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Old 04-20-2013, 02:54 PM   #1
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Generated questions -- powertech generator

The interesting thing about the Powertech PT-3SV2 generator is that it can fit under a Sprinter, which almost no other generator, especially something that requires as much precision as a diesel, can do.

Since they are not as common as Onans (in fact, this is Onan's -only- competitor in the RV industry now that Generac has quit the industry), finding service was difficult... but I did find a good place that can service it.

My concern is that it does hang fairly low in the back of a Sprinter. I wonder if there might be a need for some protection, such as skid plates, or perhaps skid wheels. Anyone using one of these mind giving their expertise if the clearance can be an issue?

Another concern is vibration. Diesel engines tend have more engine vibration, so it will need more insulation from sound and vibration than a comparable LP gas generator. Is the generator tolerable, especially if it has to be run (for the A/C in Texas) when taking a nap in the back? I also wonder about using a Gen-Turi unit when parked so that the diesel exhaust gets routed to the top of the rig and dispersed.

Anyone using one of these generators on a day to day basis? Since these are not in wide use, finding any good first-hand information on these are hard.

The great thing about them is that they use 1/10 of a gallon of a diesel unloaded, 1/5 of a gallon when at full load. This means that with a 26 gallon tank (24 gallons actually used), and assuming the generator is mounted so it cuts off at the 1/4 fill point, I have 72 hours of generator run time, which easily can get me through a normal weekend. If I need more run time, a roof mounted Rotopax system can be used for small endeavors, and for longer trips, I can get a hitch mounted cargo rack and use 5 gallon diesel cans.

Anyone using these mind give their good/bad points? This will be highly appreciated.
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Old 04-27-2013, 07:28 PM   #2
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Re: Generated questions -- powertech generator

We have the Powertech diesel in Vanessa and have just a few weeks of camping experience with it. It is much louder than the 7500 KW Onan quiet diesel we had in our former big rig, but I think still acceptable and worth the extra cost over the Onan propane generator. I use Macks silicon earplugs and they are quite comfortable even when sleeping. So the concern is more bothering others. We use it mostly when boondocking (no others to hear it) and in Walmarts and truck stops which I think is acceptable.

We have the MBz hitch which is 4" wide and will not fit the standard clamp-on skid wheels that SMB Indiana uses. So I searched the web and found the Ultra-Fab Products 48979023 Hitch Jumbo Roller:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0085IK9UU/ref ... 1_ST1_dp_1
which I welded to the bottom of our hitch. It was not low enough so I added a 2 x 3 x 3/16 inch rectangular steel beam, 3" long.



Between the skid wheels you can see the generator. Above that is a Harbor Freight step in the receiver. The skid wheels are probably lower than necessary, but better too low than too high. They will keep us from backing into a high curb.

So far we have hit the pavement once when exiting a place of business in Madison WI. It made a lot of noise but didn't seem to damage anything and saved the generator.

Let me know if you have more questions.

David
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Old 05-08-2013, 11:08 PM   #3
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Re: Generated questions -- powertech generator

I too have a PowerTech diesel generator but it is the PTRV-3 (also RR for remote coolant reservior).

When I picked mine up last year I thought it was the only one designed specifically for the Sprinter.

Sportsmobile shoehorned the thing into my short wheelbase (RB) model and it looked tough. They mounted it sideways compared to how it should have been installed in a longer wheelbase model. I have seen SMB cut away a non-structural frame member under the van to facilitate installation too. I can see that there is some rigid mounting points next to rubber isolated points so wonder if the vibration isolation is effective as it could be on mine, but they got it to fit.

Mine started out running kind of rough but seems to have smoothed out nicely over the last 12 or so hours of use. However with the couch/bed right over it there is no mistaking that it is running and the dogs are always restless for a while after starting. As llamadave indicates it is pretty darn loud compared to a nice little Honda 2000 (or whatever they are called). Mine also has a lingering mild odor of paint burning - don't know if anyone else has noticed that.

But, with all of the above said. it is still a wonderful little generator. running off the fuel tank is great. The vibration and noise is not that bad after a while and I don't know how much quieter or smooth running a propane version might be. It is great to be able to charge the batteries when needed and to run the ac when you can't connect to shore power, which for me is most of the time.

If I were to do it again I would focus on asking about vibration isolation mounting and maybe find out about some additional sound proofing. I just think that with the rear doors you are limited since the rear windows and seal will likely let the most noise through. I would make sure it is mounted in the manner to best maintain ground clearance too.

I would do it again and it was a pretty fair investment too.

Good luck.


Chumley
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Old 05-24-2013, 03:47 PM   #4
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Re: Generated questions -- powertech generator

On our last trip while using this generator it suddenly started having large swings in rpm so I shut it down and noticed the fuel tank was 3/8 full. The tap on the tank is supposed to be at 1/4 full but lack of fuel must have been the problem. After filling the tank the generator still had these swings in rpm so I checked the manual and it said you have to bleed the injector when this happens. So I did that and it solved the problem.

Since this will will happen to others, later I will post directions on how to do it with pictures.

It is too bad that to be sure this doesn't happen again we will have to stop using the generator at 1/2 full, meaning much shorter run times on a full tank. If anyone knows how to lower the intake line, please post. I am not sure how much the cutoff depends on how level the van is.

David
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