Honda HRC216 hydrostatic fluid change

mvronOctober 2, 2009

I know this is a major job in changing this fluid. What if the fuel and oil was drained and the mower was turned upside down - is this an acceptible alternative for this fluid change? Would you be able to drain most of it out this way without taking the mower apart. Having this transmission go bad at some point is scarey.

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nice machine, push mower with a hydro-WOW Nice machine. MY honda simply has a belt for the drive. I doubt it will hurt if to turn it over and drain it. Post some pics if you can. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 4:11PM
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Hey mvron - I just bought a new HRC216 in June. When I read your question, I got out my owners manual, but I see no mention of trans fluid change. Do you have a service book? How many hours do you have on it?

Since you have one of these mowers,I have to bring something up. First, how old is your mower, and are you happy with the way it cuts? Mine has the Micro-cut blade system, which yours may or may not have. Since I got it, I have had random single blades of grass left standing through out the yard. I started a post on it here, and heard back from a couple others with the same issue. Honda claims they haven't had any complaints about it, yet 1 other dealer here in Florida, plus a couple folks on this forum have. I must admit that it does a better job with grass that is shorter (cut regularly), but with the rain we've had over the summer, the grass has gone a week at a time, and grown 7-8". Have you had any experience with this issue?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 5:04PM
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I got the mower from a local Honda shop - it was a trade-in on a new one from a lawn service that pretty much trashed it. The dealer said it was sound mechanically which proved to be true. It looked awful so I painted both the engine and the deck - looks like new. It has only a single cutting blade and cuts great. There has been a lot of discussion on the trans fluid. Some say every year of severe service - every three years for residential service - and yes it dosen't mention it in the manuals. Having a trans one go bad is scarey.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 9:28PM
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That's good to know. I have another Honda I bought new in 1997. It has the hydro with the shaft drive too. My inlaws are using it now, and I've never changed the fluid in it, nor had any problems with it. I think with that one, "as long as it works, I'm not going to fix it." I will check with my dealer about the new one though. In regards to my cutting issue, I think the problem with uncut grass is all about the blade design. Other than the lift "wings" on the outer ends of your blade, does it have a lot of bends/twists in it? The blade on my older one is pretty much flat except for the lift bends on the ends. The new one is bent down some on each side in order to make the bottom of the blade even with the bottom of the deck. Does yours have a domed steel deck? Honda offered, and sent a spacer to replace the upper blade, so just the hi-lift blade is used. I tried it, but the results were pretty much the same. The Honda rep told me that some commercial guys were complaining that the blades were clogging, and that's why they came up with the spacer. Good luck with yours, and happy mowing. Have you tried the fluid change yet? If so, did you turn it upside down, as you originally proposed, or is there another trick to it?

    Bookmark   October 4, 2009 at 6:42PM
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The key will be keeping debris out of the fill hole.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 10:05PM
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stinkytiger(z5 - z6)


My HRC216 is four years old now. I have never changed the transmission fluid in the shaft drive. I think you probablly never need to change it very often. If you look at Honda cars, the transmission fluid needs to be change I think at about the 100,000 mile level. That is alot of mowing....

Best, Mike.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2009 at 7:18AM
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Unless it became contaminated with water or dirt why change the fluid?

    Bookmark   October 8, 2009 at 9:44PM
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Friction creates deposits, deposits increase friction. Take some sand a rub it between your hands. That's your Honda transmission after 100,000 miles. Oil changes are the CHEAPEST and BEST preventative maintenance you can do to any machine that takes oil. Whether its a transmission or an engine.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2009 at 8:40AM
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Nice tight completely circular argument that has me completely puzzled.

Friction creates deposits in a Honda mower transmission after 100,000 miles??? I have yet to see a mower run for 100,000 miles. I don't buy that deposits of any consequence are created in a sealed hydrostatic system. Deposits are created in engine oil as a consequence of turning gasoline from one form to another. Maybe you are confusing the two.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2009 at 5:10PM
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Ya gotta read the whole thread man, not just the last post. Takes the fun out of it.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2009 at 8:19PM
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I went to the Honda dealer and bought some Hydrostatic fluid. I then sucked some fluid out of the transmission filler hole to see what it looked like. It was Coal black. The new fluid is perfectly clear. Maybe that's a clue.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 3:40PM
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Not surprising given that "it was a trade-in on a new one from a lawn service that pretty much trashed it." Given that the rest if the mnower is trashed, who knows how they did to contaminate that fluid.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2009 at 1:21PM
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A lot of times when fluid like that turns dark or black in your case, it indicates that it may have overheated, and gotten burned. Not sure how that would happen though, unless like a car, something is slipping inside. Let us know what you find out.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2009 at 9:09PM
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rosemallow(z7 Md)

I looked at my HRX 217 manual and I did not see anything about changing the oil as a PM.
It did show how to fill a new transmission. It looked the bottom cover came off and it got filled up with the complete unit upside down.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2009 at 9:30PM
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cbenten(z8 TX)

I believe the manual says to check the fluid every 300 hours and change every 1000 hours. This info is in the maintenance table towards the end of the manual.

Does anyone have an exploded view of the transmission? I just inherited a HRC from my brother-in-law and it has a slow leak.


    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 9:03AM
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