The Honda Miimo: Automation Comes to the Lawn

honda-miimo-4

It’s been a long time coming: 5 years since it was first shown to the public and four years on the market in Europe, we’re finally going to get Honda’s robotic mower. While the Miimo has been compared to the Roomba, this tiny rechargeable mower takes a new approach to mowing that makes it unlike anything on the market. However, that doesn’t mean you should throw out your walk-behind mower just yet: it comes with some limitations that make it more of a niche product than a replacement for human-operated devices.

A New Way to Mow

The Miimo can handle slopes up to 25 degrees and can cut to a height ranging between 0.8 and 2.4 inches like most mowers, but it doesn’t cut grass like a traditional mower. It uses three tiny blades mounted to a fan designed to increase mowing chamber vacuum. This combination cuts off just 0.12 inches (three millimeters) of grass with each pass. These tiny clippings are absorbed into the top layer of the soil without requiring the multiple cuts of a mulching mower, and since it doesn’t need an operator, the Miimo can cut far more often to maintain grass height for an even finish through the season.

Navigation

The Miimo’s navigation is controlled primarily through a set of boundary wires that are installed by a certified technician when the mower is first purchased. This wire outlines the edges of the yard as well as obstacles including trees and landscaping features. Depending on the area, this wire can be under or on top of the ground surface, making for a clean installation.

When mowing, the unit uses sensors to both pick up the positions of the boundary wires and scan around its immediate location for obstacles. The fully floating cover has its own sensor system that tells the mower if a collision is detected.

Cutting Modes and Times

This mower uses two independent wheel motors, letting it maneuver like a ZTR; Honda says this lets the mower turn around obstacles without ever needing to back up, saving considerable time when mowing. The onboard computer can be set to approach mowing in 5 different ways:

– Random mode turns the mower at a wide angle when it detects a boundary wire.

– Directional turns the mower at a narrow-angle when it detects a wire, helping it maneuver in narrow areas near gardens and sheds.

– Mixed mode lets the mower switch between random and directional modes as needed.

– Spiral mode tells the mower to concentrate on areas that are likely to have the highest growth.

– Edge mode tells the mower to mow along the boundary lines first.

Why so many cutting modes? In most cases, the Miimo won’t be able to cut an entire lawn all at once, so it needs to make the most out of each charge. The Miimo HRM 310 can mow for up to 30 minutes between charges, while the HRM 520 comes with a bigger battery that can last up to 60 minutes. The cutting width is only 8.7 inches, which severely limits the coverage per charge. Once the battery is at 30%, the mower drives back to its docking station and will need to recharge for about a half hour before mowing again.

Security

What if someone decides to walk off with your fancy robot mower or it tips over? If the Miimo loses contact with the ground, it will shut off immediately and sound an alarm. The only way to reactivate the unit is by typing in a PIN.

Is This Mower a Good Choice for My Yard?

If you have a small lawn and you want to take out a significant chunk of the maintenance, the Miimo may be a good fit. However, it isn’t going to eliminate yard work. It can’t cut large amounts of growth at one time, and it can’t bag clippings that could spread weeds, so you may still need to pull out a walk-behind mower now and then. With the ability to cover ¾ of an acre at most, its use is limited to small suburban lawns.

No Matter What You Choose, We Have the Parts to Keep Your Honda Equipment Working

Whether you let an HRM 310 do the cutting or you use a walk-behind HRC for your landscaping business, you can get everything you need for your Honda small engine equipment at www.hondalawnparts.com. As a certified Honda dealer, we’re able to supply you with parts for all of their small engines and equipment from mowers to water pumps, and we can ship those parts to any address in the U.S. and Canada.

Using a Honda Generator During Storms

Honda GeneratorA Honda generator can keep power going when a storm cuts your home’s connection to the grid so you can keep televisions, radios, and phones on to monitor the forecast while keeping a few appliances running for comfort. However, getting the generator up and running can be daunting during bad weather. With a little planning, you can make the switch from grid to generator power a lot easier.

Storage

Like any piece of small engine equipment, a generator needs to be kept in a cool, dry place. However, it also needs to be in a place that will be accessible during a storm, letting you position it where it can be used. That means carrying it or rolling it to a place that keeps it at least three feet away from buildings so that carbon monoxide from the exhaust won’t reach lethal concentrations. Make sure you can easily move the generator from its storage spot to its operating spot, taking care of any obstacles that may be in the way.

Cords

Since you can’t bring your generator into your home, you need a way to get power from it to the appliances you want to use. When shopping for extension cords, make sure to check the amperage: it needs to be at least as high as the maximum amp output of the socket it will be plugged into.

Larger generators include a twist lock outlet. This keeps the cord attached at the generator end when running long distances, but it also requires a special extension cord with the right end. The type of twist lock cord you’ll need will depend on the power mode and attached appliances: all Honda generators can produce 120-volt power, while some have the ability to make 240-volt power for high-demand appliances and can even switch some outlets between 120 and 240-volt output. Cords are available with ends including multiple 120-volt sockets that use power directly, converter cables that turn 240 volts into 120, and 240-volt sockets for high power demand devices like water pumps. 120-volt power is fed through an inverter to get a clean waveform that’s safe for sensitive electric devices, but 240-volt power comes directly from the generator and shouldn’t be used for these devices.

Fuel

The fuel used in your generator should be no more than 30 days old, or 90 days old if it’s been treated with a stabilizer. Instead of storing fuel just for the generator, keep some fuel on hand for the generator and other power equipment including mowers and lawn care tools so it’s used up quickly. Honda’s generators can run for several hours on a tank of gas, so one full tank should be enough to keep appliances going until the power is restored or it’s safe for you to leave your home and buy more fuel.

Oil

Honda’s Oil Alert system will shut down the engine to prevent it from being damaged if there isn’t enough oil, but that also means your generator won’t be able to make power. Keep some extra oil on hand and check the oil level before moving the generator out of storage.

Linking the Generator to Your Home Wiring

Your generator can feed into your home’s electrical system directly using a transfer switch. This device is required by law when linking a generator to home wiring because it isolates your home from the grid. Without this switch, power can enter the grid, shocking workers who are trying to repair the lines. This switch needs to be installed by a professional electrician to make sure it’s working correctly. Once installed, the generator can be moved to the switch and plugged in so it can supply electricity when the power fails.

Keep Your Generator Running with Genuine Honda Parts

As a certified Honda small engine equipment dealer, www.hondalawnparts.com carries everything you need for your Honda equipment. Along with replacement parts for your generator, we carry genuine Honda accessories including transfer switches and cable adapters so you can rest easy knowing you’ll be ready when storms strike. We ship across the U.S. and Canada.

Trimming Tips

honda trimmersWith models ranging from the compact VersAttach to professional models powered by their own unique four stroke engine, Honda’s brushcutters and string trimmers are able to deliver impressive performance for homeowners and landscape professionals. However, there’s more to using this equipment than just firing up the engine and pointing the head at some tall grass. These tips will help you use your trimmer safely and effectively.

Safety

Unlike a mower, the head of a trimmer isn’t surrounded by a shroud, which means whatever is hit by the string or blade can be flung away at high speed, turning pebbles, plants and other objects into dangerous projectiles. When you use a trimmer, you should have full protection for your eyes, legs and feet, and you should always wear non-slip shoes or boots. People and animals should be kept away from where you’re working to keep them from being hit.

Ear protection is also a necessity due to the high level of noise generated by the cutting head and the engine. Even though Honda’s mini four strokes are far quieter than two-stroke engines, they can still cause hearing damage after prolonged use.

Always inspect the area for obstacles that could damage the trimmer or pose a safety hazard. Fence wire, chain, and electrical cables are particularly dangerous because they can wrap around the head. Once they tighten and jam the trimmer, it will kick back violently, causing serious injury.

Cutting Technique

The trimmer is designed to be used with the head parallel to the ground, floating just a couple inches from the surface. In some circumstances, the head may need to be used at an angle to get into crevices.

If you’re looking at the trimmer head from the top of the device, the head spins counter-clockwise. When trimming, the head should sweep right across the area being cut. This lets the string or blade slice into the plants and toss them against the debris shield, reducing the chance of turning these bits of growth or any objects hiding beneath them into projectiles. Once you’ve turned all the way to the right, swing back to the left before cutting again.

When cutting next to obstacles like walls and fences, tip the head slightly to the right. This will force ricocheting debris toward the ground.

Adjusting Harnesses and Handles

If you have a model that attaches to a shoulder harness, the proper adjustment will keep the trimmer in a comfortable position while maintaining the head position where you need it. The harness should be adjusted so that the quick release latch is resting on your hip. When the trimmer is attached, it should balance at an angle that places the head a few inched above the ground.

Whether or not your trimmer comes with a harness, the handle should be adjusted so that you can hold the trimmer in the correct position while your arms and shoulders are relaxed.

Getting More Line Out of the Head

To get more line out of a manual feed head, shut off the engine, then pull up on the head and twist it counter-clockwise.

Semi-matic and Pro-tap heads use a bump feed system. To get more line out, bump the head against the ground while the head is spinning. Always bump the head against soft ground: contact with pavement will grind off the surface of the head.

Using a Brushcutter Blade

String is great for cutting through young, green plants, but it will just slap the sides of woody plants. A brushcutter blade has the opposite problem: it goes through woody stems with ease, but it will just chew through young grass and weeds.

The basic technique for using a blade is the same as using the string head on your trimmer. However, it’s a good idea to check the area before cutting for unseen obstacles including rocks, branches, and other debris. While these will only wear down line, they can do serious damage to a blade.

On some models, Honda includes two debris shields. The shield with the cutoff knife should be used with trimmer line: this blade cuts off excess line as it passes by. The other shield is designed for use with the brushcutter blade. It’s shaped and supported to protect the operator from hardier grass.

When switching between the blade head and the line head, remember that everything on the shaft is reverse threaded so it won’t loosen during operation. Bolts and heads need to be turned left to tighten and right to loosen.

Keep Your Honda String Trimmer in Top Condition

Whether you need a brushcutter blade, a replacement harness or some engine parts, you can find everything you need for your Honda at www.hondalawnparts.com. We’re a certified dealer for Honda Small Engine equipment, and we can ship OEM parts to any address in the U.S. and Canada.

Engine Overheating

engine overheating
Summer heat and long hours of operation can put serious thermal stresses on your Honda engine, but under normal circumstances, it should have no problem keeping temperatures under control. However, a few problems can crop up that can push temperature to a level that components can expand, increasing friction and eventually seizing. Addressing these problems early can keep the motor going and avoid a costly rebuild.

Dirt

Small engines are air cooled: heat from combustion is transferred to the surrounding metal of the head and engine block where it heats the air. The fins increase the surface area, allowing more heat to be transferred. Dirt is a poor heat conductor, which means a dirty engine can’t get that heat into the air. Attention should also be paid to the plastic shroud over the engine: it helps channel air to the fins. If it gets clogged, airflow is reduced.

These parts can be cleaned with compressed air or a soft brush. Never use a pressure washer, as this can push water into the engine where it can contaminate the fuel and oil.

Oil

Oil has two roles in heat management: it reduces internal friction that generates heat, and it carries heat from the combustion chamber and piston to the rest of the engine, increasing the area that can be used to transfer that heat into the atmosphere. Although most modern Honda engines have their Oil Alert system to force shutdown if the oil level is dangerously low, the oil can still get low enough without triggering the system to compound problems that can lead to overheating. Always check the oil level before starting the engine.

Cooling System Damage

To keep enough cool air around the cooling fins, the flywheel has fins on its surface that act as a radial fan. While the engine is running, these fans draw air in from the shroud and push it around the engine to remove heat. Something as simple as some leaves or grass gathered on top of the inner shroud can reduce airflow, while damage to the fins or shroud can cause significant airflow problems. Replacing these parts once the issue has been found can save your engine from needing a rebuild.

Air/Fuel Mixture

Fuel also plays a role in cooling, directly absorbing heat from the combustion chamber and maintaining combustion heat at an acceptable level. If the engine runs lean, temperatures can skyrocket, leading to overheating.

The most common cause of a lean mix is a dirty fuel cap. This cap has small vents that allow air to enter the tank as fuel leaves. If those vents are sealed, the reduced pressure inside the tank can keep the carburetor from drawing in fuel, causing the mixture to lean out.

A dirty filter can also reduce fuel flow, especially in sub-50cc engines like those found in string trimmers. These engines have a small screen on the end of the fuel line that needs to be pulled out of the tank and cleaned occasionally. Other models have an in-line filter or a bowl on the bottom of the carburetor to collect debris before it reaches the jet. Clogged fuel filters should be replaced, while bowls can be drained or removed and cleaned.

Damage or age can also break the seal between the carburetor and the engine. If the seal between these two parts allows air to enter, the engine will be getting outside air along with air mixed with fuel in the carburetor, leaning out the mix reaching the cylinder.

Work in an area with high altitudes? Honda makes kits to change the carburetor jetting to deal with the reduced air density. If you try to use the engine at lower altitudes, the mix will be too lean. If the shop or previous owner who made the swap did it by the book, there should be a label on the engine stating the jets have been replaced.

Get the Parts You Need to Fix Your Honda Small Engine

Hondalawnparts.com is a certified Honda Small Engine Equipment dealer, letting us offer all the OEM parts you need to get your engine’s temperatures under control. Our site has advanced search tools with factory diagrams and descriptions to make it easy to find what you need, and we can ship your order anywhere in the U.S. and Canada.

Leaf Blowing Tips

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAFall leaves are beautiful when they’re still on trees, but they become a major nuisance and a threat to your lawn when they start falling. A leaf blower can make leaf removal fast and easy, but only if you know the right techniques. These tips will help you get the most out of your equipment whether you have a Honda-powered backpack or walk-behind blower, an older Honda-built blower or a blower attachment for your VersAttach multitool.

Be Sensible About Safety and Considerate to Your Neighbors

A blower works by moving air so fast that it can push heavy, loose materials. That means lots of noise and dust that requires eye and ear protection. It’s also a good idea to stay well away from gravel driveways and to wait a while before blowing over areas that have recently been covered in fertilizer, pesticides or other chemicals.

Speaking of dust and loudness, you should probably limit blowing to times when everyone is awake and no one is out playing in the yard or having a barbecue.

Work with the Weather

Working on a wind-free day will keep the leaves you just moved from blowing away, but if you must work when it’s windy, plan accordingly by working toward the wind direction instead of against it.

Wet leaves are far heavier than dry leaves and tend to clump together, making them even harder to move. Unless absolutely necessary, only blow leaves when they’re dry.

Plan Where You Want the Leaves to Land

Place a tarp in an area that is easy to reach both for the blower and their final destination, whether they’ll be loaded into bags or onto a trailer. Once everything is in place, start working from the outer edges of the property toward this tarp.

Live at the edge of a forest? While it may seem like a good idea to simply blow the leaves into the woods, tall piles of leaves can collect moisture that will promote rot, hurting and even killing the trees. This is especially true in areas with acidic soil including the East, Southeast and Pacific Northwest where the decomposing leaves can push the pH to plant-damaging levels.

Use the Right Angle

Pointing the tip down will concentrate the jet of air into a small spot, which is ideal for pulling up matted leaves and mulch. However, this also pushes the leaves higher into the air where they can be caught by the wind, blowing them where you don’t want them, and it will lift more dust off of the soil.

Using the tip at a shallow angle will move the leaves forward instead of up, making them easier to maneuver and collect into a pile. Skimming the surface will also keep dust from being blown up.

Don’t Expect Perfection

A leaf blower can remove 99.5% of the leaves from your lawn with ease, but there will always be a handful of leaves that will stick tenaciously to the grass. Unless you have a section that has clumped together, it’s better to leave them alone. With the vast majority of leaves removed, you’ve accomplished the three main reasons for moving leaves: maintaining drainage, exposing the grass and preventing an increase in surface soil acidity.

Use the Blower for More than Leaves

A blower works great for moving light snowfall and water off of driveways and pushing away cobwebs that gather on the corners of buildings.

Keep Your Blower Working

When you need parts for Honda blowers or engines, visit www.hondalawnparts.com. We’re a certified Honda Small Engine Equipment dealer, which means we carry everything for their motors and equipment. Our site has factory diagrams built in to help you find the part you’re looking for, and we can ship it to you whether you live in the U.S. or Canada.

Taking Your Honda Generator Tailgating

honda-generatorNo matter what sport you’re into, half the fun of going to a game or a race is the tailgating. With a little preparation, a Honda generator can help you get the most out of your party by letting you watch the pre-game show on TV, outfit your mobile kitchen and keep some cold drinks on hand.

How Many Watts Do I Need?

Generators are rated in maximum watts for temporary loads and running watts for long term use. To get the right size generator, you need to figure out how much power you need for the devices you plan on using. Most appliances have a label clearly outlining power demands, but there are a couple things to watch out for.

A heating element on an electric hot plate or a hair dryer may have the watts stated clearly on the side of the device, but this is a measurement of heat energy, not electrical energy. If there isn’t an electric label, plan on using 60% more than the stated heat wattage.

Watts = Amps X Volts. If you have an appliance only rated in amps, simply multiply that number by 120 to get the watts.

Electric motors are “reactive” loads, using up to three times as much power to start as they do to run. Appliances that have electric motors include air conditioners, blenders, fans, and refrigerators. Since air conditioners and refrigerators cycle on and off constantly, it’s best to have enough capacity to handle the peak load at any time. With other appliances, you can plan around this load, switching off a few things before starting them up, then switching everything back on once the appliance is running.
Resistive loads like TVs and toasters always draw the same amount of current when they’re on.

Are Electronics Safe to Use with a Generator?

Honda generators come equipped with inverters that convert the generator’s power into a clean AC waveform that won’t damage sensitive electronics including TVs and computers.

How Do I Set Up My Generator?

Like any internal combustion engine, the motor in your generator makes carbon monoxide, which can be poisonous in high enough concentrations. Never place it under awnings or tents where the exhaust gasses can collect. Placing it downwind will keep the exhaust from blowing over the area you’ll be partying. Using a high amp extension cord will reduce resistance, taking a load off of your generator and the equipment connected to it. For most uses, the best route is to get a cord designed for the locking plug that ends in multiple 120v outlets.

While it’s easy to get an extension cord made for outdoor use, you’ll probably end up using a few devices intended to be used only in the home. GFCI protection is built into the outlets on your generator to reduce the chance of shorts, but some extra precautions should be taken to help keep your appliances away from water. Make sure they’re kept off of the ground and have some sort of weather protection to keep them from getting wet and inspect cords for damage before plugging them in.

How Loud is the Generator?

Most Honda recreational generators are housed in a case that helps quiet engine noises. At most, the generator will make 65 dBa under full load, which is about the same as a normal speaking voice. Since the generator will be at least a few feet away from where you’ll be hanging out, the sound will be drowned out by TVs, radios, and talking.

How Can I Get the Most Out of My Appliances?

If you tailgate regularly, it may be worth investing in an outdoor refrigerator. These are built to keep items cool in a wide range of environments, and if they’re UL listed, they’ve undergone a series of tests to ensure they won’t short if they get wet. Likewise, outdoor TVs are built to both withstand moisture and manage heat through a wide range of temperatures, while the life of a standard TV will be shortened considerably if it gets cold or overheats.

You can reduce the load that refrigerators, freezers, and refrigerated coolers put on your generator by filling them with pre-chilled food. If you have a freezer or cooler, fill any remaining space with ice to create a thermal buffer.

Where Can I Get Parts to Keep My Generator Working?

www.hondalawnparts.com is a certified dealer for Honda Power Equipment. We stock parts for Honda generators and the motors that power them, and we can ship those parts anywhere in the U.S. and Canada. Finding the right part is easy thanks to our advanced search system that integrates factory diagrams so you can see where the part fits on your machine.

Tips for Tilling

Tips for Tilling Honda Tiller

Breaking ground is the first step to building a garden, whether you’re planting vegetables or decorative plants. These tips will help you get the most out of your Honda tiller and your new planting project this season.

When to Till

You may want to break ground as soon as possible to start planting, but there are a few conditions that should be met to get the most out of tilling:

The ground should be at least moderately dry. Wet, muddy ground will compact from the weight of the tiller, making it hard for roots to penetrate. Pick up a handful of soil and squeeze: if the soil falls apart, it’s dry enough. If it forms a ball, it’s too wet.

The ground should be warm. The soil temperature should be at least 60 degrees F (15 degrees C.) If you don’t have a thermometer, push your hand into the soil. If you can keep it there for a full minute, the soil is warm enough.

Wind should be at a minimum so that the newly broken soil won’t blow away.

It needs to be late in the evening. While tilling can kill off existing weeds, dormant plants can start growing once they’re exposed to sunlight. Tilling just before the sun goes down will keep these weeds from getting the sun they need to restart growth.

Applying Fertilizer and Nutrients

If you’re going to use fertilizer, till the soil to break it up, then till again once the fertilizer has been spread to help mix it in.

Adding nutrients to correct soil deficiencies can adversely affect new roots. Ideally, these additives should be applied in the fall after harvest season, tilling the soil to integrate them.

Setting the Depth Bar

The bar holds the tiller back, helping it dig into the soil instead of just rolling over the surface. Setting the bar lower will help the tiller go deeper and reduces ground speed, helping the tines go through hard soil. Ideally, the tiller should be tilted slightly rearward while in operation. The bar should be adjusted so that the blades consistently reach a depth of 5 inches for leafy vegetables and flowers, and around 8 inches for root vegetables.

Setting the Throttle

In most cases, you’ll want to use your tiller at full throttle. However, this can be a bit much when going through soft soil, causing the tines to throw out chunks of unbroken soil instead of chopping it up. Lower the throttle accordingly until you get the right soil consistency.

Using the Handlebars to Control Depth and Speed

While it may seem like a good idea to go over ground that wasn’t correctly tilled, cutting through the soil a second time can actually compact it, making it harder for plants to grow. Getting a good cut through the soil the first time is critical.

If the tiller is moving too fast, push down on the handlebars. The depth bar will dig into the soil and help keep the tiller in place so the tines can dig deeper. Once the tiller is cutting at the desired depth, let up on the handlebars to start moving forward again.

If the tiller stops moving forward, lessen the pressure on the handlebars and move them side to side until the tines get traction again. If the tiller still doesn’t want to move, raise the depth bar.

Keeping Your Tiller in Top Condition

When you need parts for your Honda tiller, visit www.hondalawnparts.com. We’re a certified Honda Small Engine Equipment dealer, which means we can provide you with everything you need for maintenance and repairs. Finding parts is easy thanks to our advanced search engine that has built-in factory diagrams and descriptions. We can ship your order to any address in the U.S. and Canada.

Honda Mini Four Stroke Engine

Honda Mini 4-stroke engineHonda’s GX25 and GX35 mini four-stroke engines are built to operate in any position, making them an enticing alternative to hard starting, fuel swilling two strokes. Here’s what you need to know to operate and maintain one of these unique engines, whether it’s powering a string trimmer, a tiller or a water pump.

Starting a Cold Engine

  1. Set the throttle 1/3 of the way above “Slow.” This lever will either be on the engine or the handle of the equipment you’re using.
  2. Move the choke lever, located next to the air cleaner, to the “CLOSED” position.
  3. Press the priming bulb, located next to the choke, until fuel can be seen inside the bulb.
  4. Turn the engine switch, located on the opposite side of the choke and priming bulb, to “ON.”
  5. Hold the starter grip and pull the recoil starter straight out from the opening in the flywheel cover. On tillers, the starter should be pulled straight back, toward the handle. On other engines, your left hand should be holding the starter grip, while your right hand pulls the starter toward you.

Starting a Warm Engine

On tillers and pumps, perform the following procedure before trying to restart the motor:

  1. Make sure the engine switch is in the “OFF” position.
  2. Set the choke lever to “OPEN.”
  3. Set the throttle to the “MAX” position.
  4. Pull the starter 3-5 times.

All engines can be started using the “Starting a Cold Engine” method above, but with the choke open.

Oil

These engines are able to work at any angle because they use a rotary slinger that turns the oil into a fine mist during operation, letting it lubricate in much the same way the oil/fuel mixture does in a two stroke. Because of this, changing and maintaining the oil is a little different from other small engines.

The oil should be checked when the engine is off and sitting level. Check the oil before each use. If you’re using the engine continually, check the level every 10 hours. Wipe the dipstick/filler cap clean, then insert it into the engine without screwing it in. The oil should come up to the bottom mark on the dipstick.

The oil should be changed after a month or 10 hours of use, then every 6 months or 50 hours after that. To drain the oil, simply remove the oil filler cap and tip the engine over a recycling container. Some oil will still be inside the motor, so there’s no standard amount of oil that needs to be added; start by adding 2.7 oz. (80 ml) of oil, then slowly pour in more until the oil is at the edge of the filler neck.

Honda recommends using pump engines at temperatures between 41 and 104°F (-5 to 40°C) and other engines between 23 and 104°F (-5 to 40°C.) 10W30 oil is recommended for most operating conditions, but SAE 30 can be used at temperatures above 50°F (10°C.) 5W30 can be used at temperatures below freezing.

Air Cleaner

These engines use a foam filter element. To reach the filter on tiller engines, squeeze the upper and lower tabs on the cover to lift it off. On other engines, squeeze the tabs on the top of the cover and swing it down. To clean the filter, wash it in soapy water or a non-flammable solvent. Once the filter is dry, soak it in clean engine oil and squeeze out any excess. Wipe out the inside of the air filter box before reinstalling the filter. Honda recommends cleaning the filter every three months or 25 hours.

Accessing the Engine

To get to the spark plug, spark arrester and cooling fins, remove the 5 mm bolt at the top of the engine and slide off the plastic cover. The fins should be cleaned every three months.

Spark Plug

The plug gap should be between 0.60 and 0.70 mm (0.024-0.028 inches.) When installing, always start by screwing the plug in by hand before tightening it with a plug wrench or socket to avoid cross-threading. The spark plug should be checked once a year or 100 hours of operation and should be replaced every two years or 300 hours of operation.

Spark Arrester

Depending on the model, the spark arrester can be accessed by removing a single screw on the muffler where the exhaust exits, or by removing three screws from the exhaust outlet. If the arrester is tube-shaped, it can be cleaned by squeezing and tapping it to remove the carbon deposits. All other types should be cleaned with a wire brush. The arrester needs cleaning every year or 100 hours.

Fuel Filter and Tank

The fuel filter and tank should be inspected and cleaned every year or 100 hours. To reach the fuel filter, use a hook to pull it out of the tank. If the filter or tank are dirty, clean them with a non-flammable solvent.

Getting Parts for Your GX Mini Four Stroke

Hondalawnparts.com is a certified Honda Small Engine Equipment dealer, which means we have everything for these engines from plugs to piston rings. We can ship anything you need to any address in the U.S. and Canada.

Honda GX Series V-Twin Engines

gx v-twinHonda’s GX Series V-twins are built for high demand applications including everything from generators to UTVs, delivering power with the company’s signature reliability and ease of operation. No matter what your GX powers, there are a few things you should do to get the most out of your engine.

Controls

All the controls on these motors are placed on a control panel, located to the right of the fan cover. From top to bottom, there’s a throttle, choke knob, engine switch, oil alert indicator and an hour meter. There are a couple things you should know about how these controls work on the GX:

  • Don’t see a throttle or a choke lever? Some equipment mounts the throttle remotely, typically placing it on a handle. This is almost guaranteed with vertical shaft models.
  • The choke is engaged by pulling the choke knob out.
  • The hour meter will display the current operation hours when the ignition switch is on, but it only counts time when the engine is running.
  • These engines have a fuel cut solenoid that lets fuel enter the carburetor when the ignition switch is in the “On” and “Start” positions, and then closes the fuel line when the switch is off. If the battery becomes disconnected, the solenoid will close the fuel line, causing the engine to stall. Some models also have a separate fuel valve on the fuel tank that needs to be opened when the engine will be used, then closed when it is put away.
  • Honda’s Oil Alert system will shut down the engine if the oil level inside the crankcase gets too low, preventing potential engine damage. If the system is tripped, the indicator light will turn on. If the engine stops suddenly, check both the light and the oil level.

Starting

The throttle should be about 1/3 of the way from the lowest “Min.” position, and the choke should be closed unless the motor is being restarted. If there is a fuel valve on the tank, make sure it’s open. To turn over the motor, turn the ignition switch to “On,” then twist it to “Start” until the engine fires up. If the engine isn’t running after 5 seconds, release the ignition switch and wait 10 seconds to let the starter motor cool off before trying again. Once the engine is running, it should idle for a couple minutes to let it warm up.

Stopping

Move the throttle to the “Min.” position, then turn the ignition to “Off.” If equipped, close the fuel valve.

Oil

On horizontal shaft engines, the oil is poured into a filler neck located at the top of the right side cylinder head. The oil can be checked using the automotive-style dipstick behind this cylinder. On vertical shaft models, there will be a combination filler neck cap and dipstick behind the right-hand cylinder. The oil level should be checked after the engine has idled for a couple minutes and is then shut off. The level should be between the two marks on the dipstick. On vertical shaft models, the cap should not be threaded into the filler neck when using the dipstick to check the oil level.

GX Series engines are designed to use 5W30 or 10W30 oil in most operating conditions. If you need to operate the motor at temperatures below 10 degrees F (-15 degrees C) a synthetic 5W30 is recommended. SAE 30 can be used at temperatures above 50 degrees F (10 degrees C).

Oil can be drained by removing a plug bolt at the base of the engine. The GX series also uses a spin-on oil filter, which should be replaced each time the oil is changed.

Air Filter

The air cleaner is behind a latched cover between the cylinders. Vertical shaft motors use a series of panels, while horizontal shaft motors use round filter elements.

The air cleaner uses both a paper element and a foam element. The foam element should be cleaned by washing it with a mild detergent or a non-flammable solvent. Once dry, soak it in clean engine oil and squeeze out any excess. The paper element should be tapped against a hard surface to loosen any dirt between the pleats.

Spark Plugs

The spark plug gap should be between 0.028-0.031 inches (0.7-0.8 mm.) The plugs can be removed and installed using a 5/8 inch plug wrench or socket. When installing, screw the plug into the engine by hand to ensure it doesn’t cross thread, then tighten it down 1/8-1/4 turn after it seats if it’s used, or ½ turn if it is new.

Getting Parts

Need something for your Honda GX V-twin? You can get it from www.hondalawnparts.com. We’re a certified Honda Small Engine Equipment dealer, so we carry everything for their motors. When you search for parts on our site, you’ll see factory parts diagrams and descriptions so you can quickly find what you need. We ship parts across the U.S. and Canada.

Honda GC Engine

Honda GCThe GC Series may be aimed at residential use, but it’s just as reliable as anything from Honda. Found mostly in pressure washers, tillers and water pumps, this motor is easy to use if you know how to operate and take care of it.

What’s the Difference between the GC160 and GC190?

Both engines are identical aside from the GC190’s longer stroke and higher weight. The information below applies to both versions of the GC series.

Controls

There are three versions of these motors, each with their own control set located to the right of the fuel filler neck. All models have a choke rod which has a hook on the end. Pulling this rod out closes the choke.

Next to the choke rod, there may be a lever. If the lever is gray, it’s the throttle lever. Pushing it up will open the throttle, increasing engine speed. If it’s red, it’s the ignition switch. Pushing it up switches the ignition on, allowing the motor to run.

Some fixed throttle engines have an engine stop/start switch next to the choke rod. Turning the knob clockwise switches the ignition on, while turning it counter-clockwise cuts the ignition, shutting off the engine.

Starting

Before starting, the choke should be closed if the engine is cold and open if the engine is warm. If your motor has a throttle, it should be set to 1/3 of the way toward the “Fast” position. If it has an ignition switch or stop/start switch, it should be on. Use the recoil starter to turn over the engine. Once the engine is warm, the choke can be opened and the throttle set to the desired speed.

Stopping

To stop the engine, shut off the ignition or push the throttle lever all the way down to the “stop” position.

Fuel

These engines are designed to run regular unleaded fuel with up to 10% ethanol. The fuel tank should be filled no higher than the bottom of the filler neck. When storing the engine, keeping the fuel tank full will limit the air inside. This reduces oxidation and aging. If the fuel will be stored for more than a month, a fuel stabilizer should be used, but this will only extend the fuel’s life to a maximum of three months.

If your engine isn’t running well due to stale fuel, use a siphon hose to remove fuel from the tank, then get the last of the gas out by loosening the drain screw on the base of the carburetor.

If you operate your engine at elevations above 5,000 feet (1,500 meters,) Honda recommends having the carburetor re-tuned to deliver the right amount of fuel to match the lower density air.

Oil

Honda recommends checking the oil level before each use. The dipstick is attached to the oil filler cap, which is located directly below the muffler. To get an accurate reading, the dipstick must be inserted without screwing the cap back into the filler neck.

This motor is designed to use 5W30 or 10W30 oil with an API certification of SJ or greater. SAE 30 can also be used at temperatures above 50 degrees F (10 degrees C.) When filling, the oil should come up to the bottom edge of the filler neck. Oil can be drained from the motor by removing the drain bolt and washer, located to the left of the filler neck. This motor holds about 20 oz. of oil, and it should be changed every 6 months or 50 hours of use. If you use the engine in high temperatures or places with a lot of dust, Honda recommends changing the oil every 25 hours.

Oil and Sudden Stops

All GC engines come equipped with the Oil Alert system. If the sensor inside the crankcase detects that the oil level is below a safe level, it will shut the engine off automatically. If the engine stops working, check the oil level to make sure this system hasn’t been tripped.

Air Filter

The air cleaner housing is located directly above the fuel tank. The paper filter inside can be accessed by opening two clasps on the side of the cleaner cover. The filter should be inspected for damage before each use. It should be cleaned every three months or 25 hours by gently tapping it against a hard surface to remove loose dirt. The filter needs to be changed every two years or 250 hours.

Sourcing Parts for the GC160 and GC190

When you need parts for your Honda motor or equipment, visit www.hondalawnparts.com. We’re a certified dealer, so we’re able to offer OEM replacements for everything from Honda’s small engine equipment line. Our site has factory diagrams and descriptions built-in, making it easy to find exactly what you need, and we can ship your order to any address in the U.S. and Canada.