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Old 05-19-2013, 05:50 PM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: ACE 30.1
State: Arizona
Posts: 42
THOR #260
Generator Problems in Ace?

We purchased our Ace 30.1 in March, the generator sits right behind the driver's seat. We never gave a thought to it being there since our Covington generator was in the same place. However, after readings on other forums we are quite apprehensive about using it in hot weather to cool the coach on trips this summer. Should we be worrying?
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Old 05-19-2013, 06:55 PM   #2
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Brand: Crossroads
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THOR #124
I'm not familiar with the layout on your coach,but I would think there must be adequate ventilation provided, and if you are talking about using it when running down the highway, then there should be a lot more air flow in that situation.
Hopefully somebody that has the same model will chime in here.
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Old 05-19-2013, 07:23 PM   #3
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THOR #260
Lloyd,
Thank you for the response. I frequent a lot of forums, one of them being irv2.com. There is a decent sized thread on that forum: ACE Generator Stops running - CODE 36 - Page 2 - iRV2 Forums
Seems for some reason when running in hot weather WHILE the engine is running (traveling down the road) the generator will stop running. Thor even did some modifications - one was moving the generator from behind driver area to the back of the rig. Mine is behind the driver's area. Thor has even sent out some mods when people complain enough, to include a new door with vents!
If I am going to have problems I would rather get it fixed vs traveling to Texas this summer and being miserable.
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Old 05-19-2013, 08:08 PM   #4
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THOR #124
I see what you mean. I read some of the posts on that link, WOW!
You probably should be contacting everybody you can to see if you can hurry the process of a fix.
It's to bad that units come out to the public with those kinds of problems. With the amount of money they get for them, and the problems that's there, it should be a crime. I wish I could be of more help.
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Old 05-19-2013, 10:19 PM   #5
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
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THOR #260
Thanks, Lloyd. I have emailed my "concierge" at Thor and asked for information. If there is a problem (and it seems like there will be in the summer) I would like to get it fixed sooner rather than later.
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Old 05-28-2013, 11:30 PM   #6
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THOR #260
Well no email return from Thor, why am I not surprised?
We had the generator fail on Saturday - 1 and 1/2 hours in the Tucson area in 90+ degree weather, both genny and engine running. Dealer got in touch with Thor today, supposedly there is a heat shield and louvered door on the way. We'll see. Hopefully it will fix the problem.
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Old 05-29-2013, 01:39 AM   #7
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THOR #124
That would be great if they get it there ASAP and, it takes care of the situation. Keep us posted will you?
I'll bet it was miserable in side before you got to where you could plug in.
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Old 05-29-2013, 02:29 AM   #8
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Thanks, Lloyd will do. Yes, it was pretty hot!
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Old 06-10-2013, 05:49 PM   #9
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THOR #331
ACE generator

I have been dealing with this issue for 2 years. Thor even replaced the generator last fall, and it still fails. I am currently looking into a class action suit. The issue, i believe, is not with the generator itself but with the chassis design, resulting in high temps around the generator, forcing it to shut down.
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Old 06-13-2013, 04:52 AM   #10
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THOR #260
I'm travelling on business today. Hope to send you an email/pm on that "other" forum on Friday. We are still waiting for the Onan rep to come to Tucson to see the rig. We also hope he will look at Thor's solution of placing an oil cooler for the gas to go through prior to going into the generator in front of the radiator (which didn't work). We don't think it is very safe.
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Old 07-09-2013, 04:41 PM   #11
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: ACE 30.1
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THOR #260
So, thought I would update on the Generator problem. We had a couple of "fixes" from Thor, none of which seemed to work. One of the fixes involved placing an oil cooler in front of the radiator, this cooler was used to carry gas forward of the generator, cool it, then send it back to the generator. Talk about safety! This has since been removed. We are in a holding pattern waiting on Thor to come up with a solution. Two that have been mentioned are placing the generator in another location, and installing a different generator. Hopefully, we will have a solution soon.
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Old 07-09-2013, 04:44 PM   #12
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THOR #124
Moving the generator to a different location sounds like a winner to me, and I suppose it will involve a different genny.
Thanks for the update Lisa
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Old 07-13-2013, 08:21 PM   #13
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THOR #260
Hopefully, they don't move it all the way back. That would put it directly under the bed, a little noisy for boondocking.
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Old 08-12-2013, 11:27 PM   #14
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Model: 29.1
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THOR #404
gen problems

It seems that we in az. have the same problem.
On our unit thor had a booster pump in gas line ,next to tank, still shuts down
after about 10-20 miles on the road. Seems more when it is hot 95+.
Had problem when it on first test driven, 1 year ago, still trying to get it fixed.
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Old 08-27-2013, 03:50 PM   #15
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THOR #421
Had the same issue on my new 29.2. Catastrophic failure on the genset under 40 hours on the way to Orlando. Therw a rod and broke the turbine shaft. Cummins/Onan said it was due to overheating. New genset installed and still it had issues shutting down in high temps. Thor designed the most perfect place NOT to put a Gen. Behind the engine, open at the bottom to pull hot air in and no ventiliation. My bin door even started melting. My dealer (who is awesome) is fabricating me a vented bin door, a heat shield around the gen, and runnign insulated lines and a metal junction box (the plastic one started melting). And Thor is covering it. I like Thor for their support, but man that was a dumb design.
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Old 11-27-2014, 04:14 AM   #16
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Model: 27 ft ACE
State: California
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THOR #1318
I am having the same problem with my 2013 27 ft ACE in warm weather. I contacted Thor and they referred me to ONAN. I read about getting a push pump inline. Does anyone know of a good fix or anyone at Thor that can help out with a solution
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Old 11-27-2014, 07:22 AM   #17
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THOR #531
Onan generators are rated for operation up to 120deg F. Summertime temps in Arizona can get pretty close to 120Deg.

With ambient temperatures that high, it does not give you much of a temperature safety margin, and when you add the generator's own heat source, heat reflecting off the pavement or ground, it is conceivable that you are exceeding the operating parameters of the generator... which I suppose is obvious since they are shutting down.

Whether shutting down is due to poor placement of the generator or simply the heat of the day, I am not sure. Certainly, the generator's 120Deg F operating limit can be a factor.

The only thing I saw in the Onan install guide was a set of design parameters as to where to place the generator, how far it should be from other objects, and minimum air flow.

Whether or not Thor heeded those guidelines is also a consideration. If they did (and I am not saying they did nor not) then Onan is probably more at fault.

However, if there seems to be more failures in a particular model, then there may be something wrong with the generator's location. But if generators are overheating in more temperate areas of the country then OK, maybe there is more to it than the ambient temperature simply being too hot.

Has anyone tried installing fans adjacent to the generator to get more air flow? That might cool the area enough to operate the generator.

Also, has anyone used one of those infrared thermometers (such as a Fluke 62) to see where the hot spots are on the chassis? That might tell you if the problem is from a poor location or not. These thermometers are not that expensive. The Fluke is under $100, but you can buy a cheap one for $25.

The way I see it, anything you can do to help diagnose the problem will help solve it.

Of course, an area under consideration might not be a hot spot until you put a generator in that location - especially if there is restricted air flow when doing so.

Commercial generators usually have a higher temperature rating (often over 150 Deg F) than the Onan RV generators. I still see 120Deg F as borderline for summertime conditions in the hot areas of the US.
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Old 06-30-2015, 02:52 AM   #18
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THOR #2343
Quote:
Originally Posted by sscarp View Post
I have been dealing with this issue for 2 years. Thor even replaced the generator last fall, and it still fails. I am currently looking into a class action suit. The issue, i believe, is not with the generator itself but with the chassis design, resulting in high temps around the generator, forcing it to shut down.
Wondering if you filed a class action suit or if you know of any others that have been filed?
Thank you for any info you can pass on.
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Old 06-30-2015, 03:26 AM   #19
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THOR #531
If you do a class action suit, you will probably eventually have to sue the entire RV industry.

I don't have a horse in this race, so I am not affected by the outcome, however, the generator installation guide states that the RV manufacturer must conduct a "representative" (i.e. sample) test on the generator to ensure it will not overheat in operation (due to the location and air circulation). The generator is to be tested under full load in an ambient air temperature of 60deg F to 100deg F.

This may let the RV manufacturer off the hook unless the generator is overheating and shutting down in air temperatures of less than 100deg F., as this is a generator manufacturer test procedure.

It is interesting that while the generator is rated to 120DegF, testing is only required up to 100DegF ambient air at the installation location.

In the summertime, the heat from the daytime hot asphalt pavement could reflect right up into the generator and exceed 100deg F ambient in about half of the continental US.

You will probably need someone to conduct such a test to determine if the fault lies with the RV or generator manufacturer. If it is shutting down in ambient temperatures of greater than 100deg F, then it seems to be beyond the design criteria of the generator.

I have to tell you though, the 120Deg F max operating temperature of the generator is very low. In the electronics industry, even the least stringent commercial-grade temperature range is 0DegC~70Deg C (32DegF~158Deg F), so a 120Deg F rating is not even considered a commercial-grade standard.

That is why I would not give the generator manufacturer a mulligan here. They had to know people in RVs visit hot climates in the summertime. A gasoline powered generator should have the more realistic Automotive Grade rating of -40Deg~125deg C (-40~257Deg F).

I guess it is just another example of products from the RV industry, and I wish you luck.
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Old 07-14-2015, 01:03 AM   #20
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
State: Michigan
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THOR #2428
Currently Addressing this issue!

Very interesting information. I have a 2014 Thor Ace 30.1, just past the year warranty and I am currently seeking a solution to this generator problem. I have read many forums about the ACE but I am writing my first post today so if I can help or inform or prepare another family for the potential of losing generator power in the Ace while travel in heat.

I had to modify my vacation in the southwest US because my generator would quit running when the coach slowed or stopped moving. This happened at 96 degrees and in Chicago in shut down with temperatures at as low as 81 degrees. We had to suffer through the nearly entire state of Nebraska at 88-90 degrees as once our generator shut down, it would start but either shut down quickly or once we tried to run our A/C. Our generator would run again once the engine or outside temperature significantly cooled, about a two hour stop and/or evening temperatures. If we would have encountered traffic slowdowns, we would have been on the highway with our family in anywhere from 80-96 degrees without A/C, just sweating.

When we returned, I followed Thor's advice to take the Ace to the Cummins service center in my area where they informed me that my 4000 rv genset with less than 70 hours was positioned so the air intake was basically drawing in heated air from the hot engine and causing the fuel to vapor lock this would continue to shut down the generator as the side intake system on this coach would continue to pull the heated air unless vent was provide. He advised a vented door with a seal so the generator would only draw air from outside the coach.

I informed Thor of the findings today and Thor is supposed to follow up with a response tomorrow. It is alarming to me that Thor is aware of this problem and has not made modifications to their coaches. Also that Thor is aware of the problem and has helped others make repairs but I had to spend more hours of my time this afternoon in service centers to have Cummins tell me what Thor seems to be already aware of.

My spouse and I were speaking what Thor's legal responsibility to their buyers and their families who maybe unknowingly headed out for their hot summer vacation. I am very interested to hear Thor's response tomorrow.
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