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My Dayton/Generac 8KW Diesel genset

Motorhead

Subscriber
Age
67
Last Subscription Date
07/09/2019
I acquired this about 1.5 months ago from an Industrial electrical recycler. It had 255 hours on it and it was removed for a bigger unit. The water pump was bad and it had set for some time. I paid $350. for it. I brought it home, replaced the water pump, installed brass freeze plugs, pulled the head to check it out inside (real nice in the bore and valves), replaced the head gasket and lapped the valves. I also replaced the phase selector switch(I don't know why they call it that). The unit was hard wired so I wired in a 30amp-240 plug to hook to my house. I also wired in 2 duplex 120 plugs each on their own 20 amp breaker and each on separate legs of the generator. Lastly, I wired in a MALE 120 outlet to plug into shore power to provide 120v for the block heater and a Deltran battery tender. I split that circuit to keep the charger hot as long as it is plugged into shore power. The other half I switched to be able to turn the block heat on and off as needed.
I added panel lighting using 2 panel lights from a MEP-017A military generator. I also added an inside compartment light using a VW bus dome light that is independently switched.
The unit runs well and makes steady power. I have load tested it at almost 6,000 watts and it holds real steady on voltage, amps and frequency.

In reading on this site, Generacs are not well liked.....
I am a very active member on a Dodge/Cummins powered truck site (TDR) and alot of the guys hate the Fords with the Navistar diesels.
I worked at UPS for 30 years and drove both the Cummins and 7.3 Navistar diesels in UPS package cars. Both ran well and each had their QUIRKS!!!

I had been looking for the inline 2cyl or4 cyl ONAN series generators in either diesel or Natural gas. Haven't found one yet but I still look.

I like this site and I am well involved in Mercedes diesels, VW diesels and aircooled and Dodge/Cummins powered vehicles. I also do alot of older Honda and Triumph motorcycle repair and restoration.
I also have 2 Korean era military small radio equipment generators.
Here are some pics of my Dayton/Generac
 

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Isaac-1

Registered
Last Subscription Date
01/12/2014
Looks like a nice deal you found there, the bias against Generac around here is not at all like the classic Ford vs. Chevy debate, which can get needlessly heated at times. I find it hard to find a direct automotive comparison, the best would probably be some European brand that 90% of the American public has never heard of.

The first big problem with Generac is the overall low build quality, although it seems more and more companies are trying to beat them at this.

The second is lack of standardizing in their model line up, it seems that they will throw together whatever combination of generator, engine and control system they can get the best deal on that week and call it a new model.

The third is closely related to the second, poor documentation on how the thing was set up when it left the factory, this is a big issue when you end up with a non-running generator with parts missing (which parts are they?).
 

Wayne 440

Registered
I may be risking excommmunication, but some Generac models are a lot better than others. Based on your pictures, that engine looks like a Shibaura, there are worse small diesels. And it is an 1800rpm set, which is unusual for a small Generac.

I don't see any wierd design flaws, (some of which Generac is infamous for) such as running the fan drive thru the radiator, using a gearbox or belt drive instead of direct engine/generator coupling, exposed/flimsy timing belts, I could go on but I'm sure you get the idea.

Take good care of it and it will probably last until you can find a vintage Onan that suits. When you do, you will almost immediately understand why they are so well thought of.
 

IronworkerFXR

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
09/06/2020
Hi My Dayton with a twin briggs starts fine but after sitting a year, no power out
any ideas, besides spinning a drill to excite it
Thanks
JC
 

Motorhead

Subscriber
Age
67
Last Subscription Date
07/09/2019
I guess I was lucky in that mine sat at least 4-5 years. It made power right away.
Wayne440: It does have the Shibara 1.0ltr, 3cyl diesel. They are still using that engine but in 1.1 ltr form for the generac 8.5kw RV set.
Are ONAN parts as expensive as Generac?
So what kind of total hours can I get out of this unit? I have been wrenching for 45 years and keep up my equipment.
 

Wayne 440

Registered
The only Shibaura engine I own is in a New Holland tractor, it gives every indication that it will last a long time. I hope so, because some engine parts are near highway robbery prices.

My experience has been that some Onan parts are expensive, while ALL Generac parts are. The thing is Onan generally figured out what kind of set they wanted to make and kept on doing so, sometimes for 20+ years. The distributor from a 1960's JC will probably fit the last one they made.
 

BTPost

Moderator
Staff member
Age
70
Last Subscription Date
12/29/2008
Shibaura are the folks that make the basic engines used in the Northern Lights Gensets. I have had VERY GOOD experiences with these, having twin NL854a's that finally died at 66K operational Hours each, and now I have twin NL844LW2's that have 8K Operational Hours each, with NO Problems since new. I can recommend these as very durable engines, with regular Operational Service Maintenance.
 

Motorhead

Subscriber
Age
67
Last Subscription Date
07/09/2019
Shibaura are the folks that make the basic engines used in the Northern Lights Gensets. I have had VERY GOOD experiences with these, having twin NL854a's that finally died at 66K operational Hours each, and now I have twin NL844LW2's that have 8K Operational Hours each, with NO Problems since new. I can recommend these as very durable engines, with regular Operational Service Maintenance.
Thanks, That is good to know. It seems like a stout engine. One thing I saw when I had the rocker shaft off was that they use a ball type rocker foot that comes in contact with the valve stem.
There is 7 or 8 soft plugs in the head alone! Generac wanted a ridiculas price each. I found all of them at NAPA. My NAPA store just loves me:uhoh:because I am ALWAYS working on ODD-BALL stuff.
 

armandh

Sponsor
Last Subscription Date
09/02/2010
one only needs to look at the generac limited warranty
plenty of exceptions and only....
2 years residental [but not as prime power]
1 year commercial
90 days as rental
none when trailer mounted

so far no problem but I limit loading to 2/3 of the sales inspired ratings.

I must say yours looks to be one of the better ones.
Dayton [WW Granger] may have written the specs.
 
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