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Old 06-22-2016, 09:57 AM   #1
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I’ll try to get everything in some semblance of order in hopes that it might help sort things out.
Recently purchased a 27.5 ft 1993 Firan Telstar (on Ford E350 chassis) with 56K miles on it that had sat for a few years. Knowing that it has sat I expect to have issues and will be working my way through them but I’d like to start with some electrical things that I have just noticed. Some of these may be normal but I have no frame of reference (first MH) so I am looking for any enlightenment that might be available.

I started my probing with the generator, an Onan Microquiet 4000 with only 93 hours on the meter. The first time I attempted to start it I did not know if I should disconnect the shore power or propane or whatever so I left everything hooked up and hit the start button. As soon as I hit the button my propane detector started beeping so I shut the propane off and proceeded with the genie. It would crank but not start and occasionally it would just click but usually it would crank like crazy but not fire. I shot a little ether into the intake and it would fire but immediately shut down so I figured some kind of fuel issue and moved on (short on time and would get back to it later).

Well later was about two weeks later and this time I get only the rapid click (relay?) when trying to start. It won’t crank just clicks. So now I need to check if I am getting sufficient power to the solenoid but I have a couple of issues here. First I have no multi meter (long story but it is being replaced this week) so I just want to check connections, etc. I realized that I don’t know if the generator receives power to start from the chassis battery (brand new last week) or the coach/house batteries. As I worked through this it seems that it is the house batteries. Now here is how I came to that conclusion but tell me if I missed something. If I switch the battery disconnect to the off position I get nothing at all – no click, nothing. I started the vehicle and tried the generator and still nothing. When I turn the disconnect back on I get the rapid clicking. Now I know that there are two house batteries and though they look real clean they are probably a bit old. They run everything in the MH though if I disconnect from shore power and they seem to perform really well. Here is where I discovered a bit of an electrical oddity. We have a multi speed vent fan in the rear of the coach and since we have had it home we keep it connected to shore power all the time. The fan works on all speeds but is very loud so I figured in time I’d replace it. Today when disconnected from shore power I turned the fan on and it works great at all speeds with no loudness at all – it whispers. Hooked back up to shore power and it gets loud again. Not sure if this is normal but I wouldn’t think so.

OK, so I have the fan issue with the difference between shore power and battery. I have the generator no crank issue and I am unsure about whether or not it is getting sufficient juice to crank it. Also the fact that the propane sniffer beeps any time I hit the generator start button – not sure if that is normal or not. Once I get my multi meter I can check and see about the power but I am not sure exactly what to check and what to check it for. Is there a way to jump the generator from another vehicle or from the chassis battery? If I can start eliminating things one at a time I figure I can get something accomplished. I know that the house batteries are probably not new but they do seem to perform quite well when needed for other things. What is the best way to check the batteries? If they are good and I still get the click only, what is the next check?

Sorry for the windy and rambling post but there are a few issues that seem to be intertwined.


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Old 06-22-2016, 10:11 AM   #2
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#1 Is it a propane generator ?

# 2 Bad ground or + battery connection, or dead battery makes click click click sound. Good "looking" cables may not be clean.

#3 Fan, If it's a 12 volt fan it will run slow on weak or dead batteries and fast with the converter ( charger )charging weak or bad batteries.

If it's 120 volt fan and running off an inverter ( turns 12 volt DC into 120 volts AC ) same thing.

Keep us posted

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Old 06-25-2016, 08:11 PM   #3
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OK, I checked the batteries (2 in parallel)on their own while not charging and they are at 13.3 volts. While trying to start the generator the voltage drops to 8.5. Not sure what this means but it seems like quite a significant drop.
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Old 06-26-2016, 08:53 AM   #4
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Propane sensor going off ,low voltage. Batteries sound like they are toast. Gen replace fuel filter and while at it see for fuel flow from tank, you must have over 1/4 tank to get fuel to gen. You may need new fuel pump and a carb rebuild, these older carbs are replicable.

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Old 06-26-2016, 10:24 PM   #5
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If the generator has not been run for awhile you need to prime it. Sounds like it is not getting fuel, stopping after either runs out. You do this by holding the stop switch in the off position. You should a clicking sound as it tries to pump fuel into the carburetor. Try this before working on the carburetor for being plugged with dried up fuel.
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Old 06-28-2016, 11:37 AM   #6
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OK, I'm back.

Changed out the batteries, as after sitting with shore power unplugged for 3-4 hours the batteries were down to 10.5 volts. New batteries installed and the gennie cranks! And cranks, and cranks...no fuel to carb. I pulled the gas line to the carb and there is nothing coming through. I don't hear or feel the fuel pump working at all. Fresh oil, all connections seem really good, though I haven't really gotten to the fuel pump itself. Anything I should check before trying to pull the pump? It seems to be in an OK location to get at but I would imagine that the gas lines are probably pretty dried out and hard to remove.

By the way, this generator does not seem to have a feature to prime it. I have the original manuals and they only say to hold in start position for 10 seconds. When I hold the switch in the stop position I get nothing...no fuel pump, no sound - same as in the start position.

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Old 06-28-2016, 11:49 AM   #7
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There have been reports of old fuel lines cracking or collapsing. I'd try sucking some gas with a hand vacuum pump before I pulled the fuel pump. You will find that your first indication of a low house battery is the propane alarm going off. That is normal.
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Old 06-29-2016, 09:24 PM   #8
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Typically an RV generator fuel feed, has it's own tank tube which doesn't go as far into the tank (maybe ends about 1/4 tank). It's to prevent you from having the generator running the tank dry to where you can't drive.

How much fuel do you have in the vehicle?
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Old 08-19-2016, 11:04 PM   #9
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I've read the Microquits carbs tend to gum up if allow to sit for extended lengths of time. Refined fuel has lots of additives and dirt. Some people use a fuel stabilizer with generators because newer carbs tend to be more sensitive to dirty fuel and additives.

Onan recommends to run their generators for a least one hour each month.

However my older generation 20+ year old Onan 4000 I've allowed to sit without use for up to years and it has started up each time it was needed.

Once you get the Microquiet to turn over I would have some carb cleaner on hand. You want to make certain the carb is not all gummed up after sitting. You will want to run it for at least an hour.

Here is a link to a Microquiet 4000 service manual.


I would read through the manual and familiarize yourself with different parts and aspects of the generator, it's wiring and connections.

There is trouble shooting section (6) that includes an "Engine will not Crank" and "Engine Cranks but will not start" conditions.

Manual includes many generator diagrams to familiarize your self with it's design and it's connection to the RV and batteries.

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