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Old 10-04-2014, 07:34 AM   #1
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Generator questions

All, I want a diesel generator so I can tie it into the bus fuel system. However I might need to end up with a gas until I can afford a nice diesel. As far as gas, what's a good choice? I've been looking at Honda's, for a 4500 on cl with low hrs for about $1000, are these good for this application? Or should I hold our for a low hr onan rv model? Bus will run a single ac while needed on the road, planning on a 50 amp setup. The electrical system is so far non existent so no issues there lol. Planning on a elect 120v water heater, house style 120v fridge, gas range, normal rv appliances.
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Old 10-04-2014, 08:22 AM   #2
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Re: Generator questions

Quote:
Or should I hold our for a low hr onan rv model?
I've had two Onan quiet diesels. Both had the generator rotor fail Both threw a chunk off of one of the magnets. Second
had less than 500 hours. It costs more to repair them than they are worth at that point.

I had a Yamaha inverter gas job that I hauled on my semi. To make a long story short, it got an internal gas leak that caught on
fire. Nearly burned the truck.
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Old 10-04-2014, 09:20 AM   #3
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Re: Generator questions

:O

Well that doesn't sound promising. I really want to just pony up the $ for a diesel one initially but being in Alaska makes that much more $$. Did find a "whacker" light cart without the lights for $1800. Looks to have a 3 cyl diesel that's fairly compact. Also found a 10K Kubota powered gen but IT"S HUGE. I dunno if I could package a 1000 lb beast.
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Old 10-06-2014, 12:11 PM   #4
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Re: Generator questions

diesel gennies also have a unique set of cold weather problems. Fuel gels really fast in tiny lines...

There is no great answer. How much power do you need? Will you need 240 or only 120? How many AC's do you want to run? Does it need to be quiet enough to run in a camp or parking lot or are you boondocking and only you can hear it?

I have lived "off-grid" with a contractor genny (back when gas was considerably cheaper). It got parked as far from the house as I could run an affordable cable and hay bales got stacked on 3 sides to make a sound barrier. You could still hear it for miles. There are ways to quiet the exhaust, but they will never be library quiet.

Since then I bought a Honda inverter generator. That thing whispers, not extra sound proofing needed. It doesn't really have the power for more than one thing at a time, though. I plan to use it in the bus, and add a propane kit if it works well enough power-wise as a long term solution.

Right now I am researching grid tie and shore power inverters that will link with weak shore power or gennies to give a motor start boost and basic UPS to the bus. They have them for yachts, but they are yacht priced. But that would let me run more AC than my genny (or weak shore power) can start.
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Old 10-06-2014, 02:13 PM   #5
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Re: Generator questions

I'm planning on chasing the nice weather and will be on shore power or boondocking most of the time. Mainly want the diesel so I only need 2 fuels, diesel and propane. Could run a gas job on propane but I dunno, I'd rather not. I know I'd always run out of gas and not be able to cook dinner lol.

I'm looking at 1 or 2 roof a/c's, or possibly a single 120v split unit. Not looking for 240v, going to do a small 120v water heater, house fridge, gas stove, no huge power draws except microwave and ac. Planning on solar and a battery bank to keep other things going, lights, fans etc. I'm trying to stay temperate, so I'm going to avoid the hot and cold weather. Plus will be doing ALOT of insulation.

I found an older homelight 3500 on cl for $150, works good. Also picked up a Nice TORO 4000 that looks like a ex 4500 Honda. Has the full sound enclosure etc. Guy was using it for a backup at his cabin, it was running and quit. Turns out it has no spark. But for $100 I figured it was worth the risk!
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Old 10-08-2014, 01:13 PM   #6
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Re: Generator questions

If you're just looking for a temporary solution until you can afford a new one, Craigslist is your friend. I picked up a Powermate 5000 watt gasoline genny with a Subaru engine for $35. Runs fine.
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Old 10-08-2014, 02:50 PM   #7
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Re: Generator questions

Ya I grabbed a couple cheap gas jobs off cl until I can come up with a diesel.
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Old 10-08-2014, 04:21 PM   #8
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Re: Generator questions

You are chasing the sun, but...Anyone have hints for keeping diesel gennies happy in the winter? I have not so fond memories of small diesels and cold weather back on the farm.

I have thought about setting up my fuel tank for veggie, but not run veggie--just to add the heat loop to help prevent gelling. If I do set up a dual tank system, the big tank will be set up that way so it can stay straight #2. I think you could also scavenge genny heat for cabin heat and/or domestic hot water. Standard double wall flat plate or similar could handle it. But that is getting complicated.
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Old 10-08-2014, 05:09 PM   #9
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Re: Generator questions

We need to drain our diesel fuel tank for the bus. When we refill it, we will add Stabil to the fuel. When we were looking at the prices and how much would treat the tank, I believe I saw stuff for winter storage at Wal-Mart.
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Old 10-08-2014, 06:39 PM   #10
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Re: Generator questions

Glow plugs, intake air heaters, fuel heaters just to name a few. Diesels are hard to start in cold weather but not impossible.

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