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Bite the Bullet

The Generac NP-66 propane generator ready for the wrench

Took me some time to catch a truck load of big boys that weren’t rushing in to the lease like their hair was on fire to move the generator. Three of them it took to set that hunk of steel on the work stand. I am figuring it was time well spent; that building a work stand and moving it to an easier location. My old knees and back throw up a protest when I am down in the gravels scratchin’ it out.  They say when you get older, you gotta work smarter.  I’ll get on board with that.

If I was prone to daydreaming and such, I might be wishing I could roll the Old Girl up to the service bay down at Camping World and fill her snout up with a brand new diesel generator.  Pshaw!  Shouldn’t set me back but about $10 grand or so.  Yeah right.   If I had that kinda money, Miss K would be picking out house plans and I would be looking at some new long iron to feed .308 to.    Maybe when I win the Lottery……

What do you think? This part look hosed to you?

RV generators are just a damned old bitch to work on.  They compress the unit into as small a footprint as possible and then add all sorts of panels and sheet metal and such to suppress the noise.    2 hours later I was looking at the starter motor and my shade tree diagnosis proved correct – the starter motor was crapped out.   Umm, more correctly; the starter drive assembly was hosed.  The starter motor itself appeared OK.  It was just the nylon gears and all that were toast.

The rest of the morning was spent trying to run down some parts.   Spare parts concerned me more than just a bit.  An 18 year old piece of equipment that was not widely produced to begin with could be  problematic.   I found the starter drive assembly for $27.95 from a parts house I had used before.  Then I got to thinking…..

Me and the Old Girl probably never will part ways — much to Miss Kathy’s chagrin.  She wants an RV with slide outs so bad she can taste it and I don’t  blame her.  The Old Girl is old school in the recreational vehicle world.   I have done a shit ton of work on her to be able to do what it is that we do not to mention that back in the day they just built ’em better to start with.   So I can see upgrading to a newer RV at some point in the future and the Old Girl will probably end up out in Terlingua permanently.   She would do just dandy as overflow housing.  Or maybe when I get older and more codgerfied than I already am, I could find an alternative use for her.   Roadside food stand?  Chicken house?  Goat Barn?   I would have to be a crusty codger  for damned sure to withstand the mental  ass whuppin’  if I proposed either of those last two options to Miss K.  She has standards ya know;  me not so much.  That is one reason I am so danged lovable.  Ask her if you don’t believe it!

Nekkid starter motor

OK, so I am going down that mental track of what options are available re: fixing up that near 20 year old Generac generator and I see something that tipped me over the top.  It was a little plate on the side of the generator.  Made In Japan.  Not China or India-  Japan.   The little 2 cylinder beast has been unfailingly reliable under some extreme conditions the last several years and I cannot fault the service record.  Seemed to me the best route was a total refurb while I had the beast out and readily available.   Miss K asked me what the difference was between a refurb and a rebuild?   If I was going to tear the engine and the generator head down, I would call that a rebuild.  I don’t think it is economically feasible to do that.   A situation like this is where the propane fueled generators have the upper hand.  Propane burns cleaner than any other fuel resulting in less wear and tear on the engine.  Nothing can match them for longevity.

Age is a mortal enemy to anything rubber or plastic however and I have already had some problems along those lines.  I am going to replace everything rubber and plastic I can get my hands on along with some high percentage of failure parts.  The list will probably go something like this:

  1. Starter drive assembly
  2. Spark plug wires and boots
  3. Fuel lines
  4. Drive belt
  5. Voltage regulator
  6. Spark plugs
  7. Generator brushes and holders
  8. Extra air cleaners
  9. Assorted gaskets and seals to keep the road grind and dust out

The parts are available now – that may not always be the case in the future, the generator is accessible, I don’t want to do this again-ever.    For the $300-$400 and $0 labor this is going to cost us, Miss K agreed it was the most prudent path.  I will get some peace of mind as well.  I have stated before that I think a generator is not an option but a necessity for the type boondocking we do.   And don’t forget — the Doomers are all saying the Apocalypse is nigh so I better get crackin’  huh?  Now I will have some peace of mind and sleep better at night.


End Note: Rose Coloured Glasses by J.D. Crowe and the New South from the Live in Japan cd.   This cd is from 1982 but when it rolled up on the Zune as I was writing this post,  I was immediately transported back to Knoxville, TN somewhere around 1976.   35 years ago -Christ,  it made the hair prick up on my neck.   I got some good stuff on that Zune, yes I do.

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4 comments to Bite the Bullet

  • I’d say 18 years is four or five lifetimes for nylon gears.

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    • admin

      Agreed! I just wish it wasn’t el bitcho largo to get them out

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  • Sailbad

    If you can’t get those ol’ boys back to help reload that beast, that work stand is gonna look sort of funny with wheels on it!

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  • LJ

    Things of age do tend to get ‘raggedy’ after a spell. Previous, too long kept travel trailer, my past 1987 Holiday Rambler comes to mind. Parts starting coming off, with a little help sometimes. Leveler sissor jack on one back corner is in New Mexico somewhere. Scraped off on some speed bump, while pulling over for a nature call. Various rivets that was holding the bottom pan on, have popped off somewhere between here and there. The pull out drawer that held the torsion bars for the hitch, just up and fell off, fortunately in the parking spot where it sat between road trips. Finally figured out that when the 5 yr old Dometic Fridge was worth more that the RV, it was time for a change. Then came along the Cedar Creek 2011 model w/ 3 slides 5th wheel just in time before another wheel came off.

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