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Old 06-11-2015, 03:34 AM   #1
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THOR #2210
Generator overheat??

I have a 2014 hurricane, while on an outing last year going through New Mexico and Arizona the generator kicked off with a code 36. It would restart after letting it sit, but would only run for about 20 minutes at a time. Called THOR, they told me to take it to Onan, which I did after we were done camping for the year. Onan ran tests on it all day, used 1/4 tank of gas and said there was nothing wrong with it and was maybe overheating. I proceeded to put it in storage, would run it once a month for about an hour putting as much load on it as I could in the winter.

Took it out for our first trip of the summer, running the generator in order to run the AC...this campground was only about an hour away. The generator had been running for about 30 minutes before starting the drive and when pulling into the campsite, the generator quit again! Code 36...again! The oil levels and everything are fine. This was the first real run since Onan said everything was good with the generator.

Has anyone else with the hurricane had any issues with their generator shutting down? If so...how did you fix it? This generator is located in the back of the coach opposite the exhaust. If there's a way to allow better airflow...I'm all ears!
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Old 06-11-2015, 03:45 AM   #2
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THOR #1599
Hello, unfortunately I can not help you with your problem.....but I have a 2015 Hurricane, and wanted to know where you were reading that code? I did not know we had any panel that showed fault codes! thanks,
Tom
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Old 06-11-2015, 04:02 AM   #3
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THOR #2210
The code is read on your generator start switch. The orange light on my forward panel flashed to indicate the code (three flashes, pause, then six flashes).
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Old 06-11-2015, 12:16 PM   #4
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THOR #531
Onan RV generators are only rated up to 120deg operation.

Especially if you are running the generator while driving... the reflection of heat off an asphalt pavement during an Arizona summer would seem to be the cuplrit.

Overheating generators seems to be a common problem in Arizona.
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Old 06-11-2015, 12:36 PM   #5
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THOR #2210
I've read about the 120 degree limit on carious other threads. I can see where a hot summer day in Arizona could cause that.

On this latest incident, I was in Kansas and the temperature was about 85. Not saying it didn't reach 120 in the compartment.

My biggest question here is if anyone has or has heard of a fix to allow more air flow within the generator compartment. Design flaws and location issues aside, I want to be able to travel in the summer and use my generator. If anyone has any suggestions allowing more airflow (vents, tubing, fans, etc) and a means to acquire and install these devices that would certainly he appreciated.

Thank you to those that have responded so far. Your help and insight is appreciated.
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Old 06-11-2015, 12:48 PM   #6
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Although I have not had that issue, I think I would look into adding a fan to the radiator compartment, perhaps an aftermarket engine cooling fan.

At the very least, I might put a remote-reading thermometer near the genny so I could monitor the temperature from the dash to acertain for sure whether or not the issue is temperature related.
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Old 06-11-2015, 02:57 PM   #7
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It seems to me that Onan would have mentioned that it could be a overheat, ambient temperature problem and suggested a possible fix. JMO
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Old 06-11-2015, 05:51 PM   #8
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THOR #2072
I have a 2016 Thor ACE 30.1 with a 4,000 Gen.

I have the coach in Cummings shop as I write this for the same reason.

It overheated so bad that the heat bubbled the compartment inner door panel on the coach. Sitting here and waiting to here!
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Old 06-11-2015, 09:19 PM   #9
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I agree with FW, install a fan in the compartment and dissipate some of the heat! Perhaps even tap into your A/C and vent some cool are down there.
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Old 06-12-2015, 03:19 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daveht View Post
I have a 2016 Thor ACE 30.1 with a 4,000 Gen.

I have the coach in Cummings shop as I write this for the same reason.

It overheated so bad that the heat bubbled the compartment inner door panel on the coach. Sitting here and waiting to here!
It turns out that the stator motor burnt out. I have to wait till Monday for the part. Another weekend shot!
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Old 06-12-2015, 04:24 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry View Post
It seems to me that Onan would have mentioned that it could be a overheat, ambient temperature problem and suggested a possible fix. JMO
They did mention the possibility of overheat and told me that they could "fabricate" something to help that. Of course...the fabrication would not be covered under warranty. But, regardless...I just want something that will work and fix the problem. I have not yet gone back to the onan repair shop...I'm considering trying a fix on my own.
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Old 06-12-2015, 04:27 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daveht View Post
I have a 2016 Thor ACE 30.1 with a 4,000 Gen.

I have the coach in Cummings shop as I write this for the same reason.

It overheated so bad that the heat bubbled the compartment inner door panel on the coach. Sitting here and waiting to here!
I thought the later models of the ACE had the generator installed in the rear of the coach to prevent these issues...just like my hurricane. Where is your generator installed?? I'm curious what the Onan people have to say about this. As I've said...I just want it to work. If I have to cut a hole in my door to provide extra ventilation I will do it, but don't want to do that without the research.
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Old 06-12-2015, 02:12 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Ready2retire View Post
....cut.... If I have to cut a hole in my door to provide extra ventilation I will do it, but don't want to do that without the research.
As a temporary test, can you remove the door completely to see if it fixes the problem? It may help you confirm your theory that problem is due to lack of ventilation before cutting holes in door.

I'm not sure if it's possible to unscrew the hinges and remove the door easily so it can be reinstalled after a couple of hours, or if there are any risks involved with wind pressure causing unexpected damage. I'd ask Thor first.
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Old 06-12-2015, 06:23 PM   #14
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THOR #1028
We lost the fuel pump on are 4000 from heat. The onan repairman said it was from the overheating. Thor said there is no overheating problem. Onan said it needs fresh air. Tried to get a door with a vent from thor and was told they could not find one. So I built one and installed my self. Onan also put a seal around the the inside of the door to only let fresh are in from out side the rigg
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Old 06-12-2015, 06:38 PM   #15
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THOR #1150
Onan shipped a bunch of 4000's with bad fuel pumps. The Onan repairman that replaced our fuel pump said it was quite common (in fact he had the fuel pump swapped out faster than the front office could get the paperwork done).

The Axis/Vegas units really shouldn't have any overheating issues with the gennys being way in the back.
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Old 06-12-2015, 06:59 PM   #16
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We did not have one of the bad batch. It would shut down in the middle of the night. Only running a cpap machine. He took a 6 hour temp run a with out the vent on a cloudy day 70* temp. With the door closed got over a 50 deg. Heat rise over the door open. Said yes they would warranty it but next time it would something more costly and yes time down. Now with the vent it runs cool to the point it will not cook the grass yard it is sitting on. Before over night all grass under the back of the rigg would be dead brown
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Old 06-12-2015, 07:36 PM   #17
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THOR #2072
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ready2retire View Post
I thought the later models of the ACE had the generator installed in the rear of the coach to prevent these issues...just like my hurricane. Where is your generator installed?? I'm curious what the Onan people have to say about this. As I've said...I just want it to work. If I have to cut a hole in my door to provide extra ventilation I will do it, but don't want to do that without the research.
My gen. door is on the driver's side second door back. I am also thinking about installing vents in the door and adding computer fans to blow the hot air out.

Just thinking for now. I will test the generator again once I get it back. If it overheats again someone will pay and it will not be me!!!
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Old 06-12-2015, 08:33 PM   #18
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THOR #1469
Hey folks,

Have you looked at the Onan Installation manual that came with your coach?

My setup is different being a Challenger with a 5500 Onan. The manual requires 1/2 inch clearance on the top and sides and 12 inches unobstructed on the bottom. The storage compartment which houses my generator has no floor and is open to the outside.

If your rigs are like my Class C was, you would have to look under the coach to see if there was a bottom on the compartment. In that coach the 4000 Onan fit so tight you couldn't see the bottom of the compartment. There was no bottom on that storage compartment either. It never had an overheating problem but it did have the fuel pump problem.

Within 10 minutes you can determine where the fault lines; in the installation (Thor) or in the equipment (Onan).

By the way the 4000 fuel pump problem was caused by faulty diaphragms. Onan could never track the source of the faulty components to remove the faulty pumps from their supply chain.
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Old 06-12-2015, 08:39 PM   #19
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THOR #1028
Are gen. Is mounted under the left rear at the very back. Last door on the drivers side. Onan wanted to take the door off and put chicken wire over the hole. Wife about stroked on that. I built and installed it. Onan sealed the inside. And said running it down the highway it would not over heat because it is getting good air flow. He also said he is seeing a lot like this that have no fresh air vent for them. I have pictures of the one I built and installed in the door but not sure how to post them.
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Old 06-13-2015, 02:32 PM   #20
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THOR #1469
Quote:
Originally Posted by HEAVYOWENS View Post
Are gen. Is mounted under the left rear at the very back. Last door on the drivers side. Onan wanted to take the door off and put chicken wire over the hole. Wife about stroked on that. I built and installed it. Onan sealed the inside. And said running it down the highway it would not over heat because it is getting good air flow. He also said he is seeing a lot like this that have no fresh air vent for them. I have pictures of the one I built and installed in the door but not sure how to post them.
This is just my 2 cents.

Interesting that Onan wanted to modify your coach to make their generator operate properly.

In the installation manual for my generator it clearly states that the generator vents from the bottom. They clearly stress the importance of adequate clearance (12 inches unobstructed) on the bottom of the generator but only provide slight mention to the side, front and top clearance (1/2 inch).

If Onan installation instructions are incorrect it could represent a significant cost to them to notify all coach manufacturers, not just Thor, that there is either a problem with their instructions or with the cooling/venting system on their generators. This would be a significant recall effort and cost on Onan's part.

Some things to think about, by cutting a vent hole in your coach you may have solved Onan's problem on your coach but what happens if it overheats again? Are you going to cut a bigger hole or remove the door completely? If the generator is installed per instructions, why are you modifying your coach to appease Onan rather than you and Thor forcing Onan to determine why the generator does not function correctly in a proper operating environment? How much have you diminished the value of your coach by making the modification?

Now the most important point I will make, Did Onan provide you with written documentation stating that your generator overheating problem was due to inadequate ventilation and did you provide Thor with a copy of that documentation?

In my many years I have found that "workarounds" to problems are usually (not always) temporary at best. Often the effective time of a workaround is the expiration of the warranty or service contract and then the consumer or client is stuck with the cost of a permanent fix to the problem, signing an extension to a high cost service contract, or finding an adequate replacement for the defective system.
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