Up until Sunday evening the February 3rd , we had a working Onan 8000 generator in our RV. This generator retails for $10,000 and is not cheap to take in and out. We ran it for a short while Sunday night. We then shut it off, tried it in the morning, nothing happened, but didn’t think it was serious, and took off to Phoenix to see my Dr. When we got back it would not start. We get an error code 32 on the inside panel in the house which says the crank is spinning too slow to start. So I got the owner manual out and and it suggested either the starter motor fuse was blown or there was a problem with the oil viscosity. The oil was a couple weeks old and was 15-40W Rotella diesel class oil. I tried to undo the bolt on the genset that holds the radiator hose, and the starter fuses. The bolt was hardened steel, and on so tight that I could not spin it with any of my tools. I got the grinder and ground off the bolt. I replaced the two fifteen amp fuses with 20amp known good fuses that I use on the RV itself. The fuses failed to change anything. I then thought I would drain the oil, and replace it with a lower viscosity. On climbing urdnder the rig, Athena discovered oil dripping around the engine seals. We tried to open the oil drain bolt, but it would not budge either. I began to suspect foul play.
I tasted the engine oil from the generator, it burned my tongue, modern anti freeze will do this, but the oil was not grey like it would be if the head gasket was blown. Just to check my self I tasted the engine oil on the RV. The RV was smooth normal oil flavor. This confirmed the rv oil was not tampered with. We know what oil is supposed to be in both units, we put it there. I headed to google to find out what might have made the oil taste so caustic and found this forum –
After reading this, I was pretty sure it was a bleach like substance; but how? and When? We thought at first it occurred on Sunday evening while having dinner out on the town. Then we thought a bit more, we had decided to watch a movie Sunday night about the USS Nimitz being blown back in time to witness Pearl Harbor attack. While watching the movie, Athena heard some ladies voices out side our bedroom slide. I thought they were strangely close, but there is no law about that, it is only rude.
We then thought about another very odd occurrence. Late last week I was talking to our neighbor, and asked him how long he would be here with us in his site, he told me he was leaving April 15th. I told him we planned to be here at least through March. He asked me about the our Grand daughter who was with us for a couple of weeks. I told him I hoped he did not mind us running the generator more than normal as we needed heat and power for her. He said he never hears it.
We were always within the legal running hours of 6am to 10pm I usually turned up the generator at 8am to give Athena power until the solar kicks in about 11am. We were having trouble with the batteries not charging so Solar Bill (Local solar and battery expert) said run the generator at least two hours a night until the batteries stabilized. We were doing this from 7:30 to 9:30 every night. Though our neighbor was not bothered by the generator, we think someone else was. Saturday night one of our customer (a 24×7 ecommerce company) lost a server. Athena work all night off the RV house batteries. The batteries were technically depleted by 5:30 am. We ate nearly all the reserve capacity, and draining them any further would have set us back $1,200 for replacement batteries. At 6:30am Sunday morning I fired up the generator and ran it until about noon.
In the desert, there is generator etiquette, Don’t use it if there is sun, and even then you shouldn’t. I had heard in the past via Handy Bob’s blogs on solar in Quartzsite that there are vigilantes who destroy generators for the greater good of mankind. At this point we became suspicious. Then we thought about another oddity. Our neighbor moved about a mile away. I asked him if he found a new friend, and he said no. He then told me that a lady belonging to Quanon a weird conspiracy group had dropped in and was talking about cannibalism and how that group eats babies. Which unnerved him. He also with out being asked told me about 20 times that my generator is not loud, and our neighbor never shuts theirs off. He can hear the generators but it does not bother him. He just shuts off his hearing aid. I told him thank you and he finished moving.
I investigated further, and parked the car where it was that night looked at the distance the generator would slide out, and discovered that the ding I found on the front fender of our car lined up with the generator slide. The slide has a scratch where the ding on the car is. Now, Athena and I are convinced the generator damage is human caused. We figure someone was annoyed by our usage. We have not talked to the neighbor whose generator runs all the time, but we have heard nothing of a generator at his campsite either. Who ever did this has caused complete silence. If silence is so important to the person(s) who did this, why didn’t God just make them deaf?
Though this week like the rest of the weeks in Arizona it has not been boring. God is protecting our cognitive abilities by giving us new puzzles daily. Things are not all bad, Holly and her roommates won their court case against a roommate who kept beating up his wife and thumping on Holly. He can’t go to their house any more.
We watched all the kids off and on, and really enjoyed them. Even more enjoyed watching the sour old folks cringe every time they saw the kids in their desert. The kids, even Sophia collected rocks with me. So I could not be more pleased. Little David and Sarah need to get together, he has a real Knack for taking pictures. Andy is really great at collecting rocks and helping us line our driveway with quartz.
I have recovered from the hernia, will recover from the disc some day if I can ever get a physical therapy group to work with me. I head off to Occupational therapy this week to see if I learn about home safety.
The biggest remaining problems are solvable by money. They say, that means they are not really problems at all. To get Athena working again, I bought a Champion 2000i generator (paid for with Christmas gift card from my mom), is super loud when it is making electricity but it will charge the batteries, but no heat and no air conditioning. I bought a “Portable buddy propane heater” for the bedroom, that way Athena does not freeze. Added two more batteries (Got them at “Solar Bill”) They had me bring a picture of the battery bank. They then laid out a replica on the shop floor, cut the wires for me, and had me take a picture of it again with the new wire so I would remember where to put them. Solar Bill has by far and away given us the best service of any of the RV solar places here in Quartzsite. Next I bought 640 Watts of solar for $200 as the panels are shattered when the container they were shipped in was dropped. Ugly, but they say they will put out power. Then I used a gift card Jae gave me to add another solar controller to the system so we can connect the new panels. If you know where I can get 4′ x 8′ sheets of laminating film, send me a link in the comments. The panels need a covering, the glass will not stay in now that it is shattered.
All said and done we turned in the vandalism to the ranger booth here at the BLM. We figured they needed to know about their vigilanti helpers, and who knows maybe our RV insurance will cover this.
We then headed to the Quartzsite police department to file a report there as well, but they were closed. So we went to the park for a little while.
Good evening and good night…. and hide your generator when your not using it less some old fart destroys it!