Monday, September 25, 2023


Onan’s “fits and starts” give RVer fits


By Chris Dougherty
Chris Dougherty is a certified RV technician. Here is a letter he received from a reader while he was serving as’s technical editor.

Dear Chris,
We have a 2011 Pleasure Way with an Onan Generator (QR2800). It has been exercised regularly but never actually used for more than 30 minutes. Now that we actually need to use it we find that after 30 minutes of running smoothly it surges, sputters, then quits. We have tried fuel cleaner but still the same result. It only has 26 hours on it and received its required 20-hour maintenance, so we really do not want to replace it but we need a reliable generator now. Have we given it some sort of memory by only running it for 30 minutes and not for many hours? —Freda

Dear Freda,
First, I think you have a QG2800, which stands for Quiet Gas, spec HGJBB.

Second, you won’t have to replace it — hopefully, it just needs service. The best people to provide service on this unit are the Cummins Coach Care Centers or their certified dealers and technicians, but I might be able to help.

The generator switch on the generator itself has a small red light which flashes a code, and there should be a chart for the codes in your genset’s owner’s manual. This code will help determine the issue. According to my contact at Cummins Onan, your problem could be ignition coil related, an intake seal issue, or a sensor problem. A technician will be able to take care of that for you.



Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña went from childhood tent camping to RVing in the 1980s when the ground got too hard. They've been tutored in the ways of RVing (and RV repair) by a series of rigs, from truck campers, to a fifth-wheel, and several travel trailers. In addition to writing scores of articles on RVing topics, they've also taught college classes for folks new to RVing. They authored the book, RV Boondocking Basics.


  1. I have a 2500 lp Onan generator–no lights-same problem I brought it to Cummingss in Savannah Ga.
    they took it all apart and I got it back in pcs–they said it had a “bent push rod” which I could see in the parts pile they said I should buy a new one—cost me $125 to find that out–Onan never
    dave schoeppner

  2. I wish the people at Onan would read the hundreds of blog entries about all the problems with their units. I have a Gas 5500 and I’ve had all kinds of problems and nearly rebuilt the unit. I also regularly exercise my unit under various loads. They should have more FAQ’s on tbeir website to help diagnose problems.


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