Look into one of the venerable Onan CCK's or even a newer NH or BG
Series. They were built in 3 to 5 Kw Models, and can be had for less
One Kilobuck, easily. Lots of these came from Motorhomes, that have died
and gone to Motorhome Heaven. Usually have less than 3000 Hours on them,
which is 1/3 their Primary Lifetime, with proper Periodic Maintainance.
they run at 1800 Rpm, and actually the older ones, without the PCB
Engine Controls, and better, and more reliable than the newer ones.
Next up in class are Onan J Series Gensets, that come both in Gas, and
Diesel, Versions, as well as Air and Water Cooled versions. The Gas
Fueled versions come in Twin 6.5Kw,and Quad cyl. 12.5Kw versions, that
are easily converted to Dry Gas fuel. If your in to Diesels, the J
Series Onans are the ones to look for. They come in Single 3Kw, Twin
6.5Kw, and Quad 12.5Kw versions. Onan built Marine Versions of ALL the
J Series Gensets, and these are easily setup for CoGen type operations.
They also built Radiator Cooled version of both the Gas and Diesel
Powered gensets in various configurations. I bought a number of 3Kw
Diesel J Series Gensets, all for less than $500US, both Air and Water
Cooled, and fellow gave me an air Cooled 6.5Kw Diesel this spring, just
for hauling it away, and I live far out in the Alaskan Bush, where there
aren't a lot of these around. Look around where you live on eBay and
CraigList, Onan built thousands of these each year, for about three
decades, so there are a pile still out there kicking around, and most
folks have no clue, what they are, or what they are worth, to the right
folks, who do.....
Bruce in alaska
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FYI, my home standby generator is a 70's- era Onan 4CCK that once was a
standby generator for a traffic signal. They are pretty simple to work on,
parts and information are still generally available, and the gang at the
Onan board at Smokstak.com (including Bruce) gives amazing support.
I'm not up on the Onan model numbers, but if anyone is talking about
the old opposed-twin flat heads for a backup generator, I wouldn't
think those would be a great choice except for low-use applications.
My neighbor was fond of them because he could get them for peanuts,
which was a good thing because he seemed to have gone through quite a
few. They didn't seem especially reliable, quiet, or fuel efficient.
I'd think that the fuel inefficiency alone of flat-heads makes them
uneconomical for extended use. I'm not even sure that the 1800 RPM is
any great advantage. Better 3600 RPM engines last a long time if
properly cared for, and one can throttle most engines down to a lower
speed if planned for.
It seems like there are lots of decent small engines available these
days, some so cheap that even the most budget-conscious could afford
to have a complete spare on hand.
Neither of those engines will fit on a generator. You need an engine with a
tapered shaft to replace the engine on a generator. Unless you have a belt
driven generator head. See ebay sale #110406409961 and look at the shaft.
Seeing as we're talking about generators I have a question. I've read, from a
few places' that small
generators should be "exercised" at least once a month. I'm assuming that means
run with a load on
the generator. Why is that ??? Will the generator screw up if it isn't used
There are two things that can happen to small generators if not occasionally
1) The generator can lose its residual magnetism. If this happens, it will
run but fail to produce power. There are various ways to "flash" the
generator field to remagnetize the generator.
2) Engines, particularly carbureted gasoline engines, can gum up, or parts
can rust up if they are allowed to sit for a long time.
Read your generator's manual. There are probably storage instructions.
All the stationary backup generators I've installed were
setup to crank and run for 15 minutes once a week. The
newer Generac models run at half speed during test mode
in order to make less noise. The weekly test keeps the
generator ready for use at a moments notice. The homeowner
can do a load test, if they desire, by turning off the
main feed to the circuits covered by the genset. As for
small portable generators, you always use fuel stabilizer/
treatment if it's a gasoline or diesel powered. One good
reason for a monthly test is it will cook or blow out any
critters that decide to take up residence. A monthly test
will also keep the corrosion down by splashing oil around
the crankcase and boiling away any water that may have
condensed on internal and external surfaces. Getting the
generator portion warm will also drive out any moisture
that may have collected. You could use an electric heater
for a load since it would mimic the load bank that a genset
service company would use.
Contrary to popular belief, Diesel Fuel does NOT require ANY
Stabilizer... as long as it is Clean, in the first place, and
not sucking water into it, in the second place. Water will be taken out
of the fuel, by the Primary and Secondary Fuel Filters. So as long as it
(water) is minimal, it goes away, when you change the Filters.
Since I'm not the world's leading expert on the subject,
I have to ask those who are. Like these:
Granted, many sources are biased toward their own products
but looking through multiple sources one can ferret out the
real information they all have in common.
You obviously understood nothing I wrote. I explained that I'm
not the world's leading expert on the subject and can only write
about my own extensive experience with generators which includes
the very small to a few large EMD systems. Most of my experience
is with gasoline and natural gas powered systems. I have limited
experience with diesel powered units and have never had to tear
down and repair a diesel engine. My experience on diesel gensets
is limited to maintenance of the engine and repairs to the various
electrical and electronic assemblies. I once had to repair the
voltage regulator from a GM Delco 20kw diesel genset that was in
the hold of our 100 foot crew boat in The Marshall Islands. I took
the regulator to the island TV shop and discovered a thermal
intermittent caused by a defective unijunction transistor on the
circuit board. I was able to find a close match in the stock of
TV repair parts and fix the problem. That was 20 years ago and I've
repaired more than a few since then. Please include a source to
your allegations of my ignorance since I'm not the world's leading
expert and would very much like to learn as much as I can.
Well, I, for one, agree with this "You" fellow, in that Stabilizer isn't
needed in Diesel Fuel, for the operation of Diesel Engines. I have 40+
years of operating, maintaining, and generating ALL my own power, out
here in the bush of Alaska, mostly with diesel fueled Gensets. I have
burned diesel fuel that was left over for WWII, and was over 40 years
old at the time of use. It was in sealed 55USG Drums, found in an old
Military Bunker. Burned just fine, with no difference in generating
capacity noted during the run. If you have clean diesel going in to your
tank, and keep the water out of the tank, diesel will store basically
"Forever". I have a 250KUSG TankFarm, that we fill every fall, and the
diesel is just as good in the spring, as it was, when it was pumped in
the previous Fall. Some of the fuel in those tanks may be 2 or 3 years
old, before it gets used. Never had a problem in 40 years, except ONCE,
when we got a Barge Load, with bugs in the fuel. We had to biocide three
tanks, and so did every other customer that got a delivery from that
Barge, that trip. All paid for, by the distributer, and a BIG Apology,
for delivering Bad Fuel. We don't get the GasOhol Crap that the Feds
force on you Flatlanders, as the barge can only carry one Grade of
Gasoline, and it needs to be FAA Certified for 80/86 Low Lead AVGAS,
so we don't have to deal with most of the Gasoline problems you guys do.
Our #1 Diesel is JetA50, as well, so we always get the "Good Stuff" from
the Distributer, rather than the slop they pump to the Consumer Sales
Bruce in alaska
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I also agree that diesel doesn't need stabilizer like the gasoline
that it's meant for. The information I have indicates that newer
diesel blends aren't as good as the older blends because of government
mandated emission standards. Hell, you guys in Alaska know more about
diesel generators and small airplanes than any other Americans for
obvious reasons. It wouldn't surprise me if you didn't get fuel from
Russia from some folks who also know what works in the God awful cold.
I would imagine that the 40 year old diesel fuel you found was not
kept in a warm environment. I think the problems I faced with diesel
fuel in a tropical climate may not plague you in your somewhat less
tropical climate in Alaska. We had extreme humidity and condensation
to deal with and tried to keep things warm to drive moisture out of
equipment. Bugs love the tropics. By the way, correct me if I'm wrong
but isn't jet fuel blended with additives to prevent gelling or microbe
infestation since jet fuel is often exposed to environmental extremes?
Many years ago, sometime in the eighties. I met a fellow who
told me he ran out of gas one night, along the road. A
trucker stopped by to help. they drained a couple galons of
diesel out of the truck tank, and poured into the car. The
car ran very poorly, but did run.
Like you say, wouldn't totally surprise me if Alaskans
bought fuel from Russia. More likely, Russians come over to
buy fuel. Since supply problems used to be epidemic in
Mother Russia. Like how medical care is a problem in Canada,
and they come to Michigan.
Wasn't there something about jet fuel, they wanted to add a
jelly something so that if a plane crashed, the fuel didn't
atomize and make an explosive mist?
Nope, "Jet Fuel" as you call it is JetA50, and is the same thing a #1
Diesel, Home Heating Oil, and a few other names. The difference is,
that to be classed JetA50, and sold for Aviation Fuel, it MUST be
Filtered to FAA Spec, and be within the Specific Gravity, FAA Spec.
So, what the Distributer does, is he has only one Grade of #1 Diesel in
his tanks and when he pumps it for Transport to a customer, it goes thru
a different set of filtering for Aviation, than for Home Heating, or #1
Diesel, but it all comes from the SAME Tank. With #2 Diesel, in cold
climates, they have what is called "Winter Mix" where the Distributer
will mix #1 and #2 Diesel, to lower the GellPoint of the fuel when
loading the Truck or Barge, for deliveries starting about August, and
increase the Ratio of #1 to #2 the farther North and away from the coast
the fuel is destine for. For Gasoline, the distributer will have an
"Additive Package" that they add to the Tank when dispatching a Load,
designed for the prospective customer. Many times Shell, Chevron, and
Mobile Gas Stations, will get their fuel from the same Distributer or
supplier and the only difference in the fuel is the "Additive Package"
put in, as the basic fuel, ALL COMES FROM THE SAME TANK. Depends on who
owns the Refinery, or where the Distributer bough his fuel from, the
last time. I have seen the same truck at two or three different Brand
Gas Stations, in town, on the same day, delivering fuel. the distributer
is 250 miles away, so you know they didn't fill the truck three times
Bruce in alaska
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Cool, thanks for the information. Makes a lot of sense to
carry just one type of fuel that will work for everything
especially when space and facilities are limited. The same
additive package mixing at the petroleum distributors goes
on here too. It's quite interesting how that's handled but
I'm guessing there is a greater variety of fuel types to be
had down here in Alabamastan. When I've talked to the guys
who drive the gasoline delivery trucks they've told me about
the compartmentalized tank trailer with so many thousand
gallons per compartment. They will have a load for one brand
in one compartment and another brand for the next station
in the next compartment (different additives). Many people
think it's just one big homogeneous load in the tank behind
the truck. I always thought and have heard that "jet" fuel
was kerosene, a much lighter fuel than diesel and that truck
drivers would mix kerosene with diesel in cold weather so
their trucks would run. I know the military has vehicles
equipped with multi fuel engines and am curious as to what
exactly they'll run on. I understand that M1 Abrams tank
with it's turbine engine shares the fuel supply with the
helicopters but heck it will probably run on peanut oil.
By the way have you guys got the Toshiba Micro Nuclear Reactor
yet? I read about an installation planned for somewhere in
My buddy has a liquid fuels business and I have seen the tanks and
pumping systems at multiple fuel dumps and they all had a totally
separate tank for Jet A if Jet A was delivered from that facility. In my
area there are two huge fuel dumps but the Jet A used at the local
airports is trucked in on transports from another state. Also there
isn't a tank called "#1 diesel". They have multiple tanks for ULSD and
LSD and kerosene.
With #2 Diesel, in cold
It is more complicated than that. Certain additives are required and
certain additives are optional. They have an array of injector pumps
that meter in the additives when the truck is on the loading rack
according to what the customer purchased.
Many times Shell, Chevron, and
All truck tankers have bulkheads to form multiple compartments. That
adds strength and limits spillage in case the tanker is damaged and it
also allows them to haul different product in each compartment if they want.
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