Thursday, September 28, 2023


RV Electricity – Just Ask Mike (J.A.M.): Generator starving for fuel?

By Mike Sokol

Welcome to my J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session, a weekly column where I answer your basic electrical questions. If you’re a newbie who’s never plugged in a shore power cord (or ask – what’s a shore power cord?), or wonder why your daughter’s hair dryer keeps tripping the circuit breaker, this column is for you. Send your questions to Mike Sokol at mike (at) with the subject line – JAM.

Dear Mike,

I’m fairly new to the RV world. Is the on-board generator designed to shut off when the gas tank in my motorhome gets to a certain level? My tank is down to ¼ full, and I can’t keep the generator running. Acts like it’s starving for fuel. —Sean

Dear Sean,

That doesn’t seem to make any sense, does it? Well, in this case your generator is actually starved for fuel, and it’s done on purpose for a very good reason. Because your generator is tapped into the same gas tank as your motorhome’s engine, the pipe for the generator fuel is typically located about 1/4 of the way from the bottom of the tank.

That’s so your generator can only use gas (or diesel) from the tank until you get down to the 1/4 full mark. After that the generator simply shuts down and there’s no obvious reason for it.

Inconvenient for sure, but you still have enough gas in the motorhome tank to start up your engine and get to a gas station. Pretty simple and practical fix, isn’t it? After all, you wouldn’t want your generator to use up all of your gas and you have to walk instead of ride, would you?

OK, everyone. Remember that electricity is a useful and powerful force, so we all need to pay attention to safety precautions while using it.

Let’s play safe out there….


Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 40+ years in the industry. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.



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3 years ago

My RV generator is starving for gas, tank was down to 1/4 but now filled. I have changed fuel filter and filled tank. Manual filling primer pump with fuel generator starts but runs funs for a short time, after removing gas line finding it is dry again. What’s my next check?

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