Onan Gen not starting - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 04-28-2018, 12:07 AM   #1
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Onan Gen not starting

I just picked up the Voltage 3970 this afternoon. I filled REAR fuel with about 7 gallons of gas to start gen. (Onan 5500) We can not get it to start. If we squirt some fuel into carburator it runs then dies. SO, we think it is not getting any fuel. We are priming for 30 seconds and then trying to start.

I ready the manual and it said something about a fuel shut off valve possibly being installed. I did not see one but, didn't really look.

ANY IDEAS would be helpful
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Old 04-28-2018, 01:16 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhoadzie View Post
I just picked up the Voltage 3970 this afternoon. I filled REAR fuel with about 7 gallons of gas to start gen. (Onan 5500) We can not get it to start. If we squirt some fuel into carburator it runs then dies. SO, we think it is not getting any fuel. We are priming for 30 seconds and then trying to start.

I ready the manual and it said something about a fuel shut off valve possibly being installed. I did not see one but, didn't really look.

ANY IDEAS would be helpful
Try putting fuel in the other tank they are known for labeling them wrong if it is labeled wrong that means you can pump that fuel into the other tank with the fuel station

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Old 04-28-2018, 01:27 AM   #3
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I did put some in there. About a gallon or so. I don't have shore power to check everything out. SO, tomorrow I am taking my portable generator. It's a 4500W but will work well enough to do some "playing".
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Old 04-28-2018, 11:04 AM   #4
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Did you do a PDI when you picked it up? Start for the previous owner? Pull fuel line and hit start button and see if it's pumping fuel. Check the code (blinking light on start button) also. May be just a fuel filter or bad fuel. Smell gas?
Rusty
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Old 04-28-2018, 11:58 AM   #5
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If there is no oil it will act like that.
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Old 04-28-2018, 03:30 PM   #6
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On mine the rubber fuel line on the front of the unit routinely gets pinched by the cover preventing fuel flow. Also the filter could be clogged.
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Old 05-01-2018, 12:41 AM   #7
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Especially in hot weather. But I've mounted an electric fuel pump back by the tank to push fuel to the Onan electric fuel pump. Its a centrifugal pump and simply not capable sucking fuel that distance.

The fuel hose used is about as cheap as you can get. I used the old hose to pull in new hose and the wiring for the new pump.

Not a difficult project. About $125 with pump, fittings, hose and wire.

After that, not a single starting problem.

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Old 05-01-2018, 01:46 AM   #8
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My father-in-law and I are stuck. We are getting fuel. When we push the prime button, plenty of fuel is getting to the carburetor. The only thing we forgot to check was when we push the start button, if fuel was flowing to the carburetor. We checked the oil first and it is clean and at proper level. If we squirt fuel directly into the carb the gen runs briefly until the fuel is gone.

Curious to me. The unit meter inside reads 0000 hours. I am not sure this generator has ever run. Not sure what to do to get it to come to life.
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Old 05-01-2018, 01:47 AM   #9
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We did not have PDI. I am getting a 36 code which doesn't really tell me much except that the unit is not getting fuel.
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Old 05-01-2018, 02:24 AM   #10
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A troubleshooting step...Disconnect the hose from the fuel tank and connect a small gas can, with hose, to where you disconnected the hose.

See if it will run off the gas can. That will tell you some things.

Yeah, code 36 doesn't tell you anything.

Since it does run when you squirt gas into the carb, then you have spark.

So it would appear to me that you're not getting a steady supply of fuel to the carburetor. So try the alternate fuel source and see if it runs as it should.

Just thoughts

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Old 05-01-2018, 03:28 AM   #11
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Good idea, I’ll try that!
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Old 05-02-2018, 02:47 AM   #12
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If the alternate fuel supply doesn't fix the problem. There is a possibility your carb might have the ethanol flu. We bought our 3950 used and the genny was starved for fuel. I poked and prodded, blew out orifices (there's a joke in there some where) and it still would only run for a few seconds and die.
Bought a new carb ($125) and shes been great for the last 2 years. The factory float bowl is not removable, so you can't get to those tinny orifices to clean them out. If the dealer started it and then let it set, could be the problem.
I hope I'm wrong, but that worked for us.
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Old 05-02-2018, 03:11 AM   #13
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Where did you get the $125 carburetor. I saw them for $300+
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Old 05-02-2018, 03:20 PM   #14
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Ebay, was 3 years ago though
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Old 05-02-2018, 04:17 PM   #15
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There's a few youtube videos on cleaning them with seafoam without removing.

Search onan 5500 carburetor on youtube.

May be worth a shot
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Old 05-02-2018, 05:57 PM   #16
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Anyone supply a picture of where the "Spark Arrestor" is located. I saw it should be cleaned out also. I have a list of things to do. I ordered new plugs, air filter, fuel filter and oil filter. I am replacing the oil. I have seafoam to use to clean out carb. I also have placed some "HEET" in the tank with the gas.

I have checked the fuel filter and pump that appear to be working well and will possibly remove carburetor to clean.

I may spend $300 trying to save $300 but it won't be for not trying.

When I get back to the TH I will hook up NEW supply of gasoline to eliminate bad gas as the culprit. I will RE-verify pump & filter are working. If I need to I will disassemble the carburetor to clean it inside.

Anything else?
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Old 05-02-2018, 07:56 PM   #17
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Spark arrestor is a fancy name for muffler. It should be below the floor of the gen cabinet.
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Old 05-03-2018, 12:55 AM   #18
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How do you clean a muffler?
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Old 05-03-2018, 01:15 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhoadzie View Post
How do you clean a muffler?
There are a few tutorials to do this, depends on the machine. Do a search for your generator.
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Old 05-03-2018, 11:36 AM   #20
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Actually code 36 tells you a lot. It is saying I shut down without being told by the controller to be shut down. I would now look at the fuel system from the carb back to the tank. You know it has spark from pouring fuel into the carb and it starting. Apparently the genset is fuel starved but why. If you know the fuel pump is pumping and the filter is clear then it must be in the carburetor. Trash or lack of use resulting in the carb plugged up with this cheap gas these days.
If it were mine I would think of opening up the carburetor and rebuilding it which is probably very cheap comparatively.
Why the hobbs meter is at zero is a mystery. Even from the factory when I ordered my last it had 1 tenth hour on it when it arrived.
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