Jump to content
neilp

Generator opinions sought: repair or replace

Recommended Posts

My 1993 Itasca Spirit came with the Kohler 2500 gen powered by a Tecumseh TVM140 motor. It runs and generates power. I can run the AC on it which is a primary requirement here in TX!

However it has a couple of issues:

- it does not hold rpm. It hunts for want of a better term. Same under load or unloaded. I can see the control arm on the carb moving around (I think that is called the governor?)

- the muffler is rusted to pieces so it's too loud to use in a park or with anyone camped nearby. And it must leak exhaust under the camper which cannot be good!

So it's not very usable right now. I'm guessing (but would love to hear from those with experience) that the first issue may be cured with a carb rebuild, I can do that easily enough. The second issue maybe a visit to a local muffler shop. But I'm thinking that these would total $200 or so. Doable but I'm thinking about other options...

I could replace the gen with a 2000w inverter. It should power the AC no problems. The AC spec states 1400w in "desert" conditions, the gen 1600w running. I could remover the old gen and use the space to store the new generator, taking it out of that space to use it outside the camper. Or I could take some time to strip the gen out of the plastic case and mount it into the space so it remains in place while being used. This might be a bit of a project as the exhaust would have to be routed correctly but I think the better option. Plumbing the gas line would be interesting as it may need a small fuel pump if I cannot reuse the one on the Kohler.

I've seen a Honda clone at a local pawn shop for $200. It runs but likely needs a carb clean as it also hunts a bit. Might just need clean gas. 

I do like the idea of an inverter as it would use a lot less gas - less than half the Kohler, and a lot quieter too.

Thoughts? Any been there done that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No opinions on this? 

Has anyone replaced the stock gen with an inverter generator?

TIA

Neil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First Toy 87 Dolphin had no gen.  I bought  Honda EU2000i.

Second Toy 90 Dolphin had Onan 2800 in it which ran.  

Third Toy 94 Warrior has Kohler 2800 in it which runs.

I definitely prefer the Honda.  (A Yamaha would be just as welcome).  My roof A/C is small enough that the Honda can start and run it.  Onan was dated, noisy  used more gas, and the exhaust blew dirt when I parked on a dirt campsite.  The Kohler is the most noisy, uses the most gas, blows the most dirt.  After giving it two chances I refuse to use it any more.  I start it once or twice a year just to have it working in case we get a different Toy and sell this one.  Only reason I haven't removed it is lack of time and initiative.  My suggestion is to tear out the Kohler.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Bob that's the direction I'm leaning. I've found a 2000w (surge) / 1600w (running) Honda copy generator at a local pawn shop for $200. I think I'll get it tomorrow and see if I can adapt it to fit in the space. I'll give up the internal controls and electric start and also the ability to ruin both AC and microwave but I'm not sure those are concerns. In return much quieter and less gas. Good trade off I think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would be very uneasy about stuffing a suitcase-type gen into where the Kohler is.  The exhaust could kill you.  If you just carry it there but take it out to run it, that is just fine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree there is a problem with the exhaust. I am planning on extending the exhaust so that it exits at the same location as the stock generator. I'm still undecided about just storing it in the compartment or modifying it to fit. That would entail removing the casing, fuel tank etc and adapting the mounting points to the current gen mounts. And moving the controls so they are accessible in the new location... might be a fun project though!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have the microlite 2800 and I love it. It’s not cheap to buy, but does a great job. I would be hesitant to buy a $200 generator and hope it lasts long enough to enjoy it.

If your Kohler runs fine except for the carb and exhaust, it would make more sense to put your money into repairs. Get a rebuilt carb to fit (unless you’re an expert at carb rebuilding) and as far as the exhaust goes google “scooter muffler “. Many of these mufflers have the correct pipe diameter and are universal enough you should be able to modify to fit. They’re not expensive. IMHO. Fred.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Neilp: My 2.5 Kohler has the exhaust welded into the truck engine exhaust  between the muffler and catalytic converter. The mechanical noise comes from the generator  mostly not the motor itself,  and is loud. Best of luck on whatever you decide.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Homer said:

Neilp: My 2.5 Kohler has the exhaust welded into the truck engine exhaust  between the muffler and catalytic converter. The mechanical noise comes from the generator  mostly not the motor itself,  and is loud. Best of luck on whatever you decide.

Interesting, mine has a separate system. They are still available for $2000! Not a good investment in my mind. I'm pretty much certain that I'll go the inverter route but not sure if I'll mount it in the camper permanently or use the gen cabinet to store it when not in use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Kohler's were problematic and noisy. Both the Kohler and the Onan were real camper generators they exhausted  hot air and exhaust gas out the bottom and draw fuel from the vehicle tank this is probably why you said "dust" because that's how they cooled. The portables do not have a method of getting rid of heat and exhaust fumes in a closed compartment and would present a problem fueling.  I'm kind of thinking your 93 has a pretty hefty AC unit a 2000 may not run it. I'm thinking a 2200 watt unit.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My Toy has the 7100btu Coleman 6727 AC. Draws 1400w max, 1180w in typical conditions. Cooling is a concern but if I remove the outside plastic cladding on the inverter (which would have to happen to get it to fit the compartment) I think it may be ok?

 

All is up for consideration at the moment. I did make progress getting the Kohler to run better. The surging has pretty much gone by tweaking the carb a bit. I think it was a touch lean. It now runs at oo high RPM, I think that may be the governor. I still have the exhaust issue to consider. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They turn 3600 RPM so it may not be going too fast just sounds it. This is the speed they have to turn to make 60 cycle AC. Most of the plastic on a portable inverter generator is for sound reduction and cooling so it probably should stay in place I would not run it inside of a compartment under any circumstance. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Maineah said:

I would not run it inside of a compartment under any circumstance

He's right.  you can't remove the plastic as it's critical to the cooling air flow and it should not be run in a compartment.  Even if the compartment has 'venting' (even with the door/hatch open) and you connect the exhaust to the outside it is not a good situation.  The generator will overheat because it will just recirculate the hot air in the compartment - the passive venting to the outside won't be enough to cool it.  I've tried it - doesn't work well.   Unless you do a whole lot of modifications to the compartment and the generator it's not a safe way to go.  Putting it on a bumper outside is the only easy option to run it 'attached' to the RV.  In all cases you should be concerned about the exhaust.  If it collects under the RV then you have issues.  Many use a "Gen-turi" device to vent the exhaust upwards.  (DIY gen-turi can be made for very little $ with parts from lowes/home depot)  Most folks with one of those little gennys store it in/on the RV and then pull it out and put it 15+ feet from the RV to run it.  Quieter for you and runs cooler and overall less complicated and safer.  If you take the Kohler out you will have to build out a storage area.  if you are lucky you will be able to put the little genny through the door sideways and then you can strap it down for storage.  Then take it out when you need to run it.

If you can get your Kohler running that might be the most direct and cost effective approach at the moment.  Even with a new muffler it's still going to be loud though, but it will do the job.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, neilp said:

My Toy has the 7100btu Coleman 6727 AC. Draws 1400w max, 1180w in typical conditions. Cooling is a concern but if I remove the outside plastic cladding on the inverter (which would have to happen to get it to fit the compartment) I think it may be ok?

 

All is up for consideration at the moment. I did make progress getting the Kohler to run better. The surging has pretty much gone by tweaking the carb a bit. I think it was a touch lean. It now runs at oo high RPM, I think that may be the governor. I still have the exhaust issue to consider. 

The 6727 is a great unit. That’s what I have in my 1979 Galavan. Its ammonia based, sealed system will last forever without needing to be recharged.

One thing you can do to minimize current draw is replace all 3 capacitors and add an additional hard start capacitor to the run capacitor. Remember this system is 40 years old. All 3 are available at Graingers for less than $50. Add another $10 for the hard start. Check the inside cabin filter and be sure it’s clean.

 I can give you the capacitor info if you decide to go this route.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The RV roof AC's use R-22 or R410 as the fluid. Its a sealed system and requires specialized equipment to "recharge" $$$ and usually not worth recharging an old unit.

SO if its working use and enjoy, if it's not working replace. All the roof AC have a compressor and the main fail point. The start/run caps are a different thing and are easy to replace if they fail.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, WME said:

The RV roof AC's use R-22 or R410 as the fluid. Its a sealed system and requires specialized equipment to "recharge" $$$ and usually not worth recharging an old unit.

SO if its working use and enjoy, if it's not working replace. All the roof AC have a compressor and the main fail point. The start/run caps are a different thing and are easy to replace if they fail.

I believe the op was concerned with the a/c working on generator power, not that the a/c was not working. Obviously, if no cold air is coming out the compressor is probably shot. Otherwise, changing out the capacitors and adding a hard start to the run capacitor insures the least amount of draw to run the system.

I just did this to mine and it made a huge difference in both cooling and amp draw.

Edited by fred heath

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AC works well. It's just the generator in question at the moment. I'm still undecided.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I posted this before, but apparently search doesn't find it😜...https://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/20038531/srt/pa/pging/1/page/1

6 pages of pro/con.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...