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Old 02-08-2017, 03:56 PM   #1
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6KW Cummins Onan Generator with sound enclosure

I got a 'no-start' situation with my generator as of this morning. Chassis batteries start the engine just fine, but they won't the generator is solenoid clicking, usually indicating a weak connection or faulty solenoid or possibly starter motor issue. I tried using the 'boost' button to bring the house batteries to the battle, but same result. I got under and removed, cleaned and reinstalled the battery connections to the bottom of the generator enclosure. Thought I might have something as the ground connection was a bit loose.... but still got the same result.
I've searched the site, am searching the web, and am contacting Coachmen and Cummins, but in the meantime, has anybody managed to remove a portion of the sound enclosure to get at the starter & connections? I do not have a full slide-out tray, just a hood opening that allows me to touch some of the box. I think I can touch most of the rest of the box from below. I may have to take some yoga lessons to get this done....

Thanks for any help/advice you can offer!
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Old 02-08-2017, 04:01 PM   #2
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Is it possible to either connect another battery/cable or jumper cable from a known good battery, directly to the generator, and try to start again? That would eliminate the coach batteries you have and cable to the generator as a possible source of the problem.

If the generator starts, then you know the problem is in the cabling or back to the batteries.

If the generator doesn't start, then you know the problem is in the generator itself, and you can determine whether you need to drop the gen out of the coach to work on it.
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Old 02-08-2017, 04:39 PM   #3
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Are you sure the clicking is the solenoid, my generator makes a clicking noise when I attempt a cold start. I believe this is a fuel primer/glow plug cycle, hold the start switch in the start position until it starts.
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Old 02-08-2017, 05:09 PM   #4
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You sure it starts from the chassis battery ?
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Old 02-08-2017, 05:22 PM   #5
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1. Definitely not the fuel pump loading up, it never progresses to turning over. When we full-timed in our 5th wheel our gas genny used to make a clicking sound briefly while the fuel system pressured up. You pushed the start button 'back' until the ready light came on, then pushed it 'forward' and it immediately started. This one is propane, but I started it a couple of times before without anything like this particular clicking, simply pushed the start switch 'forward'.
2. I just learned that the generator starts from the house batteries, not the chassis batteries. House batteries are showing about 13.2 volts, cranking amps may be suspect.
3. I can attempt to boost the generator from my jeep. I also thought about pulling out my house batteries for servicing. Connections look clean, but I have no idea when these batteries were ever looked at, so it has to be done anyway.

Thanks again everyone, this is an invaluable site. Tomorrow is another day!
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Old 02-08-2017, 06:10 PM   #6
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When you get back to checking things, check the ground and battery cable, on the generator, itself.

On mine, they used a 3/8" cable end, on a 1/4" stud. It started to come over the nut.

The ground was connected with a self tapping screw, that was loose.
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Old 02-08-2017, 07:35 PM   #7
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genny

wack the starter a few times with a hammer. worked for me on the lawn tractor.
good luck
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Old 02-08-2017, 10:32 PM   #8
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I sure wish I could actually see the starter motor. I have cleaned the connections on the bottom of the enclosure to no avail. I'm going out to the yard tomorrow to get a closer look at whether I've missed any fasteners that could allow me to take one side off or something. Otherwise I'm afraid the whole thing's coming out.
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Old 02-11-2017, 12:18 PM   #9
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Generator Starting Issue is Resolved

It's resolved, not fixed. I was somehow convinced our new-to-us coach had a propane generator. This is why I discounted Hayward3411's post about the clicking sound possibly being the fuel pump pressuring up the lines. I have a friend with a similar coach who took the trouble to call me and let me listen to his generator starting up..... exact same sound. So I went out this morning and tried again. Our gasoline generator in our 5th wheel used to pressure up in about 5 seconds. This one clicked for 30 seconds and then simply kicked in and started.
I am marginally more educated, and significantly relieved.

Thanks to all who pitched in with advice and info!
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Old 02-11-2017, 12:41 PM   #10
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Take out a digital volt meter ..... and put it on each of the connections from the battery to the starter.... have some one hit the start button and read the starting voltage at each connection... when you find the bad connection... the starting voltage will drop from something like 11 volts when cranking too something like 5 - 7 volts... that's your bad connection.... could be the connection or the cable... when you make this test... put the end of the probe on the post of the fastener... not the cable end... so your measuring the drop across the connection...
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