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Old 11-11-2015, 09:44 AM   #1
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onan generator on propane

Hi you
I wonder if any of you has a onan generator (microquiet 4000)
And how they experience is with this
Cees
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Old 11-11-2015, 10:32 AM   #2
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Mine runs on Gasoline but I've been on top of a Propane job..

The Propane units are a big quieter (My gas job is not very loud but the Propane's are a bit softer... This is because Propane is not as powerful a fuel)

The downside is they suck a LOT of propane.. (See propane is not as powerful a fuel)

But they work well.. Just follow the standard procedure of monthly exercise. Oh, we had both Propane and Diesel generators where I worked (And one natural gas) Same comments only louder (And much bigger)
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Old 11-11-2015, 09:18 PM   #3
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I've had a 2.8KW LP and 3.6KW LP. Both have been good units. LP would be the choice for the average RV'er. They do use slightly more fuel and you have a smaller supply shared with other appliances. All Onan units meet US Forestry sound requirements and have the same Db rating. To me, the difference is in the quality of the intruding sound. The diesel units I looked at have a deeper tone and stronger vibration that resonates in the RV's panels...Its more obtrusive. The LP is less intrusive and has a more "pleasant" exhaust odor.

Exhaust odor is important. Some units exhaust curbside into the patio....not good. Diesels are just smelly.

The best value in Watts / $$$$ is the LP. You pay a premium for a diesel. LPs should also have a better maintainence track record as they don't gum up like a gas model or have fuel contamination issues like a diesel. Ideally, with an LP you have an aircleaner and spark plug to worry about.

OPs, because they are vapor engines, will have difficulty operating at freezing temperature.

Diesel units using a shared fuel tank with the engine often have fuel pickups that only use part of the fuel available to keep you from running the tank out.
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Old 11-11-2015, 09:38 PM   #4
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The propane units will have less output that a gas or diesel unit. For instance a gas unit will be a 6.5Kw and that same unit in propane will be 6.2Kw.
Also, they suck more fuel and it's harder to replace as you either have to drive the RV there, or have a removable tank to take back and forth.
Our 2000 Dutch Star had a 6.2 Genejunk. Very loud, air cooled. In 5 days we used 2-10 gallon aux tanks and most of the onboard 40 (32 usable) gallon tank.
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Old 11-11-2015, 10:14 PM   #5
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The only reason to have a propane generator is if you don't have a fuel cell. Toy haulers and motorhomes use gas or diesel because they have a readily available supply. Toyhaulers have gas because the usually have fuel cells and transfer pumps for their toys. If they have a generator, 5th wheels and TT's have propane generators because they don't have fuel cells.
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Old 11-12-2015, 07:18 AM   #6
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We had one on a previous Safari Trek diesel. Rather than install a diesel generator, they used an Onan propane genny. The 4000 is de-rated to 3600W since propane doesn't produce as much power. We do a lot of dry camping at sports car autocross events, and finding propane was a lot of hassle since we used a lot of it. A gas generator is much more convenient.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cees View Post
Hi you
I wonder if any of you has a onan generator (microquiet 4000)
And how they experience is with this
Cees
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Old 11-12-2015, 12:46 PM   #7
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My prior MH had a 6500 propane genny, this one has a 3600, also propane. Runs cleaner than gas, quieter than diesel. Never had a problem finding propane. But- I use the generator occasionally,often to power the air conditioner on the road in hot weather, lunch breaks, or at dog shows. They use about .4 to .7 gallons per hour depending on the load. I've been very satisfied with both generators.

If you plan to boondock often (off the grid) you would be better off with a genny that uses the same fuel as your vehicle. The genny pickup is elevated in the main tank to leave about 1/3 of the fuel for the engine but should not be a problem if you are aware.
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Old 11-12-2015, 01:04 PM   #8
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well we use LPG for driven also so its very easy to get LPG (thats propane /butaan) at .28 cents liter here in europe its that way to go also for the motorhome. ( thats 3.78x0.28 ) a gallon1.058
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Old 11-12-2015, 02:24 PM   #9
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Our BigFoot has a Microlight Propane. Hard to start above 10,000' unless I manually hold the governor lever to get the fuel mixture within range until it starts firing and warms up a bit. Propane burn rate is a big negative but that is mainly because sometimes propane is impossible to get hold of and with everything else running on propane we sometimes have to share available propane around on the basis of what can we do without tomorrow. A diesel unit sucking out of the truck tank would be a much better option for us.
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Old 11-12-2015, 11:32 PM   #10
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We have a propane generator and zero complaints. It's a 1993 Onan with very few hours and the tank is huge. We've had no problem at all getting propane.

That said, if we were to do it again we'd probably go with diesel so as to deal with one major fuel but that would in no way be a deciding factor.
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Old 11-14-2015, 10:09 AM   #11
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The issue is not performance, it is convenience. Although Onan shows propane models to have a higher consumption rate than their equivalent gas models. If you are someone who only uses your generator 20 - 30 hours a year, propane will probably work out fine for you. I put about 250 hours per year on mine, running it for 84-96 hours straight on two occasions this year. On the 96 hour event, I averaged 0.48 GPH and used 46 gal diesel. It would be very inconvenient to try to run a propane generator like that.
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