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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > 2000' Onan 4000 Microquite generator replacement

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DrewE

Vermont

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Posted: 01/09/19 09:19am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lakeplay wrote:

A Good Cigar wrote:

I say get a better tech! Did he specify what the problem was? I'm guessing that he didn't
It is almost impossible to destroy an Onan after only 220 hours!! Onans have a built in low oil pressure switch to protect the engine, and oil pressure is just about the ONLY thing that could cause "internal issues" in a engine with so few hours! I am no expert by any means, but it is certainly worth your peace of mind and usefulness of your RV to have that generator looked at by a competent tech! More than likely, it'll be the usual problem of a gummed up carb, or a bad control board, both ~$500 repairs!
Good luck[emoticon]


Its actually been looked at by 2 tech's. One was a ONAN tech who told me it had to come out and would cost a minimum of 1k.


I don't think the current 4KY generators, which this is, have an oil level switch, though at times they have included one. They certainly don't have an oil pressure switch because the lubrication system is a splash, rather than a pressure, system.

Any significant work would require removing it, yes. That's a good bit of labor, but it's not really complicated and doesn't require special tools or skills. It's a matter of disconnecting the things that are connected (AC and DC wiring, fuel line) and then unbolting the unit from its mount and safely lowering it down or sliding it out through the side opening. In some cases, it may be necessary to have the side or end of the RV up on ramps or something to get clearance underneath.

Many of the Onan problems I've heard of--though not all--stem as much from lack of use as anything. Making sure gas doesn't have time to get old in the carburetor goes a long way to keeping it running well. Other common problems are pretty easily solved; the fuel pumps sometimes wear out, for instance. I suppose that's not much consolation when you're one of the others, unfortunately.

(Even if it fit and had adequate cooling, I'd give a lot of thought to how to route the exhaust gasses from a Champion or other portable generator safely out from under the RV if installing it.)





STBRetired

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Posted: 01/09/19 09:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Have access to a pickup? Have a friend help you take it out of the RV (not difficult, just heavy) and save the $1K that Onan wants to do the removal. If you are fairly mechanically inclined, they are pretty easy to fix. Parts are available from aftermarket (cheaper) and Onan (expensive, but only source for some) and the repair manuals are available online. Replaced a failed stator in one and rebuilt the engine in another (after something like 8000 hours of runtime) with no problems. Both run great again. Much cheaper than new ones and feel much better about having the generator match what the enclosure was designed for.


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camperdave

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Posted: 01/09/19 09:56am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Well, I do not think the newer models are significantly more advanced than what you have, it's going to be significantly cheaper to repair your unit than replace (unless you go with a portable).

White smoke to me means oil. But backfiring means carb. Could be a gummed carb? Stuck choke? sticky valve or valve seat? I dunno, but I would not be surprised if a new carb and filters solved the problem. I'd start there. Actually, I'd probably start by running a can of Seafoam through it lol.

If that doesn't do it, I'd remove the whole unit myself and save at least some labor hours. Mine is just bolted up under the motorhome, unhook all the attachments and lower it with a jack. Then bring it to a small engine repair shop instead of an RV or Cummins shop. These are low tech engines.


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Lakeplay

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Posted: 01/09/19 10:41am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DrewE wrote:

Lakeplay wrote:

A Good Cigar wrote:

I say get a better tech! Did he specify what the problem was? I'm guessing that he didn't
It is almost impossible to destroy an Onan after only 220 hours!! Onans have a built in low oil pressure switch to protect the engine, and oil pressure is just about the ONLY thing that could cause "internal issues" in a engine with so few hours! I am no expert by any means, but it is certainly worth your peace of mind and usefulness of your RV to have that generator looked at by a competent tech! More than likely, it'll be the usual problem of a gummed up carb, or a bad control board, both ~$500 repairs!
Good luck[emoticon]


Its actually been looked at by 2 tech's. One was a ONAN tech who told me it had to come out and would cost a minimum of 1k.


I don't think the current 4KY generators, which this is, have an oil level switch, though at times they have included one. They certainly don't have an oil pressure switch because the lubrication system is a splash, rather than a pressure, system.

Any significant work would require removing it, yes. That's a good bit of labor, but it's not really complicated and doesn't require special tools or skills. It's a matter of disconnecting the things that are connected (AC and DC wiring, fuel line) and then unbolting the unit from its mount and safely lowering it down or sliding it out through the side opening. In some cases, it may be necessary to have the side or end of the RV up on ramps or something to get clearance underneath.

Many of the Onan problems I've heard of--though not all--stem as much from lack of use as anything. Making sure gas doesn't have time to get old in the carburetor goes a long way to keeping it running well. Other common problems are pretty easily solved; the fuel pumps sometimes wear out, for instance. I suppose that's not much consolation when you're one of the others, unfortunately.

(Even if it fit and had adequate cooling, I'd give a lot of thought to how to route the exhaust gasses from a Champion or other portable generator safely out from under the RV if installing it.)



I did some more reading on the champion. It is not supposed to be in an enclosed space so that's out unless I just use it as a portable.

Lakeplay

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Posted: 01/09/19 10:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

STBRetired wrote:

Have access to a pickup? Have a friend help you take it out of the RV (not difficult, just heavy) and save the $1K that Onan wants to do the removal. If you are fairly mechanically inclined, they are pretty easy to fix. Parts are available from aftermarket (cheaper) and Onan (expensive, but only source for some) and the repair manuals are available online. Replaced a failed stator in one and rebuilt the engine in another (after something like 8000 hours of runtime) with no problems. Both run great again. Much cheaper than new ones and feel much better about having the generator match what the enclosure was designed for.


I think that's what I'm going to do.

Lakeplay

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Posted: 01/09/19 10:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

camperdave wrote:

Well, I do not think the newer models are significantly more advanced than what you have, it's going to be significantly cheaper to repair your unit than replace (unless you go with a portable).

White smoke to me means oil. But backfiring means carb. Could be a gummed carb? Stuck choke? sticky valve or valve seat? I dunno, but I would not be surprised if a new carb and filters solved the problem. I'd start there. Actually, I'd probably start by running a can of Seafoam through it lol.

If that doesn't do it, I'd remove the whole unit myself and save at least some labor hours. Mine is just bolted up under the motorhome, unhook all the attachments and lower it with a jack. Then bring it to a small engine repair shop instead of an RV or Cummins shop. These are low tech engines.


I'm not very mechanical so taking it out myself and having a small engine repair shop is probably what I will do.

Thanks everyone for all the helpful reply's.

DSteiner51

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Posted: 01/09/19 02:43pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I had a Honda engine carberated that unless the gas was turned off the carb would allow gas to flow into the engine while going down bumpy roads. New engine with <10 hours, missed so bad it would hardly run while smoking horribly. I drained the crankcase and put new oil in, replaced the spark plug and the problem was solved.

Could this be a problem on an Onan too? Have you checked the oil level to see if it has risen?


D. Steiner
The sooner I fall behind, the more time I have to catch up.


Lakeplay

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Posted: 01/09/19 04:09pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DSteiner51 wrote:

I had a Honda engine carberated that unless the gas was turned off the carb would allow gas to flow into the engine while going down bumpy roads. New engine with <10 hours, missed so bad it would hardly run while smoking horribly. I drained the crankcase and put new oil in, replaced the spark plug and the problem was solved.

Could this be a problem on an Onan too? Have you checked the oil level to see if it has risen?


Oil level hasn't changed. I have only owned it for 6 months. One thing I noticed right away was a lot of oil under the generator. Might be a crank case gasket leaking.

Chum lee

Albuquerque, NM

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Posted: 01/09/19 04:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lakeplay wrote:

A Good Cigar wrote:

How did the old generator bite the dust? How many hours are on it?


Tech told me it has internal issues. Backfires, white smoke. Only 220 hours.


Oh please! I have the same genny (1999 model) with over 1800 hours on it. Chances are yours is just broken in, it's not biting the dust unless someone did something really dumb which would be hard to do since it has basically sat around all its life. If it has compression, chances are the carb is dirty or it has some other, simple, easily repairable problem.

Get another techs opinion or apply yourself and fix it yourself.

https://cdn.ltvdns.com/leisurevans.com/owners/3rdparty/Cummins-Onan-RV-Generator-Handbook.pdf

Chum lee

fourthclassC

MA

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Posted: 01/10/19 11:14am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Had to chime in here. I agree with all. 220 hrs is not much. These are plauged with carb and fuel pump issues, but all solvable with much less cost then a new generator (at least one that fits and is made to work within the rv setting) It really is easy to drop the unit and take it out for service. By the way, the fuel pump is replacable without dropping the unit.

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