How to Troubleshoot RV Generators

How to Troubleshoot RV Generators
The fuel tank provides an RV generator with its fuel supply. Most generators are equipped to stop running if a gas tank drops to below half its full capacity (i.e. half a tank). This measure is necessary to prevent the RV from depleting its complete supply of fuel. There are gas, propane and diesel generators for RV campers. You can troubleshoot any type of generator.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Air pump
  • Cotton cloth
  • Oil
  • Oil Filter
Step 1
Check the generator exhaust system, which is under the vehicle. Visually check for surface damage as well as oil and fuel leaks. Check the length of the exhaust, including fuel lines and around the generator set.
Step 2
Gently pull on the exhaust to verify that it is securely attached and extended beyond the rim of the RV. The exhaust must extend forward so carbon monoxide does not become trapped inside the vehicle while the generator is in use.
Step 3
Check wire lines for corrosion and rust. Use an air pump to dislodge corrosion and other surface debris lodged between wire lines. Removal of corrosion and rust is necessary to improve the overall function of a generator.
Step 4
Check the oil level. An oil pressure sensor will shut down some generator models if oil pressure drops. Press in the start button so the generator will not bypass the oil pressure cutoff circuit and to ensure that the engine works with optimum performance. You also want to locate the oil pressure sensor under the cover near the oil filter to make sure the sensor wire has not been knocked off.
Step 5
Change the oil and filters based on the service schedule, which is available in the manufacturer's manual. Drain the oil and then replace the old filter with a new one. Add oil, run the generator for 10 seconds and then shut it off. Visually check for leaks or sweep a white cloth along the sides and bottom of the generator. Remember to record the date of every oil change on a maintenance log sheet.
Step 6
Eliminate moisture buildup in the generator by exercising it with a ½ to ¾ rate load on it. (Always consult the load ratings for your generator.) Exercising a generator will heat up the generator windings, which will in turn eliminate moisture build up, lubricate engine seals and eliminates carbon buildup. Perform monthly.
Step 7
Treat the fuel system with a preservative to prevent surging or engine failure if an RV has not been in use for a long period of time. Add a fuel system preservative and be sure to exercise the fuel system monthly, especially if your RV has a carburetor.

Tips & Warnings

RV generators require routine maintenance for optimum performance.
This article is a general guide to RV generators.
Your generator model may have unique specifications, so always refer to the manufacturer's manual before implementing any of the above troubleshooting tips.

Article Written By Charlie Gaston

Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.

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