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Old 08-03-2013, 11:51 PM   #1
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During winter storage, run the rv and generator once a month or leave it?

I'm in northern Illinois. I have collector cars. The most common thing to do with them is to leave them alone unless you can take them for a ride as you will do more harm than good letting them sit and idle. It makes sense to me so I have done that for 20 years, not messing with them if I cannot take them for an extended ride to warm them up properly.

My question is that looking around here, many are suggesting regular start ups of the RV. Also regular running of the generator. My Motorhome has to sit out. I have a cover and I remove the batteries (as I do in my collector cars). Keep my garage heated to 40 degrees. And rotate my trickle charge to the batteries. To reinstall the batteries and uncover the Motorhome at least partially to run it or the generator is not only massively inconvenient but those of you in the Midwest know that there may not be times to be able to do this properly due to the weather. If the generator is not being used, how does condesation form on the working parts that it would have to be run? I would think constantly starting it in cold weather would not only be worse but also heating it up would increase the chance of causing the condensation to form as it cools each time.

What are your thoughts and any scientific reasoning would help as antidotes are great and useful but being a science teacher, facts don't lie. Thanks so much!
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Old 08-04-2013, 06:14 AM   #2
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I have little choice but to leave my vehicles sit unattended for up to two years at a time, but even when I am able to attend to them, I don't bother doing anything more often than once every 4 to 6 months. Many things that probably need exercising if they are not to seize up - for example, water pumps, any fan motors, solenoid valves, mixer taps (that will stick if left in one position for months) wheel bearings and drive shafts, air brake components and almost any and all electrical or electronic equipment. But as you said, if condensation inside electrical items is going to be a problem - and it can be - then thermally cycling everything every month, especially in the wrong climate, merely increases the number of times that moisture gets the chance to be where it shouldn't when power is applied. It also results in more condensation getting into fuel tanks, and in your case, increases the chances you will end up with battery connection problems or even a bad back from all the extra lifting in confined spaces.
My approach is to have solar plus some sort of unit eg trik-l-start to keep all batteries charged up, some way of keeping the humidity down in climates where mould is a problem, plus major measures to keep the rodent population to zero inside the rig and near zero all around it.

Only 6 Months layup? Winterise, rodent control and let it rest.
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Old 08-04-2013, 08:32 AM   #3
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I'm no longer a fan of leaving them sit when not in use. Been there and done that routine. Last time I left a unit sit for an extended period of non use, it cost me over $400 to get it running again and that did not include the tow truck fee. Due to my job, I let one sit for well over a year. Had to have the fuel tank pulled flushed and coated, all fuel lines purged, and replacement of the carb on a generator and obviously all filters. Now, if it's going to sit for more than a couple of weeks, I do the Stabil additive and I try at least twice month to I fire up both the engine and genny. I put the genny on a load and run both for at least a half hour. When I'm not being lazy, I will drive it at least around the block. I now have the start up routine as a pop up on the calendar program so that I don't forget. I also had a classic, and when it wasn't apart for various repairs or upgrades, I also started it every couple of weeks, and let it run long enough to bring it up to operating temperature.
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Old 08-04-2013, 09:40 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mustang652 View Post
I'm no longer a fan of leaving them sit when not in use. Been there and done that routine. Last time I left a unit sit for an extended period of non use, it cost me over $400 to get it running again and that did not include the tow truck fee. Due to my job, I let one sit for well over a year. Had to have the fuel tank pulled flushed and coated, all fuel lines purged, and replacement of the carb on a generator and obviously all filters. Now, if it's going to sit for more than a couple of weeks, I do the Stabil additive and I try at least twice month to I fire up both the engine and genny. I put the genny on a load and run both for at least a half hour. When I'm not being lazy, I will drive it at least around the block. I now have the start up routine as a pop up on the calendar program so that I don't forget. I also had a classic, and when it wasn't apart for various repairs or upgrades, I also started it every couple of weeks, and let it run long enough to bring it up to operating temperature.
I do pretty much the same thing except on my classic its covered a few times. Both the MH and the Gennie got started at least once a month. The MH sits in the drive way and the classic sit's in a unheated garage.

We are in Minnesota, sooooo it gets pretty chilly here
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Old 08-04-2013, 10:24 AM   #5
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I am a proponent of exercising the engine, tranny and generator at least once a month, and during the winter using Stabil and keeping the gas tank topped off (partially full gas tanks will breathe, I'm told, and the moisture in the air will accumulate in the tank if it isn't topped off).

Oddly, when I got my '99 in early '09, with the low hours on both the engine and generator I know neither was exercised with regularity, but I had no issues with starting the generator. Within a year or two of starting my monthly regimen, the generator became hard to start and recently began to shutdown on high heat after running on load for a while. A new fuel filter and a can of Seafoam later and the generator is running great again. I think what was happening is that old gunk was being broken up during my monthly exercise routine and slowly fouled up the system.

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Old 08-04-2013, 12:19 PM   #6
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Let the engine sleep. Run the generator for an hour (under load) ever couple of months.
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Old 08-04-2013, 12:47 PM   #7
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You folks up north have much colder and harsher winters than we do in the south. We try to get the MH out of the shed and drive it at least 30 minutes while running the gen set. Just an opinion, but I think it is better on the engine with the lubricants circulating and tires getting warmed up for a while than letting it just set. The big Allison definitely needs the exercise. Also good to scare the mice every once in a while. Maybe if they bail 10 miles from home they cannot find their way back
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Old 08-04-2013, 04:36 PM   #8
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I would run the generator under load (air conditioners on) for about and hour each month. JMHO

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 08-04-2013, 06:51 PM   #9
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I do not think the North or South location makes any difference. I've lived in ski areas in the North and let the engine sleep and run the generator for an hour every other month throughout the winter. Never had a problem. I've been doing this for 35 years, with different coaches.
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Old 08-05-2013, 01:31 PM   #10
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The diesel engine gurus say to either let it sit (with proper additives...biocide/stabilizer) or run it long and hard enough for everything to get up to operating temperature.

Starting and idling a diesel will do more harm than good.
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