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Old 11-05-2010, 02:03 PM   #1
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Onan voltage surge?

The 4 KW Onan in our '88 Winnie MH starts and seemingly runs just fine - but I notice a steady, minor surge in both voltage and engine RPM regardless of load - most might not even notice it, but I do.

The voltage swing is only several volts, and is more just annoying than harmful - and I'm wondering if this is an electronic control issue, or instead a carburetor linkage or adjustment issue?

Any others experienced this, and have suggestions?
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Old 11-05-2010, 02:46 PM   #2
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Workhorse Chassis Owner
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Gary, A minor engine surge as you have noted is the problem.

I usually cut the fuel line and drop it into a 2 gallon fuel can with 60% gas and 40% "Sea foam or Berryman B-12" and put a stiff load on the genny for a couple of hours.....
That test & run will also inform you on the GPH your genny will use and clean out the carb....
After the run is done just reconnect the fuel line with a straight barbed fitting....

Jim
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Old 11-06-2010, 11:25 AM   #3
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SO Jim, you figure the issue is a gummed up carb?

Could be, or a similar issue related to use of ethanol fuels - hard on hoses and gaskets in devices not originally designed for ethanol.

I was thinking more along the lines of a mechanical issue - possibly a carb linkage issue where a change of adjustment, or drop of oil would solve the surge. Not sure what engine RPM control scheme Onan used in this particular generation design, mechanical, or electronic - or a mix of both.

Guess I'll wait for a few more suggestions, and also drag out my Onan manual to get a bit more insight into how it all works...
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Eastern .....|'88 KIT model 240 24 ft. 5er
Oregon ......|'02 Dodge/Cummins 2500 Quad Cab
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Old 11-06-2010, 03:41 PM   #4
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Gary, Since it's only a minor surge the carb can be slightly gummed up...

Enthanol magnafies the problem until the genny is completely warmed up so that's why I suggest running a 60% gas 40% Seafoam in a 2 gallon can under a light/heavy complete cycle.....

The light cycle will clean out the idle circuit and the heavy load will clean out the main circuit...

Just found (finally) a 1 gallon can of Seafoam at the parts house, Hate those 16oz cans...

Jim
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Old 11-06-2010, 09:58 PM   #5
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Onans should be decarboned occasionally. This should be in your manual. After you do this if it still surges carb adjustments may need to be done. Make sure you at least check the plugs and air filter, if any age on them new would be good. Make sure the setting for cold or warm temperatures is set properly .
Running the generator with a heavy load for about an hour may help.
Checking the linkage and carb mounting bolts, lines is appropriate.
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Old 11-08-2010, 05:53 PM   #6
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WELL, went out today to run the genset a while to "exercise" it a bit - again checked the surge - and the dang thing was running perfectly!

At most, about a 3/4 volt maximum random swing from one extreme to the other, and that might just have been my test meter - engine RPM *seemed* rock steady too. I ran the air conditioner for a good representative load - and switched to the AC heater function for a lighter load - and voltage stability stayed the same both ways - tho' the heavier AC load brought system voltage up to 120 volts from the 118 it was at the lower load - guess the heavier load caused the mechanical genset linkage to change RPM a bit - interesting the voltage went UP instead of down at the heavier load! And, like I said - the genset speed appears to be regulated mechanically - I applied a few drops of lube to make everything move more smoothly...
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