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Ask Hank F. Your Own Question
Hank F.
Hank F., RV tech - emphasis on gensets
Category: RV
Satisfied Customers: 14675
Experience:  RV tech since the beginning of the millenium.
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My generator on my 1979 Chinook will not start. There is no

Customer Question

My generator on my 1979 Chinook will not start. There is no power at the generator. I checked it with a 12 volt tester.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: RV
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I also checked for continuity of the hot wire running back to the generator and there didn't seem to be any. I was using a long electrical cord to check it so not sure that reading was acurate. There is defiantly no 12 volt power going to the solinoid on the generator.
Expert:  Hank F. replied 1 year ago.
Hello!
My name is ***** ***** I am going to assist you with this.
If you follow the positive cable from the genset back, where does it lead to? The chassis battery? The house battery? A solenoid?
Double check to make sure you are following the proper cable all the way. It is not uncommon for a cable to go through a place where there is more than 1 cable, and it is easy to get on the wrong one.
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It runs all the way up to the engine bay where it connects to my Cole Hersee Smart Battery Isolator. The isolated charges the house batteries when they drop below 12.7 volts. There is voltage at the terminal where the line from the generator connects to this isolated.
Expert:  Hank F. replied 1 year ago.
The isolator is not voltage sensitive. It separates the house battery from the coach battery, so that you do not pull both batteries down at once. The isolator allows both batteries to be charged when the vehicle engine is running.
If you have voltage at the isolator end of the cable, but not at the genset end, then the cable is cut or broken somewhere. You will need to just follow the cable to find the break, or install a new cable, making sure to keep it sized appropriately for the length of the run.
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes thats what I was thinking, a short somewhere. You don't know if there is an "inline" fuse somewhere do you? . I only have "one" coach battery at this time and I'm suppose to have two. That wouldn't make any difference would it?
Expert:  Hank F. replied 1 year ago.
There should not be a fuse or circuit breaker - the genset starter pulls too many amps. It needs to be a direct wire, and is actually best if it is connected directly to the battery, and not through a solenoid or isolator.
One battery or 2 makes no difference. Having 2 batteries increases the amount of amp-hours you have available, but does not increase the voltage.
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Have you ever worked on Chinooks? This is a 1979 Premier model. I can't find a wiring diagram for the coach.
Expert:  Hank F. replied 1 year ago.
I've worked on so many different coaches over the last 15 years that I can't remember what all I've worked on and what I haven't.
I definitely would not have a wiring diagram for it - especially something that old.
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I hear ya. Would only having one "coach" battery make any difference? The one I have is fully charged. I have read on the Chinook blog that the coach batteries start the generator but as I said that hot wire comes all the way back to the Battery isolated under the hood, doesn't run to the coach battery box.
Expert:  Hank F. replied 1 year ago.
No, as I stated a bit earlier, having only 1 coach battery will not make a difference. One battery will do the same as 2 batteries, it just will not last as long if you are not plugged in to shore power.
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sorry I didn't see that post about the batteries. Any other info you can give me to trouble shoot this?
Expert:  Hank F. replied 1 year ago.
Not really. Just follow the cable and see if you can find the break.
Personally, if you have enough cable available, I would run the cable straight to the battery.
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hank, would you mind opting out of this question? No offense but I would like a second opinion.
Expert:  Hank F. replied 1 year ago.
Ok
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am hoping some one can tell me how to troubleshoot my RV generator. It is in a 1979 Chinook Premier RV. It will not start. There doesn't seem to be any 12V Power coming into the generator. The generator is an Onan 4000. I don't know if it's related but my cruise control doesn't work either. Everything else works electronically.