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Old 10-08-2012, 12:01 AM   #1
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onan generator

I just bought a 1984 chieftan 27 that has a generator issue. The owner said that he has used the generator, but thinks that it may need a starter. when the starter button is pushed really nothing happens. He said that the battery is hot, any help on where to start looking for the problem. Thanks lureman
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Old 10-08-2012, 04:50 AM   #2
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First look at and tighten all positive and ground cables. There should be a grond on the backside of the gen also depending on the setup. Front at the batteries also. Your gen starts on 12 volt so make sure your house batteries are on. Also pull connector wires and clean and replace.
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:41 AM   #3
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lureman;

I want to welcome you to iRV2. We are happy you joined us. Sorry I can't help with your question but I would like to suggest you visit our RV Systems & Appliances forum with your question. You will likely receive more response there.

Don
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:34 AM   #4
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lureman;

I want to welcome you to iRV2. We are happy you joined us. Sorry I can't help with your question but I would like to suggest you visit our RV Systems & Appliances forum with your question. You will likely receive more response there.

Don

X2, and welcome to IRV2!
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:39 AM   #5
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If you still have the problem after cleaning all connections and grounds: Is there a click when you push the Start button?. Sometimes brushes can "stick", but the generator will work if you turn the rotor a little by hand. On a 4K Onan Microlite, you can reach behind the air cleaner and feel the end of the rotor. This can be turned by hand, or it has a 9/16 in hex that can be turned with a wrench. I gained this knowledge in Michigan last year from a Cummins Onan service center. The technician pushed the start button, heard the click, reached behind the air cleaner, and the generator started!. This only cost $77 (1/2 hour plus tax of their flat rate for working on motorhomes).

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I just bought a 1984 chieftan 27 that has a generator issue. The owner said that he has used the generator, but thinks that it may need a starter. when the starter button is pushed really nothing happens. He said that the battery is hot, any help on where to start looking for the problem. Thanks lureman
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Old 10-10-2012, 08:56 AM   #6
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Maybe a long shot here. The Onan on my boat has an inline fuse buried in a wiring harness tiewrapped into a bundle next to the engine block. It holds a slow-blow fuse. I once had a fuel flow problem and tried to start the engine many times in close succession. This slowly warmed up the fuse until it blew. Took forever to figure it out until I came across an online thread just like this one.
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:20 AM   #7
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Onan Genset

I had a similar problem with my Onan 6.5 KW unit. I paid to have the local Onan service center look at it. It would SOMETIMES click when you pressed the start button, but often I heard nothing. They said that in my MH the genset shares the starting battery with the coach engine -- my guess is that the Mfg. figures that if you run the house batteries down, you need to be able to start the genset to recharge the house batteries. That 12 volt battery was about 5 years old, and it was starting the coach engine just fine. The Onan people tested that battery and said that it was breaking down internally under load. They sold me a new battery and fixed the problem. When I asked them about the fact that the 12 volt battery would start that big V8 engine, but not the little Onan genset, they said that the genset takes more amps due to the size of the genset starter motor. Sounds like smoke and mirrors to me, but I can't argue with success.
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:50 AM   #8
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Chuck, the "big" engine and the small Onan on the boat both use the same starting battery. Makes sense. If you are starting the generator because your house batteries are low, do you want to use those batteries to start the generator? Kind of like plugging the power bar into itself. Yeah, OK, just once, but I was tired and there were many cables involved.

I do notice that the main engine starts almost immediately every time. The Onan takes many revolutions of cranking and therefore draws down the starting battery considerably more. If I have a potential low starting battery problem, I will start the main engine first, let the alternator do some charging, and then start the Onan.
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