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Ask Hank F. Your Own Question
Hank F.
Hank F., Technician
Category: Small Engine
Satisfied Customers: 14480
Experience:  Certified on Onan and Generac generators
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I have a 1993 RV with a 7KW Kohler propane generator. I

Customer Question

I have a 1993 RV with a 7KW Kohler propane generator. I can't seem to get it to continue to run. It will run fine for a bit and then it seems like it is barely running and then shuts down. I serviced it today with new spark plugs, checked the air filter and was doing an oil filter and oil change. But when I went to add the 4 quarts of oil back into it, the generator oil overflowed with only 3.5 quarts. Why? I took the extra oil out and started the generator. It ran very good and then went right back to the same problem as before, barely running until I shut it down. I should say that I have started to smell propane when it goes to barely running and shuts off.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Small Engine
Expert:  Hank F. replied 3 months ago.

What is the model number of the genset?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
7CKM22-RV, 7kw Propane Model.
Expert:  Hank F. replied 3 months ago.

The first thing you need to do is to have the fuel system tested.

Unless you have had gaseous fuel training and have the proper equipment, this is not something you can do yourself.

A problem like this is most often found in the demand regulator.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
there is propane taking up space in the generator that usually is for oil? You are saying this is why the generator only took approximately 3.5 quarts of oil during the oil change rather than 4 as posted in the service manual?
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Sorry for the delay in responding. I was away with the RV and that is why I was trying to get the generator working properly. Now the generator won't even turn over, let alone start...
Expert:  Hank F. replied 3 months ago.

No, the LP is the most likely cause of the engine running hard and shutting down.

For the oil, you may just have not had all the old oil drained out, especially if it was parked on a slope.

Also, some of that oil needed to get into the filter.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Thank you for your input and my apology once again for my delay in responding. I do not get online often during the week. I am going to try to find a local technician that can work on a RV mounted propane generator. That has been difficult in the past, but hopefully with the popularity of home generators I may be able to find someone.
I had the RV on level ground when I changed the oil. I started the generator and ran it for a few minutes to warm up the oil before changing. I left the petcock open for draining for a lengthy time to insure I drained all I could. I did change the filter, but the literature said it would take a bit more than 4 qts. to handle the new filter. Mine didn't even take 3.5 quarts. If there was oil left in the generator, then it must be sludge sitting in the bottom. There was no indicator of that when I was draining it. But once I get it running again I will change the oil and filter once again to see what it takes the next change. It's worth the oil and filter to try to resolve that issue.
Expert:  Hank F. replied 3 months ago.

Yes, that unit should hold 4 quarts of oil.

Without being able to see the unit, it is impossible to say why it will not hold the 4 quarts.

Did you put in 3 quarts, and then start it to fill the filter and oil system? Or did you just try to dump the whole 4 quarts in right away?

I find it hard to believe that there would be that much sludge in the crankcase, and the engine would still run.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I had purchased a 5 gallon container of oil and was using that to fill 4 quarts in the generator. All of the sudden, the oil was overflowing out of the fill. I stopped immediately and noticed I had over quite a bit more than 1 quart of oil left in the container. If you are familiar with this unit, when I sucked out the overage in the generator (paperwork warns not to overfill and run) I removed quite a bit of oil. That doesn't include what had run out on the ground. So I am estimating that at least 1/2 quart (the overflow, the removed and the balance in the container) that should have gone into the unit didn't. I will put in 1 quart at a time next oil change.
Expert:  Hank F. replied 2 months ago.

Ok.