Monday, February 18, 2013

Onan Woes

We have a built in Onan 4000 MicroQuiet gas powered generator in the motorhome. We have it serviced every year by our favorite service guy in Yuma, AZ. It has always served us well and has never failed. Last week there were power problems in the RV park in Cuernavaca and we used the generator for an hour or so. No problem.

Yesterday we stopped at the roadside to make lunch. I hit the start button and it started. About five minutes later the generator stopped by itself for no apparent reason and would not restart, it would not even crank. The battery was fully charged.

We filled the gas tank and parked in the RV park here in Puebla and plugged in. I tried the generator again and it would not start, not even crank. I tried the second starter switch on the generator itself but nothing, not even a click.

I can see what looks like a starter solenoid and checked it with my meter. There is battery voltage (13.8V) on one side and nothing on the other side, just as expected. When I push the start switch nothing changes on the solenoid. I would expect the solenoid to operate and apply voltage to the other side to initiate starting. This is not happening.

There is a Cummins-Onan dealer in Puebla so I had one of the English speaking Mexican workers call them but they said they could not help. The park has a mechanic they use and are trying to contact him to see if he can help. Stay tuned!


  1. Strange that the Cummins dealer could not help. You need a good Mexican mechanic. Good luck.

    1. My opinion of this company is dropping. Calling their headquarters in FL gets me in an endless loop of "Your call is important, leave a message". I left our Telcel and Telus numbers but no call back.

  2. Hi Croft:
    Eric says hit the solenoid with wrench something may be stuck inside.
    Check the low amperage side (start button side) for an open, if it's like a normal solenoid.
    Could the start button be bad? Take the button off and short the two wires together or use a screwdriver. Try the same thing at the solenoid as that eliminates all the wiring to the button.

    1. This advice would have identified the problem. Thanks. See the latest post to see what happened.