Subject: power tech diesel – RV
from: Angela P.
My boyfriend is first time owner of a 99 Dutch Star RV. We’ve read owner’s manual together, trying to figure everything out, but not much on generator. It runs for about 30 minutes to hour, then shuts off. Repairman says it’s “some kind of” sensor but can’t locate problem. Wants to send us to a dealership. We’ve already paid the repair shop so much already and have decided to try and figure out ourselves before going to a dealer. You advise buying a manual, so we will do that, but can you give us an idea of what the problem could possibly be? Ever heard/seen this problem before? Thanks for any help
Hats off to you for doing your own thinking, as you may have read here; it’s all too easy to pay for shop labor and receive a guess at the problem. As another bus owner found, an RV outfit was using the WRONG manual to diagnose his problem, and charged him a tidy sum.
In my opinion, I could have guessed from here and charged you way less.. or you can do your own guessing with this crystal ball off ebay..
Behind every good man is a woman so much of the time, and you are exactly on the trail of a cure for way less money. The repair manual for the gen set is a very nice thing to keep in the vehicle..
First Step is to know who made the generator and the model and serial number. This is usually found on a name plate, and is often in plain view where you check the power plant’s lube oil lever, change the lube oil filter or air filter.
Once you get the manual, you will normally find a ‘theory of operation section’, and this is generally easier to understand than you might think. easier than learning how to sew, that’s for sure!
In this section of the manual, the sensors are often discussed, and generators can have more than engines. It’s all pretty simple >AFTER< you know where the problem is 🙂
Here’s what you do..
Make a list of what the Engine/generator need do. I give you some likely things, you will read the manual and learn what yours does. And do know… ‘YOU’ can fix it!
What we know, the generator starts and runs, but shuts down.
Is there an over temperature sensor for the coolant? Is it air cooled, or water cooled? Is the coolant level low? Is the sensor only bad?
Is there a lube oil pressure sensor, is it faulty or the pressure too low?
There may be other things monitored, like over voltage, under voltage, or the generator may be running too far off frequency.
Remember, every generator owner should have a ‘Kill A Watt’ cheaper than dirt, and a good monitor, regardless what your generator panel say, it’s always nice to have a second opinion, that be the kill a watt.
Your post did make email of the day.. and we’ll all be grateful if you use comments on the blog, and share with us. We all learn that way. There are friends of utterpower who are in the business of repairing generators and small engines that might offer you more advice, once we learn what generator you have.
A very common practice is to strap across a sensor that opens on fault, or remove the wire on one that provides a ground on fault. You only run long enough to prove the sensor is the reason it quit running, and then the next step is to determine if the sensor is good or bad.
When you do fix it, and you will.. I’d be very inclined to post your letter to the repair shop for their effort to guess at the problem and bill you. It’s all too common, but I thought they hung people outside of Austin, Texas for such offenses, so maybe you live there?
All the very best, and God bless Texas.. a lot of people don’t know it, but this IS the DIYer capital of the world!