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Old 07-06-2007, 10:17 AM   #1
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Gen Set Decision

My Onan will start but not run unless you hold the start button. The mechanic just called and informed me I need a rebuilt armature, and valve job, along with the relay that caused the original problem. $2,000 bucks at the low end. The gen-set has 600 hours on it and never ran well, shaked, sputtered and cut out often; however, we never used it much since we did have dash air. Now the dash air is gone and needs costly repairs. Here's my question do I repair or replace? A new genset will run about $5,000 installed but be quieter, lighter and come with a warranty. This will be a propane unit. Next is why do I need a 6500 unit? Would a 5500 do just as good? We do have dual air but I never run the back AC in fact do not know if it even works. The 5500 will save about a $1,000.
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Old 07-06-2007, 10:30 AM   #2
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All considered, I think that I would bite the bullet and go for the new generator. I'm not sure which size (6500 of 5500) would be best.
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Old 07-06-2007, 10:45 AM   #3
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Kent - Glad to see you back on the forums! It's been over a month and I was thinking you might be back at Pike Lake, dealing with the same things you posted in your travel log last year.

I agree with Moosetags about the generator. If you can get by with the smaller unit, even better. You will have a quieter, new unit. The other route means you will have an older noisey unit which could fail the next day because of another problem.

A 6500 watt unit is = to around 55 amps of 120 volt power.
A 5500 watt unit is = to around 45 amps of 120 volt power.

You should be able to add up all the items in Chummy and come up with a max consumpsion number.
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Old 07-06-2007, 12:28 PM   #4
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hi ck, where ya been!

glad you r back.

do you really expect your 'generator using habits' to change much?

by that i mean are you suddenly gonna start using the genset frequently?

the original unit no doubt suffers from heavy carbon deposits,

that come from brief episodes of use with small load requirements.

so i'd have it rebuilt, completely. 2k$ vs 4-5k$ is a significant difference.

otoh a nice new honda or other modern/quiet replacement would be great...

IF you really plan to use it much.

my experience is that running the genset/roof a/c while rolling on the road...

really doesn't cool the cockpit as well as the dash a/c...

rebuilt/salvage a/c units should be available.

cheers
2air'
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Old 07-06-2007, 12:56 PM   #5
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New Generator for us

We had the same problem as you do and did a lot of research into type and price. We chose to go with a Guardian rv generator from Northern Tool. It is made by Genrac. I ordered it on line. We opted for the 6500 propane at $2299. with shipping being $331 for a cost of less than $3000. Since we are in Texas and most of our travel is in the south we felt we wanted the larger unit. We also ordered the remote start kit in order to have an hour meter. We found that our original Airstream remote start/sto switches would have worked. We would not have had an hour meter. We are in the process of installing the unit now. We haven't used it yet but it looks like it will be great. The 5500 unit is priced at $2099 for the propane unit. We may not get to finish installing for a few days as Roy is very sick at the moment so he has to feel better before he can supervise the install.

I am glad to see you back on the forums. I was beginning to worry about your absence. I always enjoy your postings.

Good luck to you in finding the solution to your generator issues.

Kay and Roy
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Old 07-06-2007, 02:22 PM   #6
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Well my wife and I had a long talk about the $2000 v $5000 and came up with an alternative. $O. That's right,$0. The problem as Air so rightly pointed out is we don't use our gen-set. I have every intention of going out and "exercising" it every week but never do. A few times during the summer we use it to run the top AC while we drive. For $5,000 we can purchase a whole lot of fans to cool us down. For $2,000 we can purchase a lot of fans. The mechanic gave a great offer to take out the old gen-set and leave us with an empty cavity which we can much better use for storage. When and if we decide to replace the gen-set that will be done.
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Old 07-06-2007, 04:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaplain Kent
...The mechanic gave a great offer to take out the old gen-set and leave us with an empty cavity which we can much better use for storage. ...
hi ck

that is exactly what zamboni did this year...

remove the genset.

their camping habits just didn't include using it.

in talking with him, it seems they really do enjoy the extra storage space.

you might pm him for more details.

cheers
2air'
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Old 07-07-2007, 07:09 AM   #8
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Kent, seems lots of options present themselves. I concur with the Generac route if you need/want a new genset. They did very well by me with the 40G. I would not do the Honda 6010 again.

I agree that the roof unit does not cool the cockpit as well as I would like....especially with the greenhouse pointing west. The dash fan blowing on my body makes all the difference.

I would think about a retrofit on the dash a/c.

I'm thinking of trashing the fan clutch vs electric fans and then redoing the dash air so it will be a close net trade on drag in the warm weather going down the road.

Glad you're back from your summer camp host duties. Hope you had a great time.
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Old 07-07-2007, 07:19 AM   #9
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The tech said the Honda unit was a little less money but in the propane con-fig had serious valve problems so that was not an option for saving money. I am now excited with my new space and having the weight reduction by removing an engine we never used. We have often thought about taking off the back AC as well and now will really think about it since it only ran on the gen-set.
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Old 07-07-2007, 08:02 AM   #10
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Kent, there is a third option. Replace the relay that is bad, and keep the genset for emergency use. Okay, there's a fourth option, remove the ailing genset, and buy a new Honda 2000. You can store the Honda and a 5 gallon gas can in the storage compartment you will soon have. You could also buy a brand-new Honda 3000 with electric start, and store it in the compartment where the old one was, get a pair of ramps and a wheel kit, and have a very useful piece of equipment for the price of the repair to the old genset.
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Old 07-07-2007, 09:33 AM   #11
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Smile GenSet

Doesn't anyone do their own work anymore? Now I admit I've never messed with a Generator before....but I'd hate to admit I couldn't do a valve job on one. And I bet the armature couldn't be too much harder to do. Before I go pay some (maybe) machanic to do that work I'd sure give it a try. What ya got to loose....and hey....just think of the pride you'd have hearing that generator purr...and listening to the gingle in your coin purse.
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Old 07-07-2007, 03:42 PM   #12
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My days of self work projects are well over. I learned the value of experts and most important the limits of my knowledge.
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Old 07-07-2007, 03:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaplain Kent
My days of self work projects are well over. I learned the value of experts and most important the limits of my knowledge.
Sounds like you are talking about Chummy's dash board project, which by the way came out great!
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Old 07-07-2007, 06:22 PM   #14
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I assume you have been around propane sets in Motorhomes, but if not I'll toss in my 2 cents. Our family has always had rv's and they have all been gas sets. My father bought a diesel pusher with a propane genset and would happily swap for a gas unit. His complaint, a very valid one, is when boondocking and you run out of propane it gets real rustic really quick. no hot water, no cooking, nada nothin'. And no way to hop in the Toad and go get a refill. He would have swapped by now but he finally got an electric site at Oshkosh.
I've always been of the opinion that porpane is simply pressurized gasoline (neither are welcome on a boat).
I'll stick with a gas set.
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