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Old 01-30-2011, 04:55 PM   #1
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Generator won't start!

We have an Onan generator, which doesn't make a sound when the start button is pushed. Nothing. Last time we used it was in October.

We have checked for a blown fuse or circuit breaker switch tripped, and don't find anything. Although, we can't find a fuse or switch specifically referenced to the generator at all. We're thinking it is probably something very simple, but maybe not.

Because the generator in our Interstate is underneath the body, and therefore inaccessible to mere humans, it must be put on a lift to be looked at or for servicing.

Before we hunt up a service center, perhaps someone out there has a suggestion.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks,


Maggie
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Old 01-30-2011, 05:33 PM   #2
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circuit breaker

I use an Onan too. There is a circuit breaker located inside the lift off panel that must be switched to on. Just look carefully and you'll see the circuit breaker switch.

If I was in your shoes, I would not see any way around learning to gain access to the unit, opening the panel and resetting the circuit breaker switch. In any event, you can't expect to never service those units. The oil needs to be changed periodically. You can't just run them for years and not take care of them. Well, you could try but why wreck your unit just because it is difficult to service? Replacing an unnecessarily destroyed unit will be a lot more expensive over time than incurring the cost to periodically perform needed maintenance.

So maybe at the same time you do what it takes to reset the circuit breaker, you leverage whatever you have to pay to get to the unit and change the oil. In a case like yours, I'd use high quality 100% synthetic oil like Mobil One so that when you do change oil, the new synthetic oil will last a lot longer than conventional motor oil. Good luck!
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Old 01-30-2011, 05:40 PM   #3
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Are you sure you have a good fully charged battery?
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Old 01-30-2011, 05:58 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by mistermcfrug View Post
I use an Onan too. There is a circuit breaker located inside the lift off panel that must be switched to on. Just look carefully and you'll see the circuit breaker switch.

If I was in your shoes, I would not see any way around learning to gain access to the unit, opening the panel and resetting the circuit breaker switch. In any event, you can't expect to never service those units. The oil needs to be changed periodically. You can't just run them for years and not take care of them. Well, you could try but why wreck your unit just because it is difficult to service? Replacing an unnecessarily destroyed unit will be a lot more expensive over time than incurring the cost to periodically perform needed maintenance.

So maybe at the same time you do what it takes to reset the circuit breaker, you leverage whatever you have to pay to get to the unit and change the oil. In a case like yours, I'd use high quality 100% synthetic oil like Mobil One so that when you do change oil, the new synthetic oil will last a lot longer than conventional motor oil. Good luck!
Well, honey, we do know you have to service them, but thanks for letting us know. We take it in to an Onan dealer to have oil changes done, because one has to lay on one's back underneath the vehicle to even look at it, and there is very limited access without a service person dropping it down once it is on a lift.

Doug will get under it tomorrow and see if he can access a circuit breaker switch.

The battery is fully charged, everything else was running, but Doug started the engine just to make sure it didn't need a little extra boost. We have had to do that before, but the generator still made some noise while it was trying to start.

Thanks to you both. Any other suggestions out there?


Maggie
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Old 01-31-2011, 11:19 AM   #5
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Well, Doug found a Start/Stop switch accessible under the plate, and the generator started right up. He did not find a circuit breaker switch. We were in sand yesterday morning, on pavement this morning, so it was a bit more conducive to close examination.

We let it run a bit, turned it off from the switch inside the motor home, but it would not turn back on that way. Seems to be a switch problem, but now we know it can be turned on from underneath.

Doug took the plate off that covers the switch and meter, and all the connections seem good behind.

Any new suggestions?

Thanks.


Doug & Maggie
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Old 01-31-2011, 02:20 PM   #6
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It has been a while since I sold my Interstate, but isn't there a battery switch by the sliding door? There are several strange things on this model when it comes to switches and such. Does yours have the gen switch with the primer ? If you hold it down part way it primes the gen and then all the way down to start. Maybe this switch is bad. On mine this switch was in the galley. zz
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Old 01-31-2011, 03:55 PM   #7
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zz,

We have the battery switch by the door, but battery was on and in use.

We also have the generator switch next to the monitor panel, where you press down to prime and stop and up and hold to start. It's the up and hold direction that yields nothing, not a sound, just seems dead as a doornail.

We are seeing this as a non-emergency, and will have it fixed when we get home and have the generator serviced next. Doug can always scoot under on his back if we need to turn the generator on. He enjoys that so much. Are wondering, though. if it is an electrical problem. It's the only thing that isn't working, as far as we can tell.


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Old 01-31-2011, 04:53 PM   #8
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Sure sounds like that switch is bad. Enjoy your Interstate, I wish I still had mine. My wife cried when I sold it! zz
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Old 06-18-2011, 03:46 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by doug&maggie View Post
zz,

We have the battery switch by the door, but battery was on and in use.

We also have the generator switch next to the monitor panel, where you press down to prime and stop and up and hold to start. It's the up and hold direction that yields nothing, not a sound, just seems dead as a doornail.

We are seeing this as a non-emergency, and will have it fixed when we get home and have the generator serviced next. Doug can always scoot under on his back if we need to turn the generator on. He enjoys that so much. Are wondering, though. if it is an electrical problem. It's the only thing that isn't working, as far as we can tell.


Maggie
Did you ever find out what was wrong? My unit started doing the exact same thing in mid-May. Starts just fine with the switch on the genset, but the monitor panel and dash switch (I have a 2000 Land Yacht M/H) only operate as kill switches now.

Look forward to hearing back from you!

Eliot
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Old 06-19-2011, 06:15 AM   #10
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Eliot,

We have not taken this in to have it looked at, just have been busy with other things.

Do think it is the switch, though, as everything else is working well.


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Old 09-10-2012, 07:05 AM   #11
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Hi,
I have Airstream Interstate 2011 (Mercedes 3500).
My problem is; The generator tries to start/run (as i keep pushing the start button from the control panel inside the motorhome) but it does not keep running and it immediately stops when I stop pushing the start button.
Why this could be happening?
Also , where can I download a user manual for the Onan Generator?
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Old 09-10-2012, 08:23 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by arifarda View Post
Hi,
I have Airstream Interstate 2011 (Mercedes 3500).
My problem is; The generator tries to start/run (as i keep pushing the start button from the control panel inside the motorhome) but it does not keep running and it immediately stops when I stop pushing the start button.
Why this could be happening?
Also , where can I download a user manual for the Onan Generator?
Replies seem to be on the Sprinter and B-Van Forum, in the thread Onan 2.5 KW Generator. Really, there is no need to post the same quesation in three places; everybody has access to the whole site, and we can all see it the first time it's posted.
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Old 09-11-2012, 01:56 AM   #13
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Sorry for that and thanks.
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Old 09-11-2012, 05:03 AM   #14
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Check the oil level sounds like low oil shut down. The start button over rides this becuse you dont have oil pressure at start up
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