Daily Archives: June 5, 2017

Working, But Not Fixed . . .

Or, Led Down the Wrong Path.

Well, we finally hit the 90’s today with a high of 91°, but tomorrow’s high is supposed to be 75. So a little let up in the temps.

And along with the heat came afternoon thunderstorms, which meant I was dodging lightning while I was outside working on installing the new starter. And as I figured it was a lot harder to get the starter back on with the solenoid already attached.

According to the manual I should be doing all this with the generator out of the rig and the bottom panel off. Which is why it takes me so long to accomplish this repair.

In fact it took over an hour and a half of fooling with the starter, getting the two bolts started and finally tightened down. Then it was just a matter of connecting up all the wires and then reconnecting the 300amp fuse in the battery bay to put 12 volts back on the generator.

New Generator Starter Installed

So now it was just a matter of pressing the Start button and listening to it crank, right?


Dead silence.

So now it was back to basics. So I rechecked the wiring that I had reconnected and checked for the high amperage 12 volts at the back of the solenoid.

All OK.

So my next check was for the 12 volt control signal coming from the Start button to the back of the solenoid. Because of the way the wiring harness was routed before I removed the starter, I couldn’t get to this connection before to check it. But getting the wire loose from the back of the solenoid, I put one lead of the voltmeter on it and the other on a ground connection, and pressed the Start button.

No 12 volts.

So next I made up a jumper wire with a spade lug on one end and bare on the other end.  And after plugging it into the back of the solenoid, I touched the bare end to the high amperage 12 volt lug on the back of the solenoid.

New Generator Starter with Jumper Wire

And after several tries, the generator cranked up and ran.

So I had just learned a $166 lesson, buying a new starter that I probably didn’t need.

But as I said, before I couldn’t get to the wire anyway. So now I needed to find out why the signal wasn’t getting to the solenoid. So I went back to the copy of the service manual that I had downloaded. And all it told me was the signal from the Start button went into the Controller box and came out to the solenoid. Not a lot of help.

Next I got on the phone to Cummins/Onan for some tech help. I was trying to figure which connector on the controller fed into the wire harness and then out to the solenoid. But as happens, what I was seeing on the generator itself did not match up with what the manual said.

But the tech help wasn’t much help. In fact, since my generator was18 years old, they didn’t have any service data on it, not even a copy of the service manual that I had found online. So I was on my own.

I did try several things to trace the wire with no luck. Then finally I was chased back inside by another thunderstorm rumbling through.

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But the pressure is off. I can make the generator run, even if I have to run a a separate wire from the solenoid to inside the rig. But however, we will have the house AC’s running while we’re on our way back to Texas in the next few weeks.

But at least now I have a spare starter.

Tomorrow if it doesn’t rain we’re going up to Deadwood to take a look around.

Thought for the Day:

“Let them hate so long as they fear” – Lucius Accius (170 BC – 86 BC)