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Old 07-23-2012, 04:32 PM   #1
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Location: Central Coast, CA
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What should I know about a diesel generator?

I am having a PowerTech PTRV-3 installed on a short wheelbase (RB) Sprinter 3500.

It took some persistence but SMB finally agreed it was possible, it was a short wheelbase thing. I have read a little bit about the generators here but most posts are rather dated.

So what can all of you tell me about the little diesel generator? What should I expect?
-Can you tell me what life is like living with one?
-What to look for at delivery of the van?
-Is it really a "special" installation project that might bear additional installation scrutiny?
-What tricks you have discovered that makes life a little easier with this product?
-Is it the perfect little gem?

Any and all comments are appreciated.

Thanks in advance.


Charlie is the best antidote for a tough week at work. I get to see a different side of this great country and relax in different places on every trip. My vacation home is parked where money can't buy residence. Life is a long journey and my magic carpet is named Charlie.
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Old 07-23-2012, 07:50 PM   #2
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Location: Turlock Ca
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Re: What should I know about a diesel generator?

Seems the one's I've noticed at SMBW were Onan's. I know as a rule diesel gen's are a bit heavier but can be fairly quiet. It would make sense to have one if the RV is diesel powered so it draws from the main fuel tank. You'll have to deal with a slight smell if diesel fuel bothers you. The ones we have at work are designed to have long run times but are industrial grade. If I remember corretly SMBW installed an Onan in a E-350 and used the vans exhaust to keep the noise down but you'll need to varify that with them.
Other than that I really don't have too much info on them. Service centers would be something to consider.

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Old 07-24-2012, 12:14 PM   #3
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Re: What should I know about a diesel generator?

Check to see if the generator is rated for Biodiesel. Many states now make some biodiesel mandatory, and if the genset is not rated for biodiesel blends, it could cause warranty problems if it ever has a fueling issue.
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Old 07-25-2012, 09:28 AM   #4
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Re: What should I know about a diesel generator?

I plan to get one on my EB Sprinter because the Onan propane generator will use up the propane in only 24 hours of use. I think SMB installs plenty of these and I have not heard of problems. The PowerTech is very noisy compared to the Onan Quiet Diesel which I have on my old big rig in an inside compartment. The Onan is so quiet we forget it is on sometimes, but we still obeyed campground rules when not to run it. Unfortunately the Onan Diesel does not fit under the Sprinter.

Vanessa: Sprinter 3500 170 EB with RV interior and lots of unique features including water below 0 degrees, screen door, diesel generator, huge rear storage compartment for 2-person kayak and much more. See my web site for all the details.
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