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by Ron
Expensive Power

Generators can be expensive and I was thinking about that as I was driving north towards Washington after leaving Medford, Oregon. As you know, I have a reputation for being frugal (some might say cheap) and I had just dropped over $400 for generator repairs at the Cummins facility in Medford. That got me thinking that a generator was a very expensive piece of equipment to own. 

It had quit working while we were dry camping near Petaluma, California, and our first opportunity for service was in Medford. At first I thought that a tune-up as well as an oil and filter change would take care of the problem. On our model, American Coach buried the generator up under the front of the coach and it takes a much younger person than I (laying on a mechanics creeper) to even find it. So I was prepared to spend about $200 for this work and they made sure that I wasn't disappointed.

Luckily we decided to spend the night behind the service facility because that evening the generator quit again after running for only 15 minutes. The next morning they discovered that the thermostat was faulty causing the generator to heat up and then shut off automatically.  It took them several hours to discover this, so they were not bashful when presenting me with another $200 bill.

On the drive north, the old accountant's brain started calculating. Let's see now. This was the third oil change totaling $380 (the others were cheaper) plus the thermostat at $200 plus the fuel to operate the generator (250 hours at 3/4 gallon per hour would amount to at least $200), made a grand total of $780 to operate that noisy thing. This amounts to over $3 an hour not counting the investment in this tempermental piece of equipment. 

As a result I have drawn some conclusions. 

  • If I did a lot of boondocking, I would invest in the best solar system money could buy.
  • Generator manufacturers are sticking it to RV owners because their products are very costly and expensive to maintain. 
  • RV manufacturers need to insist on better products and then make sure they are accessible for service. 
  • Like other RV owners there isn't much I can do about it because generators are sometimes necessary  and are considered standard equipment at trade-in time. 
Thanks for letting me get this off my chest. 
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