I woke up this morning to my wife frantically calling out "come quick --the motorhome is running--thieves are stealing it".
The 1999 37 ft Harney Diesel pusher is parked in our driveway and is blocked in by my pickup. I knew if it was being stolen they weren't going anywhere. I have to admit that for a second the thought of it disappearing was a relief as we are ready to upgrade. Sure enough when I got to the garage to put on my rain coat, I could hear the propane Onan generator purring away.
Hence began the saga of "What the heck"?
1.) It is not equipped with auto-start
2.) It is plugged into a 50 AMP outlet in the garage and had plenty of power.
3.) I have a trickle charger plugged into the batteries and they were fully charged.
4.) When I attempted to turn it off from both switches. It would only bang, rattle, backfire, and then continue to run as soon as I took my finger off of the kill switch. I am surprised my neighbors didn't call the police as each backfire (at 6:30 AM) sounded like a high caliber rifle shot.
Now I was beginning to panic. I had a full tank of propane so it would run forever. Please note turning the propane valves off did not kill the generator - I am not sure why.
I tried everything electrical thinking that something was telling it to run. I unplugged it from the 50 Amp outlet, turned the inverter off, shut of the battery connection, reset all the breakers but she just kept on purrring away.
I do not give up easily. In my 60 plus years of life I have never been outwitted by a machine and this was not going to be my first. I discovered that if I held the throttle linkage closed it would cut off the supply of fuel. However when it died, it would still try to restart. I knew that if I interrupted the flow of 12 volt electricity from the battery it wouldn't be able to start again. That was easier said than done. Did I mention it was raining and access to the lead from the battery was very difficult. I was running out of options as she defiantly purrred on. I decided to disconnect any wire I could reach that directly attached to the generator. I got my voltage tester and started poking wires to make sure I didn't get lit up like a Christmas tree. As I poked around I found a wiring harness with about 10 prongs. I unplugged it and she kept on purring . Next I pushed to throttle linkage to the left cutting off the fuel. She died!! This time no restart. I reluctantly stood there in the rain for about 10 minutes waiting for her to restart. Victory!!! Well kind of. I haven't tried to restart it yet because I fear the vicious cycle will continue. I am pretty sure if I need it I can start it at the gen set.
Ultimately I think that moister (did I mention it was frickin raining) got into the harness or control cable and did something. I will wait until after a stretch of dry weather to plug the wiring harness back in.
Wish me luck!!
John in Wet Washougal, Washington