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Old 10-14-2013, 06:11 PM   #1
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oil consumption

Hi all and happy Thanksgiving to all the other Canadian folk here.

This Thanksgiving weekend we packed up the Mistress and headed up to Tobermory to the Bruce Penninsula National Park and Fathom Five National Park, which included Flowerpot Island. The weather couldn't have been better with the autumn leaves in full regalia.

The Bruce National Park does have a 27' limit, but phoning ahead I got approval to enter at my own risk. It wasn't a problem once I learnt to keep to the outer circle road but getting into the site was a bit tight. Since the sites are unserviced (there are very clean washrooms and potable water spigots in the park) we were technically boon-docking.

I had changed the oil and filter on my Onan Marquis 6500 LP generator before leaving. I filled the gen with 15W-40 as I wasn't sure how low the temps would get too. I made sure the gen set was full and did a test run and then rechecked the oil level.

Once on site I did try to keep the generator operating times to a minimum. I figuere the total run time this weekend was at most 4 hours (mornings to power a 1500 watt heater, make coffee and power the fridge. Nights were to power lights, fridge and micro while cooking and heating the Mistress before bedtime). I checked the oil in the gen set only to find it as golden as the day I put it in, but almost down to the add part on the dipstick. I did a Google search on Onan oil consumption but no joy. Is this amount of oil consumption normal?

Cheers
Tony
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:20 PM   #2
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No, but I would change to a different oil though.
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Old 10-14-2013, 11:06 PM   #3
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Does the engine have an oil filter?
Did you change the filter?
Any signs of leaks?
I would fill it to the proper level. Run it again. Then check the oil level.
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Old 10-16-2013, 06:54 PM   #4
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Yes it has an oil filter. I ended up having to replace it with the comparable NAPA Gold instead of an Onan. I checked for leaks as I ran the unit but everything stayed clean.
Onan does state that oil level should be checked daily but I just thought that much consumption over 4+ hours was a bit much.
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Old 10-16-2013, 07:48 PM   #5
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Sometimes a motor burns an excessive amount of oil when you start using it after it has been sitting for a while or after the oil has been changed after not being changed for an excessive amount of time/use.
Example: the campground truck where I have a seasonal sight had gone at least 3 years without an oil change, when it was finally changed it went through 1 quart every 2 weeks for almost 2 months then went down to not using any oil.

With this in mind you should refill the oil and use the generator a few times before you worry about it too much, since it sounds like this was the first time you used it.
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Old 10-16-2013, 08:49 PM   #6
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I have an Onan Microquiet 4000. Determining the oil level is problematic due to the fill hole evidently not being able to vent the crankcase air when almost full, i.e. as the oil level rises in the neck of the fill hole it closes off the venting of crankcase air and abruptly rises making one think the crankcase is full, and the dip stick when inserted shows full on the cross hatch.

But after a short run where the level is pulled down to release the locked air it will show half of the dip stick cross hatch indicating abnormal consumption of oil. Once one understands the "nature of the beast" it is easy to live with.

Incidently, I generally have to make-up ~1/2 pint every 70 or so hours.
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Old 10-16-2013, 10:38 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by withidl View Post
I have an Onan Microquiet 4000. Determining the oil level is problematic due to the fill hole evidently not being able to vent the crankcase air when almost full, i.e. as the oil level rises in the neck of the fill hole it closes off the venting of crankcase air and abruptly rises making one think the crankcase is full, and the dip stick when inserted shows full on the cross hatch.

But after a short run where the level is pulled down to release the locked air it will show half of the dip stick cross hatch indicating abnormal consumption of oil. Once one understands the "nature of the beast" it is easy to live with.

Incidently, I generally have to make-up ~1/2 pint every 70 or so hours.
I completely understand what you mean. When filling the gen, the oil started running out of the filler neck. I let it settle down, took a reading (showed full) then started the gen and let it run for 60 seconds. I then let it settle and took another reading (showed half full). I then topped up to full.

I also understand the comment of oil consumption being greater if a motor has had little use. I will try and start it up and let it run more often.

Thanks all.
Cheers
Tony
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Old 10-17-2013, 06:01 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Isuzusweet View Post
I completely understand what you mean. When filling the gen, the oil started running out of the filler neck. I let it settle down, took a reading (showed full) then started the gen and let it run for 60 seconds. I then let it settle and took another reading (showed half full). I then topped up to full.

I also understand the comment of oil consumption being greater if a motor has had little use. I will try and start it up and let it run more often.

Thanks all.
Cheers
Tony
Regarding the exercising (running) of the genset, my manual states that the genset should be exercised on a monthly basis for ~2 hours. It is my experience that if not done the carburetor WILL fail. Evidently a passage way within the carburetor becomes gummed up and it will only run on full choke; the carburetor cannot be cleaned/rebuilt and must be replaced (mine cost $143).
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Old 10-17-2013, 06:13 AM   #9
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Regarding the exercising (running) of the genset, my manual states that the genset should be exercised on a monthly basis for ~2 hours. It is my experience that if not done the carburetor WILL fail. Evidently a passage way within the carburetor becomes gummed up and it will only run on full choke; the carburetor cannot be cleaned/rebuilt and must be replaced (mine cost $143).
I understand the gumming up and varnish with the gas models, which is why all gas people should run fuel stabilizer in with their refueling to mitigate this. I wonder if this would apply to my LP version?

Cheers
Tony
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Old 10-17-2013, 06:36 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Isuzusweet View Post
I understand the gumming up and varnish with the gas models, which is why all gas people should run fuel stabilizer in with their refueling to mitigate this. I wonder if this would apply to my LP version?

Cheers
Tony
Fuel wise LP won't be a problem as gas leaves nothing behind, but I would be somewhat concerned that the generator rotor slip rings might get contaminates like dust on them and prematurely wear/damage the brushes. I had to replace the brushes on mine and refinish the slip rings when only one the 2 brushes failed; whether it was due to lack of exercise or a faulty brush I don't know.
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