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Old 07-17-2010, 08:39 PM   #1
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onan 5500 gen

Hi

Do I need a special type of oil for the gen?
And what is the weight of oil? Some people
say that the gen. (under load) should be
operated 4 hrs. a month to avoid moisture
build up and drying out of the carb parts.
Your thoughts please. Thanks a million.
PS: I just drove my 2000 Flair down the freeway
today for the first time. The lanes are much
wider than the side streets around my house.
I'm real new at this.
Fred Rubio, Pasco, Wa.
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Old 07-17-2010, 10:01 PM   #2
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Onan 5500

Fred- you can go to the Onan website and download the operators manual for your generator including the lubrication specifications- you will need your generator model and spec number that are on a decal somewhere on the front of your generator- then go to www.cumminsonan.com and click on the 'Recreational Vehicles' link and on the lower right side there is another link 'Find an operators manual' - that will bring you to the manual list and select your generator according to the model and spec # and the entire operators manual will come up - these generators are used in many different applications including RV's and an Onan 5500 for a marine or service truck may have different lubrication requirements -thats why you should always check with the manufacture - this is also true for the service manual - your 5500 generator looks the same as any other but the internal wiring for example may differ between the different applications such as the wiring harness connector pin assignments -thats why when you order a service or operators manual you do it with the exact info off of your generator- the oil recomendations for every generator will give you the type of oil for the different temperature ranges but there are differences between oil selection say between your RV generator that is used mostly in the summer ( the operators manual will list the oil viscosity to use in colder temperatures) and a generator that is used to power a welder on the back of a service truck that will see hard service in the summer and winter as well - also the lubrication system contributes to the cooling of the engine more so on an air cooled engine (yours is air cooled) so oil change intervals should be maintained- - so check first - also running your generator will contribute to the service life of the genset- moisture will get into the generator itself and cause damage if not dried out once in a while -the generator unit is also air cooled and when running will dry out any moisture buildup inside of it - if this is not done every once in a while (once a month minimum- more if in a higher moisture area or if stored outside) then corrosion can form on the generator windings and cause damage- I have seen a smaller generator with 25 hours on it that was not operated for two years- the owner started it and the windings (stator) failed and had to be replaced- also you should put a fuel stabilizer in the gas when ready to store the RV and use a fuel stabilizer with gas line antifreeze if the RV is stored outside in the winter ( usually two bottles for a class A and one for a B or C class- check the directions on the bottle and after pouring it in the tank run the vehicle and generator for at least 15 minutes to get the stabilizer into the gen carb and fuel injection or carb on the engine) - this will prevent gum formation in the generator carb (and vehicle engine fuel system) and running the vehicle and generator once a month in winter will help prevent problems when its time to take your RV out of hibernation- we do this every month with all of our RV rental fleet and we have found over a few years that we have less problems when its time to get the RV's out of storage.
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Old 07-18-2010, 08:23 AM   #3
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Most RV dealers and suppliers carry Onan Oil, oil and air filters. It may be slightly more costly, but well worth it in the long run. Don't skimp.
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Old 07-18-2010, 09:07 AM   #4
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Regular 30 weight (warm weather) or 10W30 automotive oil will do fine in the genset. Your Onan manual should cover this - download the manual if you don't have it. You don't need Onan oil or Onan brand filters - Onan doesn't make them anyway. They have one of the oil or filter companies label their stuff with Onan and sell it at marked up prices. Any good brand/grade will do fine.

You should run the genset for about 30-60 minutes per month under at least 50% load (e.g. an a/c or electric heater) to heat it up thoroughly and drive out moisture. Also prevents gunk build up in the carburetor on gas models.
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Old 08-15-2010, 08:54 PM   #5
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I use Amsoil 10w40.

AMSOIL - SAE 10W-40 Synthetic Motor Oil (AMO)

It is a high zinc oil and is fantastic. It will take the heat and provide excellent lubrication.
I run the same stuff in my Ferrari, and it has not let me down (yet!)

It is generally an excellent idea to run any engine on a semi regular basis.
Use any good engine oil and change it on a regular basis. Keep the gasoline clean, you can even add an extra fuel filter to the generator for extra safety if you wish. I add some Marvel Mystery oil to the coach gas tank each fill to help against carbon and gunk buildup in the generator. Maybe this is overkill, but it can't hurt for sure!
Mike
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Old 08-16-2010, 12:50 PM   #6
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Staley, how did you upgrade to 50A? What was the cost?
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Old 08-16-2010, 07:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homerbw View Post
Staley, how did you upgrade to 50A? What was the cost?

It was EASY as pie once I figured out how the generator circuit was wired to the transfer switch and thru it.

Here is a link to my picasa gallery and you can see the pictures that I uploaded of the upgrades to our RV.

Picasa Web Albums - lmstaley2 - RV 50 Amp Upg...


I ran the new wiring across the RV over the gray and black tanks then up thru the floor where the right side heater is (under the cabinets in the bathroom) I ran a snake down the wall from the original box and pulled the new huge wire up the wall. the rest of it was just connecting things up.
The biggest stumble was connecting the generator. I also have the onan 5500 with a 20 and 30 circuits. I wired the transfer switch with the 2 hot legs (SO.. when I am on shore power I have full power, when I am on generator.. one side of my panel gets 20a and the other gets 30a). works like a champ.

I think I spent less than $500 including the new 50a shore power cable.

If I can help let me know
Mike
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Old 08-17-2010, 08:32 AM   #8
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I use Mobil 1 10-30W in mine and the NAPA Gold oil and air filter. Been doing that for 5 years with no problems. I use our generator a lot and change oil/filters every 6 months.
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Old 08-18-2010, 06:18 AM   #9
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Can you tell me the NAPA gold filter # that you use.
The ONAN ones are expensive!
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Old 08-18-2010, 07:35 AM   #10
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The NAPA numbers are:

Air 9087
Oil 7398
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