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Old 08-05-2021, 02:44 AM   #1
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How long does the generator take to start?

I'm not sure if this is normal or not, but when I go to start my gasoline Onan 4000 genny, it cranks for a good 10-seconds before it finally lights off. Is this normal, or is there something I should do to fix it?



It currently has 42 hours on it. I changed the oil and air filter at 25-hours, as per the owner's manual. The rest has been running it for 20-30 minutes under load every month or so, just to exercise it.



I'm getting ready to go full timing next month and want to make sure everything operates properly before I leave.



Many thanks!

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Old 08-05-2021, 02:55 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Choxnpinz View Post
I'm not sure if this is normal or not, but when I go to start my gasoline Onan 4000 genny, it cranks for a good 10-seconds before it finally lights off. Is this normal, or is there something I should do to fix it?



It currently has 42 hours on it. I changed the oil and air filter at 25-hours, as per the owner's manual. The rest has been running it for 20-30 minutes under load every month or so, just to exercise it.
I'm getting ready to go full timing next month and want to make sure everything operates properly before I leave.
Many thanks!
Make sure you prime the generator's fuel system before you try to start the generator. About 20 seconds if the generator is in the rear of the coach and 45 seconds if it is in the front of the coach. When you press the start rocker to prime, the red light will come on showing the fuel pump is running (start switch on the generator has no light).
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Old 08-05-2021, 03:10 AM   #3
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To prime, press the start/stop rocker switch to stop and HOLD for at least 30 seconds... even 40 seconds won't hurt. Notice the little red light on the switch will glow red when priming.

I have the same genny... I usually prime it like that. If it doesn't start in about 5-6 seconds of cranking, I prime some more. The generator is just behind the driver in mine, so the gas has to pump clear from the rear gas tank... quite a distance. But doing that process works like a charm... it fires right up.
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Old 08-05-2021, 03:10 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Beau388 View Post
Make sure you prime the generator's fuel system before you try to start the generator. About 20 seconds if the generator is in the rear of the coach and 45 seconds if it is in the front of the coach. When you press the start rocker to prime, the red light will come on showing the fuel pump is running (start switch on the generator has no light).
Sorry, I failed to mention that I use the correct starting procedure; holding the rocker down until the red light comes on and the hours LCD cycles back to the current reading before attempting the start.
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Old 08-05-2021, 03:23 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Choxnpinz View Post
Sorry, I failed to mention that I use the correct starting procedure; holding the rocker down until the red light comes on and the hours LCD cycles back to the current reading before attempting the start.
You need to hold the rocker switch down for 30 seconds AFTER the red light comes on. The red light is telling you the pump is priming the genny. If it doesn't start in 6-8 seconds after priming release the starter and prime again.(I usually prime for anther 10 count) Mine usually starts on my second attempt after the genny has been sitting for awhile.
All these genny's have their own little quirks your results may vary. find what is best for you
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Old 08-05-2021, 03:28 AM   #6
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Sorry, I failed to mention that I use the correct starting procedure; holding the rocker down until the red light comes on and the hours LCD cycles back to the current reading before attempting the start.
You need to hold the prime switch down for 20 to 40 seconds AFTER the red light comes on. When you first press prime, the computer checks the system for about 4 to 9 seconds before starting the prime function. The red light comes on when the computer thinks it is safe to start the fuel pump. You are signalling the computer; not actually doing any thing electrical or mechanical. The same for a shut-down. Just trip the switch to signal the computer to shut down the generator. The computer will turn of the fuel pump and the ignition and start the shutdown; no need to hold the switch down until the generator stops.
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Old 08-05-2021, 03:34 AM   #7
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If you're quiet like a church mouse you can hear the priming pump running. Start counting after you hear it engage.
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Old 08-05-2021, 04:01 AM   #8
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Mine rarely starts on the first try no matter how long I prime it first. I’ll usually let it crank for about 10 or 15 seconds after priming then let it sit for another 5-10 seconds and it will then fire immediately upon cranking again. Don’t know why this works but it is very consistent
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Old 08-05-2021, 04:38 AM   #9
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Every time this topic comes up I get confused. My Onan 5500 is about 20 months old with about 140 hours. I have NEVER primed it and it always manually starts in 2-3 secs. Yes; I have Primer buttons capabilities and the manual explains how to use, but not sure it states it is required for every start? Maybe it is? But if so; I get confused again because 80% of the time when my genset starts it is due to AGS; and when the AGS (EC-30) starts it, it is immediate start up. So the latter is why I get puzzled when most everybody else seem to prime as a rule. Make me wonder if any of the users that must prime that long could even use a AGS system effectively?

Note: I try to use my genset as much as possible, but despite all of my efforts; I can only average about 7 hours usage / month.
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Old 08-05-2021, 04:48 AM   #10
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The OP's question is regarding a 4K carbureted genny. Genny's with an automatic start if I am not mistaken are equipped with electronic fuel injection. Different animal
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Old 08-05-2021, 04:53 AM   #11
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Our usage seems to be more maintenance than actual usage. We seem to wind up with electric hookup fairly frequently.

And that "AGS" stuff? It's just a passing fad... like those electric car starters, color TV and those new fangled electronical computer things!!
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Old 08-05-2021, 05:37 AM   #12
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The OP's question is regarding a 4K carbureted genny. Genny's with an automatic start if I am not mistaken are equipped with electronic fuel injection. Different animal
That may explain it, I will have to check? It really puzzle me because I know the masses can't be wrong. However, I must say that my coach did not come with EC-30 from Factory but it is an authorized install by Winnebago Dealer for Onan. I actually have two primer buttons inside one on original switch and the other on the EC-30 pad. I am sure I could prime it at the genset as well. I started it once at the Genset just to see it work, but other than change the oil / filter and adjust altitude settings; I have not done anything else with it. When it was brand new, I kind of assume that was why it started so easily and that after about a year I would need to prime. But thus far, that has not been the case. Now my portable 3500 Inverter Genny need to be primed every time; I have to press that primer bulb at least 10 times before starting.
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Old 08-05-2021, 06:05 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Chateau_Nomad View Post
Our usage seems to be more maintenance than actual usage. We seem to wind up with electric hookup fairly frequently.

And that "AGS" stuff? It's just a passing fad... like those electric car starters, color TV and those new fangled electronical computer things!!
The Generator / AGS is by far the single most important thing to me on my RV (besides the engine) I can't think of last time I ran it to just exercise or maintenance. However, I do run it every time I need it without hesitation, I actually try to get 10 hrs / month.

Think of it like this for us.

Basically every time we go anywhere, the genset is running because of Texas Heat. Additionally when we pack to leave for a trip, the genset may run 2 hrs while the coach cools, the fridge cools, while I put away the shorepower cord. We keep our RV at home and we are in and out of it all the time. i.e. we will regularly order some food for pickup and drive to a restaurant and eat inside the RV in the parking lot while watching TV. When using the RV the AUTO Genset mode is active; so it starts and stops itself based on RV getting warmer than 78 degrees, or House batteries dropping below 12.6 vdc. But like you, when we are at a campsite, we do not need, however it is in AUTO mode because if power goes out, our Genny will start.

When we are traveling, we are more likely to stop anywhere that is convenient versus trying to find a RV park for the night. I don't like pulling into a RV park at night, and I am too restless to stop at one during broad day light for one night; as I would rather keep moving toward my destination.

My wife loves it because when it is set, she does not have to worry about doing anything or me asking her to check something. Temperature stays perfect, and she does not have to worry about draining batteries. As a bonus, when driving on a trip we may start with only the Chassis AC, but at some point in Texas heat, the AGS will turn on and cool the coach. My wife does not have to get up

BTW; What is a Color TV?
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Old 08-05-2021, 01:55 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Beau388 View Post
You need to hold the prime switch down for 20 to 40 seconds AFTER the red light comes on. When you first press prime, the computer checks the system for about 4 to 9 seconds before starting the prime function. The red light comes on when the computer thinks it is safe to start the fuel pump. You are signalling the computer; not actually doing any thing electrical or mechanical. The same for a shut-down. Just trip the switch to signal the computer to shut down the generator. The computer will turn of the fuel pump and the ignition and start the shutdown; no need to hold the switch down until the generator stops.

Interesting. During my walk-thru with the dealer, he told me to hold it until the light comes on. I also noticed that the light goes back out after several seconds of holding it. I assume there's a pressure switch in the fuel line that stops it once fully primed, but I'm just guessing.
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Old 08-05-2021, 01:57 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by MJC62 View Post
The OP's question is regarding a 4K carbureted genny. Genny's with an automatic start if I am not mistaken are equipped with electronic fuel injection. Different animal

Not necessarily. Mine has an AGS in the system for when the house batteries get low. I've never tried it before, but I'd like to think the brain box knows to prime the genny before trying to fire it off.
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Old 08-05-2021, 02:00 PM   #16
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Mine usually starts on my second attempt after the genny has been sitting for awhile.
All these genny's have their own little quirks your results may vary. find what is best for you

How does the AGS handle the priming? Does it prime for 30-seconds before it engages the starter?


What happens if it doesn't start on the first try using the AGS? Is it like the furnace where it will clear the gases and try again 30-secodns later?
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Old 08-05-2021, 02:30 PM   #17
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Those 4K gas jobs do take a little bit of time to get the fire lit...
It's normal...
But my little 3.2 K diesel unit fires on about the second turn of the crankshaft.
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Old 08-06-2021, 04:40 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Choxnpinz View Post
How does the AGS handle the priming? Does it prime for 30-seconds before it engages the starter?


What happens if it doesn't start on the first try using the AGS? Is it like the furnace where it will clear the gases and try again 30-secodns later?
The EC-30 does NOT prime before starting. This is why all of the Priming talk is confusing the hell out of me. My guess if that if you have to prime as long as some are stating, then if you had the Onan EC-30 the generator would NOT Auto Start.

Here is why. My switch on EC -30 is toggle. The top is Start / Preheat, the bottom is Stop / Prime.

So to manually start, you press Start / Preheat 2 - 3 sec boom genset is running.

to manually stop, you simply press Stop / Prime.
to manually prime, you press and hold Stop / Prime for 30 seconds.

The wiring from the EC-30 confirms that when it auto mode it only sends wire #3 Start / Preheat and the genset will start. It sends stop signal Stop / Prime to stop.

But if you don't follow or believe that; in my Onan manual on page 25 it clearly lays out when you are suppose to use the Prime button. When replacing fuel filter OR When you have run out of fuel.
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Old 08-06-2021, 12:35 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by MJC62 View Post
The OP's question is regarding a 4K carbureted genny. Genny's with an automatic start if I am not mistaken are equipped with electronic fuel injection. Different animal
It does not. From manual: Side Draft Carburetor: KY (gasoline)


I always thought that when the light came on it was finished priming.
Wonder why it was(is) a pain to start.
Can't wait to try it out.
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Old 08-07-2021, 10:08 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Choxnpinz View Post
I'm not sure if this is normal or not, but when I go to start my gasoline Onan 4000 genny, it cranks for a good 10-seconds before it finally lights off. Is this normal, or is there something I should do to fix it?



It currently has 42 hours on it. I changed the oil and air filter at 25-hours, as per the owner's manual. The rest has been running it for 20-30 minutes under load every month or so, just to exercise it.



I'm getting ready to go full timing next month and want to make sure everything operates properly before I leave.



Many thanks!
When I bought our ACE new in 2016 the gen. was really hard to start. After I adjusted the choke and drain the carb every time I use it, it fires right up even if it has not been started for months. BTW mine has a drain screw on bottom of float bowl.
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