Am finally out on the road again with the dogs! The LT body is shinning sweet even though bits of bugs and collections of the freeway. I promise I’ll post some pictures, but first I have to talk about generators. The LT has a Generac 3000 Watt, 120 Volt model 09557-4 with a Facet Eclectic Fuel Pump from Omni Tech Energy Systems installed, presumably same year as my motorhome, 1996. Generac

I had the generator serviced way back when I went to Bill’s RV in Oxnard. Standard service, they said it ran fine. I didn’t use the generator much, turning it on more for the exercise than to run anything but I’d been reassured it worked perfectly, no worries. Some time later I made a holiday dinner and took off for the beach. Popped some yummy food for a quick reheat into the micro and waited, pushed the button again and waited, repeating several times before deciding lukewarm was what I wanted. It was a fun day eating under umbrellas with a friend in a light rain, dogs playing in the surf. It wasn’t until about just this time a year ago I began to suspect the generator really wasn’t all right. It started with little fuss. . . I ran it every so often to keep it in shape but last summer, like this one, was hot and I wanted to keep the rear air conditioner running while I was driving and while parked to keep the dogs cool. This was particularly so as the engine was climbing toward the top of the heat scale, necessitating shutting off the console air conditioner. It was sweltering. When I returned home I spent time and money chasing the over-hot / underpowered issue. if you’re curious it’s in the archives: new radiator, new thermostat, new regulator for the computer, new spark plugs and wires and more. Next trip out no engine heating, no lack of uphill power, (Yeah!) but the generator was noisy stinky trouble; starting and stopping and sputtering.

Living in Santa Barbara is not always paradise, it’s certainly not when seeking RV repairs. We don’t have an RV shop and the few mechanics than can accommodate a Class B are unwilling to touch a generator. I was tired of the distance run, only to stash it in a fix it shop’s parking lot where it would sit for weeks before anyone would look at it, so I hunted around for someone closer. Via the recommendation of Bruce, my auto mechanic I found Gonzo’s Small Engine Repair in Goleta. I would sorta marginally recommend them as Gonzo is a dog lover and a nice guy although I was shocked at how much he spent at various veterinarians without resolution for his dog but that’s another story. He came to the house and had the presumed dead generator running in minutes; no charge as it was determined the generator would need a some servicing; it was my housemate engineer who determined that the output voltage was going wild. I called Gonzo and they ordered a new voltage regulator. I called and called and called, even stopped by a few times to find out when the part was coming in. Much time elapsed so at last, an ultimatum . . . Gonzo himself needed to talk to me, I’d been communicating with his assistant, by the beginning of the next week, giving them another 9 days to get in touch, if he couldn’t do that, and she promised he’d call the next day, but I’d heard that before, I would give up and take my business elsewhere. Yep, no phone call. Did they order the regulator? Who knows.

I took a trip sans generator and had the accident, then my new shop Quality RV in Camarillo run by Gabriel, said sure they could look at the generator, no problem and they offer a moblie service whcih is a delight. Gabriel’s a sweetie and not fazed by the age of my LT or any of her troubles.

I won’t cover how great this shop has been fixing the fiberglass and sprucing up the RV; am very happy with their work. They steam cleaned the generator and the engine… there was a problem with the engine cleaning as it was coated with Armor All but it was mixed with soap and left a bad paint eating scum; they’ve since painted the engine but there are still bits of scum and I fear the paint could have caused other troubles; I needed to make an emergency purchase of new windshield wipers. (They painted the blades on the old ones which looked crappy, but there was paint on the rubber part which smeared my windshields at a critical moment as I was driving and couldn’t see. Scary.) My engine running hot problem is back so I wonder if the paint went other places it shouldn’t have? I’m straying and as typical, this too is a convoluted story.

The generator looked beautiful and it sounded beautiful, Manuel had cleaned, soaked and perfected its operation; uh oh only a light or two would power on and those flickered like an old-fashioned movie. Frans the engineer made the discovery, the switch in the generator compartment had been left in the off position! Flipped it and there was power but the generator returned to its familiar coughing and sputtering as if it had never stopped. Quality came out, did some spiffy stuff where one of the AC sockets shorted out and was replaced which I mentioned in another post, it made me nervous that they did not unplug from shore power when all this happened, but my electronic knowledge is mostly book learning and classroom rules. Walla, generator working! I was happy!!!! Everything other than a few minor glitches like the keyless entry and a few touch-ups short of perfection; I was dancing and prancing with my pups.

Generac generator for my 1996 Leisure Travel RV

Generac generator for my 1996 Leisure Travel RV

 

Packed the LT, ready to enjoy comfortable, powerful, looking good times on the road. Plugged into house power and turned the frig on… it takes overnight to get cold and went to sleep. Brought the food out in the morning … hummmm….. funny the Dometic didn’t seem cold. You wouldn’t have wanted to see the look on my face, the frantic pacing of my feet, especially as in the several hours Frans was helping check the electrical system the generator started doing its familiar putt-putt-puttering with blinking fluctuating voltage while under no load and running 130 volts with a load. My complaint about Quality is how popular they are. It takes forever to get a call back or an appointment and when you do you need to add several hours to arrival time; amazingly Gabriel called me back responding to the dead stress in my message. He tried to coach us through adjusting the generator via the idle screw to get me going, all this did was cause the output voltage to spike like a drunk rollercoaster until finally the generator had enough of these games and quit. Reluctantly I took the Ford to the carwash and spent the afternoon cleaning out the accumulation of dog training paraphernalia, dog road gear, stuff that didn’t quite make it to goodwill, evidence of hasty meals, and be-prepared for anything piles that looked a lot like debris, sure it needed to be done, but now? I’d found a lovely RV campground/lake to break the long drive to Placerville, halfway, near Watsonville, it would be a perfect place to relax and begin my trip confident that the LT could handle the heat and provide cabin cooling, engine power and cold tasty snacks for me and the dog …. it’d taken a year to get this point, now all in vain. . . did it have to be this way?

In the late afternoon Gabriel sent out his mechanic for an emergency, get Jamie on the road, work party. This is when they painted the engine…. maybe not the best idea? Manuel got the generator running, this time by adding engine oil, did it have a leak? And by making a design change, shortening and eliminating the curve in the tube that provides the gas. He was unable to discover why the frig would not work with shore power but did verify that turning the frig to eclectic popped the AC outlet that had caused problems with running the generator. How all this is connected I don’t yet know, Gabriel thinks I will need a new heating unit for the frig. Somewhere there must be a wiring diagram, right? Maybe? I’ve contacted Generac hoping for a schematic, it still puts out 130 – 129 volts under load; according to Gabriel this is okay, according my engineer housemate, this is not okay. I’m gonna ask Generac directly this time.

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