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Old 04-22-2015, 08:52 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2011
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Onan/Cummins burnt up

We have (well had) a 5500 in our 2013 Itasca motor home. We were using the genny with just one air unit and the refer on when my son yelled fire. The genny was smoking bad, when I got there it had shut down and fire was out. All the wiring on the outside looks fine, I think it is the winding's.
Has anyone else had a problem?

Dennis & Sandy Brooksville, Florida
Dogs : Cisco (Chi) & Elly May (Chi)
2013 Itasca Sunstar 35F - 2018 Jeep Cherokee Trail Hawk - 1995 Jeep - 1996 Dyna Low-Rider
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Old 04-22-2015, 10:02 PM   #2
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Damon Owners Club
Workhorse Chassis Owner
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Location: N. Palm Springs CA (in winter)
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Has the cause of your genset over heating and catching fire determined? Using wrong weight of oil, Low/no oil, clogged oil filter, oil blow-by - leak/coatiing on outside of generator, or maybe an over due oil change?

I have a Onan Marquis Gold 5500 genset and it came close to catching fire near 300 hrs of use. I was in Redding CA and it was triple digits so I had the cargo door up for more ventilation. I was working the Onan under load as required monthly for an hour. I happened to walk by the RV and saw a 18 inch puddle on the asphalt. It was gasoline leaking heavily from the second (redundant) fuel filter. After shutting down the generator I discovered Onan discontinued the 2nd fuel filter and replaced it with a filter by-pass P/N A029S253 . I was lucky I saw it, lucky it did not catch fire , and lucky I was parked at CampingWorld where I got the replacement parts.
I installed the by-pass and a new fuel filter. No problems since. I did the work myself where I was parked.
I use 15W40 synthetic oil in my generator because synthetics are slicker than conventional oil, they allow for smoother, cooler engine operation. We also know that synthetics flow better in cold weather, making engine starts easier and offering better protection. In addition, synthetics resist viscosity changes at extremely high temperatures that can break down or evaporate molecules in conventional oil. When this kind of deterioration happens, metal-on-metal contact may occur, causing permanent damage to the engine.

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Old 04-23-2015, 05:38 AM   #3
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I am not sure but I think Onan generators are warranted for 3 years.
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Old 04-23-2015, 07:08 AM   #4
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Was this a gas or LP Gen?
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Old 04-23-2015, 12:32 PM   #5
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If the cover on the generator is off or not on properly it will cause overheating, not sure if this applies to you're situation.
2007 National Sea Breeze
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:30 PM   #6
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I had my Generator burn up in January. Sounds like the same thing, I was exercising the Gen and it started smoking then stopped. You can get the error code, I think mine was 45. I took the MH to the Onan Cummins NPower service center. The Stator windings were burnt out, they also found the bolts holding the Stator housing broken.

Unfortunately my MH is a 2011 and the 3 year warranty was expired. Cost about $450 in parts and a lot more in labor (the broken bolts had to be drilled out, taking a lot of time). Works great now.

I'd find the closest service center and take it in under your warranty.
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:37 PM   #7
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My 5500 burnt up the brushes under the load of two air conditioners for a few hours. Brushes in turn scored the stator contact surface...
Vince and Susan
2011 Tiffin Phaeton 40QTH (Cummins ISC/Freightliner)
Flat towing a modified 2005 Jeep (Rubicon Wrangler)
Previously a 2002 Fleetwood Pace Arrow 37A and a 1995 Safari Trek 2830.
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Old 04-28-2015, 08:25 AM   #8
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The idea to "load" the generator once a month is not just for the engine component but also for the generator component. Those winding, brushes and the rotating parts absolutely need to be brought up to temperature and exercised. Any corrosion on the rotor or stator or brushes is just asking for trouble.

Chuck n Terri
2017 Heartland Bighorn 3875FB
2016 Chevy 3500 Duramax
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cummins, onan

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