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Old 07-30-2015, 02:40 AM   #1
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"Exercising" Onan 5.5 Propane

For those of you who have the Onan 5.5 propane Gen., how often do you exercise yours and what duration ? Owners manual suggests monthly for a TWO HOUR period. That's what I've been doing so far but wondering if I could get by with running it about a half hour. Thoughts ?
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Old 07-30-2015, 02:48 AM   #2
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Rosey,
Honestly I never followed any schedule with mine (me bad). When in storage, it goes 8 months without starting unless I just happen to be there. Whenever we get it out, which is maybe 8-10 times through the summer, I try to run it for a while as a minimum.

I know I run some risks of armature failure by not running it, but I just can't bring myself to start it when its below 0 out in the winter, or even 30 degrees just to exercise it.

I bought it in 2003 - never had it in for repair.
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Old 07-30-2015, 03:30 AM   #3
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In our last rig we had the Onan 5000 gas and I would run it about an hour every two months if we were not using it. We used it very little but it was flawless for 8 years. A few times here at the house when the power went out I would shut down the big generator and run the Onan all night for a workout just to run the fan in our bedroom. Only had 127 hours on it when we traded.

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Old 07-30-2015, 05:20 AM   #4
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I ran mine about 2 hours under load every month. The Onnan service center said that as long as they were ran under a load, 1 hour would probably be okay but they preferred 2 hours. Most all the damage they saw was from lack of use.
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Old 07-30-2015, 01:38 PM   #5
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I ran mine about 2 hours under load every month. The Onnan service center said that as long as they were ran under a load, 1 hour would probably be okay but they preferred 2 hours. Most all the damage they saw was from lack of use.
Dave....do you know if the recommended 2 hour period/month means running the gen. 2 hours continuously or cumulatively (1/2 hour here..... 1/2 hour there, etc.) over a period of a month?
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Old 07-30-2015, 04:14 PM   #6
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I don't think it has to be continuous but it does have to be under load. I'd run the a/c and hot water in the summer or the fireplace in the winter. The service center said that the first thing they check is the hour meter when a unit comes in for repair.

They also recommended Shell Oil (Rotella). They said it had some extra additive that was easy on the metals. I personally always used the synthetic Rotella I believe was called T6.
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Old 07-30-2015, 07:06 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Dave&Ginny View Post
I don't think it has to be continuous but it does have to be under load. I'd run the a/c and hot water in the summer or the fireplace in the winter. The service center said that the first thing they check is the hour meter when a unit comes in for repair.

They also recommended Shell Oil (Rotella). They said it had some extra additive that was easy on the metals. I personally always used the synthetic Rotella I believe was called T6.

Thanks for the info.
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Old 07-31-2015, 11:54 PM   #8
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I talked to a service tech at Cummins Northwest who are the distributors for Onan here. He told me it was very important to run them with at least 50% load for a minimum of 1 hour every 30 days here in the northwest. He said it keeps the armature moisture free to stop corrosion. He said ideally they should never sit for more than 60 days without a good loaded run.
That said I usually try and run mine for an hour every 30-45 days with load.
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Old 08-01-2015, 05:56 AM   #9
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What oil is the best for the 5500 propane? What weight ?
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Old 08-01-2015, 08:43 AM   #10
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What oil is the best for the 5500 propane? What weight ?

I ran the synthetic shell rotella T6
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Old 08-01-2015, 03:54 PM   #11
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Table 2-1 in the Service Manual will give you viscosity/temp recommendations. (I tried to upload it but too large a file).

10 to 100 F is 15W-40. That is their OneMax oil you see on the shelf. Colder temps get call for 10W, even 5W depending on the extreme.
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Old 08-01-2015, 04:14 PM   #12
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I think the weight oil in an Onan is temp dependent. If the air temps are regularly going to be in the 100 or above they want you to run a different oil. Do you have an owners manual? It has a chart there.
I'm like Dave, I run Rotella T6 5-40 full synthetic all the time. I believe that is Onan's high temp recommendation, the Oregon coast is not exactly high temp lol.
I do notice a little oil burn with the 5-40 but you are safe in pretty much any ambient air temps.
Here you go ...
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Old 08-01-2015, 04:47 PM   #13
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Dave, does that come in different weights?
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Old 08-01-2015, 05:16 PM   #14
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Dave, does that come in different weights?
The Rotella T6 full synthetic is only available in 5-40 they also make a T5 synthetic blend that I comes in a 10-30, 10-40 and 15-40. These are all high detergent oils made for diesels. I use them in pretty much everything. I use the T 5 blend in my mower. Seems most stores carry the 10-30 in the T5 blend and most carry the T6 5-40
Here is some info.
Shell Rotella® Products - Shell Rotella
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Old 08-01-2015, 06:03 PM   #15
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I used the same T6 in both the truck and the onnan.
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Old 08-08-2015, 12:04 AM   #16
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Just reading the maintenance manual and it definitely makes a point that one LONG one-hour-session is better than several smaller sessions :-) FYI, I know that question was asked and I just looked it up because I just exercised my gen...
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Old 08-08-2015, 02:27 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosey View Post
For those of you who have the Onan 5.5 propane Gen., how often do you exercise yours and what duration ? Owners manual suggests monthly for a TWO HOUR period. That's what I've been doing so far but wondering if I could get by with running it about a half hour. Thoughts ?
I run our 6.5 KW Onan about 30 minutes per month plus whenever there is a power loss. There are several months in storage that it does not run. So far, so good.
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Old 09-01-2015, 06:09 PM   #18
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Does anybody run their generator and AC while traveling to cool the RW off before stopping for the day. How much propane does it use with just 1 A/C unit running?
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Old 09-01-2015, 09:12 PM   #19
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I do, and I run both ACs. Unfortunately I don't really have a good way to measure the consumption because of no gauge, but the generator charts have fuel consumption based on load.
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Old 09-01-2015, 09:58 PM   #20
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If it's a 100+degrees with 90% humidity outside & you finish setting up & go inside to a comfy 70 degrees, who cares how much propane it uses, you have 2 - 30/40# bottles, turn the thermostat down & drive.
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