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Old 09-18-2017, 10:48 AM   #1
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RV generators

Just bought a new Montana and looking to have a generator installed. Looking for suggestions. The Pomona RV show will be here (So Cal) next and I plan on attending with the idea of buying one. I've been told I can even get one that runs on PROPANE instead of gas. I was just wondering what brand and what the 'ball park' price could be (INSTALLED)?
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Old 09-18-2017, 01:38 PM   #2
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I was looking at a used Montana at a local dealer and inquired about having one installed. The quote was for the Onan unit and was about 6500.
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Old 09-18-2017, 02:20 PM   #3
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Although handy onboard ... you should talk to people that have propane gensets ... they have been known to suck up twin 30# bottles in a few short days. I dunno what kind of usage you are looking at, but check out my concern.
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Old 09-18-2017, 06:29 PM   #4
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IMHO it all depends on how much money you've got and how much convenience you want. If you've the bucks and only want to push a button, spend the ~$6k on a propane one (and probably get a spare tank to haul around as well). If you'd rather not spend that much and don't mind a little work, get at least a 3kw inverter (or even not an inverter) generator for your truck bed, a 30 amp RV extension cord (Walmart has them for about $50) and maybe a 30 to 20 amp adapter. When you need the generator, unhook and pull forward about ten feet, plug in your anaconda and extension, etc., and start up the genny. This has worked fine for us for staying at Walmarts, Flying Js and several other places.

This winter, I'm going to have a rear platform made that'll be attached to the frame for our Monty to put the generator on. DON'T use the hitch (if you've got one) as it is not strong enough. This will add a couple more feet in length, but I can live with it.

As to generator brands - there's close to religious wars about which one is better. I tried ganging two smaller ones and didn't like the hassle, so won't have any that won't run the 15k btu air conditioner and that means at least 3kw running (not peak), and also means they will weigh at least 100 lbs. This cuts down on the different brands, but there's at least Honda, Yamaha, Subaru (I think), Champion, and even Harbor Freight out there.
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Old 09-18-2017, 06:48 PM   #5
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We do not boondock. We have been hauling around a 3.5KW generator in the bed of the truck since 2006 and never once used it to power up the Montana's due to a power outage.. we run it 30 mins every month. It will run the Montana under normal load and will pick up one A/C if needed. I would carefully consider your needs before spending a lot of $$ on a onboard generator
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Old 09-18-2017, 07:10 PM   #6
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Personally I would never opt for an on board generator. The propane usage is through the roof. Gas is available 24/7 in most areas. Propane tanks expire after 12 years. You still have to do oil changes. Why deal with the extra weight in the front compartment.
The extension cord 20/30/50 amp depending on generator capacity is a minor inconvenience plus it is quasi portable depending on your predicament / setup, portable/or semi perm mount in the bed of the truck. It is useful at home when you're not camping or while helping someone in a field or near a stream for power tools.
Why limit yourself? It is ultimately your decision. And my opinion is mine but yours may differ and that is OK too. Everyone is different. I'm sure you have a reason for asking. Just weight external input against your lifestyle and make an informed decision.
Chris Donna and Oliver the rescue Dog.
Old 3255RL It is a weekend warrior and less than 15K miles. Mostly sits at the house. Home is where the heart is.
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Old 09-18-2017, 07:28 PM   #7
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When we had an internal generator it was handy when it was cold out and you could just push a button to start the generator to fire up the coffee pot. Even with the internal generator we used a Honda most of the time because it was so much quieter with no vibration in the trailer. We don't boondocks much (about20% of the time) and had solar in the past (still sorting out how much solar and batteries on new rig) which cuts down on generator use. Very happy with 2 Honda 2000s and only use both for the few times we need to run the ac.
Zack and Donna plus Millie
2018 Montana 3160RL
2012 F-250
"Life is too short to stay indoors, enjoy the ride!"
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Old 09-18-2017, 09:24 PM   #8
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We special ordered our 3160 with a 5500 Onan. I am happy to have the generator and it actually is quite quiet and no vibration. I wanted to be able to press a button and have power on demand. I did have an issue with Keystone's quality of workmanship on the wiring almost causing a fire. I am sure the Honda's would also work fine. Just depends on how you want to set it up. I will agree that you can burn some propane if running large load. Last time I looked gas generators also suck up more fuel under large load. You can get both gas or propane systems for your unit. If I was not ever going to run large loads the Honda's would be my pick.

Tom Marty
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Old 09-19-2017, 07:53 AM   #9
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I have both a Honda IS 3000 and a Onan 4000. The Honda for ny HC and the Onan in my MH. By far the Honda is the nicest generator.
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Old 09-19-2017, 08:29 AM   #10
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We had the Dual Hondas with an extended run tank and while it worked great it was the PITA getting them out, seting them up, then when done using them had to wait for them to cool off before restoring. When we ordered our SOB we went back and forth and finally paid the bucks for a factory installed Onan 5500 Propane. For our usage the Onan is the only way to go, with push button power.
As to Propane vs Gas, on the Onan 5500 under full load will burn a gallon of propane per hour, while gas usage is .9 gallon per hour. Granted Gas is easier to find, that means you have to transport some gas cans with you.
Michelle & Ann
2018 Chevy 3500HD High Country DRW 4X4 Crew Cab w/Duramax/Allison, Formally 2010 Montana 2955RL, Now Loaded 2016 SOB, Mor/ryde IS, Disc Brakes & Pin Box, Comfort Ride Hitch, Sailun 17.5 Tires.
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