Generators and Motors
[Home] - [HELP] - [Forums] - [Articles] - [Photo Gallery] - [Groups] - [Chat] - [Classified Ads] - [Subscribe] - [Links] - [Books] - [Sponsors] - [Tools]

Go Back   SmokStak > SmokStak® Vintage Electrical Equipment > Generators & Motors General Discussion > Onan Generators
Forgot Password? Join Us!

Notices

Onan Generators Restoring, operating and maintaining vintage Onan generators.

Onan Generators

Onan Emerald 4000 BGE Starter Won't Engage & Start


this thread has 14 replies and has been viewed 3520 times

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 12-19-2011, 10:35 AM
anemic anemic is offline
Registered-I
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Posts: 48
Thanks: 43
Thanked 4 Times in 2 Posts
Default Onan Emerald 4000 BGE Starter Won't Engage & Start

Short Story
Onan 4000 Emerald *BGE* 1995 or 1996. I changed to winter oil 5w30 & spunon the new filter. I pushed the start button and it sounds like the starter spins up, but it's no longer engaged to the engine. It doesn't crank the engine. You can hear what seems to be the starter spinning up just fine. Perhaps that is the K1 starter solenoid failing to engage the starter?

Volts & amps are fine. this is not the click-click-nothing problem.

More detail;
I had not started it in a while (no need) and since clearing out the fuel system with 4C last summer, I've simply run it dry when I'm done with it, so I became cocky thinking I do not need to exercise my generator. Well now I'm truly humbled. I promise if I can get it going I will exercise it a couple times a month just for fun. It takes about 3 tries to get fuel to it and get it running, and then it runs fine. Sometimes it does quit in the first minute, but it only needs one more start & it's good to go. And that is what did not happen today with temps in 30s, it quit for good. After a loong time of fruitless cranking & resting 20/30 seconds...I saw signs of flooding out the air box!

So I ragged the drips and shut off the fuel. That is when I noticed the WINTER / summer selector. I moved it to winter & read the manual which said it will not run well when colder than 40f without winter mode. Finally it wanted to start, began to sputter. So I valved the fuel back on. It again flooded. I shut off fuel a second time, got her to start, and eased open the fuel shutoff again, and she ran great.

It was a lot of starter exercise. In the middle of that story, I did change both spark plugs.

So it started, & then I changed the oil after it warmed. After the oil change, I pushed the start button but it would only wind up without engaging. I added oil thinking I must need to float a low oil switch. That did not do it. I shut off the battery power for a minute to try a reset. No dice. I changed the 454 engine oil (that went well). I went back to the generator and it was doing the same thing.

I would dearly love some ideas. I wonder if this may be a problem with a starter solenoid. I see the lug with two battery cables on it which is the starter solenoid. This lug and two star bolts hold a cover in place. Behind the cover is a mess o' white wires. The glass fuse and the blade fuses are fine. I didnt spill any oil on the unit. The starter solenoid is a $30. Seems like a good guess if this sounds symptomatic of a starter solenoid going bad, then I'll swap it out.

Can we fix it?

BGE Manual:

http://www.cumminsonan.com/www/pdf/manuals/965-0528.pdf

thanks

Mod# 4BGEFA261DOM
S/N# J953438106
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 12-19-2011, 11:08 AM
Magnetite Magnetite is offline
Registered-II
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: New Haven, Connecticut
Posts: 447
Thanks: 50
Thanked 196 Times in 127 Posts
Default Re: Onan Emerald 4000 BGE Starter Won't Engage & Start

Quote:
Originally Posted by anemic View Post
I pushed the start button and it sounds like the starter spins up, but it's no longer engaged to the engine. It doesn't crank the engine. You can hear what seems to be the starter spinning up just fine.
You have an automotive type Bendix starter. My comments are based on cars, but I suspect it's very similar

Quote:
Perhaps that is the K1 starter solenoid failing to engage the starter?
This seems unlikely (although I didn't look at the wiring diagrams) If the starter spins, the solenoid is almost certainly fine. Your problem is that the Bendix is not engaging. That means one of two things:
1) It's not extending when it spins. This is common. You can whack it once with a broomstick to see if it will free up, or remove it and clean/test it. If you apply 12V, it should spin and the gear should extend.

2) The other possibility is that the ring gear that the Bendix engages has lost some teeth. You can see that if you remove the starter and look into the hole. See page 6-33 for how to remove the starter. You can probably test for this without removing it by turning the engine by hand. That will turn the ring gear and give you new teeth.

I'd suspect 1) above - as if you'd lost ring gear teeth, you would probably know it. I'd tap the starter hard few times with something of wood, see if that fixes it, then remove and clean/lube.

BTW, don't hit it too hard on anything that might break - like the electrical connections. If it's hard to swing in there, take a short length of wood - like a one foot length of broomstick, put that against the starter frame or somewhere else on the starter that looks solid and tap the end of the broomstick with a hammer or a chunk of 2x4.

Bendix starters, particularly small ones, tend to get sticky in the cold. The grease gets gummed up with dirt and the starter gear just won't slide out.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 12-19-2011, 11:18 AM
anemic anemic is offline
Registered-I
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Posts: 48
Thanks: 43
Thanked 4 Times in 2 Posts
Default Re: Onan Emerald 4000 BGE Starter Won't Engage & Start

Many thanks for the tips Magnetite! I will report back w/results. Sounds as though you have suggested two likely culprits and an excellent reason why (cold). When you mention it would be advisable to clean it...you refer to the gear & the helical? I will tear into it and let you know if that looks to be gummed up.

I wonder if a gently applied heat gun would be a good idea...?

I'm excited that:
A) this problem can be solved using shadetree skills and new web buddies
B) may end up not costing dollars (precious commodity these days)
C) will result in exploring new areas for me, increasing my comfort level with previously unknown bits
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 12-19-2011, 12:38 PM
Magnetite Magnetite is offline
Registered-II
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: New Haven, Connecticut
Posts: 447
Thanks: 50
Thanked 196 Times in 127 Posts
Default Re: Onan Emerald 4000 BGE Starter Won't Engage & Start

Quote:
Originally Posted by anemic View Post
Many thanks for the tips Magnetite! I will report back w/results.
I'll be interested to hear the results. I've never been deep into an Emerald. It's too new It uses a starter, which is more efficient than the exciter starting of my CCK. That means you'll get it started with less battery power. OTOH, as you've learned, it's less reliable, but only a bit.
Quote:
Sounds as though you have suggested two likely culprits and an excellent reason why (cold). When you mention it would be advisable to clean it...you refer to the gear & the helical? I will tear into it and let you know if that looks to be gummed up.
Yes, if it's gummed up, just clean it carefully and lube with white lithium grease.

Quote:
I wonder if a gently applied heat gun would be a good idea...?
Centrifugal force slides the gear out against spring force trying to hold it in. Sometimes that gear gets a piece of dirt stuck, or it gets cocked slightly and jams. It may not be just gummed up or cold grease. I find most Bendix starters will free up if tapped hard. Some heat won't hurt, but you'll be fighting the cold trying to warm a lot of metal. I'd probably just tap it. If a tap doesn't free it, I'd just take it off and inspect. I often use my battery charger as a power source to spin a starter and watch the gear extend.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 12-19-2011, 12:39 PM
Billy J Shafer's Avatar
Billy J Shafer Billy J Shafer is offline
Subscriber
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Centerville, Texas
Posts: 11,296
Thanks: 5,122
Thanked 8,415 Times in 4,007 Posts
Default Re: Onan Emerald 4000 BGE Starter Won't Engage & Start

This unit does not have a solenoid mounted on the starter. Most likely the starter drive has broken. Common problem on this unit.Onan did come out with an update to the drive.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 12-19-2011, 01:05 PM
Magnetite Magnetite is offline
Registered-II
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: New Haven, Connecticut
Posts: 447
Thanks: 50
Thanked 196 Times in 127 Posts
Default Re: Onan Emerald 4000 BGE Starter Won't Engage & Start

Listen to Billy. Tapping the starter will free up solenoids and/or the sliding Bendix gear, but if there's no solenoid, the chance of tapping it helping goes way down.

If starter breakage is a known problem for this unit, that's most likely to be it.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 12-19-2011, 01:20 PM
anemic anemic is offline
Registered-I
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Posts: 48
Thanks: 43
Thanked 4 Times in 2 Posts
Default Re: Onan Emerald 4000 BGE Starter Won't Engage & Start

Onan Drive Kit is 1912187 & I am going to pickup @ Bridgeway (in stock) after I pull the starter to confirm this will help. They have a new starter 1912416 for in stock, which has the new improved drive.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 12-19-2011, 01:24 PM
Dave Edmonds Dave Edmonds is offline
Subscriber
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Jackson, Mississippi, USA
Posts: 1,644
Thanks: 396
Thanked 634 Times in 461 Posts
Smile Re: Onan Emerald 4000 BGE Starter Won't Engage & Start

On your fuel problem, it sounds kinda like your fuel system had quite a bit of "sticky" in it, and you lucked out by starting it before things got so sticky that they wouldn't come loose with new fuel. It seems that the only two cures for fuel degradation are to completely dry up the fuel system, or to keep the unit exercised regularly. Removing the starter should prove whether you can clean the drive, or have to replace the drive.
Dave Edmonds
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 12-19-2011, 01:33 PM
Billy J Shafer's Avatar
Billy J Shafer Billy J Shafer is offline
Subscriber
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Centerville, Texas
Posts: 11,296
Thanks: 5,122
Thanked 8,415 Times in 4,007 Posts
Default Re: Onan Emerald 4000 BGE Starter Won't Engage & Start

The solenoid is in the control box.With a single lead going to the starter. I have replaced four of them. The original drives were not that great and broke quite often. Onan then came out with a better drive.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 12-19-2011, 03:19 PM
Magnetite Magnetite is offline
Registered-II
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: New Haven, Connecticut
Posts: 447
Thanks: 50
Thanked 196 Times in 127 Posts
Default Re: Onan Emerald 4000 BGE Starter Won't Engage & Start

Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy J Shafer View Post
The original drives were not that great and broke quite often. Onan then came out with a better drive.
I'm interested - how did they break? Anemic was hearing the starter spin, so it has to be some kind of break that lets the motor spin.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 12-19-2011, 03:48 PM
Billy J Shafer's Avatar
Billy J Shafer Billy J Shafer is offline
Subscriber
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Centerville, Texas
Posts: 11,296
Thanks: 5,122
Thanked 8,415 Times in 4,007 Posts
Default Re: Onan Emerald 4000 BGE Starter Won't Engage & Start

Some just fell apart leaving the shaft free. Some times the gear would jam into the flywheel. If it comes apart be sure and get all the broken parts out.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 12-19-2011, 04:38 PM
anemic anemic is offline
Registered-I
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Posts: 48
Thanks: 43
Thanked 4 Times in 2 Posts
Default Re: Onan Emerald 4000 BGE Starter Won't Engage & Start

ahoy you should see the plastic gear. the edge toward the engine are worn SMOOTH! It is amazing it held on as long as it did. Strange that it doesnt seem to have the full engagement of the gear. I'l bring the whole thing into Bridgeway. I may upgrade to the new design instead. Not sure whats best. Maybe I'll do that and then have a spare?
I wonder if I could just FLIP the gear upside down. It looks like it might even work. The gear is 95% intact. The 5% is a serious issue. But if it's inverted, perhaps it's fine.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 12-19-2011, 04:50 PM
Power Power is offline
Registered-III
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 2,787
Thanks: 673
Thanked 1,447 Times in 913 Posts
Default Re: Onan Emerald 4000 BGE Starter Won't Engage & Start

If you do that, suggest dissasembly, cleaning and lube of starter. Perhaps it was sticking, and that is why you only got partial engagement. When cleaned up, check gear engagement. I expect it to be at least full depth of flywheel teeth, if not, I make it so.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 12-19-2011, 09:39 PM
anemic anemic is offline
Registered-I
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Posts: 48
Thanks: 43
Thanked 4 Times in 2 Posts
Default Re: Onan Emerald 4000 BGE Starter Won't Engage & Start

thanks for the help one & ALL

She purrs like a kitten once again!

I removed the starter after removing the ground. I removed it and brought it to Cummins Bridgeway GR. They had the Drive Kits on hand as well as the new starter. Myself and a crew of several parts desk guys all looked at the puzzle of new bits which did not match what I'd brought in. With an illustrated parts breakdown of the kit, the guys popped out my rollpin and correctly installed the kit on the spot! Hows that for service !

then I realized how many parts were resident inside my generator! So I stopped at lowes for a mirror on a stick, a rare earth magnet on a stick and a grabber with an LED light at the claw. I removed the white cage, the spring & barrel and two broken black plastic end bits and one of the two washers. I then decided that the place where these things were dropped were separate from the generator housing itself and also separate from the motor internals. So a washer can stay where it lay. I reassembled, drained off some oil to get back to where I am more comfortable. I really enjoyed firing it right up! I can hear her now and she's a sweet sound!

---------- Post added at 08:39 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:31 PM ----------

oh and once you see the helical gear and the lack of spring...the plastic bits broked no doubt due to age (circa 1996). then the spring let go, then the gear wouldnt retract and the flywheel quickly shaved down one side. clearly this was brought about by my operator error having to do with the winter mode I switched on after I'd flooded her good.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 12-20-2011, 10:42 AM
Magnetite Magnetite is offline
Registered-II
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: New Haven, Connecticut
Posts: 447
Thanks: 50
Thanked 196 Times in 127 Posts
Default Re: Onan Emerald 4000 BGE Starter Won't Engage & Start

Quote:
Originally Posted by anemic View Post
She purrs like a kitten once again!
Congratulations!
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

F o r u m Jump

Similar Threads Chosen at Random
Thread Thread Starter F o r u m Replies Last Post
Onan 4000 emerald + battery charge problem robubanks Onan Generators 2 04-25-2011 10:34 PM
RV Onan Mirco Gen 4000 Model 4KYFA26100K Won't start! jamboree2001 Onan Generators 2 08-08-2010 10:31 AM
Onan emerald 4000 starts but dies Sunny Onan Generators 3 09-01-2009 06:13 PM
ONAN 4000 not running after start Loren Estes Onan Generators 3 07-30-2009 01:13 AM
Onan 4000 Emerald Series westt Onan Generators 5 07-06-2009 01:42 AM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 03:03 AM.

Smokstak and Enginads site search!


All use is subject to our TERMS OF SERVICE
SMOKSTAK® is a Registered Trade Mark
A Community of Antique Engine Enthusiasts
Copyright © 2000 - 2014 by Harry Matthews
P.O. Box 5612 - Sarasota, FL 34277