at 1/4 of a tank of diesel. More often, the frustration is that even if I'm not running the generator while traveling and run the coach under 1/4 tank, the generator still won't crank up after I re-fuel. There is a lot of time getting it primed. I get it when it runs low on fuel while I'm running it, but if the generator is not on, it shouldn't affect it. I'm not running on empty, just getting below 1/4 tank occasionally and it has become a huge pain with the generator. Is there any way to by-pass this automatic cut-off? Thanks!
2racer
I don't know about a by-pass.... but if you always re-fuel before the fuel in the tank drops to the 1/4 tank level the problem you describe can be avoided.
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