Sometimes your Onan QG 5500 may refuse to start or suddenly stop working, and start displaying the fault code 3.
This is a first-level fault code and it will be displayed almost every time your generator is experiencing some issues.
There are only two situations when there are some issues with your QG 5500 generator that will not activate the fault code 3.
When the oil level is either below ADD mark or above FULL mark on the dipstick, or when the generator’s engine is not getting any fuel for more than 30 seconds while trying to start.
When you take your RV out in the wild, you will need it to be properly and reliably working.
On any kind of trip away from the beaten tracks, and far away from the shore power, you will need a power source you can count on providing the electricity for all of the appliances in your RV.
If your QG 5500 generator is refusing to start while you are preparing for your trip, there is no real reason to go on it before you fix the generator.
So, how to fix fault code 3 on the Onan generator? To solve the fault code 3 on Onan generator, just check and follow the steps below:
– Step 1: Locate the access hatch to your generator
– Step 2: Locate the STOP/PRIME button
– Step 3: Press three times the STOP/PRIME button
– Step 4: Indicator light will start blinking
So, keep reading on to find out how to deal with the fault code 3 on your Onan QG 5500 generator.
Table of Contents
What is Fault Code 3 on Onan Generator
When you are away from the shore power, very likely your only source of electrical power is the Onan QG 5500 generator you have installed in your RV.
In case that it isn’t working, your RV trip can simply be ruined, as its job is to provide the electricity needed both for cooling and warming you up, but also running all your other appliances, such as a refrigerator and TV.
When the indicator light on the STOP/PRIME button of your Onan QG 5500 generator starts blinking at you after it refused to start or suddenly fell silent, it can be a very alarming experience for someone who is not experienced with operating this generator.
But there aren’t many reasons for some great alarm, many of the potential problems with Onan QG 5500 generator
The fault code 3 on your Onan QG 5500 generator means that your generator has stopped or is refusing to start due to one of the other 29 possible second-level two-digit fault codes.
Because covering all 29 possible second-level fault codes and the ways to troubleshoot them and repair is beyond the scope of this article, let’s move on with how to deal with the first-level fault code 3 on your Onan QG 5500 generator.
Reading the Fault Code on Onan Generator
Whenever you have an issue with your Onan QG 5500 generator before you start fixing it, even before you start troubleshooting for the exact cause of the problem, you need to make sure what code you are getting.
Chances are that if you are reading this article you already know which fault code is your Onan QG 5500 generator is displaying.
But if you don’t know how to read the code, and just have experienced a sudden shutdown or refusal to start, here is the procedure you need to follow to read the fault code.
“Onan QG 5500 generator has a simple, yet elegant way of displaying fault codes, an indicator light is installed in the STOP/PRIME button, and it blinks the code.”
This code will be blinking for five minutes and then stop, so you shouldn’t be alarmed if you do not initially see it, you can easily retrieve it.
- The first thing you will need is to locate the access hatch to your generator, either on the side or the back of your RV, and close to its bottom edge.
- Once you have the hatch opened, you need to locate the STOP/PRIME button. Depending on the exact series of your Onan QD 5500 generator, it is either located in the lower right corner and visibly marked, or behind the service cover in the upper left corner.
- Now, you will need to press three times the STOP/PRIME button, which is the lower half of it. From the first press, you have 5 seconds to press it two more times, so there is no hurry. But you must be careful not to hold it pressed for longer than a second.
- Once you release the button a third time the indicator light will start blinking. In case that you do have the fault code 3, it will blink three times in succession before pausing for a short period. This pattern will then repeat, and go on for five minutes.
So, if the indicator light on the STOP/PRIME button is flashing at you in a blink-blink-blink-pause pattern, it means that you have the fault code 3 on your hands.
Troubleshooting Fault Code 3
The indicator light will continue flashing for five minutes or until you press the button again and holding it pressed for about a second.
Once you release the button it will start blinking the pattern for the second-level fault code, which is intended to precisely determine the reason why your Onan QG 5500 generator is refusing to start or has suddenly stopped working.
This new pattern will be split into two groups, the first one will be made of between 1 and 5 or 8 flashes for the first digit of the two-digit fault code, while the second group will be between 1 and 9 flashes for the second digit of the two-digit fault code.
Between these two groups of flashes there will be a pause, but after them will be a long one so you wouldn’t confuse which one is the first and which is the second group.
When reading the fault codes you should be aware that there are 5 pairs of codes that you should be careful not to mix up which is the first and which is the second digit of the code.
This flashing pattern repeats itself for five minutes, so you will have plenty of time to properly read the code, and make sure it is the correct one.
Once you have the code you can start troubleshooting the exact problem that caused your Onan QG 5500 generator to stop or refuse to start.
But before you do anything, one warning, many potential problems require professional repair per conditions of your warranty, so if you wish to not void it, you should consult your dealership whether you should and what you can do to repair your generator.
Additionally, your Onan QG 5500 generator has an internal combustion engine, so there may be some hot fluids in it, and some technical knowledge of repairing and maintaining them is a prerequisite.
Prevent Fault Code 3 from Reoccurring
Preventing the fault code 3 from reoccurring on your Onan QG 5500 generator entails making sure that you are following all of the periodic maintenance procedures per user manual and thus avoiding any avoidable problems.
First and most important is the general inspection of your generator, every day or after every 8 hours of generator working.
You will need to check the oil level, listen to whether the exhaust system sounds smooth without any hiccups or bangs, check the engine coolant level, and that the air inlet and outlet on the housing are not blocked by some debris.
Every month you will need to check, and if it needs to clean the battery, especially the terminal if they have any blemishes and start to corrode due to air humidity.
Every 150 work hours you need to clean the spark arrester and change the engine oil and oil filter.
Every 500 work hours you must replace the engine air filter, replace the fuel filter, and check the viscosity of the coolant and replace it if needed, and adjust the valve lash per user manual if it is recommended for your series of QG 5500 generator.
“Every 1,000 work hours you will need to flush the cooling system with radiator clear and replace the coolant, replace the coolant pressure cap on the coolant recovery tank”
Depending on the exact series of your QG 5500 generator, at 1,000 work hours, you will also need to replace the engine V-belt, clean the crankcase breather, and replace the coolant hoses and thermostat.
You should log in to the manual for all of the maintenance work you do on your Onan QG 5500 generator.
It has near the end a table intended for keeping the maintenance record, and it will be very useful to you down the line.
The table conveniently has the fields for both date and the hour meter reading, so keeping the track of what you have done is very easy.
How to clear codes on Onan generator
Cummins Onan – RV Products – How to retrieve fault >> Check out the video below:
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