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Keeping up with generator hours

I have been going to dog shows and running generator hard.  Like running for days on end hard.  When I got home to Auburn, I noticed a little oil on ground under my front mounted genny.  Investigating, I found that the oil was from a little puddle in the genny compartment right under the “slobber tube”.

A call to a more experienced guru confirmed that this was not something to worry about and that I could catch the output in a can.  During that conversation the master guru reminded me that I should change oil every 100 hours of generator use.

Confession:  I have never kept up with generator use.  Newell has performed “annuals” on the genny every year...but honestly I have never thought about the genny.  I went ahead and changed the oil and filter.   

This leaves me with a few questions....

1) How do you keep up with how many hours you have run the genny?  My solution was to write the number of hours on the filter.  Do you guys keep logs?  Do you just wing it?  Or do you only do an annual service?
2) Is it worth it to run synthetic oil in the genny?  It seems that if you are changing oil at 100 hours, it is not really a good investment.
3) What is the realistic life on a generator?  I have over 8000 hours on mine and it is going strong.  It starts easy, does not produce smoke, produces a steady voltage and is generally a happy camper.  (I do baby it by always having ACs and high current devices turned off when starting / stopping generator).  

Since I have all the paperwork from Newell, and they record generator hours when you do an an annual, I can figure out if I have been going over the limit.

Bill Johnson
2003 Newell #653 Quad Slide Cat C-12 engine with Motorcycle lift 
2011 Jeep Wrangler, 2018 BMW 1200GS Adventure Motorcycle
Auburn, Alabama
A possible solution just occurred to me....what do you think?

I have a remote generator hour meter above the drivers seat. This meter had stopped working and had been changed years ago. The result is the cockpit meter does not read the same as the hour meter next to the generator.

Why not swap the cockpit meter out with one that “resets”. If I did that, I could reset on an oil change and that would be a cool way of keeping up with the usage. Has anyone done this?
Bill Johnson
2003 Newell #653 Quad Slide Cat C-12 engine with Motorcycle lift 
2011 Jeep Wrangler, 2018 BMW 1200GS Adventure Motorcycle
Auburn, Alabama
Prevost Community forum says 30,000 hour gen life. I'm running synthetic, change at 300 hours, sample at 150. Using a spread sheet to track the gen service. Have 4100 hours.
Steve Magown
West Monroe, LA
1997 Newell #458
    I have a really neat setup from CRS. Requires a label maker.  Same setup for main power plant too.

I use the 100 hundred hour guideline because that is what the manual says, and it’s the same thing Gordon told me.
Richard and Rhonda Entrekin
99 Newell, 512
Subaru Outback Toad
Inverness, FL (when we're home Cool )
i have 8935 hours on mine. it looks new and runs like new. the kubota 4 cylinder turbo diesel is the same kind they put in all kinds of industrial applications. i do not expect to ever wear the engine out. now the genny head is something i am not as familiar with. i did find service and repair records with the coach that showed some pricey generator work done a few years before i bought it but it was not very explanitory and i called the place who did it and they didnt have the records on it.

mine was an indy car race coach.

i am a bit more preventative. i run full synthetic. not a waste to me since it is a small capacity. i change oil at 100 hours. may be overkill but i keep a log and do it to a hundred hours. a gallon or so of oil just isnt much cost.

2002 45'8" Newell Coach 608  Series 60 DDEC4/Allison World 6 Speed HD4000MH

I always change same time I change & service 8V92. Usually has around 150-200 hrs from last service.
I keep a log book of every time we’re on the road.  It includes the engine hours on the generator, i.e. beginning / end.  The interval is 100 to 150 hours depending on the dirt environment.  It doesn’t matter which hourmeter you use, just use the same one each time.  The change gets logged in and written on the filter.  I’m currently ~10,000 hours and 30,000 is not unrealistic if proper maintenance has been adhered to.  I check the generator prior to each trip which has saved many headaches.  Hoses,belts, leaks, loose parts, rubbing/wear points, & fluids all get checked.

Steve’s plan with synthetic is also a good plan, especially the mid interval sample.

My 2 cents worth.
Gordon Jones
I had heard from someone once that the average mph of a coach is about 45mph. So you can figure that 10,000 hours is equivalent to 450,000 miles. Easy miles at that!
Forest & Cindy Olivier
1999 Foretravel 36' U320
former 1998 Newell 45' 2 slide #486 

former 1993 Newell 39' #337 
2011 Chevy Tahoe 

2010 Silverado w/ RZR 570LE

Just to follow up on this thread.   Lots of good suggestions.  I almost ended up going with the Label maker technology, but in the end I removed the remote hour meter and replaced with a resetable (manual) version.

It turns out that the remote meter was driven from 12VDC.  That is kinda surprising.  I guess there is a 12V “I’m working” signal coming from the generator controller.

Since the meter I got was a 120VAC model, I tapped into the neon light above the driver.

See pictures.  


Attached Files Thumbnail(s)
Bill Johnson
2003 Newell #653 Quad Slide Cat C-12 engine with Motorcycle lift 
2011 Jeep Wrangler, 2018 BMW 1200GS Adventure Motorcycle
Auburn, Alabama
There is 12vdc from the engine "run" to drive the oil pressure and water temp gauges along with the hour meter and pilot lamps indicating when the engine is running.  Connecting to the AC driving the "generator" indicator (neon) will work as well since your resettable meter is 120V.

Good job!!
Gordon Jones

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