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Old 02-17-2015, 12:59 AM   #1
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Starting the generator

Hello everyone I have a question the other night it was really cold and unleveled where I had my unit parked . When I woke up I noticed my batteries were low so I attempted to start the generator. It would not start even after five try's . Once I drove the unit a couple of miles away to a local store. I tried it again and it started. What was the reason it didn't start. would it be because it was too cold or more likely that the unit was unleveled?
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Old 02-17-2015, 01:34 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by on2thenext View Post
Hello everyone I have a question the other night it was really cold and unleveled where I had my unit parked . When I woke up I noticed my batteries were low so I attempted to start the generator. It would not start even after five try's . Once I drove the unit a couple of miles away to a local store. I tried it again and it started. What was the reason it didn't start. would it be because it was too cold or more likely that the unit was unleveled?

What kind of coach do you have? Most coaches use the house batteries to start the gen. If you were running the furnace blower fan a lot during the night, your coach batteries were drained. They may be a problem. Running the engine charged them enough to get the gen started. Level or not would not matter unless you were close to 1/4 full on gas. Most gens get the gas from the tank through a line mounted about 1/4 way up the tank so you can't run the coach out of gas by running the gen.
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Old 02-17-2015, 01:42 AM   #3
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When it would not start was it cranking slow? If yes, low battery which gained a charge by driving the coach.
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Old 02-17-2015, 04:21 AM   #4
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Sitting unlevel the low oil sensor may have stopped the gen from starting. Once moved the oil level probably came up to the sensor and let it start.
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Old 02-17-2015, 06:37 AM   #5
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Several reasons for not starting have already been mentioned. You didn't mention how low the fuel tank was, or how "out of level" you were. The fuel pickup tube for the generator usually only goes down to about 3/4 of the tanks capacity. If you were low on fuel and not level the combination might have been enough to have the pickup tube out of the fuel.


Also if you have an Onan generator the carburetor can be primed by holding the switch in the OFF position until the green light in the switch comes on. What you're actually doing is running the fuel pump to fill up the carb. If the generator hasn't been run for a while (especially when the vehicle isn't level) it's possible the fuel level in the carb had gotten low enough that the generator wouldn't start
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Old 02-17-2015, 06:42 AM   #6
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I'd vote for Low batteries or if LP choke not working..
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Old 02-17-2015, 08:51 AM   #7
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Two answers:
First, if the generator fails to start.. ASK IT WHY (the procedure is in the owner's manual) most modern RV generators have On Board Diagnostics (OBD) It is kind of an OBD-1 system (not as advanced as the OBD-II on your car or motor home) but this means you do not need special tools... Just the STOP button. a note book, your eyes, a pencil and a code book. (The owner's manual is the code book).


Second: The generator usually starts on the house batteries (Many exceptions though) so if the house batteries are LOW you will not get it to start normally.

Suggestion if it happens again... Try the EMERGENCY START (may be called AUX start or BOOST) this will parallel the chassis battery with the house batteries.

The Aux/Emergency/Boost start switch is a built in jump starter,, Generally works both ways. Done it more times than I care to admit.
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Old 02-17-2015, 10:09 AM   #8
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Okay thank you all. From what you're saying I think my batteries were too low to start the generator and when I drove down the road a few miles to a local store it must have charged The batteries just enough to start the generator.
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Old 02-17-2015, 01:16 PM   #9
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I owned a Class C that only had 1 small battery for the coach. It would run the 12 volt light, refrigerator, fantastic fan, and furnace. If we ran either the furnace or fan all night there would not be enough voltage to start the generator.

I installed a 2nd battery with a selector switch where I could use either batter or both batteries. I but the selector switch in a convenient location in the coach. At night I would only pull off of 1 battery and then in the AM switch to the 2nd battery to start the coach.
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Old 02-22-2015, 09:51 PM   #10
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First time I started my generator in the middle of the night at 26 degrees, I had to hold the start button down for about 8 seconds while it primed the generator. It was making a clicking sound like a car with a low battery....

however once it got primed, it fired right up....
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Old 02-25-2015, 03:11 PM   #11
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Some also have a lever to switch from summer use to winter use. Maybe you should look to see if yours has one.
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Old 02-26-2015, 01:50 AM   #12
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Some also have a lever to switch from summer use to winter use. Maybe you should look to see if yours has one.

Really I did not know that
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Old 02-26-2015, 02:02 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by wa8yxm View Post
Two answers:
First, if the generator fails to start.. ASK IT WHY (the procedure is in the owner's manual) most modern RV generators have On Board Diagnostics (OBD) It is kind of an OBD-1 system (not as advanced as the OBD-II on your car or motor home) but this means you do not need special tools... Just the STOP button. a note book, your eyes, a pencil and a code book. (The owner's manual is the code book).


Second: The generator usually starts on the house batteries (Many exceptions though) so if the house batteries are LOW you will not get it to start normally.

Suggestion if it happens again... Try the EMERGENCY START (may be called AUX start or BOOST) this will parallel the chassis battery with the house batteries.

The Aux/Emergency/Boost start switch is a built in jump starter,, Generally works both ways. Done it more times than I care to admit.

X2!
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Old 02-26-2015, 02:34 PM   #14
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Did they have that back in 82? Pushing the start button to prime the gennie?
I never heard of that either.
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