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Matthew

Generac generator question

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I'm thinking about purchasing a Class B+.  I'm looking at a 2011 Coachmen Concord 220LE.  62,000 miles and asking price of $42,000.  I love the floor plan and storage.  One thing that bothers me is that it has a Generac generator. 

Online research leads me to understand that Generac no longer makes RV generators which leads me to ask, "Why?" and "Will repair parts readily available?"  

If anyone can give me insight into the plus or minus of a Generac generator, I would greatly appreciate it. 

 

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Matthew, over 49 years of RV ownership and a ton of RV's (past used RV dealer) I've owned Onan, Kohler, Generac and several other makes of gensets. Based on my experience and research, especially concerning parts availability and service, my own personal preference would be Onan far ahead of Generac. HOWEVER  I currently own a Generac 4700 BECAUSE THATS WHAT WAS IN THE RV WHEN I PURCHASED IT. I have purchased Generac parts easily on E Bay since some smaller RV dealers, as you know, may not stock Generac parts (or service them) as compared to Onan. That being said, mine is performing flawlessly after I replaced the carburetor, a starter solenoid, and a few other minor parts. It "worked" when I bought it, just didn't perform as good as I like.

FWIW I'm friends with a retired RV genset service man who non affectionately calls Generac "Genajunk" based on his like 30 years of service as a genset technician. His opinion has value, him being so experienced. I think they have a bad rep, likely a lot of which is deserved, although I'm sure some may have great luck with them.

BOTTOM LINE HOWEVER If the genset works I WOULD NOT let it be any deal breaker if I liked the rest of the RV. That's exactly what I did when I purchased mine. If mine goes bad and I cant locate parts (but E Bay has a wide selection) and/or I cant make my own repairs as I do typically, I WILL JUST REPLACE IT   

If you buy the RV at a price where you figure if you have to spend big bucks later on a replacement genset its still worth it GO FOR IT. Otherwise pass it by ONLY YOU CAN MAKE THAT CHOICE NONE OF US. Sure Generac has a worse reputation (justified or not ???) then some others, but an RV service techs opinion would be more useful to me then lay or less experienced (like mine) opinions 

 

John T   NOT any Generac technician or any other brand professional.

 

Edited by oldjohnt

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You may want to check the number of hours on the Generac, but most of them do perform reasonably well. They are often used in RVs because the cost was significantly lower than for Onan or most others. My issue with that RV is the price since NADA shows $32,100 as average retail for it. 

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2 hours ago, Kirk W said:

You may want to check the number of hours on the Generac, but most of them do perform reasonably well. They are often used in RVs because the cost was significantly lower than for Onan or most others. My issue with that RV is the price since NADA shows $32,100 as average retail for it. 

"... asking price of $42,000. "  When I get serious I'll ask what their selling price is and then I'll let them know what my buying price will be.  😀

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2 hours ago, oldjohnt said:

Matthew, over 49 years of RV ownership and a ton of RV's (past used RV dealer) I've owned Onan, Kohler, Generac and several other makes of gensets. Based on my experience and research, especially concerning parts availability and service, my own personal preference would be Onan far ahead of Generac. HOWEVER  I currently own a Generac 4700 BECAUSE THATS WHAT WAS IN THE RV WHEN I PURCHASED IT. I have purchased Generac parts easily on E Bay since some smaller RV dealers, as you know, may not stock Generac parts (or service them) as compared to Onan. That being said, mine is performing flawlessly after I replaced the carburetor, a starter solenoid, and a few other minor parts. It "worked" when I bought it, just didn't perform as good as I like.

FWIW I'm friends with a retired RV genset service man who non affectionately calls Generac "Genajunk" based on his like 30 years of service as a genset technician. His opinion has value, him being so experienced. I think they have a bad rep, likely a lot of which is deserved, although I'm sure some may have great luck with them.

BOTTOM LINE HOWEVER If the genset works I WOULD NOT let it be any deal breaker if I liked the rest of the RV. That's exactly what I did when I purchased mine. If mine goes bad and I cant locate parts (but E Bay has a wide selection) and/or I cant make my own repairs as I do typically, I WILL JUST REPLACE IT   

If you buy the RV at a price where you figure if you have to spend big bucks later on a replacement genset its still worth it GO FOR IT. Otherwise pass it by ONLY YOU CAN MAKE THAT CHOICE NONE OF US. Sure Generac has a worse reputation (justified or not ???) then some others, but an RV service techs opinion would be more useful to me then lay or less experienced (like mine) opinions 

 

John T   NOT any Generac technician or any other brand professional.

 

Thank you for the comments.  Plan C is use the Generator space for additional batteries?

Edited by Matthew
typo corrections

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36 minutes ago, Matthew said:

Thank you for the comments.  Plan C is use the Generator space for additional batteries?

Hey Plan C don't sound bad either. With enough battery capacity, throw as many panels on the roof as you can fit (say 200 to 400 watts ???) add an Inverter, and you can do a lot other then of course AC or other high power devices. While their cost may be prohibitive, at least two up to perhaps three or four Lithium Ions or affordable AGM's may well fit in that space.  Carry a small lightweight 2200 Inverter Generator and you're good to go yayyyyyyyyyyyyyy.

 But hey instead of reverting to Plan C, that Generac may do fine, mine is and as they say "If it aint broke don't fix it"

See you down the road, gee its fun to spend your money lol

John T

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I've had the same Generac 50G in 3 different 5th wheels since 1998 with a lot of hours, the only problem I've had with it is the auto choke besides some junk in the carb from old gas. 

Denny 

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13 hours ago, D&J said:

the only problem I've had with it is the auto choke

D & J, I cant seem to get my Generacs auto choke fine tuned for the best starting as well as I was able to set it on the Onans and Kohlers I've owned ???? I've set it by the manual and set it using my own method but its just not working as well as some other gensets I've owned. One thing is I may be where its cold then move to where its hot which obviously calls for different choking which the system just isn't compensating for as it might. I will check the manual and again try what it specifies. Some of my Onans had a carb adjustment for altitude but the Generac doesn't, although that's a different function. I think the Onans have a more accurate method/system to vary the choke versus temperature. 

Oh well all in all its working pretty well I may play with the choke adjustments when I head out again...….  

John T

Edited by oldjohnt

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13 hours ago, oldjohnt said:

D & J, I cant seem to get my Generacs auto choke fine tuned for the best starting as well as I was able to set it on the Onans and Kohlers I've owned ???? I've set it by the manual and set it using my own method but its just not working as well as some other gensets I've owned. One thing is I may be where its cold then move to where its hot which obviously calls for different choking which the system just isn't compensating for as it might. I will check the manual and again try what it specifies. Some of my Onans had a carb adjustment for altitude but the Generac doesn't, although that's a different function. I think the Onans have a more accurate method/system to vary the choke versus temperature. 

Oh well all in all its working pretty well I may play with the choke adjustments when I head out again...….  

John T

They use a pulse system, if it cranks for a few seconds with no start it pulls it closed for a short period but if the battery voltage is low or the cables from your house batteries are to long or small it won't pull in because the starter is pulling down the voltage. I have a stand alone battery for mine and if it's not fully charged the choke will not pull in, I'm looking at putting a pushbutton switch next to my start panel in the rig to just manually choke it.

Denny 

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4 hours ago, D&J said:

I'm looking at putting a pushbutton switch next to my start panel in the rig to just manually choke it.

I have considered doing the same as its an easy wiring job. I have big heavy relatively short cables hooked to a 520 Amp Hour AGM battery bank so these no problem pulling the choke in. I'm going to tweak it both according to the manual and other experimentation and if it doesn't suit me I may well rig up a manual push to choke switch.

Thanks for the info Denny

John T 

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1 hour ago, Matthew said:

1,457 hours

That is pretty high hours as RV generators go. It would be equivalent to two months of continuous run time. I can't find anything on RV generator life expectancy but I did find a recommendation that a Generac engine should be torn down for service sometime between 1000 and 1500 hours of run time. 

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My 2005 coach that I purchased in 2010 has a Generac with only 150 hours run time. I needed a gasket for the oil filter mount and at the time Camping World was the only distributor. Gasket was priced at $0.65 but shipping was $11.00. Needless to say, I made a gasket out of piece of cardboard. The generator has performed well. Getting parts may be a big issue.

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4 hours ago, Tom_M said:

Needless to say, I made a gasket out of piece of cardboard.

Similar story here Tom. I needed a gasket where the temperature sensor mounted to the block on my Generac and I had I had plenty of  NAPA brand make your own gasket material on hand (I chose it over cardboard) and made my own in like 10 minutes which worked and sealed perfect. I've not needed many parts but so far found anything I required that were in Generac OEM packaged sealed and labeled boxes on E Bay. As long as my Generac continues to perform I figure IF IT AINT BROKE DON'T FIX IT LOL

 Take care now, best wishes

PS in 49 year RV owner and dealer experience I saw many Gensets even in 10 or more year older RV's with less then 500 hours.

 John T   NOT endorsing, but "so far" a Happy Generac Camper 

  

Edited by oldjohnt

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On 5/23/2019 at 11:35 AM, Kirk W said:

That is pretty high hours as RV generators go. It would be equivalent to two months of continuous run time. I can't find anything on RV generator life expectancy but I did find a recommendation that a Generac engine should be torn down for service sometime between 1000 and 1500 hours of run time. 

I would trust a running used 8 year old generator (any brand) with 1,400 hours before I would trust one with 140 hours.

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I was reading my Generac manual the other day and I remember seeing that it had a 2,000 hr (or 3 yr) warranty, so it's curious that someone is recommending them be rebuilt before they are even out of warranty. Maybe different models have different levels of durability. Mine is a Q-55G. It has about 1450 hrs but it still starts runs great, other than having to manually choke it. 

Chip

 

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If I have learned one thing about generators in RVs is that you had better "use them or lose them".  My buddy has a Onan gas built in generator on his 3 year old coach.  He rarely started it or used it.  This spring in preparation of doing some dry camping he tried everything to get it started but couldn't.  $400 later and a new carb it runs pretty good now with less than 100 hours on it.

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8 minutes ago, FL-JOE said:

you had better "use them or lose them". 

AMEN  Routine exercise under load is good maintenance. That along with scheduled oil and filter, fuel and air filters, exercise the circuit breaker, keep them clean and adding Sta Bil if needed sure goes a long way. I have seen sections of rubber fuel line on older RV's that begins to crack.  RV's, especially motorhomes, with all their mechanical and electrical systems  require good routine maintenance, but I don't mind (kind of enjoy) fiddling with them when off road.

John T

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20 minutes ago, FL-JOE said:

If I have learned one thing about generators in RVs is that you had better "use them or lose them". 

I don't know about the other brands, but Onan does caution you to operate them at least 1 hour per month under load. In 8 years that would only be 96 hours but the low use hours on most used RV generators also indicates how little most owners actually use them. When we sold our 14 year old motorhome, the generator had less than 1,000 hours and if memory serves it was just over 600.

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That is why when we went back to full timing I never really considered adding a bunch of solar.  I want to maintain 10 to 20 hours a month on my generator, sometimes more.  I figured if I spent the money on solar my generator use time would be cut way back and eventually lead to problems with it.

Now possibly if we boondocked for weeks and weeks at a time I would feel differently.  I still think it would take years to recoup the money spent on solar though.

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1 hour ago, FL-JOE said:

I still think it would take years to recoup the money spent on solar though.

Joe, That may well be true (even moreso if you spent perhaps a thousand bucks for each 100 AH of Lithium batteries). It all depends on how much is spent and the differences in Generator versus Solar use, how often one dry camps, etc. etc. etc. there's a ton of choices and variables. However, its also a lifestyle choice NOT only economics. For instance, when I'm dry camped in a quiet peaceful location where other campers may be within earshot BOTH for my own peace and quite as well as theirs I MADE A CHOICE (Regardless if economical or not) NOT to run the noisy generator but instead utilize Solar. That may or may NOT be the best choice if only money and payback and return on investment is considered, but its my own preference. I've been purchasing Solar for 85 cents per watt, got a good deal on 520 Amp Hours of AGM batteries, shopped wisely for Inverters and Chargers and did my own installation, so cost want all that bad in my opinion and budgetary constraints. Of course SURE it cost some bucks and I could run the generator instead (NOT had to buy the solar) and that's fine if one may so choose. To each their own I reckon...………..  

PS My discussion above concerns having the capacity to run EVERYTHING BUT AC. If one installs a system capable of running a roof AC for much amount of time NOW THATS A DIFFERENT AND BIGGER MORE EXPENSIVE BALLAGAME...If it gets too hot I just go up in elevation or move lol

Yall take care, best wishes

John T

Edited by oldjohnt

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3 hours ago, FL-JOE said:

Now possibly if we boondocked for weeks and weeks at a time I would feel differently.  I still think it would take years to recoup the money spent on solar though.

For you, I, and many others that is true but a good solar system can enable one to spend months in a place like Quartzsite's LTVA or similar locations. Some do move there to dump tanks and fill water but others avail themselves of local pump-out services and water sellers. Others have portable tanks and haul their own waste and potable water, never moving the RV. In addition, the cost of solar is falling and so that payback time is also. It isn't something that I'd want to do but then I do some things that many others wouldn't so it all works out. 

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21 hours ago, oldjohnt said:

Joe, That may well be true (even moreso if you spent perhaps a thousand bucks for each 100 AH of Lithium batteries). It all depends on how much is spent and the differences in Generator versus Solar use, how often one dry camps, etc. etc. etc. there's a ton of choices and variables. However, its also a lifestyle choice NOT only economics. For instance, when I'm dry camped in a quiet peaceful location where other campers may be within earshot BOTH for my own peace and quite as well as theirs I MADE A CHOICE (Regardless if economical or not) NOT to run the noisy generator but instead utilize Solar. That may or may NOT be the best choice if only money and payback and return on investment is considered, but its my own preference. I've been purchasing Solar for 85 cents per watt, got a good deal on 520 Amp Hours of AGM batteries, shopped wisely for Inverters and Chargers and did my own installation, so cost want all that bad in my opinion and budgetary constraints. Of course SURE it cost some bucks and I could run the generator instead (NOT had to buy the solar) and that's fine if one may so choose. To each their own I reckon...………..  

PS My discussion above concerns having the capacity to run EVERYTHING BUT AC. If one installs a system capable of running a roof AC for much amount of time NOW THATS A DIFFERENT AND BIGGER MORE EXPENSIVE BALLAGAME...If it gets too hot I just go up in elevation or move lol

Yall take care, best wishes

John T

I think in your situation John, especially with your knowledge and self installing, solar would be a viable choice due to the amount of time you spend off the grid.  

Safe travels,

Joe

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18 hours ago, Kirk W said:

For you, I, and many others that is true but a good solar system can enable one to spend months in a place like Quartzsite's LTVA or similar locations. Some do move there to dump tanks and fill water but others avail themselves of local pump-out services and water sellers. Others have portable tanks and haul their own waste and potable water, never moving the RV. In addition, the cost of solar is falling and so that payback time is also. It isn't something that I'd want to do but then I do some things that many others wouldn't so it all works out. 

Our next stop (today) will be a remote county park.  The site we have for 2 weeks only has electric.  They are large sites with approximately 100' between each one.  Except for an occasional night or two of complete boondocking this is about as close to being off the grid as we generally get.  

We were very fortunate to get one of the few sites that didn't have a ton of shade trees.  We are huge Cub fans and wanted to be sure to have a clear line of sight for our satellite.  If we were not lucky enough to get one of these sunny sights then solar would be of no use to us during the next two weeks even if we had it and needed it.

I think there are some who have solar and they take advantage of it frequently.  It works extremely well for them plus they have a good understanding of how it works.  I just think a newbie starting out should probably get a year of traveling under their belt to see what they really need/want before dropping that kind of money.

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7 minutes ago, FL-JOE said:

I just think a newbie starting out should probably get a year of traveling under their belt to see what they really need/want before dropping that kind of money.

For most new RV owners, I agree.

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