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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > Is an RV generator worth it?

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bikerv1369

Texas

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Posted: 02/09/19 07:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I apologize. I neglected to mention (a) I have 2 solar panels on the roof feeding 5 marine batteries to augment my inverter and (b) both the mechanic and I saw at least some of the rat/mouse chewed wires. I wonder if that might have changed some of your responses (which I appreciate).

suprz

rhode island

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Posted: 02/09/19 09:20am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Is a RV generator worth it?

YES


Proud father of a US Marine


time2roll

Southern California

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Posted: 02/09/19 09:22am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Since you have an RV generator... YES it is worth fixing.

+1 for a second opinion/estimate.


2001 F150 SuperCrew
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turbojimmy

New Jersey

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Posted: 02/09/19 10:31am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

bikerv1369 wrote:

I apologize. I neglected to mention (a) I have 2 solar panels on the roof feeding 5 marine batteries to augment my inverter and (b) both the mechanic and I saw at least some of the rat/mouse chewed wires. I wonder if that might have changed some of your responses (which I appreciate).


Unless you saw mouse/rat chewed wires in the generator compartment then that's not likely your problem. There are a lot of threads on this subject but thankfully I haven't had this problem so I don't know what the recommended fixes are. I would try EVERYTHING before I resorted to pulling the generator out.


1984 Allegro M-31 (Dead Metal)



twodownzero

NM

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Posted: 02/09/19 10:47am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I wish my trailer had a generator that only needed a few wires repaired to get it up and going! I have a spot for a generator but no generator. That's way more expensive than a few wires.

bikerv1369

Texas

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Posted: 02/10/19 07:59am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I started this thread by asking:

IS AN RV GENERATOR WORTH IT?

The answer seems clear:

YES, IT IS.

Even with my solar/inverter setup, I cannot run the coach a/c or microwave without the generator, and without sunlight I can't run much else without running the engine. There's also the RV resale value to consider. So yes, I will be repairing my generator.

THANKS FOR ALL YOUR INPUT!

pnichols

The Other California

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Posted: 02/10/19 05:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

bikerv1369 wrote:

I started this thread by asking:

IS AN RV GENERATOR WORTH IT?

The answer seems clear:

YES, IT IS.

Even with my solar/inverter setup, I cannot run the coach a/c or microwave without the generator, and without sunlight I can't run much else without running the engine. There's also the RV resale value to consider. So yes, I will be repairing my generator.

THANKS FOR ALL YOUR INPUT!


That's the best decision!

Actually a generator should "come first" in an RV, with solar added later if one wants to eventually have both. A generator provides complete self-containment in an RV by providing full power anywhere, anytime for normal situations, and unexpected or emergency situations.

As an example of "emergency" use - in addition to non-emergency air conditioning and microwave use - a generator can allow you to cook and bake using portable counter-top electric appliances, stay warm with electric heaters, and continue to have an operating refrigerator ... all in the event of a propane system failure.

* This post was edited 02/10/19 09:29pm by pnichols *


Phil, 2005 E450 Itasca Spirit 24V

maillemaker

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Posted: 02/11/19 01:02pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Your engine's alternator will not provide the same level of power as a 4000 KW generator. If you need to run your air conditioning or the microwave, you will probably need your generator.

I learned about generators last year. Ours quit working during the solar eclipse. Initially discovered a cracked fuel line back at the tank. Got that fixed, generator would run for some amount of time and then shut down. I spent the better part of a year farting around trying to fix it, and in the end the nuclear option was cheaper and faster.

My generator is an Onan 4BGE. You can get great Onan advice here:

https://www.smokstak.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=1

After going to an Onan service facility, the guy did not have a tech in but he pointed out what I needed to do to do the work myself in his parking lot. He figured it was the ignition control module. He sold me a used one for $50, it seemed to do the job, but after I got home (of course) my problems returned.

Finally I pulled the genset. Mine is on a "swing down" pan. I bought a cheap rolling dolly from Harbor Freight, stacked some 4x4 pieces on it to get close to the belly of the unit, and then used a hydraulic jack to lift it off its hinges and lower it onto the dolly. I can now remove the generator in about 20 minutes. It's not that hard on my unit.

Working on these units is much harder if you don't pull them out. It can be done, but at 48 it's hard for me on my knees.

I also discovered that on the 4BGE you can replace the the entire ignition system, including the starter, for less than $200. I found an aftermarket coil and an aftermarket (and improved) starter. Had to buy Onan for the ignition control module. Also replaced the condenser and the spark plugs. With that, the engine will run (assuming nothing mechanical has gone wrong with the motor, which is very rare so long as the thing was not run without oil). 90% of the time the problem is getting the motor to run, not getting the gen head to make power.

The other 2 parts to replace on my genset were the voltage regulator and the control board. VR is about $200, CB is about $150, both available from Flight Systems. Both of these parts are super easy to replace on the 4BGE and are right behind the outward-facing switch box on the front of the genset. Flight Systems will test these parts for you for $35, and the price is refundable if you end up buying a replacement part from them.

The other likely problem with these things is a gummed up carb from sitting. Replacement carbs are about $300. You can take them apart and clean them but it can be fiddly and then you have to worry about leaks but it can be done.

So, the upshot of this is, it's not terribly hard to fix one of these things, and the cost savings can be significant doing it yourself.


1990 Winnebago Warrior. "She may not look like much but she's got it where it counts!"



Big Katuna

Deland, FL

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Posted: 02/11/19 01:31pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

They can pricey to repair. My 5500 started putting out 60 volts.

Bad rotor. $900 ten years ago. Just for the rotor.

Thing is I’ve worked on rotating machinery and wound many motors and transformers. But I just didn’t have time to rewind it.

So I was going to buy it and replace it myself and the parts guy is like “ If you drop that or it’s bad, there is no warranty on it if you install it”.

So I let the dealer do it which gave me a 90 day warranty.

* This post was edited 02/11/19 03:07pm by Big Katuna *


My Kharma ran over my Dogma.

joebedford

Finally back home in the north

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Posted: 02/11/19 02:28pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

maillemaker wrote:

Your engine's alternator will not provide the same level of power as a 4000 KW generator
Holy c**p! Where did you find a 4000 KW generator?

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