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Old 04-14-2010, 08:08 PM   #1
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Onan Generator No Start

I just bought this motorhome. The generator won't start. It has no spark. It's an Onan 4kw. Emerald I. There is power at the positive side of the ignition coil and on the negative side. I don't think the LED on my test light is flashing when I ground it and test the negative side to see if the points are working. I used an ohmmeter and measured across the pos/neg of the coil and there's continuity. How do I test the secondary side? Any suggestions?
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Old 04-14-2010, 08:22 PM   #2
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"This motorhome" does not get it. What year, diesel or gas? Did you replace the points, plug and filter?
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Old 04-14-2010, 09:01 PM   #3
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It's a 1986 Fleetwood Southwind. Gasoline. Haven't replaced anything, but I suspect the ignition coil.
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Old 04-14-2010, 09:45 PM   #4
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pull a spark plug, hook up the lead, lay the plug on the engine and watch for spark while cranking. It should be fat and blue....

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Old 04-14-2010, 09:58 PM   #5
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Well, it's an '86, and the gennie is something I'd want to be able to count on (if I was so lucky as to have one).

Why not treat it to new wires, plugs, coil, and points and change its oil: live it up!

You could even go overboard and clean it up! hehehehe...
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Old 04-14-2010, 10:57 PM   #6
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Onan that old and probabley hasnt been started for a while.I would suspect first a Condenser. Change the points and condenser. Then make sure there is power coming to the + side of the coil. Coils go bad also. Get a really good spark tester. If it hasnt been run for a while you could also be lookin at a Carb overhaul.They get all gummed up when they set with old fuel.
Good Luck LET us know what you find
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Old 04-14-2010, 11:02 PM   #7
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Good point, Mike. I was just concentrating on what he said about no spark.

A gummy carb is almost for sure if it wasnt't used, and the old gas just dried up in there, shellacing the innards of the carb...

So that's it, hilly, ya gotta do a carb rebuild to, and the gennie will run like a new one!
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Old 04-14-2010, 11:28 PM   #8
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I checked for spark at the plugs with my spark tester, no spark. Tested for power at the coil +, there is power. I disconnected the points lead, cranked the engine and grounded the lead momentarily. Still no spark. I used an ohmmeter to check for continuity from the coil + to coil -, there is continuity. I don't remember how to test the secondary part of the coil.

There is fuel to the electric fuel pump and fuel at the carb. I sprayed carb cleaner into the air intake but still no start.
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Old 04-15-2010, 02:31 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hilly View Post
I checked for spark at the plugs with my spark tester, no spark. Tested for power at the coil +, there is power. I disconnected the points lead, cranked the engine and grounded the lead momentarily. Still no spark. I used an ohmmeter to check for continuity from the coil + to coil -, there is continuity. I don't remember how to test the secondary part of the coil.

There is fuel to the electric fuel pump and fuel at the carb. I sprayed carb cleaner into the air intake but still no start.
If you can get current to flow in the primary, interrupt it and there's no spark from the secondart you have one or more of:

1) a bum coil.
2) a bad spark plug wire
3) a shorted/fouled spark plug

Odds are quite good that it's the coil.

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Old 04-15-2010, 09:18 AM   #10
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The points on these engines get corroded rather quickly. Try just filing the points and see if that solves your problem.
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Old 04-15-2010, 10:05 AM   #11
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ignition

once you figger out the points have corroded, or whatever, before you spend $ on points-check out Pertronix-they make electronic ignition systems for just about everything. points/condenser have gotten horribly expensive-one time $ on electronic ignition.
and after all that probably still wont start cuz the fuel is bad-back flush the fuel line or pump it through til you get a good flow of FRESH gasoline (don't ask me how to be sure it is fresh) the gas we get today is lucky to explode when compressed, let alone when it has sat for awhile (just a mild stretch of the truth, there).
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Old 04-15-2010, 10:44 AM   #12
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Most mechanics suggest you just stay with the tried and true points; could be Pertronix is a good product, but my guy tells me the Onan e-ignition was junk.
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Old 04-15-2010, 01:17 PM   #13
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Exclamation Generator No Start

I agree with Mike Leary. Use the onan points and condenser. To make the gen run you need three things: Ignition, Compression, Caburetion. Take any one out of the equation and it will not work. If the carb is gummed up, you might as well get a kit for it and overhaul it and clean it.
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Old 04-15-2010, 02:23 PM   #14
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Suck, squish, bang, blow: that's all the "infernal combustion" motors do.

Spend a few bucks on a few new electrical bits (so the "bang" part can work), clean the carbs (so that it can "suck"), and then go on to all the other more glamourous parts that will need your attetnion, hilly.
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