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Old 09-08-2014, 10:39 AM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: 31F
State: Georgia
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THOR #631
How often to run the generator?

Members,

Our Thor MH has an on-board Onan generator with very few hours on it. I've sporadically started it and let it run for 5 minutes or so.

In reading the manual, it seems that Onan is concerned about old fuel gumming up the works and I can see how the 10% ethanol gas that we often are forced to buy might gum up quicker than pure petrol. We don't put any Stabil in the gas tank, but I'm starting to think that unless we are on the road I should start doing so. (Running the V10 once a week up to temperature probably isn't using enough fuel.)

Has anyone made any mods to the supply to their generator gas supply that would allow owners to add Stabil? If so, I'd like to hear about them.

Also, I hate the fact that our MH isn't being used weekly, and think that two to three weeks of sitting probably isn't good for it. Any opinions on this matter?

John & Gail
Athens, GA
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Old 09-08-2014, 02:59 PM   #2
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Model: 2013 31L
State: Florida
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Lots of discussion on this topic on more active forums
it should be outlined in your manual. Check the onan web site if you don't have one...

Regardless, most folks seem to think monthly runs are good for longer time spans.... say 30 minutes
and the genny needs to be seeing a load, so turn on your AC so that the electrical side gets a work out too.
30 minutes seems extreme to me, but it's a guideline I guess.
What I have done so far is this
I store my RV in a lot approx 15 minutes or so driving time away from home. Mine is fairly new, so i have lots of projects (this weekend was hanging a spare tire under the coach)
so I bring it home to do the work, and run the house ac on generator one way or both. i figure this gets the chassis engine and transmission up to temp as well as the generator, and gets the tires and such rolling around too.
and this all serves to top off the batteries a bit too!
and this is a good time to run a bit of water in each sink and shower to refill the plumbing traps too.
I figured if I don't have a project or a trip for quite a while ever in the future, I'll try to plan on just taking her for a short drive maybe every 4-6 weeks with the genny running.

I have been adding sta-bil to my chassis tank so that it's helping my engine too. If I'm on a trip, I won't add the stabil to the tanks on the way out, but will at least on the last tank..... but so far I've added it every tank since I've only taken short trips.
I also try to top off the tank before storing
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Old 09-08-2014, 05:03 PM   #3
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Thank you BLW2! That was very helpful.
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Old 09-08-2014, 06:15 PM   #4
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Model: 2011 Four Winds 28Z
State: Michigan
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THOR #531
You should not only run it once a month for 20~30 minutes, but you should run it under load.

An under load means at least 50% load.

Like most RV'ers, my My Onan 4000 does not get run a lot. I did run it for 20 minutes a month in the winter, but the first time I used it this summer, it had trouble running under a 50% load. It ran OK with a small load (fridge and battery charger), but it would "speed cycle" under a 50% load and not produce a stable output.

I ended up having to spray carb cleaner into the genny several times (turn genny off, spray carb cleaner into carg, restart genny... repeat several times).

After doing that, the generator ran just fine under a 50% load.

Before I retired, we had emergency generators at work that were critical. We actually had to run the generators once a week for 1/2 hour under full load of the facility.

While it seems perhaps a bit extreme, we had to do that to satisfy a UL requirement for our facility.

So for my RV generator, weekly is a bit extreme, so I do it monthly under 50% load, especially since I know better not to as I did last winter.

I have a ceramic heater that provides the 50% load that simply plugs into an outlet. My advice then is not only to run your genny monthly, but run it under load.

And Stabil is a good idea as well. However, with most RVs, you have to pour it into the RV's main tank, which is not a bad idea as it protects the motorhome's engine as well.
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Old 09-08-2014, 08:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FW28z View Post
You should not only run it once a month for 20~30 minutes, but you should run it under load.

An under load means at least 50% load.
So for my RV generator, weekly is a bit extreme, so I do it monthly under 50% load, especially since I know better not to as I did last winter.

I have a ceramic heater that provides the 50% load that simply plugs into an outlet. My advice then is not only to run your genny monthly, but run it under load.

I agree with the above post. The generator needs to work.
I don't use stabil any more. I think sea foam has a better product. Pour a can in the gas tank. It will prevent the gas from getting old and building up goop/varnish deposits.
I have a yard vac. It gets used once a year, in the fall picking leaves. When I finish and have it cleaned up, I pour some in the gas tank, then I take the cover off the air cleaner and pour a batch down the carburetor while the engine is running, and then "immediately" shut it down while the smoke is still pouring out of it.
Next year it starts right up. Usually on the first pull.
Sea Foam Motor Treatment (Seafoam)
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Old 09-09-2014, 12:46 AM   #6
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Lloyd,
That sounds wild. I've used Sea Foam, but never like that. I remember as a kid that old timers would pour diesel down their carburetors to free up stuck rings etc. The clouds of smoke were immense! I'd never do this to a modern engine but your use of Sea Foam reminded me of the early 1950s gas station trick.
John
Athens, Ga
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Old 09-14-2014, 02:17 AM   #7
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THOR #827
My Onan operators manual states to run the generator under load at least two hours a month as regular maintenance.
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Old 09-16-2014, 11:54 PM   #8
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Model: Miramar 32.1
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Run it a lot

I've been running mine a lot I guess. Ford recommends driving their F-53 Chassis at least once every 15 days . I read that minimum every other weekend. When I do, I drive around for an hour or two and run the generator with the A/C going the whole time . I want it loosened up and ready to go all the time, and want no problems with it.

Living in Florida, we tend to run A/C's all the time.
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Old 09-17-2014, 12:24 AM   #9
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THOR #1075
How many hours should you run the generator before changing the oil?
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Old 09-17-2014, 01:30 AM   #10
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Engine Oil Change on Generator

I ran it hard when I first got it and put about 40+ hours on it in a few months. I had it serviced a bit early at Camping World. I believe they want the first oil changed at 50 hours. After that, every 150 hours. Good to read up on it. I am still behind the 8 ball on a lot of the working parts of the RV.
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Old 09-17-2014, 04:49 AM   #11
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My operators manual says 20 hours for the first oil change then every 150 hours after that.
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Old 09-17-2014, 10:56 AM   #12
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Yep, as an old tech once told me, if all else fails, read the instructions....
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Old 09-17-2014, 12:16 PM   #13
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THOR #1075
Since I don't have a Thor unit, just thinking about buying one, I don't have a manual. How much oil is in the generator and how easy is it to reach the unit to change the oil yourself. What type of oil is required? In my Interstate 3500 the drain plug is behind the spare tire and very difficult to reach. Is that so in the Thor units?
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Old 09-17-2014, 02:11 PM   #14
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My manual is stored in the coach so not available. I found the onan web site has a lot of information that could help you. Just google onan generators.
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Old 09-17-2014, 03:47 PM   #15
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My local Cummins service center advised me to run the generator continuously a minimum of two hours each month under load. I run the AC when I exercise the generator.
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Old 09-17-2014, 07:59 PM   #16
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: A.C.E. 29.2
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THOR #827
Quote:
Originally Posted by aa9zz View Post
Since I don't have a Thor unit, just thinking about buying one, I don't have a manual. How much oil is in the generator and how easy is it to reach the unit to change the oil yourself. What type of oil is required? In my Interstate 3500 the drain plug is behind the spare tire and very difficult to reach. Is that so in the Thor units?
My ACE has an Onan 4000. Uses 1.6 quarts of HD 30 oil. Very easy to DIY oil change; did mine last month in about 45 minutes. On my unit you access the drain plug via a small port door underneath the rear of the coach that you unscrew and slide out of the way.
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Old 09-17-2014, 08:04 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by mrnoyb View Post
My local Cummins service center advised me to run the generator continuously a minimum of two hours each month under load. I run the AC when I exercise the generator.
My Onan manual says the same thing-I run the A/C, all three TVs, maybe the water heater and/or fridge. Sometimes I will make a pot of coffee, too.
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Old 09-18-2014, 12:38 AM   #18
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Brad13, thanks.
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Old 10-13-2014, 04:40 PM   #19
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Model: Hurricane 29X
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I just started full timing and am always plugged into power. Can I run the generator and put a load on it while leaving in plugged into shore power?
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Old 10-13-2014, 04:44 PM   #20
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I don't think so. At least mine won't crank unless I'm unplugged.
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