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Old 03-21-2002, 10:50 PM   #1
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Generators

An online place for Onan parts and manuals.
http://www.funroads.com/service/onangenset.jhtml
I have the original BFA 4.0 Onan Generator.
It shows 500 hours and runs very well.
What is the optimum voltage it should run at? Frank?
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Old 03-21-2002, 11:12 PM   #2
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yes the generator was onan bfa 4000, got to be undependable, carb problems
could not find local honda dealer for rv generators so I went with onan emerald 4000 plus. local onan service treated me well when I had problems doesn't sound any quieter
than 20 plus year old unit. if I had to do it over I would look harder for honda.
barry

just checked decibel ratings onan 74.5 , honda 67
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Old 03-21-2002, 11:19 PM   #3
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Barry, do you have a cost comparison between the Honda and the Onan.
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Old 03-21-2002, 11:38 PM   #4
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Generators

I do not know if there is a more controversial subject. Onan and Kohler are both fine old manufacturers. I personally have decided Honda is the BEST unit in any output.
The output votage of a gen set is one of debate also. I like to see about 128-130 volts ac NO LOAD. The engine rpm dicates output voltage. All the points type engines are not great. The points may be replaced with a solid state point replacement.
The Federal power guidelines mandate that the homeowner is to be sent 117 volts ac. Here in Idaho, there are many generators on the great Snake river. I monitor the voltage here. The voltage is usually between 121 and 126 vac and I love it. Low voltage kills all electrical devices and hi voltage merely makes the device run faster.
Generators operate over time better with a high voltage output and handle additional loads with out a struggle. The single biggest gen set problem.. dirty fuel, no fuel, low oil, dirty air cleaner, poor cooling. Changine oil frequently is a must. Gen sets are the ideal place to use all synthetic oil. The battery chargers that are part of a rv gen set are of no value. Buy and use a good batterycharger... Frank
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Old 03-22-2002, 11:07 AM   #5
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How critical is the service interval on a generator?

I can fully understand the oil change interval, but my owners manual says I need to de-carbonize the heads every 100 hours?

What are your experiences with this?
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Old 03-22-2002, 12:13 PM   #6
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Generator service interval

Gen set maintainence is based on use. Decarbonizing is usually for any small engines that are not operated at rated rpm and load. On most small engines there is a main fuel metering valve at the bottom of the carb. If this valve is not adjusted properly the engine will begin to develope carbon. Engine adjustments are a combination of adjustments between rpm position and the main metering valve. Heavy fuel laden exhaust is to be avoided by careful adjustments. After gen set has warmed to operating temps, connect several large electrical loads. Connect if possible, directly to gen set. Slowly add the electric loads and observe generators performance. Check exhaust color, sound of engine and observe digital a/c voltmeter. Compare rated load of gen set to real life load. Electric heat producing devices will impose a good load on gen set. A single large load is not great test as are several smaller loads. Do a little math and predict when gen set cannot operate the load. After examining the spark plugs, it can be determined if there is an accumulation of carbor. The sparkplugs tell the internal conditions. There are many colors and mechanical changes to observe. Some times the the muffler and exhaust is the big carbon producer. Restricting the exhaust will some what silence the gen set noise, but strangle any power. Some times it is possible to decarbonize a gas engine by pouring water into the open carb as the engine is held in the 75-100% rpm range. The water turns to steam and scalds the combustion chamber clean. This will not destroy anything. At worst, the engine will stall and the plugs must be removed and cleaned. The plugs must be removed occasionally and replaced after a liberal application of anti-seize on the threads. It is a wiseman who travels with spare survival parts and supplies. There are no cheap bargain prices on the road. Always remember..........no points in a Honda...hahaha The new water cooled models are super. In conclusion..it is not necessary to buy gen set oil. filters[ air and oil,] and exhaust from a dealer. A good parts store can give a list of filters that are very common from cars and trucks that interchange exactly. Cost is usually 30% of a dealer. I have changes the inlet and air filter design to allow use of a bigger and better filter. Most manufacturing is done based on money, your's mostly. Honda Honda Honda Da ole guy......... Frank
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Old 03-22-2002, 07:45 PM   #7
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last year, internet prices all over the board 2150.00-2500.00 each brand
local honda price from local hardware store 2800.00 for honda
onan dealer installed 4000 for about 2500.00
I still should have gone with honda and installed myself
I have 2 honda outboard motors 50hp and 75hp and 1 honda generator for ice fishing house all unbeliveably quite
barry
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Old 03-28-2002, 12:06 PM   #8
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Frank's post on spares makes sense. I know that there are few places to get parts for a 15 to 20 yr old genset right alongside the highway. So here is the $64.00 dollar question.

Does anyone carry spare parts with them and if so what do you carry?

This could be for just the generator or for the motorhome.
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Old 03-28-2002, 01:39 PM   #9
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I carry some spare belts for the engine, 8 spark plugs, and a supply of things like tape (electrical and that thick grey stuff), fuses, bulbs( the smaller automotive ones that seem to fit everywhere in the motorhome).
I will carry some hoses as well, when we go out this summer for a longer cruise.
I also have a quart or two of oil, and one of dextron II atf in the bin underneath.
I am not overly concerned about the generator spares as most places we plug in. I will change the oil and filter on it before the summer though.
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Old 03-28-2002, 04:07 PM   #10
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Spare Parts for Generator

Yes, Indeed I also carry a complete set of extra belts, periodic service filters, spare plug and SPARE 5 amp slow blow fuses. - I ran out of Onon Fuses on a trip to Little Rock when I had a lot of rain -- Bought a package of 4 replacement fuses from Onon Dealer -$7.98 plus tax (Manual says you should only use Onon Fuses) - Guess what, when I got home, my mechanic said that I should go to Radio Shack to get fuses - Soooo, when i went to radio shack, I found that I could get a package four of exactly the same 5 amp slow blow fuses (even the same manufacturer for $1.69. Always a good idea indeed to carry extra fuses because the 5 Amp 250 slow blows are not just found anywhere.
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Old 03-28-2002, 08:20 PM   #11
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Besides the things you guys mentioned, I carry the upper and lower radiator hoses, 5/8 heater hose, 3/8 fuel line. I also like to have a spare alternator and a spare starter motor on board. Both of those can be exchanged in 30 minutes and it sure beats the other options.
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Old 03-28-2002, 08:22 PM   #12
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Peter,

What about a spare engine and transmission?

You must be like my dad, a belt and suspenders kind of guy.
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Old 03-28-2002, 08:34 PM   #13
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Peter, Alan, and Dr. Joe,

All good suggestions on the parts necessary. Thanks for the input. I have decided that it might just be easier if we all agree to just travel together and I will bring the beer. That way we can fix whatever breaks and have a cold one when it gets fixed!

Seriously Peter you are the guy I want to have along with me on a caravan; you must have been a boy scout.

I do believe in being prepared, and will spend some money at NAPA and Radioshack.

Any additional recommendations?
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Old 03-28-2002, 09:05 PM   #14
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No boy scout here, just a livelong camper with 100K plus RV miles. Stuff happens, every trip is an adventure. RV road service is a must, fix it yourself is better.
Once you go out west from here, you may not have cell service at times. I also carry a 12 ton jack, a big lug nut cross and a section of a fence post. Nuts huh?
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