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Old 05-24-2016, 11:22 AM   #1
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Installing Generator in older class C

I have recently purchased a '84 Lindy that's on an '83 E350 chassis. It has a compartment for the generator, with a 4x4 box for the 120 volt wiring. I don't have any questions as far as any of the electrical, but I am curious about the fuel supply... The chassis has in tank fuel pumps for the engine.

Where/how do I supply fuel to the Genset? I'm thinking it should be something other than the lines supplying the drive train.

Thanks in advance!
Frenchy
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Old 05-24-2016, 12:52 PM   #2
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The usual set up for RV generators is to have a second pick up in the fuel tank, a bit shorter than the main engine pick-up so that the generator can't drain the tank to the point you can't drive the RV. In most it's set up to leave at least a 1/4 tank, so you have to have more than that to operate the generator. Most generators also have special, low volume fuel pumps for the small amount they consume.

In older RVs, the 120v power from the generator is run into a 30 amp cord and plug. The Shore cord can be also plugged into the same outlet, thus preventing 2 sources of 120 v becoming out of phase and creating problems. More expensive and modern rigs use an automatic transfer switch (ATS) to switch between sources of power.
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Old 05-25-2016, 09:28 AM   #3
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So there should be another tap on one of the tanks? It has in tank fuel pumps (one of which I have to change).

The connection for the 120 volts for the generator is in a 4" square box in the generator compartment, on the opposite side from the power cord. There's a cord with a 15 amp male plug on it coming out of the 4" square, that I'm sure a previous owner installed for a small generator.

I've been looking at used Onan generators on the local Craigslist, & I just want to make sure that I have all my ducks in a row. I haven't looked in the 4" square yet, but I would imagine that the generator should have a transfer switch in it to prevent back feeding the cord for shore power.
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Old 05-25-2016, 09:42 AM   #4
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Frency, If I had a 1983 Class-C, likely, I'd throw a hitch carrier on it and a Champion 3500 watt generator, you'd be all-in for $<500. It'll run the AC for over 6 hours at full load.

Just an idea.
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Old 05-25-2016, 09:54 AM   #5
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Frency, If I had a 1983 Class-C, likely, I'd throw a hitch carrier on it and a Champion 3500 watt generator, you'd be all-in for $<500. It'll run the AC for over 6 hours at full load.

Just an idea.
I can't agree with this more. I'm fairly handy and have managed to get two Onan's to run. This has been very time consuming.
I wouldn't trust that an overpriced built in Onan (used) would continue to work.
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Old 05-25-2016, 12:54 PM   #6
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I've had older class A's over the years with Onans, & never had an issue with them... I can get a 4kw Onan for $250-$500, depending on weather I want to do carb work or not.. Although I have thought about how easy it would be to throw a Genset on the back bumper, I done want to make it getto... This thing is as clean as a new penny, & looks like new inside & out. So I'd rather put one in the compartment supplied.

As for the motor & electrical work: I'm an Industrial electrician & instrumentation technician & instructor, & I'm also a motorcycle mechanic & have fooled with small engines since I was a kid.
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Old 05-25-2016, 04:43 PM   #7
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..... I can get a 4kw Onan for $250-$500, depending on weather I want to do carb work or not..... .

As you know those carbs aren't really rebuildable and Onan suggests that you replace them. It sounds like you know that already.
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Old 05-26-2016, 07:13 AM   #8
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I stand corrected.......

I was more specifically talking about the 4KY ( quiet or micro quiet ) models. Some of the older models are almost bullet proof.
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Old 05-27-2016, 10:17 AM   #9
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I've run across a really nice 4kw for $200 that was running. I have to find out how the camper switches from generator to shore power. I checked the 4" square junction in the genset, & there was no voltage present while plugged into shore power. I haven't traced the wires yet, but I imagine there's some sort of automatic switch to keep one from back feeding the other.

The 4" square cover has a sticker/label referencing the fuel pickup on the tank. So it's there, I just have to find it... :-)
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Old 05-27-2016, 12:05 PM   #10
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I'd be surprised that an RV without a generator would have a transfer switch installed. Normally, without a generator, your shore cord would be directly wired into the breaker panel. A cheap fix, as I said in my first post, would be to wire an outlet to the breaker panel. A short cord from generator or the longer shore cord could be plugged into the outlet to manually select power source.
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Old 05-27-2016, 11:44 PM   #11
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I'm not looking for a quick fix.. The camper is a rather high end of it's time.. It has a compartment, is pre wires, & gas vague instructions on the 4" square cover for installation... Yes the cord goes directly to the main breaker, but there was a cord with a male cord cap on it to run a generator hooked up in the compartment..

I realize that for some this might be intimidating, but this is rather basic to me
I was hoping for someone who had done this before to save me some res....
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Old 06-03-2016, 08:22 AM   #12
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Well I looked at my camper a little closer this week. The way the electrical is set up for a generator is dirt simple! I had previously noticed a 30 amp 120 volt receptacle in the electrical compartment. I had figured that it was tied into the switch in front of the sink labeled "AC or Washer Dryer Recept."... Turns out the receptacle is from the generator compartment, and the switch is actually is for the AC or the Microwave receptacle.....

Now I need to figure out the fuel.... I have looked at the front tank (not the back yet) and it's not set up with an additional tap... The tanks have "in tank" fuel pumps. There's a supply from the pump, & a return line from the carb. Looking at the pump online, it appears that the return line might be an option for tying into..... Any thoughts?
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Old 06-03-2016, 09:21 AM   #13
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You'll have to determine how far down into the tank the return line extends. Probably have to drop the tank to find out. While it's out, you can replace or modify the cover plate to accept a proper pick up line, and perhaps replace the fuel pump as a preventive measure so you don't have to do it again in the future.
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Old 06-05-2016, 06:06 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fanchier View Post
Well I looked at my camper a little closer this week. The way the electrical is set up for a generator is dirt simple! I had previously noticed a 30 amp 120 volt receptacle in the electrical compartment. I had figured that it was tied into the switch in front of the sink labeled "AC or Washer Dryer Recept."... Turns out the receptacle is from the generator compartment, and the switch is actually is for the AC or the Microwave receptacle.....

Now I need to figure out the fuel.... I have looked at the front tank (not the back yet) and it's not set up with an additional tap... The tanks have "in tank" fuel pumps. There's a supply from the pump, & a return line from the carb. Looking at the pump online, it appears that the return line might be an option for tying into..... Any thoughts?
Check out the way my Coachmen Freedom does the generator fuel source, might be a way for you to do it easily. Photos at this link. Generator needs more than 1/4 tank
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