View Full Version : Need alittle help concerning Gensets

08-05-2009, 11:53
I am want to find a 15 -30kw 60hz generator as an emergency back for the house during hurricanes. What model Genset do I look for? I see them on the GL but I am dumb to the condition codes.

Or do I look on Ebay for a known good generator. I do not mind working on them to get them functional.

08-05-2009, 12:33
15 and 30 KW sets are awfully big for home back-up power...unless you have an awfully huge house.

But the models are MEP-004a for the 15KW, MEP-005a for the 30KW.

The condition codes on GL have an explanation with them. But unserviceable in the military's eyes isn't necessarily unserviceable in a civilians eyes...one of my MEP-003a's was listed as unserviceable, but it runs and produces power like a champ.

08-05-2009, 12:35
Find out what wet stacking is if you looking at a "too huge for your realistic needs" diesel genny...

08-05-2009, 13:09
Thanks emmado22 (http://www.steelsoldiers.com/members/emmado22.html) for mentioning "wet stacking" . I Googled it and got a quick education, and redirection on my own plans. Seems there are times when too much of a good thing can be a very bad thing, huh:?:

Again, thank you - and a snap SALUTE to you, Sir:!:

08-05-2009, 13:17
I too was going to get the biggest honking generator I could afford until another member mentioned wet stacking quite a while ago. As an electrician I knew full well, that my actual requirements needed in the event of an outage were no where near even the 15KW for an MEP-004a. But they were so cheap, I figured "what the heck, bigger is always better" I learned thankfully beforehand that this is not always the case.

If either you or sloryd need any assistance or advice sizing just ask, you'll get lots of ideas from people on this forum who don't have anything to be gained by providing information to you. There are tons of websites out there with information on the subject. But remember, most of them are run by someone selling or manufacturing generators, and have a vested interest in you buying the biggest generator they can get you to buy.

08-05-2009, 13:58
No...... I am not sure what size to get. I know however that after IKE I went though one generator and had to by another one to keep my girlfrieds house running. She was without power for 12 days and in the pasadena area you do not have your security lights off at night. If a 10kw will do the job, great this will give me a starting point to look for. I do want diesel for the saftey of the fuel storage and low rpm.

From what you are indicating a 10 to 15kw range is better.

08-05-2009, 14:20
it's all going to depend on your load requirements...if all you are going to run is a refrigerator, possibly a deep freezer and a bunch of lights, you can easily get by with a 3kw set. If you want to run window A/C units, you need to step it up some. Central A/C, need to look at the full load amp rating and starting current and go from there...it's all dependent on what you plan to run with the generator.

not all of the diesels are low RPM either. The RPM is totally determined by the design of the generator, 2 pole generator = 3600 RPM, 4 pole = 1800 RPM.

Use the search function at the top of the page for some of your specific questions or concerns, most of this has been covered before. If you don't have any luck feel free to ask. there are a lot of guys on here with these sets and a lot of knowledge about them too.

08-05-2009, 14:25

08-05-2009, 15:28
My needs might occassionally be to power the home (fully), but I am acquiring a "Weather/Catastrophic Event Evac Motorpool". I would like to be able to carry food, fuel, water, & generation, etc for a party of 4 plus 5 dogs & 5 cats. Hence, a Duece, M109, a Trailer Mounted Gen-Set, and fuel/water trailer would be a great start.

Ample power to supply a small camp of evacuees has its merits, in addition to being able to power the whole house if we stay post-event.

08-05-2009, 18:55
Ok, here go a few points

1, KW does not equal KW does not equal KW. The KW ratings on the import built generators you find in the big box stores and sold to residential customers is often "peak" output levels, Lets say 10KW with a surge rating maybe 10% above that (11KW) and a continuous rating 10-20% below the advertised numbers (8-9KW), in reality even these numbers are very optomistic . If you move into the better industrial generator models such as those built by Cummins/Onan, Kohler, etc. you will find units advertised with similar 10KW "Standby" or 8KW "prime" ratings, the difference is they mean it, standby means up to 500 hours per year, prime means day in and day out for weeks, or months. In the case of the Kohler "Fast Response" series they are guranteed to provide 300% of rated output for 10 seconds, compare this to that 10% extra surge rating on the comsumer junk. Then you get to the miltiary units, these units tended to have a somewhat different design philosify of it is better to have a unit that runs poorly than a unit that does not run at all (manual adjustable voltage if the voltage regualor fails, less responsive voltage regulators that fail in full voltage rather than no voltage mode, safety bypass switches on the larger units, etc.) they also tend to have another degree of conservitism in ratings than their civilian counterparts.

2, Keeping in mind the information in topic 1, Determine your reuired load, go throough your house looking at those pesky data plates on the things you HAVE TO power during a major power outage and write down the amps and volts drawn (if listed also write down the watts), in most cases this will be the MAX draw not the average running draw, but be aware motors and refrigeration compressors can draw 3-4 times their rated amps for a few seconds during start up. (again see that "surge number in topic 1) Once you have your list made up multiply the volts x amps to get volt amps or VA (most real generators will list VA or KVA in additon to Watts or KW and it is a better unit of measure for sizing for technical reasons). Now go back and weed out those things you don"t HAVE TO RUN, list those major loads that you can manualy load share by not running both at the same time and list only the higher draw item (washing machine & electric water heater vs. Electric clothes dryer vs. electric stove) Take this number and go back to topic 1 add correct amount of conservitiism to the advertised rating and move on:

3, Pick a fuel gasoline, natural gas/propane, diesel this can be a whole topic in itself, but here go a few points
Gasoline, is commonly available until everyone wants it, then post disaster the nearest open gas station may be 150 miles away. Gasoline does not store well, you must add stabilizer if you want it to last over a couple of months, and if keeping a large amount on hand there is a considerable explosion danger.

Propane, has much the same problems as gasoline, but stores somewhat better, on the downside can you say fuel air bomb if it leaks.

Natural gas, hey it gets pumped to your house which is good as long as the pipeline stays up and you don't have to see the fuel bill at the end of the month.

Diesel, stores better than gasoline, will not explode under normal conditons it will not even burn without a wick, diesel engines are have a far more linear power curve at constant rpms than gas/propane spark ignited engines (at half load they burn about half the fuel they do at full load)

4, Will the neighbors complain, most of the MEP units you will find are not exactly quiet, the hearing protection required stenciled on the side is your first clue, even the little 3kwn MEP 701A (MEP 016B in an ASK (sound suppressing) housing) has a hearing protection required within 15 feet warning, the common non sound suppressed MEP 002's and 003's are MUCH LOUDER, so unless you can locate one at least 50 feet (preferably more) away from where you plan to sleep be aware of the issue.

5, One advantage of these military units as well as the older industrial units is their weight, a 3KW MEP701A is 525 pounds, a standard MEP-002a is around 900 and the MEP-003A is well over 1,000 this makes them unlikely to grow legs and walk off during the night.

As to your question about the condition codes on GL, from my experience the condition codes are USELESS, I have bought 3 generators (2 industrial models and the one small MEP701A) from GL, 2 were listed as HX (not worth fixing), the other was listed as serviceable. The HX listed MEP701A started with just fuel and a jump start, it does have a small oil leak from the oil cooler (bought a replacement cooler on ebay for about $40 and a new battery for about $85), the large HX code 125KW Onan needed a new control circuit board, and a new relay that had shorted because of a bad ground point (about $400 to fix), the fair condition Kohler 30KW unit was far from fair condition as the engine had filled with water (I drained about a gallon or so from the oil pan) and had seized, I was able to free it up by soaking with a mix of fluids, and it runs good, but that was LUCK. I have also bought several other items listed as GX or scrap with nothing major wrong ($12,000 18 month old large HP color laser printer for $300, just needed a drum cartridge to get running), an electric walk behind forklift code HX with a broken fuse holder, etc. SO what it comes down to is buyer beware and trust what you can see in the photo's (to some degree)


p.s. don't forget fuel consumption, a 3-5 KW diesel generator will consume .5-.75 gallons per hour at full load, a 10KW unit around 1 gallon per hour, 30KW around 2.5 gal/hr etc. this adds up fast in a multiday outage even for a smaller unit your looking at over 100 gallons per week.

08-05-2009, 19:45
Hi sloryd and welcome to the site. If you have a Houston area natural gas home, the MEP002A (5kW) will be fine, an all electric home, you will need the MEP003A (10kW) This is assuming a 3 or 4 ton central A/C unit. I just got a 002A for the same reason as you, I am down the road from you in League City if you would like to study it before you buy one. My buddy just won a 003A and it is coming here, the two are very similar. You will need to build a sound enclosure if you are in a residential neighborhood and plan on 24-7 operation. Do a forum search for these two generators here and on smokestak.com, you will learn a lot. The military diesel 15 and 30 kW generators are too large and thirsty for emergency use.

08-28-2009, 18:57
I agree with Isaac-1 about the condition codes being useless. I just bought a Libby 10kw that had a condition code A-4 "serviceable and issuable to all customers without limitation of restrictions" It has the fuel lines disconnected, an oil leak, completely dead batts (won't take a charge) and missing knobs. GL won't do anything for me. Does anyone know where to buy a knob and or light bulbs for the control panel? I see people worried about "wet stacking" It doesn't look to me like it is turbocharged (unless it is hidden pretty well) From what I read about wet stacking it only affects turboed models. Is that true?

08-28-2009, 19:51
bevanet, first welcome to the site,

no wet stacking does not affect only turbo diesels. It can actually affect your air cooled generator, but not as easily (since it's air cooled, it would get to a higher temperature easier, with a lighter load). Wet stacking occurs in any diesel when it does not get up to operating temperature. If you are running a diesel for extended periods of time without much load it's best to run it with a pretty good load for about 15 minutes before shut down, to help get it to temp and burn out the deposits left behind.

As for your missing knobs, try WWGrainger or an electrical supply house, they are nothing special, you can get just about anything that will fit on the stems and make it work.

As for the condition code you posted about, servicable, is just that....your set is servicable. Is it perfect? No, but it is servicable. I'm not trying to be an a$$, but this is GL we're talking about here. The condition code you mentioned falls right into the definition as layed out by DRMO. The following was coppied from the federal condition codes PDF file from the DRMO and can be found on GL's site. The -4 in the code is where they get you, it stated repairs may be needed but nothing significant, nothing you listed would be considered significant.

A- Serviceable-Issuable without Qualification New, used, repaired, or reconditioned material which is serviceable and issuable to all customers without limitation or restrictions. Includes material with more than 6 months shelf life remaining.

4-Usable Property which shows some wear, but can be used without significant repair.

08-28-2009, 21:33
Concur that condition codes are meaningless. My MEP-017A was sold as 'mixed scrap iron and steel' - with a high lot / sale number that classified it as a scrap sale from GL. All it needed was oil in the crankcase, a battery, and the rust from condensation while in storage cleaned out of the carb bowl. Runs like a champ after minor work - but that's just luck. It really could have turned out to be scrap iron.


08-28-2009, 23:56
I can draw 13KW. That does not include peaks for starting two a/c condensing units. I am also running servers. I'll give a pitch also for civvy models, if they are good quality.

I have a Mankato 40K with a 4 cyl perkins engine and the alternator rewired for single phase so it is more like 30K due to the alternator. Those are prime mover figures, not peak. The machine is 20+ years old and has 250 hours.

In 5 years I have put about 120 hours on it.

I suppose there might be some wet stacking but I have never noticed it, or, would I not notice it until something bad happens?

I realize I could have bought a 15KW or 20KW natural gas set, but when the zombie apocalype happens, the natural gas will probably get cut off.

You may want to consider natual gas if you have it. Then you don't have to refuel each day.

It cost about 0.75 gallons per hour to run the big genset. Please consider that in your calculations.

I have considered adding a smaller manually operated secondary generator on n-gas and using a 200A knife switch to go from one to the other.

1.) The Mankato cost $5K including transfer switch.
2.) Flatbed wrecker to get the genny home.
3.) The slab cost $800
4.) The electrical cost $3K (pot smoking electricians, your price may be higher for non-pot smoking electricians, but at least they won't come back later and insist you forgot to pay them.)
5.) Rewiring the genset from 3ph 208 to 1ph 240/120 was free. I did it myseld because the pot smoiking electricians were afraid to touch it.

Do you want to add an automatic transfer switch system? That can be $100-$2000 depending on what you find used or new.

Never buy anything with a Chinese engine, unless it is from a maker you trust that actually enforces quality standards.
My truck mounted Gillette set has a Lombardini, made in China, but it has a 3 year warranty under normal industrial use, not a POS like maybe the ETO btand and others.
Also I learned that the size of the alternator itself is important. The alternator on that good set is the same size as a Chinese 12KW. Gillette's alternator is made here in the USA.

Just look closely at each one of the power sources for sale at a pupolar siete. $1000-2000 for a 6KW unit? 5 different brands and yet all the same cookie cutter machines. As many brands as colors of paint and kinds of stickers. How can it be unless it's pure junk. There are many many horror stories on the interwebz about these sets.

end of rant.

Military ones are cheap and great, but they make enough noise to drown out the devil's bagpipes. You will spend some $$ silencing them if you care about that. Zombies are attracted to noise and even come out in daylight when the power grid fails. I can speak from experience.

08-29-2009, 09:12
As OPCOM indicates, the $1-2K specials will likely get the job done for short grid interruptions, but if your goal is hurricane or ice storm aftermath for a week or more at a time, there's a good chance there's not going to be a lot of cheap generator left after all that hard running. After you've done that two or three times, do you trust it to take you through the next storm? Probably depends on a number of factors - but I just don't like to depend on systems that run without margin.

Fuel is one of my concerns; there's no utility supplied gas around here for many miles - so that's out. Propane is an option - but you better have a big tank - cause the truck isn't likely to delivery during a long outage. That leaves gasoline and diesel - both good options with limitations associated with each. For me, that means more than one set (redundant machines are a good thing from a failure perspective, yet will require more work to maintain and space to store), at least one gas, and the same for diesel.

While the noise of military sets presents challenges, one advantage of the military sets is weight. Two people with larceny in their hearts can easily abscond with a 200 pound civi generator, but 1100 pounds of mil generator would require them to devote more time and effort. That provides additional opportunities to aim and reload.


08-29-2009, 09:42
very well put Carl,

The main advantage to diesel sets, in my opinion, is the storage of diesel is a lot less sensitive than gas. Higher flash point, so it's more stable. Plus there is no carb to gum up if you don't properly maintain it. I always have at least 1 drum of off road diesel around for the tractor, so the diesel generators just made a lot of sense to me. Put a little diesel stabilizer in your container and it'll last a long time in storage.

As for the noise factor, I've said it before, noise is relative. I don't think my MEP-003a's are any noisier than my tractor. I have one of the sets sitting about 50 feet from the front door of my house, with the exhaust pointing toward the house, and I can barley hear it inside. Granted, I do not have any neighbors to complain, but during a week long outage even if I did, I would think they should have more important things to worry about.


08-29-2009, 12:55
Carl said "That provides additional opportunities to aim and reload." Heh heh.:-D

Good info here. Thanks

08-31-2009, 15:08
As for the condition code you posted about, servicable, is just that....your set is servicable. Is it perfect? No, but it is servicable. I'm not trying to be an a$$, but this is GL we're talking about here. The condition code you mentioned falls right into the definition as layed out by DRMO. The following was coppied from the federal condition codes PDF file from the DRMO and can be found on GL's site. The -4 in the code is where they get you, it stated repairs may be needed but nothing significant, nothing you listed would be considered significant.

A- Serviceable-Issuable without Qualification New, used, repaired, or reconditioned material which is serviceable and issuable to all customers without limitation or restrictions. Includes material with more than 6 months shelf life remaining.

4-Usable Property which shows some wear, but can be used without significant repair.

I hope the repairs are not significant. Since the fuel line is disconnected, it could have a bad fuel pump or something else wrong. Funny but several of the gens in the same event were condition code F-7. When I looked back at the pictures, the others appeared to be more serviceable then mine. I also bought the truck in my avatar picture. In the auction it had front turn signals. When it was delivered, they were gone. Of course since my delivery person didn't notice before picking it up I doubt GL will do anything.

08-31-2009, 15:53
From what you described, the fuel lines would be my only place for concern...other than the oil leak of course. Where is the leak located? What fuel lines are off and from where? Are they just off of the tank, are they off of the IP or the filters?

As long as the steel lines on the IP are intact I wouldn't be too concerned about it not starting up for you. If it's just rubber lines, there are several possibilities about why they were removed. Could have been cannibalized to fix another set or any number of reasons to be disconnected.

Dead batteries are nothing really, I picked up a couple of interstate group 31's at 1000 CCA each, but any pair of batteries will do the trick. You don't have to have the 6TL's that the military uses.

Missing knobs are really nothing either, like I said, you should be able to locate them through an electrical supplier or grainger or another industrial supply house.

If you have any questions or concerns about it, post up and we'll be glad to offer advice and help. I'm an industrial electrician, so I might be able to help cross reference some of the knobs and locate civi part numbers for you.

08-31-2009, 16:34
Thanks a lot for your help! The fuel line is disconnected between the electric pump and the first filter. I think it is supposed to route behind the vertical angle iron, but it doesn't seem long enough. I attached a picture of it. The oil leak may have just been that they didn't shut the drain valve. I assume the rubber hose from the bottom of the pan is used to drain the oil. It is connected to one of the vertical angle irons. The valve on the bottom of the oil pan was in the open position. I think I can just move the knob from the frequency control for now. It it works ok, I'll buy a knob.

08-31-2009, 17:34
Well, the oil leak sounds simple enough...one of mine was leaking around that valve as well, I just took the hose from it's storage connector on the upright angle and gave the valve another turn into the pan to tighten it up some. Yours sounds equally as simple.

Your disconnected fuel line, on the other hand will require some work on your part. There are 3 fuel pumps on the MEP-003a and MEP-002a sets. The one in your picture with the line disconnected is the first pump (1), the fuel line on the bottom of that pump should be coming directly from the tank. The pump next to it is the Aux. fuel pump (3), the bottom fitting should be capped off, and the fitting on the top coming out of the solenoid should be going into the tank. The second pump (2) is bolted to the back of the Aux. pump. The line you see that is disconnected should go into the bottom of that pump. And from the top of the third pump should go to the first fuel filter (actually the strainer) in your picture.

If the lines are missing or are too short you can have them made at your local NAPA or any place that does hydraulic hoses. Use 1/4 inch hose and 5/16 JIC fittings to make the hoses up...they will not be the mil spec steel braided hose, but they do work.

09-01-2009, 14:11
Speddmon, your description is great, I would not have known to connect the lines in the correct places. Why do they have so many fuel pumps, reduncancy? I won't have time to work on it this week. What do you think of the POW'R GARD ELECTRIC POWER PRODUCTS (T&J MFG INC) DIESEL GENERATOR SET MODEL DG5E, 5. 5 KW for a smaller application?

09-01-2009, 16:05
Redundancy is exactly why they have so many fuel pumps. In the field, you can have a fuel pump fail, but the odds of both of them failing at the same time...pretty slim. It'll keep you going until you get to do some maintenance on it.

The two main pumps are just that, they feed the IP with fuel. The third pump, the Aux. Pump, works off of a level switch in the tank. When the bottom port of that pump is connected to your auxiliary fuel source it will come on at the appropriate time and refill the tank for extended running periods (when you have the main switch in the run/aux position that is).

That other set you mentioned would be fine if you want something a little more portable. But why?? It has a commercial diesel (I believe 3600 RPM) engine, which is not going to be rated for continuous duty like the MEP-002 and 003's are. As long as it's not 20 below zero outside, since the 003 is air cooled, wet stacking isn't as big of an issue with these as it is on the liquid cooled sets (same with the 5.5 KW set you mantioned) when you run them with a lighter load. Really the only time you have to shut down an MEP-003a is for the 100 hour routine maintenance. They are super reliable, although a bit noisy in some peoples opinion. That's just my 2cents

09-01-2009, 17:43
I have to partly disagree with Speddmon on the little DG5E, it has a Lombardini single cylinder engine. In general these small air cooled Lombardini engines have very good reputations (I am not sure on this specific model). The design is newer, parts are probably easier to find since you are not talking about an engine manufactuers that stopped production 20 something years ago. It is probably a step down in overall performance from the MEP-002a, but I suspect it is not that big of step. Being a 3600 rpm set it may consume more fuel at partial load, but may not since it also likely has more modern fuel metering, less spinning mass, etc. It is probably a bigger step in overall life expectancy, but for a backup set does it really matter as long as you start with a relavitely low hour unit that the life expenency may be 5,000 vs 10,000 hours. As I see it the biggest advantage the MEP-002a has is it weighs enough that it is unlikely to grow legs and walk off during an outage.


p.s. One other thing about the DG5E, it appears to be 120/240 single phase only, which may be all you need.

09-01-2009, 18:47

you're not really disagreeing with me. The Lombardini engine is a commercial engine, yes it is newer, but it is still not rated for 24/7 operation. While the Onan engine on the MEP's was designed for military use, and they found a use for it on their civilian products as well. They are good little generators, but I just can't see having one of those and an MEP-003a (which bevanet already purchased) since the MEP will run just as well partially loaded as fully loaded.

It is nice to have a back-up unit though, I have two, but mostly just for parts since the MEP's are harder to get parts for. If you were going to buy a back-up the little single cylinder 5.5 is a good one to have in a pinch.

09-07-2009, 15:35
I got it running!. Here is what I found: The bottom fuel line connector is missing from the inside pump. It looks like it is broken out of the hole. I don't think the hole into the pump is threaded since the metal is only about 1/8th inch thick. The power was disconnected from the pump. I touched it to power and it runs, but I'm not sure how to repair the connector.

I connected batteries that I took out of a couple cars. I took the knob off the gauge selector switch. I don't think I will need this since I only plan to run in the 1 phase 120/240 mode. I added some fuel and turned the main switch to prime. The fuel squirted out the disconnected line, so I connected it to the input of the strainer. Then after following the starting procedure, It started! It seems to run fine on just one electric lift pump. I guess if that one breaks, I can replace it with the aux pump. Any reason that it is bad to run on just one lift pump? (besides if it fails the gen will stop) I connected a 1000w work light to the 110v plugs on front and the lights worked great.

There are still some small details. I think they installed a battery (24v) meter out of a truck. It didn' work, so I ran a ground jump wire to it and got it working. Then the throttle cable wouldn't stay out when adjusting the frequency, but after twisting the button on the end it seemed to pop out and hold. Is there a way to lube this so it works better? The main AC volt meter doesn't work. I tested the voltage at the back of the meter and it had 240, but the meter reads zero. I tried moving the screw on the front of the meter which made the needle move some but it doesn't seem to work. Anyone know how to repair the volt meter or where to get one?

What speed does it run, 1800?
What kind of oil should I run? costco sells DELO and ROTELLA. where to get an oil filter?

I think it will handle my house. 2 5-ton ACs. My ampmeter shows 17@240v (17@240v) for the compressors, and 7@110v (7@110v) for the blowers. This is 17+17+3.5+3.5 = 41. The range, dryer, hot water, and furnace are all gas. The spec table show the current load at 52 amps at 240v. 52*240 = 12480. It is a 10KW gen, I can't remember the calculation for RMS (root mean squared). I thought it was .707x, but that is only 8824. Can someone shed more light on the 10kw rating, and if it will handle startup currents for the A/C's.

Overall I am excited that it works. I think one of the others in the event would have been in better shape, but at least it is running!

09-07-2009, 17:10
First off, congrats on getting it running.

No, it will not hurt it to run on one fuel pump, just disconnect the power to the unused one so it doesn't run dry. You can buy another one from your local NAPA or o'reillys, they both can get the "Facet" pumps, just get them to look through the catalogs for a 24 volt pump and buy the fittings you need. The JIC fittings are 5/16" and the NPT are 1/4". If you need hoses any place that makes hydraulic hoses can make the hoses up with 5/16" JIC ends.

The Tech. Manuals are available on this site for free in the resources section, they are TM 5-6115-585-10, -24P and-34. In them someplace, more than likely in the -34 manual, it will tell you how to remove the governor cable and clean it, inspect it and reinstall it.

Sounds like you have the battery gauge taken care of, as for the volt meter, there is a member on this site right now parting out an MEP-003a, he may have the volt meter still available. If he doesn't work out for you, try Delks Army Navy in NC. They told me they have just about any part you could need for these sets. Here is the Delks link (http://www.delksarmynavysurplus.com/index.htm), and here is the thread...Parting out an mep 003a runs good (http://www.steelsoldiers.com/auxillary-equipment/39880-parting-out-mep-003a-runs-good.html)

As for oil, and brand of diesel 15w/40 oil you prefer to run will be fine. I use the cheap stuff from Tractor Supply Co. in my sets and deuce. I've found with newer oils, the frequency of the oil changes has a great deal more to do with your motor longevity than does the brand of oil. Filters are below.

Fuel filters (2)...WIX 33113 (fuel filters come packaged with the proper gasket, OIL FILTER DOES NOT)
Fuel Bowl gaskets (2)...WIX 15131 (these are the o-rings that seal the bowl)
Oil Filter...WIX...51004
Oil Filter Bowl Gasket...WIX 15108
Air Filter...WIX 42222

As for the loading goes, that set should run your AC units just fine, along with the rest of your home lighting and probably fridge, freezer and a little more. The 12480 is the volt-amps of the set. You need to multiply that by 80% power factor to get the KW rating. 12480*.80 = 9984. That being said, the starting capacity (surge rating) of these sets is not specified or listed anywhere to the best of my knowledge, but I will safely assume that it is somewhere in the neighborhood of 300% of the load rating. As the military does a wonderful job of over rating the HP requirements of it's equipment, while under rating the HP output of it's engines. These same engines in the civi market (the Onan DJC is a 15 KW set) are rated for much more HP than you need to run 10 KW.

Good Luck, and keep us posted...and we need MORE pictures. A video would be nice too...LOL :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

09-07-2009, 17:50
Transfer switch? I see where people have spent a large sum on a transfer switch. I will use this very little if ever (the power hasn't gone out for more then a few minutes in 10 years, which means I was probably stupid to buy this, but I love machines so I couldn't help it:-D) I have a welder receptical that I installed with a 60 amp breaker. I thought that I would put a male plug on the end of a 8/3 wire and connect the other end to the gen terminals. Obviously I would not connect this with the gen running, since the male plug prongs would be hot. If the power goes out, I would turn off the service disconnect switch to isolate my house from the grid, then connect up the gen through my welder circuit. Once it is running, I would turn on the welder breaker to connect the gen to the power bus. Do you see anything wrong with this approach besides the fact that it would not be user friendly for the average user?

09-07-2009, 19:08
Well first of all it is a major electrical code violation, second if you get caught doing it your local electric company may pull your service, and it may take lots of sweet talking to get them to turn it back on. The problem is if anyone in the house turns the main breaker back on while the generator is running it will back feed the power lines through the pole top transformer stepping the voltage up to high voltage and potentially killing a lineman trying to restore service something the utility companies frown upon. Someone either here or over on the Smokstak board posted a compelling message why even those that know what they are doing should not back feed. In his case he did the same thing you are talking about doing, during a long storm related outage he turned off the main breaker, put tape across it saying do not turn on, told everyone in the house not to touch it, etc. A couple of days later he was away from the house for an hour or two when the power came back on, needless to say one of the family members ignored the tape and tried to switch back to main power with the generator still running, as you can imagine this is not a good thing to do, thankfully no one was hurt including the one flipping the breaker, the breaker instantly tripped and I think burned out, the person tried resetting it repeatedly. This incident could have ended much worse.


p.s. The only way I would even consider what you are talking about is if you have a knife blade disconnect that can be locked in the off position even then it is a code violation.

09-07-2009, 19:12
It doesn't meet any code requirements at all, but a lot of people do it. It's dangerous for the linemen working on the high voltage wires where ever they may be if your service disconnect was not turned off. But I can tell you this much, if you ever do it this way and forget to turn off that service disconnect, your gen set would

A.) Burn up in a hurry as you would be trying to feed the whole grid with your 10 KW
B.) Stall from the extra load of trying to feed the whole grid, or
C.) BOTH!!!

Do yourself a favor and put in a new breaker, and receptacle so that your new breaker is at the top of your panel as close to your main breaker as possible and either buy or make an interlock for the breaker, so that you cannot have both the main and the gen back-up feed breaker both on at the same time.

Google "Generator Interlock Kit" and you will see all kinds of ways to do it safely and according to the NEC. These interlocks are very simple to make yourself if you have a drill, tin snips, some sheet metal and a little mechanical knowledge.

09-07-2009, 19:24
Thanks again for the tips. I think I can build a lock out for the service disconnect breaker, or lock up the whole circuit panel. I'm not convinced that the gen would overload too much since all the gen current is going through the 60 amp breaker. Won't it trip pretty quickly if I try to feed the grid? The gen also has a circuit breaker on it which should trip too right?

09-07-2009, 19:57
You're missing a critical point - backfeeding the grid is to be avoided because it could kill someone.

Given the safety precautions they take, it's unlikely it would be a lineman that gets zorched - but you never know. Accidents happen.

Here's an example of something that could happen; some weather event - tornado, ice storm, etc., has taken lines down all over your region. If you backfeed into the grid, a feed line (2300V, or whatever is used in your area for pole-to-pole feed into the transformers that supply power to each house) that's down on the ground could become live. Perhaps that wire only feeds your house. Perhaps it feeds two or three houses - and your generator can support those loads. That little isolated piece of the grid is live - and the casual observer might not think it possible - given a widespread outage. A child or other unthinking person might come into contact with that wire, and that's the end of them - the genset won't even breathe hard while killing them.

09-07-2009, 20:27
Thanks again for the tips. I think I can build a lock out for the service disconnect breaker, or lock up the whole circuit panel. I'm not convinced that the gen would overload too much since all the gen current is going through the 60 amp breaker. Won't it trip pretty quickly if I try to feed the grid? The gen also has a circuit breaker on it which should trip too right?

Think about what you just said here, and look at what you posted earlier. What's the max rated current output of your set? 52 amps, you're feeding through a 60 amp breaker...it's not going to trip before overloading your set. Granted, these sets are heavier than you are going to find in the home depot and will handle some overloading, but do you really want to see how much overload it can take?

Don't waste your time going with the panel lockout method, make or buy the interlock and do it the right way. The NEC (National Electric Code) if pretty straight forward about how it should be done. Plus with the way society is these days (lawyers and all), you don't want to have an accidental death or injury being able to be traced back to something you did.

Do yourself a favor and do it right.

09-10-2009, 19:02
I have mine setup so that the main and the generator switch cannot be on at the same time. I just had to buy the sliding lockout for the face of my breaker panel. It works great

02-27-2010, 17:34
This is what I've got and it's pretty slick....
Generator InterLock Kit (http://www.interlockkit.com/)

02-28-2010, 08:52
Isaac-1 -- well said.

I'll add a couple comments of my own.

If you consider propane or natural gas, definitely get a tri-fuel unit (can also run on gasoline). Especially if you have natural gas; depending on the disaster, the natural gas supply could be interrupted without notice. At least with propane, you have some idea how long you can run until getting the tanks filled.

Regarding diesel vs. gasoline. Here, IMHO, there is no question, diesel is better. As another member stated, diesel fuel, is safer to store. It also can be stored for MUCH longer with degradation. Almost all gasoline now has ethanol added, which reduces the shelf-life of the fuel to less than 30 days. Even with stabilizer added, I don't trust gasoline that has been sitting for more than a few months. This makes it hard to rotate your fuel stock if you are keeping enough fuel stored for a longer outage. Diesel fuel on the other hand, depending on who you listen to, is good for 18 months to several years. You will want to use an anti-alge/anti gel additive if storing it long term (you can skip the anti gel in warmer climates).

Diesel fuel has about 15-20% more energy per gallon (about 135k/gal, gas=115k/gal), and diesel engines are more thermally efficient with this energy. You're looking at about 30-40% more run time per gallon. Propane is the most expensive way to run a generator, as it only has 91k/gal, and cost almost as much per gallon in some markets as gasoline and diesel.

Another consideration, depending on your heat source (for those of us in colder climates), you may already have a good amount of diesel fuel stored on site, as #2 home heating fuel is the same as off-road diesel, which is nothing more than #2 diesel that is dyed red to indicate that it is not taxed for on-road use.

I have 2 275 gallon fuel-oil tanks in my basement, but, because I also have wood-pellet boiler, and a wood stove, only use the oil furnace for domestic hot water from about April-November (and also heat when the temps are mild, as the pellet boiler makes a lot of smoke on startup, which happens a lot more when mild, as when it is colder, it can vary its heat output to keep burning continuously). I fill both tanks over the summer, and buy what pellets I think I need for the winter too (price is better). If I run out of pellets, I can fall back to oil. Anyway, the point is, for most of the time, I have about 300-500 gallons of fuel available for my generator too. I also have a 30 gallon tank in the barn for the tractor that I can draw on first. You can get a hand-crank pump that you can put in a bunghole on an oil tank from HF for about $35. This is handy to get fuel out of your oil tank and into your (portable) generator or fuel can.

Regarding capacity, as others have said, don't over buy. Not counting the inverter-type generators (usually smaller units for camping/RV's, or very expensive "quiet diesel" types for diesel-pusher type RVs), most generators will use nearly half as much fuel at low power draws as they do at full power, as they need to maintain constant RPM's 3600 (1800 or even 1200 for larger diesel sets).

The main cause of outages for me is ice storms, so AC isn't a consideration. We have propane for cooking, fuel oil, pellets, and firewood for heat. Our biggest load is actually the well pump. Most well pumps are 220-240V, and are split-phase inductive motors, so that have a pretty high starting current. If your pump is less than 1HP, a 3KW unit will do. If you have a deep well, and a 1 1/2-2 HP pump,you might need a 5KW unit to start it. Otherwise, my loads are the refrigerator, freezer, boilers (water circulator pump, and combustion blowers), and a few lights. I have a 3.6KW ETQ diesel generator (the engine is 178F, a chinese clone of a Yanmar L70A) that I picked up used for $200 (this will be replaced with one of the Yanmar repowered MEP016's I just one from GL). This fits the bill nicely, and only uses about a quart of fuel per hour at light loads, and 1/2 gallon at full load. Since my larger loads are very intermittent, my average is closer to the quart. I has have a battery bank and a pair of stacked Xantrex inverters (stacked to provide 240VAC). I only need to run the generator about 1/3 to 1/2 the time, (charging the batteries at the same time) and can rely batteries the rest of the time if I'm conservative with power usage. This is nice, as I don't have the noise of the generator overnight. I can also leave the house with the inverter running, where I don't want to leave my portable generator running outside when I'm not here to watch it (theft target).

In the OP's case, the desire to run the AC will dictate a larger unit that my needs, so the MEP-003a is probably a very good candidate. I am a big fan of redundancy (I will be keeping my current generator as backup to the MEP-016B/D, or maybe two of the MEP's), and a smaller set like the (diesel) 3KW MEP's may be a good 2nd set. I won't run the AC, but will keep the fridge/freezer running, to preserve the food, and well pump (if applicable) running as well. Also, if the outage happens when you don't need AC, and you can run on the smaller unit, you'll save a good bit of fuel. Remember, fuel usage isn't only about the monetary cost of the fuel, but also fuel availability (or lack there of) during a crisis.

02-28-2010, 21:50
I am looking to get a gen set for my house. This was just what I was looking for. Awesome info, thanks all !!

02-28-2010, 22:33
That's what we're here for :wink:.

There are some other sites with really good information about these generators, but the way I see it is this. S.S. is the premier site for information about military vehicles and equipment correct? Since these are pieces of military equipment, I want to have as much good information on this site as possible and make it where the people from the other sites come here to find out about our generators, and not the other way around!

03-06-2010, 13:14
Has anybody run these gensets on WMO or WVO ? Would it be similar to using these fuels in a duce? I would like to purchase either an 002a or 003a and have it shipped to ND if anyone has one for sale. Thanks!

03-06-2010, 16:31
For me, the generator is a power backup – priceless when needed; I’d not be running waste oils through it unless there was no other source of fuel that I could obtain for it in a true emergency.

03-06-2010, 18:33
For me, the generator is a power backup priceless when needed; Id not be running waste oils through it unless there was no other source of fuel that I could obtain for it in a true emergency.


These are just normal diesels, not multifuels like the deuce. If you would run WMO/WVO through your pick-up truck diesel, then feel free to run it in the generator. But I wouldn't do it, for just the reasons that Carl mentioned

03-07-2010, 22:19
Thanks for the input. Have not run anything but straight diesel in my pickup so I understand what you are getting at.

William F
03-29-2011, 22:05
Hello Isaac-1 -

You mention a replacement battery for the MEP-701a in this thread - where did you find it, or did you put two motorcycle batteries together? My batteries were still in the units (MJQ-33) when I picked it up, I got a charger/desulphator for the 24V batts, and they recovered and start the unit, but won't do long term - they're too far gone and discharge in a couple weeks. If you have the P/N of the 24V replacement battery, I'd love to know what it is. Here in Oregon, batteries Plus (the store that says they have every battery for every need) say they have never heard of such a thing (24V flooded lead acid). At any rate, I'd love to get the OEM part for this machine, it is a fantastic machine.

I can't wait to bring it in and show them. ;)



PS: Editing this message after seeing it posted in the wrong segment - sorry about that.

03-30-2011, 02:18
The battery you want is a 24V 4HN (be careful as I have also seen a 12V 4HN advertised). I bought mine dry old stock off ebay (I think I paid a bit over $100 with shipping, heavy little thing) then when I went to the local battery dealer to have it filled and I found out they had a pallet full of old stock ones in the back room that had been ordered in for a contractor at the local military base years ago. You never know it sometimes pays to check around. I posted a message about it on here a while back with their contact info, and I think all there old stock is long gone now.


ps take a look here, note the photo is not the 4HN

William F
03-30-2011, 14:59
Thanks Ike,

I very much appreciate your help, and no, that link certainly doesn't show the battery out of my MEP 701A. And even though it appears in GOOG as a 24V, it isn't (6 caps) I got a pair of these:

Store Locator | NAPA Online (http://www.napaonline.com/Search/Detail.aspx?R=PSB12N143A_0262176807)

lengthwise, they will fit crossways into the old tray: (10.5" X 5.25" wide) - with a little rigging tonight, I will see if these will do the trick. Surely, these wouldn't meet MIL STDs but, they certainly should do the trick. And for under 60$ for two - worth it! There was a nothe one that was longer/thinner/taller/sealed AGM and more CCA, but 79$ apiece.

I will look around and see if I can't find the old 4HN somewhere.



03-30-2011, 16:19
Ok, so I have read this thread and I am now convinced I need a gov surplus Diesel generator (Thanks Guys!!). When do I find one? I would like to buy one that is running, since I have never had one before. Who sells such generators? Anyone here?

William F
03-30-2011, 16:24

I will be selling one of mine. I got an MJQ 33 gen set, and I only need one, and will be converting the trailer into a camp trailer. SO, if you are anywhere near Oregon, I will sell you mine. It runs, it has no problems, I had to dump the fuel that was in it, and clean it, get new batteries but it is a sweet machine. Both are actually. 177 hrs on one ( I put 2 of those on myself) and 500 on the other. They were used for training purposes I think.



03-30-2011, 16:55
I just ran across this site last night Battle Grade Electric | Surplus Military Diesel Generators | Serving New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont (http://battlegradeelectric.com) I don't know anything about them and their prices are much higher than buying from GL in your case shipping price would also likely be a killer, but of course GL is a dice roll. There is a guy outside of Houston, TX that has been mentioned on here lately selling MEP-002's and MEP-003's for what appear to be fair prices, I don't have his contact info though, and of course there are ones that sell on ebay all over the place both in terms of location and prices.


03-30-2011, 16:59
William, the Deka 4HN is the correct battery.

It is available from any Batteries Plus store in the Portland area. They will have to order it and it takes several days. They list for around $150 and if you have an account the price will be $135.**

You will have no trouble selling your spare genny for about what you paid for the whole works. What? Around $8-900?

03-30-2011, 17:56
These guys are nearby, Emerson2-71 Generators "The Deuce" (http://www.emerson2-71gm.com/Gensets.html) Anyone know about these generators? They look interesting.


03-30-2011, 20:12
I Think the MJQ-33 is the code for the full assembly with the trailer 2 generators and any accessories, the individual generator is a MEP-701a.


p.s. about the 2-71's mentioned above (these are perhaps the only generators built tougher than the military units, that is probably only because weight was no object and they had to run unattended for days at a time), those are mostly railroad refrigeration car pull outs that have been rebuilt, there is another seller in your part of the country that sells used ones for much cheaper. There is a lot of information available over on the smokstak board in the generator section. If your interested in going that route check out affordablepower.com

03-30-2011, 22:09
I found a 20 year old, contract-maintained, 40KW Mankato enclosed set with 125 hours on it where a company was moving, ditching the mainframe and going to PC-size servers, and was not going to take the set. $4000 including the Zenith transfer switch. A steal. A tilt-bed got it home for me. I rewired it in the zigzag configuration for single phase, set the V to 240, and it makes 30KW that way. Overkill as the house and lab together consume only 12KW full load, but better than running a 20KW and beating it to death every time a compressor starts.

William F
04-01-2011, 17:17
Darn Beerslayer - Wish I'd have read the PDF with that pic of the deka that Ike suggested - I thought for sure it wasn't made anymore, hence bought the cheap 2X setup. Note to self: look harder:

battery dimesnions listed for the 4HN are what I needed!

04-04-2011, 13:26
Texans - Deka in Carrolton (Dallas) has them for $160 each :???:. If you gotta have one call Robert or Shane at (972) 616-0682

They might ship out of state...I don't know.

11-12-2011, 07:03
Hi Isaac,
do you mind telling what kind of mix of fluids you used to free up the seized engine ? I have 4 or 5 in that condition now.
Thanks Joe

11-12-2011, 07:39
I used a 50/50 mix of cheap generic ATF and Marvel Mystery oil, let it soak for about a week (as I recall I topped it off after a couple of days) then tried to turn it over, be ware of hydro locking if it does turn over (remove the injector or the glow plugs from each cylinder so the fluid has somewhere to go and nothing gets bent). It may also help that I added it upon pick up after discovering and draining the gallon or so of water from the oil pan, giving it about 250 miles worth of agitation bouncing around on a trailer.


p.s. oh, also when you do get ready to try to really start it for the first time do it outdoors, not inside a shop building like I did (black gunk from the exhaust flew about 20 feet up into the air and rained down on everything)

11-12-2011, 08:40
I used a 50/50 mix of cheap generic ATF and Marvel Mystery oil, ...)

I suspect we all have our favorite mix... I use generic ATF and diesel fuel, about a 50/50 mix. If you can keep it from evaporating then a mix of ATF, diesel and some acetone can be even more potent (but acetone does evaporate quickly). In that case I'd mix 40/40/20.

The idea behind these mixes is that ATF has a tendency to really soak into stuff. The using of diesel and/or acetone is an attempt to make it even more aggressive. Marvel Mystery oil is great stuff too, but keep in mind that Marvel makes a lot of different lubricants.

If you can get it, a gallon of Kroil (not that expensive in the gallon size) works wonders. About the best stuff for this purpose you can get...