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Old 12-18-2009, 10:43 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by hamdave View Post
I've been told by my 'GM' mechanic to run the engine at least 30-40 min once every couple of months. I park mine in my garage and I really don't have the option of pulling it out and driving during winter. I just open both garage doors and let it run, genny also.

YUP - many of us really don't have an option to actually DRIVE the MH or other stored vehicles in Winter months - they may be "mothballed", under cover - and/or roads are impossible or impractical with ice and snow covered roads.

BUT - at least in the case I described with an engine sitting idle in what was a relatively mild Sacramento area climate, condensation can easily be a serious issue in engines and similar larger assemblies left idle for months in unheated areas - bad enough in a vehicle worth only a couple of thousand dollars - catastrophe in one worth many 10's of thousands of dollars!

And sure, the internal rust, corrosion and pitting of internal parts might NOT be immediately evident the next Spring - or the one after that - but they most certainly DO add up over the longer haul and time period, and SOMEONE *WILL* eventually be paying the price for accelerated wear and damage!

Longer periods of idleness prematurely kills engines and drivetrains, just as it does people - starting an engine and running it for reasonably extended time periods in place isn't the best solution - but may be the ONLY one available to many folks, and it is FAR better than not running it at all as a tool to periodically circulate internal lubricants to keep internal castings, cylinder walls and related components re coated with a protecting oil layer - and to simply dismiss this approach as improper, imperfect and unnecessary, leaves the door open to potential mechanical problems - maybe later - but MAYBE sooner!

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Old 12-20-2009, 09:53 PM   #16
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Let her sleep. Do not start it and let it idle.
When spring somes, take her out for a good run, an hour or more, to cook everything good.

Starting and extended idling in the winter is the worst thing you can do.

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Old 12-21-2009, 06:30 AM   #17
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Running a gas engine with no load is ok, but is a major no-no with diesels, they do what they call "Wet Stacking" and will quickly ruin the engine. The fuel is not totally burned off, and causes a "rich fuel" condition.
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Old 12-21-2009, 07:02 AM   #18
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Here is my experience with gas engines in the winter storage mode. In our previous coach, a GM gasser I filled the fuel tank and added Sta-Bil and let it sit for the winter. Never had a problem. I have also had boats, all with GM engines, that we drained the water added anti freeze and Sta-Bil and then they sat all winter without a problem. I would NEVER start a engine every month or so just to let it idle. If it's winterized, leave it alone! My last 15 years of boats also had generators that were never run and we never had a problem in the spring. Just my 2 cents!
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Old 12-21-2009, 08:11 AM   #19
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The problem with a gas engine and not having a real load is that while the water jacket comes up to temperature, the whole engine will have a hard time coming up to temperature. The exhaust will not get up to temperature in 30 to 45 minutes on idle or high idle as the engine is not loaded and will not produce the heat.

On a diesel, the only way to get one up to temperature is to load the engine. Diesels do not produce much heat while idling.

So the best thing to do is prepare the engines for long term storage and then let them alone for the winter.

Generators like electric motors need to be run under load to keep the winding s dry or fitted with a space heater to keep them dry. This is done in most industrial installations on larger units. Moisture can really mess up the windings on a 1000 HP or so more and is very exciting when you try to start with wet winding and 4160 or more volts. The same thing can happen with a wet generators windings.

Since the smaller motors and generators are not fitted with space heaters, it is really easy to start them and load them every 4 to 6 weeks.

That is my 2 cents worth on the issue as a long time engineer working with engines, motors and generators.

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Old 12-21-2009, 09:30 AM   #20
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I would do two things.. If you have the skill on one of them (or you could hire it done) put a 30 amp RV type outlet or twist lock outlet (your choice) somewhere on the coach (I have a total of 3 on mine, 2 30 amp RV (one each leg) and a twist lock, you pick the outlet to use)

And on your house put a 30 amp inlet, and generator transfer switch (it can be the same as the coach or it can be a twist lock, Mine is a twist lock) then make up a extension cord from the RV's pad to the house (Assumes you park it at home for the winter)

Now. on the generator 1/2 hour under 1/2 load every month. UNLESS.. The commercial power fails.. Then you run your house off the RV and call it "This month's exercise"

Where do you get 1/2 load? well a couple of 1500 watt electric space heaters is 3,000 watts. that's over 1/2 on a 5500 watt generator.. Bigger/smaller. add/remove heaters. You can get 1500 watt heaters for as little as 10 bucks if you shop carefully.

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