I recently made a little post about changing the oil and filters in the RV ‘van’ and the Jeep.  I also mentioned doing the same to the Generac QP40 generator in the RV, but noted that would be in a later blog post since there were extenuating circumstances. Here is that post.

Where do I start? Anywhere would be better than the generator, which doesn’t start AT ALL.  I mean it makes noise. Noises. Lots and lots of ‘that should not sound like that’ noises. What started with a small, slow oil leak I couldn’t quite isolate seems to have become something larger, very quickly. I regularly topped off the oil over the past 2 months so it didn’t run out, but it never seemed to want to keep it all in either. Filter changes also didn’t help.

Finally it just decided to stop on a hot day in Colorado. Attempts to revive it were unsuccessful and rewarded with the sounds of random metal parts flinging around against each other.

With the generator dead, going into the warmest part of summer, you can understand how this would be a big pain in the butt. It is, but it gets bigger when you find out (like I have) that Generac STOPPED making RV generator sets. Shortly after mine was installed into my coach at the factory. This means a few things – 1. No one really works on them anymore and 2. If they do work on it, they can’t get parts very easily if at all. Even the Coachmen Factory is no help as they didn’t keep any spares around, figuring generator shops would be able to support these systems directly.

Going through a list of generator shops in the Denver area – and by that I mean everything from Colorado Springs up to the Wyoming border – the idea of getting a fix seemed impossible. Getting a replacement is possible of course, but also has its pitfalls. First of those is that no one seemed to know what generator set was currently the choice replacement. I wouldn’t expect these shops to know that of course, but even the RV dealers were unable to tell me. In fact, the Coachmen factory parts department wasn’t even able to get themselves focused long enough to walk out to the factory floor and read a model number off of a gen set going into a new coach when I called. In the end, I had to swing by a Forest River (parent company to Coachmen) dealer’s lot and walk the rows checking under the skirts of all of the similar RV’s waiting for new owners.

The new generator used in my kind of coach is an Onan/Cummins RV QG 4000, by the way. Dealers (who have these on their lots) and factory personnel (where they’re all put together) please take note! Someone else with a failed Generac is going to be calling. Soon.

The next pitfall to a replacement is the price tag. A dealer could give me the whole kit for $4100.00 + labor to install. This is an easy pitfall to cross if you have that kind of scratch laying around, but then you get to the real problem: no one can make this swap on short notice. In fact, it seems that Summer is ‘the busy season’ for RV dealers to do work on coaches, “because everyone’s travelling”. No they’re not, or you wouldn’t be booked up with 2.5 months of work and RV’s lined up on your lot waiting for service. People aren’t “travelling” if their RVs are sitting here broken. Also, when I got back to Houston this past winter and tried to line up a few dealer visits I was told that WINTER is the busy season, because NO ONE is travelling so they wanted work to be done. Make up your minds!! Either way, the soonest I could get an expensive replacement for my barely-500-hours generator is mid-September.

Next pitfall to the plan? Good Sam Extended Service Plan. I have one…a GOOD one, with a low deductible and ‘fast turn around’ times to make sure that if this ever happened, I could get it dealt with quickly and easily. Turns out, all they can do is google what dealers are in my area. They can’t set an appointment – even at a Camping World, which they basically own – and they therefore can’t get me any kind of “priority placement” seeing as they can’t schedule anything at all. Moving beyond that, once I confirm they are reading the same Google listing I am, and then tell them I’ll try to set up the appointment myself to get it replaced, I am told that I first need an ASE certified generator mechanic to diagnose the issue and verify a replacement Onan is the best option.

A) Dealers don’t work on Generators – they outsource it
B) Generac doesn’t make generators for RVs anymore, so there is NO 1:1 replacement option.
C) Someone who doesn’t know what a generator is could diagnose this one as KIA over the phone. It’s THAT bad.

This leaves me looking ahead down the road and the calendar. I’m currently attempting to arrange a Camping World in the Seattle area to diagnose the Generac when we arrive in August, and be able to order a replacement quickly so we can have it installed within 5 weeks of that diagnosis – which is when we’re set to leave Washington and head south down the coast. This is, of course, so that my extended service plan will cover the cost. I could have a new generator set by next week, IF I just want to pay the $5K out of pocket.

So, here we are in Montana now. We’re enjoying the scenery which is wonderful, and it’s helping take the sting out of the fact that the extended service plan I pay a decent amount for each month, is doing little to nothing for me at this point, and that the whole ordeal is costing me now since we need to avoid dry-camping in order to have electricity hook-ups for the A/C to run. Ironically the past 2 days having perfect weather only adds insult to injury as we haven’t had to run it at all.

There will definitely be more updates to this ordeal down the road. Hopefully, in the end, this will conclude with a SUPPORTED and WORKING generator living under the RV again!

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