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Onan 4.0 BFA on a Versalift Boom Lift


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  #1  
Old 03-18-2017, 07:26:58 PM
Dennis112885 Dennis112885 is offline
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Default Onan 4.0 BFA on a Versalift Boom Lift

Hi everyone. I'm new to the forum and I could use some help. I purchased a Versalift tow-behind boom lift, and it's powered by an Onan model 4.0 BFA-3CR/22353C, SN:A853869113. Here are some pictures:




The Onan is original to the lift. Looks like there is a shaft and coupling bolted to the cooling fan, coupled to a hydraulic pump to pressure up the hydraulic system.

I purchased the lift for $600. I didn't know anything about Onan Generators when I bought the lift, and I figured I could easily bolt on a new gas engine to power the hydraulic system. After doing research into these generators, I quickly realized that I'd like to keep what I have and make it work.

So, first thing on the agenda was to get the thing to turn over and see if I have spark. I quickly noticed that the control panel had been bastardized. There were several splices and the fuses were removed and replaced with switches. I couldn't get the thing to turn over. Here's the condition of the control box when I opened it up:

So I started out doing some research. I was able to locate the wiring diagram thanks to this forum. I'm using drawing 611-1142(attached). For the cost of replacement parts, I really didn't want to do the research involved with bench testing all of the existing parts. I noticed right away that the start solenoid was cracked and wasn't original. So I bought the following items:
Start Solenoid K1: 307-1617
Crank & Run Ignition Relays K2 & K3: 307-1575
Fuse Holders F1 & F2: 321-0175
Rectifiers CR1 & CR2: 357-0030
Start Stop Switch S1: 308-0383

I didn't buy the Relay Charger K5 (TCA4004) because I want to see if I can make this thing run before I buy an $80 part. I also didn't buy Relay K4 (307-1618) because I couldn't find it.

So today I rewired the control box. I took my time and triple checked every connection. Got rid of the splices the previous owner made, and put everything back to original as best as I could.

The problem I'm running into is that if you look at the picture of my control box when I openned it up, the K4 relay is not original. When I look at the wiring diagram, It looks like this relay is only needed if the unit has the Sisson choke, but mine does not (Onan). My control box part number is 300-1694. My question is, do I need relay K4? If I do, what is it for and is the part number 307-1618? Also, anyone know what size nuts are needed for the K1 terminals?
As I mentioned before, I did quite a bit of research and I found instructions on this forum to simplify the wiring. I don't want to do this because there is a remote control in the boom bucket and I'm afraid that removing certain components will remove my ability to control the generator from the boom. I'd appreciate anyone's help. Thanks
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Old 03-18-2017, 10:56:42 PM
LRomero LRomero is offline
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Default Re: Onan 4.0 BFA on a Versalift Boom Lift

That's a neat lift!! What is the generator used for if the engine is driving the hydraulic pump? Also, looks like the outrigger stabilizers are missing. If they truly are missing, make sure you replace them before getting in the lift!
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Old 03-19-2017, 12:13:20 AM
Ben Cowan Ben Cowan is offline
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Default Re: Onan 4.0 BFA on a Versalift Boom Lift

lift probably has 120 volt power in lift bucket. worked for a sign guy with crane trucks w buckets and generator on them was also a welder. 120 volt outlets were in bucket for drills and other 120 volt power tools. not sure about this unit, couldnt see outlets. Ben
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Old 03-19-2017, 12:51:43 AM
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Default Re: Onan 4.0 BFA on a Versalift Boom Lift

I believe the nuts are a standard fine thread ie 5/16 NF used for any of the commonly available starter solenoid/relays. The charge relay enables 2 stage charging of the battery depending on voltage. I am not an expert on the BFA but have seen them with a PTO similar to that setup. Seems like a practical setup. Cheers Dan
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Old 03-19-2017, 10:19:40 AM
Dennis112885 Dennis112885 is offline
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Default Re: Onan 4.0 BFA on a Versalift Boom Lift

Thanks for the replies everyone.

Quote:
That's a neat lift!! What is the generator used for if the engine is driving the hydraulic pump? Also, looks like the outrigger stabilizers are missing. If they truly are missing, make sure you replace them before getting in the lift!
Thanks! It's a pretty cool setup. The engine is used to drive the generator and the hydraulic pump. There is a hydraulic reservoir that feeds the pump. The pump discharges to a header with three valves. Two of the valves control the hydraulic rams, the third valve controls a hydraulic motor that drives a chain connected to a large sprocket, that rotates the boom. There is a 120V outlet in the bucket that is powered by the generator. There is also an outlet on the boom base. The previous owner also attached an electric motor and pump setup (from a dump trailer I believe) to act as an auxiliary hydraulic system. The motor is powered by the generator. I'll take some more pictures to show the details.

You're right the outriggers have been removed and a much wider axle was added. It's so wide I couldn't get it on my car trailer. I was able to get the seller to come down $200 because I mentioned that the outriggers were gone. Here's what it should look like:


My dad is a retired nuclear certified welder, so once I get the boom working, we're going to weld up a new trailer frame with some retractable outriggers. I guess the previous owner who butchered the entire machine didn't want to take the time to put outriggers down. The axle is very wide and it has load range E tires on it, but I still wouldn't trust it, unless you're just going straight up inline with the trailer and not rotating.

Quote:
lift probably has 120 volt power in lift bucket. worked for a sign guy with crane trucks w buckets and generator on them was also a welder. 120 volt outlets were in bucket for drills and other 120 volt power tools. not sure about this unit, couldnt see outlets. Ben
Ben, you're right. There is 120V power in the bucket. There are also electronic controls for the hydraulic valves in the bucket as well, to raise and rotate the bucket.

Quote:
I believe the nuts are a standard fine thread ie 5/16 NF used for any of the commonly available starter solenoid/relays. The charge relay enables 2 stage charging of the battery depending on voltage. I am not an expert on the BFA but have seen them with a PTO similar to that setup. Seems like a practical setup. Cheers Dan
Thanks for the info on the nuts. I think the solenoid should have came with them. Oh well.

I think you're right about the charge relay. From my research I've come to the same conclusion. However, I believe the charge relay is labeled K5 (green box) in the attached diagram. The relay I'm confused about is K4 (red box). I can't figure out if I even need this relay. It doesn't look like it but I could be wrong.
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Old 03-21-2017, 03:03:55 PM
Dennis112885 Dennis112885 is offline
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Default Re: Onan 4.0 BFA on a Versalift Boom Lift

So I tried out my rewired control box and it doesn't work. The solenoid is clicking, but the generator isn't spinning. I'm using a genuine Onan solenoid. I disconnected the step charger (K5) and never connected K4. The weird thing is, that when I was testing voltage at various points, something must have grounded and the generator did turn. So, I have a few questions:

1. Do I need to connect relay K4 if I have an Onan choke?
2. Does low oil pressure to S3 remove the ground contact?
3. Should I just ground the wire to S3 to remove the oil pressure switch from the equation?
4. I was getting about 7.6V at the SI terminal when hitting the start switch, should I be getting the full 12V?
5. I had 12V at S1, I've read that there should be 0V at S1 when the switch is in the neutral position.
6. The only thing grounding the box to the generator frame is hex head screw. Should this be sufficient for grounding or do I need to ground some other way?
7. Does anyone have a good copy of 611-1142 that you can actually see all of the relay numbers? My email is in my profile.

Thanks
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Old 03-21-2017, 03:43:21 PM
Kevin K Kevin K is offline
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Default Re: Onan 4.0 BFA on a Versalift Boom Lift

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis112885 View Post
1. Do I need to connect relay K4 if I have an Onan choke?
No, the relay is not needed with the Onan choke. It is used with the sission choke.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis112885 View Post
2. Does low oil pressure to S3 remove the ground contact?
S3 opens on low oil pressure, and closes on good oil pressure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis112885 View Post
3. Should I just ground the wire to S3 to remove the oil pressure switch from the equation?
Only for a test. You do not want to disable shutdown on low oil pressure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis112885 View Post
4. I was getting about 7.6V at the SI terminal when hitting the start switch, should I be getting the full 12V?
Yes, you should be getting the full 12 volts, the same voltage as the B+ terminal. Check the voltage at the B+ terminal on the solenoid when cranking, if it is substantially lower than 12 volts, you have a bad battery connection or a discharged battery.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis112885 View Post
5. I had 12V at S1, I've read that there should be 0V at S1 when the switch is in the neutral position.
You should have zero volts at S1 (on the start solenoid) with the switch in the neutral position when the engine is stopped. When the generator is running, then you will see the exciter voltage, about 30 volts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis112885 View Post
6. The only thing grounding the box to the generator frame is hex head screw. Should this be sufficient for grounding or do I need to ground some other way?
It wouldn't hurt to run a heavy wire, say #12, from the control box ground point to the negative battery lead. A bad ground can cause all kind of trouble.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis112885 View Post
7. Does anyone have a good copy of 611-1142 that you can actually see all of the relay numbers?
The copies Onan scanned often leave something to be desired. Try downloading the 900-0186 Wiring Diagram manual from the Twinslan site. A copy of 611-1142 is there.
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Old 03-21-2017, 03:50:37 PM
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Default Re: Onan 4.0 BFA on a Versalift Boom Lift

This should give you what you need.
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Old 03-21-2017, 04:20:35 PM
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Default Re: Onan 4.0 BFA on a Versalift Boom Lift

Look on post #18 here, open up the diagram that has -02 after it, it is a lot clearer.



https://www.smokstak.com/forum/showthread.php?p=1215367
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Old 03-21-2017, 05:55:56 PM
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Default Re: Onan 4.0 BFA on a Versalift Boom Lift

One other thing to check. Versalift may have modified the wiring to add more controls. Might be a good idea to ask them for a print. Of the machine.
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Old 03-21-2017, 11:53:56 PM
Dennis112885 Dennis112885 is offline
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Default Re: Onan 4.0 BFA on a Versalift Boom Lift

Thanks everyone for your replies and the great information in them.

So, I really just wanted to get this thing to turn over to justify putting more money into it. I was a bit disappointed after rewiring the control box and only seeing the thing rotate a quarter turn. So I decided to use BobbyZ72's simplified wiring method. So I took all of the wiring out of my control box. Luckily after pulling the terminal block and the relays, everything pretty much came out together. I quickly rewired the box, hooked it up, and hit the button. At first I got nothing. Just the same clicking noise that I got over the weekend with the other wiring setup. So I cut the power, placed a large flathead in the pump coupling and turned the shaft a few rotations. This must have worked off some of the rust. After doing this, the shaft turned when I hit the start switch. It only turned a few times. So, I took out the spark plugs to reduce the load and hooked jumper cables up to my truck battery. The generator is now turning over nicely. I didn't check the brushes or anything like that, but I plan to do so before I fire up the engine.

So now I sort of have one issue behind me. I think the problem I was having over the weekend was caused by the old battery that I stole from my 75 Bronco. As Kevin pointed out, the fact that I wasn't getting 12.8V at the SI terminal sort of confirms that the battery is bad. It's always the basic things that get you. So, I'm going to put the control box back to the way I had it, so I can connect the remote to the bucket controls.

So I already have a new problem. No spark. I suspect, from what I've read one here, that the problem is the points. They look like they're in good shape (attached). I'm going to try the test light trick and see what happens. When the genset was turning over, I did notice that the points weren't even touching. They have replacements on ebay for $26 but I don't want to wait. Hopefully I can adjust these and get them to work. I'm also going to try the coil test to scratch that off the list.

Once I get spark, it should all be downhill from there. I plan on cleaning the carb and replacing the air filter.

Billy, I called over to Versalift the day I bought the lift and they said to call Cummins for info on the genset. I was a bit disappointed. I'm probably going to try again. I'd also like to get some general arrangement drawings from Versalift to help me rebuild the trailer and the outriggers. Thanks for the wiring diagrams that you and nothingbutdarts provided, they are much easier to read. Thanks
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Old 03-22-2017, 07:47:58 PM
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Default Re: Onan 4.0 BFA on a Versalift Boom Lift

The pushrod may be stuck in the "up" (points open) position. While cranking the engine, push down on the points, right above the pushrod.
If the pushrod moves, rotate engine till the pushrod is highest. Set points at .020".
Then check for spark. Keep in mind that the plugs are in series and BOTH must be grounded. An ungrounded plug will not spark.

Last edited by lokay5; 03-22-2017 at 08:30:15 PM.
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Old 05-07-2017, 10:50:44 PM
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Default Re: Onan 4.0 BFA on a Versalift Boom Lift

So, I finally found some time to work on the generator. I've been to Singapore, Vermont, and Texas in the last three weeks. It really felt good to get out and tinker with the Onan to take my mind off of things.

I went to Autozone a picked up 4 quarts of 10w-40 oil and a 750 CCA battery. I had a genuine Onan oil filter. First thing I did was change the terminal clamps because the ground clamp had cracked and I could no longer get a good connection. Next, I began draining the oil. Had some stuff caked inside the drain so I had to remove it with a piece of tie-wire. While draining the oil, I connected the new battery. Took off the panel covering the oil filter and removed the old oil filter. Installed the new filter and added 3.5 quarts of oil. I also bought a fuel pump and added fuel tank cleaning enzyme to my gas tank. I hooked up the fuel pump, fuel line, and a filter. I'm not really sure where to connect the fuel pump + so I just touched it to the battery terminal when needed. After a little help from some starter fluid, the Onan fired up for the first time! Unfortunately, the new battery took a beating and I had to connect jumpers to my truck when I wanted to restart it. I'm beginning to think I need a crazy battery for this thing. I read that Onans require a large battery to start, but the hydraulic pump is making it very difficult to turn over. I'm almost thinking about setting up a bypass valve to unload the pump during startup. Although I'm going to try a bigger battery first. I was also able to finally test out the lift. Much to my surprise, I pushed the control valve buttons mounted to the lift and all three functions worked. Unfortunately, when I went to retract the top ram, hydraulic fluid started to leak pretty substantially from one of the hoses. I'm not going to jump into the hydraulics yet, I still have a few things to button up on the Onan. My latest experience left me with a few questions:

1. What type of battery do I need? Should I just get the biggest one they sell at the auto parts store?
2. When I connect the oil pressure switch, the generator shuts down. I know the oil level is sufficient. I probably shouldn't have, but I ran the generator for about 10 minutes. It didn't fail, so I'm assuming the pressure switch is bad. What's the best way to test the switch?
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Old 05-08-2017, 07:33:36 PM
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Question Re: Onan 4.0 BFA on a Versalift Boom Lift

From a previous post:
"So I already have a new problem. No spark. I suspect, from what I've read one here, that the problem is the points. They look like they're in good shape (attached). I'm going to try the test light trick and see what happens. When the genset was turning over, I did notice that the points weren't even touching. They have replacements on ebay for $26 but I don't want to wait. Hopefully I can adjust these and get them to work. I'm also going to try the coil test to scratch that off the list."

And now you have spark? What was the problem?
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Last edited by lokay5; 05-09-2017 at 06:00:58 PM.
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Old 05-11-2017, 12:58:13 AM
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Default Re: Onan 4.0 BFA on a Versalift Boom Lift

???
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Old 05-14-2017, 07:48:26 PM
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Default Re: Onan 4.0 BFA on a Versalift Boom Lift

Quote:
And now you have spark? What was the problem?
The gap on the points was not properly set. Got a set of feeler gauges, set the gap, and I got spark.
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