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Propane gennie maintenance in cold winter

Slymer
Explorer
Explorer
Outdoor Canadian winter storage.
Take both batteries out, but now I have to run the propane gennie for an hour each month. Do I have to put a battery back in, or use a battery booster pack,.....OR,.....can I just plug it in to 110 volt and bypass the batteries to get the gennie started ??? Putting a battery back in/out monthly would be a pain.
2013 Arctic Fox 811S.
I didn't run it at all last winter and spent HOURS & HOURS this spring/summer getting it started again.
25 REPLIES 25

CharlesinGA
Explorer
Explorer
I have a Bigfoot trailer with the Onan 2500LP. It too proved hard starting. I did a short YT video on my fix.

My YouTube video on my Onan 2500LP starting issues.

Charles
'03 Ram 2500 CTD, 5.9HO six speed, PacBrake Exh Brake, std cab, long bed, Leer top and 2008 Bigfoot 25B21RB.. previously (both gone) 2008 Thor/Dutchman Freedom Spirit 180 & 2007 Winnebago View 23H Motorhome.

time2roll
Nomad
Nomad
Slymer wrote:
I have tried quick start fluid, with no luck, but this is not an engine. It is a built-in propane generator. Definitely getting spark and all other appliances are getting propane but it appears the generator is not. I have managed to get a couple of hoses off & blow them out. Still no luck. Just cranks over & over.
Got it running about a month ago, finally,.....but now again no luck.
This does not sound like winter maintenance issues as much as you need to get the generator running correctly.

If you have checked the basics.... might be time to get service. If you start every 6 days or 6 months it should start fairly easy.

Eric_Lisa
Explorer II
Explorer II
Slymer wrote:
I have tried quick start fluid, with no luck, but this is not an engine. It is a built-in propane generator. Definitely getting spark and all other appliances are getting propane but it appears the generator is not. I have managed to get a couple of hoses off & blow them out. Still no luck. Just cranks over & over.
Got it running about a month ago, finally,.....but now again no luck.


I know you have spent hours scouring the Internet, so this may be info you already know...

- The vent tubes are known to attract nesting insects. I am not sure exactly what problem that causes, but I suspect there is some sort of vacuum signal that is not longer accurate and thus causes a bad fuel mixture. This seems a possibility given it was running fine, and the only thing it did was sit.

- I have had trouble getting mine to run if the air filter is not seated perfectly. And it is a craptastic design that is very difficult to get in place with the cover properly sealed down. Seems I had to tape mine in place one time to get it to idle properly. Very fussy about ambient air pressure - won't run without an air filter in place.

- I also had a problem where the propane continued to refine in the lines. Propane is a byproduct of natural gas and petroleum refining. It morphed back to oil in my lines. That oil went to the lowest point of the system - the generator feed line. Messed up the carb pretty good. Ended up capping all the lines off at the appliances (delicate diaphragms), then individually opening them and blowing them out with brake clean & compressed air. I revised the propane lines to include a T-trap which I can drain out a few drops of oil now and then.

HTH!
-Eric
Eric & Lisa - Oregon
'97 Silverado K2500, New HT383 motor!, Airbags, anti-sway bar
'03 Lance model 1030, generator, solar,

mkirsch
Nomad II
Nomad II
double post

Putting 10-ply tires on half ton trucks since aught-four.

mkirsch
Nomad II
Nomad II
Slymer wrote:
this is not an engine. It is a built-in propane generator.


???

The generator has an engine in it. That's what turns the propane into spinny force what waves magnets past each other to tickle the angry pixies and make the lights come on.

It is an engine like any other engine.

Putting 10-ply tires on half ton trucks since aught-four.

Kayteg1
Explorer
Explorer
If it is not firing with starting fluid- it has to be spark, or lack of it.

noteven
Explorer III
Explorer III
Slymer wrote:
I have tried quick start fluid, with no luck, but this is not an engine. It is a built-in propane generator. Definitely getting spark and all other appliances are getting propane but it appears the generator is not. I have managed to get a couple of hoses off & blow them out. Still no luck. Just cranks over & over.
Got it running about a month ago, finally,.....but now again no luck.



Oops my bad I thought it was an engine driven generator like my Onan.

If there is no fuel a safety shut off valve is not energizing to open as mentioned, or the supply line or filter could be plugged.

AnEv942
Nomad
Nomad
Ours when setting the connections to the fuel solenoid lose connection (corrosion).
If I don't hear a loud click (solenoid opening) I stop & go clean the terminals to regain contact.
01 Ford F250 4x4 DRW Diesel, 01 Elkhorn 9U
Our camper projects page http://www.ourelkhorn.itgo.com

Slymer
Explorer
Explorer
I have tried quick start fluid, with no luck, but this is not an engine. It is a built-in propane generator. Definitely getting spark and all other appliances are getting propane but it appears the generator is not. I have managed to get a couple of hoses off & blow them out. Still no luck. Just cranks over & over.
Got it running about a month ago, finally,.....but now again no luck.

noteven
Explorer III
Explorer III
Slymer - Compression, fuel & air in roughly the correct ratio, spark, and sufficient cranking speed and the engine will start.

Propane mixture in cylinder has a higher resistance to ignition than liquid droplet fuel (gasoline) One thing to check is the plug gap is in spec for propane. This is more of an issue under heavy load.

I still suspect fuel starvation.... if you give the engine a little whiff of starting fluid does it fire and try to run?

Kayteg1
Explorer
Explorer
If you think propane engine is not prone to water condensation, think again.

Slymer
Explorer
Explorer
We are not talking about diesel farm equipment here, instead PROPANE RV generators. I don't see a comparison.

Kayteg1
Explorer
Explorer
The purpose of staring combustion engine during storage is to evaporate water that might condensate in crankcase.
That doesn't apply to dry climates where I live and it takes warming up the engine to full operating temperatures to evaporate the water.
Short idling without load can actually do more harm than good.
Electric motors/generators can sit for years and will run just fine.
I have whole fleet of small tools with combustion engines. Some of them are over 20 years old and can sit for 2-3 years without starting.
All I do is run carburetor dry before storage and when gas is over 2 years old, I drain it and put fresh one.
Honda engines with fresh gas will take 1 or 2 pulls to run again.
Other engines take several pulls.
Only on 11 HP Honda engine I had to replace carburetor orings at 20 years mark.

noteven
Explorer III
Explorer III
Isn't generator exercising recommended for the generator itself not the engine?

I'm not sure why this would be important for a brushless generator but...?

Anyways I do know people who start a $35,000.00 diesel engine and cold idle it to "charge up the batteries..."

Anyways - one thing that was sure with propane fuelled vehicles back in the day ... anything that malfunctioned under the hood was attributed to "that propane you got on there..."

Like every diesel hiccup is "an injector..."