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Old 01-16-2017, 07:04 PM   #1
Elk4me
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Adding an onboard generator.

Has anyone ever added an Onan Genset to a Montana Mountaineer 375FLF? This is one of the only things that we don't have, we bought it used a year and a half ago. Behind the electrical distribution panel is a large coil of what appears to be 3/12 wire. It looks like enough to reach the front storage compartment where a generator would be installed. I am not sure where to check to see about having one installed. I have a nice Yamaha 3000 portable but it is too heavy for me to lift into the truck or trailer so I need to go to an onboard unit. Any ideas of how to find out if it is generator ready or not.
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Old 01-16-2017, 07:43 PM   #2
Starmaster
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Hi Scott,

I thought I would mention a couple of things that comes to mind when considering an on board generator. The first thing is added pin weight. An on board gen will add about 300 lbs for the gen set itself. In addition to that, there is the added weight for the fuel. Total weight can reach 400 lbs or more depending on fuel type and amount. Depending on what your TV is and how heavy you load, this could be pushing its GVW over the top.

The other consideration that comes to mind is the amount of storage for other things you give up for the gen and fuel tank. Our Montana has a big basement and front storage area but I would hate to give up the area needed for the on-board system.

We decided to go with two Honda EU2000 portable units. These are small and light weight (about 50 lbs each with fuel) and easy for me to handle. I had also looked at a 3000 Honda or Yamaha but like you, the 175 lbs weight was more than I could wrestle.
Two of these tied together will run one air conditioner, or the microwave, or the hot water heater, or just about everything else together.

One advantage of a 5500 on-board system is that it will run almost (but not quit) everything at the same time and you don't have to add fuel nearly as often because you have a much larger fuel tank. The fueling issue with portable units can be addressed with an extended run fuel tank. My two Hondas with the extra tank can run my air conditioner for over 14 hrs.

A final consideration is price. A pair of Hondas is a little less than $2000 and there are other brands of inverter generators that are just over half that amount. An Onan 5500 system and fuel supply can run up to around $5000 for a turnkey installation. I'm sure there are other options that can reduce that price by maybe $1000.

While not as slick as an installed gen set, we felt the paralleled Hondas meet our needs. I'm not trying to discourage you from going the on-board route, but just wanted to mention a few things that you might not of considered yet.

There are several others on the forum that have on-board systems and I bet some of them have installed them post trailer purchase, I'm sure they'll provide some insight on those systems.

Good luck and let us know what your final decision is.

Dave
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Old 01-16-2017, 08:21 PM   #3
Elk4me
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Starmaster

Hi Scott,

I thought I would mention a couple of things that comes to mind when considering an on board generator. The first thing is added pin weight. An on board gen will add about 300 lbs for the gen set itself. In addition to that, there is the added weight for the fuel. Total weight can reach 400 lbs or more depending on fuel type and amount. Depending on what your TV is and how heavy you load, this could be pushing its GVW over the top.

The other consideration that comes to mind is the amount of storage for other things you give up for the gen and fuel tank. Our Montana has a big basement and front storage area but I would hate to give up the area needed for the on-board system.

We decided to go with two Honda EU2000 portable units. These are small and light weight (about 50 lbs each with fuel) and easy for me to handle. I had also looked at a 3000 Honda or Yamaha but like you, the 175 lbs weight was more than I could wrestle.
Two of these tied together will run one air conditioner, or the microwave, or the hot water heater, or just about everything else together.

One advantage of a 5500 on-board system is that it will run almost (but not quit) everything at the same time and you don't have to add fuel nearly as often because you have a much larger fuel tank. The fueling issue with portable units can be addressed with an extended run fuel tank. My two Hondas with the extra tank can run my air conditioner for over 14 hrs.

A final consideration is price. A pair of Hondas is a little less than $2000 and there are other brands of inverter generators that are just over half that amount. An Onan 5500 system and fuel supply can run up to around $5000 for a turnkey installation. I'm sure there are other options that can reduce that price by maybe $1000.

While not as slick as an installed gen set, we felt the paralleled Hondas meet our needs. I'm not trying to discourage you from going the on-board route, but just wanted to mention a few things that you might not of considered yet.

There are several others on the forum that have on-board systems and I bet some of them have installed them post trailer purchase, I'm sure they'll provide some insight on those systems.

Good luck and let us know what your final decision is.

Dave
Thanks Dave for your response, all valid points which I have considered and due to costs and weight I most likely will either get a rack built on the rear bumper for my 3000 Yamaha or go to the dual Honda 2000. It would be pretty easy to plug into it on the bumper and the added weight on the bumper wouldn't be an issue. It is a good solid mounted bumper and the bumper reinforcement brackets will take care of the added weight. I just wanted to get a couple opinions on it. I really don't want to loose anymore storage either.
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Old 01-17-2017, 10:30 AM   #4
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I use dual Hondas and there are only 3 big problems I haven't solved yet (I believe they are solvable).

First is capacity: This provides only 30 amp not 50 amp (I don't have a 2nd A/C so this is not critical, but will be if I ever get the second one). I have seen a triple cable connector for Hondas, but it's expensive and I've never heard of anyone's experience with it. This allows three gennies to run in parallel to get to 50amp support.

Second, is runtime: They only have 1 gallon tanks and run no more than 3-4 hours when using the A/C, One of them always runs out first, then there's the hassle of the interruption and refilling them is a pain, but hope to solve this buy purchasing "extended run tanks (erts) ". Then hopefully I only have to worry about refilling the "erts" when the gennies are shut down in the evening since most places you don't want to run overnight.

Finally, security: Others have reported theft of this configuration since it is a victim of its portability. I have not bothered to due the necessary work to make these more secure but there are ways to make them harder to steal. I would most worry about overnight theft since they are not running and I am usually asleep. Keep in mind for the theif whatever security you devise will be defeatable if their desire is strong enough.

Actually, there might be a 4th issue and that's the gasoline storage. I have a couple 5 gallon gas cans and must store them someplace safe and accessible. There's also getting them refilled, too.

Good luck shoehorning that generator into your rig. If it's propane powered I hope you find a way to monitor the propane supply.
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Old 01-17-2017, 11:12 AM   #5
Hogfan
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We have a 2014 Mountaineer with an onboard Onan 5500 propane generator. Our dealer installed it and it runs off your propane. Never had a problem with it and it so nice just to push the button in the bedroom closet to turn it on or off.
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Old 01-17-2017, 11:22 AM   #6
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Myself personally I do not Boondock and live in the NW just like you and the only time the power goes out is in the fall/winter when there is no need to run 2 gens for A/C and that is why all I need is my one Honda EU2000 with a 30amp RV recpl kit as it powers everything I need it sips gas is Quiet and does not take up much room in my basement and I have only had to use it 2 times in 5 years fulltiming on the Wash coast and the weather gets NASTY out here(like RIGHT now) you would think the power would go out more often
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Old 01-17-2017, 12:32 PM   #7
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I have a MH with a Onan Micro Quite 4000 and a High Country that I use a Honda IS 3000 with. The Honda is far and away the best generator. It's far quieter and smoother. The Onan only has about 31 hours on it. I have a receptacle on the front of my camper so I only need about a 10 foot cord for the Honda.
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Old 01-19-2017, 08:53 AM   #8
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I added the Onan 5.5 propane. It has worked great. I installed it myself, the hardest part is getting it into the pre-prepped compartment. Purchased everything from Norwall. (www.norwall.com) You don't have to worry about it growing.
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Old 01-19-2017, 10:27 AM   #9
bncinwv
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On board is great! We have a remote start module that I installed from Onan also. Remote start on a hot day travelling enables us to fire up the genny prior to our lunch stop at a rest area and the rig is cool when we enter. Microwave can be used as needed for the lunch stop. Have not stopped for fast food for years after having on board Onan's in the last two rigs. Convenience is worth it for us!
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Old 01-19-2017, 10:56 AM   #10
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Just my 2 cents. I have a Champion 3500 with remote start. It has the 30 amp RV plug. Understand it has limitations on overall power, but plenty for our needs. I am going to put the rack carrier on the back of the Monty. Ours did not come with it, but we will build or buy one. My reasoning is 1) weight as it will actually help my pin weight and 2) is the power hookup in on the back so I will make a 4-5 foot pig-tail to connect the geni to the trailer. I see the remote being a great feature in the morning!

I also have visions (the better half calls them delusions of grandeur) of making a semi enclosed cover to hold down noise, but that might be a pipe dream! So dream on my friend.
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Old 01-19-2017, 04:57 PM   #11
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As stated by others, I also have a 5500 Onan Propane genset that was installed at time of pick-up for 2016 Monty. The wiring and genset was nearly $8K more for our purchase. Was it worth it, I can't say for sure. The advantage so far was jump starting the generator, so I could use my leveling system when the batteries were pretty weak from sitting. The Con is mostly losing significant storage space in front and weight.
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Old 01-20-2017, 11:00 AM   #12
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Like Bingo above I have an on board with remote start. I turn in on 30 minutes before we stop and when we walk in it is nice and cool. No more stopping at a camp ground and having to wait for the unit to cool down.
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Old 01-21-2017, 09:09 AM   #13
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If you've a Yamaha that's too heavy to lift by yourself, why not pick up a Harbor Freight engine lift? Since going north of 70 that's what I've been using for our also HF 4kw peak generator. We only use it occasionally, but it's been worth it to have it in our truck bed.
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Old 04-06-2017, 09:59 PM   #14
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Any chance you have pictures? I'm going to install one as well and would like to see if the front compartment floor needs reinforced, if so how the factory does it. Also is the unit mounted right on the floor, or is it raised up to the door opening level?
Thanks
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Old 04-06-2017, 10:54 PM   #15
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On the contrary you actually remove a good section of the front compartment metal "floor". I have the light commercial version of the Onan and am happy so far. Much quieter than a Champion, no lifting in and out of the wherever. Auto start feature is awesome.
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Old 04-06-2017, 11:30 PM   #16
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We have the built in 5500. It has many advantages over the Hondas and the Hondas have advantages over the built-in Onan 5500. I may still Buy a Honda 2000 generator made me for small things like watching TV while dry camping etc. the main generator works just fine for this but burns too much fuel. On the other hand it will run both ACs when I need it to cool the fifth wheel off especially with having a couple of puppies. A lot of our camping is in the summer where we have lots of 90/100 degree days. I do plan on getting a remote for easy starting while still going down the road. My Genset switch is in with the rest of my electrical controls.

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Old 04-07-2017, 01:24 PM   #17
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First, we don't boondock. But, I have carried a Yamaha 2000 in the front storage compartment for 6 years. Today was only the second time I have had the need to use it! We are on the coast of Oregon in a heavy storm and lost power.
My Yamaha will let me charge batteries, make coffee, run fireplace, use microwave, but only one appliance at a time. It is quiet, easy to carry, and the only thing I do is start it once a month to keep the fuel fresh.
I would only consider the high cost of an on-board generator if we frequently dry camped.
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Old 04-08-2017, 04:39 AM   #18
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If I get the honda 2000 will it run the heat? I can run hot water and the fridge on propane. Of O get two of them am I better off? Also has anyone used any of the other brands?
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