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Old 10-13-2016, 01:56 PM   #1
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THOR #5246
Gen Set

Gen set had stopped on its own several times. Back story: Bought used unit about 2 months ago, 2014 with 3,200 miles and only 230 hours on Onan generator. Drove from dealership with generator running. It stayed running for 62 miles and a little over an hour. The next 3 or 4 times it shut down after about 20 to 40 minutes.

I checked everything. It was down about 1/5 quart of oil. Topped the oil off and then several days later tired it again. Shut down after about 30 minutes. Then I read on here about the blinking lights on the switch. I was all prepared to record the blinks to figure it out.

Filled the tank after our 1350 miles run. Added some stabilizer because we may not do another trip until April. I have now ran the gen set for over 2 hours, two different times, and it won't shut itself down!

I plan on doing some work at the storage site and will be running it again this week for an extended period. So if it doesn't shut down on its own again, what was the original problem? Was it the fact that it needed a slight adjustment in oil level? Just needed more run time because previous owner rarely ran it?
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Old 10-13-2016, 02:12 PM   #2
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I wouldn't think it would be a low oil issue and especially since it was only 1/5 qt. low. Some have said theirs have shut down due to the ambient temperature and pavement heat build up causing the generator to heat up and shut off.

Was it rather hot the days it was shutting off? If this wasn't the cause, I would suspect a fuel problem, i.e., trash or old gasoline. Some have sworn by Seafoam additive in helping to clear up some fuel issues with theirs. I've never tried it myself.
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Old 10-13-2016, 02:15 PM   #3
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My Gen had the same symptoms. Really showed up when the outside temp was hot. Took it out, ran it on the bench and it shut off after a time but not as fequenly. Did some testing (used a hair dryer on the pump) and determined it was the fuel pump. the replacement pump from ONAN had a different part number. Big clue that they had issues with the original fuel pumps. Seems others have had this issue also.
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Old 10-13-2016, 10:31 PM   #4
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Larry, upon searching on the forum I had read some stuff about these overheating. I would say that when coming from the dealer after purchase it was probably low 80's, then after that when it kept shutting down it was probably close to 90, but the last two runs, over 2 hours, we are back home and temps were probably mid 90's and it kept going.


Arby, I assume a 2014 could possibly have a different fuel part number for replacement?


I even wondered about a tank of junk fuel since the gen failures happened pretty close together, but the V-10 ran good and my MPG stayed in the 7 range the whole trip.


I may try a little Seafoam and see what happens. Thanks to all for your input.
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Old 10-13-2016, 11:07 PM   #5
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Is this the Onan 4000 or 5000?
On the 4000 the door of the generator compartment needs a vent installed to get proper cooling. It is a specific door made for the 4000.
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Old 10-13-2016, 11:09 PM   #6
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Old 10-14-2016, 12:18 AM   #7
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I have run my gen in 100+ Texas temps and no problems. Hitntheroad is right tho, got to have cooling air. I'm still impressed with the vent that hntr added to his coach, beautiful job!!!
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Old 10-14-2016, 12:51 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Arby View Post
My Gen had the same symptoms. Really showed up when the outside temp was hot. Took it out, ran it on the bench and it shut off after a time but not as fequenly. Did some testing (used a hair dryer on the pump) and determined it was the fuel pump. the replacement pump from ONAN had a different part number. Big clue that they had issues with the original fuel pumps. Seems others have had this issue also.
Onan has had a problem with the 3500 and 4000 series generator fuel pumps for a few years now. On my prior class C the 4000 series generator fuel pump had to be replaced after less than 11 hours of operation.
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Old 10-14-2016, 01:37 AM   #9
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When it shut down how much fuel was in the RV. Most gens won't run if fuel tank gets fown to 1/4 full.
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Old 10-14-2016, 01:46 AM   #10
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Looking at the specs for his motorhome, he has the Onan 5000.
It has different cooling vents. Door vent will not work.
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Old 10-14-2016, 01:59 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Joe-FL View Post
Gen set had stopped on its own several times. Back story: Bought used unit about 2 months ago, 2014 with 3,200 miles and only 230 hours on Onan generator. Drove from dealership with generator running. It stayed running for 62 miles and a little over an hour. The next 3 or 4 times it shut down after about 20 to 40 minutes.

I checked everything. It was down about 1/5 quart of oil. Topped the oil off and then several days later tired it again. Shut down after about 30 minutes. Then I read on here about the blinking lights on the switch. I was all prepared to record the blinks to figure it out.

Filled the tank after our 1350 miles run. Added some stabilizer because we may not do another trip until April. I have now ran the gen set for over 2 hours, two different times, and it won't shut itself down!

I plan on doing some work at the storage site and will be running it again this week for an extended period. So if it doesn't shut down on its own again, what was the original problem? Was it the fact that it needed a slight adjustment in oil level? Just needed more run time because previous owner rarely ran it?
I had a similar problem with my Onan in a previous RV and my local mechanic told me to run Seafoam thru it periodically. One can of Seafoam cured my poor running generator problems and I have never had problems since. It may be your stabilizer cleaned the carborator in your genny enough to let it run. Seafoam is a cheap fix if a dirty carb is your problem. I run a can thru every couple of months.
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Old 10-14-2016, 03:12 PM   #12
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THOR #5246
In the coming weeks I have numerous modification I will be making to our "new to us" Challenger plus I have to get a wax job on it, so I will be visiting the storage lot several times a week.


I plan on running the gen set (5000) with a half load on occasion until it stops, then I can get the code at least. If it doesn't stop until our next trip then I will add Seafoam anyway. Sitting on about 40 gallons in tank now.


Thanks again everyone for assistance.
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Old 10-14-2016, 06:38 PM   #13
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Adding Seafoam to a 40 gallons is fine - but you will need two cans. The more you can run thru, the better off you will be. It also helps remove any water in your gasoline.
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