We store our RV inside over the winter and do not have access to it for 4 months. We are wondering what problems we might expect from our generator. Normally, we try to start it every 30–60 days and put a load on it for 15–20 minutes. But with the new inside storage we do not have that option. Your suggestions? —Bradley
It is recommended to run the generator under load for 30 minutes once a month to lubricate the seals in diesel, gasoline, and propane generators and reduce varnishing in gasoline-powered generators. And that’s not just at idle, but rather turning on the roof air conditioner or heat pump if possible. I have talked with several diesel pusher owners that had issues with their diesel generator spilling out black smoke for several minutes and it just kept getting worse. They would run the generator going down the road several miles from the spot they were heading and it did not help. That is because they were running it in idle, not under load.
My folks had an issue with their gasoline generator when they headed to Alaska with the WIT caravan. The generator would not stay running. The Onan rep stated it was because it was not “exercised” and had varnished. Luckily, we found an “old timer” that the dealership sent us to that cleaned the carb and they were good for the rest of the trip.
I know several owners that are doing what you had been doing, going to the storage facility and running the generator for at least 30 minutes. They have not had any issues. However, you bring up a good discussion point as to what to do when this is not possible.
Winterizing your Onan generator
During an Onan Technical Certification training program that I took, they recommended changing the oil and having full fuel in the fuel tank when winterizing. They also recommended disconnecting the fuel line at the fuel filter and running the genset until it runs out of fuel. Then add Onan fuel stabilizer to the line and run it until the genset runs and get some into the fuel system. Then remove the line and run it out of fuel. It should then be OK to leave it for several months without issue. I know several people that put either STA-BIL or Sea Foam in the fuel tank and have not had a problem.
Onan also recommends to remove the spark plug and spray Onan’s Onagard Storage Fogging Spray to reduce rust and condensation in the cylinder.
Check your owner’s manual for any specifics. Let’s see what our readers are finding with their rigs.
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club.
Read more from Dave here.
HAVE A QUESTION FOR DAVE?
We have started a new forum link for Ask Dave. Please be as brief as possible. Attach a photo or two if it might help Dave with his response. Click to visit Dave’s forum. Or send your inquiries to him using the form below.