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Old 03-24-2019, 10:55 AM   #1
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Generator-How far away is safe

Iíve read on this forum about members adding a generator mount that attaches to the bumper of their RV. My question is it safe to operate it from the platform or is it to close for fear of carbon monoxide gas poisoning?

I would like to upgrade my generator size but this adds weight that I will have to lift. I can do that but would rather not.

Who uses a generator from a bumper mounted platform? What are your thoughts?
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Old 03-24-2019, 11:13 AM   #2
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I wouldn't be concerned about Carbon monoxide poisoning unless a window or intake are close by. I would be worried about the weight on the bumper if not properly installed and reinforced and heat from the muffler (if to close)
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Old 03-24-2019, 12:36 PM   #3
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Someone on the forum adapted one of the exhaust stacks to their genny on the back rack. Gets the exhaust up high and he takes it down while traveling. Ties it off next to the ladder.
I use the same stack for my built in genny to get the exhaust up high.
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Old 03-24-2019, 12:52 PM   #4
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As long as the bumper supports the weight AND the exhaust does not point directly towards the back wall (for more reasons than carbon monoxide) then I have no issues having it there.

Remember, a running generator produces vibrations and that can often compound through the bumper, into the frame and then into the rig. I had one on our last 5th wheel's bumper and the DW forbid running it there. Couldn't stand the vibration.

While I carry our generator on the bumper of our current 5th wheel, I set it just under the edge of the slide out once at the campsite.
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Old 03-24-2019, 08:33 PM   #5
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One my last rig, I ran ours from the bumper but never carried it back there.

The CO detector went off once in 2 weeks, but it could have been a neighbor’s RV. It was at the Balloon Fiesta and we were parked nuts to butts and packed in.

The vibration was real. The kids dealt with it without complaining, though.

Once I knew we were running a generator, I added CO detectors in each living area that didn’t already have one (aka in the front master bedroom and rear bunkhouse). This was important to me.
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Old 03-24-2019, 09:33 PM   #6
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We have several close friends who permanently mounted their generators on a rear bumper tray. They occasionally have exhaust entering their RV depending in which windows/vents they have open and what the wind is doing. They learn to avoid this.

The big problem I see is vibration. They choose to ignore it, but when I'm in their rigs, I can't stand it.
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Old 03-25-2019, 02:23 PM   #7
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I mounted two Honda 2200i inverter generators on my beefed up bumper. Both are inside a lockable aluminum box with 12V 12 inch diameter automotive fan mounted in front of box to draw cooling air in. The exhaust of each generator is vented out the rear of box. The box sits on 3/4 inch thick plywood that has 1.0 inch thick hard foam between it and the bumper mounted supports (4 each). Vibration is very low and almost no noise. Our 5th wheel is a 2016 Prime Time Crusader Lite. With windows closed and AC running, I have never had an issue with exhaust fumes.
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Old 03-25-2019, 02:40 PM   #8
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I mounted two Honda 2200i inverter generators on my beefed up bumper. Both are inside a lockable aluminum box with 12V 12 inch diameter automotive fan mounted in front of box to draw cooling air in. The exhaust of each generator is vented out the rear of box. The box sits on 3/4 inch thick plywood that has 1.0 inch thick hard foam between it and the bumper mounted supports (4 each). Vibration is very low and almost no noise. Our 5th wheel is a 2016 Prime Time Crusader Lite. With windows closed and AC running, I have never had an issue with exhaust fumes.
How far is it between the back of the box where the generator's exhaust comes out and the back wall of your R/V?

I had a friend who did similar and when running the generator for short periods, all was well. When he run the generator for an extended amount of time, (8 hours) he burned the paint off the rear cap and melted a hole in it.

His clearance/distance was 10".
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Old 03-25-2019, 03:44 PM   #9
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How Far?

I have the Champion 3500, I just leave it in the back of the truck, chained of course.
Seems t fare well back there and helps channel the noise up.


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Old 03-25-2019, 03:56 PM   #10
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I would say that there are a few variables to look at when worrying about CO issues. Biggest thing is how much air flow is around the generator? If you have plenty of open space around your RV, and the wind is blowing, then you shouldn't have an issue. The worst thing is confined spaces and poor air circulation. Lots of RV's are manufactured with a generator underneath them, and the exhaust just sticking right out the side. As long as you have enough airflow around it, then there's no issue. They sell an exhaust "extension" that was mentioned in a previous reply, that goes up and will vent the exhaust up above the roof of the RV. This would be the best route to go, if you are worried about it. Otherwise, just invest in at least 2 or 3 CO detectors to place in different areas inside the RV. Don't rely on only the factory detector alone.

I heard a story from another RV group I'm in, about a family and their friends that had parked 3 toy haulers close together in a group. They were running 2 or 3 generators to power them, and in the middle of the night the CO alarm went off in only 1 of the RVs. The guy got up, and turned it off, thinking it was the smoke detector, and he didn't see or smell any smoke. It wasn't until it went off a second time, that he actually was awake enough to see that it was the CO detector and not the smoke detector. He woke his family, killed the generators, and woke the other families in the other RVs. Come to find out that the other 2 RV's CO monitors batteries were dead. So now they carry extra CO detectors and make sure to keep generators as well ventilated and/or away from the living quarters.

I have yet to actually use our generator on our Motorhome in a boondocking situation, but before I do, I plan to get the exhaust extension to route it up above the roof, for good measure.
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Old 03-25-2019, 04:09 PM   #11
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I use my genny not for boondocking but where I keep it. Use it for cleaning, repairs if needed and any modifications. I use the stack when I do. Also quiets it down some.
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Old 03-25-2019, 04:12 PM   #12
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I'd be concerned about theft or vandalism if it was attached to the rear bumper.
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Old 03-25-2019, 05:05 PM   #13
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Keep our genny in back of pickup 8' bed. It's too heavy to move around.
Tried running it once during an overnight at Walmart while still hooked up. No high exhaust stack. We noticed that the exhaust was leaching in around the pin box and coming into the trailer.
We now always unhook and separate truck 10' or so from trailer to avoid that situation.
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Old 03-25-2019, 07:33 PM   #14
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Most motorhomes have generators built in. So, don’t worry about getting it too close. Also, carbon monoxide is heavier than air, which is why CO detectors are mounted near the floor, and that’s the same reason built-in generators have their exhaust directed down and away from the vehicle. I have yet to see a MH with a stack pipe.
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Old 03-25-2019, 09:43 PM   #15
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Add on stack. A lot of racing events require them.
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Old 03-25-2019, 10:26 PM   #16
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I have a champion 3100 inverter generator. Have it mounted on my back bumper of my fiver . Have a section of metal conduit for an exhaust extension. Run it well over top of trailer. Takes 2 minutes to set up , runs quiet and no fumes.
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Old 03-25-2019, 11:13 PM   #17
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I'd be concerned about theft or vandalism if it was attached to the rear bumper.
From the theft perspective, I used a LowPro LockDown kit to secure it.
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Old 03-26-2019, 01:45 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by dalford View Post
Iíve read on this forum about members adding a generator mount that attaches to the bumper of their RV. My question is it safe to operate it from the platform or is it to close for fear of carbon monoxide gas poisoning?

I would like to upgrade my generator size but this adds weight that I will have to lift. I can do that but would rather not.

Who uses a generator from a bumper mounted platform? What are your thoughts?
A built-in Onan exhausts out the side of those RVs that have them. Many motor homes have the exhaust tucked under the driver's side window at the driver's position. But, the location of the exhaust takes into account windows and so on that might be open while living in the RV.

Your rear bumper mount concept is little different than how the Onan exhausts so long as you keep rear windows closed when running. But the ideal solution would be to extend the exhaust above the roof. Fabricating an adapter for a typical inverter generator might be a bit of a trick, but while you're at it, you might also add in a second small muffler to further quiet the generator.

There is another factor to consider, however. The running generator mounted on, say, a 2" receiver-mounted platform will substantially amplify the vibration noise of the generator. Much of the vibration of the generator will be passed into the platform, hitch mount and RV frame. These "undamped" hard points will transmit a lot of energy into the RV. Dismounting the generator from its carry platform not only improves the chances of minimizing CO contamination, it de-couples the running machine from the RV and cuts down on noise output. Personally, I'd setup my mount for carry only, and even if I needed to add a ramp to dismount a heavy generator, I'd get it off the back of the RV for the peace and quiet alone.

Personally, when I run my little 2KW inverter, I move it as far as possible from my PUP. I carry a 100' 10-3 extension cord to connect to the generator, and I do my best to "hide" the generator behind trees, over a hill, and so on. This works because we boondock in isolated areas, and we don't have neighbors close-by. 10-3 is overkill for such a puny power source, but it ensures I don't have a significant voltage drop from resistance in the extension cord.

You may have plenty of legitimate reasons for wanting to leave your generator mounted to the RV's platform. Under those circumstances, I'd recommend putting a LOT of effort into isolating the running generator from the platform, and into ensuring everything is rigid and strong. I'd start with a good spongy rubber pad to put under the generator. Next, I'd be sure to isolate the cable/chain used to lock the generator to the RV, because the vibrating generator rattles the hell out of any chain or cable. Foam plumbing insulation might work here, and is cheap and easily replaced as it deteriorates in the sun.

One other thing that might help would be to have something like a light duty tongue jack mounted to the platform that could be dropped to the ground to stabilize what would otherwise be a cantilevered shelf hanging off the back of the RV. Supporting the platform with a tongue jack would make a huge difference in vibration and route a lot of it into the ground.

That's my 2 cents.
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Old 03-26-2019, 02:03 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by dalford View Post
I’ve read on this forum about members adding a generator mount that attaches to the bumper of their RV. My question is it safe to operate it from the platform or is it to close for fear of carbon monoxide gas poisoning?

I would like to upgrade my generator size but this adds weight that I will have to lift. I can do that but would rather not.

Who uses a generator from a bumper mounted platform? What are your thoughts?

Here's what I've come up with:



The exhaust stack is a standard GenTuri kit and the platform I purchased from Amazon. To make sure the bumper didn't separate from the trailer under any circumstances I added the Safe T Struts (also from Amazon).

My generator travels on the platform, secured by two Master Python Cable Locks and the Cover from Champion keeps it dry even while driving in some hasty rainstorms.



The GenTuri exhaust sucks in air at the bottom which keeps the "stack" cool to the touch and there is a slight reduction in noise.

Noise inside the Trailer is noticeable but not much more than what you hear in your tow vehicle while driving. I would have no qualms or difficulty sleeping with the generator running all night if necessary. Generator is no noisier than most generators installed on most Class C MH's I've encountered but since I prefer to camp off by myself when boondocking I'm sure I won't be bothering anyone else.

BTW, removing the GenTuri exhaust system is as simple as pulling one pin, removing elbow section attached to first piece of "stack" and putting all three pieces in the bag that comes with it. Just give it a few minutes for the Stainless Steel elbow to cool off.

Setup takes less than a minute.

As for theft or tampering, theft would require some serious tools and actually cutting either the bumper of the generator shell itself. Tampering? More likely if unit is chained to a tree or picnic table.
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Old 03-30-2019, 07:21 PM   #20
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Thanks for all the replies..

At this point I have decided not to run my generator from the bumper. I think the biggest reason being the vibration, which I had not taken into consideration.

I am a bit confused though by the Ďstackí. I thought carbon monoxide was heavy so what good does it do to force it up to your roof level so it can fall down around window or worse get sick in a vent? Wind is not always blowing...
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