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A Genset Story Onan 6.0 DJB


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Old 02-06-2017, 10:34:35 PM
Crankpot Crankpot is offline
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Smile A Genset Story Onan 6.0 DJB

I stumbled across this old gen set sitting in a field in Florida somewhat protected by a fiberglass cover. The owner claimed it ran in the past though obviously there were some issues as a few pieces of tin were missing. Also unknown was whether the generator head and regulator made electricity. But for the price of $500 the deal was done, risk accepted and home it went.

The first thing I did was hook up a battery and see if it would crank over, but before, I noticed the very black oil barely touching the tip of the dipstick needed attention. So I bought new filter, changed the oil, primed the fuel system and hit the start switch. It made lots of noise, cranking well, but zero attempt to run.

The next day of troubleshooting indicated there was no fuel flowing to the injectors. This was a new one to me as an experienced diesel mechanic, but as I quickly learned, it's also a pretty common failure mode for this engine. It seems the delicate Ambac injection pump is highly susceptible to the internal plunger sticking from long periods of non use.

Elsewhere in the forum it was discussed a method of freeing up the plunger. I did this and was successful in freeing up my plunger. It reinstalled the pump cranked it up and off it went...sort of.

See the video of it running badly...

https://youtu.be/fCXVhXFBiss

It ran but very poorly. One cylinder cutting in and out, the shaking violently, and it would always give up and quit after less than a minute. I also found both glow plugs were burned out and very difficult and expensive to find.

But some good news came along, for one the generator head was showing output voltage, the oil pressure was building normally, amp meter showed a battery charge.

After another day of struggling with this thing, I realized that injection pump had to be the culprit and ordered another from a guy in eBay. A lot more about this eBay guy later.

The NOS pump arrived in new condition. I paid about $280 for it. I carefully installed it and voila! It started right up and ran perfectly! It seems this gamble was about to pay off.


See the video...

https://youtu.be/CIFTD-wh2S4


The next day I went at it some more, ordered some vibration isolators and miscellaneous tin from Joe... yellowlister, and began making plans to finish and re-paint the gen set. The engine burned clear, ran smoothly started easily. And inspection inside the engine through the injection pump hole showed clean and new looking components. This gen set was installed in a county fire track and seems to have little hours on it.

While beginning to load test the engine it did well, carrying all loads fine, regulating voltage normally. I put it bed with a smile on my face.

The next morning, I started up the little gen set to resume my testing only to find zero electrical output. A couple hours of troubleshooting found one of the four coil pairs in the exciter stator had failed open. I narrowed it down to one coil, found no flaws, so I bypassed the bad coil, reconnected everything and fired it up. Success! The gen set works fine with 7 out 8 exciter coils, I can now find a replacement at my leisure but worst case I can rewind the coil if needed.

As I resumed my load testing the engine quit very abruptly. The total run time in the new pump was about five hours. The thing was completely dead with no indication it would run again.

Some quick trouble shooting showed again no fuel getting to injectors. Injector pump plunger stuck again??? Oh dear.

I removed the pump and found it free and perfectly appearing. But no fuel pumping. The new pump had failed completely in just 5 hours. The eBay auction allowed returns so I contacted the seller and explained this situation. The seller abruptly told me secret "return" conditions were in place and he would not help me until I sent him the pump and sent it out for inspection by a diesel injection shop as I likely ruined it with contamination. Btw..I did not. I was very careful. I am a professional mechanic.

A week later the eBay seller told me that HE, not some diesel shop, had disassembled the pump, found it to be returned in filthy condition (a lie) , and the inside of the pump was contaminated with gasoline (another lie). It went all the way to eBay for disputed resolution and fortunately eBay ruled in my favor giving me a full refund, but wow...what a jerk. His eBay I'd is "rpalesh" (RP Machine Co INC). Govern yourself accordingly.

But it gets weirder. So I buy another NOS surplus pump from another eBay seller. I opened the box and oh boy...a very used corroded nasty pump. Way different from picture of the new one I was supposed to get. Again I complained to the seller and he told me I was mistaken. The pump was Re-manufactured, not new. The pump I got was very old, corroded and for sure... used.

While I was waiting for his response, it installed it and wow! It ran perfectly. If fact it ran so good I kept it and it's still running today, but I did give both these jerks negative feedback for being dishonest.

So here it is. I sanded it down, painted it with Sherwin Williams. Onan blue-green 2 component urethane enamel. It's a nice paint, slightly different from the original color but who knows, maybe the original paint has become a bit darker from aging. It took about half a pint to put three heavy coats on. I made some Onan decals with the little vinyl cutting machine and finished it off with a new muffler. It sits in a couple thick 1.5" square tubes which in turn are bolted to a couple pressure treated 4x4s. The casters are from harbor freight. The whole thing rolls around easily, doesn't shake or vibrate.

The rubber vibration isolators I bought were used but still soft and pliable. Two were badly worn and about 1/4" shorter than the other two. I found some large diameter rubber washers and shimmed the worn isolators up to make them even with the others. It worked perfectly and all mounts have the specified 1/16" airgap and gen set runs smoothly.

See the video....

https://youtu.be/rKY-UWsfBck

I added the little Chinese meter. It shows volts, freq, and hour meter all for $8. It's full of Mobil one 5-40w turbo diesel truck oil.

So hopefully this thing won't give me anymore trouble and provide some years of service. But the fact is these models are at the end of there lives. The parts are hard to find and very expensive even used parts. Enthusiast like myself can fabricate replacement parts to compensate for $400 stop solenoids, finicky injector pumps, and unobtainium, but eventually it will be more trouble than it's worth.




Costs so far...

Purchase. 500
Tin rubbers. 75
Paint. 40
Cables. 50
Pump. 180
Filter. 50
Oil. 22
Glows. 50
Muffler. 30

Total. 997


Pictures...

original condition in field
Detail of rubber foot
the bad coil
Freshly painted awaiting feet
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  #2  
Old 02-07-2017, 12:10:45 AM
JohnnyC JohnnyC is offline
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Default Re: A Genset Story Onan 6.0 DJB

EXCELLENT! Beautiful job and an Onan to be proud of. You took the time to detail everything that I could see in the video. Nothing missed.

Too bad you were not posting here while restoring it on a day to day basis with pictures and your input. Many times folks here may see something of interest during the restoration and it may spawn a new thread of a different subject or several pages on the original thread. For example, I just started doing a refurbishment on a 7.5 JB. I found water/moisture under the breather cap and there is a thread currently running regarding the moisture. Lots of great information and thoughts.

Below is a 13 minute youtube video of a 15.0JC that I restored several years ago showing it's original condition and the progress during the restoration. It was my very first Onan and I never heard of or seen an Onan before the one in the video below.

Since then I think I've done 4 other Onans, mostly RV gensets of various kinds. Oh, I did have a 15RJC that I got on CL for pennies, but my intent was to quickly fix it and flip it which I did. There was not restoration.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8jVNfrCQuI

JohnnyC
New Jersey
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Old 02-07-2017, 12:21:34 AM
Crankpot Crankpot is offline
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Default Re: A Genset Story Onan 6.0 DJB

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyC View Post
EXCELLENT! Beautiful job and an Onan to be proud of. You took the time to detail everything that I could see in the video. Nothing missed.

Too bad you were not posting here while restoring it on a day to day basis with pictures and your input. Many times folks here may see something of interest during the restoration and it may spawn a new thread of a different subject or several pages on the original thread. For example, I just started doing a refurbishment on a 7.5 JB. I found water/moisture under the breather cap and there is a thread currently running regarding the moisture. Lots of great information and thoughts.

Below is a 13 minute youtube video of a 15.0JC that I restored several years ago showing it's original condition and the progress during the restoration. It was my very first Onan and I never heard of or seen an Onan before the one in the video below.

Since then I think I've done 4 other Onans, mostly RV gensets of various kinds. Oh, I did have a 15RJC that I got on CL for pennies, but my intent was to quickly fix it and flip it which I did. There was not restoration.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8jVNfrCQuI

JohnnyC
New Jersey
Thanks for the kind words. I watched your video of the 15.0 JC. You do GOOOD work! Well done!
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Old 02-07-2017, 12:38:47 AM
JohnnyC JohnnyC is offline
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Default Re: A Genset Story Onan 6.0 DJB

Thanks!

Any new projects lined up after you finish up with the scroll tin?

JohnnyC
New Jersey
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Old 02-07-2017, 02:59:07 AM
circuitman circuitman is offline
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Default Re: A Genset Story Onan 6.0 DJB

excellent looking machine!i'm, jealous!
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Old 02-07-2017, 04:31:47 AM
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Default Re: A Genset Story Onan 6.0 DJB

You will not have the cooling door and some shields you see on other units. Because you have the Vac U Flow cooling system.
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Old 02-07-2017, 05:59:50 AM
Crankpot Crankpot is offline
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Default Re: A Genset Story Onan 6.0 DJB

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyC View Post
Thanks!

Any new projects lined up after you finish up with the scroll tin?

JohnnyC
New Jersey
Oh boy. Endless projects. I'm going to rebuild my cabin MDJA soon. I'll make a vid of it running tomorrow. I converted it from marine to cabin with a Honda radiator and grundfos coolant pump. It's been very reliable and starts easily when bitter cold but needs some tlc.
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Old 02-08-2017, 11:03:53 AM
Ray Lynch Ray Lynch is offline
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Default Re: A Genset Story Onan 6.0 DJB

Nice looking set. Good luck with it.
Do you plan on installing a flex connector between muffler and exhaust manifold?
Ray
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Old 02-08-2017, 02:25:27 PM
Crankpot Crankpot is offline
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Default Re: A Genset Story Onan 6.0 DJB

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Nice looking set. Good luck with it.
Do you plan on installing a flex connector between muffler and exhaust manifold?
Ray
Yes. Soon.
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Old 02-14-2017, 10:54:19 PM
Crankpot Crankpot is offline
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Default Re: A Genset Story Onan 6.0 DJB

I added a little voltage control to the genset today. The regulator has a different type wiring and I couldn't find a pin out. But the part had a jumper between pins 6 and 7. This is where the potentiometer connects. I used a little 2000 ohm one. It's works great and gives a 30 volt swing. I set the mid point voltage to 120 v using the trimmer in the potted regulator. Sweet! Cost $.30.
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Old 02-14-2017, 11:02:25 PM
JohnnyC JohnnyC is offline
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Default Re: A Genset Story Onan 6.0 DJB

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Originally Posted by Crankpot View Post
I added a little voltage control to the genset today. The regulator has a different type wiring and I couldn't find a pin out. But the part had a jumper between pins 6 and 7. This is where the potentiometer connects. I used a little 2000 ohm one. It's works great and gives a 30 volt swing. I set the mid point voltage to 120 v using the trimmer in the potted regulator. Sweet! Cost $.30.
LOL - You and I were doing the exact same thing at the same time this evening. I updated my thread with pictures. Since I need to finish the JB I won't be able to run it. So, you get a 30 volt swing. That is a lot. What are the specs on the pot you used? I am using a 2.5k Ohm pot. Once I get my JB running, I will need to "tune" the regulator as you did this evening.

p.s. - I read your response about the lettering today. I will post the size of the lettering with pictures tomorrow evening in my thread. Thanks!

********** Update - I just seen you used a 2k Ohm pot. That's what happens when I read too fast, I miss important things. Since I am using a 2.5k Ohm pot I wonder what my adjustability will be?

JohnnyC
New Jersey
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Old 02-14-2017, 11:09:38 PM
Crankpot Crankpot is offline
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Default Re: A Genset Story Onan 6.0 DJB

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Originally Posted by JohnnyC View Post
LOL - You and I were doing the exact same thing at the same time this evening. I updated my thread with pictures. Since I need to finish the JB I won't be able to run it. So, you get a 30 volt swing. That is a lot. What are the specs on the pot you used? I am using a 2.5k Ohm pot. Once I get my JB running, I will need to "tune" the regulator as you did this evening.

p.s. - I read your response about the lettering today. I will post the size of the lettering with pictures tomorrow evening in my thread. Thanks!

********** Update - I just seen you used a 2k Ohm pot. That's what happens when I read too fast, I miss important things. Since I am using a 2.5k Ohm pot I wonder what my adjustability will be?

JohnnyC
New Jersey
More ohms for more volts. I'm guessing you see 35 volt swing. Mine seems just right. Yours will be better!
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Old 02-14-2017, 11:33:41 PM
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Default Re: A Genset Story Onan 6.0 DJB

I'd be happy with only 10 vac swing (+/- 5 vac from 120 or 240). I believe Jim is using a 5k pot. I hope he reads this and replies with his swing. I can't wait to get my JB all finished to try it out, but as past history has shown (many times) I get very bored after completing an Onan and within hours I'm out the door to pick up another.

Thanks for posting the results for this nice modification.

JohnnyC
New Jersey
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Old 02-20-2017, 05:08:19 PM
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Default Re: A Genset Story Onan 6.0 DJB

I just finished the super cheapo Generator load bank. I've always wanted one and spend my time running around with extension cords and space heaters trying to come up with a load. Its never been ideal.

I considered different things like hot water heater elements and came up with this. It has the size I need, 6.5 KW, cost little, should be very reliable and easy to fix. Additionally I can add two more heaters to bring it up to 10KW load.

I chose cheap Walmart made in china 1500 watt space heaters. They are low cost, about $11 each. They also have multiple wattage settings, 500,900,1500 so lots of load choices available. I tied them together with a high amperage terminal strip with number 10 wire jumpers etc so nothing would get hot. Then added a little junction box and a couple cheap ebay volt ammeter modules. The whole thing cost less than
$100. Weighs almost nothing, quite portable and it will bring every generator I own to it knees.

My Onan 6.0 KW DJB will put out 6400 watts (sea level 80 deg F) at the smoke limit. I was able to determine this only after adding the variable voltage control to my Genset. Varying the voltage on a resistive load has a double whammy effect on watts produced so a little voltage increase goes a long way. On my onan, 127 volts was it, you could see the rack opening until it hit the smoke limit and had little if any reserve power left as the rpm began to fall off. 6000 watts was no problem as expected, I'll post a picture later...
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Old 02-20-2017, 05:15:37 PM
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Default Re: A Genset Story Onan 6.0 DJB

Here ya go...
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Old 02-24-2017, 08:54:32 AM
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Default Re: A Genset Story Onan 6.0 DJB

Oops look what happened" the super cheesey and overpriced ($16) little AMBAC plastic part simply shattered.

I made up a permanent replacement using an aircraft grade spherical ball joint. Interestingly, the generator makes a little more power now. I think due to smoother geometry of the linkage. Anyway I can get 7000 watts now with clouds of black smoke!
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Old 02-24-2017, 10:09:34 AM
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Default Re: A Genset Story Onan 6.0 DJB

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Originally Posted by Crankpot View Post
" the super cheesey and overpriced ($16) little AMBAC plastic part simply shattered.
Not sure why Onan used those plastic ball joints. May be because they require no lubrication with the metal ball against the plastic housing.

I have a bunch of them in the drawer, I make it a habit to replace them on my J sets when I go through them. I had to be careful of how the top ball joint is oriented on the latest JC I replaced them on. The new metal one (like you pictured) is larger than the OEM joint and will rub on the intake manifold if it is not turned just right.
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Old 02-24-2017, 12:40:56 PM
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Default Re: A Genset Story Onan 6.0 DJB

Crankpot you be rollin coal with that little beast. Cheers Dan
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Old 02-24-2017, 03:12:21 PM
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Default Re: A Genset Story Onan 6.0 DJB

Bob, my Ambac pump was trashed when I got my 7.5MDJE. Found a great shop in Orlando who rebuilt it for $200. Accurate Diesel Injection, Inc.
Glad to see another diesel set rescued.
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Old 03-08-2017, 08:27:45 PM
Crankpot Crankpot is offline
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Default Re: A Genset Story Onan 6.0 DJB

Thanks. That's pretty reasonable. I'm
Going to send my old pump to them and keep it for a spare.
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