When it comes to RV or portable generators, you have a lot of brands to choose from. Some brands are excellent while other brands are not so much. When you watch your bottom line, many RVers tend to buy the latter of the two generators.
Like any generator brand, the Wen models have their share of problems. From failing to start to overheating to loss of power. Those are just a few of the major issues you will encounter when you buy this generator brand. The higher-end models may have fewer issues to be worried about.
To learn more about this generator brand and its common problems, just continue to read our article. It delves into the topic so you have the best information for the best purchase decision you can make. Take some time and see how this important information helps you.
It is the same old story as it is with tires. An American company has moved its manufacturing to China while providing the specs for the Chinese workers to follow.
The headquarters for Wen is Elgin, ILL., but this manufacturing move does not allow for Wen products to bypass strict inspections. Those strict inspection protocols are supposed to weed out any inferior generators that came off the production line.
It is said that Wen is also responsible for making the Predator generators and there will be some off-brands made by the best companies. It is good to note that Wen has been in business since 1951 so they do know how to make a good generator.
Whether their original standards have been compromised remains to be seen. The company makes many models so it is likely that you will get a better generator if you pay the higher price for the higher-end generators.
1. Loss of power
There are several sources for this common problem and one is that you may have overloaded it. Make sure you know the start-up and running watts for your specific generator and do not go above that.
Other reasons for a loss of power include contaminated fuel, a blocked fuel line, or a bad spark plug. You also may have too little fuel in the gas tank. Make sure all the parts are in top working order and that the gas tank is full.
This can be a result of overloading your generator. Demanding too much power will have the generator working harder than it should and it can’t cool itself fast enough.
Always watch how many appliances you connect to your generator. Then other issues that fall under this category will be- a dirty air filter, improper ventilation, and a faulty cooling system.
The last one may take a technician to diagnose and repair. The others you may be able to diagnose and fix yourself.
3. Failing to start
The first place to check will be your fuel source. The tank may have too low of a fuel supply and if it comes with an automatic low fuel shut-off, your generator will turn it off.
Stale fuel may be another reason why this generator does not start. You may not be aware of it but diesel and gas fuels have a lifespan. If you go beyond that deadline, the fuel is no good and the generator will not start.
Two other sources for this problem would be a bad choke position or the ignition system is failing you.
4. Misc. problems
You may experience some of these miscellaneous issues at some point in your ownership of this RV generator. The first one will be that quality is not there. Some RV owners have reported that they have had to pay a lot more in repairs because their Wen generator did not last that long.
Repairs can be expensive. In many cases, only a technician can diagnose and fix the problem you are experiencing. This situation can boost your repair bill which is never a good thing to have happen.
Next, there is a problem with a lack of quality components being used by Wen to build their generators. This may be so on the lower-end models but not so much on the higher-end models.
Do not expect the lower-end generators to last a long time. Even the maintenance can get expensive and some maintenance duties need to be done frequently to get the generator to last longer.
Finally, it is being reported that the Wen generators have a lower power output than their competitors. But you may only need a minimal amount of energy to run your RV or trailer. This is not always a bad thing.
Modern generator makers have installed many safety features that you won’t know about unless you read the owner’s manual for your specific Wen generator. The following reasons why your generator won’t start include those safety features:
- It is low on oil
- It is out of gas
- The choke is in the wrong position
- The fuel valve is closed or clogged
- The carb is clogged or experiencing an air lock
- The spark plug has worn out, burnt, or damaged, and needs to be replaced
- The low oil sensor is not working right
- The battery is dead
- You started the generator with a load attached
- The air filter needs replacing or cleaning
The fix for the oil sensor may only require a reset to connect it to the generator again. But if that doesn’t work, you have to tear the generator apart just to get to this sensor and replace it.
The other sources are easy to fix and you won’t need a technician to repair those failures.
The above information was taken from the Wen website and fortunately, they also apply to this problem. You do not have to look far to know where you should start looking.
Also, the company says that you can try the troubleshooting pages in the manual to see if those steps fix the problem you are experiencing. If these steps do not work for you, the company has said to contact them for further help.
Check the basic fixes first as that may be the source of the problem and save you a lot of time. About the only part you will need help with will be the oil sensor. If it is bad and not just lost contact with the device, you may not be able to fix it on your own.
The company has placed the oil sensor in a very difficult to reach location that takes know-how and experience to repair. It is best to let the technician handle the difficult repairs as they have the know-how and experience.
One item we forgot to mention and it is an important one for those who like taking their RV to the mountains. The generator may not work right if you go above the altitude setting on your generator.
You may need to buy a high altitude kit from Wen to repair this issue. If you are having trouble starting or keeping your generator running, check your high altitude setting.
We checked the manual for the DF475 Wen Generator and it did not list any warning lights on this device. There was no mention of these lights in the manual and no diagram identified them.
Plus, the Wen FAQ web page does not address this issue and we checked several articles the company links to in that web page. Also, the manual for the Wen 4050 does not include any mention of warning lights and does not show them on the control panel.
But in a generic article for RV generators, the red light indicates that there is something wrong somewhere inside the unit. The orange light indicates an overload is about to take place or is taking place.
A yellow light is a reminder to do some maintenance on your generator and a green light tells you everything is working fine. Check with your specific Wen model’s owner’s manual to see if the company placed any warning lights on your device.
Or you can check with the company or look the generator over closely to at the dealer’s to see if there are any warning lights attached to this brand. If you do not see them, then most likely the generator does not have them.
Like any electrical device, the Wen generator will last longer when it receives good maintenance on time. Good maintenance is the key to having this generator work for you for quite a few years.
If you do not do good maintenance when it is called for, then do not expect your Wen model to last very long. It is hard to put an objective time frame on the longevity as different models are made with different lifespans.
The higher-end models may last you a lot longer than the lower-end generators. The reason for that is that the former devices would receive better quality parts than the latter models.
The quality of parts will influence how long you will have this generator for. The biggest factor will be how you maintain it, if you overload it or not. These and other factors play a role in the longevity of the generator.
1. Pros and cons
2. Some key features
- you get 5 hours of run time at 50% load
- 57 decibels at 25% load
- 2-year warranty
- has RV ready outlet as well as a USB port
- 3800 starting watts and 3400 running watts
- this model does have warning lights
Also, the control panel has just about every outlet you would ever need when you are camping. Then, the fuel tank's 2.2 gallon capacity gives you extra running time when you need it most.
You shouldn’t have to refill the tank if you manage your power output well. To help you conserve fuel, the generator includes an eco-power mode. This will cut down your fuel use.
All you have to do to engage the eco-power is to flip one switch. With the large gas tank and this eco-power mode, you should get up to 8 1/2 hours of run time at 50% load.
Then what makes this generator model reliable is its 212cc, four-stroke OHV inverter engine. To provide longer use and a greater lifespan, the company included a carb flush. That little inclusion should help your maintenance program and keep the carb in top shape.
This is one of the higher end Wen generator models and it is built like it. You should be able to get many years of satisfied use out of this model. Amazon reviewers have very little bad to say about this generator as 92% of the reviewers gave it 4 and 5 stars.
The company’s website does include a warranty page and while we will quote some of the details in this warranty, you can read the entire web page at this link.
“GREAT LAKES TECHNOLOGIES, LLC (“Seller”) warrants to the original purchaser only, that all WEN consumer power tools will be free from defects in material or workmanship during personal use for a set period from the date of purchase or 500 hours of use; whichever comes first. Ninety days for all WEN products if the tool is used for professional or commercial use. Purchaser has 30 days from the date of purchase to report missing or damaged parts.”
Make a note that the 90-day warranty is for professional and commercial use only
“To make a claim under this Limited Warranty, you must make sure to keep a copy of your proof of purchase that clearly defines the Date of Purchase (month and year) and the Place of Purchase. Place of Purchase must be a direct vendor of Great Lakes Technologies, LLC. Purchasing through third party vendors, including but not limited to garage sales, pawn shops, resale shops, or any other secondhand merchant, voids the warranty included with this product. Contact email@example.com or 1-800-232-1195 with the following information to make arrangements: your shipping address, phone number, serial number, required part numbers, and proof of purchase. Damaged or defective parts and products may need to be sent to WEN before the replacements can be shipped out.”
Watch out where you buy your Wen generator. The warranty is only good for original buyers. If you are not an original buyer, you will be out of luck and any expenses will come from your pocket.
The last part of the warranty statement is in capital letters. That tells you that you need to pay special attention to those paragraphs. The warranty period for residential use is 2 years.
1. Use a generator cover- these covers protect your generator from the elements and help lengthen its lifespan. You get protection from rain, snow, and UV rays as well as reduction of dust and debris.
2. Store your generator properly- this is for those times you will not be using this device for some time. You will need to remove the gas from the gas tank or use a fuel stabilizer to keep the fuel in top shape.
Then you should store the generator in a clean dry place. This will protect the device from humidity which can cause rust or corrosion to the metal parts. Finally, elevate it enough so that ground moisture or water leaks cannot reach the bottom of the generator.
3. Regular maintenance tasks- these are simple things you should do to keep your generator operating at peak levels. Check the filters and clean them if needed; check your oil and fuel levels; inspect the spark plugs; and finally test the battery.
When you have a myriad of generator brands to choose between, do some good research. The Wen models seem to be very good but only if you buy the high-end models.
The lower-end options do not seem to have the best components installed in them. That means that they may not last as long as you would like. It also means that you may end up facing a lot of the problems described above.
Do your research and pick the best model for your RV situation.