Honda new model HRR216K3TDA

hsamFebruary 20, 2006

Honda has a new model lawnmower this year, HRR216K3TDA. Looks to be similar to previous 3-speed model but for the price of a single speed $439. At this price, I'm considering purchasing one and would like to hear comments or reviews on the lawnmower.

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Looks okay, but I think there are numerous alternatives for $100 less. The Lawn-Boy 'Variable Speed' with Tecumseh LV195 (10684) is more powerful, has none of the Honda GCV engine question marks and the drive is easier to use. In case you're not familiar with it, you control drive speed by varying the belt tightness with the drive bail. Hold the bail to the handle and you get full speed, which is fairly fast. Let the bail out some and it slows down as much as you want, right down to a crawl. Let go and it becomes an instant pusher with very little pull-back resistance. Plus, side-discharge is standard on the Lawn-Boy, and the transmission is much simpler, consisting only of a ring and pinion. The belt is made to slip, and will probably last as long as the Honda belt.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2006 at 3:44PM
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nevada_walrus(Boulder City)

Honda's really new model is linked below. Their version of variable speed using an internal trans cone clutch to regulate speed. Uses a thumb lever on the handle to control pressure.

As for the GC series belt being a problem, that's just nonsense. First year production some 6 or 7 years ago had some issues, mostly with the cam pulley and not the actual belt.

Here is a link that might be useful: New Honda mower

    Bookmark   February 20, 2006 at 8:07PM
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I never mentioned the timing belt. I was referring to the whole concept of an overhead cam lawnmower engine being overkill, while at the same time the GCV is a cheap engine. The belts I did mention are the drive belts.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2006 at 6:20PM
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nevada_walrus(Boulder City)

The GC is a cheap engine, for Honda, but its still an excellent home user engine.

Sorry for the miss-understanding regarding the belt. I hear so many folks condemn the timing belt I get worked up about it when they really have not had a timing "belt" problem.

Yeah, I won't dis-agree one bit about Honda's drive belt and plastic trans problems which the TDA has.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2006 at 11:41PM
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If it has a plastic deck;it's junk...............OHC is stupid (especially a belt driven one!)on a lawnmower too,there's no need to complicate matter's for nothing...To me,OHC is just a novelty.......Overhead valves are more than enough............I prefer side philosophy is "keep it simple,and you're all-set" ;otherwise,what's next;electronic fuel-injection? Come on, get real.................

    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 1:03AM
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nevada_walrus(Boulder City)

It will come, count on it. Future enission regs will see to it.

As far as keeping it simple, OHC has fewer parts then a push rod OHV. Four parts removed, 2 push rods and 2 lifters, one added=timing belt.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 1:22AM
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I disagree about the Xenoy deck - probably the best deck material ever produced. One thing about it is really cool - if it gets a scratch, you can rub it out and polish, and it looks brand new - the color is all the way through. No rusting, no corrosion and no holes knocked in it from rocks. You can make the deck look new anytime you want by simply using fiberglass polish.
Of course, this thread is about a Honda with steel deck - the Xenoy deck now only comes on the HRX.
On the GCV timing belt; it's the world's only internal timing belt, meaning it's in an oil bath. It must be some interesting material to withstand 200 degree oil without stretching or degrading.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 6:25PM
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Not really;What about timing belt guides,or tensioner's?.(they're part of the design,too,with OHC)...........OHC is a design,really meant to allow an engine to spin very fast,say about 10,000 RPM (or more)like on motorcycles,cars,etc. It really has no use on a lawnmower spinning only about 2500-3000 RPM ;To me,that's like saying "I have a nuclear powered heating, and hot water system in my house"........a little extreme;but I think you get the point.................... And as far as(the belt) interesting material;oil seals deal with temperature,and pressure all the time,so I'm not impressed...........I'll bet a pushrod design will work long after the timing belt has slipped or breaks.........And on OHC,when that happens,usually the valves are junk,or you have a hole in the piston,or both!!(that's why I don't like OHC,well,that,and it's a pain in the neck to work on) A chain drive is the very least I would trust,A gear drive is the best,like on the Ducati's..............

    Bookmark   February 24, 2006 at 2:15AM
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nevada_walrus(Boulder City)

There are no guides or tensioners on the GC. The useful gains in a small engine with OHC are fewer parts and less valve train weight to be returned by spring tension.

Less return weight in valve train means valve springs can be lighter reducing power loss. Fewer parts in drive train mean less points of wear allowing for longer intervals in needing to adjust valve clearance.

Fewer parts means less material costs and assembly time at the factory. Equals a lower consumer costing engine which weighs less.

This reduced weight along with several years of proven reliability has given Honda the confidence to add a cylinder sleeve and crank bearings and install the engine under the GS series name on their commercial push mower. The commercial self propelled far outsells the push so this will give Honda a low production test bed for the engine under commercial use. The push mower benefiting from a lower weight engine.

I fully expect the OHC engine to eventually replace all push rod engines as its lowered cost, efficency and weight benefit all forms of L&G equipment.

One last thing jammer, you tell me you don't know much about the GC engine when you think it has belt guides and tensioners. I suspect most naysayers of this engine are equally unfamiliar with it. Most of us thought it was overkill when Honda dropped all of their flatheads in favor of OHV's but due to their efficiency they have become the industry standard. Just as with the automotive industry where OHC is now the standard, that progression to more efficient engines will be seen in L&G engines.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2006 at 7:50AM
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Well stated, Walrus, but Honda nearly killed it when the first GCs started self-destructing. I guess people tend to forget the bad things, but I've seen those broken cam pulleys first hand. I don't know what happened in the engine, but the two pulleys I saw both had the center twisted out of them. This means something jammed in the head, and the inertia of the flywheel/blade twisted the pulley off.
jammer: The forces working on a timing belt are far different than those of a seal, and seals get old and fail. The internal timing belt is the heart of the Honda system and in my opinion must last 12 years, because that's my personal expectation of mower life. I don't think the GCV has been in general use that long, so it'll be interesting to see what the next few years brings in terms of failed engines. Once the belt or overhead cam system fails, you may as well throw the mower out. Although replacement engines are currently among the cheapest available, the rest of the mower would be shot by then anyway. Which brings up a question; if the engine is so cheap, why is the mower so expensive?

    Bookmark   February 24, 2006 at 8:43AM
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nevada_walrus(Boulder City)

Yeah, I think Honda is a bit over opptomistic about their mower values, especially the homeowner versions, regarding price. The GC has been around now for 6 or 7 years and yes indeed they had some pulley problems early on. No denying that. But those problems have been corrected, I haven't seen a pulley problem for years, and the timing belts themselves never were an issue beyond pessimism.

The throw away value of the GC series when moderate or more work is needed, including valve work, is my only dislike of the engine. Not having a removable head makes routine valve work on typical engines a fairly unreasonable repair cost on GC's and generally considered a throw away condition.

The non removable head makes it less costly to build but I suspect it also is a factor of removing tolerance variations that might require the addition of belt tensioners. No head gasket to compress and make the distance between crank and cam pulley vary.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2006 at 9:31AM
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What happens when a NGK plug seizes in the head:On the honda,you discard it,because of a bad design?That's very poor engineering ..................on a flathead briggs or tecumseh,it could be repaired in 1/2 an hour,and you could still be jammin' A unitized head is ok on a 2 stroke,but NEVER,ever on a 4 stroke,only an Idiot would design something like that.................I must admit you guy's make it sound pretty good,though. If you took good care of a lawnmower(rinsing the underneath,were the rot comes from) oil and grease it,etc. I'll bet the rest of the mower would still be good,when the timing belt breaks,or slips..........I just can't accept a design,were a belt is waiting to slip,or let go,and the mower is junk because of it.........Plus as I said before,OHC really has no place on a lawnmower.Maybe a high speed pump,or compressor:but who would want to listen to an engine scream at 9000 rpm,or more,for wich OHC is designed for ..........................And as far as weight savings go,I doubt that a difference of around 1 pound really makes a difference;I rather have just the valves over the head,or better than that,none,just a flat head.The camshaft needs to stay near the crankshaft,that way,1:it runs cooler,and 2: it's easier to ensure a good oil supply,and not rely on intricate passages,for oil supply,and return,etc. wich is another downfall for OHC.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2006 at 2:12AM
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Jammer; You bring up some good points. I guess time will tell on the GC series.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2006 at 8:14AM
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I have 2 yr old residential. Can't remember the model but it has the composite deck and hydro drive. Great for 2 seasons, however, it now surges and will not idle at all. Runs fine under a load and will idle half decent with the blade engaged. You can see the governor arm moving fore and aft as it pulses/surges. Checked the plug and looks good (no soot or carbon buildup)drained the carb bowl and put in new gas. I run Stabil in the gas. Do I need to check the carb jets or is this an issue with the governor? As far as the idle, it has been like that since new. Also, how can you check the full throttle rpm? Thanks, Smez

    Bookmark   March 11, 2007 at 1:36PM
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'Great for 2 seasons, however, it now surges and will not idle at all'
'As far as the idle, it has been like that since new'

At first I thought this was a contradiction, but now I think you're saying it always would not idle, but now it also surges at full throttle until it hits a demand. Sounds like a governor adjustment is needed. Like all mowers today, it's set to run lean, so everything has to be set just right. I'd take it in if I were you. The governor may be okay and it could have a defect causing an air leak at the carb or intake runner. It could have some dirt in the carb, too. Another possibility is bad gas. Even using Sta-Bil can't overcome gas that has too much moisture in it, although it can help remove some. I would dispose of the gas you're now using and see that the can is clean and completely empty. Put some Sta-Bil in the can and fill it with fresh fuel. Remove the old gas from the mower tank, and drain the carb fuel bowl with the nut on the lower side (not the bottom center nut). Refill with the fresh fuel and try it again.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2007 at 4:11PM
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canguy(British Columbia)

See your thread. I also was not impressed at first sight of the GC engine and thought why would Honda compromise their good name. It has turned out to be a good consumer engine. As n-v mentions though, it is not service friendly. The labor involved in servicing the valves is too high and I hate the sealer used in place of gaskets. It would be nice to have studs instead of bolts to mount the carburetor. Can be a little tough to sell the HRX if the customer realizes it has the same engine series as the lower priced HRR and HRS mowers.
Interesting that you have a commercial push mower available. We only see the hydro with the GX engine.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2007 at 4:29PM
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rosemallow(z7 Md)

I have been working on small gas engines since I was in my teens. I am in my 60's now.
As, why anyone would buy a new lawn mower with a flat head
makes no sense to me. I understand they may be cheaper to make, but the overheads outperform the flat heads.
Automobile makers realized the flathead had to go in the 50's. I don't understand why small lawn equipment manufactures procrastinated.
As for the Xenoy deck,it is the best deck material ever produced. Oh yes, I am sure if you hit a large object it could do damage. The Xenoy is more forgiving than the old cast magnesium and aluminum frames. I welded many Lawn Boy and Craftsman frames.
In my early years I rated Briggs #1. Since I purchased a Honda 15 years ago (HRB215SXA) I wouldn't switch. The only expense I have had was 3 cables and 4 new wheels. I adjusted the valves each year and changed the oil and air filters at the proper intervals and kept the Blade sharp.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2007 at 6:00PM
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