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Motorhome generator question for Hank. the RV mechanic

Motorhome generator question for Hank.Hello...
Motorhome generator question for Hank.Hello. Robert the RV mechanic recommended I request you. I have an Onan generator in my 1997 Allegro motorhome Tiffin Allegro. I had a short circuit last week which was the 12 volt wire running to the front of the generator which was bolted on with another red wire which must have been going to the starter I assume. It seemed like the both on the generator was being used as a terminal block. Anyway, last week I was smelling a burning smell and I went to shut off my generator and heard a loud pop like a Transformer went. It must have been the wire melting on the generator Muffler that touched when I shut the generator off. Since then I had a short and Battery drainage and could not start the generator. I found the shorts today and repaired it so that the batteries are not draining, but I can't seem to get the generator start buttons to crank the generator as if there's no power going to the starter. I changed the generator fuse, I checked all the wires they seem tight, it has 12 volts going to it which was the wire that grounded out on the muffler, I checked all fuses and couldn't find a particular fuse for the generator, only a circuit breaker on the side of the generator which I resets. So after all this I still cannot get the generator to crank from either the remote start button or the start button on the generator itself. Any suggestions as to what I can check or troubleshoot next?
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Answered in 1 hour by:
1/22/2018
Hank F.
Hank F., RV tech - emphasis on gensets
Category: RV
Satisfied Customers: 16,006
Experience: RV tech since the beginning of the millenium.
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Hello, thanks for requesting me.

What are the model and serial numbers of the genset?

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Onan 4000 Genset, model 4BGWFA26100N, serial # I963584204

I need you to recheck your model number. There is no series BGW.

I would also like to know about this second red wire.

There should only be a large battery cable connected to the starter solenoid, and on a few units, possible a second very small wire going in to the control box.

Is this second wire a large cable, or a small wire?

Can you tell where it leads to?

It should not go straight to the starter, or else the starter would be running as long as there was juice in the battery.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
4BGEFA26100N sorry for typo.
The second red wire is same as one coming from battery but dont know were it goes. It was not hot. I put tester on wire from battery and negative test lead on second res wire and i got 13 volts approximately. So i assume its grounded or running to a selenoid or relay or something. It seems the volt on generator is acting as a terminal junction block just jiining them togethee, im assuming
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Bolt on generator, not volt on generator. (Typo)

The battery cable connects directly to the starter solenoid. If you remove the control panel, you will see the starter solenoid right there.

There should only be 1 large cable to the solenoid, and that is the battery cable itself.

It makes me wonder if someone is trying to power something else from the solenoid, and that is not recommended at all. It could lead to a dangerous situation.

Leave it off for now. You can trace it down later.

There should also not be any wires anywhere near the muffler.

You stated that you have 13V on the battery cable. This tells me that you have your coach plugged in to shore power, and are actually reading the voltage output from the converter.

Unplug the coach, and test the wire again.

If you do not have 12V, you have the batteries turned off, or a battery problem.

Let me know what you get.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
If i dont keep the wires together as they were bolted together on the generator, the 12 volts to the interiir lights go off.Do you mean selenoid should be behind generator cover panel and this bilt should be connected to the selenoid which goes to startee.
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Bolt should be connected to starter?
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
I mean do you think this bolt on generator is connected to starter selenoid?

Yes, you need to remove the cover with the start switch.

What you are seeing is not a bolt - it is the actual stud of the starter solenoid.

If your interior lights go out when you remove the second cable from the genset, someone has seriously messed up the wiring in our coach. The genset needs to have its own dedicated cable, and the coach itself should have its own feed, not through the genset.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
I will double check when i get to the RV later. Can i get back to you then?

Absolutely. I do not need to be online for you to post. You can post anytime, and I will get the message when I log on.

I work 2 day jobs, and normally help on Just Answer in the evenings.

I just happen to be home today, because I've been sick for the last couple weeks, and feel awful.

Medicines have me half loopy right now.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Thanks. Hope you feel better soon.

Me too. It's been going on way too long.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Ok Hank. Im at RV. I disconnected the 2 red wires from solenoid bolt and removed generator cover. The seleboid bolt is definitely being used as a terminal block to feed the 12 volt power in the house section. Also there is a small black wire hooked to the bolt that looks like it goes to the second fuse on the side of generator. I dont know how to check or remove that fuse, dont want to brake anything. So i have it opened and i see the selenoid and ton of wires and electronic stufff. What can i do next? Trying to attach picture.

That small black wire is supposed to be there. That fuse protects the choke heater and fuel pump.

For right now, you are going to need to leave the house feed off the genset to get the genset running.

You will need to have that corrected soon, though.

Reconnect the actual battery cable.

Check the control fuse again to make sure it is not blown.

Try to start the genset.

What happens?

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Ok. I checked both fuses, side small 10 amp and front 5 amp and they are both good. So can i try to connect the live 12 power line and start it without putting cover back on for now?

Yes.

And I would leave the control panel off until we are done - it can be a real bugger trying to get all those wires stuffed back in there.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Ok well i put it all back together and hooked up the one 12 volt power line to the bolt and I still can get anyting from the start button on the generator. I will check the remote switch but I doubt that will work either. Is it possible to sell annoyed fried from the short?
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Cant get it to crank. Dead.
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
I mean is it possible the solenoid fried from the short?
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
We remember hearing a very loud pop when this happens, it kind of sounded like a Transformer hopping on a telephone pole.
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Popping

It is possible.

Just to the left of the battery terminal of the solenoid, at the first small spade terminal, the wire should be labeled K1-S J1-9. Test that terminal for 12V.

Is there 12V present there?

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Do you mean the blue plastic connectors next to the bolt, or that thing with a bunch of wires going in? In the picture.

It is a terminal on the solenoid itself. The battery post is on the front of the solenoid.

There are 2 spade terminals on the left side. You need the first terminal - the one closest to you.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
to the left of the power bolt terminal on the side of the selenoid, behind all those wires (i cant see it in the picture) are 2 spade terminals on the selenoid itself and i should test the one closest to me? And should i test when pushing start switch or just as it sits there nuetral?

Test it without pressing the start button.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Ok. Have to set up work lite. Get back to you in a few. Anything else i should test while im in there?

Not until I know if that teminal has power or not.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Ok
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Im getting nothing from that terminal. 12 volts is hooked up to bolt on front of selenoid and getting 0 volts from that terminal.
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
I did not disconnect the connector. I just put the test lead on the metal underneath the Spade connector that it was connected to.

The solenoid is fried. You are going to need to replace it.

It is a special solenoid, only available from Onan.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Thanks. How can i order it? Do you know the vendor or Onan contact or website? Also were do i find the part number?
Hank F.
Hank F., RV tech - emphasis on gensets
Category: RV
Satisfied Customers: 16,006
Experience: RV tech since the beginning of the millenium.
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Hank F. and 87 other RV Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Thanks Hank. I'm confused now. I put everything back together so I don't lose anything and planned on ordering the cell annoyed. After I had everything together I accidentally hit the start button and the generator started. I'm not going to complain, but it makes me wonder if there was something loose inside all the wires that I may have reconnected when I was moving things around. You think I should have a spare selenoid anyway? I'm hoping this doesn't happen again and if it's nothing else loose inside there. Very strange. Everything is back together the same way it was before when it wasn't working.

It sounds like you may have had a bad connection somewhere.

If it is working now, I do not recommend getting another solenoid.

Hank F.
Hank F., RV tech - emphasis on gensets
Category: RV
Satisfied Customers: 16,006
Experience: RV tech since the beginning of the millenium.
Verified
Hank F. and 87 other RV Specialists are ready to help you
Ask your own question now
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Thanks Hank. I will be in touch. Do you know anything about RV furnaces? I can send a new question.

My specialty is generators.

For a furnace, I would recommend Robert.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Ok thanks again.

Not a problem - it is what we are here for.

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You didn't need to open a new question for that. I have closed the other question out.

Yes, as long as you have the RV outside, it will be perfectly fine to run it to have lights in the coach. The genset is made to run while using the RV.

The only thing I would caution you about would be to cap off that second cable that you disconnected from the genset - it might go hot when you power up the converter.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
I never left it disconnected because that's second cable is powering the 12 volt system. Solenoid bolt is being used as a terminal block for some reason. But as I see it it's the only way to get the lights on in the coach because that is beating the 12 volt system.

The coach power should be coming straight from the battery - not by using the genset as a terminal block. You need to get that corrected.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Yeah I don't know why they ran it that way. But that is the only way the coaches getting DC 12 volt power. I don't think the generator is going to power those 12 volt lights, correct?

Yes, it should.

When the genset is running, it is powering the converter, which should run the entire 12V system in the RV, as well as keep the batteries charged.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Wow okay. So where should that line that's second line that is sending power to the 12 volt lights be coming from? On this RV when using the generator the house plug is plugged into a 220 outlet that goes to the generator. When using line voltage from an RV camp we have to unplug the house line and plug it into the power post at the RV camp. So there should be low voltage somehow from the generator recharging the house batteries and the long should be going there separately, correct? So for some reason they decided to use this bolts on the solenoid as a terminal block. Is that possibly the way it was designed or do you think somebody did that after the fact?

The genset does not charge the batteries. Batteries are charged by the converter.

That second cable that feeds your coach lights should be connected straight to the batteries. It is not factory - someone has jury-rigged it that way.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Ok thanks Hank.

You're welcome.

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