McLane Edger engine advice

vancwaJune 10, 2012

I really like my Echo stick edger for quick trims, but sometimes a walk behind is better - for example to enlarge a bed. I have this older McLane walk behind that I've owned since new and have neglected. I never did love the 3HP Briggs that is on there and it hasn't been run in about 13 years (still with gas in the tank and carb). It's always been a hard starter. I'd actually rather invest whatever money I'd spend rebuilding the carb and fuel system, tune up... by just replacing the motor. Wasteful yes, but much cheaper than buying a whole new edger.

The shroud on the motor has the following info stamped into it:

Model 80202

Type 1765 02

Code 90030603

I can measure the shaft length and diameter, but it looks like 2 3/16" X 5/8". I couldn't find the manual online at Briggs and Stratton. I have two questions

1. How do I know what replacement motor is compliant with fitting this edger? Even the OE 3HP Briggs motor fitment was a little funky because the oil plug is about 1/4" from one of the front wheels.

2. What motor would be best? Absolute cost is not a big deal, so $200 for another Briggs or $330 for a Honda GX120 would not be a problem either. I realize I may have to buy some new hardware like a belt and pulley. I'm sure there may be other even better engine choices. I just would rather have a hassle free engine.

Obviously I'm not the most frequent user but I'd like something reliable, quiet and easy to start. I had a great motor swap on my Snapper - using a Kawasaki FJ180V - a suggestion I got on this forum. That was terrific advice and I LOVE that motor.

Thanks from Vancouver WA

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I have always been a "walk behind" edger guy, and consider McLane one of the better Homeowner machines. Only the Power Trim and Little Wonder are better Professional machines in my opinion, and both can go north of $800 with Honda GX120.

1) I know you don't want to reconsider working on the existing engine. You're engine is from 1990 and has the advantage of a fully adjustable carburetor, and one that can be taken completely apart for cleaning. You may be able to make things right with relatively little out of pocket expense. BTW, you engine manuals and IPL can be found on Briggs website using 080202-1765-02 or 080202-1765-99.

Tank probably needs to be cleaned and carb disassembled and cleaned. You should have an adjustable main jet, which needs to be removed and cleaned. Behind adjustable needle is a brass jet which is removed with a screw driver. This will expose two orifices which need to be cleaned (I use welding tip cleaners). Next clean both fuel pickup tubes by removing from carb body. If unable to clean, replace them. Be sure to replace the diaphragm.

While you have things apart, I would also look at valve clearances. Should be .006 intake and .008 exhaust. Briggs aluminum engines have a habit of losing intake clearance, make engine much harder to start. Pull the valves out, clean valves and the seats in the block. Grind the ends of the stems to get the appropriate clearance. Recheck after you install the springs. You'll lose a couple thousands when under tension. I'd also check the starter clutch and replace if desired, or at least remove and brighten the stub shaft with emery cloth and add two or three drops of oil to the felt in the clutch (NO MORE THAN THAT).

Lastly, since the front oil drain is a problem, you can replace the square head plug (1/4 NPT) with a recessed hex drive pipe plug. When tight, it will be flush and should not interfere. Should be $1 or $2.

2) Your original posting said you wanted to replace the engine. Current Briggs would be a 93302-0517. Web prices go $250 and up. You might be able to do better. Can't guarantee a fit, but should be OK. Don't worry about 5/8 shaft. Most replacement engines are 3/4, and if it saves money, a new 3/4 x 3 pulley should only be $8 or $10. Current engine is no longer rated by horsepower (Briggs now uses Gross Torque) but used to be a 3.5hp. Now uses a float feed Walbro carb, and I'd cut the fuel line and insert a shut off valve, for better long term storage.

The GX120 is the "Cadillac" and should also bolt up without problem. Web pricing appears to be $350, although you can be a "pump" version with threaded shaft for about $30 less. You can still fit your pulley over the shaft and lock it down with set screws.

3) Since we are talking $200/$250 for a Briggs and $350 for a Honda, you might consider a new edger entirely. Although McLane's website prices are much higher, Amazon will sell a 101-4.75GT-7 for $299 and ship it free in the US. Even better value is the 801-4.75GTRP for $329.

Rebuilt, new engine, or new edger, the key is reasonable maintenance. Because of you intermittent usage, you are a poster child for good gas (non-ethanol is possible) and religiously using a fuel stabilizer.

Personally, I'd repair the existing engine, since it doesn't sounds like it has that many miles. My next suggestions would be the 801 edger, and start all over with brand new everything.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 9:57AM
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The straight shaft stick with a hard blade Is My Dream Machine (with all the concrete I have). It will do it all Faster And Better in my situation. I use it at about a 45-degree angle traveling backward 95 % of the time, which allows less edging per cuts (with spacing if desired, from practice). The Green Machine is a Gas Hog and I contribute it to the power, hard blade and how I use it. I do use two Echo straight shaft string trimmers to crop ground cover and think of them as back-ups to the Green Machine.

Approximately how many ounces of gas would you expect a trimmer to use 1/2-3/4 throttle in an hour?

PS. Added to the rebuild above my post. Is the 90s Briggs electronic ignition or mag? If it is not electronic, I feel the electronic kit is the way to go. I used them in the late 70s to eliminate problems with contaminated points from blow-by etc.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 1:20PM
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Thanks ggoyeneche - all great sage advice. I realize a carb rebuild is surely the cheapest way to fix this. I could probably even do the carb myself but I don't plan on pulling the head.

I still have to put a caliper on it, but the shaft may be 3/4". I got quotes on two different Briggs right at $195, a Honda GC160 for $200, and the Honda GX120 for $330. One of the Briggs was the IC version with the cast iron sleeve. I understand the Honda GC is the not great consumer motor. I really don't know much about the differences, but my instinct says just buy the Briggs with the sleeve and don't think too much about it. I once had a Snapper with an IC motor many years ago and it was a dandy.

I'm not going to argue with loger here because I like stick edger too. They each have their place.

Frank in Vanc.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 9:12PM
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Frank, I know "One" of your points after demonstrating my Stick/Hard/Blade to a friend today that has more concrete to edge. It was too much lifting involved vs just rolling and a need for a string also in his application.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 9:04PM
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