When I first got my RV, I really didn't know a whole lot about maintenance. I knew there was some, but figured I'd learn as I went along. I think the first few times I use the genny, it would surge & surge like mad. I knew to check the oil, so I kept a check on it, but it still surged. So I took it to an RV place & they changed the oil for me. For $40. Then I learned how to do it & felt silly to pay someone that much money to do something I could have easily done myself! So I got the proper tools & have been changing it myself. No more surges. That happens when the oil starts to get dirty. But I change it more often now.
So today's post is aimed on how to change your generator oil. That is, if your generator is similiar to mine. Mine is an Onan, a small generator that fits my small RV's needs. I think mine is a Microlite 2800. Need to check that for sure though. Paperwork is in a cabinet & if I dare move, I'll lose my internet connection...oh bummer, lost it anyhow! grrrrr
So I got my MoHo in 2006. A weekend before a dog show that I was entered in. So I brought it home, set it up for what I needed for my first trip out in it. Got to the show, ran the generator - magic! What a cool invention RV's are! I can't quite remember what it was, but maybe I read the panel on the generator. It said to keep the cover on while running it. Cover? What cover?? Oh great, cover is missing & it was missing when I bought the RV. The place I bought it at wasn't far away from the show, so I drove over there, nope, they could not find the cover. So I ordered a used one. It came in the mail. It wasn't right for my model. I don't remember who I got it from, but they refused to take it back. Paid something like $60 or $80 for it? So I got stuck with that cover. To order a new one was going to cost $150 from Onan :-( So I use the one I bought instead, but I have to be sure that I take it off when I shut down the generator or it will become a road turtle for traffic & get flipped, cracked & crushed.
Oh well. I did lose it once.
It's late at night, I'm driving.
I hear it fall off.
Oh blast it!
So I turn around & get it off the middle of the road..it's laying on a dead skunk! Yea, that's my kind of luck.
I got the priviledge of smelling skunk for a few weeks!
That's the past, I need to figure out a way to secure the one I have so I don't have to put it away every time I shut the genny down. Can't use the genny & drive either unless I figure how to secure the darn thing. Cover that is. The generator had better be secure! It could kill the next skunk!
Anyhow, I'll supply ya'll with a bunch of photos as we go along:
Tarp to lay on. Paper towels. Plastic gloves if you don't like getting your hands greasy & oily. Tools as stated below. Cat is optional. Cat is not necessary. Cat thought it was party time, so he had to come help. As I'm crawling under my genny, he's curling himself against my side, purring & rolling. He thinks this is great! I came outside to lay down on the ground with him in his world! How great is life today for him! Geez. I put him in the house. I was afraid he'd get into the oil.
I have two tool kits. This one I bought a few years back at JCPenny's at Christmas time for $20. It's invaluable! I always put my tools right smack back into it when done! I don't want to lose a single thing!! My other tool kit is pink ;-)
A screwdriver that I can fit the torx screw into and a wrachet wrench.
You can see what size torx screw was needed for my genny. I saved the package in case I ever lose the screw.
15mm nut & one human nut.
I use the oil that is specified to use for my generator. I buy it by the gallon & carry it always. And I keep the orange spout in a bag with paper towels wrapped around it to keep it clean & the storage area clean. After every 8 hours of running your generator, always check your oil levels. If low, put more into your generator, being careful NOT to overfill! Overfilling is bad. I buy my oil at the auto dept at WalMart.
An oil drain container to catch the old oil. This type also has a plastic type of screen to catch your oil screw. Nut. Whatever you call it. You do NOT want to lose it! So keep the screen on the oil pan - the green lid screws off. The screen is under that lid & that's where you let your oil drain into. Container that is, not the lid ;-)
C'mon, you don't expect me to remember the real names & type too?? I suppose you think I can't walk & chew gum at the same time too huh? well, I don't like gum, so there! Nanners.
So wearing your lovely plastic gloves, reach the nut & take it off once you get it loose enough to screw off by hand. Place it on the drain screen & just leave it rest there till you need to use it again. Beware, oil comes gushing out, so be prepared! The first time I did this, I got a bit of an oil bath. Black gold. Texas Tea. Worthless. Not even good for your skin.
It's peeing!!! It was stronger of course, but I had to go get my camera!
Drain can screen with the bolt resting on it.
When done, put the plug back in it's hole, resecure it with your nut wrench. Then resecure your yellow cover. Cover the oil pan & take it to a recycling center to be poured out -- keep the container for future usage though!
Generator with panel off. Note the yellow dip stick. That's where you put the fresh oil into.
I know many of ya'll already know this, but this post also suffices as a tutorial for those that want to learn about this.
When filled, put the dip stick back on. Move tools/supplies away. Place your cover back on and give your generator a good exercise on a full load for about an hour. Your generator will LOVE you! It will be sooo happy to have nice fresh oil. And will reward you will lots of future usage. You should run your generator at least once a month, with a full load for around an hour. Full load means using the a/c and other appliances inside of the rig. I turn on the TV & use the microwave sometimes too while running a full load. ****Please note, be sure to NEVER use shore power AND your generator at the same time! That is bad, very, very bad! In my case, it would fry my electrical system as I don't have an over ride switch that safe guards my rig! Some rigs do, some don't. And another side note, any time you plug into shore power, be sure to use a surge protector to also protect your RV's electrical system. They aren't cheap, but they are cheap insurance compared to frying your entire electrical system.
~As always, be kind to your pets, clean up after them on your travels & respect your neighbor~