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Old 04-15-2015, 12:51 AM   #1
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Gen sets

You see lots of RV for sale by owner that will tell you (only X NUMBER of hrs on the generator). I know the age of the RV will have some bearing on the answer . But what is considered a safe amount of hrs?
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Old 04-15-2015, 12:56 AM   #2
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Cummins/Onan says 2 hrs per month MINIMUM to keep the warranty in force. There are some that run them everytime the RV is moved (Type A MH's usually). There was a post some time ago that showed 25,000 hrs on his.
Our Dutch Star we just traded off had about 350 hrs, the Magna has 390 hrs. The '02 Dutch Star was on the low side for it's age, the Magna is OK but both are still kind of low for a diesel gen set.
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Old 04-15-2015, 12:59 AM   #3
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In my experience, the more hours the better. An engine left unrun decays faster than a constantly running one.

A genset with only 20 hours on a 5 year old RV is most likely in disastrous condition.
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Old 04-15-2015, 01:10 AM   #4
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The Onan reps I've talked to say that the number of generators that simply "wear out" is effectively zero. Often, hospitality companies, etc., will rebuild a genset at 15,000 hours or more just because at that point, the cost/hour of operation is so close to zero that it doesn't pay not to do the rebuild on their own timing terms.

On the flip side, lots of generators that aren't used much fail with less than a couple hundred hours on them... as others have said, be afraid of the unused generator.

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Old 04-15-2015, 01:52 PM   #5
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On my last MH the gen-set had 700ish hours and the unit was 24 years old at the time, it cost me about a $1000 in parts and labor to fix it at Onan. The Onan tech said the reason or the problems was the gen-set was not run. When I sold the unit it has almost 850hr and ran awesome. My new MH has 330ish hours and is 7 years old, with proper maintenance I hope it will run till 5-6K hours before I rebuild it. I have no issue putting 100-150 hours on a it every year, but I run it while traveling if its hot out, to use the roof A/Cs.
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Old 04-15-2015, 03:35 PM   #6
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I also often run the generator while driving in the summer. Keeps things very comfortable on board while on the road.

You cannot run it too much. Diesel generators thrive on regular, heavy usage.
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Old 04-15-2015, 09:43 PM   #7
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Thousands of older motorhomes with less than 200 hours on them running perfectly. Most defiantly a knock when selling with high hours on it. The generator myth continues Although it doesn't really matter because if you have a gas fridge you MH is gonna catch on fire. Soon enough it won't run anyway because of ethanol gas. If you have anything but American made tires they are going to explode and your motorhome will be in the shop for months getting repaired so you won't have to worry about the generator...
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Old 04-15-2015, 11:38 PM   #8
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^^^ agree
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Old 04-15-2015, 11:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 89sandman View Post
Thousands of older motorhomes with less than 200 hours on them running perfectly.
And probably many more that have needed repairs due to not running them enough. Why do the manufacturers bother to put out manuals when everybody on an Internet forum knows better?
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Old 04-16-2015, 06:39 AM   #10
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And probably many more that have needed repairs due to not running them enough. Why do the manufacturers bother to put out manuals when everybody on an Internet forum knows better?

It's funny though that of all the generators out there, presumably very similar in design and construction, really only one manufacturer says their generators need to run on a monthly basis.
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Old 04-16-2015, 10:14 AM   #11
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If you take the advice to heart, you would hope to find a genset that had been run at least about 24 hours per year (2 hours/month x 12 months). That means a 10 year old rig with 250 hours on the clock is probably ok. But that would not be my criteria at all. Instead, I would simply run the genset under a moderate load (e.g. an air conditioner or electric heater) for 1-2 hours. If it does that without difficulty, it is working fine and I would have no concern about its prior history except to change oil & filters, plus the coolant if it's a water cooled model.

Exercise is primarily to prevent deterioration of the electrical & electronic components due to moisture build-up, plus in the case of gas gensets to avoid carburetor problems due to evaporated gas. If everything works under load for a reasonable period of time, those problems did not happen and you are good to go.
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Old 04-16-2015, 10:30 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 89sandman View Post
Thousands of older motorhomes with less than 200 hours on them running perfectly. Most defiantly a knock when selling with high hours on it. The generator myth continues Although it doesn't really matter because if you have a gas fridge you MH is gonna catch on fire. Soon enough it won't run anyway because of ethanol gas. If you have anything but American made tires they are going to explode and your motorhome will be in the shop for months getting repaired so you won't have to worry about the generator...
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Really?
When can I expect that to happen??
'96 Safari, 140 k miles
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Old 04-16-2015, 10:58 AM   #13
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Best way to keep onan happy and momma too is to run gen and front ac when going down the road and temp is over 80. Gen is getting use we are cool and cheaper than dash air that is almost useless anyway.

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Old 04-17-2015, 05:44 PM   #14
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I had a gas onan that was totally shot a around 400 hours
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