View Full Version : Standby Generator Maintenance
01-14-2011, 12:54 AM
I oversee buildings and grounds maintenance for a local Town and we have two large standby generators. I'm going to assume the maintenance of them as I saw the bill from an outside contractor to do the work and my department can do the same for more than 75% less cost. They are powered by large John Deere 6 cylinder turbos and do a test run cycle once a week, running for about 20 minutes.
My question is how often should these units be serviced if they don't have an extended run period between servicing? Is an annual oil change frequent enough? Open to any suggestions here. Thanks
01-14-2011, 01:05 AM
As I recall genset maintenance is based on Kilowatt hours and there is a formula for determining it. I'm sure someone on here will know about it. Since the diesels are Deere, you probably could start with a call to the local dealership.
01-14-2011, 07:40 AM
The first site I could find with a time was this one, said 400 hours or 6 months, what ever comes first.
01-14-2011, 08:10 AM
Steve I often see the engine auxillary systems tend to get neglected in these stand by units as they get little use. While oil change intervals definatly need to be conducted based on months not hours you should look at the coolant condition and have it tested at 6 monthly intervals as any cooling sys corrosion will cause problems on that day when these units are needed Also the fuel system should be serviced reguluary by draining the tank condensate and watertrap and keep the fuel tank full. Air filters should be thrown and replaced every 2 years as they do break down and radiator hoses and engine belts should be replaced at the recomended time intervals
01-14-2011, 08:30 AM
Don't forget about the bats, and i would do an extended run with a good load to test the generator as well. Never hurts to run her hard when the power is on. Work it now so you know it'll work when its needed.
Always make sure you keep the fuel supply topped up, because if a wide area power failure occurs there's no guarantee you will be able to get diesel when you need it.
All generators aren't created equal. New ones have have corrected problems with older designs, to ensure they start (excite). I would call the generator manufacturer and ask about idiosyncrasies on that model. Search for a generator forum on the web too.
Pull some covers off the generator to make sure the mice haven't started setting up shop inside. Never hurts to spread some mouse bait around the area too.
And make sure you document everything you do, noting tests, replace components, dates etc. If they ever really need it to run and it doesn't run, you name is mud.
All in all, it shouldn't take too much effort or time to keep her running great.
Here is a suggestion for a forum with some good generator info.
When you get there, click on forums, and then scroll down to the generator section.
I have got some good information there on some of our older generators, like how to rewire one from 3ph 480 volt to 3ph 208 volt, etc.
We have a 35kw generac with 5.7 V-8, a 50kw Onan, and a 20kw Onan at our various businesses for backup, all natural gas or propane.
02-02-2011, 09:44 PM
I take care of the maintenance for a medical group. We have two 40 kw diesel powered standby generators. They run under load for 30 minutes every week.
I change the oil , oil filter and fuel filter once a year and the air filter every 2 years. I have had no problems what so ever. After each generator was two years old I switched from 15w40 rotella to the fully synthetic rotella.
02-06-2011, 11:10 PM
Are they heated (oil & coolant) and are the batteries on a charger. Do they start at full speed? Have a automatic oil circulating pump, are they connected to automatic buss transfer system? And what is the kilowatt rating? This makes the maintenance a little different for each set up
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