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Old 09-09-2016, 11:21 PM   #1
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1975 20' Argosy 20
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Generator for my 20 foot Argosy motorhome

My 20 foot Argosy motorhome came with an Onan 2800 watt CampPower generator which is now inoperative. It has a bad rotor and stator. A replacement from Onan is about $2500. I see a lot of generators in the 3 kw range, some with electric start, that might be an option. The local generator repair guy suggested mounting a 3 kw Champion on a shelf at the hitch. That's an option, but I'm hoping that there's a way to stick something in the hole where the Onan came from. The CampPower is about 19" wide and slides in and out on rails. The space could be modified to get a wider unit in there, but we're talking about an extra inch or two at the most.

I'm curious what generators some of you out there have in your 20' Argosy and how there are installed.

Thanks,
Mike
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Old 09-10-2016, 09:16 PM   #2
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Maybe a moderator should move this to the Argosy motorhome section.

My 1977 had a bad Onan 4k generator. It froze up with less than 200 hours probably due to so little use after 30+ years! The Cummins/Onan shop cut out the steel floor of my generator box and was able to install a new Onan 4k generator in the same space. The floor of the box now has 4 bolts that hold it in if it needs to be removed for service. The 4k generator is just big enough to run the roof air conditioner.
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Old 09-11-2016, 09:06 AM   #3
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Thanks for that info. I'll recheck dimension of the 4K Onan.
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Old 09-11-2016, 09:26 AM   #4
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Mike,
What year is your Argosy 20 motorhome? Mine is a 1977. The 74-76 units have a smaller generator box. Either way, I think the generators come up from underneath and not through the door.
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Old 09-11-2016, 10:15 AM   #5
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Mike, your MH is 'kinda' unusual as the early MH had the generator in the rear, but typically under/behind the gaucho.

You can make the opening larger (Bella's opening is nearly 6in higher), but you are going to have to look out for whatever is inside. In Bella's case that meant having a bigger nightstand, not sure what it means for you.

For the later rear beds (like George (Fred's MH) and Peanut), the generator is on the side, under a raised section of floor.

Having struggled to get a ONAN 4.0BFA out through the side opening on my parts donor, which meant taking the frame off to give adequate clearance, I would recommend cutting the generator floor out, dropping the generator out below and having a new floor made that bolts in, so that in future you can remove out the bottom by unbolting the floor. This is what Brad is doing in Peanut.
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Old 09-11-2016, 06:38 PM   #6
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Mine is a '75. The generator is in a compartment just forward of the door. Since the motorhome was converted to a diesel, a separate gas tank for the generator was put between the door and the generator and filled through what used to be the fresh water port. A new fresh water port was added on the driver's side very close to the tank.
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Old 09-11-2016, 06:41 PM   #7
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Thanks for that information. I'm going to see what I can do to make the space a little bigger for the generator so I could accommodate something a little larger than the 2.8 Kw unit that is the Onan CampPower. My local generator guy doesn't think much of the CampPower, and after what I've been through, I can see why.
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Old 09-11-2016, 07:03 PM   #8
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Have you priced the matter of simply replacing the stator/rotor of the existing unit?
That's what we did with my buddy's Onan and we did the work ourselves. Total cost (including a new fuel pump) was less than $250. It's been 5 years now and still doing great.
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Old 09-12-2016, 02:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mirobbi View Post
Mine is a '75. The generator is in a compartment just forward of the door. Since the motorhome was converted to a diesel, a separate gas tank for the generator was put between the door and the generator and filled through what used to be the fresh water port. A new fresh water port was added on the driver's side very close to the tank.
Now I am intrigued.

I have grabbed your photo from your first post about your MH.



From what you are saying your generator (and an separate gas tank) is mounted behind the small vent panel behind the passenger seat. This is the normal location for the generator in a later rear bath, but they have a much larger access panel.

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There is one example on Fred's site of a layout the same as yours and that has very similar access panels.



Could you take some photos of the area and with the hatches open?
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Old 09-12-2016, 09:16 AM   #10
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Whatever you do or replace it with, make sure that it is RV approved, for enclosed application and the generator compartment is well sealed to keep exhaust fumes out. Many people have died from trying to use portable Gen sets for rv use and the carbon monoxide got them.
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Old 09-15-2016, 02:03 PM   #11
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Here are some photos of the generator compartment. Just had "the egg" at the local Gen-Tech mechanic to see what would be required to put in the Onan 4kw. Unfortunately it's a lot of work to increase the length of the box under the floor all the way to the fender area. Will require some cutting and welding to create a box that's 30" long.
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Old 09-15-2016, 02:05 PM   #12
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I can't find a new rotor for under about $800. Doesn't make sense to spend that kind of money on a 15 year-old generator. May go with a "generator in a basket" on the back hitch until I solve the issue more permanently.
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Old 09-15-2016, 03:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mirobbi View Post
Here are some photos of the generator compartment. Just had "the egg" at the local Gen-Tech mechanic to see what would be required to put in the Onan 4kw. Unfortunately it's a lot of work to increase the length of the box under the floor all the way to the fender area. Will require some cutting and welding to create a box that's 30" long.
You have to question Airstreams sanity sometimes when you see how they did stuff on these early MH.

The main drawback with the 'portable' option is you wont have 110v when driving and I am guessing in Texas you need AC!
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Old 09-15-2016, 03:31 PM   #14
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You might be able to squeeze a Yamaha ef2800i in there. Modify the muffler to exhaust as needed. Maybe convert to propane later?
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Old 09-15-2016, 03:53 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mirobbi View Post
Mine is a '75. Since the motorhome was converted to a diesel, a separate gas tank for the generator was put between the door and the generator and filled through what used to be the fresh water port.
Hold up fellas, is nobody asking what kind of diesel power train is in this rig? It must be the only diesel Argosy out there that I've ever heard of.

When and who did the conversion????

Cheers
Tony
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Old 09-15-2016, 04:09 PM   #16
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Hold up fellas, is nobody asking what kind of diesel power train is in this rig? It must be the only diesel Argosy out there that I've ever heard of.

When and who did the conversion????

Cheers
Tony
Diesel smiesel......when one shows up with a Chrysler turbine engine then that would be unusual.

No two of these early MH are the same so different is normal.
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Old 09-15-2016, 05:30 PM   #17
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Took me a bit to figure out why I hadn't see this thread until today, it's not in the motorhome section!

I knew about this Argosy being available as early as May but didn't realize it had been purchased.

Lengthening the generator box on this Argosy would be an interesting challenge. As long as the new box incorporated a drop out floor you could theoretically put as big a generator as you would have room for. The side access is just for service. The real trick would be to make sure the parts that need to be accessed on a routine basis are accessible through the smaller opening. Peanut's opening is about 8-1/2" wider than this one and inside the enclosure it's about 31-1/2" wide.

Brad
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Old 09-15-2016, 08:11 PM   #18
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Diesel smiesel......when one shows up with a Chrysler turbine engine then that would be unusual.

No two of these early MH are the same so different is normal.
Don't be "diesel smieselling" me mate; coming from the fella getting 7mpg (when it works ), not 15 mpg (diesels always work). Drive Bella around the old country at 99+ P per litre and we'll see how fast a diesel conversion is in the works.

Cheers
Tony
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Old 09-16-2016, 02:18 AM   #19
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But Tony, Bella has both 'longer legs' (since the GV install) and the little small block 350 so 12/13mpg is expected (I was getting 10/11mpg before the GV).

Diesel and 'gas' is about the same in the UK at $1.45 per litre, but LPG is 70c er litre, so a 'bolt on' LPG conversion giving the same mpg for half the cost is the true no-brainer
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Old 09-16-2016, 02:23 AM   #20
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PS I can then also converter my little i2000 EU generator to propane as well!
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