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Old 10-05-2012, 08:28 PM   #1
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Getting at rear ONAN 4KW genset cylinder to check/change sparkplug?

The title sez it all!

We have the 4KW Onan genset in our '88 Winnie Super Chief MH, and tho' the engine runs great, a quick check on the spark plug I *could* get to and remove, proved to be VERY crudded up. I cleaned and re-installed it, but figure the one on the backside of the engine was probably at least as bad - but not sure how to get back there to get to that plug.

Apparently the genset can be swung down somehow for SOME servicing, but seems like the fuel line and power leads aren't long enough to allow anywhere near enough lowering to gain access to the rear plug - and it also LOOKS like the whole sheetmetal genset surround piece might also come down with it, leaving the backside of the engine still inaccessable.

Anyone here "been there, done that"? And if so, how?
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Old 10-05-2012, 08:48 PM   #2
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Look and see if there is a access cover sometimes there was one put in if not I would cut a small one to gain access to that plug, or you could support it on a floor jack with a frame under it and unbolt it and lower it enough to get to the plug
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Old 10-05-2012, 08:56 PM   #3
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MH mfg have not be kind to us for generator maintenance, neither has Onan for their configuration.

In most cases, you'll need to disconnect the fuel line, battery cables, remote starting wires, ect, to lower or pull out the generator to access the the rear spark plug(s). Onans are the best for reliability, but I sure like my Generac for ease of maintenance.
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Old 10-06-2012, 06:37 AM   #4
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I agree clyon51 I had to drop many because of that plug, and I cut that access panel in some unit while it's down and put a square of sheet metal there for future use
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:04 PM   #5
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wow sorry gary my 85 southwind is on a slide out tray but friends 95 fleetwood its a 5500 we used a jack what a mess
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:08 PM   #6
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points or no do you know how to adjust the carb after tune up
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:46 PM   #7
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I should run good unless it's surging when under a load the book says you can do the co test thing to dial it in, and check herts with a meter
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:56 PM   #8
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Gary.Sorry to hear of your problem, My 89 Southwind has a 5500 Onan, I changed plugs this summer. It was tight but I had room to place a spark plug socket over the plug ,slip a "Gear Wrench" over the socket & loosen it enough to turn by hand, slip the socket off, & spin the bare plug out with my fingers. Reverse to replace,but getting plug to start threading will try your patience. Good luck with it, Art.
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:16 PM   #9
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I have a 1988 Onan BGE 4000 and it is in an INCREDIBLY small enclosure. I also don't have a tray to slide it out. There is @ 1/2" clearance all the way around.

I looked at it and it would require removing bolts on the base, the remote, battery cables, power cable, fuel line, and the muffler system, just to check the rear plug.

I guess I would need some kind of jack or solid base to hold it while I try and slide it out.

If I went through all that effort I would surely want to check/change whatever we need to back there. The spark plug & the spark plug wire, the points, the resistor etc....

Not the best design.... IAN
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Old 10-07-2012, 09:09 AM   #10
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I would pull that one out and do a complete service to it then test run it before putting it back
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Old 10-07-2012, 12:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imorton View Post
I have a 1988 Onan BGE 4000 and it is in an INCREDIBLY small enclosure. I also don't have a tray to slide it out. There is @ 1/2" clearance all the way around.

I looked at it and it would require removing bolts on the base, the remote, battery cables, power cable, fuel line, and the muffler system, just to check the rear plug.

I guess I would need some kind of jack or solid base to hold it while I try and slide it out.

If I went through all that effort I would surely want to check/change whatever we need to back there. The spark plug & the spark plug wire, the points, the resistor etc....

Not the best design.... IAN
YUP - mine's even tighter than that - I'm sure the access differs from one RV to another, and from year to year - but on mine, even after pulling the lower mount bolts and lowering the entire genset, access still looks to be quite limited. Lowering it is no issue mechanically, I have a motorcycle lift that makes that job easy enough - but disconnecting the various lines and leads IS a formidable chore I'd rather not have to deal with - especially on 25 year old fuel lines and old, stiff and hardened wiring bundles - looks like I'd end up trading one problem for another! I'll look closer, and that see if the difficulty warrants the risk - as I said, the genset RUNS just fine - but I'm sure the rear plug is at least as crudded up as the front one was, and a potential problem at some point out in some remote area when we really need it...
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Old 10-07-2012, 09:43 PM   #12
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Yes like fouling out, I've seen many where that back plug was never changed till it was dropped
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Old 10-07-2012, 10:04 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by nightriderrv View Post
Yes like fouling out, I've seen many where that back plug was never changed till it was dropped
However if the rear spark plug is fouled and not firing, the generator wouldn't be able to run a full load...

It may idle roughly, but I doubt that a rear foul plug would even run a 1/2 load.

IMHO
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Old 10-08-2012, 12:30 AM   #14
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FWIW, I have a 94 Southwind and a Marquis 7000 NHM genset. LONG story short, this MH was purchased used. It had been stored at one point and poorly maintained, if at all, at another. After struggling with trying to swap plugs, starter, etc., I bit the bullet and lowered from the mh.

Once on the ground (actually 2 4x4s stacked on top of each other) I was able to remove the cooling cover and do all my maint. SO MUCH EASIER! Ended up replacing rubber fuel line, coil, plug wires, plugs, starter, removing old mouse nests packed around the backside cylinder and around the gov. Putting it back in place tomorrow if the weather is nice.

My son and I had a real Rube Goldberg setup to lower it but it proved pretty easy. I removed the battery cable and AC connection to the mh (in romex so that was easy). Also removed the fuel line just to be on the safe side. Glad I did because it was starting to crack.

It was time consuming but well worth it for my peace of mind. She now purrs like a kitten.

OH, BTW, a Kill-A-Watt meter is perfect for dialing in idle. It was about $30 at Home Depot. Will display voltage AND Frequency. Plug something into it and it will display amps. BUT there is a 15 amp MAX load. Don't ask how I know that....

Good luck.
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