Running a little late this morning……… go have breakfast, maybe get a haircut and come back later………this is a really important subject at this point the the life of a generator……anything can be fixed but should it? This is the question I want to try and answer……… see ya in a bit
So this morning, the blessed lap top is running like yesterday never happened! Of course it’s operator error………hey I don’t know…I just know it working so lemme talk about yesterday’s topic….something I’m dealing with right now……
So what do I mean when I say :enough is enough? Look anything can be fixed but should they is the question. When do you let go…….trade in that car that’s starting to cost more in repairs than payments of a new one? My Dad …Greyhound bus driver….. never kept a car over 80,000 miles. Being in the transportation business, he would not drive anything that was not totally ready for the road……….
Oh yeah, we’re talking about generators……… so when do you use the same theory when it comes to your beloved Ole Troll…the Onan Power drawer. In it’s day, it was an awesome generator…state of the art “scamp” module panel holding all the electrical components…just change the board…….right? But who wants to carry a $200 board and stay up with the diagnostic tree trying to figure out what part gave up next.
It was a great generator…a testament to that is how many are still alive at all! But…and here’s the rub…….when a generator starts being finicy……. you knowseems like something is wrong all the time….some days fine the others it won’t work….kinda like mu lap top……… man when it’s hot that generator had better push the roof AC!!!!!!! Not do it once and you can see how much a hassle things are.
OK…..I’ve set the scene…….Here I have a beautiful motorhome in “Rock the Alps Janie & I take it out for a shakedown and the generator does not create power. Bummer! She fires up but no cool……..The coach is not accommodating without it’s 2 Pinguin roof AC’s dumping ice cubes.
What to do…….the motor itself runs but no power. Hmmmm, what would happen if this happened again with Andy and his family who live in Switzerland? In the summer in Florida…….with no air conditioning? Someone would die!
Hey but lets investigate….that’s what you are supposed to do…right? Find the problem!!!!!! Damn the torpedo’s…we haveta know! Well maybe……….. If the generator has to come out, be split off from the motor then opened up……..in today’s labor cost you could pay for a good part of a new generator. Lobor costs today is the money sucking pig of the world. You do not want to dump a pile of labor to fix one thing deep in the generator only to have some other labor sucking part go bad next. Remember the day a part is made it is effected by things around it and the part will start to deteriorate. It happens to everything……..
So the only realistic answer to Andy’s problem was to install another generator…….here we install water cooled Honda generator True no longer produced but I’m looking for unit reliability. You can get that with new but in this case a Used Honda has great reliability so yes, this is a really good option. And with that “Rock the Alps” is a cool drive now
But wait…..this is past history….what’s important to talk about this today? Well, I have another such situation. We’re working hard on another coach..bringing it back to a reliable road condition and the work order says the generator is “in/op” which means I need to figure out if it will work or not. OK, 30 seconds in we find the generator has 12 volt power and will not turn over at all. Hmmm……here we go dumping that labor into the thing……
Hot wire jump the coil and the electric fuel pump isn’t working……we install a new electric fuel pump.
Jump the coil……we now have fuel to the carb but no fire………..
Install a test PC board…………. jump the coil and BOOM! the generator fires up! Great it’s running and we’ve invested @ $400 in parts and labor.
But wait…….it’s not creating power! In other words like this we have a noise machine.
….with a new board and new fuel pump.
OK..lets pull out that labor and go deeper. With a meter we find 4 volts out to the circuit breaker…….this usually means the “diode pack” is defective. Hey, it’s easy to get to lets pull it. 1 screw and it’s out but wait…it checks out good! It’s a replacement but I have a new one…lets put it in and see what happens……..30 minutes and another $20……
Nothing, the generator runs but there is no power. OK, lets check the brushes…that’s not hard. We can polish them up is we see corrosion……… another 30 minutes is digging in to clean up the brushes……..fire up the generator…..and nothing!
Yep, now we have say $500 in this troll and it’s now going to have to come out to diagnose further. A couple of hours more and now we are faced with a bad armature or some other internal part that will need a trained surgeon to go farther….more specialized labor………
This is what I mean, when an older machine becomes unreliable there is no telling what it will take to get it back reliable. You may get it running but will it be worth a second deep operation when it happens? Remember the thing is already 40 years old. In everything there comes a time and today, labor cost has overshadowed the cost of many new parts.
The owner is coming in this weekend to visit his baby and decisions will need to be made. As you can tell, my vote for reliability and future service is a Honda This coach has 1 roof AC…we have a 4000watt Honda (EV-4010) refurbished that would do the trick. For $3000 + installation of @ $1000……he would have circumvented the $500 already spent on finding the Onan is dead (we give that labor back….I wanna ut good money to use. Plus remember there would be 5 hours to R&R the Ole Troll then labor to operate…a good armature would coast @ $400……..and it goes on. Even with it running you would have 50% or more of a different, more reliable unit.
So I hope you can see that at a point, even though you love your Troll……there comes a time to cut bait and feel better that you will have AC power when you need it.
I’M NOT DOWN ON ONANS….I’m just not with not having AC power when I want it!
If your goal is to keep your GMC ready to go into a museum, keep the Onan, the 8track tape deck and those 16.5″ tires. If you want to actually use your motorhome to actually vacation in………don’t start hitting flea markets for 8 track tapes…..get a radio with BluTooth!
And if that 800 pound Troll back there gives you any heck………. say the heck with that! There is no president using a machine this old to do the same job it was made to do……help your GMC out with that….get some new parts!
This is how you come up with a reliable generator again…to me. I could spendmoney to rebuild the Troll……..but to what purpose? I want a reliable generator to make the roof AC work…to make me pizza…….I want those things when I want them…..consider a fresh generator……..
See ya tomorrow…….Oh BTW, we have Katlyn to thank for getting the computer working……..man, and gets greasy too? Boy do we have a team!