RV generators start properly only when three conditions are satisfied. First, the battery is in working condition, second, the connections are good enough to give an electrical spark from the spark plug and third, clean gasoline is present in the tank to act as the fuel for the spark to ignite.
Also, the air filter should have enough airflow so that the gas and air can mix in the carburetor for engine combustion. In the absence of any of these four things or malfunctioning of one, the RV generator will not start. Apart from this, non-starting might also be due to the non-usage of the generator for extended periods.
So you need to check each of these, one by one to find out the reason why the generator is not starting.
If you are facing the problem of the RV generator not starting, the problems can be from battery connections, gumming up of carburetor, low oil, electric pump, spark plug, electrical connection, air filter, and old gas. In this, article we have discussed how to sort out these problems.
What are the items/tools you will need to set right the issues to start your RV generator without any hiccup?
The essential tools are :
Faulty Battery Connections
You have to study the battery cables to locate breaks or cuts in the lines and replace those battery cables having tears. Also, you have to observe the battery connections available at the posts and the terminals. You need to place an adjustable wrench on the positive terminal and then turn it anticlockwise to loosen it and pull off the terminal. The same process is to be followed by the negative terminal.
Then the terminal cleaner and the round end of the battery post are to be kept on the negative battery post. The cleaner is to be pushed down and turned in a circle to cleanse the post. The same process is to be repeated for the positive battery post. The terminal cleaner and pointed brush end of a battery post are to be placed inside each terminal. The cleaner is to be turned in a circle to cleanse the inside of each terminal.
Battery posts and terminals are to be polished with petroleum jelly to increase electrical conductivity and prevent corrosion. Each terminal has to be replaced on its post and the bolt tightened clockwise with the aid of an adjustable wrench. If there is a weak battery, it needs to be placed on a battery charger for increasing the crank power for starting the generator.
Gumming up of Carburetor
With gasoline generators, they are to be run at least for half an hour every 4 to 6 weeks. Otherwise, they will stop performing even with a full fuel tank and properly filled oil. The periodic running will prevent the carburetor from gumming up. Fuel garnish may accumulate in the carburetor. Actually, the carburetor needs cleaning up. But the spray type cleaners do not function properly. You will need to remove and rebuild it. You may also try out a new carburetor. Replacing one will take about just an hour. Gasoline makes a resin or gum when it sets for longer times and it blocks the very small ports in the carburetor. Again you may use a shot of fuel stabilizer in the gas tank as a remedy or run the generator long enough to ensure it is through the fuel system before you park your RV for more than a month.
Get hold of the oil fill lid and turn it anticlockwise for loosening it. Then the lid has to be pulled up straight so that it can be removed. Now check the oil level with the help of a dipstick. If required, add oil to the oil tube to bring it to the “Full” mark on the dipstick. Now replace the oil fill cap and screw it tight by moving in a clockwise direction. If the oil level is low and your generator has a safety low oil level sensor, it might not start.
Faulty Electric Pump
The problem might be due to the electric fuel pump going wrong. This would need replacement.
Rusty Spark Plug
The spark plug harness has to be pulled off the spark plug. Then the spark plug is to be unscrewed in an anticlockwise direction with adjustable pliers. Now you have to pull it out and the contact point on the top is to be seen. If the point looks rusty or burnt then the spark plug needs replacement. The spark plug is to be cleaned by spraying carburetor cleaner on the tip and then you can reinstall it along with its harness.
If the coach battery is perfect and you can hear a sound like a fuel pump pumping when the start switch is pushed, yet the generator does not start, start by checking the corrosion on the electrical connections.
Such a situation may also be caused by the malfunctioning of the fuel filter. In that case, it would need to be replaced.
You need to check the connections at the battery, thereafter at the starter relay and then at the starter. Once the battery terminals are cleaned, the Genset will get the required current/ voltage to start the motor and the Genset will come to life. But the conditions of the fuel pump, carburetor, ignition system and availability of gasoline are other significant criteria.
Dirty Air Filter
You have to find the thumbscrew on the air filter retainer and unscrew it in a clockwise direction. Then pull the lid and screw off straightaway. Now pull the air filter out and find if there is any excess debris or dirt. The air filter has to be blown off with an air compressor so that the loose debris is removed. And if the filter has any tears in it you have to replace it with a new filter. Then you will have to reinstall the air filter in the retainer and thereafter replace the lid and finally tighten the thumbscrew in a clockwise direction.
Stagnant Old Gas
The gas cap has to be unscrewed by moving in an anti-clockwise direction and then pulling up straight. Now smell the gasoline in the tank and if you find it has a varnish odor then the gas has become stagnant and needs removal. You have to siphon this old gas out and then fill the tank again with gasoline. Then replace the gas cap with a clockwise turning. The fuel filter clip is to be pinched with pliers so that the filter is released from the fuel line. Then the dirty fuel filter is replaced with a new one.
The other disturbing factors might be air in the fuel line or clogging of the fuel filter.
What are the things to check if the RV generator is not starting?
If the generator is not having power inside though it is running, then plug the shoreline to the receptacle inside the shoreline compartment.
Again, there is the breaker switch on the side. It has to be flipped forward. It might trip to protect the generator if it has a heavy load. In that case, the breaker switch has to be pressed back to the “On” position.
If there is no power inside, it might be that the main breaker has tripped. In that case, it has to be reset. Reset the breakers at the converter which are connected to the AC, microwave and other auxiliaries. It may so happen that none of the switches fall, yet there is no power. It might be the condition of a “partial trip.” In that case, put all over and reset again.
Sometimes, the marks on the side of the carburetor bowl need to be adjusted depending on the altitude you are in. It will require some time as the fuel has to move through it into the carburetor.
What happens if your RV generator surges or shuts down when it is not supposed to?
What do you do then?
You have to:
- Drain the oil off
- Pull the oil filter off
- Put on a new oil filter
Firstly you will have to locate the oil check and the little valve to dump the oil. The oil container is to be placed on the ground just beneath the valve and you have to unscrew counterclockwise for all the oil to fall off.
Again you have to unscrew the old oil filter and remove it. The new filter is to be placed and replenished with the oil. The oil filters are not to be over-tightened as you will need to change them after every few months.
Before adding oil in the new oil filter, you need to close the valves. This part is a bit tricky and you need to be a bit careful. You may use a dipstick to find out the fullness of the new oil filter.
Next comes changing the fuel filter. You need to get the old filter off which though very small is a very important part of a good operating generator. Pull the gas line attached to one end from where the vehicle gas tank pulls down, get a little excess, crimp that off so that you do not spill gas everywhere. Once it’s off, put a new one on, but the line and clamp it and it’s done.