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Old 05-20-2018, 11:35 AM   #1
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Isata 5 generator "needs service" ?

My Isata 5 is a '17 model year. My generator has been starting properly since delivery. Now it will start and run only about 15 seconds and then stop. The start switch is blinking 3 times indicating "needs service". The unit has 55 hours on it. Oil, filter and air filter were services 5 hours ago.
Any ideas why this is happening? Any settings to check?
All help is appreciated.
Thanks
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Old 05-20-2018, 12:25 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Teich View Post
My Isata 5 is a '17 model year. My generator has been starting properly since delivery. Now it will start and run only about 15 seconds and then stop. The start switch is blinking 3 times indicating "needs service". The unit has 55 hours on it. Oil, filter and air filter were services 5 hours ago.
Any ideas why this is happening? Any settings to check?
All help is appreciated.
Thanks
I assume you have the 8KW ?

from the service manual. If you tell me what the two digit code is I can look in here and tell you what it says
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Old 05-20-2018, 02:28 PM   #3
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onan generator? I think that three blinks is a top level code. there is a procedure to get a read out of the second level code that is much more detailed. check the owners manual on how to get the second level code and look up what it means.
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Old 05-20-2018, 04:09 PM   #4
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Thanks all for the direction. I forgot about the secondary codes. I'll have to wait until tomorrow because it will only run after about a day. It has to run to give me the first code. I I'll report back.
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Old 05-20-2018, 04:41 PM   #5
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Thanks all for the direction. I forgot about the secondary codes. I'll have to wait until tomorrow because it will only run after about a day. It has to run to give me the first code. I I'll report back.
tomorrow when you can get the second level blinks, I will be able to give you a screen shot of the problem and the corrective action from the service manual.
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Old 05-20-2018, 04:44 PM   #6
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tomorrow when you can get the second level blinks, I will be able to give you a screen shot of the problem and the corrective action from the service manual.
Thanks I'll let you know
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Old 05-20-2018, 05:23 PM   #7
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i'm not totally sure about this but I think you can get the secondary codes without running it. at least the last secondary code it recorded. i seem to remember an onan tech doing this without starting the generator. but i could be wrong. if you have the manual you may want to check to see if this is possible.
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Old 05-22-2018, 08:14 PM   #8
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i'm not totally sure about this but I think you can get the secondary codes without running it. at least the last secondary code it recorded. i seem to remember an onan tech doing this without starting the generator. but i could be wrong. if you have the manual you may want to check to see if this is possible.
There are no secondary codes coming up but I am getting the 4 blinks that suggest several fuel or filter related causes. Even though I only have 55 hours on the generator I'm going to to change the fuel filter and hope that's the fix before I get any deeper into it.
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Old 06-18-2018, 10:16 AM   #9
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Issue solved.
After changing the fuel filter - still would not start.
Looked at several Youtube videos about general maintenance of the Onan generator. During one of them, it was mentioned that the unit they were talking about, (not mine), had a fuel level cut out at 25% tank level to avoid using up all your fuel and not being able to drive away.
The fuel level on my dash read a bit over quarter tank. So I thought I was well within the parameters needed. I filled it to about a half anyway, and then everything started and ran perfectly.
I have one of the last units that was manufactured with the dual, 22 and 50 gallon tanks. The 22 gallon tank draws from the 50 and maintains about 16 to 18 gallons at all times. That plus a few gallons in the 50 tank is more than the 25% required. What I have discovered is that the fuel pick up for the generator must be located in the 50 gallon tank. It does not read a signal from the fuel gage or it just runs until the pickup is above the level in the 50 gallon tank. Probably the latter because there is nothing in the owner's manual about an automatic cut off.
I wonder why the pick up line for the generator was put in the secondary tank, not the primary. I try to fill fuel based on my destination, so as to keep the weight down, 7 pounds per gallon of diesel adds up.
Now I have to carry a minimum of about 31 gallons to be able to just start the generator and run for a short time, which is about 325 miles of range. Sometimes more than I need.
Maybe Brian can weigh in on this to explain the logic behind their choice of the secondary tank and confirm the actual number of gallons needed in the 50 gallon tank for starting.
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Old 06-18-2018, 11:05 AM   #10
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When I came on, the Ram's were already ordered with the 2nd tank to "out spec" the Ford's that were available at the time. The small one is up front and fed by the rear one. I dropped the smaller 2nd tank to make things simpler. And of course you'll still find people that disagree with that and want the 2nd tank back.

As for the amount, it does vary a bit. I ran my Gen on the 30FW this past trip and was almost down to an 1/8 of a tank and it was still going. I think that port is 1/4 tank up, but the fuel level indicator is set for a reserve so you don't run out.
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