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Old 10-11-2020, 08:17 PM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
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THOR #20429
RV Generator Maintenance

I Live in the Tucson area and plan to not use our new RV for 5-6 months.

What is the best practice for ensuring that the generator will start after this period?

I have seen recommendations to run the generator for one hour every month, run the generator with a mixture of Seafoam and gas and the let it sit. Quite frankly, in the past, I have just stored four cycle engines for the winter by disconnecting the gas and then run it till it kills.

Thought??

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Old 10-11-2020, 08:43 PM   #2
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If you will have access to it
You should go run the gen and the engine every month or two
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Old 10-11-2020, 09:12 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by makitso View Post
I Live in the Tucson area and plan to not use our new RV for 5-6 months.

What is the best practice for ensuring that the generator will start after this period?

I have seen recommendations to run the generator for one hour every month, run the generator with a mixture of Seafoam and gas and the let it sit. Quite frankly, in the past, I have just stored four cycle engines for the winter by disconnecting the gas and then run it till it kills.

Thought??
My ONAN manual recommends running generators at a minimum of 50% capacity for 2 hours every four weeks.

It mentions that gum and varnish can begin to accumulate in gasoline carbs in as little as 30 days, but it does not address fuel stabilizers. I've seen mixed real-world testing results from fuel stabilizers (see YouTuber "Project Farm" for one such test), but I've apparently had good luck with Stabil for a variety of 4-stroke engines that have been stored for up to 6 months. That may be due more to luck than any positive effect from Stabil.

My experience with leaving engines for longer periods of time is mixed. Sometimes I've been able to just empty out the old fuel and add fresh fuel, but other times I've had to pull and clean the carb.

I'm fairly comfortable taking apart and cleaning carbs, so I haven't worried about it too much for most of my small engines. That said, I had an Onan service tech tell me that they do NOT sell rebuild kits for their gasoline generators carbs. I didn't try to verify that, but took care to change out the fuel and exercise my Onan 5500 regularly just in case he was correct.

Our toy hauler had a fuel station, so I set a monthly calendar event to exercise the generator then pump any remaining fuel into the lawn tractor, mower, car, etc. to empty the tank, then dumped in 10 or 15 gallons of fresh fuel (with Stabil, just in case it actually helps). I'll admit that I didn't get around to doing this every month, but I did manage to do it most of the time for the years that we owned the toy hauler. Was this overkill? Perhaps...but the generator had over 2500 trouble-free hours on it when we sold the toy hauler. The fuel station made changing out the fuel really easy. It would have been quite a bit more tedious to use a siphon.
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Old 10-12-2020, 01:57 PM   #4
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The other part of Gen maintenance is the electrical generation side. These are brushed commutator generators (mostly) and moisture in the air will condense on the windings, brushes, commutator parts quickly depending on how moist the air is around it. Dry desert is the best (Tucson), seashore the worst. Running the gen set monthly under load will drive out this moisture with the heat generated by running. This will avoid corrosion long term in these parts. This is the major difference between lawn mowers, tractors and gen sets. Manufacturers always specify a minimum maintenance schedule regardless of conditions.
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Old 10-12-2020, 10:06 PM   #5
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Onan is firm on their recommendation. On the other hand I don't know how much damage, if any, would be caused by running the engine dry and then restarting in 6 months.
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Old 10-12-2020, 10:13 PM   #6
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I am not suggesting what is good or bad. The generator is a four stroke engine. IMO, the greatest risk is gas evaporating out of the carburator and leaving deposits. If you run it dry you shouldn't have this condition. ..Just my thinking.
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