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Old 08-11-2011, 11:03 AM   #1
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Onan 2.5 KW Generator

We recently purchased a 2012 Interstate. We simply love this darned thing. Anyway, after only 2-3 hours of operation, the generator quit working. These things happen but I just wanted to share a great service provider tip.

If you happen to be motoring in TX and you have Onan generator problems, I would highly recommend you call Cummins Southern Plains. They have several Texas locations. We happen to be in Houston right now (it's only 105 degrees) and their diagnostics and fast service have been a "life-saver". They "took us in" late yesterday afternoon, stayed late and pulled the generator, diagnosed the problem, got the part and we will be on our way by noon today (with full air conditioning). Anyway, we all have great stories but these guys are the real deal — professional and empathetic. They also have over 70 technicians at their Houston location. Have a great day!
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Old 08-11-2011, 11:52 AM   #2
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Thanks for the tip, it's always nice to know where to go for service when out on the road.
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Old 08-11-2011, 01:54 PM   #3
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Is the 13.5K A/C adequate for the current Texas heat? Any trouble starting the unit with the onboard generator when it is so hot?

I wonder if the Onan 2.5 KW would start a 15K A/C (assuming that the 13.5K is barely adequate)? I sat in a 2011 in a dealers lot in full Texas sun and the dash A/C also had to be on to keep up with the heat gain. Once the engine was turned off, the interior got warm in the front of the vehicle.

Barry
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Old 08-11-2011, 03:53 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pattonsr View Post
I wonder if the Onan 2.5 KW would start a 15K A/C (assuming that the 13.5K is barely adequate)?
Not according to their specs - it can start and run a 13.5K A/C only, plus 800 watts of other toys, if memory serves. (It can also handle an 11K A/C with 1000 watts of other usage, but that doesn't help you.)
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Old 08-12-2011, 11:21 AM   #5
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Kiter,

Again, is the 13.5K A/C adequate for the current Texas heat?

Any trouble starting the AC unit with the onboard generator when it is so hot?

Barry
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Old 08-12-2011, 12:37 PM   #6
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13,5 in what trailer or mh? jim
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Old 08-12-2011, 06:47 PM   #7
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zigzagguzzi,

Try reading the first post.
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Old 08-12-2011, 10:47 PM   #8
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Hi,

The AC has kept up with the heat, but barely. What I have discovered is it is best to start the AC unit in low, let the generator "settle-in" and then switch to high. I have not used a thermometer but keeping the unit set at 72 degrees, it does seem to run constantly in the current heat and I would guess the cabin never gets below 80 when ambient temperature is 108. I have had some difficulty with the automatic power distribution system shutting the AC down if I start it in High. I would love to have a bigger generator and a bigger AC unit .....
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Old 08-23-2011, 02:40 PM   #9
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I too have a new 2012 and am loving it! We have not had a chance to travel with it yet, but I have been running it around town to shake it down. I also had trouble with my generator in short order. After a bit of head scratching, I realized it was shutting down due to the low oil level safety cut off. At the point that it quit, I had about 30 hours on the Onan. The listed oil capacity of the generator is one quart. I added 13 oz. to get it up to the full mark. Seems to run fine now, but it does bother me that I was 13 oz low on a 32 oz system! Getting under the van to get to it was not much fun and I needed a turkey baster to add the oil one once at a time. Would have been easier if I had dropped the spare tire out of the way, but I did not want to mess with that. Anyhow, I need to change the oil because now that I have read the Onan manual, the first oil change on the generator is supposed to be at 20 hours with recurring changes at the 100 hour mark after that (IIRC). Hopefully oil consumption will go down once the unit is fully broken in. I'd hate to think that I need to get under there and check/add every 10 hours to keep it from getting low!

I agree that the roof top unit is only good to hold the cabin at 80 if it's 100 plus outside with the chassis a/c off, but running down the road with the gen set running, and the roof top unit on high, it only takes a 2 out of 4 on the dash unit to keep the cockpit cool and comfortable.

I do wish the Onan was a gasoline or diesel unit though. Finding convenient propane stations to fill up the tank and keep the generator running and A/C cranking is going to be a problem. I'm considering strapping a Honda gasoline powered generator into a hitch mounted basket so I can run a generator powered by fuel I can buy 24/7 where ever I may go. I'll need to find a good way to secure it so it does not walk off and build a locking cage on the basket to lock up a couple of five gallon gas cans too. I bought a new shore power cord with a right angle fitting so it comes straight down off the hookup on the side of the sprinter, I'll then route it up underneath and around to the basket hanging off the receiver hitch, coiling and securing the extra cord under the chassis. If anyone is interested, I can report back once I have the setup and running. Just post up and let me know.
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Old 09-19-2011, 07:17 PM   #10
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In Florida with 95 and 70% humidity the A/C on our 3500 is ok but nothing great. We can get the inside down to about 78 without the front chassis a/c running. Also Russ, your issue with low oil is normal on these. I had the exact problem and the Onan tech added 11oz. of oil and everything was fine. He said during the break in period, this is normal. After the first oil change you should not see this much oil usage. Ours settled down after about 25 hours. Also when running the house A/C on 30amp shore power, it will get cooler. Not sure why, but it just does by 4 or 5 degrees.
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Old 09-20-2011, 07:36 AM   #11
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Glad to hear the Onan tech was not alarmed by this! I just bought my Honda EU3000is on Saturday. I've got my hitch basket as well (went with a Rola cargo basket part no. 59502, much stouter than the others I have seen), also just ordered their light kit that adds tail lights on the back of the basket, plugs into the trailer light plug. I'm going to add a generator plug to the rear of the Sprinter back by the trailer hitch so I can us this on the roll without having the plug hanging off of the side. I just need to fab up some brackets to bolt the generator into the basket. I ordered a couple of high security cable locks to run through the generators handles and the gas cans and around the hitch to keep anyone from walking off with everything. Drove home from the Honda equipement dealer with the generator strapped into the basket. Having the backup camera to keep an eye on everthing back there is very reassuring!
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Old 07-22-2012, 09:07 AM   #12
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The generator went down several weeks ago and finally got it fixed last Friday. They said the rotor was bad. Got a new rotor in and it was bad. third rotor was putting wrong voltage and they changed the voltage regulator. i think it was the voltage reg all along.
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Old 07-23-2012, 12:43 AM   #13
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I was told that a diesel genset was too big too fit under the RV. Mine was tripping on LOW w/ no other load except the invertor but the batteries were all fully charged since the engine was running. It would start out drawing about 15 amps and after about a minute, it would jump to 20 and then shortly after that, would trip off. We'll see what they find this week, I hope.

russ240: Are you running your Honda directly to the shore power connection?
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Old 07-23-2012, 07:44 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pattonsr View Post
I sat in a 2011 in a dealers lot in full Texas sun and the dash A/C also had to be on to keep up with the heat gain. Once the engine was turned off, the interior got warm in the front of the vehicle.
On two recent camping trips, one to Lake Dardanelle in Arkansas, and one to Lake Texoma in Texas, I experienced temperatures around 104°F both places according to my indoor/outdoor thermometer (the outdoor thermometer is shaded under the awning). With the windshield and front windows covered to block the greenhouse effect of that huge windshield, the interior temperatures varied from 78°F to 82°F depending on the direction my Interstate was facing relative to the sun (it makes a difference if the sun is on the driver's side or the awning side, too). That may not seem terribly cool to read about it, but a difference of well over 20°F between inside and outside certainly made it feel cool inside!

That was with the Interstate windows and MaxxFan closed up, except that the bathroom exhaust fan was open and running.

Invest in a windshield cover, by all means. It will make a difference in your comfort level versus using that crappy privacy curtain Airstream provides. I use a windshield cover on the inside (front windows, too), made of Reflectix, because that works for storage as well since I don't have to worry about the inquisitive or acquisitive removing it. However, for camping, a cover on the outside would work better. I may get one of those as well.
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