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Old 11-21-2021, 11:10 AM   #1
Davy
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Default Charging house batteries

I bought a 2006 GS Vista Cruiser Mini with no documentation. I thought the house batteries would charge off the vehicle alternator when the vehicle engine is running, but it appears this is not the case. Am I right that the house batteries only charge when connected to shore power or when the generator is running? If so, is there a way to charge the house batteries from the vehicle alternator while in transit?

Also...

The Onan generator won't start, has very high hours of use, and I can't find a mechanic who can repair it. Has anyone replaced the original Onan with a generator from Home Depot or similar?

Thanks.
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Old 11-25-2021, 09:52 AM   #2
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If it was ever setup to charge off the truck batteries you should have a cable going from the camper batts to a solenoid or isolator of some sort that is also tied to the truck batts. Might also have a time delay that sends 12v to the solenoid after the engine is running a few seconds. Your solenoid could be bad, or someone disconnected it.

How many hours is on the gen? What model is it?
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Old 11-28-2021, 10:54 AM   #3
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There is a CHARGE SOLENOID, controlled by IGN, on Ford located under hood on firewall forward of driver? May CLUNK but not connect if bad? Easy to replace. (Some models newer than mine) may have a TWO-WAY CHARGE CONTROL BATTERY MANAGER THAT CONTROLS THE SOLENOID, but solenoid still most likely failure. DO Make sure you get a CONTINUOUS DUTY RATED solenoid, or it will fail w/ short life from heat/ voltage. (YOU maybe on MB chassis and slight variance in answer on Equip, type/ location?
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Old 11-28-2021, 02:08 PM   #4
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Our GulfStream mini on a Chevy chassis had an electric solenoid switch to connect the alternator feed to the house battery. This looks like an old-fashioned starter solenoid and is essentially the same thing. Trace it from the engine alternator via the heavy #4 red wire. We found ours mounted under the running board on the drivers side. What a dumb place to put it where it was subjected to all kinds of water and road dirt. Replacement was standard solenoid switch from Amazon, Autozone, Advance or NAPPA.

We have the usual Onan 4K watts generator. Cummings-Onan shops can fix it but the cost is very high. A local lawn mower shop used to working on small gas engines also can fix it. A set of the Honda Inverter generators will be much more quiet if you have a couple of grand to spend.


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Originally Posted by Davy View Post
I bought a 2006 GS Vista Cruiser Mini with no documentation. I thought the house batteries would charge off the vehicle alternator when the vehicle engine is running, but it appears this is not the case. Am I right that the house batteries only charge when connected to shore power or when the generator is running? If so, is there a way to charge the house batteries from the vehicle alternator while in transit?

Also...

The Onan generator won't start, has very high hours of use, and I can't find a mechanic who can repair it. Has anyone replaced the original Onan with a generator from Home Depot or similar?

Thanks.
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Old 11-28-2021, 04:08 PM   #5
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On the ONAN, main fuel tank must be OVER 1/4-tank, or GEN sucks air, (TO prevent sucking tank dry and leaving driver stranded) and most common failure is ONAN low-pressure electric FUEL PUMP, whether diesel or gas; CUMMINS/ ONAN TRUCK SHOPS have Onan trained mechanics, but not cheap; PUMP on Amazon about $30-$35 vs $100+ and 1 to 3-hrs DIY job if you have the tools (varies w/ GEN model); special tools for my model were FLARE NUT WRENCH AND T-27 TORX BIT (I had them in toolbox). Other possibilities (MIGHT BE) MOBILE RV TECH ((Might be worth a few phone calls to inquire, (capabilities/ $$ Rates?) if you can find some?); if they say no, maybe CALL/ check with MOBILE MECHANIC. YOU can get all Model Name and label data (Model #) and Spec#, and search online for parts list/ fuel pump PART NUMBER, and order online cheaper than Rv Dealer. Mobile Mechanics do not work on RV systems, but (some RV Techs may) work on RV GENS? If you provide Name/Model/ Spec, (we) can maybe help more? Good Luck p.s. you can also download owner, parts, and service manuals
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Old 11-28-2021, 06:44 PM   #6
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The Onan 4000 generator will not start and run if you have 1/4 tank or less fuel in your tank to keep you from running out of push water and being stranded. The number of hours on the generator don't really matter if the unit has been properly maintained and run periodically. Mine broke a valve spring with less than 10 hours on it in Yellowstone NP and just would not restart. With less than 20 hours the fuel pump went out and the same symptom was it just would not start. It cost me $850 each time I had it repaired. Once you get it repaired you will certainly know if it is running as they are much louder than they really need to be. This choice of equipment by Gulf Stream was almost as bad as their choice of motors for their slides! If you can find a Honda Generator set that will fit in your generator bay, I would switch.
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