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Old 05-11-2015, 11:32 AM   #1
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Question Onan 4000 series generator battery question

I just purchased my first RV. A 1999 Jayco Eagle. I believe I need a new battery as it won't start the generator. It does start with a large battery charger attached to it. There is enough juice for lights and low amp things, but when I try the generator I just get the clicking noise. I had it checked and the amperage is only at 250. My question is this. The battery is a marine battery with 625 cranking amps. The book only calls for a 350/450. Will it matter if I get the same replacement as what's in their now? FYI, There is also a Power converter/charger attached to the system that has been plugged in.
Thanks
Len
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Old 05-11-2015, 02:09 PM   #2
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You most likely have a bad connection at the generator battery cables or at the battery itself.

Check the large +( red ) at the generator for corrosion or being loose.

Check both ends of the ground cable near the generator.

Check the negative wire coming from the battery to the steel frame.

After making it go click, click, click, feel for any hot connections, where I mentioned. The hot one is the loose one.

Good luck
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Old 05-11-2015, 02:49 PM   #3
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If the Onan gen is a 4ky with low hours on it the odds of it working right is slim. The carb and the model in general was not Onans best effort IMO. If you do get it running and want to keep it running make sure you run it a couple hours a month with a load. ( AC running, etc. )
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Old 05-11-2015, 03:06 PM   #4
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I looked a little farther and noticed the hidden braided ground cable is partially connected. Almost looks like it was fried by something at one time. I will replace it and see where I am then. Thanks. If I do need a battery since the test showed low amp after a 7 hour charge, will the cranking amps harm the generator?
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Old 05-11-2015, 04:07 PM   #5
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No, the generator will start with just about any battery. Too high a cranking amp rating, won't hurt anything.

Before you buy a Marine battery, search this site for info, about 12 volt deep cycle batteries.

2, 6 volt deep cycle, batteries, would be better, if you have room.

Many will suggest AGM batteries, but as a newbe, who will probably kill your batteries a few times and not charge them properly, start out with a cheap battery setup.

Once you get all the workings of the 12 volt system in order and used the RV for a while, you will be in a better position to decide, what kind of batteries you will want.
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Old 06-08-2015, 08:46 AM   #6
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Well bought a new battery, it took a bit but she started. Just won't stay running more than the initial 5 - 1o seconds. Not much on small engine repair, but when it starts it sounds pretty good, just won't stay running. I see there is an inline gas filter tucked in there. I am suspecting that since the generator hasn't been ran for quite some time, might be dirty. Looks like I have to get the generator out of the frame to access it though. :( Will keep you posted.
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Old 06-08-2015, 10:19 AM   #7
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Check the oil, if full pull wire off safety switch. See if it keeps running. Another poster just had that problem.
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Old 06-08-2015, 03:51 PM   #8
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Start up with no load. What does trouble code say?
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Old 06-08-2015, 06:03 PM   #9
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Our classic generators, at least mine don't do codes.
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Old 06-13-2015, 01:27 PM   #10
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A couple of months ago I tired of having my generator repaired at places that SAID they could do it so probably already $500 in the hole I took it to a Cummings Onan service center and $600 later it works like a champ and I run it all the time just to keep it working. Spend the money on the right repair.
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Old 06-13-2015, 10:45 PM   #11
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Many of the Onans are designed not to start after your fuel tank is lower than a 1/3rd. Make sure your fuel is full.
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Old 07-07-2015, 09:20 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertsonr View Post
Many of the Onans are designed not to start after your fuel tank is lower than a 1/3rd. Make sure your fuel is full.
And also make sure you are parked LEVEL. I had 1/2 tank of fuel but was parked nose-high enough that the generator wouldn't run.
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Old 07-08-2015, 07:30 AM   #13
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I have gas, the oil level looks good, the RV is level, I checked gas line, plenty incoming. I can keep it running a min or so if I keep pushing the start button when it is about to die. Same results using the inside or outside start switch. I flipped the breaker switch to off, same results. It's almost like something is telling it to shut down. ??? Not sure where the oil safety switch is to try that suggestion.
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Old 07-12-2015, 07:26 PM   #14
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My Onan 4000 generator also had a starting problem before I removed and serviced it, I found the ground strap looked to be overheated, so I removed it and added an external ground strap. No more starting problems. Before the service, it sounded like the starter was going out. Yours sounds like a bad relay, or the generator is not taking over the ignition circuit when running. It's going into shut down mode.

If it is running for a minute after starting it's most likely something else, like the fuel filter. Fuel pressure from the pump pushes the blockage into the filter and kills the fuel flow, the engine stops and the blockage falls back into the filter. The generator also has it's own fuel pump. You should be able to hear it ticking when trying to restart the generator after it stops. It makes a dull thudding sound. thud thud thud thud.. of course if the starter motor is turning over you won't hear that.
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