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Onan Generator

haste_maker
Explorer II
Explorer II
I have seen where Cummins has said that the Onan generator needs to run 2 hours each month under load (with the A/C on)..my question is what would you need to run during the winter when it's to cold for A/C.
Retried Teamster
2007 Allergo
13 REPLIES 13

JaxDad
Explorer III
Explorer III
haste maker wrote:
I have seen where Cummins has said that the Onan generator needs to run 2 hours each month under load ……


An interesting side note, the design hasn’t changed in many decades, but about 30 years ago the instruction manuals started to warn the owners of all the horrendous things that would happen if the generator wasn’t ‘exercised’ faithfully *every* month.

BTW, 30 years ago is just after Cummins bought Onan……..l guess they have better lawyers.

johnhicks
Explorer
Explorer
My 30-year-old Onan manual specifies two hours monthly. I run it an hour once or twice a month.

Running the gen will scrub crud off the slip rings and brushes.
-jbh-

Matt_Colie
Explorer
Explorer
I do not agree with Onan. I never have, but I have only been taking care of other people's (usually very expensive) engines since 1960.
If you take care to drain (or at least run the) carburetor dry, that is most of the issue. I have never seen significant internal corrosion on engines that were merely "bottled" up when shut down. This was all on tidal water (salt). If you are worried, learn to "fog" the engine. (This means introduce a cloud of oil as you shut it down.) If you think you need to warm the windings, the varnish that needed that was replaced before the second world war.
Keep in mind that the people that want you to run the engine regularly are also the ones that will want to sell you parts that got thermal cycled to death.
Matt_C
Matt & Mary Colie
A sailor, his bride and their black dogs (one dear dog is waiting for us at the bridge) going to see some dry places that have Geocaches in a coach made the year we married.

wa8yxm
Explorer III
Explorer III
wa8yxm wrote:
I had always heard a shorter period of run but won't argue.

I used electric heaters in the winter.. Usually while changing campgrounds.
And the Roof A/C's in the summer. Never had a generator issue other than a sticking choke and I never noticed that (Mechanic spotted and fixed it as part of an oil change)


Check that I did have a couple problems with the Generator stopping suddenly.... When it ran out of gas... (Easily fixed at the pump.. well. expensively fixed but still easy)
Home was where I park it. but alas the.
2005 Damon Intruder 377 Alas declared a total loss
after a semi "nicked" it. Still have the radios
Kenwood TS-2000, ICOM ID-5100, ID-51A+2, ID-880 REF030C most times

wa8yxm
Explorer III
Explorer III
I had always heard a shorter period of run but won't argue.

I used electric heaters in the winter.. Usually while changing campgrounds.
And the Roof A/C's in the summer. Never had a generator issue other than a sticking choke and I never noticed that (Mechanic spotted and fixed it as part of an oil change)
Home was where I park it. but alas the.
2005 Damon Intruder 377 Alas declared a total loss
after a semi "nicked" it. Still have the radios
Kenwood TS-2000, ICOM ID-5100, ID-51A+2, ID-880 REF030C most times

joebedford
Nomad II
Nomad II
I'm sure the documentation for my Onan 5500 says 30 minutes a month. I guess Onan has upped the hours in the 12 years since mine was installed.

Dutch_12078
Explorer
Explorer
From Onan:

Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
Bigfoot Automatic Leveling System
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox baseplate

SuperBus
Nomad
Nomad
I usually turn on the Aquahot electric heating element and run the heat pumps. That'll put 40 - 50 amps worth of load on the generator. The theory is, I suppose, that "free-revving" an engine is never a good idea (hence the need to apply a load, since generators run at speed) and sitting engines have plenty of issues with drying, rusting, etc. (the frequency and duration).

pianotuna
Nomad II
Nomad II
I'd use 2 1500 watt heaters. If 50 amps--one on each leg.
Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, 556 amp-hours of Telcom jars, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.

Tom_Barb
Explorer
Explorer
My 7.5 Onan got
120 hours in 22 years.. still works
2000 Newmar mountain aire 4081 DP, ISC/350 Allison 6 speed, Wrangler JL toad.

KD4UPL
Explorer
Explorer
I always used a 1,500 watt heater on my 2.5 kW Onan. If you have a 4.5 kW a single electric heater is probably fine. If you have a 5.5 kW or larger I'd use 2 electric heaters.
You really should have an electric heater anyway. They're only about $25 and can save a lot of propane if you camp much in cold weather. I always run the electric heater on the camp grounds power that I'm paying for anyway instead of using up my propane.

wolfe10
Explorer
Explorer
StarkNaked wrote:
Electric heater.


Needs to be electric heaters PLURAL. If engine block heater, turn it on (assuming you are parked). Heat pump as long as ambient temperature above 40 degrees F.

You are looking for around a 50% load.
Brett Wolfe
Ex: 2003 Alpine 38'FDDS
Ex: 1997 Safari 35'
Ex: 1993 Foretravel U240

Diesel RV Club:http://www.dieselrvclub.org/

StarkNaked
Explorer II
Explorer II
Electric heater.