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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > Converting Onan generator from gas to propane

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JaxDad

Greater Toronto Area

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Posted: 01/13/22 05:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

hedgehopper wrote:

I am considering the purchase of a Class A with a gasoline-fueled Onan generator and have heard a lot of horror stories about problems with such generators.


A good friend who travels with me quite often has a DP with a propane genset.

The heartaches of trying to find LPG, constantly, is a BIG issue. In cold weather he’s burning propane for heat AND the electricity to keep the heat running.

I don’t know how big his tank is, but in ‘heating season’ he’s refilling his LPG every other day.

johnhicks

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Posted: 01/13/22 09:37pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If I was running the gen and the furnace in really cold weather I'd be looking at around 24 to 30 hours per 65-gal tank fill. Not real practical. They both seriously drink propane.

Several years ago I added an Extend-A-Stay hookup to run the furnace and lately a small gas generator to provide the power if I run into a Texas freeze situation. I've needed it and didn't have it; now I've assured I won't need it.

The only reason to buy a MH with a propane generator is if you really really like the MH and it's a bargain price.

Maybe someone can answer; why were propane generators a fad for a while rather than gas or diesel? Price?


-jbh-

Skibane

San Antonio, TX

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Posted: 01/14/22 04:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

johnhicks wrote:

why were propane generators a fad for a while rather than gas or diesel? Price?


They're cheaper, lighter and more compact than diesel gensets.

Motorhomes with diesel engines don't have a gasoline tank - but they do have a propane tank.

Ditto for travel trailers and fifth-wheels.

dougrainer

Carrolton, Texas

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Posted: 01/14/22 10:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

johnhicks wrote:

If I was running the gen and the furnace in really cold weather I'd be looking at around 24 to 30 hours per 65-gal tank fill. Not real practical. They both seriously drink propane.

Several years ago I added an Extend-A-Stay hookup to run the furnace and lately a small gas generator to provide the power if I run into a Texas freeze situation. I've needed it and didn't have it; now I've assured I won't need it.

The only reason to buy a MH with a propane generator is if you really really like the MH and it's a bargain price.

Maybe someone can answer; why were propane generators a fad for a while rather than gas or diesel? Price?


LP powered Gensets on Class A DIESEL motorhomes were a fad from about 1998 to 2002/3. The reason was simple. The COST of Diesel motorhomes dropped after 1996 or so, due to Monaco and other starting to build motorhomes in the sub 200K range. The most popular were in the 100K to 150K range. RV Diesel Gensets were not that common. So the price was higher. Only on the higher line Diesel pushers. So, to get the price range in that 100K to 150K they installed converted Gas to LP gensets. a LOT cheaper to do that almost half the cost. So, once the market started building thousands of lower cost Diesel pushers the Genset makers(really Onan) upped production and with more volume the price came down. Also, OEM's started hearing from dealers and RV'ers about how upset they were on the time limitation of LP gensets. Back 23 years ago, we had brand new Monaco Diplomats have the LP gensets fail at delivery in hot weather. The Genset LP regulators gummed up and failed. After having about 4 of those happen one summer the Owner decided to NEVER order another Diesel Motorhome with an LP genset. We ordered and optioned the higher priced Diesel Genset. Doug

johnhicks

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Posted: 01/14/22 11:41am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks Doug. I figured it was mainly economics.

ford truck guy

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Posted: 01/14/22 12:02pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

For my experience, I have 2 @ 40# LP bottles... When dry camping at the tracks here aremy numbers running my Onan LP 6500

no load - 32 hrs
1/2 load - 20 hrs
full load - 13.5 hrs

Yes - THIRSTY ! ! ! ! !


Me-Her-the kids
2020 Ford F350 SD 6.7
2020 Redwood 3991RD Garnet


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