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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > Onan Emerld Generator Runs Rough

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Doc Eagle

South Carolina

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Posted: 06/30/12 04:58pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

First off the better half and I are new to the RVing activity although we both did some as kids. We purchased a 1993 Fleetwood Flair 22D with the gas motor from a friend. After a month of repairs we are getting ready to go on our first trip. After installing the new starter and plugs on the generator. Then cleaned the carb bowl of varnish I managed to get it started. At first it ran smoothly but now it sort of lobs, not so smooth. Any suggestions on what adjustments need to be made? Thank you in advance.


1993 Fleetwood Flair 22D "Cat One"

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pulsar

Lewisville, NC

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Posted: 06/30/12 05:00pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Moved from Forum Technical Support to Tech Issues.

Gale Hawkins

Murray, KY

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Posted: 06/30/12 06:41pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Doc we have a 1993 MH with the 5000 Kolher. When we first got ours it would lope so back that I would just shut it down. I kept putting Sea Foam through the tank and then one day (within first year of getting it) I noticed it was running good all of the time. Five years later and still purrs like a kitten.

When I go to winterize it I always do it with a full tank of gas. That is about 60 oz (1/2 gallon) with just enough gas for the generator to run I dump in all the Sea Foam and add 2-3 gallons of gas (I only run premium and most often that is Shell V-Power since it cost the same per mile as 87 octane. It is a 1992 P30 454 TBI with 109,000 miles and 661 hours on the gen set. We have put about 300 on it since 2007.

My office building is about a mile from where I fill up normally so I start the MH and gen set and go to the office burning this very strong mixture of Sea Foam. I shut off the engine but let the gen set run for up to one hour while I check email or the internet. I then drive back and top off my tank BUT then I do NOT restart the generator until spring or we make a dry winter run. I fill the tank until auto shut off then over the next 10 minutes I can get another 10 gallons in the tank. It takes 2+ gallons to get it home.

The goal is for the generator to set all winter with a strong Sea Foam mix in its fuel system. I do not use Sea Foam all the time but I will burn Shell V power about 90% of the time and it has like 4x engine/fuel system cleaners as required by Federal law. We put a 1000 gallons through it in 31 days last fall and I did not add Sea Foam until I got back home for the winter. We did did not use the generator much on that trip. Our dash air is awesome which we did not always need especially after sundown.

Keep a 1500+ watt load will help it run smoother sometimes too. Get ALL fuel filters changed out ASAP. In an old MH Sea Foam will move a lot of build up out of the tank into the main gas filter so it may need to be changed out again before long.

Gale Hawkins

Murray, KY

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Posted: 06/30/12 09:17pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Doc Eagle wrote:

Well looks like the system is stock, electric fuel pump and stock style fuel filter. It does share the main fuel tank and I read somewhere that the outlet for the generator is just above the 1/4 tank level so it won't drain the tank. Main tank is at 3/4. When the generator first started it ran pretty smooth. I guess a piece of debrie could have gotten up in the carb when I reassembled it. Tomorrow I will remove the bowl and check for gunk. I like the Sea Foam idea, with the electric fuel pump I can run the mix out of a seperate fuel can. Thanks again, I will post results tomorrow evening weather permitting. It is a bit warm here lately.


You got things going your way so it will mainly be a thing of time.

My thought is when we start pumping gas into these old tanks then bouncing down the road a lot of crude gets stirred up and start moving.

One thing that I learned by accident that small engines (done it with 6.5 Honda China knock off and a 20+ year of 18 HP B&S) will run on pure Sea Foam if you get them hot on gas and then go to full choke.

The 18 HP is on my old Coleman 7500 back up generator for the house. We had a bad ice storm in 2009 and wound up using it 24/7 for several days and I had not changed the oil in over 15 years. After the 5 hour break-in I changed it and use the true synthetic Castrol 20W-50.

Well after the ice storm I changed the oil and filter twice the same day with Sea Foam add to the crank case as per instructions on the can.

The tank was just minutes from running out of gas and I wanted to get as much pure Sea Foam as possible into the carb before it choked out on Sea Foam so I choked it when it started to die but it never did die as long as it was on full manual choke.

Old Farmall tractors were started on gas then switched over to kerosene when working than back to gas before shut down so it would start well next time.

Then I tried it on 3500 watt china gen set and it too would run just fine on Sea Foam but that was without a load. I think running on pure Sea Foam would loosen piston top carbon.

Someone posted Sea Foam can fall a plug and I understand why the post but I found Sea Foam even pure Sea Foam does not actually foul the plug.

What Sea Foam will do I learned from experience is to loosen up carbon build up then a flake of carbon will get in the spark gap fouling the plug completely and suddenly.

Sea Foam did not foul the plug but was what lead to the plug fouling based on experience with a chain saw that had been ran too rich for for years. After clean the plug several times then going to a new plug the saw ran better than it had in 20 years.

Normk

Canada's Wet Coast

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Posted: 06/30/12 05:17pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Can't recall that model but have a look to see if it has both idle and main metering circuit mixture adjustments. Not sure what you mean by "lobs"? If that is similar to the trade term "lope" then it could be a lean mixture. Loping is a condition in which the engine surges up and down in RPM.

If you had to clean varnish from the float bowl, it is certain that there were also deposits of the same material in the idle and main metering circuits. Even the removal of the float bowl is likely to disturb some of that material which may have subsequentally entered a metering circuit.

Usually a gummed up carburetor requires soaking in carburetor cleaner to remove materials although carb. cleaners have become so safe and enviro that they don't work very well compared to the old days when they would eat a hole in flesh from a distance.

Assuming the generator shares fuel tank with the rig's engine?

If so, the fuel in the tank should be good but otherwise the generator tank may be full of old fuel. If time allows, try using Sea Foam as recommended on the can to see if it will eat up carb. deposits which are causing the problem. You could accelerate things by using a strong mix of Sea Foam in gasoline from a smaller container connected to the generator's fuel pump rather than treating the whole main fuel supply.

* Forgot to mention: don't go over board with the amount of Sea Foam. Use no more than their maximum concentration as it has been known to foul spark plugs when used in too high a concentration. Don't you love the, "If a little is good, a whole ton has to be better.", thinking?

Other possibles are legion but given the age of the rig, the generator's electric fuel pump may be on the way out and not supplying sufficient fuel under load. Does the generator run differently under light and heavy loads?

Of course, you checked to see if there is another fuel fiter somewhere on the fuel supply for the generator? Not unusual to find someone has installed an extra filter. Did one rig years ago which had intermittent generator issues which no one seemed able to solve. I found that someone had installed an inline fuel filter in the generator fuel line, ahead of the original one. They had installed it into a length of fuel hose and then pulled it through so the filter was out of sight and reach behind some sheet metal work. Heard later that the PO thought that would be a good idea because the filter was well protected.

Of course I claim the solution was due to diligent and effective diagnosis rather than luck.

Doc Eagle

South Carolina

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Posted: 06/30/12 07:30pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Well looks like the system is stock, electric fuel pump and stock style fuel filter. It does share the main fuel tank and I read somewhere that the outlet for the generator is just above the 1/4 tank level so it won't drain the tank. Main tank is at 3/4. When the generator first started it ran pretty smooth. I guess a piece of debrie could have gotten up in the carb when I reassembled it. Tomorrow I will remove the bowl and check for gunk. I like the Sea Foam idea, with the electric fuel pump I can run the mix out of a seperate fuel can. Thanks again, I will post results tomorrow evening weather permitting. It is a bit warm here lately.

Gale Hawkins

Murray, KY

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Posted: 07/01/12 12:52am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Normk I think it is best to say plugs can and do foul out when running Sea Foam.

Running small air cooled engines on pure Sea Foam was just a fluke. I would like to see before and after shots of cylinder chambers Sea Foam soak.

I do often do the 1.5 oz of SF per quart of oil the last 50 miles or let one idle for 20+ minutes with SF in the crank case. I know the oil darkens fast but always wonder it is was not flushing it out of the filter.

How I got started a guy up the road opened a shop and was a good transmission rebuilder but did general automotive work. He would not book me a slot until I ran a cycle of Sea Foam so I did it. Do not rememeber the problem but it when away after Sea Foam use as he expected would be the case.

ksg5000

Oregon

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Posted: 07/01/12 04:01pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would go with heavy concentration of Sea Foam -- even if it fouls a plug (hasn't in my case) that's no big deal as you should be changing those as part of regular maintenance.


Kevin

Normk

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Posted: 07/01/12 12:28am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We see plug fouling in motorcycles frequently from too high a concentration of Sea Foam. Not wishing to turn this into a debate as to whether it will foul plugs or not as clearly it does not in some cases but simply wishing to offer the possibility. I'm not referencing single cases but rather referring to large numbers of instances in which have seen these events.

If someone is attempting to solve a running issue by using Sea Foam (or another good fuel treatment) having a plug foul may confuse the issue so just wanting to ensure that this did no happen to anyone. Sea Foam is wonderful stuff within its limits as also can remove carbon as mentioned. Have seen blow-by reduced to a small fraction of what was occuring after using as a crankcase oil treatment in some cases. If one is trying a high concentration, just be aware that plugs may foul so it doesn't lead you in the wrong direction.

Am surprised that people have had success in running such high concentrations but good to know that it can work. The stuff is one of the best storage fuel stabilizers around. I go through several cases per year of the stuff and am not one to use many chemical additives.

I will have to try running straight Sea Foam as a combustion chamber cleaner, Gale. Interesting. Maybe next time I'm going to do a ring or valve job on something which my USB camera will fit to get an appreciation of conditions before. I have a supply of GM's product "Cleans" which is a hugely effective combustion chamber cleaner. I still use it for low compression conditions where a leakdown test indicates mild valve and ring leakage because engines run at light load sometimes build up a ceramic-like material on the valve faces and seats. If valve clearance is significant and valves show leakage, this has returned many engines to good operation without disassembly.

We used to utilize other ways of decarbonizing but loath to mention as, in the past, someone has done themself some damage by improper technique.

Doc Eagle

South Carolina

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Posted: 07/01/12 08:14pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks to all who replied. I ran a gallon of alcohol free gas with an once of Sea Foam through the generator from a seperate gas can. I ran it with the single A/C unit on and in short order it calmed down and ran smooth. Ran almost the entire gallon through it before I switched it back to the main tank. I then let it run another hour on that. Worked great. Thanks again.

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