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Old 03-21-2013, 08:59 PM   #1
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5.5 KW Onan won't turn over

Well I screwed up and have not run my generator for about a year and a half! Now when I try to start it all I get is a loud taping and it will not turn over. Any ideas?
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Old 03-21-2013, 11:33 PM   #2
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Assuming it's not propane, Worse case scenario, gasoline jelled in the carburator.
Here is Service Manual for Onan Genset: http://www.cumminsonan.com/www/pdf/m.../983-0501D.pdf
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Old 03-21-2013, 11:37 PM   #3
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Thanks Doggy, you may not have understood, "it will not turn over, something is frozen up"!
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Old 03-22-2013, 04:20 AM   #4
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It's kind of hard to understand what you mean by tapping. Fast tap? Slow tap? Does it repeat like machine gun fire if you hold down the starter button or just does it once with each press of the starter button? Perhaps the solenoid? A loud fast "tapping" sound generally is the starter/solenoid trying to engage. There can be several causes, but most usually low voltage/amperage due to poor connections.
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Old 03-22-2013, 07:55 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete & Linda View Post
Well I screwed up and have not run my generator for about a year and a half! Now when I try to start it all I get is a loud taping and it will not turn over. Any ideas?
If you can see the cooling fan, check that the engine is not frozen up by pushing on the fan blades using a prying device. Careful not to use too much force as you could break off one of the cast blades. If the engine will not rotate, it is frozen and will need special attention. If a single or dual cylinder gas or propane unit you could remove the spark plugs and spray penetrating oil into the cylinder heads and then wait. Hopefully it is just a ring stuck to the cylinder wall with surface rust and the penetrating oil will free it. If you do free up the engine, leave the spark plugs out and generously lubricate the cylinder bores with oil. Motor the starter over to distribute the oil and blow excess out of cylinders. This is very important. Do not try to start the engine until it turns over smoothly and the lubricant you put in the cylinders has been forced out. (prevents hydraulic lock). Reinstall the spark plugs and give it a go. If you don't feel comfortable doing this yourself, please seek professional help. You don't want to destroy your generator engine. Stuck rings are not uncommon in a gas/propane engine that has not been run for long periods of time.
Good luck with this one.
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Old 03-22-2013, 08:05 AM   #6
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The loud tapping is the starter solenoid chattering because it is not getting enough voltage from the batteries. The generator normally uses the chassis batteries to start so the first question is if the mh motor starts? If not then get the batteries charged or checked. If the mh motor starts then the next thing is a loose or dirty battery cable connection. Just cleaning them while they are connected will not work. They have to be disconnected and wire brushed on the battery post and cable end for both cables. If there is corrosion on them then they have to be cleaning with baking soda first before wire brushing them.
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Old 03-22-2013, 08:49 AM   #7
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Thanks to all. We just got back from a trip and it had been a few days not plugged into AC. But can start the MH as far as I know. Plugged it in a few days ago so will try again today. It is the starter soil trying to turn it over. It is not a ticking like when you try to start a vehicle with a low or bad batt. It is a loud tapping (like a machine gun). It is a two cylinder gas unit. There looks like theres a "pan" under it that I could drop down and maybe get to something to try to turn it over. This thing is not on a slid-out and you can't get to it to do anything, I tried to pull a plug bet could not get to it, will try again today.
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Old 03-22-2013, 08:56 AM   #8
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tap the starter- it may just be stuck
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Old 03-22-2013, 10:31 AM   #9
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If the motor or the starter was frozen and either would not rotate then the starter solenoid would not be tapping. Gasoline jelled in the carb woul not stop it from turning over. My guess it is still a rusted or dirty or loose positive or negative battery cable. Like I said before you have to disconnect the battery cables to clean them properly. Your motorhome maybe different and the generator uses the house batteries to start. So clean the battery cables there also but before you do anything try starting the generator while holding down the Battery Boost switch.
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Old 03-22-2013, 12:31 PM   #10
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Mike I did try the batt boost and same thing, now that it has been plugged in a couple days I am going to try it again. The taping I thought would be the starter soil, I thought it would hit, draw too much current drop out and hit again. I may be all wrong about that as it taps fast.
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Old 03-22-2013, 02:31 PM   #11
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No that tapping is really solenoid chatter because the voltage is too low to hold it closed. What happens is there is barely enough voltage to close the solenoid but when the voltage goes through the solenoid to the starter it drops the voltage way down so the solenoid releases. When it shuts off the voltage to the starter the voltage is now high enough to close the solenoid again and it will keep on repeating this cycle and thus the tapping or chattering of the solenoid.
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Old 03-22-2013, 03:39 PM   #12
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Mike you are dead on and anyone else that said low battery. I tried it today and it turned over fine. I still don't know why it would be such a loud taping, but it's hard to argue with success. I do have some carburetor problems, it will only run for a couple seconds and quit. There is a drain for the bowl and I have drained it a number of times. The primer is working as I can pump the bowl back up after draining it. If I spray carburetor cleaner in it will run as long as I spray it. So I guess there is a jet somewhere that is dirty-gummed up. There is a cylindroid at the bottom of the bowl and I guess it has a jet also may remove it and try to clean it. Again thanks to everyone for your help. I'm not a carb man but these problems are a lot better than having it froze up!
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Old 03-22-2013, 09:17 PM   #13
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That why that once a month run time is so important to do
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Old 03-23-2013, 04:53 AM   #14
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I don't know about the newer onan generators, but on my older 6.5kw onan if the engine will only run a few seconds it means the generator is not producing any voltage. Mine turned out to be the voltage regulator. It could be other things though like the control board, oil pressure switch, brushes, etc.
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