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Old 07-22-2009, 04:15 PM   #1
wmarsha's Avatar
2000 30' Limited
battle ground, , Washington
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 516
tongue mounted generator

My 85 Excella did not have a generator and I needed one. I tow with a Van, and all of the exterior compartments on the AS are open partially to the inside of the trailer. So, putting the generator inside either vehicle was not an option-it had to mount on the tongue of the trailer. I own a Honda eu3000, so the question of what generator to use was moot. After some head scratching and measuring, I decided that the generator and the LP bottles would fit on the tongue. I have successfully mounted them, and although this is not an easy modification, I am willing to share information and photographs of my project. This setup is not without compromise, but for me, the end result is worth the effort.
This project requires metal working skills, including welding skills, and much more than the requisite hammer, pliers and screwdrivers in tools. This is not a project for the faint of heart. Email me at for whatever info you would want.
After a weekend of lugging the generator around, and smelling gasoline, I decided this modification was a must. I am in between trips right now and the paint is barely dry on my metal fabrication-so if I have tweaked your thinking, drop me a line.
Bill-AS newbie, one trip in the log book.
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Old 07-22-2009, 06:26 PM   #2
1996 34' Classic
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1996 34' Excella
Locust Grove , Virginia
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How about posting your pics here instead of having to respond to multiple emails?
2016 GMC 2500HD Denali (Betsy 4)
1996 34' Excella 1000 (Arvin3 as this is our 3rd AS)
2010 TREK 2.3
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Old 07-22-2009, 07:37 PM   #3
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2000 30' Limited
battle ground, , Washington
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 516
well, I am new to these forums and do not know how much space such photos would eat up. I do know not everyone would be interested in this mod, so I did not expect much response. But in the interest of the spirit, I will add some photos.
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Old 07-22-2009, 07:40 PM   #4
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2000 30' Limited
battle ground, , Washington
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 516
a few more
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Old 07-22-2009, 07:42 PM   #5
wmarsha's Avatar
2000 30' Limited
battle ground, , Washington
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 516
here is some text to go with the photos:
Well, I bought a ’85 31 ft excella. Everything worked. Cleaned it up a bit and decided to go visit my daughter in Seattle. It was going to be dry camping, so I needed my Honda 3000eu generator.
1st Problem: where to put the gen? I mounted it on the tongue of my race car trailer while drag racing-so I was set to go; but the AS had no readily available space that was not inside. Inside the TV was the only quick answer, but a very poor one. Gasoline inside a vehicle is bad for your health. Odor, air borne toxins, and flammability are poor passengers. Same goes for the trailer, itself. Considered building a place for the gen in the back of the trailer, but I don’t like tail weight, and wasn’t sure how to seal up such a spot so the unwelcome attributes of the generator didn’t get inside the trailer. So, it went inside the TV-E350 van. Opened the vent windows at the rear and put the van’s blower on high. I5 is pretty rough and would shake up the gen and allow the fuel in the gen to slosh-causing grief. Sure enough, it did! I knew the gen had to go outside of both vehicles.
2nd Problem: Lugging that dang 3000 was a PITA! Need to make it a permanent mount. Also had to set a 5 gal gas jug behind the LP bottles for extra run time.
3rd Problem: The gen dropped hertz when the a/c was on lo temp(max load) and the compressor kicked in-causing the gen to go into protect mode-basically still running, but disconnected from the load. I didn’t expect this, I knew the Honda was well built and capable-it was food for thought.
Weekend went well other than the above and the first outing was quite successful.
Got home and promptly decided to put the trailer in the shop to inspect, clean and do any fix-up on the roof.
4th Problem: Whoa, Nellie-my quickie measuring wasn’t accurate enough-the A/C wouldn’t clear the door opening! I could let air out of the tires, but again a pain. More food for thought.
So here is my thinking process: 1) check the forum(s) for info on the all of the above problems. 2) Restate the problems and apply solutions proffered by the forum.
The forums brought more food for thought in the following areas: 1) 2 honda 2000’s 2) hard start extra capacitance for the A/C 3) low profile A/C 4) check the wiring of the trailer. 5) pick-up for TV.
Two 2000’s is attractive, but-where do they mount? Not inside, for the same reasons. Yes, they can be lugged around a lot easier than the 3000. But I own the 3000 and for $2k more? And extra fuel is a problem. 2 2000’s are noisier than the 3000, and use more fuel. Oh my aching head. Different TV? Nope, already own the one I got-it’s a keeper. I ordered the hard start capacitor. That land line plug looks bad-will replace the end at the very least. Upon further inspection, the “hot” lead spade of the plug is discolored-meaning there has been more than its rated capacity put through it…may be some extra resistance there…more on this later. Now, my A/C could be 24 yrs old. Probably not, but could be. Even if the original lasted 15 years, the replacement would be 9 years old. It didn’t take long after reading up on the Carrier Low profile 15k BTU unit for me to order one. Height problem solved. It took me 1 hour to remove the old A/C. I used a pallet jack to get up on the roof to remove the unit once unbolted from the inside. The pan was vulkemed down and took steady upward pressure, a 5 inch putty knife and a dead blow hammer to loosen it. Came out without breaking. Put the old unit on Craigslist for $200 and sold it in one day. I put the trailer in the shop and began looking at the tongue in earnest. Removed the LP bottles and did some measuring (hopefully better than the shop clearance measuring!) Gen will fit between the two battery boxes allowing access to the battys. Good. The tool box (or whatever it is) in the middle of the tongue wont be usable with the gen on top of it. Oh well. The LP bottles will have to mount outside of the gen, further towards the coach than their orig mount. But, the gen has to be outside of both vehicles. Off I go.
1) Grabbed a 10 ft piece of 1x2x1/8 rectangular tubing; cut it in half for two “rafters”. Set them on the tongue.
2) Cut off the B shaped LP tank bottom mounting bracket.
3) Cut the straight leg of the B in half and formed circles from the remainders-to use as bottom brackets for new mount.
4) Set gen in place for additional measuring. Placed rafters 8-1/2 inches apart to support bottles. Set bottles on rafters for first mock up of idea.
This looks like it will work. I may lose a little turning radius, but it will be worth it. Also access to the batts will require removing the bottle(s)-no big deal. Also, access to the equalizer bar mounts may be blocked and could become a deal breaker. After looking at this, and designing a modified tool to anchor the chains, I decided access was sufficient to lock down the eq bars. Time will tell on this decision. I am now directing my attention to making a rain shield for the generator and a heat shield for the road-side LP bottle-to alleviate the extra heat from the generator exhaust. I hope the photos are self explanatory as you read the text. If not ask questions.
I used a wire feed welder, a 4 inch angle grinder, a 9 inch angle grinder, an air cut-off tool, an air die-grinder with a tungsten bit; a sawzall, various drill motors and twist drills, a carpenter’s square, the usual hand tools , a band saw. Maybe more, but you get the idea; this isn’t an easy task, but is helped a lot with the right tools.
Hardware involved included mostly bolts and nuts as well as two pair of J-bolts which are evident in the photos. One little side note-the lift handles on the generator are at differing heights from the bottom of the generator; I measured the control side and bought two J bolts of that length; only to find out one was too short for the exhaust side. I had all the steel, but it can be reasonably obtained at a steel supply. Sheet aluminum for the shields is another problem; not easily found and quite expensive. I managed to scrounge what I needed from drag racing buddies.
I plan to measure heat from the exhaust, the temp of the exhaust shield and the temp of the LP bottle as the gen is running. I want to be sure I am not building a bomb. The gen runs cool, the exhaust temp has never been a problem before, and there is a gas tank mounted on the gen so, there has been some engineering done around this problem-I do not think the temp of the bottle will be a problem-after all, if these bottles survive Arizona, then this gen won’t hurt them.

I ended up removing the tool box that mounts between the tongue sides. Removing it was very difficult. It had two full length welds to the front cross member of the frame that had to be cut. I decided to remove this tool box to solve the problem of additional gasoline for extended run time. I am going to mount a 12 gallon polypropylene fuel cell below the gen in between the sides of the tongue. The tank measures approx. 16x17x10. That tank will not be as low to the ground as the spare tire mount. It will only be two inches lower than the tool box was. I will use a hand pump to transfer fuel from this tank to the gen’s tank. Dang, storing that pump will become a problem now. It will smell of gasoline so will not go inside either vehicle. I will have to design a mount for it in and around the tongue, probably.
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Old 07-23-2009, 03:32 PM   #6
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2000 30' Limited
battle ground, , Washington
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 516
a few more photos of the shields; i do not claim to be a good sheet metal worker; but what I have will suffice to determine if this is workable-if it passes the use test, then I will have a shop fab up a complete shield to cover the bottles and gen completely. It will end up being similar to the orig AS cover over the bottles with a lid; just bigger.
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Old 07-23-2009, 03:45 PM   #7
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2007 25' International CCD FB
Gahanna , Ohio
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 157
Nice work.

My concern would be the turn radius intrusion and the damage done to tow vehicle and the mounts/trailer if you do have to turn sharply at any point in time.

I'd be curious to see a photo when it's all assembled, with the tow vehicle hooked up to see how your turning radius is affected.


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Old 07-23-2009, 04:21 PM   #8
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1968 28' Ambassador
Cedaredge , Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,542
Nice, work, I have often wondered how I could do something of the same manner... You have sparked my imagination... I like what you did and might have to duplicate it.... Hope you don't mind...

May you have at least one sunny day, and a soft chair to sit in..

2008 5.7 L V8 Sequoia
AIR # 31243
WBCCI # 6987
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Old 09-26-2009, 07:20 PM   #9
wmarsha's Avatar
2000 30' Limited
battle ground, , Washington
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 516
works and is worth the effort

Hello everyone, sorry for the long delay 'tween posts-been kinda busy. This modification solved all my generator problems-gen is outside and extra fuel is outside. I do not have to lug anything around. I have made two trips of 300 miles each with this set-up which included a rendevouz with my son at a Costco fuel station-in which I had to make a 180 degree turnaround! Yep, at full tilt boogie, the bumper of my Eseries Ford touched the outtermost corner of the gen mount. it just touched, and I could not turn the TV any tighter-power steering was maxed out. I have yet to take a photo of the two together-will post on next outing, but the AS is in its hangar right now. The 15Kbtu carrier low profile unit starts okay with the eu3000i. I think it is a little hard on it, tho, so I have installed an extra large start capacitor on the A/C. I have taken critical measurements of the eu6500i generator to see if it would fit on my layout. the good news is that it will. Not without removing all of the extraneous hardware-such as the wheels, handles, etc, but it will fit. The larger gen will not allow for easy batt box access like the 3000, but a simple shelf slide under the bigger gen with appropriate locking device, will allow enough side movement so that with the removal of the lp bottles, the gen would slide sideways enough such that batty removal/service is doable. I did mount a simple fuel cell (polypropylene with foam insert) under the gen-adds 12 gallons of fuel. Now with all this extra weight on the tongue, what gives? well, your wd bars will make up for it, but I plan on mounting the trlr spare tire/wheel inside the TV.
As to noise: you can hear the gen when on the gaucho, it will not drive you out, but it is there. at the back of the coach, you cannot even hear it run. I have installed an inverter to allow us to watch movies up front with no gen although it is not really objectionable. At night, quiet is nice, tho. I used an oil filler tube from an E series van as a fuel filler neck to the fuel cell. I can fill 'er up with a regular gas pump nozzle or from a gas can if necessary. I also put an electric fuel pump with a removable fule line to simplify filling the gen from the fuel cell. Overkill-a hand pump woud have done the job. the flat aluminum cover is Dzus fastened down to facilitate easy removal. the fuel cell is hard to see under all the stuff, but does not hang down as low as the wd brackets/chain. more photos soon. bill

a couple more thots: I stacked two rubber "motor mounts" at all four of the gen mount positions-this is from my previous experience with this gen-the extra soft mounting makes for very little vibratory sensations in the trailer and cuts down on the noise due to actual contact vibration. Also, i guess anything can be stolen. It would take a determined thief to take this gen-a fair amount of time would be involved. While at it, he/she/it may as well steal the lp bottles, too as at least one of them would have to be removed to get the gen. I ran a romex 10-3 to the rear of the coach with a RV female plug receptacle, so hooking up the land line is a simple process. my clamps hold the bottles in real good, but I am going to bolt the bottom ring of each tank as insurance.
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