Easy Steps for RV Generator Maintenance

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Easy Steps for RV Generator Maintenance

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Equipment Needed
  3. Locating and Identifying Components
  4. Warming Up the Generator
  5. Draining the Oil
  6. Changing the Oil Filter
  7. Replacing the Air Filter
  8. Cleaning the Spark Arrestor
  9. Testing the Generator
  10. Proper Disposal and Final Checks



Having a generator in an RV can be a convenient and reliable source of power. However, it is important to regularly perform maintenance on the generator to ensure its longevity and efficiency. In this article, we will guide you through the process of conducting an annual service on your own quiet diesel generator, covering everything from warming up the engine to replacing filters and checking for leaks.

Equipment Needed

Before getting started, gather the necessary equipment to perform the annual service on your generator. Here's a list of items you'll need:

  • Oil drain pan
  • Replacement air filter
  • Replacement oil
  • New oil filter
  • Rubber gloves
  • Spare rag
  • Socket wrench with a long extension
  • Oil filter wrench
  • Bamboo mat or something to lie on when working underneath the RV

Locating and Identifying Components

To begin the service, it is important to familiarize yourself with the different components of the generator. Here's a quick guide to help you locate and identify key parts:

  • Oil fill and dipstick: Located on top of the generator.
  • Oil drain plug: Located at the center of the generator, requiring a 3/8 inch socket.
  • Oil filter: Located behind a gold plate that can be opened by pinching together the two releases.
  • Air filter: Located at the front of the generator, underneath a black cover held in place by a wing nut.
  • Spark arrestor: Located inside the generator, follow the exhaust pipe up and look for an 11/16 inch bolt.

Warming Up the Generator

Before draining the oil, it is necessary to warm up the engine. Use an oil filter wrench to slightly loosen the oil filter to make it easier to remove later. Once loosened, hand-tighten the filter back in place. Start the generator and allow it to warm up for a few minutes. After the warm-up, put a load on the generator for about five minutes before turning off all loads and allowing the generator to go back to idle for two minutes. Finally, shut down the generator.

Draining the Oil

To drain the oil, first, loosen the oil fill cap and oil drain plug, being cautious not to get burned by hot oil. Unlike a car, there's no crush washer that needs to be replaced on the drain plug. Once the oil has finished draining, tighten the drain plug back in place, but be careful not to overtighten. Wipe off any excess oil and leave the access panel open for leak checking.

Changing the Oil Filter

With the oil drain, it's now time to change the oil filter. Since we pre-loosened the filter earlier, it should be easy to remove. Clean the seat where the oil filter screws on using a clean part of the rag. Apply a light coating of fresh oil on the gasket of the new filter and carefully install it, being mindful to avoid dirt getting into it. Hand-tighten the filter until it just touches the block, and then tighten it another half or three-quarters of a turn.

Replacing the Air Filter

Changing the air filter is a straightforward process. Loosen the wing nut on the housing and remove the housing to expose the air filter. Loosen the wing nut on the air filter, remove the metal cover, and take out the old filter. Place the new air filter in its proper position by ensuring it sits firmly over the lip. Replace the metal cap, tighten the wing nut, and reattach the air filter housing using the outside wingnut.

Cleaning the Spark Arrestor

The spark arrestor should be cleaned to remove any accumulated soot. Remove the bolt from the spark arrestor using an 11/16 inch socket and long extension. Observe the soot and leave the spark arrestor bolt out. Start the generator, and once it warms up, put it under high load by turning on both air conditioners and the electric hot water. Running the generator at high power for five minutes with the spark arrestor plug removed will clear the soot from the muffler. Before shutting down the generator, turn off all loads and allow it to cool down at idle for two minutes.

Testing the Generator

After the generator has cooled down, perform a final check for leaks around the oil plug and filter. Reinsert the spark arrestor plug, being careful when starting the bolt. Check the oil level and add fresh oil if necessary, using the oil fill cap. Dispose of the used oil properly and take a final look at the dipstick to ensure the oil level is correct.

Proper Disposal and Final Checks

It is important to dispose of used oil properly. Check your local regulations for the proper disposal methods. Additionally, ensure all components are securely in place, and there are no signs of leaks. With the annual service complete, you can enjoy the benefits of a well-maintained generator in your RV.


  • Conducting an annual service on your own quiet diesel generator.
  • Step-by-step guide from warming up the engine to replacing filters and checking for leaks.
  • Proper disposal of used oil and final checks for a well-maintained generator.


Q: How often should I perform the annual service on my generator? A: It is recommended to perform the annual service at least once a year or after every 100 hours of use, whichever comes first.

Q: Can I use any type of oil for my generator? A: It is best to check your generator's manual for the recommended oil type. Using the correct oil will ensure optimal performance and longevity of your generator.

Q: Do I need any specialized tools to perform the annual service? A: The basic tools required for the service, such as a socket wrench and oil filter wrench, can be easily obtained from a hardware store. It is important to use the correct size and type of tools for the specific components of your generator.

Q: Why is it important to warm up the generator before draining the oil? A: Warming up the generator allows the oil to flow more freely, ensuring that more contaminants are removed during the oil change process. It also helps to ensure a more accurate oil level measurement.

Q: How can I properly dispose of used oil from the generator? A: Used oil should never be disposed of in the regular trash or poured down the drain. It is considered hazardous waste and should be taken to a designated recycling facility or a service station that accepts used oil for recycling.

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