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Caution about Honda lawnmowers

Posted by deklund2 ca (My Page) on
Tue, Oct 16, 12 at 11:52

After owning a Honda HRR216VKA for less than a year, I started having starting and surging problems with it. Like other gas engines, I figured there was a clogged jet or junk in the float bowl. I took it apart, inspected and reassembled several times, but could not find any problems. Since it was still under warranty, I took it back to HD for warranty repair. HD has their own issues, but after 4wks, it came back with a REPAIR BILL!!. They said they had to replace the carburetor because of RUST?? As I mentioned, I had taken it apart several times and it looked like new. I complained, I asked for the old part (which they didn't have) and they gave it back to me without a charge but REALLY?? A one year old lawnmower that needed a new carburetor from HONDA?? I expect better, and if it breaks, I expect the warranty to be honored.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

Sure your issue isn't with Home Depot?


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

Or keeping gasoline with ethanol in it in the mower without a stabilizer?


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

Call me crazy, but having to make sure the pump gas in the tank is no more than a few weeks old seems unreasonable. If a high performance car or motorcycle engine can run on gas that has been in the tank for a few months, then I think that Honda should be able to make a 5hp thumper do it as well.


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

Apples to oranges. Your car doesn't have a carburetor.


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

I've had my Honda for 23 years and yet to have a carb issue.

I use Stabil toward the end of the season and always fill the tank to the brim when not in use to reduce the dead air space.
This reduces the amount of air exchange (with moisture) that occurs as the temperature fluctuates from day to night.


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

I'm guessing you change your furnace filter once a year.


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

Change? :)


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

Change? Yup. What you do is take out the furnace filter, lean it up against the furnace behind the filter you took out last year and then put in the filter you took out last year. Filters last a lot longer if ya rotate 'em. :)


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

Okay, well given the value of the comments here, I won't bother you guys with further posts. For me, the value of these forums is sharing problems and solutions.


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

Im pretty sure we gave some solutions.


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

No. You posted "Caution about Honda lawnmowers". You came to trash the name. Your problem was solved and eventually at no cost to you. So what problem did you still have that you felt needed addressed? You were told what precautions to take that might avoid the issue in the future and you blew that off.


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

Given the nature of the problem I had (and may have again in the future) and reported problems from other owners complaining of gas leaking from the mower, I think there is probably and issue with the float bowl needle valve seal failing. Putting additives in the fuel might slow down whatever causes the seal to fail and replacing the whole carburetor will certainly fix it for a while, but the underlying problem is a crappy carburetor, and yes, Honda should take responsibility for that and not insist that customers are doing something wrong with the mower. No one here offered any "solutions" just commented on what they have experienced with a completely different lawn mower model and about my air filter habits.


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

Ummm!!?? No comment im stayin out of this one....


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

"Given the nature of the problem I had (and may have again in the future) and reported problems from other owners complaining of gas leaking from the mower, I think there is probably and issue with the float bowl needle valve seal failing."
Now that's an issue that people here might be able to addresss based on their experience. I'm sorry, I must have misread your first post because I didn't catch that at all. But it is good to hear that you've stopped beating your wife.


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

They all use the same or maybe a very slightly different carb. Also you never mentioned leaking gas...

If you follow these tips I can assure you that there will be no problems with your carb.

Use stabil or a comparable fuel stabilizer.

When finished mowing turn the fuel shutoff valve off and let the carb run dry.

Fill the gas tank as full as possible when done mowing to keep the air space as small as possible between mows.

Store your mower completely out of fuel in the off season.


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

And no, Honda should not be paying for improper use/storage of their product. All of the things I just outlined are in the manual as proper operating procedure for the mower.


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

The items bsmith mentioned are listed in the manual for storage procedures. Do you go thru this process every week or every other week that you mow your lawn? If I found vernish, sludge, sediment, rust or anything out of the ordinary when I pulled and inspected the carb, then okay, that's my problem, but it was clean as a whistle, it just didn't work...


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

I absolutely do.


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

deklund2, I agree with everything you said here. Any mower should only require reasonable care. A new carburetor after one year is ridiculous, either HD is ripping you off or the carburetor is known to be junk. If these problems continue you may want to find a more reliable mower with a proven track record.


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

If you are running a repair shop and you have the option to rebuild a carburetor or replace it with a new one costing you about $13, You replace it with a new one.
Honda carburetors are cheaper to buy new than rebuild. Many can usually rebuild one , but the low speed jet area can be a problem. If it is not cleaned properly it will run, but it will surge.
We see water or moisture in a lot of lawn mowers. One of the ways this can happen is if you bring the lawnmower into a air conditioned area like a basement after use.
I recommend Stabile to all my customers.


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

I will try put Stabil in my garden equipment. If it keeps me from having to fix the equipment so often, it's worth the trouble. I have the draw the line and keeping the tank filled and running the carburetor dry after every use.

Thanks for the advice Md.Stamen et al, do you happen to know where the low speed jet is in case I want to try fixing this if it happens again? I never found one.


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

I tried cleaning the carb in my HRX right after I purchased it because the prior owner left untreated fuel in it and of course it surged. I cleaned it so thoroughly it blew my mind when after reassembly it still surged. I was convinced I just didn't clean it well enough and didnt think that Honda was to blame. Then I found how cheaply a brand new carb was, purchased it and have been enjoying a mower that runs/idles like new.

Just FYI, if your mower has a fuel shutoff (I'm almost positive it should) all you need to do to run the carb dry between mowings is twist the shutoff (gray nob on the opposite side of your oil drain/fill/dipstick) 90 degrees a few minutes prior to wrapping up that mow and it will just die when it's dry. Turn the nob back to open (I find that a couple minutes prior to pulling the cord allows the carb to fill adequately for the wonderful one pull starts Honda is known for) and your good to go.

Really it's no more trouble than putting stabil I'm the gas.


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

I found a very good video that shows how to clean this complicated carburetor. I know the replacements are cheap, but I hate not being able to fix something because of a spec of dirt. If you watch closely, you'll see that they also enrich the mixture compared with the factory manual.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3S_7XpUioE


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

Excellent video.
Except for the idle stop setting. This is some of the surging problem.
Think of it this way.
When the governor is keeping the engine running smooth in any speed range it goes from that range higher and lower.
If the idle stop is set too low it will dip real low and then to high speed. This is surging or hunting.
Breaking the idle stop and putting it back on in the video works, but did you count the turns?
Most walbro carburetors are 1/2 turn. Honda carbs are about 2 turns. So, if you do a rebuild count the original turns.


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Since I began running the carb dry after every use, troubles have nearly ceased . This is with 3 different engines, BTW


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

Some newer Honda mower carburetors are very low cost. Does that reflect the quality of them? Maybe. Does that mean they can't be properly repaired once faulty? Maybe. Just some food for thought. Search them out on eBay and you will see. Looks to me like they are quite disposable nowadays.


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

Im sure that the lower cost does have some reflection of the total quality of the carb but they are also used on so many different engines in so many different applications that the shear number they have to purchase/haev made makes them much more affordable.

But, im not sure where they line between proper maintenance and part quality is drawn.

I know that if I use a fuel treatment the carb will not gum up. If I run the carb dry after wach use it will not gum up. I also know that if I do the above and keep my tank topped off while the mower is not in use I will not have an issue either.

This brings me to my point. Is it the carbs being made differently/more cheaply causing the issues or is it that over the past few years pretty much any gas anywhere in the country has at least 15% Ethanol in it? and since that was not the case 10 years ago is this why people could leave fuel untreated in their equipment for pretty much any amount of time and still have it start up and run/idle like it was new?


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

It is extremely hard to get to the idle screw and low speed jet setting. It is not user friendly.
I have also used the jet from the 217 and put them on the 216.
The carbs are the same, but the jet is larger.
Because of EPA specs the jets are set. Different altitudes require different settings. This is impossible when they are set at the factory.


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

The video seemed good for those so inclined, yet I wouldn't spray cleaner on the viton tip of the float valve myself...


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

invest in a 5 gallon gas can of ethanol free gas. Moisture is the enemy. Thats my 2 cents. Or more like 13 bucks a gallon. ha ha


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

If people would do maintence on their equipment and take better care then maybe post like this would not have much to talk about.
The Honda is not the issue here.


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

Honda is still a great name and I'd buy another one tomorrow with no question.


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

Another vote for Honda. I'll never buy something else. My previous one lasted 14 years. I'm in my 7th year with the HRX. I run it dry at the end of the season, change the oil and air filter. Nothing out of the ordinary. I do sharpen the blades every month. I'm cutting Bermuda.


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

Talking about cheap (to make) carbs. Lawnboy has used carbs that are 99% plastic on almost all their 2-cycle mowers since the 1970's.


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

First off, still doing my above outlined procedures and still running smooth as butter (honestly, my 7 year old HRX runs/operates amusingly better than my neighbors TORO purchased no more than 4onths ago with the 7.75hp Briggs engine!) and one pull starting.

One thing I did change was to switch from regular stabil to the yellow ethanol specific stuff. Not sure if it was needed but it made me feel better.

I would love to find some corn free fuel. I don't think there's any available at any pump remotely close to STL (Go Cards!!!). I might try to see if I or my works parts dept (auto dealer) can get a 5g bucket of EFree just for my OPE. Not only would its corrosive and water infatuated properties be gladly not my problem but even at only 15% I'm certian it's robbing power from the machines too. Also, I refuse to purchase premixed fuel products. It's just lame on all levels.

There's no doubt OPE is manufactured much less stout than even 10 years ago. But it's also lighter, cheaper (comparing capabilities of products) and more functional. I use a 20+ year old Echo PB300E weekly, a 20+ year old craftsman edger monthly and I'm currently In the process of mating a Echo motor that HAD a curved shaft from a gt200i to an Echo straight shaft from an SRM2100. The GT motor is at least 10 years old (the gray bodied Echo stuff).

Having said that though, I did just purchase a Chinese carb for my Stihl 021 off EBay that unlike the OE unit, actually has a H&L jet adjustment screws. Not only that but it was $10 shipped, complete carb and the best I could do on a rebuild kit was $13. We shall see what durability my Far East carb has in time.


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

I believe most premium (grade) fuel is still ethanol free. It works fine in yard equipment.


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

That is a common misconception. I'm not sure where it started but after much research I found no rhyme or reason to why some premium has corn in it and why some does not. Other than the fact that ethanol is cheaper for petroleum companies to blend with to raise octane ratings (especially premium since ethanol actually has an octane rating near 120) which fuels larger profits and as we all know, that's the dragon these terrible conglomerates are chasing.


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

In my area premium gas is not ethanol free.


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

"If people would do maintence on their equipment and take better care then maybe post like this would not have much to talk about."
"The Honda is not the issue here."

I agree 100%, however in the real world things like mowers get abused and may not be maintained at all. Good design and engineering takes this into account when a product is developed. That is why some mowers last longer and have a better reputation than others.


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

At least it only took you one visit.

My Craftsman push mover bought new. Said one pull start. I never could start it on the first try. Often had to use spray to start it. Took it in to Sears twice. When I got it back the second time it still would not start properly. I took it back inside and said you start it -- they could not. Then, and only then, did they change the carb and it worked fine.


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

My 2 cents , Honda Engines are still solid performers . Their carbs have suffered from downgrading to a small degree. They do require more proactive care. Using common sense and a little preventative mtce and these issues can be avoided . Ethanol is evident in most if not all fuel to some extent in the U.S . Treating this fuel will resolve any problems. I remember when many engine manufacturers pre ran their units , and most likely still do for Q.A. Rational. Fuel may be evident within the fuel system therefore from the get go . Rusting is a Red Light of Ethanol fouling from long term . I suppose 1 yr would do the trick . The owner may have not seen the small amount of oxidation around the low speed jet area which can cause this condition . 13 $ is cheap for a quick fix . Very few owners are experienced within carb rebuilding and often do more harm then good . As for Viton and solvent usage as advised by Tom I agree some swelling could occur . EPDM seals are the only type I would allow Acidic or Amine solvents clean .
Have owned previously Honda Engine Units and have had good service from them . Currently have a Toro , but would not hesitate on a Honda should the price be right .


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

Ethanol free gas.
http://www.pure-gas.org/


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

That link was trash.

Unfortunately there's no E free petrol in my area (STL,MO). Even though it's not mandated through our house, all gas stations use a 10%-15-% blend.

I would like to run pure but in my situation it's not really practical. I'll just keep adding ethanol specific stabil/Seafoam at the recommended amounts and I'm sure my Honda will last till I feel the need for the next new mower from Alpharetta (sp?).


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

I have a Honda HRS21 SA that is over 25 years old. Have to replace the POS plastic carb every couple years because I dont use it enough. Its too cool to get rid of though with its upside down engine construction.


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RE: Caution about Honda lawnmowers

I add SeaFoam to all my OPE gas storage containers and only purchase as much gas as I'll go through in a month or so. This way, come winter storage, they have SeaFoam treated gas that's less than a month old. I don't drain the gas before storage. Haven't had any carb related issues with this method.


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