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Old 03-07-2018, 01:49 PM   #1
Kiltym
 
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Default Generator starting

We have owned our Westy for about 8 months now.

The generator always runs, but can take a long time for it to start. At first when we purchased it, maybe about 30-45 seconds of pressing the start button, then would turn over and run fine. Now it's up to about a minute or so.

We don't use it for much right now, but I do start it every month for about 30 minutes. I hope to use it shortly to charge the house batteries with our new charger via the DC converter.

Can't be good for the starter (or the house battery bank :)) needing to try to start for so long. Once its running, all is totally fine, and has yet not to start.

Any ideas on what might cause this?

Also, on the inside control panel there is the "stop/prime" button. Does this "prime" the system with propane? I have tried it, but does not seem to make any difference.

Edit: I did clean out the rubber (breather?) tube, and put a screen over it, so that tube should be clear/clean.

Last edited by Kiltym; 03-07-2018 at 01:52 PM.
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Old 03-07-2018, 02:54 PM   #2
icarus
 
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Default Re: Generator starting

Check to see if the choke is closing properly. IIRC there is an automatic choke, but it may have been phased out by now. I also think there is a fuel cut off solenoid, check to make sure it is opening properly.

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Old 03-07-2018, 06:31 PM   #3
OldWest
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Default Re: Generator starting

If don't have Onan manuals, can download from various sources. Will want the installation instructions too.

Airstream installed the generator.

Plus of propane generator is no worry re fuel going stagnant/varnish. Onan rep did tell me that running the generator monthly for at least two hours was good for propane generators to dry out any moisture or something.

At a certain number of hours of use (didn't seem like a lot), the Onan generator requires extensive service like valve adjustments, etc.

1. Hours and Tune Ups

How many hours on generator?

When was last oil change, air filter change, and spark plug? Don't believe there is a fuel filter on propane generator.

2. Oil Level

Check oil level. Too low oil level supposedly prevents generator from starting. Might impact on starting/cranking time too?

3. Fuel

Search OneManVan's sticky post at top of subforum re propane leak. If there is a propane leak someplace, might cause long cranking until fuel reaches generator.

Also, OneManVan pointed out a crimp or something in the fuel lines.

On my generator in first few months of ownership, a fuel regulator/distributor/valve or something (don't remember) was replaced as clogged by something (possibly from sloppy installation). Longer cranking times led quickly to no-start.

The prime function on a gas/diesel generator activates the fuel pump. Don't know what the prime does on our propane generator. Never used it. Some posters on other forums say the prime function opens a valve which the start side of switch does anyways (just doing a little bit beforehand so propane flows slightly before reaching the other on/off valve controlled by start).

4. Air

Check air filter condition.

You already cleared the hose.

The advice re the choke sounds good but no idea how to check.

5. Electrical

Someone posted re electrical wires (corrosion or other). As you're presumably getting strong cranking, probably not an issue versus slow cranking from poor connections to house batteries.

Insofar as ignition wires, could check condition of wires and connections if any are outside generator.

----

Please keep us posted.

Added:

This thread has photos and tips on using carb cleaner, etc., on choke, etc. BEWARE re moving parts and losing fingers.

https://sprinter-source.com/forum/sh...ight=Generator

OneManVan sticky thread re propane:

https://sprinter-source.com/forum/sh...ight=Generator

Last edited by OldWest; 03-07-2018 at 06:48 PM. Reason: Add links.
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Old 03-08-2018, 08:29 PM   #4
Kiltym
 
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Default Re: Generator starting

Thanks!

I found the manuals.

Checked all the basic maint items, oil, air filter, spark plug (although I do not have a tool to measure gap). But all looked fine and clean.

I don't think its a propane leak. I have replaced the hose to the gen already, and last time I leak tested all was fine.

One other piece of information. When it starts, if I then stop it, and immediately start it again, its starts right up. If I wait 10 seconds, it then takes longer (10-15 seconds) to eventually start again.

What happens in those 10 seconds?

If I wait overnight, its back to the 30+ seconds before it starts. Sometimes longer.

How long should it take to start?
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Old 03-08-2018, 09:00 PM   #5
icarus
 
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Default Re: Generator starting

Check your LP pressure.

Icarus

Ps IFC there is a secondary LP regulator at the genny. Check the pressure after that regulator. Should be ~11" wc.

Last edited by icarus; 03-08-2018 at 09:06 PM.
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Old 03-08-2018, 09:08 PM   #6
Kiltym
 
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Default Re: Generator starting

Quote:
Originally Posted by icarus View Post
Check your LP pressure.

Icarus

Ps IFC there is a secondary LP regulator at the genny. Check the pressure after that regulator. Should be ~11" wc.
Not sure how to do that....?
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Old 03-08-2018, 09:12 PM   #7
Kiltym
 
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Default Re: Generator starting

Read the threads from OldWest.

I took a look at the linkages and all seems OK. I played with the black spring thing that seems to regulate something in a disc shaped container (maybe air). It is pretty slow to move back to "off" position, but even if I hold it "in" the gen doesn't start right up after waiting the 10 seconds. Attached photo of what I am "trying" to talk about....
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_20180308_150550764.jpg (95.9 KB, 11 views)
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Old 03-08-2018, 09:33 PM   #8
icarus
 
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Default Re: Generator starting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiltym View Post
Not sure how to do that....?
You need a manometer:


https://www.amazon.com/Yellow-Jacket...ords=manometer

Icarus
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