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Old 04-01-2012, 09:10 PM   #1
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Onan 5500 generator propane problems

I purchased my 2011 Montana from Camping World and had them install an Onan 5500 propane generator in it. The generator has not worked properly since day one. It seems to run better in real warm weather, like above 80 F., but keeps dying out in cooler weather. It seems to be a propane delivery problem. I had it looked at by a Cummins dealer, and the tech said it needed bigger fuel lines (from 1/4 up to 3/8). Camping World replaced the lines as recommended and also replaced the regulator, but the problem remains. Now the Cummins tech says it cannot be tapped off the same line running to the furnace and needs to have one tank dedicated to the generator (the furnace is not running when the problem occurs so is not putting any draw on the propane). Camping World says they have always installed generators this way (tapped into propane line to furnace) without any problems.

Has anybody else run into this problem of a generator not getting enough propane?
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Old 04-02-2012, 03:27 AM   #2
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Wow just traded in my 5500 2011 propane and had a fuel problem also however my tank was bad..hmmm when u run r u dedicating a single tank to the run or if that does not work ...leave in the center allowing the gen to pull from both tanks....wow changed the lines and regulator??..try changing tanks??
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Old 04-02-2012, 06:12 AM   #3
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The Cummins tech is correct. The gen should be on it's own feed with it's own
regulator with a feed line of 3/8's of larger. The three ways I have worked with and
I am sure there are a lot of others is two tanks one for the gen the other for every
thing else, one large tank with two shut off's each with a regulator one feeding the
gen the other feeding the other stuff, the last one not seen often is a much larger
shut off with a much larger regulator and larger main feed line.
The bottom line is all regulate the pressure to a few pounds but maintain the volume
that is needed.
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Old 04-02-2012, 06:44 PM   #4
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I would probably stop taking stuff to Camping World if it hasn't worked since day one.
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Old 04-02-2012, 08:40 PM   #5
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I had the same problem with my 5500 lp Onan and was ready to convert to gasoline because no one could make it work like it should. I purchased the materials to make a Manometer and checked the water colum pressure with the furnace and gen running. It was only 8 inches. I adjusted the auto changeover regulator to 12 inches on my homemade manometer and now everything works like it is supposed to. I can run all the LP at the same time including the oven on a single 30lb tank. Before the gen would draw off of both tanks and would quit when they were about half empty.My local RV dealer said 12 inches was OK to run. I have been chasing this problem on my Cardinal since I took delivery in July. I had given up on getting it repaired under warranty. Hope this helps.
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Old 04-03-2012, 05:31 PM   #6
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Update: problem solved

I went with the cummins tech and split the propane tanks. Ran one directly to the genset with 3/8" line and it is working fine.
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Old 04-03-2012, 05:38 PM   #7
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Nice should provide good service now.
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:32 PM   #8
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Glad to hear your problems!

I just joined this forum and started a thread on converting my Onan 5.5 to LP. I have a Raptor toy hauler and want to convert my genset to LP from gas (actually to tri-fuel). Already converted a Briggs genset to tri-fuel and was amazed at how simple it was and how good it ran. I have plenty of room for extra propane tanks, which I already have and keep stabil in the fuel tank. If I go to tri-fuel, I will drill out the carb that is on the genset now but would like to replace the existing carb with one already set up for LP to see how it works. Already have a Garretson low pressure regulator and an electric fuel shut off. I do alot of dry camping so I would more than likely use a dedicated tank just for the generator. From what I researched, fuel consumption is about the same gas v LP and you don't have to worry about running the genset under load about an hour a month if you don't use it. Any cons I should consider besides what you guys already discussed?? Also, does anyone know what number the LP carb of the 5.5 genset is so I can start looking for one, rather than pay $600+ at a dealership or ebay? Thanks, Jay
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Old 04-08-2012, 07:09 AM   #9
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One mistake is they used 3/8 line. Onan says anythig over 10 feet should be 1/2. I have installed and always use 1/2" ( I always go overkill) and had no problems, also using a common regulator. The one thing they don't tell you is you must run with both tanks open. One tank will not vaporize the fuel quick enough to supply the genset. Another thing is you must open your tank valves sloooowly so the excess flow regulator does dot reduce the flow of the vaporized fuel.
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