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Old 06-16-2003, 05:22 AM   #1
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Generator installed in Airstream

Hello to everyone!

I am planning to go to look at a 1999 30' Ltd. in a couple days that a guy has for sale.

He said that it has a 5000kw Honda generator installed (by his dealer) under the rear bed, which was done he says "at great expense".

I can think of all kinds of problems that can be created by having this generator installed under the bed; my question is: Is there ANY way that a this can be done in a safe and secure manner?

Appreciate your thoughts.

John
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Old 06-16-2003, 07:08 AM   #2
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factory installed

john

for what it is worth, the factory installed onan generators under the rear bed.

this one is a 12 volt model, 300 watts. on a 74 excella. presumed to be for charging the battery when boondocking.

runs on the trailer's propane system.

i think you would want to make sure the enclosure is air tight so no carbon monoxide can enter the trailer.

if it was installed by a competent person, i don't think it should be a problem.

john
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Old 06-16-2003, 07:31 AM   #3
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I was hoping we'd see that picture again. After the black hole ate a bunch of threads, I was wondering if this picture would make it's way back.....

At any rate, I agree with John. My only concerns other than it really being installed correctly (for correct exhaust venting) would be heat- is the unit in a well vented area where it can draw cool air and vent any gas fumes (besides exhaust) and sound levels while in operation.

Eric
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Old 06-16-2003, 07:48 AM   #4
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Make SURE the exhaust is routed directly from the tail pipe to outside the trailer where it can't be sucked back in by the generator air filter or the cooling fan.

As mentioned above, make SURE that compartment is totally sealed off from the living area.

Most portable generators are designed to be operated in open air on all sides. If this is a portable, make sure there is a forced air path that also includes a path for hot air to exit. Regardless of how well that area is cooled, I'd count on the bed being warmer because of the location... and the bedroom being noisier.

The other problem with portable generators is that they're usually designed to feed fuel from the top (gravity). Will you have to slide it out to fuel it? Not to mention change the oil.

Where's the fuel storage? Look closely at that, how easy it is to access, and how safe the line routing, etc is.

What about frame reinforcements not only for the weight of the generator, but weight of the fuel. That's a lot of weight quite a ways behind the axles. You wouldn't want to pick up the tail sag of some of the rear bath models.

Obviously, you're going to lose the major storage in the trailer.

Just some thoughts.
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Old 01-22-2004, 11:34 AM   #5
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Hey Maurice....

I remember reading a while back that you had two Honda generators. How do you manage them while in use? By that I mean, do you leave them in the truck, tote 'em around, are they somehow attached to the A/S?

Thanks,

Dave
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Old 01-22-2004, 11:51 AM   #6
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Gravity less

Typically a trailer generator is LP fueled, since the trailer usually has LP tanks onboard.

I have seen many House boats with very large generators right under the bed. They are noisy but it grows on you.

I installed a Onan Marquis 5500 in a trailer LP fueled and it was the closest thing to silence I have not heard for a generator.
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Old 01-22-2004, 12:32 PM   #7
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Dave, we just tote them in the truck bed, but put them next to the trailer when in use. No problem to lift in and out of the bed. I cable them to the trailer wheels with a long Kryptonite cable through the handles. Sure, someone could cut the handles, but at least I'm showing the insurance company I'm exercising "due care."

Here's my page on paralleling them.
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Old 01-22-2004, 12:54 PM   #8
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A generator installation in an Airstream trailer can be done, "IF".

The generator must be in an "steel" box." Insulation for heat and noise is OK, but the steel box without any seams (preferred), is an absolute must.

Using LPG for fuel is OK, but mounting a gasoline tank, "ANYPLACE" on an Airstream trailer, is inviting disaster.

Vibrations do many strange things. Generators installed without the safeguards, won't get the job done.

The 12 volt generator that Airstream used some 30 years ago, was a great idea. BUT, it had many problems. The first and largest problem, was changing of altitude.

A change of 2500 feet in altitude resulted in the generator not starting. Adjusting it so that it would start was OK. But, when you dropped down in altitude, the adjustments had to be made again.

I had one on the 1973 I was using when I was with Caravanner Insurance. When it worked, it was great. When it didn't work, ahhhh, what can you say.

Andy

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Old 01-22-2004, 01:33 PM   #9
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Honda 2000's w/H.D.

I also have a Honda EU2000 gen. & love it. Besides being VERY quiet, I have been able to get 9-10hrs. while running a 9000btu A/C in TX summer heat. Have thought about parallel ops if need be but our 11000btu A/C should run fine with just the one. We also just lock the handle when in use.
I'd like to see more of the Road King in your next photo ! Just sold my Low-Rider ...but just bought an A/S !
-Life has its ups & downs!!!!
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Old 01-22-2004, 02:31 PM   #10
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great photos and info

Maurice,

Thanks for the info and the link - very helpful.

As others (Andy, etc.) have mentioned running onboard generators on LP as opposed to gasoline, has anyone ever done anything with running portables (like the Hondas) on LP? Seems it'd be easier and safer to hook up to your LP system or carry an extra bottle as opposed to having to keep up with gasoline (which I wouldn't be too keen on hauling around from a safety perspective).

I guess a downside would be faster consumption of the LP supply on-hand versus a separate, more readily available fuel like gasoline...? (read, 24-hour gas stations, not many 24-hour lp refueling stations)

Please let me know your thoughts.


OOP! Never mind - found the threads on this!

Thanks,
Dave
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Old 01-22-2004, 02:45 PM   #11
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That was discussed in this thread.

Since propane doesn't have the same energy as gasoline, generator power output would be less, and fuel usage would be more.
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Old 01-22-2004, 03:36 PM   #12
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Ken,

You have a member of your unit that has a propane powered genset in their 32 footer. The genset is installed forward of the wheels on the roadside. The install was done at the factory. They love it!. The owner had to do the interior cabinetry himself but that was not a big deal.

I would think if done correctly it can be done. You just have to calculate the added weigh when figuring the CCC of the trailer and take it into account.

Andy makes a good point regarding the steel box. All of the genset compartments I have seen in an RV that were oem the genset was in a steel box. Welded seams and even a steel floor for mounting as needed. I would also look at the install to see how difficult the unit may be to service depending on the install. I know that in the older 70's models the gensets were sometimes installed just aft of the wheels.
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Old 01-22-2004, 05:14 PM   #13
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I didn't get the Airstream that prompted this post last summer.

I see that Airstream offers something called "Generator Prep- Remote" as an option on many of the 2004 models. (Lists at $223 on the 30' Classic for example) I asked an Airstream dealer last Saturday exactly what was involved in this option, but he didn't know and hasn't yet gotten back to me.

Do any of you know what this option invloves?

Thanks.

John
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Old 01-22-2004, 07:40 PM   #14
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Morris

Brett, you are referring to Don and Marilee Morris. I believe they had some one other than the Factory do the retrofit. They are one of the first people I ever met in the WBCCI and the first trailer I ever toured other than my own. They are very good people. Arent that the ones with the folding boat on the side of the unit?

Now the Syretts, have the original generator on the tongue of their unit.

Smily
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