Is it reasonable for an avid DIY'er to be able to install a gas generator in their own rig? I'm looking at putting it in the front storage bin, and I think the rig was originally designed to have one there as an add-on option. This is a Jayco Eagle 299 RLS (full-size).
I'd like to use on-board gas to run it. How fast does a typical generator (mainly running a single 14T A/C unit) use up a tank of propane? Anything to watch out for when looking for brands, or installation pitfalls?
We boondocked with a portable gas-powered generator last month, and it opened up a whole new world of RV'ing I had not given much thought to when I bought the new rig last year. Including additional parts (electrical switchovers, etc.) what would a typical generator install cost, assuming I did all my own labor? And since I would be doing the work myself, does the installation affect the warranty? I've come to the conclusion that if you want something done right (that is, the way I want it), you need to learn how to do it yourself. Professionals are definitely generally competent, but there is always a time when an "either/or" decision comes up, and the dealer's service center seems to like to make those decisions for me without much consulting in order to keep things moving.
Steve in East Tennessee
2008 Jayco Eagle 299 RLS
2008 Silverado 2500 4x4 Crew Cab SB
Duramax LMM Diesel/Allison Transmission
More than half the battle here is verifying if the Eagle was generator-prepped when being built; if so installing the generator should not be that hard; if not then you have a world of work ahead of you...
For comparison we have an Onan 5500W onboard generator (gas) in the front compartment of our Jayco Designer fifth wheel - next to it is a 14 gallon gas tank...the generator we have is capable of running anything and everything we have in the Designer at the same time...
BTW...in the Tech Issues forum is an individual (kg8585 or something like that) that owns or works for a Cummings Onan shop in Memphis and many people have talked very highly about him...might want to browse that forum and send him a private message
Seems more people now purchasing portable gens so they can use them for home and rv use. I put my portable in the bed of the truck and plug in the rv. I ran a cord out through the pin box. That way its not just an rv generator. Also some good generator post in Tech Issues about various brands and models.
I didn't install mine (Onan 5500 LP) but plenty of folks have. Yes dry camping is a nice experience if you really want to get away. I used LP for the same reason, its fuel the RV already uses which eliminates extra fuel tanks on board. My previous MOHO had diesel on board so we had a diesel genset.
My current genny uses about 1 gallon per hour. We dry camped this summer for 7 days and didn't quite empty one of our two 7gal tanks. No problem not pouring LP, remove tank, fill, reinstall. LP won't spill.
I had a Generac 55Q LP genset in my fiver. At about 90 degrees it would run through two thity pound tanks on a football tailgate weekend running about 30 hours...usually in to a 20# I carried as a spare. I personally would never have a propane genset again...#1 reason...you can't pour propane! If you run out at odd times/places you are done. Gas or diesel is the way to go IMHO.
Occasional use maybe...depending on it for a/c no way. I did install my own for reasons you stated. Be sure the compartment is metal lined as "gen ready".
First off....to keep things less confusing....."gas" is gasoline...."LP" is Propane.
I assume that you are talking LP here, as you want to use the existing onboard fuel.
As mentioned, it will depend a lot on if the RV was prepped for a genset. A lot of them will have everything, but the generator....and the wiring is the hard part, so having that done, will make life much easier.
A friend told me that when he ordered his 5er, he told them he wanted it "generator ready".....and he would supply the generator....saving a couple of grand in the process
You'll need to get information on the various gensets that you are considering, and see if you have the size for them. I know that on my MH, the bottom under the genset is left open, so that there is air flow to the filter, so you might need to make some alterations, if the box is sealed.
I am sure that you are not the first to do this project, so you should get some good input on it, and the genset mfgrs should have information that will help too.
Oh, and figure with a gasoline genset (4Kw) you will burn about 1/2-1 gal/hour...depending on the load.
Good Luck, Happy Campiing
Bill & Claudia / DD Jenn / DS Chris / GS MJ Dogs: Sophie, Abby, Brandy, Kahlie, Annie, Maggie, Tugger & Beau RIP: Cookie, Foxy & Gidget @ Rainbow Bridge.
2000 Winnebago "Minnie" 31C, Ford V-10
Purchased April 2008 FMCA# F407293 The Pets
With a built in Onan, you don't necessarly need a transfer switch. I use a "poor man's" transfer switch. I simply put a 50 amp plug on the end of cable from Onan, then when leaving shore power I just plug into where the shore power goes inside the bay. It just stays plugged in until we want shore power again.
I would recommend an Onan of any type if you permanently install it. Also, consider that because it is hard wired you will be required to install a transfer switch if you go this route. The Onans run at 1800 RPM so are very fuel efficient. On the other hand I would recommend a Handa portable if you go that route. They are super quiet and very dependable. Although they all run at 3600 RPM they are pretty good at fuel economy and you gain the ability to use the generator for other things if needed. No transfer switch is required for using a portable generator as you will just plug in using the regular shore line.