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Old 05-22-2011, 01:46 PM   #1
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Generator ? Gasoline or LP ?

Looking for some input on a generator for our 5th wheel - 35' Colorado - AC, refrigerator, microwave, TV. . . Was looking to permanent mount a 3500-4500w LP in the front bay of the basement. But then we are about to also purchase a horse trailer with a "weekend quarters" with an AC, fridge, . . So now I'm thinking about getting an enclosed generator unit and putting it in the bed of the truck instead. That way it can be used with either trailer, or both as I can go to a larger unit to be able to run both AC's if needed.
The question is - should it be gasoline or LP? The truck is diesel so we don't carry any gasoline now. Gasoline units appear to have more power, and I haven't found any diesel units that are reasonable in size, price and quiet.
I was previously looking at Generac LP units, and they also have gasoline units as well.
Has anyone mounted their generator in the bed of your truck ? How is the sound level with your generator ? Make / model ?
Did you go gas or LP ?
Anyone have experience with pros/cons of truck mounting other than when leaving trailer - without power ?

Thanks.

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Old 05-22-2011, 02:39 PM   #2
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SOLAR

Free fuel and very quiet while running.
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Old 05-22-2011, 02:54 PM   #3
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Propane will run cleaner and keep maintenance costs down. However, propane usage is significant and you may run out without a nearby refill source. Gasoline is much easier to find if running the generator for days at a time.

Our generator is propane fueled and mounted in the fifth wheel and works well for our occasional use. Can't comment on ones mounted in truckbeds though at least one supplier furnishes a generator toolbox combo which looked really nice.
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Old 05-22-2011, 03:38 PM   #4
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As soon as they figure out how to run an AC on solar, I'm in. Until then there's some sort of fuel necessary.
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Old 05-22-2011, 05:09 PM   #5
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Diesel would be the best route
Then as suggested earlier SOLAR - but you would need a HUGE inverter for the AC and many batteries
There are many choices for gasoline - suggest you stay away from Onan
LP - is good as well and is indeed "cleaner" but way more expensive - I have two LP generators and like them but the Honda 5Kw gas machine is the best
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Old 05-23-2011, 09:11 AM   #6
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On more than one occasion, I have been bombarded with the noise from a generator mounted in the bed of a pickup bed.

Seems the bed itself focuses the noise from even a fairly quiet generator to the direction directly behind it, the cab and bed sides increasing and focusing the sound. Kind of like the report of a rifle I'd guess, aimed away from you it's not too bad but if aimed your way it's loud.

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Old 05-23-2011, 11:48 AM   #7
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It is interesting that we get the solar advocacy in a shout - I am paying for this irrational and unrealistic view every time I get the power bill at home and that hurts.

As for gasoline or propane, propane based gensets often run 10% less power output than gasoline in general but propane is generally a better fuel. The 'green' effort to use corn for fuel rather than food (which is helping make both more expensive) tends to make gasoline that is 'dry' with added ethonol and that can be very hard on small gasoline engines. Propane avoids this problem and also tends to be less of a hassle as far as gunking up carburetors during storage. Propane also stores better than gasoline as well.

It may be a bit pricey but a water cooled diesel genset would be a very nice solution to mount in a diesel truck. Look at the APU's for the big rigs, maybe (also becoming rather a big market due to 'green' legislation).

As for noise, that is also a price matter. It starts with the engine design and ends with proper mounting and a good exhaust system.
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Old 05-23-2011, 07:51 PM   #8
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Who makes a quiet RV diesel generator about 5k size ? We've used a 6.5k (construction) diesel that drove us nuts in about 3 hours.
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Old 05-23-2011, 11:01 PM   #9
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PPL has one on sale. See Onan diesel line also.

I'net searching for phrases such as "apu diesel generator" can provide some interesting leads.
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Old 05-23-2011, 11:20 PM   #10
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Our first Dutch Star had a 6.2 Kw propane generator. In less than a week in 90 weather we went through two 10 gallon tanks and most of our onboard 40 gallon (32 usable) tank. Plus it kicked the circuit breakers off twice and it was noisy.
We now have a Power Tech 8Kw diesel gen that is much quieter and sips fuel, at full load it takes less than gallon per hour. Much more expensive but well worth it.

Power Tech is big in yachts. Ours uses a 3 cyl Kubota engine and they are very dependable and long lasting. Ours only has 304 hours on it and it's 9 years old, we'll be dead before it needs rebuilding at that rate.
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Old 05-23-2011, 11:29 PM   #11
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I'd go with gasoline due to the fact you can find gas 24/7 just about anywhere and you don't have to find someone to put it in your vehicle.
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Old 05-24-2011, 12:04 AM   #12
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Propane is clean/doesn't junk up carbs like our "clean" gasoline does now/starts instantly in cold weather/oil stays cleaner due to lack of carbon entering. Uses extreme amounts of propane under full load which is expensive. I am speaking from experience w/6.5 Onan LP over 10 year span.
IMO most of the noise created from pickup bed mounted generators is caused by the use of cheaper construction type units rater than an RV type. A fairly quiet and heavy duty unit for pickup mounting is a Miller Bobcat welder. Easy on fuel burned and produces up to 10K wattage @220 volts/fits across most pickup beds. Price cheaper than diesel/gas RV generator. Slightly heavier in weight
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Old 05-27-2011, 11:28 AM   #13
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I like our propane!!

We have a 6.5 onan in our Dutch Star and run it usually while traveling down the road on hot days. I have always been amazed on how efficient it seems to be. We go hard every week-end all summer long, usually on 100 mile or less trips, and we use about a tank a year. It usually seldom runs our fridge but we use the hotwater heater and stove all weekend on propane too. This is much quieter than our gas generator in our last Southwind. It starts very easily and runs quiet. If I were full-time and not always camping its kind of hard to beat the generator that runs on Diesel out of the tank. You always know where you are at!!! For what its worth...Robert
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Old 05-27-2011, 05:17 PM   #14
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Honda EU-3000i or Yahama EF-3600i or better yet paired Honda EU-2000i and EU-2000i Companion.

As for gas or propane.. I'd go with either Gas or dual fuel.. Gas has more punch per gallon, Propane generators suck a lot of propane.. In fact so much they take it is liquid feed on the bigger ones (more thn 3,000 watts)
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