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Old 09-01-2015, 07:31 AM   #1
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Onan Generator starts, run, then dies

As far as I can tell, the Gen starts up fine and runs for a while, around 10 minutes, then quits. After that, it starts, runs for about 10 seconds then quits. There's slow flashing red light on the gen set, but I can't make out what the text is beside this light. I suspect it's error codes but I can't make it out. Any suggestions please? I am ready to roll up my sleeves and become an Onan novice.
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Old 09-01-2015, 09:21 AM   #2
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Hard to nail down an issue without being there to see the conditions in person. But here goes a few suggestions of past experience with Onan's:

1. Does the unit have proper ventilation? Is it getting to hot? I was once camped in a spot with no power and my camper was on an incline putting the generator area very close to the ground. It was circulating hot air and causing the generator to run hot and shut down. I moved spots to a more level area with plenty of space for adequate ventilation and the unit run fine!

2. Is the fuel pump overheating? Once had an issue with the fuel pump running for awhile then the unit would just die. Wait a few minutes crank it up and it would run for seconds and just die. I took a rag and dipped it in ice water and wrapped it around the fuel pump for 5 minutes, removed it, cranked the generator, and it run fine for 10 or so minutes until the pump got hot again and it would die. After troubleshooting and determining the pump was bad I changed it out and was good to go afterwards.

3. Once had an issue were I would crank the generator and it would run for 15-30 minutes and die. I could never determine what or why it was doing so. Wouldn't crank after that until the next day. I happen to remove the gas cap from the tank for whatever reason and there was a fair amount of suction within the tank. Crank the generator without the cap on the fuel tank and it ran like a champ, put the cap on and it died 15-30 minutes later. Bought a new cap and was good to go.

4. A friends camper would run fine when first started up but soon after would run like it was starving for fuel. We literally pulled the entire thing down and checked everything and come up empty handed. He decided to change the fuel pump just to see and low and behold we found a kink in the fuel line behind the generator. Imagine that. This camper was new by the way.

5. Im sure you've already checked the oil level. Some generators will shutdown due to low oil.

It would really help if you could read the numbers by the red light in which you speak of. Most newer generators will give you a code and you can look them up in the manual and it will give you an idea of whats going on and where to start.

Some other info that might help members get you going: Fuel type, age, any recent issues, recent maintenance performed, generator size, fresh or old gas?

Small details could be a big help....
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Old 09-01-2015, 11:11 PM   #3
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How much fuel do you have in the tank? If low you might be right at the limit where it will start but not keep running.











i
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Old 09-02-2015, 02:18 AM   #4
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Sounds like fuel starvation to me. Mr. S has good advice. Does your gen have a fuel filter?
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Old 09-02-2015, 02:19 AM   #5
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You might want to check any flexible fuel lines too
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Old 09-02-2015, 06:30 AM   #6
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Tonight, I will check the fuel system. Here's a puzzler for me: I just replaced the engine batteries, wouldn't hold a charge. I measured the voltage on the house batteries and they were around 5V (they're 12V deep cycle). After I removed the house batteries and started up the RV, I tried to see if the Gen would run. It wouldn't even crank - are the house batteries what actually starts the diesel gen?
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Old 09-02-2015, 07:46 AM   #7
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Genset on 96 Clipper starts off the chassis batteries.

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Old 09-02-2015, 09:43 AM   #8
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OK, assuming the chassis batteries start the Gen, would it possible that the Gen dies because the chassis batteries are so low (5-6VDC)? I start the Gen by pressing the rocker switch that connects both sets of batteries.
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Old 09-02-2015, 10:08 AM   #9
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Low oil level?

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Old 09-02-2015, 10:49 AM   #10
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I was thinking oil pressure switch.
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Old 09-02-2015, 11:09 AM   #11
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I have the same moho year and model as yours. I also recently started having serious chassis battery issues. My solar array keeps my house batteries charged but my housekeeper forgot to flip the battery cut-off switch when she finished and the gardeners unplugged me from shore power. The batteries are less than two years old so instead of buying new batteries (which for some reason were damn near impossible to find in my town) I (after returning two that weren't powerful enough) bought a heavy-duty jumper/charger and let it charge overnight. After that everything seems to be working well again. From what I can tell on our model as well as Massey's '96 the generator starts off the chassis batteries. But your situation definitely sounds like a low gasoline situation. The generator cuts itself off at 1/4 tank or lower if I remember correctly.
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Old 09-02-2015, 03:25 PM   #12
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I know the MH diesel fuel tank reads full and with as little driving lately, I suspect it really is nearly topped off. I suspect the main (and only?) tank feeds both the engine and the generator right?

LucasS, tell me more about this cutoff switch please because I surely don't know if I have one or not.

The chassis batteries have a set of heavy cables going through one wall and another set from the adjacent storage bin which I assume is going to the Inverter, which is stored there.

Still will look at the gen fuel filter as the last time I had it checked/changed was about 3 years ago, and hopefully, the service center really did check/change it...

Gonna put 4-12V marine batteries in next month, maybe that will tell me something too.
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Old 09-02-2015, 05:08 PM   #13
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Journey there are many things that can go wrong with a genset. I think genset power costs about $4 per KWH, due to genset life, fuel, & repair costs.

Many good tips already posted. My Onan 2800 had same symptoms. Tried every thing I could do.

Then took it to an Onan certified shop, NOT an RV dealer. Tested genset, took it apart. Bad igniter ! It is way down near the generator windings.
No other problems with genset for 10 years. Repair cost about $480, of that about $300 was labor, 4 hours.
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Old 09-02-2015, 09:07 PM   #14
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Simple Stuff

I don't have one of your type generator. But I have lots of gas engines around the house. None of them run very long with a clogged air filter. Secondly, the engine might start off the chassis battery but the control unit may run off the trailer batteries similar to the furnace, refrigerator and such. Your dead trailer batteries may be enough to control the start but not to keep it running. Charge the trailer batteries first and try it. Then the filter. Then the complicated stuff the other guys mentioned. DH
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Old 09-02-2015, 09:37 PM   #15
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My John Deere tractor (Diesel) would do the same thing. Come to find out I had gunk growing in the tank partially blocking the fuel flow, and it was intermittent. The fuel filter was fine. Diesel will grow bacteria under the right conditions, and sooner or later it will have to be cleaned out. Power Service has a diesel fuel additive that raises the Cetane number and keeps the bugs in check.
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Old 09-02-2015, 11:49 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JourneytoRet View Post
I know the MH diesel fuel tank reads full and with as little driving lately, I suspect it really is nearly topped off. I suspect the main (and only?) tank feeds both the engine and the generator right?

LucasS, tell me more about this cutoff switch please because I surely don't know if I have one or not.

The chassis batteries have a set of heavy cables going through one wall and another set from the adjacent storage bin which I assume is going to the Inverter, which is stored there.

Still will look at the gen fuel filter as the last time I had it checked/changed was about 3 years ago, and hopefully, the service center really did check/change it...

Gonna put 4-12V marine batteries in next month, maybe that will tell me something too.
I replaced my batteries with 12V marine deep cycles for the house but not for the Chassis as our model requires....(I'll look the specifics up tomorrow when I'm back home) batteries with massive starting power for the 360 cummins. Anyways, the switch I'm referring to (and I really hope your dealer or PO showed you this) is in a cluster of four...literally to your bottom left when you open the front door on what's basically the passenger seat's left arm rest. There's one for step on/off, patio light on/off (sidenote if you turn your patio light on with the remote, you MUST turn it off with the remote....if anybody has a hack to fix that let ME know please!) and then one switch for the ceiling lights and the last one is your battery disconnect switch. Now, here's the rub...even if you push the bat disconnect I think it only control's the house batteries. In my previous mono's the bat disconnect switch killed the house and chassis...but this is my first DP so "a whole new world...."
When I did my TV conversions to LED's...I had to get an inverter to power the rear (when you decide to do this yourself if the PO hasn't already you'll see what I mean). Apparently, even with the TV off...the bloody inverter still drew power from my chassis batteries (that along with the Satnav I left plugged in...even turned off and an iPhone charger) and the 10w solar charger that comes standard (which is for the chassis batteries) couldn't keep up with the draw (however minimal in reality it was) so this year I spent the first two weeks of my season in the same place as you...dead chassis batteries.
All this just reminded me...again I honestly don't know if the genset starts off the house or chassis...but I was able to use the aux-start switch on the dash and my genney powered right up...but alas neither shore power nor genset has an alternator for the chassis batteries...only the house.
Good lord just typing this post I've decided to go buy two new chassis batteries...eh, easier than trying to troubleshoot the "what if's"...and my nearest AS dealer is 1.5 hours away (the local moho dealer technically can help out with any Freightliner chassis issues but they're so booked up I wouldn't get in until 2016)

Well, since we have the same coach if there's anything I can do to help...I'm nowhere near the expert Massey is when it comes to Clippers (which are just XC's pre 2000) but I nicknamed my coach Murphy (for Murphy's Law) the second week I had it...so, if it could go wrong, it probably has...and I've somehow figured out some way of getting around it.
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Old 09-03-2015, 09:23 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LucasS View Post
I nicknamed my coach Murphy (for Murphy's Law) the second week I had it...so, if it could go wrong, it probably has...and I've somehow figured out some way of getting around it.
Wow! I do name all my RVs as well, and was thinking of just The Big Red One, from that old old Mark Hamill film I still have never seen.

But the wife suggested a better one: Iron Mistress

Since I spend a ton of time away from my wife trying to fix the RV, this seems perfect!

-Randy
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Old 09-03-2015, 12:48 PM   #18
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Emh142, that's my concern too, that the poorly charged chassis batteries are enough to start the gen, but not keep it running. Headed to NAPA to get 4 12V $100 marine batteries at some point!
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Old 09-05-2015, 06:32 AM   #19
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My Genset on the 96 CLIPPER, PTS CD7000 diesel generator, charges both the Chassis and House battery banks.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f313...ml#post1177725

This book may have some useful information in it for you.
https://books.google.ca/books?id=y97...page&q&f=false

EDIT This book seems to be no longer accessible? It used to be a free download!


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Old 09-14-2015, 06:29 AM   #20
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Closure: Replaced the coach batteries and the gen fired up and stayed running under full load. Thanks for all the other items, will be looking to change the oil/filters before old man winter comes calling.
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