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dodge guy

Bartlett IL

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Posted: 07/02/19 07:31am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I’m thinking I know the answer but still have to look at the owners manual. Just got back from our first trip. Cummins Onan 5500 gas generator. The trip there was no problem. Generator ran fine the entire 7 hours it was on. On the way home it shut off 2 hours into the trip, I noticed when it started to get warm inside. Started it back up and it took a couple times but it started. Ran for about 45 minutes then died again. It was 90 degrees on the way home. The trip there wasn’t as warm and it rained for the first 2 hours. I’m thinking it got hot and shut down. When I got home I checked the oil level and it was full. I ran it for 2 hours in the driveway and it ran fine.

So a couple thing I think it could be.
it got hot and shut down to protect itself.
The fuel was boiling due to the heat.
Or what I actually did find was the altitude setting was at zero feet. We are around 900 feet where we live. Is it possible being at zero in high temps would cause it to shut down? I know it’s a long shot but it’s the only thing I found.
Im still leaning towards vapor lock.

Thanks!


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way2roll

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Posted: 07/02/19 07:54am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Overheat shutdown is a common problem. It should have thrown a code on the panel when it happened. Used to happen on a model we had years ago. Poor design by the manufacturer put the genset bin right behind the engine headers so it picked up a lot of extra heat. Installed some louvered vents in the bin door and that helped keep airflow over it and it never happened again. We ended up selling that RV and in shopping for any new one, genset placement is a consideration.

* This post was edited 07/02/19 08:03am by way2roll *

10forty2

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Posted: 07/02/19 08:49am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'd go with the genset overheated and shutdown as a result, as the explanation. And, if there's any part of the fuel line that is metal, it may have created an air bubble in the line and consequently a vapor lock.

900ft elevation is not really all that much when considering air/fuel mixture. In aviation, small-plane pilots will start to lean out the mixture when they get up around 2K-3K feet to compensate for the thinner air. If 900ft elevation actually did affect the mixture, the genset would likely have run a little rich and maybe smoked some, but I doubt it would have shut down, and if it's running rich, the extra fuel would cause a cooling effect on the engine.


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dodge guy

Bartlett IL

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Posted: 07/02/19 08:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That’s what I’m thinking too, overheat. But I don’t have a panel that would show codes, just an on/off switch behind the cover. What would show codes?

way2roll

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Posted: 07/02/19 09:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

dodge guy wrote:

That’s what I’m thinking too, overheat. But I don’t have a panel that would show codes, just an on/off switch behind the cover. What would show codes?


The small screen that shows the gen hours is where the code would be. you should have a remote switch in the RV on your panel with all your other controls. That said, it's a moot point now as the code only shows when the issue is actually happening.

tropical36

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Posted: 07/02/19 09:26am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

dodge guy wrote:

I’m thinking I know the answer but still have to look at the owners manual. Just got back from our first trip. Cummins Onan 5500 gas generator. The trip there was no problem. Generator ran fine the entire 7 hours it was on. On the way home it shut off 2 hours into the trip, I noticed when it started to get warm inside. Started it back up and it took a couple times but it started. Ran for about 45 minutes then died again. It was 90 degrees on the way home. The trip there wasn’t as warm and it rained for the first 2 hours. I’m thinking it got hot and shut down. When I got home I checked the oil level and it was full. I ran it for 2 hours in the driveway and it ran fine.

So a couple thing I think it could be.
it got hot and shut down to protect itself.
The fuel was boiling due to the heat.
Or what I actually did find was the altitude setting was at zero feet. We are around 900 feet where we live. Is it possible being at zero in high temps would cause it to shut down? I know it’s a long shot but it’s the only thing I found.
Im still leaning towards vapor lock.

Thanks!

As long as it'clean with the intake air and such, I'd be looking for an oil overtemp switch. I finally disconnected ours on our old Generac and ran it that way for years.


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dodge guy

Bartlett IL

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Posted: 07/02/19 09:37am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks again guys. I only have the on/off switch which is supposed to flash a code. The gen hour meter has no lights other than backlighting.
I did come across a few similar complaints and they pointed to an improper dipstick causing to read properly but be overfilled. I haven’t verified that yet! Although the oil level is just below the top of the opening for the dipstick. I did notice the one time it died I hit a dip
In the road.

Rick Jay

Greater Springfield area, MA

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Posted: 07/02/19 10:07am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

dodge guy,

We have an Onan 7000. It is (was) VERY sensitive to oil level. What I discovered while travelling during the summer (only when temps were mid 80's and above), is that the our generator would shut down for no reason, but then restart right afterward. This would especially happen if we hit a big dip or bump in the road, or a mis-aligned expansion joint. I believe I was running 10W-30 or 10W-40 at the time as according to the chart, that was good to 100*, which is very rare here in the Northeast, but also protected down to about 0*, which was good because we sometimes camp into the late Fall or early Spring. I noticed this problem would happen occasionally if the oil was topped off full, but would happen more frequently as the oil level went down, though still well within the cross-hatch markings on the dipstick.

Looking at the oil chart, I noticed they do spec straight SAE-30 weight oil for use above 32*. On a hunch, I thought that maybe it had something to do with the multiviscosity oils. (I figured maybe the oil wasn't getting quite hot enough so it would act like a 30 or 40 weight. I looked at viscosity vs. temp charts and there didn't seem to be a huge difference in the 40*C - 50*C range, but I figured, "What the heck?". I did noticed that the density of the straight 30W seemed to be consistently higher than the multi-vis oils at any given temp.) Anyway, I put straight SAE-30 in it and have not had the problem since. I DO make sure the oil is always topped off before a trip. Mostly because adding oil is a real pain, and this way I only have to add a couple of ounces at a time, and not too much of a problem. We have been camping when it's been down in the mid to upper 20's, and the generator still started OK. I guess if I was going to really brave the cold, I'd switch to the 5W-30 recommendation for that trip, but honestly, we don't really do that type of camping lately.

So, if you're not using straight SAE-30 weight oil, give that a shot, see if the condition improves any.

Good Luck,

~Rick

* This post was edited 07/02/19 10:22am by Rick Jay *


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n3eqf

St. Cloud, FL

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Posted: 07/02/19 10:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

dodge guy wrote:

Thanks again guys. I only have the on/off switch which is supposed to flash a code. The gen hour meter has no lights other than backlighting.
I did come across a few similar complaints and they pointed to an improper dipstick causing to read properly but be overfilled. I haven’t verified that yet! Although the oil level is just below the top of the opening for the dipstick. I did notice the one time it died I hit a dip
In the road.


On many of the newer Cummins/Onan models (like my RV QG 4000) the oil level sensor has been removed from the design. It was very problematic in that a slight oil level difference would trigger a shutdown which was a nuisance. Check the last letter of your Onan's part number, which indicates the "Spec". Maintenance manuals that include the schematics for each spec are available on line.


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map40

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Posted: 07/02/19 10:26am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

By the description, the temp switch might not be the problem. I believe your fuel pump is starting to go. The 5500 is a pretty good generator, better than the 4000 or the 7000. The code would show in the light of the on-off switch when it shut down and when you want to restart.
How many hours do you have in it?


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