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Generator modifications for extended operation


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Hello! Is anyone aware of generator modifications that will allow an extended period of operation before serving (oil change)? 

We tailgate during football season and usually put about 60 to 70 hours of run time each weekend, which requires an oil change every 3 trips (150 hrs) 

I was thinking adding an external oil tank in the oil system that triples the oil volume should triple the run time between oil changes ( making it close to the fuel and air filter change at 500hrs). I don't want to invent something if there is already something available.

The generator has about 2500 to 3000 hrs on it and runs fine!

Thanks, 

Dennis, 2005 Windsor - 8kw Onan

 

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There are lubricants that are meant for extended change interval such as Schaefer products. Whether you are comfortable with their product claims ?  I know indivuals with a lot of experience of their products who are very satisfied. An oil analysis as one puts time on would be a good way to know. As far as a generator on wheels it too will need the oil changed and many have no filters and much shorter oil change intervals. 

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I would question why you need that much energy for such a long time.  70 hours is a full 3 days!  Are you running multiple electric fryers or something? 

I'm going to assume you're outside hobnobbing with other tailgators in front of your coach.  Can you run off batteries convert to lithium batteries or run a smaller / more quiet generator at the back?  I run a Predator 3500 for all my needs and have a Honda 2000 fitted with a cap where I can draw fuel from a 5 gal can.  But even with the Predator if the weather is nice I use it mostly to recharge the batteries one time during a weekend. 

Of course that would mean hauling a separate genny and the fuss of shutting down and refilling the fuel tank.  I get the convenience of the on-board generator. 

But the Cummins / Onan generators are tanks.  I wouldn't be afraid to extend oil changes to 250 hrs to get more in sync with your fuel & air filter changes. 

Maybe consider a full synthetic, like Rotella T6, for extended oil changes.  In my old 4-Runner I went 15,000-20,000 miles using Mobil1 full synthetic between changes.  At 350,000 miles it still wasn't using any oil.  And I still regret trading it in for a shinier 4-Runner!

Just alternate thoughts.  I've never tail gated so you're in a whole different world than mine.

- bob

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You would probably be fine running full synthetic and changing the filter each 150hrs.

I would have to double check, but I think my 10K Onan is 250hr oil / filter changes.

Edited by 96 EVO
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I'd just run Rotella T6 full synthetic and change it every 250, or even 500 hours. (Suggest oil analysis to extend to 500, at least the first time).
Long run times are the easiest on the oil, as it stays at a consistent temp to boil off contaminates.

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10 hours ago, cbr046 said:

I would question why you need that much energy for such a long time.  70 hours is a full 3 days! 

Thanks everyone for the comments -  for tailgating at University of Florida we are able to pull into the designated parking lot on Friday evening and stay untill Sunday noon - with the hour and a half drive, it ends up 60 to  70 hours on the Generator.  And I would like to see anyone convince my wife she can survive the Florida sun without A/C 24/7!  

Trying to make it easier for myself, so additional generator is not the direction to go for me...

I will do some research on synthetic oils - I have stuck with the recommended oils and change intervals (150 hrs) because I want to keep it going for another 3000 hours; I didn't think of going synthetic - I am aware some older engines  (this is a 2005 vintage) were not designed for them and lubrication is a complex thing, especially for diesels.

Thanks for the thoughts!

Dennis - 2005 Windsor 

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48 minutes ago, Gweedo said:

Amsoil.....read their specs.  

I downloaded the spec (propaganda) sheet for Amsoil and it does say up to 3X times service interval with the recommendation of sampling. 

This is probably your best option, if you have previous oil sample results it would be even better but it not start with oil sampling and then extend the oil change ~100 hours and sample again and compare, track the results and look for any patterns of higher levels of contaminants etc.  If good extend the interval again.  At some point you'll reach a point of comfort at where you can change oil at extended levels.  BUT there is always a risk so it will be based on your risk tolerance.

We did this in the maintenance program in the mines I worked at, initially recommended oil changes were 150 hours BUT we built built ~+18 hours a day on heavily used equipment so we were changing oil weekly.  We implemented a oil sampling program and slowly increased the interval to 250 hours which seemed to the happy place.  This was in very harsh operating environment, one of the things we looked for was silica levels in the oil same, a sign of air filtering breech.  Sometimes we would see a significant breech indicating a major problem, possibly a rubber elbow or section failed.  If not caught early it would dust an engine pretty quickly so to compensate we required the operators & mechanics to do a good check of the air filtering system while doing the fueling/greasing of the equipment.  

So if you do go with extended service interval make sure to check all the other components including air filtering system. 

 

I have actually done this with my Cummins engine, I started sampling and have extended the oil change interval to 2 years with no adverse affects.  I do inspect the air filtering system a couple times a year to confirm no problems.  I'm sure others will cringe at this but for me I'm OK with the risk.  Doing pretty much all the maintenance myself I'm confident that the air filtering system is in tact, all the zirk fittings are greased, the turbo is lubed twice a year there are not structural issues.  So it's give and take.

Edited by jacwjames
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Maybe discussed before.  Call Onan/Cummins. The tech support will answer questions like this and synthetic oils.  My talks with them were……As long as you don’t drive on dusty roads with the genny running, stick with the hours on air filters.

BUT they said that it was also a “good PM” recommendation to swap out the air filter (cheap and easy to do) every year or every 2 years for low usage or even moderate usage where you don’t break their hourly number.

Bottom line…..they are a wealth of info on what the manual says as well as the common sense items.

the 1000 hour or so “takee apart” (drain coolant, replace belt, replace thermostat & gasket, replace sensor) “ADVICE” has been the mantra of the original founders and experienced MH owners and Onan concurred…. Add in Brushes for the 10 & 12.5 KW models.

That was and is or seems to be the consensus for long genny life.  The 10 & 12.5 KW units need to be exercised or run at half load about every 3 months to keep the brushes cleaned.

Watch for coolant leaks on the 10 & 12.5 KW as the main boards are a known weak point. Flight Services is a trusted vendor for rebuilt or aftermarket control boards and is considered to be very down to earth and knowledgeable….they supposedly have good, easy to access Tech Support.  Many good mobile Genny techs keep their rebuilt boards in their mobile stock….

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14 hours ago, Dennis N - 2005 Windsor said:

Thanks everyone for the comments -  for tailgating at University of Florida we are able to pull into the designated parking lot on Friday evening and stay untill Sunday noon - with the hour and a half drive, it ends up 60 to  70 hours on the Generator.  And I would like to see anyone convince my wife she can survive the Florida sun without A/C 24/7!  

 

Dennis - Here in Texas we tailgate exactly the same way during college football season.  During September and October there is no getting by without running the generator full time and both A/C's.  So after just 3 games we are at 150 hours.  Different teams though 😀

I have read quite a few threads on IRV2 and am attaching just one of them.  I am sure there are many opinions on this that vary the spectrum.  But I am going to be implementing the comments made by dsbear in the thread.  Basically, go 300 hours, use synthetic oil (Rotella T6), change air filter too, and sample after each change.  I am about do an oil change and send out a sample to JG Lubricants.  So I will know how the first run goes.  I am just at 260 hours though for this change.   

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f59/onan-quiet-diesel-7500-oil-change-interval-241251.html

If after several oil changes and sample analysis continues to show good results, I may just start to analyze after every two intervals.    

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I would use synthetic oil. I would install an external oil filter, like used on Aqua Hot, with the correct Micron rating, on the back wall of the enclosure, maybe the fuel filter too. They are a PITA where thy are. I did that. SOLD the coach so i can't provide a picture. NAPA made up the new lines.  Have https://www.blackstone-labs.com/  do a use analysis for you. 30$ well invested. 

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Take an oil sample at 150 hours and then decide if it needs changing. Granted it’s not enough cost to really worry about.

I’ve been oil sampling for 50+ years  allowing 2X the hours over recommended change intervals. Below is my ISX results using non synthetic Rotella T oil. Both were taken before I changed and I went another 2K on the 12K sample…14,000. Current one at 10K I’ll probably go to 15K unless a long trip would make it easier to change sooner as I do my own.

IMG_8367.png

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I am a firm believer in oil sampling.  I ran my 2012 Diplomat for 17,000 miles and 5 years before an oil change.  I religiously submitted samples at 2,500 miles as the lab specified.  At the last sample, the lab said to drive 1,000 miles and submit a sample.  I decided that was a good enough reason to change the oil.

I now have a good baseline and will submit a sample at 5,000 miles and see what the lab says. The bottom line is that the recommended change interval doesn’t necessarily need to be followed as long as you test the oil.

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