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Old 10-29-2020, 11:52 PM   #1
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Winnebago Owners Club
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Location: Fairfield, CA
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Mystery Generator Start-up

We were camping with our son and his family at an RV Park which had full h/ups. We were all sitting outside next to our Journey and my wife and I had to make a run to the store.

When we returned, my son's friend asked us "Do you have Auto-Start on your generator?" I said, no, why? While we were gone, the Onan 7500 generator started up by itself; so my son went in and turned it off knowing we were hooked up to 50A.

I went in to check, started it up with the dash switch, ran it, shut it down, and no issues. Going back out by the fire, my son said when it started there was a cat that jumped down in front, kind of looked stunned, then beat feet. I didn't give it much thought, but later I looked in on the genny and it was dusty and such especially with all the fire ash we have had blowing around in NorCal lately. I did notice, the start switch had a clean spot on the "on-start" position and around it.

So, I deducted that the cat had crawled up there and had settled with a paw on the start switch long enough to hold it down to prime it and then it fired up and he bolted when it started up. We've never had that happen before.

Before I figured that out, I just knew I was in for some serious electrical trouble shooting efforts to determine why it would start by itself which it never has done in the 10 yrs we've owned it.

Every trip is an adventure.
Barry & Sue Miller("extended" RVer's, 6 mos + per/year) combined trips.
04 Journey 39K, C-7, 330 hp, towing: 13 Ford Edge AWD, or 19 GMC Canyon 4WD, ReadyBrake.
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Old 10-30-2020, 03:15 AM   #2
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Awesome trouble shooting. But you never would have found it if your son had not told you about the cat running scarred.
You an tell its gonna be a FULL MOON shortly, this has been one hell of a year.
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Old 10-30-2020, 08:54 AM   #3
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I have also read that the generator could start if moisture gets into the wiring harness. On the passenger side (at least on my rig) there is a wiring harness, you can pull it apart and check for any signs of moisture, use electric clean to dry it out. Could also use some dielectric grease.
Jim J
2002 Monaco Windsor 38 PKD Cummins ISC 250 8.3L
2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee w/5.7 Hemi
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Old 10-30-2020, 10:18 AM   #4
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I had my 7500 crank up in the barn it ran all night and part of the next day before I realized that it was the noise I was hearing. My brother came home to find his 7500 running one time as well. So it can happen I'm just not convinced a cat could or would stay on the switch long enough to start it.
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Old 10-30-2020, 11:12 AM   #5
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I have had the same thing happen with our QD7500 Onan. I took the wiring harness apart and used electronic cleaner spray and dielectric grease to service what I thought was the problem. It has been about 2-years since that first and only phantom start.
I would have to doubt that a cat could depress and hold the start switch for sufficient time for the generator to crank. The cat would probably get spooked as soon as the engine started to turn over. Also, would a cat that say weighs about 10-lbs, give or take, be able to exert enough force on a toggle switch like on the generator? The cat is 4-wheel drive so that makes each drive about 2.5-lbs. Pretty sneaky cat to start and scoot.

Glad it has not happened since that last time.
Don and Marilynn
'04 Newmar Dutch Star 4010
Spartan Chassis/Cummins ISL 400
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Old 10-30-2020, 12:16 PM   #6
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You missed your calling! You should be a detective!
Joe & Annette
Sometimes I sits and thinks, sometimes I just sits.....
2002 Monaco Windsor 40PBT, 2013 Honda CRV AWD
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Old 11-04-2020, 08:54 AM   #7
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We bought a brand new Jayco Prestige with AGM. We left it off since we didn't need it. When we would pick it up from our storage it seemed like the fuel tank was lower that I remember. The next time I parked it, I filled it up completely. Two weeks later, it was down to a quarter tank.

Convinced that someone was stealing fuel, I stopped by the managers office. While I was talking to the manager, a contractor who had been installing new doors for several weeks overheard our conversation. He said that the generator on our coach was running a lot. I double checked the AGS controls and all were off.

Took it to the dealer who had their electrical guru check it out. He determined that the controller was bad. Jayco replaced it, and no other issues since. I tried, unsuccessfully, to get Jayco to reimburse me for lost fuel, but they denied it. Said to take my cause to Onan.
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Old 11-04-2020, 09:21 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by jacwjames View Post
I have also read that the generator could start if moisture gets into the wiring harness. On the passenger side (at least on my rig) there is a wiring harness, you can pull it apart and check for any signs of moisture, use electric clean to dry it out. Could also use some dielectric grease.
That is the purpose of WD40. dry out electrical wiring, then it dries to a waxy film to insulate from cross-firing. However, it is flammable when wet/right out of the can.
2000 Winnebago Ultimate Freedom USQ40JD, ISC 8.3 Cummins 350, Spartan MM Chassis. USA IN 1SG 11B5MX,Infantry retired;Good Sam Life member,FMCA." My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. John F. Kennedy
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Old 11-06-2020, 01:06 PM   #9
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Had the exact same thing happen to me. I was sitting in the coach reading a book and the generator suddenly starts. I have auto start but it's turned off. My mind is racing thinking major electrical issue and I see our rather stunned cat jump off the dash right where the gen start switch is located.
Major electrical problem solved.
Tampa Bay
'07 American Tradition 40Z Cummins 400 ISL
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