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Old 01-25-2014, 01:03 PM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2013
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Maintenance on a Onan 5500 watt propane generator

I just bought a generator from a very nice couple. It's an Onan 5500 propane generator that's 7 years old and 115 hours. They changed the oil and filter every year but that is it. They start it up every month and put a load on it for 10-20 minutes to keep it fresh.
It has never given them any problems so they have never done any maintenance besides oil/filter.

It looks pretty new and runs great. It is still installed in their 5th wheel and we will take it to La Mesa RV to remove and put into my truck to take home until my trailer is ready.

Question is, is there anything I should look for that may have come loose or anything like that over the 7 years it's been installed?

I also read that a propane generator's lifespan is only about half of a gas one. Is there any truth to that?

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Old 01-25-2014, 02:36 PM   #2
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I don't know about half the life of gasoline. Here's a listing of advantages and disadvantages of various fuels in generator. It doesn't seem to have any hard evidence of statements.
About Generator Fuel - What Generator Fuel is Best
Unless you are planning to run your generator at full capacity 24/7, I think you'll do fine. LP doesn't change to varnish over time like gasoline.


Bob & Donna
'98 Gulf Stream Sun Voyager DP being pushed by a '00 Beetle TDI
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Old 01-25-2014, 03:07 PM   #3
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I had a Oman 4000 propane in a previous coach. ~15 years and 1200 hours of usage when I sold the coach, nothing ever done to it except oil and filters changes every couple years. It just worked.
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 01-25-2014, 03:10 PM   #4
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Propane engines usually last longer than gasoline engines because there is less soot produced, and less contamination of the oil. Propane has an almost infinite life span, meaning it doesn't go bad just by sitting, whereas gas engines usually have their carburetors varnished and plugged when left with stale fuel in the tank for long periods of time.

It is true that diesel generators are the true work horses, and can have a life span easily double that of other engines......however very few people ever come close to wearing out a generator. Most generators need service or repair from lack of use.

Sounds like you got a gem there..... They kept the unit in excellent shape ! :-)
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Old 01-25-2014, 03:52 PM   #5
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Great. Thank you very much. Looks like I did Ok buying a propane generator. I did find the manual with a maintenance schedule and there's really not a lot to do on this generator.
I think I'm a happy camper.
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generator, maintenance, onan, propane

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