Sunday, June 29, 2014

The New Onan install

After a truly stressful week, things have calmed down and Katie and I are enjoying our stay at Storrie Lake State Park.

The new Onan generator install at Cummins Rocky Mountain, LLC in Albuquerque, NM was finally completed on Thursday after 5:00.  It's beautiful, as these things go:

Here's a tip for anyone who might be purchasing a new generator in the future:  READ YOUR OWNER'S MANUAL.  No one explained anything to me, except I need to have a service done on it after 20 hours of use, oil change and filter, I think.  When I read the manual, I saw that you have to BREAK IN the new generator by running it under 1/2 load for 2 hours, then 3/4 load for 2 hours.  You won't get the best out of your machine if it isn't broken in correctly.  How many people ever read the manuals until there's a problem?

If you're buying a new generator, read and follow the manual directions.  If you're buying a new-TO-YOU rig with an unused or very under-used generator, get a reduction in the the total price if you can, because you'll be buying a new one down the road like I did.

Another thing I didn't know until I read the manual.   If I'm running the air conditioner, I need to start the generator and let it run for two minutes then turn on the air.  After turning off the air, or other appliances, let the generator run for two full minutes before turning it off.  "This reduces backfiring and run-on."  It also gives it a chance to cool off.  I didn't know that.

Also, my super technician, Ken, who did my install, asked my how I use my generator.  I told him:  coffee maker, toaster oven, microwave, hair dryer and blender.  Occasionally air conditioner, but I do run it under load for an hour each month, either air or a space heater.

My manual says to run it under heavy load for two hours each month.  "A single two hour exercise period is better than several shorter periods."

But Ken said I need to "exercise" mine more because of my use. Maybe you guys all run your air a lot, or other heavy loads, I don't know how other generators are used.  He said I should run the generator under heavy load, like the air or space heater, every week for an hour.  Not every month, that isn't enough if you don't use your generator a lot.   And I asked him about some commenters' suggestions that they run their air while driving down the road, keeping the motor home cool and running the generator at the same time.  He said that is actually a good thing to do, and will give me a little better gas mileage.  He explained why, but I didn't get it all.  I'm going to do that, though, during weather that doesn't require air or heat being run.

So...  every week under heavy load for an hour, and on the fourth week I'm going to let it run two hours. (NOTE:  I copied the manual section relating to this at the end of this post.)

I always wanted to keep my hours low on the generator, it made sense to me that the lower the hours the longer it would last.  Strangely, that's not true.  Lack of use is why most generators fail.  They are made to run, and if they sit for periods of time, they will fail sooner.  Running them circulates new gas through the fuel system.  It will also lubricate the internal parts of the motor. (If you put your rig in storage, there are procedures to follow, and they are shown in the RV Generator Handbook.  The link is below toward the end.)

Okay...   so ....   I am super happy with it so far.  It starts right up and keeps going until I turn it off.  I've done the break-in hours under load.  Now it just needs it's 20 hour service when we get to 20 hours.

You might remember when I was at that facility last year I didn't get very good service.  They had a new tech there, someone said Ken was probably overloaded and they brought someone in, and I got that new tech, who didn't do a very good job on my Level II service.  I needed to have another service done elsewhere to finish what wasn't done correctly.

When I went back this year (only because they have many EXCELLENT reviews and no bad ones that I could find), I told the customer service gal what happened and brought my receipts to show her.  She made copies to show her manager.  I asked if they would consider giving me a discount this time to make up for last time.  She ended up giving me an estimate, and said she would talk to the manager about taking something off the total.  When I got my final total cost, it was a pretty deep discount, and I was beyond pleased.   I sure appreciated it, they stood behind their work and then some.  The labor hours I paid for were less than estimated, too, probably because my technician really knew what he was doing and did it quickly.

If you have an Onan and no manual, this is the link to the:  Onan Cummins RV Generator Handbook.  You can read the PDF manual at this link, or download it to your computer.

All in all I left their facility a happy camper.  What a relief to have that done.

I'm going to end this post here; I want to keep the generator info separate.  I'll post again tomorrow with Storrie Lake news.

From me and Katie, keeping cool at Lake Storrie, have a great Sunday everyone!  :)


  1. Woohoo. Glad you are up and running again. In my research for finding our rig I did read that low numbers on a generator were not that good. Ours was 1947 when we got it. Now wondering if it's too much . Lol but excellent info about generators.

  2. Glad you are again a happy camper and the stress is behind you. Happy days are here again.

  3. As soon as my AC cycles off, I'm going to exercise mine. Thanks for the reminder. :)

  4. And check the oil level frequently using the dipstick. Add as needed.

    1. Yes, that's exactly right, Kim, every 8 hours. And that's when I'd add another 1/2 quart of oil. Then I started talking about it and found out no one else I asked added oil. They only had new oil added when the had their annual service. That's when I knew something was wrong. I'll still be checking mine every 8 hours, though. I'm used to it and want to be sure everything looks okay.

  5. Thanks for the reminders. We always turn our a/c off prior to starting the generator, but not before stopping it. (guess we never read the manual) We most always run it while traveling because it's usually hot. We have over 1600 hours on ours and so far so good (knock on wood)

  6. So glad to hear you are up and running!!! Isn't it nice to know just "how" to run/use equipment!!! Thanks for the tips and link. :-) Enjoy your new generator!!!

  7. That's good news that you have the generator stress behind you!!! Finally

  8. Yeah I am going to purchase honda generator eu3000is pretty soon. I didn’t know these facts about generators. I’ll definitely follow these guidelines while purchasing and installing the generator. Thanks for the post!


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