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Old 06-21-2015, 02:47 AM   #1
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Generator & hot weather

Pirate here. 2014 Voltage Epic 3800

We've used the generator several times with no problems at all. Tried to remember to start it and run it for an hour, once a month in the winter. Didn't do too bad at remembering. Always started and ran just fine.

Last night, Green River Utah, 7PM, 103 degrees. Plan was to spend the night in the West Winds truck stop parking lot.

Trailer fairly level, still connected to truck.

Fired up generator, gave it a few minutes to warm up, turned on AC units. Ran for about 10 minutes and just quit. Waited a few minutes and tried to restart. No luck.

Waited another 15 minutes and tried a restart. AC units off. Generator started, turned on one AC unit. Ran about 10 minutes quit.

Got out Operators Manual...code on remote start switch on breaker panel is 3 6. Book says nothing from controller sent to generator.

Raised generator enclosure panel as far as possible, very hot in there!! Took the front access cover off the generator. Everything looks fine.

Took the cover off the air cleaner. Removed the air filter element, clean as a whistle.

Tried a start from the local start switch. Choke open, throttle opens a bit and mist of gas vapor present.

Start generator, ran for a few minutes and quit. Same 3 6 code.

Called a friend with much more Toyhauler experience that me. His experience has been that its necessary to add another electric fuel pump back at the tank, as the electric full pump right under the generator is not able to pull gas the length of the trailer in very hot weather.

Going to get another pump and add it to the system in the next day or so...but wondering what other experience has been.

Thoughts?

Thanks,

Pirate
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Old 06-21-2015, 03:21 AM   #2
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no problem here pulling gas from rear. I suspect noyhing from controller might indicate a different issue. Call the company . Ask for tech support
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Old 06-21-2015, 04:20 AM   #3
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I've had my generator vapor lock in the summer after shutting it down, then trying to restart it. I was always able to press the rocker switch to the "stop/prime" position for about a 30 seconds and get it to start again.
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Old 06-21-2015, 04:28 AM   #4
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Wondered about vapor lock. But had the same experience...run for 10 minutes or so, then just quit...acting almost like its out of gas.

So might vapor lock be a symptom of trying to pull gas the length of the trailer in such hot weather?

Never had the problem before, but never tried to us it in 100+ degree weather.

We're RV park people, but going to Idaho, Wyoming and Montana next month and will be "dry camping" outside of Cooke City for a few days...and really don't want to have this problem again!

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Old 06-21-2015, 04:45 AM   #5
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Is it possible the generator fuel tank is not venting? I might suggest that the next time the generator dies on it's own, go remove the fuel cap and see if it takes a huge gulp of air. Could be a bad cap vent causing the generator fuel pump to slowly build a vacuum in the tank that it eventually can't overcome. You could also try just running the generator with the cap off and see if it runs longer than you've experienced so far.
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Old 06-21-2015, 05:06 AM   #6
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I took those steps last night. Removed the gas cap, but it did not gulp a lot of air.

Have noticed that like my last toyhauler, the toy and generator tanks don't vent very well. In filling the tanks I have to set the pump handle on the first, slowest, step. Otherwise it just keeps kicking off and puking fuel on the side of the trailer.

But last night we gave up and moved to a nearby KOA where we could plug it, run the AC units, and get some sleep.

Thoughts?

Thanks,

Pirate
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Old 06-21-2015, 05:54 AM   #7
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I had the same issue tonight - but I think i was low on gas - put gas in - same thing but after 30 min of on and stopping it finally stayed going and I slowly engaged the power demand. Meaning run 1 A/C for 5 min with a load - then run maybe fan on high for the second A/c - then engage the A/C - eventually seemed to be hold the loads.

You might have bad gas?
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Old 06-21-2015, 07:01 AM   #8
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I think the fuel is fine. Probably a few gallons of 91 octane from Moab left. Then added 10 gallons of 92 octane in Green River.

Same fuel as I use in the Polaris RZR and its running just fine.

Hmmm....

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Old 06-21-2015, 04:06 PM   #9
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I am interested in any troubleshooting....as we will be hitting the road in a couple weeks to head east and will be truck stop hopping between destinations. With the heat out here, I do not want to sweat it out...as I do not currently have a problem, I would like to have a list of remedies in case a problem does occur. Thanks for the post and any future info.

Cale
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Old 06-21-2015, 04:52 PM   #10
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Cale,

I will post what we find, what we do...and how it turns out!!

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Old 06-21-2015, 07:03 PM   #11
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After thinking for a bit about this...I know it is not your problem, but my old bumper pull TH (Fleetwood Nitrous) had a smaller Onan generator. I would start it up prior to stops and travel with it on for AC purposes. More times than not, it would be shutdown at our destination, the blinking code was due to oil pressure. I was told that because the generator sat longitudinal to the axis of travel, the generator would be oil starved on steep climbs or on acceleration...I was also told this could happen with the fuel pump, due to it being weak...
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Old 06-21-2015, 07:29 PM   #12
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If I happen to be dragging many miles in hot weather and expected to be running the generator I think I would do this given the possible vapor lock problem or whatever the heat causing problem is.


I would purchase a five gallon plastic gas can, fill it with gas of course. Purchase the appropriate length of 1/4 Neoprene fuel line. Drill a hole in the gas can lid that will accommodate the fuel line. Feed the fuel line to within an inch of the bottom of the can. Connect the other end of the line to the generator fuel pump.


This generator fuel pump will only have to pump a short distance as opposed to the length of the RV.


Sealing the gas can can be done in several ways for the purpose of shipping. The can could be stored out of the way under the RV while in use.


I ran a Honda generator many years this way. I had two large gas cans and one lid with the hole. A simple change over between gas cans could be done without shutting down the generator.


This doesn't solve the problem but it will allow the generator to be used until a solution can be found.
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Old 06-21-2015, 08:43 PM   #13
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Wouldn't that be the same as adding a pump at the tank to push fuel to the fuel pump at the Generator?

That's what a friend did on a Cyclone toyhauler of the same length as ours, and never had a bit of trouble afterwards.

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Old 06-21-2015, 09:30 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pirate View Post
Wouldn't that be the same as adding a pump at the tank to push fuel to the fuel pump at the Generator?

That's what a friend did on a Cyclone toyhauler of the same length as ours, and never had a bit of trouble afterwards.

Pirate
I was taught fuel pumps were designed to push fuel rather than pull it. My suggestion was for a quick short term solution but the idea of adding a pump at the tank is definitely a good idea.
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Old 06-21-2015, 10:21 PM   #15
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Gotcha on the short term fix. I carry all that is needed for that solution with me for the UTV...just would use it differently.

But I think I can get an electric fuel pump locally and get it installed tomorrow, before the rally starts...and be done with it.

And...during daylight hours...do some testing!!

Thanks,

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Old 06-22-2015, 06:40 PM   #16
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I have been fighting this same issue for months now. Code 3 - 6 on an onan generator indicates the engine stopped for an unknown reason. Usually indicates fuel issue. I have replaced the fuel pump and that did not seem to help. I talked to Onan and they said next time it happens see if it has flow on the pressure side of the pump and if it does keep looking down stream from there. Last night I had the same problem, could not keep the thing running after it was running fine for about 3 hours. Mine has a drain screw from where what would be a float bowl if it were a carb. (mine is injected) and fuel flowed fine from there. Once I did that it ran fine till I shut it down about 10 minutes later. I thinking there could be some dirt in the bowl, so that is my next stop.
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Old 06-22-2015, 10:35 PM   #17
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Jeff,

Something tells me you have the same issue I have. An electric fuel pump was never meant to pull fuel some 30 feet from the tank at the rear of the trailer.

The old style automotive fuel pumps could do it, because they were positive displacement design pump. So it provides stronger suction at the inlet of the pump to pull fuel.

A centrifugal pump will create some suction, but not that much.

So I'm thinking if the fuel is hot, the fuel line is fairly soft rubber, and its hot...its going to try to collapse the fuel hose and the fuel will try to vaporize.

I'm going to try and find a fuel pump here and install it and then see if it does better.

Mine is carbureted, so it does have a fuel bowl, but the system also has a filter on the suction side of the pump.

If yours is injected, it doesn't have a fuel bowl...period.

Good luck, please share what you find and I' going to share what I find.

Thanks,

Pirate
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Old 06-22-2015, 11:04 PM   #18
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There is a reason that the new vehicles have the fuel pump installed in the tanks...

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Old 06-22-2015, 11:26 PM   #19
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Yep new ones since about 1987..............
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Old 06-23-2015, 12:56 AM   #20
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So I just spent about $130 for a pump, fittings, wire, clamps...the works.

Hope to get it installed in the cool of them morning...maybe tomorrow.

96 degrees here now, at 6PM...just gonna sit in the shade with a Pendleton whiskey and Coke!

Pirate
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