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garmp

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Generator
« on: August 28, 2017, 04:26:22 pm »
Got our new 2100 nine months ago and only have been on a couple of trips, but my question is how often should I run my generator? We've never use it, but to start it once, as we're always plugged into shore power. Don't want the thing to go bad on me, especially when we might need it. And I need to know the winterizing procedure.

thanks
Bob is what we call our PC 2100, and he has taken us from campers to RV'ers and loving it.

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catsaplenty

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Re: Generator
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2017, 05:49:27 pm »
When I picked mine up, Earl said it should be run once a month for an hour, under a load.  sorry don't remember any comments about winterizing.

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jatrax

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Re: Generator
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2017, 07:58:11 pm »
Here is what Onan says:
Quote
To prevent such problems, it is recommended to run gasoline generators at a
minimum of 50 percent capacity (2000-watts, or one air conditioner for a 4000-watt
set) for two hours once every four weeks.

Here is a link to the manual: https://power.cummins.com/sites/default/files/literature/rv/F-1123-EN.pdf  See page 10 for info on exercising your generator.  I have been told by some who have been doing this far longer than I that the recommendation used to be 1/2 hour every month.  But that has been increased to 2 hours now.

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Ron Dittmer

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Re: Generator
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2017, 08:29:23 pm »
Hi All,

For the record, this is per that manual.

Exercising Your Generator
It may seem surprising that “not” using a machine could cause performance
problems, but with RV generators that’s exactly the case. Regular “exercise” is
an important part of keeping your generator healthy. Lack of exercise can cause
moisture build-up and fuel system degradation that make it run poorly. In fact,
in as little as 30 days, the fuel in gasoline-powered generators can begin to gum
and varnish the fuel system. Fuel varnishing results in hard starting and surging. (A
surging generator never settles at a stable operating speed.)
To prevent such problems, it is recommended to run gasoline generators at a
minimum of 50 percent capacity (2000-watts, or one air conditioner for a 4000-watt
set) for two hours once every four weeks. This is necessary to help keep moving
parts lubricated, expel moisture and control fuel varnishing in the carburetor. A long
two-hour exercise period is preferable to several short periods. While traveling, this
can be accomplished by running the air conditioning. If you own a diesel generator,
regular exercising can help reduce internal condensation and helps keep seals
lubricated.

I admit I don't follow that recommendation.  10 years of "running only when needed" and all remains well.  BUT our PC is not exposed to the outdoor elements, temperatures and humidity either.  I figure there is very little varnish in today's fuels for fuel injection, and Onan isn't running around in their warehouse starting every generator every 30 days to make sure they good when shipped, nor Phoenix either.  I never run my 28 year old snow blower in the summer nor my 29 year old lawn tractor in the winter and they do fine when needed.

But for the majority of us PC owners who store their PCs outdoors, it's wise to follow Onan's recommendation, even if only to dry out the generator portion of the unit.
Ron (& Irene) Dittmer

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jatrax

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Re: Generator
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2017, 09:57:34 am »
From what I read stale fuel is only part of the issue.  Many sources recommend exercising the generator in order to warm up the windings and drive off any moisture that might cause tarnish / corrosion.  The length of time varies quite a bit, but there is strong consensus that frequent exercise is a good thing. 

Ron, since yours is stored warm & dry that likely eliminates that issue.  Adding a fuel additive like sea foam is also recommended during storage, not sure if you do that or not.  But regardless I suspect your good record with yours is mostly because of your inside warm storage.

At work our backup generator is programmed to run 1 hour per week to keep generator warm & dry.  It is a 25kw propane unit so stale fuel should not be an issue with it and the manufacturer's recommendation is still to run it often.

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donc13

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Re: Generator
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2017, 08:21:43 pm »
We live in Colorado and store our RV (past and present) outdoors.  I always put stabil in my gas tank, fill the tank, run the generator for about a half hour so the gas/stabil gets pulled in and no longer run it monthly.  On my first motorhome, I ran it once a month, but there's no way to turn the a/c on.  Way too cold out, but I did plug in Pelonis Disk Furnace and run it.

That generator wirked perfectly fir almost 9 years.  Then it wouldn't even turn over.  A corroded wire at the starter. 

Next RV, I had for 6 years... Zero generator problems and I did NOT run it during the winter.  I did use stabil... Zero problems.

This RV is coming up on 3 years old, likewise I do the stabil in the gas but don't start the generator while in storage.  So far, zero probkems.



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Ron Dittmer

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Re: Generator
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2017, 10:34:02 am »
Regarding fuel gumming and all that, I am no expert on fuels, but...

The gumming and tarnishing was a significant problem in the good old days with leaded gas made from 100% crude.  Then came unleaded fuel, 10% alcohol added to the fuel, and detergents to keep fuel injectors working properly.  Between those three primary influences along with other changes in fuel technology, I don't see any gumming on my 4 cycle carburetor engines.  I think that is why some of us do well storing our engines long term without starting them during the storage period.

I used to add Stabil to my fuel tanks during extended storage periods, but one year I didn't to see if I would notice a difference.  I didn't so I stopped using the product.  That was 8 or 9 years ago.  I have not used Stabil since.  

As for moisture forming in the fuel tank, fill the tank up and be done.  With 55 gallons of gas, you already have 5.5 gallons of alcohol which is good to combat moisture, so those gas anti-freeze products are just a waste of money.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2017, 11:18:25 am by ron.dittmer »
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jatrax

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Re: Generator
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2017, 10:57:17 am »
Thanks Ron!  Not being a car guy, or even an engine guy your insight on this is appreciated.

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garmp

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Re: Generator
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2017, 04:25:19 pm »
OK. Cool. Now I'm thoroughly confused.
I take it: Run the generator a half hour or so with the AC unit on and drawing a load every couple of months or so and add stabilizer when not in use for an extended amount of time, which my mechanic also recommended for the V10 and winter storage.
Sure glad I asked this question. You guys have been a big help in converting this tent camper into an RVer. We do plan to do more traveling, in between DR appointments!

Thanks all
Bob is what we call our PC 2100, and he has taken us from campers to RV'ers and loving it.

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Ron Dittmer

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Re: Generator
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2017, 05:28:16 pm »
garmp,

You can't go wrong following the official process.  Don't be following in my footsteps for if something goes wrong, I don't want to be the blame for it.  :)
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jatrax

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Re: Generator
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2017, 11:10:09 am »
Probably lots of factors affect this.  So the recommendation is for average conditions or even poor conditions.  Store your rig inside, or live in the desert is going to be very different than living in the wet Pacific Northwest.  Which brand of fuel you buy and what additives or alcohol is in it will also be a factor.

Following the manufacturers recommendation is a good bet unless you have a situation that varies greatly from the norm.

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garmp

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Re: Generator
« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2017, 03:47:08 pm »
Your are so right. If I would have gotten off my dead behind and read the manuals, I would have known the answer to my question. I have been overwhelmed with all the manuals and procedures and a total fear of doing something wrong. So I thought asking the pros would be the best bet.
Ain't never RV'ed before, as they say, and know I have a huge learning curve ahead, so ya all stay tuned. Ya hear!

thanks
Bob is what we call our PC 2100, and he has taken us from campers to RV'ers and loving it.

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Ron Dittmer

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Re: Generator
« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2017, 07:31:50 am »
garmp and anyone else who this applies to.

DON'T PUT YOURSELF DOWN for asking questions that you could have found in your pile of manuals.  That's what forums are for.  Forums are great for the straight-forward stuff, for the unique circumstances, and also what others have learned from it.

But don't rely exclusively on advise from forums.  When applicable, confirm with your manual before making your decision on maintenance procedures.  You don't always have to follow the manual to the letter, but you are much wiser for it.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2017, 07:33:58 am by ron.dittmer »
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Joe R

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Re: Generator
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2017, 06:27:01 am »
Its not the gumming up problem today. But the issue with ethanol gas is its ability to absorb water.
http://www.fuel-testers.com/images/shape218016031.gif

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donc13

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Re: Generator
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2017, 04:07:30 pm »
We live in Colorado and store our RV (past and present) outdoors.  I always put stabil in my gas tank, fill the tank, run the generator for about a half hour so the gas/stabil gets pulled in and no longer run it monthly.  On my first motorhome, I ran it once a month, but there's no way to turn the a/c on.  Way too cold out, but I did plug in Pelonis Disk Furnace and run it.

That generator wirked perfectly fir almost 9 years.  Then it wouldn't even turn over.  A corroded wire at the starter.  

Next RV, I had for 6 years... Zero generator problems and I did NOT run it during the winter.  I did use stabil... Zero problems.

This RV is coming up on 3 years old, likewise I do the stabil in the gas but don't start the generator while in storage.  So far, zero probkems.


How much Stabil do you add to how much Gas? Does it affect the V10 engine adversely? Is there a special process you go through to minimize how much Stabil product you need?

I had a LP gas generator on my previous coach and I never had to do anything special. It only had about 3 hours total run time after 5 years and it started instantly every time I tried, which was about once a month. i never ran it for more than a couple minutes just to prove it would start and run correctly. I guess liquid fuel generators have much higher incidence of fuel system gumming.


I use the recommended amount that's shown on the bottle, which if memory serves, is something like 15oz for the 55 gallon tank.

I try to add the Stabil just before i put the RV in storage.  Ideally, I will put it in the tank when it's less than 3/4 full.  I then fill the tank, run the generator while driving to storage lot (about 7 miles away) and shut all off at the lot.

I will already have blown the water lines dry and drained all tanks and put rv antifreeze in the sink and shower traps, put a few ounces of pure coconut oil in the toilet bowl and remove the coach batteries.   At the storage lot, I disconnect the chassis battery.

I have had zero problems doing that.

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