bgehret
My Dad has a 15kw, model 0043902 generator running on LP. It has been running continuously since early Sunday morning. at about 4:00 am Tuesday, it shut down and the low oil LED was lit. Dad checked the oil and added some and it successfully restarted.

About 10:30pm Tuesday, the unit shut sown again. This time, no LED was noticed and there was oil everywhere. I was not there, so I don't know the exact state the unit was in at this point. Dad added some oil to bring the level up on the dipstick and flipped it to auto to see if it would restart and nothing. It didn't even sound like the starter was trying to reengage.

I came over and wired in a portable generator (a backup backup generator) and he will use that until the power is restored.


[B]Initial observations:[/B]

No visible oil leaks from broken hose, etc. Could be a slow leak over hours that the air blew all over the place. No one recalls looking at the unit in the hours prior to shut down.

When flipped to auto, all of the red LEDs blink together for awhile and then the overcrank LED will light. No sound of starter attempting to engage.

Engine does not seem seized, although I couldn't find a convenient place to try and rotate it. My Dad recalls that when the unit shut down, it was if it was turned off; it did not stop suddenly.


[B]Here's my plan:[/B]

Clean up the oil mess.

Go through the "Engine Won't Crank" trouble shoot guide and see if I can get the unit running again.

If I can get it running, observe the unit and try to determine the location of the oil leak.


Does anybody have any words of wisdom to add?


Thanks,

Bob
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Skip Douglas SkipD
Do you have a service manual for the generator, Bob?
Skip Douglas
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bucdup
First off, you might be looking at two different issues. Your cranking problem sounds like a dead battery. Often batteries on these units will have enough available voltage to power the control panel but not enough to engage the starter. This will sometimes result in a phantom overcrank.

It you can get it to start, fill it with oil and check for your oil leak. I have seen several leaks on these units at the hoses connecting the oil cooler. If so a new clamp should do the trick - and of course, make sure your oil filter is not loose.
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bgehret
I do have a manual.

I'll check the battery.

Thanks
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ted928
On my 4390-3, oil leaks from the oil cooler (cheap spring clamps). Replaced clamps with scew type to stop the slow leak.
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johnc
That is the unit that seems to have the biggest battery overcharge problem. Boiling off the electrolyte. BE CAREFUL
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Skip Douglas SkipD
johnc;10217 wrote:
That is the unit that seems to have the biggest battery overcharge problem. Boiling off the electrolyte. BE CAREFUL
Bob, what John is alluding to is the number of battery [U]explosions[/U] that have been reported.

As a safety procedure I would suggest that you do the following:
[LIST]
[*]Turn the generator's switch to OFF
[*]Remove the "hot" lead from the battery
[*]Check the electrolyte level in the battery cells
[*]Add distilled water as necessary to bring all cell electrolyte levels to the proper level.[/LIST] In fact, it is a good idea for all of us to go through this procedure this periodically.
Skip Douglas
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bgehret
So here's what happened...

We actually had 2 problems that both happened at the same time which confused the situation.

The oil mess was caused by a loose hose clamp on one of the lines going to the oil cooler. There are 4 clamps and they all tightened up a good amount. Since the generator is 5 years old, I guess the rubber must have shrank over time. It's probably a good idea to tighten up those clamps on your generator if you haven't done so already.

The shutdown was caused by a discharged battery. About a year ago, the battery charger module in the generator died. We hooked up a battery maintainer and plugged it into a nearby outdoor outlet while we ordered a replacement charger module. Well the maintainer worked so well, we never got around to installing the new charger module. The problem was that the outlet was not one that was backed up by the generator. So as the generator ran, it slowly discharged the battery, which was no longer being charged, and after 3 days, the generator died. The advice above from [B][I]bucdup[/I][/B] steered me in the right direction. Once I charged the battery, she started right up, and I easily found the oil leak. I installed the new charger module and it showed that it was indeed charging the battery.

So in retrospect, we had a dead generator and a big oil mess and in our great haste we jumped to the conclusion that the problems were related and it must be catastrophic like a blown engine. Had we been presented with just one of the problems, we probably could have easily solved it. I'm glad I found this forum and I appreciate all of the advice.
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Skip Douglas SkipD
Did you check the electrolyte level in the battery?

I strongly suggest that you check the electrolyte level frequently (monthly at a bare minimum) and make sure the plates are never exposed in the battery.

If you begin to lose electrolyte in a month or two, get rid of the new charger module and go back to a battery maintainer. Just power the battery maintainer with a generator-backed circuit.
Skip Douglas
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