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Author Topic: Onan 5500 generator won't start  (Read 19066 times)

lareaherron

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Onan 5500 generator won't start
« on: May 10, 2013, 04:01:02 PM »
I just got a 2003 Winnebago Adventurer and the Onan 5500 generator has been running fine at home since I got it 3 weeks ago.  I am now at an RV Park in the mountains and was showing my parents how well the generator starts and forgot completely that I was hooked up to shoreline power and the generator ran for a few seconds very roughly and then shut down and will not start again. It just has a clicking sound.  What did I do?

HueyPilotVN

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Re: Onan 5500 generator won't start
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2013, 04:04:05 PM »
It could be several things.  I had almost the same situation.  After replacing the starter I found that it was a crack in the fuel line.  Is it a diesel model or gas?
Bill Waugh
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lareaherron

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Re: Onan 5500 generator won't start
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2013, 04:05:32 PM »
It is gas - it seems to be tied to me starting it while plugged into shoreline power.  Also, I am at 7000 ft elevation - would that make a difference?

Water Dog

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Re: Onan 5500 generator won't start
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2013, 04:06:16 PM »
It is probably nothing you did. How much fuel is in your gas tank?
Dennis

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lareaherron

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Re: Onan 5500 generator won't start
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2013, 04:08:08 PM »
A little under 1/2 tank - why is it making the clicking noise also?

Water Dog

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Re: Onan 5500 generator won't start
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2013, 04:12:37 PM »
What kind of clicking noise, and where is the clicking noise coming from?
Dennis

"Heart is where the home is"
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Dennis & Vici Bernhard
2000 Bounder
1999 Jeep Wrangler
Home: Sumner, TX

lareaherron

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Re: Onan 5500 generator won't start
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2013, 04:15:22 PM »
I was trying to start it from inside the motor home and I can just hear the clicking sound from the bedroom area where the generator is located.  I'm not sure how to take the cover off the generator to see about starting it from there and there are no men around here right now to assist  :)

Kim (skyking4ar2) Bertram

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Re: Onan 5500 generator won't start
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2013, 04:24:07 PM »
You are not connected to shore power while trying to start, are you? I made that mistake once and it froze a relay on the transfer switch. I had to whack it with a screwdriver when I found the actual clicking relay on the board.

It could be as simple as a surge through your transfer switch but I have no idea how yours is configured. My rig was a Fleetwood Expedition but I did have the same generator, diesel version.
Kim & Christi Bertram
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lareaherron

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Re: Onan 5500 generator won't start
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2013, 04:28:16 PM »
That is was is worrying me because I was plugged into shore power when I tried starting it (dumb I know - just didn't think).  I do have a transfer switch on this coach.  What happens when there is a surge through the transfer switch?

Water Dog

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Re: Onan 5500 generator won't start
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2013, 04:32:42 PM »
There should be a start button on the generator itself once you open the compartment door where it is located, but if you are hearing the generator itself "click" when trying to start it from inside, it leads me to believe you would probably have the same issue if trying to start it at the generator itself, although that would be the first thing to try. It sounds to me like either a loose connection or a starter issue. It will take someone there to check it out. It's good that you have shore power available.

As far as starting while plugged into shore power goes, that really shouldn't be an issue unless there is already something wrong with the trasfer switch circuit. I run mine monthly and never unplug shore power. That's the job of a transfer switch.
Dennis

"Heart is where the home is"
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Dennis & Vici Bernhard
2000 Bounder
1999 Jeep Wrangler
Home: Sumner, TX

lareaherron

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Re: Onan 5500 generator won't start
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2013, 04:35:33 PM »
Ok thanks for all your replies - I will check it out when I get back home or if a family member comes up to visit me and can take the cover off - hopefully it isn't anything serious since I just bought this coach for a healthy sum :(

carson

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Re: Onan 5500 generator won't start
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2013, 05:04:49 PM »
Just a hint:  You are at 7000' altitude.  That may be the cause.

  There is a small adjustment on the Onan generator (sort of a rotary dial at the carburetor. It is adjustable for varying altitudes.  Give it a try.

Carson, 
 West Central Florida
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John Canfield

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Re: Onan 5500 generator won't start
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2013, 06:34:27 PM »
If you have an automatic transfer switch, there should be no issues with starting/running the generator while plugged into shore power.  The transfer switch gives priority to the generator input.
--John
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lareaherron

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Re: Onan 5500 generator won't start
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2013, 04:54:12 PM »
I was reading that if you push the stop button outside and hold for a few seconds that it primes the fuel and when I tried that I got that same clicking sound.  I have a little less than 1/2 tank of gas in the main fuel tank.  Is there any possibility that is too low to start the generator?

Molaker

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Re: Onan 5500 generator won't start
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2013, 05:32:06 PM »
I was reading that if you push the stop button outside and hold for a few seconds that it primes the fuel and when I tried that I got that same clicking sound.  I have a little less than 1/2 tank of gas in the main fuel tank.  Is there any possibility that is too low to start the generator?
Yes.  The clicking could well be the generator fuel pump and if your gas pick up is a little short, it might not be picking up fuel.  If you can add a gallon or two of gas, you could possibly prove or disprove this theory.
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John Hilley

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Re: Onan 5500 generator won't start
« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2013, 09:02:39 PM »
The clicking may be the generator starter solenoid. To get to the generator start switch on the generator you just have to open the compartment door. To remove the cover, just pull out at the top. Could be caused by low battery, but that shouldn't be an issue if you are on shore power. I would try the switch on the generator, some times there is a poor connection on the remote switches, you should also have one on the dash.
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Lou Schneider

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Re: Onan 5500 generator won't start
« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2013, 10:16:54 PM »
When you press the Start switch, you should hear the starter motor cranking the engine.  Even if the engine doesn't start, the starter should turn it as long as you are pressing the Start switch.

If you only hear clicking, there's a problem in the starter or a bad connection between the generator and it's starting battery.  Usually this is the house battery.  A bad or corroded connection can block adequate power from getting to the starter motor.

I doubt you did any harm starting the generator while connected to shore power. 

One thing to watch out for is Onan generators won't let the engine continue to run after you release the Start switch unless the generator is producing voltage.  At 7000 ft. the engine's  choke and carburetor are still set for sea level operation unless you moved the adjustment lever, so you had a richer air to fuel mixture than normal.

This could make the engine cough and sputter when you tried to start it.  If the engine was not able to get up to full speed before the interlock timed out, the generator wasn't putting out voltage and the interlock shut down the engine after you released the Start switch..

If this happens again, just hold the Start switch in for an extra second or two after the engine starts.

But this doesn't explain why the engine won't restart, which is why I suspect you have a bad connection going to the batteries.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2013, 10:19:08 PM by Lou Schneider »