Sometimes your Onan generator may just sputter to halt suddenly, because of the fault code 32.
While it isn’t the most common fault code, it is very important to know what it means because it indicates one of the several issues that can prevent your generator from operating.
When you are taking your RV off the beaten tracks, it is very important to have a reliable source of electricity to power all of your appliances and devices.
Without electricity, your camping trip or vacation can be simply ruined as most of the things in the RV can operate only for so long on the deep cycle battery.
So, how to fix fault code 32 on the Onan generator? To solve the error code 32 on Onan generator, just check and follow the steps below:
– Step #1: Check first for the simplest solutions
– Step #2: Check the viscosity of oil
– Step #3: Check spark plugs
– Step #4: Check fuses
– Step #5: Check altitude settings
– Step #6: Check air and fuel filters
– Step #7: Check carburetor
What is Fault Code 32 on Onan Generator
The main source of sustained electric power supply in your RV is the generator, and for it to reliably produce electricity you need to keep it well maintained and remove any faults that may crop up.
Whenever your generator suddenly stops can be a cause for alarm, but thankfully Onan generators come with an elegant solution to indicate what are potential problems.
Fault code 32 indicates the low cranking speed, in other words, the crankshaft is turning at speeds under 180 RPM.
There are several reasons why this can happen, and while some of them you can fix yourself, for others the generator will need to visit the shop and professional service.
Before you can fix the issue, you need to make certain that it is actually the fault code 32.
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Reading the Fault Code on Onan Generator
Before you can fix any of the potential issues, you need to make sure that it is the fault code 32 you are actually getting.
Onan generators will display the error code for five minutes and then shut off the indicator on the control switch, but at any time you can make it flash the fault code pattern.
- The first thing that you need to do is to press the STOP/PRIME button three times and succession, this button is very easy to recognize because “STOP/PRIME” is written on it. You need to make sure that you press this button three times in less than five seconds, so you can take it very slowly as you have plenty of time.
- After pressing the button three times, the indicator on the control switch will start blinking. It will start blinking three times in succession followed by a short pause. This is a fault code 3, which means that the generator has stopped because of some double-digit fault code. To find which one, you need to press the STOP/PRIME button and hold it for about a second.
- Once you depress the button, blinking will change the pattern. The first group blinks the first digit number, while the second for is for the second digit of the two-digit fault code. So if you see that the control switch is blinking in three blinks, pause, two blinks, long pause; pattern it means that you have the fault code 32.
In case that you see some other pattern of blinks, it means that you have some other fault code to deal with and not 32.
One thing to keep in mind is that the control switch will continue blinking for five minutes before stopping, but you can stop it by yourself if you want by quickly pressing the STOP/PRIME button twice.
Troubleshooting Fault Code 32
The fault code 32 means that the crankshaft of the engine is turning at a speed below 180 RPM for two seconds, which can be caused by several problems, and all of them can lead to the generator not functioning properly.
“These issues can be related to the air intake, spark plugs, carburetor, exhaust, fuel supply and mixture, faulty TDC sensor, starter motor, and some more.”
Some of these issues you can fix yourself, such as replacing the air and fuel filters, but some, like replacing the TDC sensor require a specialist shop and bigger repair.
Step #1: Check first for the simplest solutions
The very first thing you should do is to check whether the simplest solutions will fix the problem, even before you start with deeper troubleshooting.
The most common reason for a generator’s engine cranking below 180 RPM is the lack of sufficient DC current the spark plugs need for firing the fuel in cylinders.
This is very often caused by dirty or rusted battery connectors, or simply because the connector comes loose, or the battery is providing 8V or less or is simply dead.
So, the very first thing you should do is check the battery, clean contracts, reseat the connectors, or if need be, to recharge or replace the battery.
Step #2: Check the viscosity of oil
A second possible problem that is easy to fix, especially in case that you have recently replaced the engine oil or the generator was sitting unused for a longer time.
“In case that you have recently changed the oil, well errors can happen, and you have poured in the engine oil of wrong viscosity, so you need to replace it with a correct one.”
In case that the generator was just sitting for a longer time, engine oil can deteriorate and thus needs to be replaced.
If these two solutions do not help you should start troubleshooting other problems.
Step #3: Check spark plugs
Various issues with spark plugs can cause the engine to not run at a higher speed than 180 RPM, so you need to check their condition.
The first and the most obvious thing to check is the state of the ground electrode, over time they are consumed producing electrical spark needed for igniting the fuel mixture.
This wasting will increase the gap, so you need to check whether it is inside the tolerance for your generator and replace them if needed.
Step #4: Check fuses
A blown F2 fuse can lead to the starter motor not being able to work, which can lead to the engine not cranking at all, so checking this fuse and replacing it if needed should be your next step.
Step #5: Check altitude settings
Most of the Onan generators have a simple knob you need to turn for various altitude settings, this is especially important for propane generators as they are the most sensitive to higher altitudes and low oxygen concentration in the air.
While you can’t make some fine adjustments for altitude, you can change it to a range in which your altitude falls in, by default all Onan generators are set to 0-2,500 feet altitude.
Step #6: Check air and fuel filters
Another problem that is relatively easy to fix is if the engine is getting an improper air-fuel mixture.
This can be caused either by a dirty air filter that is thus choking your engine, dirty fuel and oil filters that can cause issues or improper altitude setting which is then causing your engine to be supplied by too rich a mixture.
Replacing the air filter is very simple, you just need to unscrew its housing with a socket wrench and remove it, once you can glance at the filter itself, it will be obvious if it is the problem by the presence or lack of dirt build-up.
The oil filter is a good idea to replace while changing oil, to replace it you will need to drain the oil anyway.
It is easily accessible from the underside of the generator and all you need is to unscrew it, when putting on a new one, it is a good practice to fill it with the new engine oil.
Replacing the fuel filter on gas and diesel generators is a bit of a chore and requires few tools, first you need to clamp the fuel line where it is connected.
Then you can disconnect the fuel line, but you will need a deep socket wrench to unscrew it.
Once it is off, you can put in a new fuel filter in reverse order, and then reconnect the fuel line and unclamp it.
Step #7: Check carburetor
The gas-powered Onan generators have carburetors, throttle bodies, and so on, so binding can happen in either throttle body, carburetor, or linkage.
In case that you are not certain how to fix the binding, or do not know what it is and diagnose it, maybe it’s best to leave fixing these issues to skilled technicians.
In case that neither of these has fixed your low cranking problem, you will need to take your generator to a specialist shop.
The issues that will cause the fault code 32 that aren’t stated above required some specialized tools for both diagnosing and fixing, so it’s better to leave to professionals and if you try to fix them yourself, you will void your warranty.
Prevent Fault Code 32 from Reoccurring
These are some of the issues that can lead to fault code 32, and which you might be able to fix yourself.
To prevent them from arising again, all you need to do is to follow the suggested maintenance practices.
First and foremost, you must replace the oil and oil filter at the proper service intervals, and replace it with the proper type of oil for the engine and atmospheric temperature at which you will use it.
Also, you will need to replace the air filter, spark plugs, and fuel filter at proper maintenance intervals.
How To Clear Codes on Onan Generator
Diagnostic Fault Code Retrieval >> Check out the video below:
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