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Thread: Onan 5500 LP Generator Problems

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    Member lcdrdean's Avatar
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    Onan 5500 LP Generator Problems

    I need help with a peculiar problem. Last night we were dry camping and had the fridge running off propane. Since we wanted to watch TV and run the fireplace, I lit off the generator. It started and seemed to run fine so I switched the fridge to electric. The furnace however would not light. When I shut down the generator and lit off the furnace, it worked fine and we had heat through the night. So for a while last night, I ran the generator and watched TV with the fireplace going, but no heat from the furnace. After a couple of hours, the generator shut itself down. When I restarted the generator, it would only run for a few minutes, then shut itself down again. We went to bed with the furnace running running on battery with no problems. This morning, we shut off the furnace, lit off the generator and the fireplace and made coffee with the electric coffeemaker. The generator again ran for a while but then shut itself down.

    Any ideas on what might be happening?
    Dean and Terri Jennings
    Bailie (a puggle) and Yaki (a pappilon)

    Fulltimers since 27 June 2010
    2012 Coachman Brookstone 385FL Diamond Edition
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    Moderator danemayer's Avatar
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    Re: Onan 5500 LP Generator Problems

    I had some shutdown problems caused by insufficient propane flow to the generator. It ran fine off one tank, but was erratic on the other tank. One of the hoses needed to be replaced.


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    Northern Virginia newbie's Avatar
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    Re: Onan 5500 LP Generator Problems

    it sounds to me like a propane delivery problem. I have read here about the a faulty sail shutting down the fuel supply which sounds like a possibility here.

    John
    John and Charlotte
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    Re: Onan 5500 LP Generator Problems

    The first thing I would do is to check my propane tanks to see how much propane was in both of them, if one is empty or low and the other full I would then swap them around making sure the arrow on the switch over valve is pointed towards the full bottle, then fire up the generator and furnace, if that doesn't work switch the arrow towards the bottle on the opposite side, if that doesn't help could be little trash causing some restriction in the line or the regulator on the switch over valve is not working properly. Bottom line you are not getting enough fuel.
    Good luck.

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    Member lcdrdean's Avatar
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    Re: Onan 5500 LP Generator Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by newbie View Post
    it sounds to me like a propane delivery problem. I have read here about the a faulty sail shutting down the fuel supply which sounds like a possibility here.

    John
    What is a "sail"?
    Dean and Terri Jennings
    Bailie (a puggle) and Yaki (a pappilon)

    Fulltimers since 27 June 2010
    2012 Coachman Brookstone 385FL Diamond Edition
    2010 Bighorn 3670RL (what we use to have)
    2007 Ford F350 DRW Crewcab Lariat 4X4 (6.0l, LWB)

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    Icantre Member
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    Re: Onan 5500 LP Generator Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by lcdrdean View Post
    What is a "sail"?
    Its a switch activate by air flow. John is confused about its use though. Not used for sensing propane flow, but for making sure the furnace blower is working.
    Bob & Joyce Krull
    Forest Grove, OR
    2009 Bighorn 3385

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    Northern Virginia newbie's Avatar
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    Re: Onan 5500 LP Generator Problems

    I am confused. You would think I would be used to it by now.

    Never the less, it certainly sounds like a propane delivery problem since both the furnace and generator are shutting down. I have not had problems with my gas flow so I really don't know much about it but for some reason, I thought the regulator, sensing too much propane flow would shut off the gas thinking there was a leak if too much was going through it. (I know regulators don't think but you know what I mean.)
    John and Charlotte
    2009 Landmark Augusta
    2008 GMC 2500HD Duramax crew cab
    Firestone airbags/ 20K Reese hitch
    6500 watt Onan / 2500 watt inverter / Four 12v batteries in slide out box tray
    3 great kids and 2 German shepherd dogs


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    Icantre Member
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    Re: Onan 5500 LP Generator Problems

    John, I know you're right about some sort of excess flow control in the propane system. I've activated it by disconnectig a line without shutting of the bottles. I don't understand if its part of the valve on the bottles, or part of the regulator itself.
    Bob & Joyce Krull
    Forest Grove, OR
    2009 Bighorn 3385

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    Moderator jimtoo's Avatar
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    Re: Onan 5500 LP Generator Problems

    I don't know about the regulator for sure, but don't think it does that.. all the newer bottles have excess flow checks in the valve or neck. In case of line breakage, or accident it shuts it down to a very small flow. Not enough to cook with or water heater use, but maybe enough for a refrigerator

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    Member lcdrdean's Avatar
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    Re: Onan 5500 LP Generator Problems

    Thanks guys for the information. I will check out the tanks and lines and get back to you.
    Dean and Terri Jennings
    Bailie (a puggle) and Yaki (a pappilon)

    Fulltimers since 27 June 2010
    2012 Coachman Brookstone 385FL Diamond Edition
    2010 Bighorn 3670RL (what we use to have)
    2007 Ford F350 DRW Crewcab Lariat 4X4 (6.0l, LWB)

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