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Author Topic: Generator madness!!  (Read 3284 times)
plyonsMC9
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« on: June 13, 2009, 09:54:32 AM »

Greetings fellow busnuts,

We have had a generator problem for the last several years that we have not been able to solve.

We have a Kubota 10Kw Diesel generator.

It operates just fine when the vehicle is not in motion.  It can run a number of days w/o stopping.

It operates w/o problem when driving down the road - if the ride is steady - e.g,. no sudden braking operation by the bus.  Either fast or slow speed - as long as it is steady. It can run for hours, or that is probably about as long as I have been able to maintain a steady speed on the road.  :-)

Problems occur when the vehicle is in motion, and the brakes are applied.  The generator cuts out.  Sometimes it can be restarted.  Sometimes not - just doesn't "catch" when trying to turn the genset back on.  Cranks just fine. 

The generator has a baffling system, high power fan blowing air through the radiator fins, As soon as the generator starts, air is blasting through - very noticeable air flow coming out from under the bus.  This system is to cut down on the noise coming from the generator when we are parked.  It does a good job, and again, this all works very well when going down the road or parked.  Running fast or (i think) slow.  Only issue is - applying the brakes, especially in a quick stop.  Or, Coming to a complete stop, like when just leaving a parking space, or the driveway at home, end of the block, etc...

Have called friends, Wrico generator, etc., still no go.  Makes travelling in heat very uncomfortable.  (over the road a/c still not working either - also after NUMEROUS attempts & repairs).

What we have tried:

Shortened fuel feed line by a couple of inches.  Original 1/2 copper line seemed to go almost to the bottom of the tank.  I was concerned about maybe some  piece of large sediment blocking the tube, but this did not help.

Checked all wire connections to generator, that i can find. All seem very secure. 

Made sure fuel feed lines are tight.

Made sure blower to cool generator is blowing strong.  Not quite sure how to test this?  It is always blowing strong when parked. 

Don't know how to simulate or test a "stopping" motion.  Or, why the generator would cut out when stopping. 

Changed fuel filter.  Changed oil filter.  Air bled fuel system.

Wrico felt it had to do with air flow.  However, they are not able to visually inspect since I am in Illinois and they are in California.

Help!!!  Any thoughts or suggestions?

OR - a good quality diesel generator repair person somewhere around Chicago IL?

I'm really out of ideas - a friend has suggested lightly tapping components with a rubber mallet, but I'm not sure I trust myself with this. 

Thank you!!

Phil
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Utahclaimjumper
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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2009, 10:04:27 AM »

Phil, I have had a simular problem in the past, solved it be installing a pusher type fuel pump close to the fuel tank to provide a steady flow to the generator, no problem since.>>>Dan
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Utahclaimjumper 
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« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2009, 10:05:26 AM »

Dan - this sounds interesting.  Can you provide more specifics?  Thank you!!

Phil
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« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2009, 10:12:34 AM »

Phil,

First, you have to determine if it's an electrical or fuel supply problem.
Do you have any kind of indicator lights and/or gauges that you can watch?
If not, then wire up a simple indicator light to the fuel stop solenoid.  If it goes off when the problem shows up, then it's an electrical problem.  If not, then it's probably starving for fuel, though I can't imagine why.

The next step might be to hard wire battery (through a fuse/breaker) directly to the fuel solenoid, disconnecting the existing lead.  If that cures the problem, then it's definitely electrical in nature. You won't be able to shut it off and all safeties are defeated in this configuration.  It's only temporary.

There are many things that could interrupt the power to the solenoid. Low oil pressure, low oil level, high temp etc.  More likely that it's a loose connection, bad sensor, bad relay.

If you have a schematic, post it here, maybe we can help further.
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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2009, 10:20:43 AM »

Phil, Is you fuel system hardlined?? can you install a temp. rubber line and mount a temp. 12V pump?? worth a try with minimum work.>>>Dan
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Utahclaimjumper 
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plyonsMC9
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« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2009, 10:40:21 AM »

Dan, yes my system is hardlined, brass connecters at fuel tank.  Rubber fuel line to generator.

What kind of 12 volt pump would I get?  What kind of gallons per minute would this pump be?   

I need coaching!! 

Thank you - Phil
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« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2009, 10:40:55 AM »

My 15 kw came with a Facet electric pump mounted on the engine, like Len recommends check the solenoid with a little age it will get weak and shut down.  
Mine opens with 12v for start up then goes to 110 v to stay open.
I hope that is not the problem Dick Wright charged me 283.00 bucks for 1      

good luck
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« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2009, 10:44:51 AM »

Hi Len,

Could you coach me a bit more on the indicator light?  My setup has no indicators, other than the voltage guages inside the rig.  I would like to have more troubleshooting lights, but unfortunately, have a lot more computer skills and very few mechanical skills. Always trying to learn though.  I think I can follow your idea on the direct hookup of the fuel solenoid.  I will scan, and then post schematic when we get the bus back in town.

Thank you!!

Phil
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plyonsMC9
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« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2009, 10:47:40 AM »

Hi luvrbus - haha $283 would be inexpensive compared to dealing with the family rebellion when it gets to be 90 degrees or hotter inside the bus.   

Seriously - the generator is 4 1/2 hears old.  Is that old enough for this pump to get weak?

Thank you!

Phil
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« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2009, 10:58:57 AM »

Phil,
    Pick-up a 12 volt indicator light at any auto parts store. Run one of the leads on the light to the power wire at the fuel pump and ground the other wire from the indicator light. Then try the generator.  If the light goes out when the generator stops, you have an electrical problem. That could be a bad sensor, relay, connection? 
    Are you sure your generator oil level is correct? Low oil level can cause a low oil pressure situation when braking or hard turns as the oil sloshes away from the pick-up. 
    We had a problem with our generator starting and found a loose connection inside the control box that PowerTech installed on our generator. I know another person with a PowerTech that had a similar problem. You might want to check all connections inside the control panel. 
     Does the generator stop at the instant you brake hard or a few seconds later?  If it is stopping at the instant you brake, it is probasbly an electrical issue.  It is takes a few seconds, it may be a fuel issue.  Jack
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« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2009, 11:03:18 AM »

Just as an outside observer, reading what has been described, I'm thinking the problem is somehow related to sloshing liquids.  The fact that it can happen at parking lot speeds, leads me away from the air flow causes.

The most obvious liquid would be the fuel feed, but it sounds like this has been at least partially checked over.  I'm wondering about how easy it might be for you to hook up a fuel pressure gauge to monitor while drive.

I am also not discounting the possibility of oil or coolant sloshing.  If there are level sensors tied to an auto shutdown circuit, perhaps there is a way to bypass the sensors just for testing.  You could also temporarily drain either of these liquids a bit, just to see if the sensitivity worsens.  By any chance, have you noticed the problem being more prevalent when you brake going down a hill? (ie: bus is already tipped forward, exaggerating the slosh.)

One more piece which might help:  Has the problem existed as long as you have had the generator, or did it start appearing sometime during ownership?

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« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2009, 11:04:23 AM »

Phil, I have a Facet standard automotive fuel pump 12V that can be had from most auto supply stores (like NAPA) they work better "pushing" than pulling, and I have it wire into the "on" switch for operating the Gen. ( they are not that expensive)<<<Dan
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Utahclaimjumper 
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« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2009, 11:05:43 AM »

Is the fuel pickup toward the back of the tank?  If so, maybe the fuel rushes forward when you are stopping leaving the pickup sucking air.
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« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2009, 11:22:52 AM »

Thanks Dan- this sounds like a good piece of test equipment or piece to the solution - will pick up on Monday.

Best Regards, Phil
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« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2009, 11:27:47 AM »

I am with Len about it being an electrial problem when you run one out of fuel they are hard to start without a electric fuel pump 
good luck
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« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2009, 11:35:10 AM »

Hi Lin,

Fuel lines are Blue / going out to the generator,  red is flowing back in.  Tube goes down about 2 feet.  It used to go down about 2' 3".  Copper, 1/2 ".  Maybe 8" from front of tank.

Thanks!
Phil
 
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« Reply #16 on: June 13, 2009, 11:44:17 AM »

I would check the fuel tank vent first. Mud wasps are great at plugging things.
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Sean
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« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2009, 12:38:37 PM »

Don't know how to simulate or test a "stopping" motion.  Or, why the generator would cut out when stopping. 


Phil,

Braking forces on the rest of the coach can be simulated with 100% accuracy simply by parking facing downhill (or, alternatively, jacking up the back of the coach).  You can correlate the steepness of the hill directly with braking force.  However, this will only get you up to fairly small fractions of a "G."  If your problem happens at only moderate braking, this is probably sufficient.

If this were my problem to solve, I would find a fairly steep hill to park on, and see if I can replicate the problem.  If this is due to a liquid sloshing to the front of a container, such as fuel in the tank or oil in the sump, this test should discover it.

HTH,

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
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« Reply #18 on: June 14, 2009, 10:08:34 PM »

Thanks Sean, hope to be doing so tomorrow.   Generator died several times today braking, going forward,  even at very low speeds.

Also - Would not start at all, even after priming,  when fuel tank was 1/2 full (1/2 empty?).    I then topped off fuel level - completely full.  All good, generator started up & ran until we came to a slow stop.   The generator had only run a couple of minutes at that point.   

Started generator up after we were out of the city.  No stops were encountered as we were doing all freeway driving - and it ran for 2 - 3 hours w/no problems at all - also no stops during that time period.  Before we encountered our next offramp, I shut the a/c units down, then shut down the generator before we had any problems.  It can't be good for the a/cs to keep dying like that.

Thanks again!
Phil
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bigjohnkub
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« Reply #19 on: June 15, 2009, 07:12:36 AM »

I am a Kubota Engine repair shop. On many aftermarket installations, brush chippers, grinders , light carts, etc; we have found that the engine will starve of fuel when the fuel tank is half empty. Kubota specifications require that if the fuel tank is lower than the engine, you must have an electric pump. Finally my experience's may help another Bus Nut. Your local kubota dealer will have a pump that fits a G1800 lawn mower that works great.
     BIG JOHN
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« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2009, 10:22:56 AM »

Big John,

Thank you!!!   I really appreciate your jumping in, and the rest of the bus nuts as well.  I know I am getting some great help on a problem that has had me stuck for years.  Our fuel tank is definitely NOT above the generator.  It is at the same level.  And the rubber tubing flows 2 feet from the fuel tank, 8 feet across the bus,  and then 4 feet back to the generator.

Re; the electric fuel pump.  I had just purchased  2psi to 3.5 psi 12 volt fuel pump.  Is that close to the same spec?  I'd like to use temporarily until I can get in the correct model from Wrico out in California, they are who I deal with for parts.  We need to be moving again in just a couple of days.

Thanks again!
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« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2009, 10:59:05 AM »

I don't know the pressures pf The G-1800 pump, as it is preset and turns itself off at pressure. It is a diesel pump, and I caution against a pump not for diesel. We have had problems. The Kubota part # is k1211-95630 and cost $108.69... As to pressure and flow, I had one on my  Ford 351 Windsor, f350. testerone truck, and it worked.
   Big john
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« Reply #22 on: June 15, 2009, 05:49:10 PM »

Similar pump at NAPA for around 20-40 bucks


or here

http://www.jcwhitney.com/UNIVERSAL-SOLID-STATE-ELECTRIC-FUEL-PUMPS/GP_2005671_N_111+200729928+600002064_10101.jcw?reviewflag=1#review



also find them on ebay, Craigslist, amazon

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« Reply #23 on: June 15, 2009, 07:00:49 PM »

Thanks Big John,  will return first pump.   Smiley

Am currently moving Kubota electronic pump from Generator & over to fuel tank area.  My Kubota dealer (Wrico) & those on forum let me know that this pump works better closer to the fuel supply - push mode.  Didn't realize how much work this involved!  About 1/2 way complete.  Should be finished just in time for next outing.   I hope!!

Thanks again,  Kind Regards, Phil
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« Reply #24 on: June 19, 2009, 08:18:29 PM »

I would like to thank EVERYONE who contributed to this thread.  I know that what was contributed lead directly to the solution which fixed our generator cutoff problem.  It was a maddening 3+ years.  It was the great family rebellion of 2008, and family & friends rebellion in 2005 - both situations when it was 90+ degrees outdoors, and who knows HOW hot indoors - times when I was almost facing hot tar & feathers for toasting my family & friends during long drives.

Now - all fixed!! 

Also, I would like to thank Wrico - & specifically Jason who patiently spent lots of time on the phone working through what may be the problem.  I can't say enough good about the level of support I received from Wrico.   One of my good friends & client showed me how to construct a sturdy mounting bracket for the pump.  Thank you Burr!!

In the end, the solution was indeed to move generator fuel pump next to the fuel tank, and off of the generator itself.  This put the fuel pump in a position where it could PUSH the fuel, instead of PULL the fuel.  Something I learned on the forum & from Wrico - these fuel pumps are much better at pushing fuel than pulling fuel.  Unfortunately - I told my wife it would only take about 2 hours to move the pump.  Ha Ha - what was I thinking???!  3 days later...   Not full days, but you get the idea.  We were to be at a wedding rehearsal - out of town bus trip.  Let's just say we ate at the campground - - ha ha - oh well!!... 

I will post a picture of the relocated fuel pump.    It works like a champ!  The generator starts very quickly now, and runs very smooth no matter how bumpy the road, or how hard I apply the brakes. 

The only part of the solution I did not try was to add a check valve to the  fuel feed in the tank.  I may still give that a try.  If I do, I will post the results here.

Thanks again folks for putting so much thought & effort & great ideas into the responses - you guys are the BEST! 

My only remaining question is Why did I wait so long to post the question ??!!?!     Cheesy  Embarrassed

Kind Regards, Phil


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« Reply #25 on: June 19, 2009, 09:06:00 PM »

Well done! Another satisfied customer! LOL! Glad to hear it worked out! Grin  BK  Grin

PS I didn't contribute to the solution, but I followed it and was there for moral support!
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« Reply #26 on: June 20, 2009, 02:33:26 AM »

Another victory, thanks to the members of this board. Smiley Mitch
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« Reply #27 on: June 20, 2009, 08:57:17 PM »

Phil,

This was a great thread.  My Kubota died one time at a stop light and had to be reprimed to restart similar to what you described.  I have a very similar fuel "plumbing" setup like yours.  I never figured out why it just died.

You might edit the title to the thread to read "generator dying", or "generator dies when braking", or something similar in case this ever needs to be searched.   This is a good read.

David
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