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Old 03-03-2013, 06:33 PM   #1
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Generator Randomly Shutting Off

While taking our RV out for a drive today, we experienced the generator randomly shutting off 3 or 4 times. After the last restart, it kept running fine until we were done using it. During the last few months since we purchased this RV, this is first time I've run into this.

I know that the generators will stop running when the fuel tank is low, but we're currently at 3/4 full tank. The weather here is in the 30s and the RV sits for a few weeks at a time in outdoor storage between uses.

I'm a new RV owner so still have much to learn about how all this works. Any ideas on what might be causing the random shutdowns would be most appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 03-03-2013, 06:37 PM   #2
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As a suggestion it might help others provide you information if you identify the type, age of the generator, etc.
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Old 03-03-2013, 06:59 PM   #3
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I am fairly new to RVing as well and I had the same problem with on a Holiday Rambler Endeavor, 2002. It has 55,000 miles but only about 400 hours on the generator, which is not many hours for a 10 year old unit. It would start, sometimes it took several starts to stay up or it would run a while and just quit. I figured it just needed to be used more than anything. The fuel filter and oil had been changed recently, so I ruled out a fuel problem. I did add a fuel injector cleaner to the fuel tank several times which may have helped. Long story short, the more I ran it the better it ran. Now it starts and runs great. All I did was run it frequently with a load on it. By load, I mean plug in a space heater or run your heat pump or air conditioner. Worth a try... it worked for me. Hope your problem is that easy.
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:34 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1ciderdog View Post
As a suggestion it might help others provide you information if you identify the type, age of the generator, etc.
It's an originally equipped (5 years old) Onan 5500 with low hours (around 220).
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parkers View Post
I am fairly new to RVing as well and I had the same problem with on a Holiday Rambler Endeavor, 2002. It has 55,000 miles but only about 400 hours on the generator, which is not many hours for a 10 year old unit. It would start, sometimes it took several starts to stay up or it would run a while and just quit. I figured it just needed to be used more than anything. The fuel filter and oil had been changed recently, so I ruled out a fuel problem. I did add a fuel injector cleaner to the fuel tank several times which may have helped. Long story short, the more I ran it the better it ran. Now it starts and runs great. All I did was run it frequently with a load on it. By load, I mean plug in a space heater or run your heat pump or air conditioner. Worth a try... it worked for me. Hope your problem is that easy.
Thanks. I'm was kind of wondering the same thing with this one (that it just needs more frequent use).
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Old 03-03-2013, 10:00 PM   #6
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I had the same problem with my Onan 5500 that was also five years old but had 450 hours on it. It would run for 15-20 minutes then shut off. On the unit there is a red switch that also turns it on. If you hold that button down while trying to start it it will blink if there is a problem. The number of blinks will tell you what the problem is but you need the manual to figure out what the blinks mean. Mine did not blink at all so I took it in to a generator service center and they fixed the problem by replacing the fuel pump. They also indicated this was a common problem with Onan's having this many hours. If just running it for a while does not fix the problem you might need someone to look at it. The repair included tuning the unit and replacing the spark plug. Total bill was $287.
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Old 03-04-2013, 05:13 AM   #7
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I have run across a few exhibiting the exact same behavior, both the Quiet Diesel and Gas models. In many of them the unit will shut down if for some reason it does not properly sense voltage from the batteries. Usually this is due to badly corroded or failing/loose terminals on the batteries themselves. Remove all the battery terminals, clean, check/tighten.

I know it defies all logic to shut down the generator in case it can't see the batteries momentarily, but many do.
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:44 AM   #8
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When it shuts down, use the start switch to display the error code. That will give you a clue as to why it happened. The code display procedure and meaning is explained in the generator owner manual. You can get one from the Onan site if you don't have it.

Some likely causes are low fuel, low oil pressure, low voltage (12v), or loss of fuel pressure due to a deteriorated fuel line or clogged fuel filter. Fuel and oil problems can appear to be intermittent, especially while the coach is moving.
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:51 AM   #9
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My generator has a start switch on the front edge. *kw diesel unit. I just noticed it has a placard with several of the flash codes listed right there.

As suggested, bad battery connections could easily shut it down. It needs 12 volts to run the electronics. Do check your oil level. Maybe the level sensor was not functioning with cold stiff oil.
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