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Old 10-16-2015, 06:13 AM   #1
SailorV's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 84
New generator break in

Hello,I've just brought home our new Leisure Travel Libero, and have been going through all the manuals and trying to absorb all the information.

The User Guide for the Onan 4000 generator says to break it in by running it at "half load" for 2 hours and then "three quarter load" for 2 hours.

My question is, could anyone help me out on what those "loads" could be? I understand the loads would have to be "electric" loads.
That would be my fridge, stereo, tv etc. Should I plug more things in to the electrical system as I move to "three quarter load"?

Thanks in advance.

I might have many more questions as I move through all the systems on board.

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Old 10-16-2015, 06:51 AM   #2
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Ford Super Duty Owner
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Location: Lowell, Arkansas
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All your lights might constitute 1/2 load then just add the roof AC for your next load. When they say 1/2 then 3/4 load that is not etched in stone. You don't have to get out the calculator and start using ohms law.

Think of it this way. It's night and you are camped. Lights are on so all can function. What loads are available to you?? AC, microwave, all lights, hair dryer, TV. The micro and hair dryer are short electrical usages. Your lights, AC and TV are are long(er) time usage items. If you have a 50 amp service that means you have two AC's That makes it even easier. Turn on one and some lights. Then turn on the other and more lights and the TV.

We have had 2 MH's with gens and I've never broken in either one using a specific routine. Been around motors my entire life (so far) and we are seeing less and less of the idea of breaking in motors. Sometimes I believe it is again another lawyer thing. It won't hurt anything if you do the break-in period for the genny. I have run ours with some load for about an hour.



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Old 10-16-2015, 04:00 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: The hilly part of Texas
Posts: 381
Keep it simple: 1/2 = 2000W 3/4 = 3000W.......on a 4K generator....

Honestly, I don't know how the average Crow can work out what's 1/2, 3/4, or 100% load. No load I understand. 101% is when it starts talking to you or smoke and flames happen???? Its pretty worthless instructions for the average Dude, I think.

And, it's about the engine and not the alternator. The alternator better be putting out rated power the second it gets up to speed. Motor needs a bit of care and feeding to bear the load.

I've never been that exact with any of my 3 generator's. I mean really? How would one work out the watts and amps off every appliance and device in the RV???? Man me an Excel spread sheet to sort out the permutations???? As the lady said..."Whose got time for that?"

First...you don't want to overload a zero time engine. Light the fires and let it warm up 10-15 minutes. Put a light load on it ....electric water heater & fridge & couple of lights will work... Let her run 30-45 minutes. Unload it and let it run 10 minutes to cool down. Shut off and let it get sit over night. Rinse & repeat. As the hours build up gradually increase the work load. If it struggles when you first load it...it's not ready and back off on the load.

Take your time and work it through a good number of start/stop/heat/cool cycles with gradually increasing loads. Some where about 7-10 hours should be about right for heavy lifting although diesels will probably take a few more hours.

My theory is to "season" the engine through a series of gradually increasingly stressful heat cycles until it will sustain a continuous heavy load.

ALWAYS check the oil before every cycle. Eight hours/daily afterwards up to first oil change. Then daily before use. I'd go out of my way to find OnaMax oil in the correct grade for your ambient temperatures. (See manual) Change at the recommended hours (20?) and follow recommendations in manual.

My gennys have been LP or gas. ONAN uses a hinky yellow dipstick thingie on these beasties ....maybe on the 4K oil burner? Yellow means check STONE COLD. Unscrew. Wipe. Screw in lightly to seat it. Remove. Check. The oil volume expands as it heats up. Suggest oil be no higher than the middle of the hashed area on the dipper or it will be overfull when hot. That is never good.
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Old 10-16-2015, 10:02 PM   #4
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Great advice gentlemen! Many thanks!
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