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Old 07-14-2017, 02:07 PM   #1
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Certified Onan service

I had A "certified onan service tech" work on my onan 5500 marquis gold generator to correct a hot run/start issue which is common to this particular genset. Although it seems that the going montra from the Onan camp seems to be that the "issue is not heat related" , It is a common and known problem with this genset model whereas the generator shuts down when ambient temp/ cooling intake air, gets into the 100* range, and then won't start again till the access panel is removed and the genset cools off for about 45 min to an hour. Once the engine cooled off, fired right up and ran like a champ again. When it's cooler out, the generator ran like a champ. Always. It had no problem starting or running 2 A/Cs , the microwave, and every light in my 37' A-Class motorhome.

This Onan tech was recommended to me by 2 different brick and morter shops, and the only other Independant Onan tech in the greater Phoenix area as a generator mechanic. So I assumed that this was "the guy" to correct this issue.
So far, that is not the case.

$1600 into the genset to replace pretty much everything that can be replaced other that the carb, and it won't even run now. Constant backfiring through the carb and no power generation.

Now, the reason that I had This company work on the generator in the first place, was because my lovely wife was to take the motorhome from Phoenix to Calgary, with her girlfriends, for a business trip, for 10 days, during which she drove over 4200 miles. The master plan was to dry camp along the way.

4200 miles in an a class motorhome in July with no Generator, no air Conditioning , no battery regeneration other than truck power, no A/C power for re charging phones, cameras, vacuuming, microwave, and no air conditioning other than dash air for 4200 miles, in July, driving in and out of Phoenix.

Instead of dry camping, the girls had to utilize campgrounds along the way in order to plug into power. An unintended expense and a lot of extra driving. Very hot uncomfortable driving.

Of course, we use our motorhome a lot. We regularly invite friends along to stay at the lake. All this requires planning, and power for air conditioning. So I called "the company"(I'm not quite ready to drag anyone through the mud yet, although possibly VERY close to the mud) when my girl got back from Canada, and let "the company" know that the generator was still not working,( I called him to possibly get a solution on the girls first day of their trip). Of course, "______" is the only "tech"the company employs, and he is on vacation for another week and a half. Well deserved I'm sure. And he informed me that there are a couple other jobs in front of mine when he gets back. Of course there are. He has already been paid $1600 for "FIXING" mine. And by the way, has still not corrected the initial issue as far as I can tell.

Ok, so it's about a month since I first contacted "the company". "the tech" came out and again attempted to correct correct the gen problem.

Well, the original problem was that the generator would simply shut off when temps neared 100*. $1600 later, it doesn't just shut off, it backfires through the carb, then shuts down. Backfires so bad that it blew the intake manifold apart. So, he replaced the intake... and the Carb, the only parts that weren't previously replaced other than the heads and the block. He charged me for parts only, a bit over $500.00 for the intake manifold and the carb, (yep, I know). He ate the labor. I mentioned to him that the backfire issue that blew apart the manifold didn't exist previous to initiating work on the gen, and that maybe he should not charge me for that particular part. He wasn't open to that, so I paid him for the manifold .

The original issue is still not resolved. The backfire issue is still not resolved.

What has transpired here is that I now have $2250.71 plus an additional $50 + for the new fuel pump , oil filter and oil change, and fuel line that I had just bought(not official Onan parts so of course they HAD to be inferior) so let's just call it an even $2300, into a generator that has 967 hours on it, thus being 20% into its average useful lifespan.

Again, still shuts off when temps near 100*. Additionally, backfires through the carb when subjected to load.

Question being, now what? Is "the company" liable for any of the work done?

In my opinion, they should have to return the generator to its original configuration, refund all monies, and I should go to someone else to resolve the original issue. Or go buy a new unit and install it in my MH. Or throw it in my pool and see if that fixes the original issue.

Am I off base here?

Please comment.
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Old 07-14-2017, 02:43 PM   #2
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Sounds like a small claims court case.
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Old 07-14-2017, 02:48 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buellah View Post
In my opinion, they should have to return the generator to its original configuration, refund all monies, and I should go to someone else to resolve the original issue. Or go buy a new unit and install it in my MH. Or throw it in my pool and see if that fixes the original issue.

Am I off base here?

Please comment.

I don't think you're "way" off base. I believe a competent repair person could actually show you why he replaced each part. It would be "verified" bad. Of course you would have to pay for those parts to be replaced. It appears your genset was shot-gunned. Not good. Go over to Smokstak.com if you get a chance and see what advise the guys over there would have for ya. There are many, many onan repair stories that are terrible........ yours is the worst I've heard. Paid over 2k ..... unit is worse than when you brought it in.
Ask them for the original parts...... see if they start sweating a little and start to lower your bill.
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Old 07-14-2017, 03:15 PM   #4
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Yes, I really don't want to have to go there. But yes.
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Old 07-14-2017, 03:21 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by okcnewbie View Post
I don't think you're "way" off base. I believe a competent repair person could actually show you why he replaced each part. It would be "verified" bad. Of course you would have to pay for those parts to be replaced. It appears your genset was shot-gunned. Not good. Go over to Smokstak.com if you get a chance and see what advise the guys over there would have for ya. There are many, many onan repair stories that are terrible........ yours is the worst I've heard. Paid over 2k ..... unit is worse than when you brought it in.
Ask them for the original parts...... see if they start sweating a little and start to lower your bill.
Already asked for the original parts, reply was" they went in the trash as soon as they were replaced "

On the last round, I purposely took the "old" parts and put them in my shop. But the original parts were removed at his shop and promptly thrown in the trash.
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Old 07-14-2017, 06:32 PM   #6
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"Ask them for the original parts...... see if they start sweating a little and start to lower your bill."


And by this, I assume that what you mean is that I should, as a normal course of business, expect to pay someone, at least in part, for Work that has left me in worse shape than before the work was started. That is, other than having newer parts that work just as well as the original parts that seem to have been working fine.

Seems to me that I should be made whole by putting the old parts back and I should be able to take the gen to another mechanic or place of business.

Or am I out of line?
Granted, I'm more than a little upset right now!

I have been shown no diagnostics on any of my parts that show that they were faulty. And the proof seems to be in the pudding. Should I not expect a positive result when spending $2300 on a unit that sells for $3800?
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Old 07-17-2017, 05:56 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buellah View Post
"Ask them for the original parts...... see if they start sweating a little and start to lower your bill."


I have been shown no diagnostics on any of my parts that show that they were faulty. And the proof seems to be in the pudding. Should I not expect a positive result when spending $2300 on a unit that sells for $3800?
I'm on your side. I just think I'm a little more skeptical about the "pros" and would likely not have let them throw my old parts away.
I would tell them I am contacting BBB and every RV forum that you can find and going to try and make sure that you brought in a partially running onan and $2300 dollars later it's worse.
Do you have any idea what their cost is for parts? Maybe you could call another Onan shop and get this info. If this is less than a $1000 you could maybe offer to pay that and take your genset. (You can't get your old parts back supposedly)
Did you ever get any type of estimates? Have you called Onan?
There is no win-win option that I can think of now. You just have to make the best of a terrible situation.
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Old 07-17-2017, 11:53 AM   #8
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Yes, agreed regarding the old parts. I asked for them aat the time of the first billing. They were already gone.
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Old 07-17-2017, 02:08 PM   #9
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So, when a "mechanic" is "certified " by a third party or manufacturer, what does that mean?
To me, as a consumer, it means that the factory, in some capacity, stands behind the work being performed. The manufacturer has authorized and certified to the consumer, that this "mechanic" can expertly perform diagnostics to find the cause of a problem, and then perform the necessary tasks to correct the problem.

So as a consumer, do I have any legal "rights" in this matter or am I doomed to accept all of the new parts that were changed on my generator, leaving me worse off than when I started.

Small claims seems to be my only way out. I really don't want to go there,
I guess that I may need to take the gen to Cummings /Onan and get a diagnosis from them and go from there. No matter what the monetary outcome, I still need a generator.
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Old 07-17-2017, 02:28 PM   #10
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Certified mean he attended a factory course. Did he pay attention, who knows ?

The factory course is a basic overview of typical repairs and troubleshooting on the many types of equipment they sell. It can't possible cover every model or every issue that may pop up.

That is where general training and experence comes in. As in every field, some got it and others ask that guy.

Every shop has a " go to guy ". If your lucky, you get him.
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Old 07-18-2017, 09:08 AM   #11
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. . No matter what the monetary outcome, I still need a generator.
So where do you stand? Have you paid anything? Are they demanding full payment before you get the genset back? Are they giving you any options? ex. take the genset without paying and with a bunch of missing parts?
Have you called Onan or any other shops that are certified?

This whole thing stinks and I feel for ya.
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Old 07-18-2017, 04:55 PM   #12
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I have been billed for work three times and have paid all of the bills. The gen ran each time for a couple of hours, then failed again. I have a non working generator with a bunch of new parts on it.
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Old 07-19-2017, 03:00 PM   #13
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Just for grins have they tried to run it without the muffler? I noticed another thread that had a similar symptom and the problem ended up being a partially blocked muffler. It makes since but none of us have really heard of that before. The repair was verified to be the muffler.
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Old 07-19-2017, 04:13 PM   #14
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Just for verification mine does have a plug in the exhaust to pull and blow out any build up in the exhaust.
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