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Old 10-19-2019, 12:45 PM   #1
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Exercising generator with cover on motorhome

For those who cover their motorhome during the winter, how do you exercise your generator under load? In the summer I start my generator and run the air conditioner. Can I do that even with a cover over the roof? If not, what kind of load would you recommend?
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Old 10-19-2019, 12:49 PM   #2
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Why are you needing to put it under load? It just needs to get fresh fuel into the carb and heat up the oil to get moisture out. Even at idle, both get done. Just ensure the generator exhaust is exiting beyond the cover. You can put an extension on it to be sure.
And don't fall asleep in the RV just in case there is some carbon monoxide that isn't venting.
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Old 10-19-2019, 12:53 PM   #3
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Tough to do properly


A/C Unit covered up......not good idea to run

Microwave COULD provide a 'load source'....but does it vent heat OUTSIDE??


Plug in couple 1500W Space Heaters but they woukld have to be on different circuits due to the 12A draw/Each


Course you would need to ensure gen exhaust is clear






Once cover is put on....done for the season.
Watching for others experience..........
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Old 10-19-2019, 01:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dav L View Post
Why are you needing to put it under load? It just needs to get fresh fuel into the carb and heat up the oil to get moisture out. Even at idle, both get done.
I thought proper procedure was to put a load on the generator. If not, that makes it easy.
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Old 10-19-2019, 01:47 PM   #5
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I cover ours in November, uncover in April or May.

The generator or the engine don't get started until we uncover.

If you must, then use electric heaters.
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Old 10-19-2019, 01:53 PM   #6
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I lift my cover above the exhaust. I run a couple of space heaters and run the generator for roughly 30 minutes.
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Old 10-19-2019, 01:59 PM   #7
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Running under load drives out moisture. There isn't enough moisture in winter to worry about.

Disconnect the gas line and run the generator until it stops OR Open the carb drain with the engine cold and off. With the carb empty your good for the winter.
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Old 10-19-2019, 02:24 PM   #8
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From the Cummins - Onan RV Generator manual:

https://cdn.ltvdns.com/leisurevans.c...r-Handbook.pdf

Exercising Your Generator
It may seem surprising that “not” using a machine could cause performance
problems, but with RV generators that’s exactly the case. Regular “exercise” is
an important part of keeping your generator healthy. Lack of exercise can cause
moisture build-up and fuel system degradation that make it run poorly. In fact, in
as little as 30 days, the fuel in gasoline-powered generators can begin to gum
and varnish the fuel system. Fuel varnishing results in hard starting and surging. (A
surging generator never settles at a stable operating speed.)
To prevent such problems, it is recommended to run gasoline generators at a
minimum of 50 percent capacity (2000-watts, or one air conditioner for a 4000-watt
set) for two hours once every four weeks. This is necessary to help keep moving
parts lubricated, expel moisture and control fuel varnishing in the carburetor. A long
two-hour exercise period is preferable to several short periods. While traveling, this
can be accomplished by running the air conditioning. If you own a diesel generator,
regular exercising can help reduce internal condensation and helps keep seals
lubricated.
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Old 10-19-2019, 02:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brews Cruise View Post
From the Cummins - Onan RV Generator manual:

https://cdn.ltvdns.com/leisurevans.c...r-Handbook.pdf

Exercising Your Generator
It may seem surprising that “not” using a machine could cause performance
problems, but with RV generators that’s exactly the case. Regular “exercise” is
an important part of keeping your generator healthy. Lack of exercise can cause
moisture build-up and fuel system degradation that make it run poorly. In fact, in
as little as 30 days, the fuel in gasoline-powered generators can begin to gum
and varnish the fuel system. Fuel varnishing results in hard starting and surging. (A
surging generator never settles at a stable operating speed.)
To prevent such problems, it is recommended to run gasoline generators at a
minimum of 50 percent capacity (2000-watts, or one air conditioner for a 4000-watt
set) for two hours once every four weeks. This is necessary to help keep moving
parts lubricated, expel moisture and control fuel varnishing in the carburetor. A long
two-hour exercise period is preferable to several short periods. While traveling, this
can be accomplished by running the air conditioning. If you own a diesel generator,
regular exercising can help reduce internal condensation and helps keep seals
lubricated.
There is also a storage procedure when the generator won't be in use for an extended period of time.
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Old 10-19-2019, 05:39 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone for all the great information.
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Old 10-19-2019, 07:12 PM   #11
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I don't run the generator when the motorhome is covered usually from mid October till mid May. Never had any problems. Our temps can reach -40 so starting the generator in weather that cold will do more harm than good.
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Old 10-19-2019, 07:31 PM   #12
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Run fridge, if a 2 way it will default to electric, a television, maybe charge a laptop
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Old 10-20-2019, 06:02 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinboat View Post
Running under load drives out moisture. There isn't enough moisture in winter to worry about.
Above is the correct procedure. Every manual says to run under a load for this very reason and is a good practice. However, IMO even in the winter, the moisture issue really depends on where you live in the country.

As far as fuel varnishing is concerned, if your coach is in a real cold climate and you're going to be down for several months, before you close her up for the winter, I'd add a stabilizer to the entire gas tank and then take her out for about a 30-45 minute drive while running the A/C units or heat pumps on the generator.

That will do 2 things:
It will get the treated fuel throughout the coach & generator fuel systems and exercise the generator properly under load to remove any moisture before you button her down for the winter.

You can use a stabilizing product like Sea Foam from Walmart. 4 cans will treat a full 80 gallon tank of gas.

Good luck.
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Old 10-20-2019, 07:06 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinboat View Post
Running under load drives out moisture. There isn't enough moisture in winter to worry about.

Disconnect the gas line and run the generator until it stops OR Open the carb drain with the engine cold and off. With the carb empty your good for the winter.
I run my generator with a load on it once or twice a month during the camping season. I plug a work lamp set into the outlet where my shore cord plugs into the generator power outlet (I don't have a transfer switch). The work lamp uses two 500 W. Halogen bulbs.
I also have installed an on / off toggle switch in the ground wire for my generator's electric fuel pump. The switch is in my wet bay next to the generator compartment. I originally did this so I could shut the switch off when the generator was running and lower the fuel level in the carb float bowl. This helped greatly starting the generator after traveling down rough roads. My carb float is adjusted at the specs but I always seemed to have some spill over of gas causing the generator engine to be flooded which led to hard starting the first time after traveling and allowing gas to contaminate the engine oil.
I seldom use my Onan but I want it to run if I do want to run it.
I also use this switch when I winterize my generator. I add fuel stabilizer to the MH gas tank, drive to the dump station to drain and clean the waste tanks etc. then run the generator for a 1/2 hour or so after I get home then shut my toggle switch off and let the generator run out of gas. Then I remove the fuel bowl drain plug after the engine cools down to drain out any remaining gas. I flip my toggle switch back to on so I don't forget when I want to start the generator again.
When I start my generator in the spring it starts up and runs fine after hitting the prime button for a few seconds.
Lynn
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