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RV SPECIALIST, RV Mechanic/Diesel Mechanic
Category: RV
Satisfied Customers: 304
Experience:  22 years Diesel/RV,major engine, Chassis, Appliances, 14 Years Owner of successful Rv service center
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My RV Onan 4000 generator does not start when the start button

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My RV Onan 4000 generator does not start when the start button is pushed and held. There is a clicking sound coming from a small round device that the power in connected to. Is that some sort of charging coil, and could that be the problem my generator has?
lets check the battery voltage at the solonoid it sounds like a bad connection or a dead or bad battery let me know i am here to help greg dinsmore
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
<p>The deep cycle batteries are new and are showing a decent charge.</p><p>Could it be a bad solenoid on the generator?</p>
could be but the clocking is a sure sign of low voltage when you hold it down it just clicks really fast ?have you had any of the controls apart? lets try a battery jump box on the positive side and ground it .if it clicks real fast
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

The solenoid makes a single click when I push and hold the start button. It doesn't continuously click really fast - just the one click sound. I'll check the voltage from the batteries again once I get home from work today.

ok try and locate a jump box also cause you could have good voltage but no amps so as you hold down the switch check the voltage.and check it on both sides lets see if its getting through the solonoid .if its getting through the solonoid what you could have is a bad spot in the starter and sometimes you can take a long pry bar and look inside to the back of the gen set in the middle you will see the starter have some one hold the starter button and tap on the starter at the same time (do not hit it to hard as you will break the magnets inside it )i will check back in on you tonight thanks greg
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Last night I started to check the solenoid, but when the start button was held for more than a few seconds a burning smell and a little smoke started to come from what appeared to be the starter. So I stopped there. I think it might be a bad starter, do you agree?
Hi, I am Don. (Edited by Moderator) May I get the model number from the data tag? I think I already know but I want to know for sure. Thanks.

Edited by Maria-Moderator on 11/5/2010 at 12:27 AM EST
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I will need to get the model number off of the data tag when I get home from work. I will provide you with that info tomorrow. Thanks!

OK, the series I am thinking is a microlite. Does that sound right?
yes its a 4.0 its basic 12 volt operation and most gas models have the same starting system and sounds as if though my diag was correct (Edited by Moderator)

Edited by Maria-Moderator on 11/5/2010 at 12:29 AM EST

and yes don the starter is failed but would need tested to properly diagnose. i would drop the gen set and remove the top cover and remove the starter and make sure the engine moves freely, and if so the starter is bad. these starters are fairly cheap. i will get you a part number for your onan i hate to have you keep running back and forth so i will need a serial number to get you your part number. thanks don, (Edited by Moderator) I usually check my messages hourly up to 10 pm at night even sundays-- because i pride myself customer service and going above and beyond for them with multiple fields of knowledge--Greg

Edited by Maria-Moderator on 11/5/2010 at 12:30 AM EST
RV SPECIALIST, RV Mechanic/Diesel Mechanic
Category: RV
Satisfied Customers: 304
Experience: 22 years Diesel/RV,major engine, Chassis, Appliances, 14 Years Owner of successful Rv service center
RV SPECIALIST and 2 other RV Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thanks for all your help. Here's the info on the Onan generator:


Model #4KYFA26100F

S/N J963592569

Amps = 33.3

RPM = 3600

Battery = 12v


I tried starting the generator last night with the batteries fully charged, and I'm still getting the same result = the solenoid clicks when the start button is pushed and held, but the starter does not respond. If I try starting or hold button too much there appears to be a electical burning smell along with slight smoke coming from the back near the starter.


I appreciate your advice and apologize for having you have to reply so many times to me. I will await your next and final bit of advice, and then will "Accept Answer" afterwards.


Thanks again!

thanks and we are dealing with that in the backgroundWink


ok back to your deal-I do have strong feelings that your unit has a bad starter .but if you can tap on the starter sometimes the unit will get past the bad spot. or you can remove the top cover i hate to have you drop the unit(not fun)but need to get the cover off to access the starter i will get your part number when i get to the shop, so you can have the starter with you when you get the gen set down.

one thing you can also check is reach your hand in the left side of the gen set and grab the cooling fins and turn the engine- just to make sure the engine is not locked up (make sure the battery is disconnected so it does not accidentally engage)


thanks and again i am sorry for the confusion greg dinsmore

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you again for your help. I've tapped on the starter as best as I could, and it did not help. I will check to see if the cooling fins rotate before assuming it's the starter and ordering a new one. If you are able to get me a p/n for the starter, and maybe a name of a reliable supplier that would be great. Thanks again!
Customer: replied 5 years ago.


Thanks again for your help last week. When I got home Friday, I did what you suggested and turned the cooling fan blades. It felt like it was locked up at first and they didn't want to rotate, but I was able to force them loose by hand and then the generator started up fine. It ran well all weekend on our trip.

I'm not sure what would cause the engine to lock up like that, I'm sure you'd have a suggestion on what it might be, or maybe that is a normal occurance? If you'd like to advice on what might cause that problem feel free to, however I do not expect you to since you've already spent much time in helping me.

Thanks again!

no problem thats what we do here is to make sure you are happy and come back Winkthat is not standard to happen all though the starter has a plastic gear drive and sometimes the drive gets stuck in between teeth of the flywheel

how long had it sat before you attempted to start it ?does the starter sound ok ? let me greg

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I've started it recently. It had not sat idle for any length of time. The starter sounds good. Perhaps it was the position of the teeth to the flywheel??

Thanks again!

yes could be i would get one just in case these starters are not very good to begin with and seam to know when you need it the most lol have a great day