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Old 06-04-2006, 03:15 AM   #1
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Anyone else done that? My generator cuts out at about the 40-gallon mark, which means I effectively have a 60-gallon (or ~400-mile range) tank. One of the big draws for the coach was the ability to carry around all that extra fuel.

I've been PM'ing with another member about how he did it and got some wonderful suggestions. But I'm still a bit hesitant to perform major surgery in such a vital area, and would like any input from others that have done it (or are also considering doing it). Also looking for suggestions on pitfalls or tips.

Help??
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Old 06-04-2006, 03:15 AM   #2
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Anyone else done that? My generator cuts out at about the 40-gallon mark, which means I effectively have a 60-gallon (or ~400-mile range) tank. One of the big draws for the coach was the ability to carry around all that extra fuel.

I've been PM'ing with another member about how he did it and got some wonderful suggestions. But I'm still a bit hesitant to perform major surgery in such a vital area, and would like any input from others that have done it (or are also considering doing it). Also looking for suggestions on pitfalls or tips.

Help??
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Old 06-06-2006, 02:05 PM   #3
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While I can understand your frustration to an extent, I think it's done that way so the average person won't run the fuel out with the generator and then have no fuel for that bigger motor in the back of your coach...Be real careful what you ask for....
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Old 06-07-2006, 05:23 AM   #4
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It would seem that being able to draw down to 30 gallons wouldn't compromise much. There would be more than enough fuel to travel over 100 miles easily to get fuel.

Last year in Key West with shore power down (another story for another time) we had to run 100% generator for almost a week. We were getting to that point of shut down by the end of the week and with temps no lower that 83 degrees at night, well, you get the picture....
Made it to fuel before that, but there was no real breathing room. I also have had the Genset go off-line while underway trying to stretch between fuelings.

This is not a bad idea IMHO, and, if done judiciously a good idea methinks.
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Old 06-07-2006, 11:05 AM   #5
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I heartily agree with both points, Bob and Ron. The designers had a good idea in mind when they put in the separate pickup where they did. Just a teeny-bit lower woulda suited me mighty fine.

Besides, I'd like to have a bit more liberty to be able to decide on my own when I get to make the call to Coach-Net or whoever and admit that I was dumb enough to suck a tank dry.

Reminds me of the first (and ONLY... so far) time I ran out of gas in my car. I knew it was on empty, but 17-year old kids simply have to keep proving just how bullet-proof and invincible they really aren't. The phonecall to my father to come and get me was lesson-enough!

Kinda ironic to think about it too, when I realize I'm concerned about accessing more residual-fuel in a tank than my first motorhome had in the first place! A 1982 Class C Minnie-Winnie with over 95k miles when I bought it, and over 125k when I sold it 3 years later. Yup, learned a lot about rv-upkeep and maintenance on that one. Might even be interesting to go into comparisons of then-and-now. Stuff like sales-tax now was about equal to total purchase-price then (ouch! ... or maybe it wouldn't be such a good idea after all).
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Old 06-07-2006, 07:57 PM   #6
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I'm with you ronboc. Our Alpine's generator shuts off at 1/2 tank on the road. Just under 1/2 stationary. It's a real pain in the neck when we are traveling in the desert and have to stop every 4-5 hundred miles. I sometimes like to run a tank almost out before stopping for fuel. Most other Alpine's go to 1/4 tank. I was told I would need a new tank to fix the problem .

Sorry to step in on your new forum, congrats by the way, but that genset fuel pickup is one thorn in my side .
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Old 06-07-2006, 08:05 PM   #7
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I would be happy if there was'nt any reserve for the generator...I think I can handle keeping track of the fuel for the engine and generator at the same time......hey there is only ONE gauge. Having the generator stop when you still have over 175 miles range in the tank has been and inconvience several times..

Has anyone by-passed this feed line??
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Old 06-08-2006, 06:46 AM   #8
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From what I understand, and from the quick peeks I've made so far, the generator pickup is a separate smaller tube than the main engine-pickup, and both of 'em are attached at the top of the tank. That means it should be just a matter of removing the tube and adding an extension to stick the end further into the tank. And it wouldn't affect the integrity of the fuel-line for the 'REALLY IMPORTANT' engine-stuff.

Thinking out loud:
Access is quite easy, just lift the door/panel and unscrew/unbolt the hose and its fitting/bracket from the tank-top. Getting the tube out may be a problem, as it's longer than the space above the tank. But it could be angled, or even cut in-situ, and then removed to make the addition. I don't know yet what the tube is made of (steel? aluminum? stainless?) or how to actually attach the add-on, and therefore won't have the parts til the tube comes out. I doubt a simple piece of rubber-hose screw-clamped on the end is a real good solution, unless one wants to replace it every so often. Soldering or brazing would be the best, but again I don't know what to plan for. Naturally, once it's done, looking back on it I'll probably wonder why I ever hesitated.

But, I'm just plain reluctant to tear into it. As I mentioned, I got some terrific help from another much-braver rv'er who did make the mod. He said it was easy and works great, which gives me a lot of confidence in eventually taking the plunge.

So let me ask this:
Anyone want theirs done for free? I'll be more than happy to provide all the parts, tools, materials, labor, etc, to get it done... in trade for doing it on YOURS first.



Without looking at other brands (Alpine, etc) I dunno how they're made, but would think it should be a similar task. Let's keep each other posted as to the progress, if anyone has done it or is doing it.

Thanks!
Ron
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Old 06-12-2006, 09:15 AM   #9
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How about putting a Tee in the main/engine line and using that for both supplies? I realize that it completely negates the built-in run-dry safety-feature, but is acceptable in lieu of performing major surgery (at least to me).

I also thought of simply clamping a rubber-hose extension to the end of the gen-set line, but then it would be too fat to fit back in thru the hole in the tank. Next thought was to add the rubber-hose by removing the fuel-sender and the fuel-cap and installing it thru them (kinda like making a ship-in-a-bottle), but I'd rather not leave my tools and hardware rattling around in the bottom of the tank when I drop 'em.

My engine fuel consumption is about 7 gph and genset is about 0.4, so I am thinking I won't run into a starvation problem by running both off the same line. And, in the South, there's not many big steep grades to max-out the fuel-draw.

Thoughts? Comments?

Thanks!
Ron
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Old 06-12-2006, 09:25 AM   #10
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Just an update on my "quarter tank level cuts the genset off" theory....

Ended up taking two small trips with the Vectra and didn't need to stop for fuel on either weekender,so I just got around to filling it up yesterday.

Fuel gauge was well below one quarter, but was able to only put 71 gallons in my 100 gallon tank... I know she's full as I slow filled it all the way to the filler neck..

My point is that there's apparently no "exact" science with the gauge....

Be careful out there,no matter what you decide to do...
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Old 06-12-2006, 12:45 PM   #11
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Hi Bob -

Yeah, I know, I know. One of these days, you may get to post a topic titled: "See, I Told You So!"

And you'd be right in doing that, if it comes to it. It's just that I just got frustrated all over again this past weekend when I tried to dip into the left-half of the fuel-gauge, and spent the better part of the next hour trying to stay cool with just the dash-air til I could find a truck-stop. Outside temp (this is N Texas) was pushing 100*F, hence the determination.

I'm sitting here right now, working in a mileage spreadsheet (still too hot to go outside and work on it, maybe this evening). As long as I can conservatively plan on about 8 gph total and not tempt fate 'too much', I'll be ok. And fuel-burn is how I always computed range in my airplane.

By the way, it only took a tad over 60 gallons!

Thanks!
Ron
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Old 06-17-2006, 05:48 PM   #12
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Something you haven't thought about, the generator also uses the same line to return fuel that is not needed. Maybe a call to Onan on Monday morning would be the best suggestion, thay can tell you what your can and can't do so their system will work.

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Old 07-27-2006, 11:49 AM   #13
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I agree with the thought of why do manufacturers assume we're to ignorant to shut off the generator before we run out of fuel.

I'm in the 1/2 tank catagory and it's annoying as all heck. The other day I was on an interstate entrance ramp, one of them button hook jobs and the generator quit with a bit over a half tank.

Never had these problems with the old LP generator.

If any one has good and easy solution to solve this problem, I'm listening.
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Old 07-27-2006, 03:31 PM   #14
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I have also experianced the early cut off while driving. I have been telling myself it's the fuel sloshing around in the tank, uncovering the pickup tube and immediately ingesting air. Air then causes the system to starve/bind and the genset shuts down. This all seems to happen in the 1/2 tank area.

I believe they installed the pickup properly, just without much baffling inside the tank the fuel moves around and the pickup tube becomes uncovered. It only takes 2 seconds of air and that genset is going to stall.

I have found that during dry camping the genset will run for over 80 hours without failure due to fuel supply.

Ron, one quick thought...have you inspected the bottom of the fuel tank for a drain bung? You could pipe directly into the drain bung port, giving you 100% genset fuel, do it with a valve and a "T", still maintain draining ablity and this would be a very low cost, simple fix for your trouble. The generator return fuel line would remain untouched as would the factory pickup line.

Of course this whole theory goes south if there is no drain port. I'm gonna check mine in the morning.
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