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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Generac Generator HELP? Breaker on it won't stay "ON".

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SuaveGato

Sacramento,Ca

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Posted: 07/22/12 01:43am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hey Folks,
Looking for some more help, P.S. thanks to all who have helped so far with my other posts too! Great people on this site!

I have a recently purchased TC with an approx. 2001 Generac Impact-36 plus with Inverter installed in it. It is an LPG fueled 3400 watt generator with ONLY 2.6 hours on it, but it is in a 2001 TC, so it is somewhat old. It seems to run Great with the following exceptions, looking for advice on what could be wrong?

propane tanks are both full but fuel could be old? Does it go bad like gasoline?
Oil is clean & full


First thing, it is hard starting. Even with the “fuel prime” it takes approx. 5 – 8 attempts to start it before it will finally fire up and stay running, even when it’s warm and has just been run. It will however crank right up with a shot of ether in the intake. Once started it runs smoothly.

It has a double breaker on the front of it, I’m assuming for the OUTPUT of the power it makes, 30AMP I believe? When I flip the breaker to “ON” position, the Generator runs for 2 – 3 seconds, then flips the breaker off. Even with NO LOAD on it, everything in the TC turned off AND or the MAIN breakers in the TC flipped to off. I have also tried it WITH a load, lights, fans etc. on and same result.

Third and final, if I manually manipulate the throttle to increase the RPM it will wind right up for 5 – 10 seconds and then die! With breaker in the OFF position. I can’t get RPM’s up and have it stay running.

Does anyone have any ideas for me on what might cause this? I’ve read some stuff on here about “bonding the ground to neutral” but don’t know if that has been done nor how to do it, or from what I’ve read, if it’s even necessary or advisable? _ Additionally from what I’ve read, not looking to start that can of worms again, just adding data to my question.


Thanks in advance for any and all help / info.

biGjOhn


1992 Ford F350, 4x4, Diesel, crew-cab, long-bed, 5 speed, Duallie.
2002 Arctic Fox, 990 slide out.

SoCalDesertRider

Arizona desert

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Posted: 07/22/12 08:17am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sounds like the throttle body needs to be taken off, stripped down and cleaned out. Also pull the plug(s) and check for fouling and proper plug gap.


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NRALIFR

Truck Camping Out West

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Posted: 07/22/12 09:19am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

John, we've probably got the same vintage generator. Mine's in a 2001 Lance 1121. The inverter is going to be located in a remote location from the generator, in a compartment that's ventilated to the inside of the camper.

You're going to need a service manual to diagnose the CB trip problem, but you need to determine the correct model # first. There should be a tag on the front near the LP valve that will have the model on it. Yours is probably a "941-1", but just verify that first. There four revisions of the 941, a -1, -2, -3, and -4, and there are a few differences on each one. Once you have the right model/revision #, go HERE and download the correct manual.

First, LP doesn't go bad in the tank, so that's not an issue. If the tank is full enough to operate all the other LP appliances in the camper, it should supply enough LP for the generator.

Your starting problem is an easy fix. That big round regulator looking item installed on the RH side of the generator is a Garretson/IMPCO type KN regulator (zero governor). It's actually more of an on/off valve. It's purpose is to only allow LP to flow to the engine when there's vacuum in the intake manifold. In other words, it only opens when the engine is cranking or running. With only 2.6 hours on the unit, it's likely that the valve inside that regulator is sticking to the seat and not opening readily. You need to replace it, and I would recommend getting one from US Caburation in the link above. It's cheaper than buying one from a Generac parts dealer, and it will have a manual primer button on the regulator that you can use to force the valve to open.

When you push the "Prime" switch on the control panel today, that only opens the lockout solenoid, which allows LP gas to flow to the KN regulator where it stops because the valve is closed. Once you have the new KN regulator installed, you can hold down the prime switch, then press the manual prime button on the regulator for a second or two, and the engine will start much faster.

The CB on the generator panel is what allows a very high AC current from the stator to flow to the bridge rectifier, where it's changed to a very high DC current and fed to the inverter, where it's changed back to 120V AC and fed to the camper. The fact that the CB is tripping means there's excessive current flowing through it, but the cause could be either in the generator or in the camper. Do you have an auto-tranfer switch (ATS) or is generator power supplied to the camper simply by plugging the shore-power cord into a receptacle inside the cord storage compartment? The trouble-shooting section of the service manual will have you disconnect the generator output from the camper to isolate the problem to either the generator or the camper circuitry. If you've got an ATS, you may have to disconnect some wires inside a junction box somewhere to isolate the generator. If you don't have an ATS, you just unplug the shore-power cord from the generator output receptacle.

Finally, manually manipulating the throttle is probably making the generator control board (A6060 board) think the throttle stepper motor is bad, and it's shutting the motor down.

Get the service manual and let us know what you find. I'd recommend not trying to do much troubleshooting of the CB tripping until you get it starting reliably. I'm not sure about using ether on a small air-cooled engine like this. You might try reaching behind the air filter and covering the air-intake hole while cranking the starter. That may increase the manifold vacuum just enough to pull the KN regulator valve off its seat, and will be further proof that the KN regulator needs to be replaced.






2001 Lance 1121 on a 2010 F450


SuaveGato

Sacramento,Ca

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Posted: 07/23/12 02:41pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

NRALIFR - Thank you for the very thoughtful, thorough, well prepared response! I will start working on some of your suggestions and see if I can't figure this one out! Thanks, Will post back, "hopefully" with resolve, if not, with more questions...

Thanks

SuaveGato

Sacramento,Ca

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Posted: 07/23/12 06:33pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Well, unfortunately my problem is obvious! Not so "easy" to fix however...



I tore into it this afternoon to do some trouble shooting with the help of y'alls suggestions. Well before too long I found my issue, COOKED WIRES and who knows what else?! Not sure what caused it? And do not have the skill set to fix it or figure out why it melted the way did, obviously an overload of some sort. I'm good at taking things apart and "holding the flashlight" for others, but NOT fixing them, LOL.

So, anyone have any recommendations as to where I could take it in the Sacramento area? Should I stick with an RV place or find an electrician or automotive person? ANY AND ALL RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ME ARE WELCOME AND GREATLY APPRECIATED.

I have a BIG birthday camping trip coming up in 3 weeks, would really like to use this new TC for it!

Thanks,






NRALIFR

Truck Camping Out West

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Posted: 07/23/12 10:29pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Oh man, that's ugly. Looks like something shorted out and cooked all those wires.

I believe those heavy RED/BLUE/BLACK/GREEN wires in the second, third and fourth pictures are the DC-link wires that run between the bridge rectifier and the inverter. They carry 187-375 volts DC. The green and black wires look like they've been pinched, but it's hard to tell just from a picture.

This could have been caused by several generator components such as the bridge rectifier diodes, the inverter, stator windings,..........

You're going to need an experienced generator tech for this, hopefully someone close to you will have a recommendation. This used to be a fairly common RV generator, but I know a lot of RV techs didn't like them because they're pretty complex. Some of the parts are very expensive too, and will make you question whether it's worth fixing. A lot of these got jerked out after the first major breakdown. If you can't find a good tech at an RV dealership, I'd look for a local Generac dealer/installer of home standby generator systems.

There are some used/repaired units available if you're patient in searching. That might be the most cost effective way to go. Your unit still has some salvageable components, so it's not worthless by any means.



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