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Old 05-07-2007, 02:32 PM   #1
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So, it's that time of year again for the service on the diesel coach engine and the generator. Since I have prior experience changing oil and filters on my dad's Caterpillar equipment, last year I dragged myself under the coach and changed the oil and filters myself (much to the pleasure of my husband, especially when I came out all greasy and dirty girl looking!). I wasn't going to do it myself again, just because I despise it so much, and we really don't have a good place to do the work, however, after getting a price of $240 just to service the coach engine from the Cummins place up the road, I'm thinking I'll do it again myself. So...oil filter, 2 fuel filters, wrench set and filter wrenchess, check the air filter, blow if off if possible and hope I don't need to replace it yet (this time I'll switch the 2nd fuel filter from the interior of the coach..much easier access) for the 5.9 L diesel, but is there anything I need to know about oil and fuel filters in a propane generator?

We have an Onan 6.3NHE-FA/63753J generator. It has approximately 70 hours on it since it's last service last spring. It's not really due to replace oil or filter until 150 hours, but should I go ahead and do it now, or wait for more hours? Also, in the generator manual, it says to replace clean fuel filter at 300 hours...should I just let it be, even though it's been a year? Also, do you need to use a different type of oil (rather than standard 10W30 or 15W40) with a propane generator?

We haven't used the RV since last October, though while it has been in storage, we go out and run the generator with a load for an hour or so (starts and runs perfectly every time), while running the diesel engine once every 3 weeks. Engine has a little less than 4K on it since last oil change. Generator has about 70 hours on it.

I would really rather spend the $350 + that servicing these two items would cost on something else (like a couple tanks of diesel fuel), and know that it's not really that difficult to accomplish. Any other wisdom you can offer would be greatly appreciated, and any other items that I need to look at while doing maintenance on both systems would be welcome.
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Old 05-07-2007, 02:32 PM   #2
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So, it's that time of year again for the service on the diesel coach engine and the generator. Since I have prior experience changing oil and filters on my dad's Caterpillar equipment, last year I dragged myself under the coach and changed the oil and filters myself (much to the pleasure of my husband, especially when I came out all greasy and dirty girl looking!). I wasn't going to do it myself again, just because I despise it so much, and we really don't have a good place to do the work, however, after getting a price of $240 just to service the coach engine from the Cummins place up the road, I'm thinking I'll do it again myself. So...oil filter, 2 fuel filters, wrench set and filter wrenchess, check the air filter, blow if off if possible and hope I don't need to replace it yet (this time I'll switch the 2nd fuel filter from the interior of the coach..much easier access) for the 5.9 L diesel, but is there anything I need to know about oil and fuel filters in a propane generator?

We have an Onan 6.3NHE-FA/63753J generator. It has approximately 70 hours on it since it's last service last spring. It's not really due to replace oil or filter until 150 hours, but should I go ahead and do it now, or wait for more hours? Also, in the generator manual, it says to replace clean fuel filter at 300 hours...should I just let it be, even though it's been a year? Also, do you need to use a different type of oil (rather than standard 10W30 or 15W40) with a propane generator?

We haven't used the RV since last October, though while it has been in storage, we go out and run the generator with a load for an hour or so (starts and runs perfectly every time), while running the diesel engine once every 3 weeks. Engine has a little less than 4K on it since last oil change. Generator has about 70 hours on it.

I would really rather spend the $350 + that servicing these two items would cost on something else (like a couple tanks of diesel fuel), and know that it's not really that difficult to accomplish. Any other wisdom you can offer would be greatly appreciated, and any other items that I need to look at while doing maintenance on both systems would be welcome.
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Old 05-08-2007, 11:16 AM   #3
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We have an Onan propane generator, only has air filter, nothing on the fuel side(propane) and when new I changed the oil at 50 hours then at 100 and now I just change it every 75 to 100 hours during a time when I change the oil for our 7.3L diesel. I use 15W40, same as the engine oil.
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Old 05-10-2007, 07:19 AM   #4
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First off let me say that I am impressed that a female RV'er has those skills and is willing to get dirty

I do my own service as well, and just for the same reasons as you. You are doing exactly the right thing by starting and running the engines regularly. I would not worry about changing the filters early unless you are having a rough idle condition. Running the engines under load is the best regular service you can do. My dealer wanted 300 to do my oil, and 450 for the tranny service. I'll suck it up and do it myself too. I can always wash up and do laundry!

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Old 05-10-2007, 09:18 AM   #5
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Why thanks for the compliment, Sarge! My father was a General Contractor, so all of his daughters were taught basic skills, such as oil changes, spark plug changes, etc.

I worked for his company for over 5 years, so in addition to my 'wrenching abilities,' I can also pour concrete (slabs and walls), operate heavy machinery (hydraulic excavator, front end loader, bulldozer, etc.), as well as handle a shovel and hammer. It's a blessing, as my husband has ZERO skills in the mechanical/electrical/carpentry areas.
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Old 05-10-2007, 12:46 PM   #6
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Man that too cool! I too was a cement contractor here in Ca in a previous life! No wonder you are so talented!!

Really, you have more skills than a lot of guys I know. But really, isn't great not to have to depend on someone else to do the usual maintenance stuff? I hate taking my stuff to someone else to fix that will only do half the job, and charge you twice the price........

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Old 05-10-2007, 05:52 PM   #7
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glfprmcs

WoW! Do you clean fish? Send picture of boat!!!. No no no just kidding. I agree with SargeW, its impressive that you tackle such a chore. BTW, Read in the Monaco mag not to long ago that you should not take your air filter off ( especially to blow off the dust ). to clean. If you remove it, replace it. Something about getting dust in the engine and etc . s/Toby
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Old 05-10-2007, 06:54 PM   #8
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glfprmcs, as a fellow 5.9 owner who does his own oil changes, I'll offer a couple of ideas to you:
1. Go get a Fumoto valve for the engine. I got the kind with the nipple. If you can borrow a big 4 gallon pan for the first time, after that you can drain the oil right back into gallon jugs. Fumoto Valve
2. The engine oil filter is a little tricky. I have no problems getting it off but it is heavy, really full of oil and there are a couple of obstacles on the way down. Unfortunately, you need to fill the new filter just as full as you can get it and then you get to snake it past the obstacles to mount it. "as full as you can" means oil showing through all of the holes in the top. If you don't, the engine builds high oil pressure right away.
3. I'd recommend against getting an air hose any where near your air filter. Just watch the gauge and change it when the gauge is near the top. Urban legend says that the filter actually works a little better after it traps a little dirt in it so don't be too anxious to get rid of the old one.
4. I'm running the same oil in our propane genset as in the engine. That's what my dealer recommended. I can only say "so far, so good." On ours, the drain plug is in a nasty position and the oil doesn't run cleanly into the pan. Other than that, the air filter and spark plugs are easy to change if you feel the need. On all my small engines, I change the plugs once a year whether they need it or not. Since I started doing that on the ONAN, it starts faster than it did when we first bought it.
5. While you are underneath, you might considering checking the electrical connections. I start my engine oil draining into the first gallon jug and then, wrench in hand, I slide over to the starter and check the power lead for tightness. I've taken a little slack up a couple of times.
6. You didn't mention it but one of the biggest potential failure areas is the driveshaft. I've found that my slip joint and universals can stand grease a little more often than the manual says. That is the other small job that I do while waiting on the oil to drain. Be sure that you see grease coming from all 4 corners of the universal joint.
7. If you are going to run your engine, the recommendation is to run it to operating temperature on the road. I run the genset about two hours a month to exercise it - and under load. I have heaters for the winter and run both A/Cs in the spring, summer and fall.
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