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Old 08-07-2016, 01:59 PM   #1
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Generator tries to start on it's own.

Hi all, Dave here. I recently had my 1997 Endeavor LE WDS worked on for some roof issues. It has been without power for about 2 months and when I went to pick it up today, the generator repeadetly tried to start. I am low on fuel so it will not fire off and it keeps trying to start the generator. I disconnected the house batteries and it quit trying to start. It only does this with the engine running. A local rv dealer said it was trying to start to boost the house batteries but with not enough fuel, was unsuccessful. Any thoughts?? Thanks all..Dave in Charleston.
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Old 08-07-2016, 02:13 PM   #2
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An Automatic Start Generator system may be a part of the generator system itself (Onan) or multiple brands of add-on. They almost all can be switched off or the voltage threshold that triggers the auto start can be changed. Look for a brand name on any panels and Google the brand and model # to find an instruction manual.
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Old 08-07-2016, 02:13 PM   #3
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The dealer may be right if you have an AGS (Auto Generator Start) module installed. It monitors batteries and other items and starts when needed, provide there is enough fuel.
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Old 08-07-2016, 02:43 PM   #4
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A couple of years ago, my batteries were getting low and old. To start the generator, I had to use the AUX START switch I think it is labeled, and it supposedly uses the chassis and house batteries to start in case of low voltage, as indicated by only a clicking sound. That was my hint to change the batteries. This time however it only does it with the engine running. I had to postpone my trip home from the repair facility for this and other reasons. I will research the auto start function. I just thought it was odd that it was trying to start with the engine running. I switched off the switch for the house batteries but it continued. I finally had to remove the big red wire from the output side of the switch to get it to stop. I hate that it is 2 hours drive away and I can not trouble shoot it any further but I am trying to research as much as possible before I have to try it again.
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Old 08-07-2016, 02:58 PM   #5
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It sounds like you aren't a new owner. Has it ever tried to automatically start the generator before? If you've never had it auto start before or you know it's not equipped with the feature, it could be a wiring issue. If you have AGS, perhaps battery levels got so low it reset to higher 'kick on' voltages. If the engine was running and you hold down the "aux start" or "Boost" switch that ties both battery groups together, did the generator still try to start?

Have you measured the state of charge of each battery? If possible, plug in the shore cord (even if only a 15 amp outlet) and allow on board converter/charger a good overnight time interval. Then unplug the shore cord and after a half hour or more (to allow surface charge to be absorbed by the batteries) measure the voltage again. It would be best to pull a cable off each battery so you're only measuring that individual battery instead of the group.

With the batteries charged, it would be a good time to have them load tested, a free service of most auto parts or battery shops.
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Old 08-07-2016, 03:51 PM   #6
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It was in the upper 90's and I really didn't try much trouble shooting, but it seemed odd that when I crank the engine on the coach it would at regular intervals try to start the generator. I knew it was too low on fuel to run but we were scrambling to get it to stop trying to start. We finally disconnected the wire from the disconnect switch and it stopped. It just seemed odd that in 6 years of owning the coach, this was the first time it had done this. We even had to replace the house batteries last year because they just wouldn't hold a charge long enough to re start the generator after a couple of hours. I hope that once I can get it home I can plug it in and charge the batteries, re connect them and all will be well...We shall see.
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Old 08-13-2016, 09:56 PM   #7
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Check your battery cables for corrosion. I had just acquired a used RV, and couldn't start the generator unless the main engine was running. it turns out the the lugs on the assorted heavy battery cables for the coach batteries (my coach has a 2x2 serial-parallel array of 6-volt T-105 batteries) were corroded so much that the cable resistance dropped the available voltage below enough to run the generator's starting circuit once the relay applied power to the generator's starting motor. I had to take all the battery cables out and sand and wirebrush the lugs at the ends of each cable until they were shiny again, then re-install them. Then everything worked fine and the batteries charged much faster.
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Old 08-13-2016, 10:03 PM   #8
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Thank you for the great suggestion. I will give it a check when I go back to pick it up next week.
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Old 08-13-2016, 10:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apavlin View Post
Check your battery cables for corrosion. I had just acquired a used RV, and couldn't start the generator unless the main engine was running. it turns out the the lugs on the assorted heavy battery cables for the coach batteries (my coach has a 2x2 serial-parallel array of 6-volt T-105 batteries) were corroded so much that the cable resistance dropped the available voltage below enough to run the generator's starting circuit once the relay applied power to the generator's starting motor. I had to take all the battery cables out and sand and wirebrush the lugs at the ends of each cable until they were shiny again, then re-install them. Then everything worked fine and the batteries charged much faster.
Your problem was that the generator wouldn't start. The OP said his generator kept trying to start without him trying to start it.

While clean connections ar always a good idea, I don't see how it pertains to the issue here.
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Old 08-13-2016, 11:10 PM   #10
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I never heard it stated but assume that OP does not have AGS?
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Old 08-14-2016, 05:45 AM   #11
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I don't believe that I have AGS. I had low batteries a couple of years ago before I had to replace both house batteries. I had to use the AUX start button that when pushed, uses the chassis batteries to help start the gen. I had to do this a couple of times before having to replace the house batteries. Granted the engine was not running at the time, but the gen never offered to start on its own. This time when it was trying to start, it was low on fuel and would not start but I was unaware of why it might have been trying to start on its own to begin with. I entered the coach and tried to start it just to cool it off but found it was too low on fuel to start. I noticed while the engine was running the coach seemed to shake like the engine was missing or skipping and low voltage. This was the gen trying to start but with no success. We thought it might have been a stuck start switch or relay but the only way to stop it was to shut off the engine then go shut off the chassis battery switch.
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Old 08-14-2016, 09:30 AM   #12
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Dave, you didn't mention in the first post that you had tried to start the generator, probably repeatedly, until you determined fuel was too low. It's very likely a relay or the start switch itself is stuck in the on position. When volts are low due to weak batteries, the amperage goes up to compensate and it's very likely the contact points in the relay are welded shut. Remove the fuse powering the generator and trace the circuit until you find the relay or switch that's closing the circuit to the generator starter.
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Old 08-19-2016, 07:09 PM   #13
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Ok everyone, here is an update on the generator that tries to start on it's own. I got her home today which was uneventful. Upon arrival in my driveway, I got her parked. After engine shutdown, I reconnected the house batteries and the generator immediately tried to start. The batteries were weak so I ran inside and used the AUX START switch to use the chassis batteries to help it start. I did top off the diesel tank, so in theory it should start and run. Well it motored over really rapidly but I only let it motor over for about 30 seconds. I could stop the start process by switching off the battery switch. I disconnected the battery wire again and put a charger on the 2 house batteries. They are only a year old but it did sit for 3 months while the repairs were made. I let them charge for 8 hours and I went back out and connected the batteries and as soon as I switched the big red battery switch on, the generator tried unsuccessfully to start. I know it has fuel, and the oil seems full on the dip stick, but I didn't add any just in case because I didn't want to over fill it, but it still engages the starter as soon as I turn on the battery switch and being full on fuel, in theory it should start...In hopes of the bleeding to stop, any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Dave in Charleston.
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Old 08-19-2016, 07:35 PM   #14
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Since the generator starter is engaged without pushing the start button, I still think the starter solenoid or dash start switch is stuck in the on position. This could be due to welded contact points.

The fact that it won't start now, are you holding the start switch down or just using the new 'automatic' start function? Very likely the dash start switch not only energizes the starter solenoid, but also the fuel pump, perhaps a fuel shut off solenoid and maybe more. No power to the fuel pump, no fuel to burn, even with a full tank.

I'd really sort out the stuck starter before worrying about not starting. Once you sort out that issue, the other might not be an issue anymore. I'd start at the starter solenoid, then work back to the dash control from there.
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