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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Generator Difficulties

I recently purchased a used Class C motorhome to pursue a few interests on my "bucket list". This is my first motorhome and everything worked and within four days of purchase I made a trip to Mt. Rushmore and Devils Tower. I made a total of fourteen trips last year. Some in campgrounds and just over half dry camping. My problem now is with my 4.5 Kohler generator, which until now has worked wonderfully. While dry camping I had the generator running when it suddenly stopped. It will crank but not start. Visual checks look good; there are no loose wires or other problems. The oil level is good. I have fuel to the generator and the plugs have been removed and replaced. I tested for spark by leaving one plug out and could see a spark jump the gap as I cranked the gen. Since the motorhome came without manuals, one of the first books I purchased was a copy of your RV Owner's Handbook. The troubleshooting chart would seem to indicate a possible blown ignition control fuse. How do I locate the ignition control fuse? What else should I check? I'm pretty handy but I'd like to know a bit more before throwing myself at a generator shop. Don C., (Salt Lake City, UT)

Don, without actually taking a look at the generator and the actual installation it may be difficult to diagnose from afar, but I'll give it a try. The fuse protection for the starting circuit is inside the control box on the front of the generator. I can't recall off the top of my head, but it may be an in-line fuse inside that box. But be sure you indeed have fuel getting to the carburetor. Yes, you may have fuel getting to the generator, but make sure the fuel pump is actually pushing it up to the carburetor. 

It's also possible it may be sucking air through a cracked fuel line between the fuel tank and the generator. If the hoses haven't been replaced recently, it may be time to do so now. Inspect the full length of the fuel hose and see if there are any cracks in the rubber. It could also be a choke, carburetor or governor-caused problem as well. I’d suggest performing a process of elimination if you’d rather not take it to the shop. Start with verifying that fuel is indeed entering the carburetor. Let me know how it checks out and we'll dig further if necessary. 


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