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Old 01-01-2018, 05:05 PM   #1
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Generator sputtering, normal??

We have a new to us 2015 32SA. The generator was running rough, so we ran it according to the Onan manual for 2 hrs. with a load, (lights and fireplace and heater). It started to run smooth. When we turned the fireplace off, it was smooth running and quiet, but when we turned the fireplace back on, it started chugging a bit again, smooth running when fireplace is off.

Is this normal? We just had everything serviced at our local Tiffin dealership, so there should not be any concerns there.

Any advice would be appreciated!

Kerry and Julie Pratt
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Old 01-01-2018, 05:11 PM   #2
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Hi, Happy New Year. Not a tiffin owner. My Onan will hesitate for a second when the ACs are kicking on, but it balances out quickly. My fireplace has never caused ours to run rough. I would check the oil level, it likes to be full. Before this started, had you been running the generator monthly for an hour or 2 with load per Onan? Onan fuel pumps are also known for going bad. Best of luck.
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Old 01-01-2018, 05:31 PM   #3
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You probably have some stuff built up in the carburetor jets.

Get some of that fuel system cleaner and give the gas tank a double treatment. Then let the generator run for a few hours.

Hopefully, it will dissolve the stuff and get you running smooth.

If it clears up, run it for an hour every 4 to 6 weeks, to keep the gas in the carb fresh.

If that's not an option, see if you can disconnect the gas line ( before the fuel pump ) and start it up, so it runs out of gas. I do that when I store the MH far from home.
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Old 01-01-2018, 08:09 PM   #4
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If your fuel tank gets low, it will sputter and go out.
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Old 01-03-2018, 07:42 AM   #5
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Sounds like it may be need to run more often. the previous owner may not have ran the genny as recommended by onan. check the oil level and make sure it has a new air filter installed properly and the run it for a couple hours.
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Old 01-03-2018, 08:08 AM   #6
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while ours will infrequently sound like it's 'chugging' sometimes when a load is adding while it's running, it typically easily comes up to speed and everything is fine. What I've noticed sometimes, though, is that starting it on cold days, or after it has not been cranking in several days or weeks, it will crank, but then almost immediately shut down, giving 'three blinks' on the switch. At first I thought this was an issue, but over time have realized that it's probably more of a fuel issue: the diesel fuel is normally sent up the fuel line from the pump in the diesel tank. Once it reaches the generator it has a place to 'sit' when the generator is off, but the residual fuel in the line can slowly 'sneak down' the fuel line over time. The small amount of fuel still left at the generator can allow the generator to crank, but then it almost immediately 'loses' fuel and shuts off, thinking that the fuel tank is too low. When I try to 'recrank' it after this happens, it takes the starter a good bit longer to start it, and then it really 'chugs' trying to eventually crank, but then runs fine and has no further issues.

What I've learned over time and many, many hours of generator usage in many different scenarios is this:

- the generator likes to already be 'warm' if you expect it to immediately crank. If it is not, it will take some time for the plugs to warm up, making you think that it doesn't want to crank, but it should, just hold the switch down longer until it does.

- the fuel in the generator line can 'sneak down' over time, making the generator think it's low on fuel. It may initially crank o.k.,,, and then suddenly shut down, showing several 'errors'. Typically the error code is 'low fuel', but that's probably a false reading... the fuel in the lines has just drained down the line far enough that it didn't sense the fuel was there, but priming and starting the generator again will allow the primer to bring the fuel back up the line and into the generator, though it may be slow to start and seem to hesitate at starting again. Give it a moment and it should be fine.

- if you EVER allow your main fuel tank to get close to, or drop below, 1/4 tank, then your Generator will lose the fuel in it's own fuel line, causing it to either shut off, or not start at all. EVEN after you have filled your main diesel tank, and then try to start the generator, you may find that the same scenario happens - it will either start quickly, then die, giving an error code, or it will take quiet a while for it to prime and then it may 'chug' a while before it starts. All this is because of the same reason: the fuel for the generator has been lost from it's fuel line, and it will take some time for it to 'prime' back to the generator, just as if you are sucking a drink thru a straw, it takes a moment for it to reach you... the fuel line is just a much longer straw!

- temperature: warmer weather makes for much easier and quicker starting, and an already 'warm'(used recently) generator is much quicker to start. A cold engine(a generator is an engine) is always more difficult to start and can create a lot of issues if not handled properly.
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