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the ol farm boy

russ buchanan

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I have had several RV's, all came with a generator, 4000w.  Now I have a 5th wheel with NO generator.  What do I look for in a portable?  I have a 13,500 AC.  How many decibels is reasonable?  Is an inverted as good as a generator?  I know folks talk about Hondas, but how about the ones we can by from Harbor Frieight, $300.00 verses $2,000

just an ol farm boy.

Another question:  20 years ago the truck that I had at the time, it was easy to look out the back window into the box and see the hitch as I backed up to hook up.  My new truck does not have that luxury.  Does any one have a procedures took make  the hooking up process easier?

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I buy from Harbor Freight often.  30 year contractor and mechanic before that.  I have a rule about their tools.  NEVER I mean NEVER buy any engine driven or electric tool etc from them if you intend to rely on it to work when you need it. At the same time, in my business I have used many 1/2" drive, 3/4" impact sockets ( I used to build pallet racking in BIG warehouses, and the best impact sockets I have ever used were Harbor Freight.  Outlasted Mac, Snap-On, Craftsman, Matco, Cornwell.)  So the old adage that you get what you pay for is true in generators, there is a definite reason why Hondas and Yamahas are the price they are and HF's gensets are priced as they are.  I just cant figure out what adage applies to those impact sockets, but in practice, they are great.

Let the buyer use discernment.

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A friend had a HF generator.  It was loud and not reliable.  It failed after little use.  That said I saw an ad for some new generators HF is offering and claim to compare to Hondas.  I have not seen or used one of the new ones.

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I have some input on generators that may look like Hondas and how that happens.  I bought some 4000W gensets for work, needed a bunch of guys to have power at many buildings while installing equipment and they would be working off of scissor lifts.  Each needed a power supply.  Best deal I could find was a Chinese genset for less than $300 on sale.  They got the job done.

Afterwards, I needed to replace the regulators on a couple of them and went back to the original place to get replacements.  Well, we can order them but they will come on that slow boat from China and maybe we'll have them in a few months.  While on another job, I see a Champion genset that looks identical to mine but it is yellow.  Mine is not. Call Champion and explain what I am looking for.  The parts guy tells me that the Champion genset, the ones like mine, the Hondas just like them and a few other brands are ALL made in the same Chinese factory BUT to different specs.  So I ask if the regulators from the Champion, which he has in stock, will work on mine.  Yep, they will but are better made than the ones in my genset.  So I buy them and find mine are all plastic, the Champions are aluminum.  Havent replaced an aluminum one yet.  I guess those plastic ones just didnt hold up.

I imagine that the HF gensets are probably made in that same factory too.  But the specs are what they are.

Buy the better one, and I think you will be glad you did.

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When I got my 5er in late 2013 I bought a pair of Honda 2000 at $2k each thinking I wouldn't have to worry about them and easy to carry. 

They have been in the elements and aside from a little fading and being a bit banged up, they  still power my ac and start up perfectly. 

It all depends on how you are going to use yours. 

As for your hitching I have a mirror on the front of my trailer front cap that I can see through the rear view. I took out the middle headrest from my trucks back seat to be able to see. I also look back through the side mirror to line up with the trailer with my duallys fenders. You just need to find a mark to line up to if your truck is standard, like a piece of tape on the trailer. I usually get out and look 2—3 times as I back under the pin to make sure I am high enough as well. 

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4 hours ago, infoshot said:

When I got my 5er in late 2013 I bought a pair of Honda 2000 at $2k each thinking I wouldn't have to worry about them and easy to carry. 

They have been in the elements and aside from a little fading and being a bit banged up, they  still power my ac and start up perfectly. 

It all depends on how you are going to use yours. 

As for your hitching I have a mirror on the front of my trailer front cap that I can see through the rear view. I took out the middle headrest from my trucks back seat to be able to see. I also look back through the side mirror to line up with the trailer with my duallys fenders. You just need to find a mark to line up to if your truck is standard, like a piece of tape on the trailer. I usually get out and look 2—3 times as I back under the pin to make sure I am high enough as well. 

You paid 2K a piece for them? Why?!?

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The noise level from the generator is a concern. Hondas are very quiet. If the noise level is too high you won't be happy, your neighbors won't be happy and the rangers won't be happy with you. There is a reason for the price difference but a Honda 2000 should cost $600 or so used.

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With the $300 generators, your neighbors will be very unhappy with you.  As in cussing you out, maybe not to your face, but just the same. 

Then there are a few people around who, don't care, park 50 yards away and crank up that noisy generator, blasting out the neighborhood.

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I had been contemplating on getting one of the Champion 3000 that's compared to the Honda 3000.  They have the same dba's of the Honda and the reviews were pretty good..  I could get one for around $1000 with remote start last time I checked. The other day I looked at a HF ad and they have a Predator 3500 with the dba at 57 I think Honda was 56 for $650.00.  So I went ahead and bought it.  Started it and it sounds as quite as my nephews Honda 3000 and runs my 15,000 BTU AC.  I'm just going to use this for back up it my Onan 5500 should it ever lets me down or to charge my batteries, I hate to run my Onan just to charge batteries.  Here's the one I got on sale for $650.00.
https://www.harborfreight.com/engines-generators/inverter-generators/3500-watt-super-quiet-inverter-generator-63584.html

 

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We have had a Champion 3100W unit for several years and it has always been reliable. Also I do not leave any gas in it unless we are using it. I run it out of gas then use a little bit of 2stroke gas for my weed eater which doesn't have any ethanol and run that through then store it. We have been very happy with it.

 

In hindsight I wish I had bought 2 2000w units and paired them together when I need the AC.  

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For a suggestion, convert the generator to LP gas. You won't have to worry about bad gas and if you need to run the generator, just grab the spare camper LP bottle and hook it up. For hitching up the camper, Harbor Freight sells basically a tennis ball mounted to a antenna w/magnet that can be used to guide into the hitch which could be used on a fifth wheel hitch also.

GregImage result for harbor freight hitch assist ball

Edited by gjhunter01

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On 9/8/2017 at 6:24 PM, gjhunter01 said:

For a suggestion, convert the generator to LP gas. You won't have to worry about bad gas and if you need to run the generator, just grab the spare camper LP bottle and hook it up. For hitching up the camper, Harbor Freight sells basically a tennis ball mounted to a antenna w/magnet that can be used to guide into the hitch which could be used on a fifth wheel hitch also.

GregImage result for harbor freight hitch assist ball

Kits for converting gas engines to LP out there and reasonably priced.  The idea of using LP instead of gas on seldom used engines is a good one, but bare in mind that they do lose a bit of HP.  I have a Wisconsin 35HP 4 Cyl on a concrete saw.  It runs on LP and is not running at the same HP as the exact same saw running on gas.  That being said, I appreciate the lack of fumes.

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Lost count of Honda gensets I have bought every size including a couple Honda's that are also good stick welders.

As far as I know EVERY one of them is running today see after DECADES of often thousands hours of duty and often on barges in salty conditions.

The one we use the most hours in our RV trips is a tiny EM-650 Honda that has had two spark plugs changes in several thousand hours of use in over +30 years of service (often loaned out for weeks at a time). I have a nipple cap for the fuel tank that we used to used to allow this genset to charge the barge batteries during the Christmas holiday weeks every year.

Now Honda quality is the stuff many stories made of but Three years ago we were camped high above Palm Springs in Mtn Center CA and unknown to me one of the little rubber feet that are bolted to the base vibrated off and I did not realize it......imagine the Honda letting itself and me down after +25 years at that time......did I mention that the Honda dealer sold the 650 to me at a deep discount since it was lightly used by a guy that brought it back for trade on a larger Honda.....

Wife says I am so "thrifty" that I will not consider the Honda paid for until it runs for a least another ten years.

IF you run your Honda long enough you might just get your investment back...

Drive on......(Honda .....fill the fuel tank, pull the rope, forget it)

 

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