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Old 11-17-2016, 01:51 PM   #1
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Generator surging

I'm not sure if EXTremist ever found the cause of his issue in an earlier thread (Generator issue documented with video) but I discovered a similar issue a few weeks back when I had my 2016 3011 at a Penn State tailgate. It was a cold and rainy day so I was running the Heat Pump to add some warmth and the generator would surge. I didn't have time to look at it again until yesterday when I prepping the unit to bring it back to the dealer for the 10 or so items that I need to have fixed before the warranty is up. I tried a quick test, the generator had a hard time starting up and when it finally did it surged with no load for several minutes. I left it running for about 45 mins, came back and it was running at a constant speed. I then plugged in a hair dryer and turned it on high and the gen starting surging once again. It would then stop as soon as the hair dryer was turned off. My dealer so far has not been the best trying to resolve issues with my RV so any heads up that I can give them regarding problems like this could save a lot of time.

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Old 11-18-2016, 08:31 AM   #2
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The two Onan gensets I have owned, each came from the factory with the choke adjusted too lean. You could have them start by doing a choke adjustment.

But I don't think that is your problem since it happens when yours is warmed up. It sounds to me like a dirty carb, which you would not think on a 2016. But they gum up quickly, by all accounts. It's a known difficulty with these gensets. If it has sat at some point with gas in it for a few months, that is where I would start.

If I was fixing it myself, I would re-rig the fuel line to feed from a gas can containing gas and either Seafoam mixed strongly, or gas and Marine Sta-Bil mixed at the stronger "clean up" ratio. I found the latter works better than Seafoam for this. Run it, let it sit for a couple days, run it, let it set, etc., until it runs right. Might take a week or so. I did this on my first Onan, because it had a dirty carb. It worked.

Rigging the fuel line to do that is not as hard as it might sound, but obviously it takes a little bit of engine know how. There is a clamped connection that you simply take apart, and then your line is free to move. And there are safety considerations, you are playing with open gas next to the genset.

You could accomplish the same thing by treating your RV gas tank. I sure would not fill the tank. Just enough to be over 1/4 tank so the genset will draw gas. Otherwise you'd need a lot of Sta-Bil.

But it's not an immediate thing, so your dealer won't want to mess with that method. They'll have to change the carb, I suppose.

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Old 11-18-2016, 09:09 AM   #3
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My 2014 Sunseeker 2300 did that from day one. Harder starts and surging. It was never an issue with functionality for the 2 years I owned it, but odd. It was sold to me like that new from the dealer and when I traded it in, the same dealer tried to make a big deal out of it. Eventually they dropped the issue.

My new 3100SS starts perfect with no surges and I am grateful. Hopefully Onan can help you. Good Luck.
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Old 11-18-2016, 09:21 AM   #4
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Yep carb issue. Air filter clean? Most carbs these days won't have a low speed mixture adjustment. EPA you know. Lots of times clogged air bleeds in either high or low speed systems. More likely than fuel orifices blocked. You could get lucky with a shot of gummout spray in the air bleeds. Lot of time you'll see them along side of the venturi with the air filter off. If unfamiliar, you want to avoid messing with anything connecting the throttle plates with a spring. That will affect the sync speed and frequency and you'l need a meter either frequency or tach to reestablish 60 Hz @3600RPM
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Old 11-18-2016, 10:53 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by jeff64 View Post
Yep carb issue.
More likely than fuel orifices blocked.
With today's ethenol additive fuels- when the brass jets get deposit buildup, they are nearly impossible to clean correctly.

I have been through this on several carbureted motorcycles.
Pull out the main jet (probably the only one in a generator)and get a new one.
My Honda 2000 has experienced similar- rejet does the trick. Cleaning them works for awhile but the condition will return.

Even in a 2016 motorhome- the gas may have sat in there for a few months.
As it evaporates in the carb, it will leave deposits that grow.
Fuel injection does not have this issue since the fuel stays under pressure in the system.

My $.02 from aggravated experience.
"If you are going through hell..keep going"
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Old 12-12-2016, 01:06 PM   #6
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I recently met the dealer and he showed me the generator running with a heater gun load and it was not surging. Since I did not start it I cannot vouch for it not having issues at this time but I certainly will test it again before I pick up the unit to bring it home.

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