Servicing the Carburetor on Your Honda Engine

Honda Servicing the Carburetor on Your Honda Engine

Is your Honda engine not running right? If obvious issues with fuel and spark have been checked, there’s a good chance it’s an issue with the carburetor. This guide will walk you through diagnosing and repairing your carburetor to get your motor working again.

How Carburetors Work

Gas flows in through the fuel line to the float bowl. This bowl has a float connected to a needle valve: once the bowl is full, this float closes the valve, stopping fuel flow.

Gas inside the bowl flows into the pilot jet, which maintains minimum fuel flow, and the main jet, which adds fuel as air flow increases. These are located above the Venturi, a restricted airway that increases air speed through the intake to help mix the fuel with the air.

The throttle valve is just beyond the Venturi, controlling the flow of fuel and air to the engine. The choke valve is before the jet and Venturi, restricting air flow to increase the ratio of fuel to air. This richer mixture makes it easier to run the engine on cold fuel that doesn’t want to atomize.

If everything is working correctly, the float valve keeps just enough fuel inside the bowl to feed the jet, which feeds the right mix of air and fuel into the engine to run efficiently.

Symptoms of Carburetors Problems

Most issues stem from gasoline varnishing and either restricting the jets or keeping the throttle or idle valves from moving. To keep this from happening, always use fresh, stabilized fuel, and drain the fuel tank and carburetor when storing your equipment for the season.

If the engine only wants to run with the choke closed, the main jet is probably clogged. Once the choke opens, the fuel mixture becomes too lean for the engine to run. On some motors, the automatic choke will engage when the engine speed drops, then disengage once the engine speeds up again, causing it to surge when idling.

If the engine doesn’t want to idle regardless of throttle position, the pilot jet is probably clogged.

If the seals break down, they can let air into the engine that hasn’t been mixed with gas, leaning out the mixture. This causes overheating and poor performance.

Rebuilding the Carburetor

Let the engine cool for at least a half hour before attempting this repair. Although the engine may not seem hot, the muffler can stay warm long after the motor has been shut down, making it a possible source of ignition.

1. Drain the fuel the same way you would if you were storing the engine at the end of the season. This may require unscrewing a bolt on the bottom of the carburetor, removing the float bowl, or tipping the motor to pour the fuel out of the tank.

2. Disconnect the cable connected to the throttle and the cable or springs connected to the choke. Unbolt the carburetor and separate it from the engine.

3. Turn the carburetor upside down and remove the large bolt that is now facing up. This will let you lift off the float bowl. It may need a couple of taps to help separate it from the seal.

4. Slide out the pin holding the float to the carburetor. Gently lift up the float: a small bump can dislodge the pilot jet.

5. The main jet can be unscrewed with a small flathead screwdriver. If the jet won’t slide out, try pushing on it from behind with a small Allen key.

6. The jet should be cleaned with a carburetor jet cleaning kit. These thin needles can push out any debris, but care should be taken not to scratch the jet opening, which can increase the jet size, adding too much fuel to the intake. Replacement jets are inexpensive so it may be easier to just put a new one in.

7. Spray the inside and outside of the carburetor with carburetor cleaner, ensuring all holes flow freely and the throttle and choke move without sticking. If the pilot jet is clogged, it can be accessed by removing an adjustment screw on the outside of the carburetor. If there is a small metal tab on the top of this screw, pull up on the head to reveal the true end of the adjuster. Check the service manual for the correct position of the adjustment screw when reinstalling.

Reassemble in reverse order, replacing old parts with new ones and cleaning around the engine to prevent any debris buildup from entering the intake port.

Get the Parts You Need for Your Carburetor

www.hondalawnparts.com is a certified Honda Engines dealer, letting us offer the full line of OEM components, accessories and tools including carburetor jets, seals and rebuild kits. Our site has built-in factory diagrams, making it easy to find the parts you need, and we can ship those parts to any address in the U.S. or Canada.

Changing the Oil on Your Generator

Honda Generator

Changing oil in a small engine is usually straightforward, but generators have some quirks due to their design and the way they’re used. Here’s what you need to know from getting oil out of an engine that has no obvious drain plug to ensuring proper break-in on a device that can go unused for months at a time.

Checking the Oil

It’s possible for oil to burn or leak during operation, especially on engines that have seen a lot of hours of use. Always check the oil before each use, and each time you need to fill the tank. Most generator engines come with Honda’s Oil Alert system, which will shut down the engine if the oil level is too low to protect the motor from damage; being proactive about topping up the oil will prevent unexpected shutdowns.

To get the correct reading when checking the oil, remove the dipstick/filler cap, wipe it off and insert it back into the filler neck without screwing or pushing it in.

When to Change the Oil

On most models, Honda recommends changing the oil after the first month or 20 hours of use, then every 6 months or 100 hours thereafter. You should always replace the oil in the first month, but it’s a good idea to replace the oil after 20 hours of use, even if it has already been changed. That short interval is there to ensure any metal particles left over from break-in don’t stay in the engine where they could cause premature wear.

After the break-in, it’s important to change the oil after the specified time, even if it hasn’t been used. This removes water and other contaminants that may have migrated into the oil during storage.

Draining the Oil on Small Portable Generators

On some models like the EU 2000, the engine doesn’t have a drain plug and the entire unit is surrounded by a case to reduce noise. Once the maintenance panel has been removed to access the engine, the dipstick can be removed and the entire generator tilted so that the oil flows out of the filler neck. This neck has a lip that will pour the oil onto a tab on the cover and then into your oil pan. If you’re having trouble positioning the generator for drainage, a marine oil change pump can be used to transfer the used oil from the crankcase to a suitable container.

Draining the Oil on Frame-mounted Generators

Unlike smaller units, these generators leave the engine fully exposed. The drain plug is located at the base of the engine next to the dipstick, and the frame will clear the drainage area, so the generator does not need to be tilted. Instead, set the generator on a support such as a set of bricks or blocks of wood to lift it off of the ground and slide the oil pan underneath the engine to catch the oil.

Filling the Crankcase

Honda’s engines are designed to be filled while level with the oil coming up to the edge of the filler neck. A funnel will be needed to fill engines that don’t have a drain plug.

Recommended Oil

While Honda Power Equipment oil is the best choice, the engine used in your generator is designed to use multi-weight engine oil, just like your car, making lubricants readily available. 10W30 is recommended for current engines in most conditions, while 5W30 can be used in extreme cold and SAE 30 can be used in warmer temperatures; check your engine owner’s manual for specific temperature recommendations. This oil should at least meet SAE’s SJ standard, which should be true of any oil purchased in the last couple years.

Get Your Generator Working with Help from Honda Lawn Parts

If you need anything for your Honda generator, you can get it from www.hondalawnparts.com. We sell everything from major components to Honda’s own OEM oil so you can be sure your generator will be ready to use whether you use your generator for construction, recreation or as a home backup. We ship parts and accessories across the U.S. and Canada.

Finding and Fixing Mower Noises

honda mower

Is your mower making a strange noise? As the mowing season draws to a close, your mower has more and more hours put on it since its spring service, making it more likely that something will need attention. Finding the source of noises and correcting them now can help you avoid costly repairs later on.

Loudness

Honda makes some of the quietest small engines on the market, but they still produce enough noise to cause hearing damage. Hearing protection should be worn when using a mower just as you would with any other outdoor power equipment, but added noise may be a cause for concern.

If everything seems fine and the engine is just unusually noisy, check the muffler. Before pulling it off of the motor, wait at least a half hour after running the mower to let it cool down completely. Inspect the muffler for holes, and make sure the seal between the exhaust and the engine is intact.

Squeaking

While most greased components are sealed, other areas may occasionally need a light oil or silicone lubricant applied to keep them moving freely. This includes the controls, cables, wheels, and the handle, both where it bolts to the mower and where it folds for storage. Squeaking noises from the engine can be caused by grass and debris packed against the flywheel or engine shaft, or it could indicate a slightly bent shaft.

Some models have sealed cables and wheel bearings which won’t need to be greased. If the squeaking is coming from one of these wheels, spin it to make sure it’s moving freely. If it’s not, the wheel will need to be replaced.

Rattling

Engine vibrations can loosen bolts and nuts over time. Go over your machine and check the tightness of each fastener. Here’s where to check, from the most likely to the least likely source:

– Handle
– Controls
– Muffler cover
– Engine cover
– Wheels
– Deck

Vibration

Some vibration is normal, but excess vibration is usually tied to the mower blade. Remove the blade from the mower and check for bends and cracking; if either is present, the blade needs to be replaced. To check the balance, hang the blade on a nail by its center hole. If one side sits lower, file off a little of the surface until the blade sits even on the nail.

Honda’s MicroCut system uses two blades and a set of washers that need to be installed in a specific order to prevent vibrations. The small blade should be put on first with the top flat edge pointing to the left, while the lower blade goes underneath with the curved ends pointed upward and the top edge to the right. There should be one washer between the blades and a second washer between the blades and the bolt.

The blade bolt on all mowers needs to be tight enough to stay on and prevent the blade from coming loose, but not so tight that it stretches the threads. Torque specs for this bolt can be found in the owner’s manual.

Knocking

Even on engines equipped with Oil Alert, it’s a good idea to start with checking the oil, as a lack of lubrication can cause knocking and quickly lead to engine damage.

Light pinging is normal on engines under a heavy load, but if it occurs constantly, it’s probably caused by the fuel. If you’re running fresh automotive gasoline, it should have a high enough octane to keep this from happening, but its knock resistance can drop as it ages and degrades. Always use fuel within a month from purchase, or three months if treated with a stabilizer. “White gas,” commonly used in camp stoves, is gasoline, but it has a much lower octane rating. Even pouring a little from a leftover tank can reduce the fuel’s antiknock properties that it can cause pre-detonation.

If the fuel is fresh, check the ignition system. The spark plug should be clean and have the correct gap. If the wrong model of a spark plug is used, it can heat up to the point that it ignites the gas before the spark does. The coil may also need to be repositioned to change the ignition timing. Excess carbon build-up can also cause pre-ignition, but usually, this is only seen on motors that have been used for hundreds of hours.

Stop the Noise with Help from Honda Lawn Parts

As a certified dealer for Honda Power Equipment and Honda Engines, www.hondalawnparts.com can provide you with the parts you need to fix your mower, whether you just need a new blade or a major component. We ship across the U.S. and Canada.

Tips for Buying a Used Honda Mower

Tips for Buying a Used Honda Mower

A used Honda mower can be a great addition to your lawn care arsenal, whether you want a spare mower for your landscaping business or you’d like something that’s the price of a big box store mower without having to settle for low quality. It’s also a good time of the year to pick up a mower as owners pick up new models on end-of-season sales and make plans to move before next spring. If you decide to go this route, what should you look for?

Checking the Engine

Honda’s legendary reliability aside, engines are usually the last thing to break on mowers. However, there are a few things worth checking before testing the mower:

The air filter should be easily accessible and can usually be opened without tools. Wipe off any debris and check for damage: if the elements are full of dirt, it’s likely that the rest of the mower hasn’t been taken care of, either.

The general engine condition can be assessed by checking the spark plug. If the electrode end is light gray or brown, everything is running correctly. Ash indicates misfiring, oily build-up indicates oil or too much gas in the combustion chamber, and soot is caused by a rich fuel mixture, usually caused by a clogged air filter.

Look down through the screen next to the starter to inspect the flywheel. It’s held onto the stub shaft by a small square key. If the key is missing, the ignition timing will be off. If the holes for the key are damaged, the flywheel or crankshaft may need to be replaced, which is a difficult and costly repair.

Deck

Minor surface rust is nothing to worry about, but dents can hamper the mower’s ability to generate a vacuum to pull grass towards the blade. Severe dents can shift the position of the engine mount, making the blade cut at an angle.

Check the levers to make sure they move freely and the cables are moving parts on the engine and deck. If it has a bag, take it off and make sure the rear of the deck opens all the way when the mower is set to bagging mode.

Check the condition of the blades and underside of the deck. When tipping a walk-behind mower, always tilt it so that the carburetor and fuel tank are pointed up. There should be no play in the blade. If it’s cracked or worn, it will need to be replaced. Uneven wear can cause vibrations when running.

Testing the Mower

Before starting the motor, make sure there’s oil inside the crankcase and the fuel line is free of cracks to ensure your test run won’t end with a damaged motor or a fire. The dipstick is designed to measure fuel when placed at the edge of the filler neck; if it’s pushed or screwed in, the oil level will read too high.

Make sure to ask about how old the fuel in the tank is: modern gas doesn’t age well, which can lead to hard starting. Even when treated with a stabilizer, fuel shouldn’t be used if over three months old.

Scalloping indicates a misaligned blade. This may be a matter of the wheels not being at the same height setting, but if they’re equal, there is something wrong with the deck or blade.

If the blade looked fine during the inspection, severe vibrations are likely due to a bent engine shaft, which is a costly and difficult repair.

Your Used Mower’s First Service

Even if the mower you bought was properly maintained, there are a few things you should do to ensure your mower is ready to use:

– Drain the fuel system and add new fuel. Some models have a sediment cup on the carburetor that will need to be cleaned.

– Change the oil.

– Clean the air filter. Foam elements can be washed with a non-flammable solvent or soap and water, then saturated with clean engine oil. Paper elements can be tapped against a hard surface to loosen dirt.

– Sharpen and balance the blade.

– Lubricate the cables. Some models have sealed cables which don’t require maintenance.

Getting Parts for Your “New” Mower

Hondalawnparts.com is a certified Honda Power Equipment dealer, and our massive warehouse helps us keep popular items in stock for fast shipping across the U.S. and Canada. Our site has built in factory information including parts diagrams and descriptions, making it easy to find what you need to get your mower running like new.

How to Test Your Lawn’s Soil

honda fertilizerTesting soil is standard practice for professional landscapers, but if you’re new to this process, it can be daunting. How do you know you’re getting a good sample, and how do you act on the results?

Preparing a Soil Sample

If you have areas that need different soil characteristics, say, a lawn and a flower garden, you should perform a test for each area. The soil should be dry and all tools should be cleaned beforehand to ensure a reliable reading. Make sure to get the sample sent in at least a couple weeks ahead of when you plan on fertilizing to ensure you’ll have the results in on time.

Start by digging several holes 6-8 inches deep. These holes should be spaced out around the soil and include areas where plants are thriving and failing.

Slice into the side of each hole all the way down and place into a bucket. Once you have soil from each hole, mix it together and spread it out on a newspaper. Once it’s dry, it can be packaged and sent to the lab.

Understanding Test Results

The results you get from your soil test will vary: most DIY kits only test acidity, while a test from your local extension office will include nutrient information so that you can apply the correct chemicals and fertilizers to help your lawn flourish. What do these results mean?

Soil Acidity
Acidity is rated in pH, which is a number between 1 and 14. 7 is neutral, while lower numbers are acidic or “sour,” and higher numbers are alkaline or “sweet.” Most plants thrive in soil with a pH of 6.2-7.2, while some plants including blueberries and rhododendrons prefer more acidic soil. Soil is usually alkaline in the central and southwest U.S, and acidic in the rest of the country.

Nutrients
This includes phosphorus (P,) potassium (K,) calcium (Ca,) magnesium (Mg,) and sulfur (S.) Micronutrients including iron, manganese, copper, zinc, and boron may also be listed in areas with sandy soils.

Toxic chemicals
Aluminum (Al) can harm root construction and reduce phosphorus solubility, although acidic soil-loving plants are usually less affected. Aluminum is hard to extract, but decreasing soil acidity can reduce its solubility.
Lead (Pb) can be absorbed by plants, making it unsafe to eat vegetables grown in soil with a lead content higher than 300 ppm (parts per million.)

Adjusting pH

Acidic soils can be brought closer to neutral by using lime, which is simply powdered limestone.

Alkaline soils can be acidified with sulfur, gypsum, Sphagnum peat moss or organic compost. Peat moss can be expensive and compost may not be readily available, making sulfur and gypsum the most common treatments.

Picking the Right Fertilizer

While fertilizer blends are marketed for specific purposes, their function comes down to the formulation. Somewhere on the fertilizer bag will be a set of three numbers, such as “18-9-9.” These indicate the proportion of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, sometimes labeled “N-P-K.” The “P” stands for phosphate (P2O2) and the “K” refers to potash (K2O,) materials used to provide plant-available nutrients. Each number is a percentage, but these elements will never add up to 100 since part of the fertilizer needs to be fillers to make it easier to handle.

Each nutrient helps plants in different ways:

Nitrogen is a critical component for the manufacturing of chlorophyll, which is used by plants to capture and process sunlight. High nitrogen fertilizers are promoted for use with new seeds.

Phosphorus is used to build roots and helps plants flower, so it’s often sold as “bloom booster.”

Potassium helps with a wide range of functions including drought resistance, cold resistance and the building of roots and chlorophyll.

Your soil report will show you exactly what your top soil is deficient in, letting you apply fertilizer accordingly. Always err on the side of caution as too much of any nutrient can cause plant burning and even death.

Micronutrient fertilizers are also available, but since adverse effects are unlikely, these mixes include every micronutrient so they can correct any deficiencies.

Soil Additives

Other nutrients can be added using chemicals:

– Lime and gypsum add calcium.
– Lime and Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) add magnesium
– Gypsum, potassium sulfate, sul-po-mag, manure, and compost add sulfur

Since lime makes soil more alkaline and both sulfur and gypsum make it more acidic, these chemicals should be avoided if your soil already has the right pH.

Take the Work Out of Fertilizing

Whether you’re using your mower to mulch grass, turning garden soil with a tiller or using a spreader to deposit fertilizer, chances are that equipment is built by Honda or uses one of their engines. Where can you turn when you need to maintain or repair this equipment? www.hondalawnparts.com. We’re a certified dealer so we can provide you with the OEM parts you need, whether you live in the U.S. or Canada.

The Last Mow: Preparing Your Lawn for Winter

preparing lawn for winter

Fall and winter are on their way, which means it’s time to think about last minute lawn care tasks that will help the grass come back to life in the spring. These tips will help you prepare your lawn for the winter from fall lawn care tasks to the final mow of the season.

Things to Do Before the Last Mow

To get the best lawn next spring, there are several tasks that should be completed before the grass goes into hibernation:

Aerating and dethatching – Dethatching removes the layer of grass stems and tough plant material that gathers on the surface of the soil while aerating loosens the top soil. Together, these increase the grass’ access to water and oxygen.

Fertilizing -While high nitrogen content mixes are usually recommended, your lawn will do a lot better if you match the fertilizer’s nutrient mix to the results of a soil test.

Overseeding – Planting seeds now can help fill in bald spots and increase the thickness across the lawn, while planting cool weather grasses can keep your lawn green longer.

Leaf control – Leaves should be mulched into the soil when possible. Excess leaves should be raked up and removed, by adding them to a mulch pile or sending them to a yard waste facility. Leaving them in place can create a mat of wet organic material that will increase the chance of snow mold and choke the grass when it comes out of dormancy in the spring.

When Should I Stop Mowing?

The final mow can come at any time between early October and early December depending on your local climate, weather and the type of grass on your lawn. Warm season grasses will go into dormancy early into the fall, while cool season grasses will keep growing into early winter. Growth rates should slow down as soon as leaves start falling off of the trees. If there is an early frost, it should halt the growth of warm season grasses, but some cool season grasses may bounce back. Freezing aside, expect to mow your lawn for the last time once temperatures are consistently below 40°F (4-5°C.)

What Height should the Grass Be After I Mow?

The final cut should leave the grass at a height of two inches, regardless of variety. This provides enough ground coverage to resist freezing without trapping moisture that can encourage mold growth. Long grass can also bend, reducing light contact. This slows down photosynthesis, which can keep the grass from building up the sugar stores it needs to last through the winter.

As always, only one-third of the grass should be cut at a time. If you have a normally tall-cut grass like Kentucky Bluegrass that will take more than one cut to get to that height, wait at least a week between each mow. This shouldn’t be a challenge since growth rates at the end of the season should slow to a point that mowing is only needed every two to four weeks.

What Should I Do After the Last Mow?

Get your mower ready for storage: Instructions for storing your mower can be found in the owner’s manual, and we have guides for storing many of Honda’s mowers on this blog. It’s also a good time to address issues like worn blades and sticky cables so your mower will be ready to go in the spring.

Shut off the sprinklers and drain the water lines so they won’t burst in freezing temperatures.

Cover perennials in mulch after the first hard freeze, taking care not to cover the crown. The freeze will put the plant into hibernation, while the added dirt will shield it from winter weather.

Get Your Mower Ready for Winter

When you’re ready to put your mower in storage for the season, visit www.hondalawnparts.com. We have everything you need for your Honda mower and Honda-powered equipment from maintenance items to major components. Our site has original factory diagrams and descriptions built in, making it easy to identify what you need, and we can ship your order to any location in the U.S. or Canada.

Technology: Honda’s Advantage in the Small Engine Market

honda small engines

Why are Honda engines so popular in professional and high-end consumer outdoor equipment? Since its inception, Honda has been first and foremost an engine company. From aircraft to motorcycles, their engine technology has led the way with innovations like their legendary V-TEC valve control system and top-mounted jet engines. Small engines receive the same treatment with Honda consistently introducing new technologies to the market, making their offerings the most reliable, easiest to use engines on the market. Here are just a few of the features that make them so popular.

Mini 4 Stroke

Lawn professionals have a love/hate relationship with two stroke engines: on one hand, they deliver a lot of power for their size and don’t have any oil inside that can leak into the combustion chamber, making them ideal for handheld equipment. On the other hand, they’re difficult to start, use a lot of fuel, need their fuel mixed with oil, and are extremely sensitive to stale gas. It’s also looking like the two stroke’s days are numbered due to their high exhaust emissions: it’s hard to argue for this design’s future when workers who clean up roadsides get far more exposure to pollutants from their chainsaws and string trimmers than the thousands of vehicles that pass them by during each shift.

To address these problems, Honda designed an oiling system works at any angle, allowing them to build a small four stroke engine that can be turned and tosses around just like a two stroke. Along with other improvements including an efficient overhead cam head design, their line of Mini 4 Stroke motors are able to deliver near-two stroke power without all the two stroke’s disadvantages. They aren’t just better for the environment and easier to use, their low fuel and oil consumption means operating costs are half that of comparable two strokes.

Oil Alert – GX, iGX, V-Twin

Air cooled engines depend on oil for both lubrication and cooling, which means it doesn’t take long for a lack of oil to cause serious damage. Honda’s Oil Alert system links the ignition system to a sensor in the sump, shutting off the engine if the oil level is too low and preserving the engine.

Integrated ECU – iGX

The iGX has an ECU that controls the throttle, choke and ignition timing. These functions can be controlled using “drive-by-wire” systems, eliminating mechanical cabling that can rust. This allows engine settings to be programmed to fit the equipment’s needs, while the governor can adjust automatically to current conditions to maintain power. This reduces maintenance while making the engine easier to use, so it’s a perfect fit for rental equipment.

Variable Timing Ignition – GX, iGX, V-Twin

Timing on most small engines is controlled by the movement of the flywheel past the ignition coil, but with this technology, timing can be adjusted to fit current conditions and engine speed. That means easier start-up, increased fuel efficiency and more peak power.

Integrated Cylinder and Head – V-Twin

Since the cylinder and head are cast as a single unit, there’s no head gasket or bolts to fail, and there’s better heat transfer between these two sections of the engine, increasing reliability, particularly in harsh environments.

Lifetime Belt-Driven Overhead Cam – GC, GS, Mini 4 Stroke

Cam chains are noisy and heavy, while belts can stretch and break. By moving the belt inside the engine where it can be lubricated, Honda engineers have been able to make a belt drive system that will last the life of the engine, combining the advantages of chain and belt drives.

Automatic Mechanical Decompression – All Engines

On most engines, when you pull on the starter handle, you have to get the engine to spin past the compression stroke to start it. Honda uses a mechanical system on their motors that keeps the exhaust valve from closing completely, letting the air inside the motor pass through freely instead of being compressed. Once the engine is running, the system disengages and the cam acts normally, sealing the chamber for maximum power. Since this system is used on all of Honda’s modern engines, electric start versions need less battery power and can use smaller, lighter starter motors.

Easy Access to Parts

Honda has the technology to make small engines reliable and easy to use, while www.hondalawnparts.com makes it easy to get the parts you need to keep them running. Our search engine doesn’t just find parts, it shows you Honda’s own parts diagrams and lists factory descriptions so you can identify exactly what you need. No matter where you live in the U.S. or Canada, we can ship those parts to your door.

Troubleshooting Your Honda’s Ignition System

Honda Engine

Is your Honda engine not wanting to start? Is it running rough, despite everything being fine with the fuel system and air filter? It may be having an issue with the ignition system. Here’s what you need to know to troubleshoot common electrical problems on these motors.

Before You Begin

If the engine has been running, it needs to be left to cool for at least a half hour before working on it to prevent burns.

To access the flywheel on some models, the engine shroud/starter cover needs to be removed. On GCV models, this shroud is connected to the fuel tank. If the engine has a fuel valve, turn it off before unbolting the tank, and make sure the tank is tilted over a container to catch any fuel that leaks out.

Honda Oil Alert and Kill Switches

Most recent engines come equipped with Honda’s Oil Alert system, which shuts down the engine if the oil in the crankcase is too low, preventing internal damage. This system works by wiring a float into the ignition system: if the float is too low, the ignition circuit is cut, which prevents the spark plug from firing. Generators and engines with a built-in console will have a light that indicates whether or not the system has been activated. For other engines, the only way to see if the system may have tripped is to check the oil level.

Most engines also come equipped with kill switches that will cut power to the ignition system. This switch will be located on the engine, but it may be operated from a remote location, such as a bail on a lawn mower handle. Both the kill switch and the Oil Alert float connect to a single wire on the side of the coil. If this wire is damaged or becomes disconnected, the spark plug won’t fire. If the kill switch is damaged, it will need to be replaced. There should be two wires next to the switch that can be disconnected by pulling them apart, as well as a grounding tab located on the back of the switch that should be bent back. On most models, the starter cover will need to be removed to access the tab.

Power Generation and Ignition

In a car, the power generation system is contained in the alternator, but in a small engine, the generator components are separated and mounted on and around the flywheel. When the engine is running, magnets on the flywheel pass by a coil, creating electricity. This electricity is stored in the coil until it is needed.

Modern Honda engines use a solid state ignition system that uses a transistor to control when the electricity is sent through the spark plug wire. The coil, transistor, rectifier and spark plug wire are built as one unit. Once the piston is in the right position, the electricity in the coil is released, creating an arc of electricity across the electrodes of the spark plug, igniting the fuel.

If the flywheel is damaged or the key that keeps the flywheel in position on the crankshaft has fallen out or sheered off, the timing will be off. If the insulator inside the coil has worn out or the insulator over the spark plug wire is damaged, there won’t be enough electricity making it to the plug to ignite the fuel.

When replacing the coil, there needs to be a small gap between it and the flywheel. The easiest way to set this gap is to place a business card between the flywheel and the coil, then tighten down the bolts enough to keep the coil in position. A feeler gauge can be used to set the correct gap, specified in the repair manual, before fully tightening the bolts.

Spark Plug

For most engines, Honda recommends replacing the spark plug at least yearly, while each model has recommendations based on operating hours. A worn electrode will have too wide of a gap to get a good arc, while a damaged insulator could be shorting out the spark plug, transferring power to the engine instead of out through the electrodes.

Where to Get Parts to Fix Your Honda

If it’s Honda, you can get it from www.hondalawnparts.com. We’re a certified Honda Small Engine dealer, and our massive parts warehouse means we have most parts ready to ship across the U.S. and Canada so you can get your equipment back to work quickly.

Plugging into a Honda Generator

Honda generatorA Honda generator can keep your tools and appliances running whether you’re tailgating, waiting for a storm to pass or working in remote areas, but only if you have a way to get power from the outlets to your equipment. What should you look for when getting cables to use with your generator?

Why are Extension Cables Necessary?

The engine in your generator produces an odorless gas called “carbon monoxide.” If it’s run indoors or next to a building, this gas can collect in concentrations that can lead to asphyxiation. Over 85% of non-fire related deaths caused by carbon monoxide poisoning in the U.S. are the result of generators being used indoors. To keep the generator in an open area and still have access to the power it produces, you need extension cables.

While you may have some cables on hand, you likely don’t have ones that can withstand the high currents and conditions needed to safely get the most power from your generator to what you want to power. Buying the right cables now will let you put your generator to work as needed to provide power during blackouts and in remote locations.

Plug Types

Small portable generators have duplex plugs, while larger generators have both duplex and twist lock plugs.

A duplex plug has two 120 volt sockets connected to the circuit by a single set of wires. This means the rated amperage applies to the total draw from both sockets on a duplex plug. When selecting cables, one cable can be used to transfer the full rated power of the duplex plug to the location you need the electricity, leaving the other socket unused. Honda uses Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) three pronged sockets for these plugs, which have breakers that cut the flow of electricity if there’s a short.

A twist lock plug has curved blades that are designed to slide into the socket and twist, locking the plug in place so it remains secure when subject to movement and vibration. It can be used with a transfer switch or with an extension cable that splits the current into standard 120-volt sockets.

Transfer Switches

To legally connect your generator directly to your household’s wiring system, it needs to be plugged into a professionally-installed transfer switch. This device breaks the connection between your house and the electrical grid when the generator is active to keep power from being sent into neighboring power lines where it could electrocute line workers.

The switch will have its own twist lock plug, requiring a female to female twist lock cable to make the connection. Finding the right cable is easy since this socket combination is almost exclusively for transferring power between these two devices: just look for one that matches the maximum amp rating on your generator that has plugs that match both the generator’s outlet and the transfer switch’s plug.

Finding the Right Cord

The meaning of product terms like “outdoor” and “heavy duty” can vary, but you can find out exactly what an extension cord is capable of thanks to standard cable labeling that can be found printed on the cord jacket and in the cable’s specifications. This starts with a series of letters that describe the construction of the cord:

S – Flexible, general use cord
W – Outdoor use
J – “Junior service” insulation rated at 300 watts. Wire without this designation is rated at 600 watts.
P – Parallel wire construction for household use
T – Vinyl thermoplastic jacket
E – Thermoplastic elastomer rubber (TPE) jacket
O – Oil Resistant
OO – Oil resistant jacket and insulation
W, W-A – Weather approved for indoor/outdoor use
HPN – Oil resistant for portable and damp location use
SPT-2, SPT-3 – For light duty damp locations

For example, an SWPEO cable is a general use cord designed for outdoor use with parallel wire construction and a TPE outer jacket that is oil resistant. In general, cords should use TPE for durability, be weather and water resistant, and, if you’ll use it near oil-lubricated equipment like trucks and tractors, be oil resistant.

Next on the label are the letters “AWG” followed by a dash and two numbers separated by a “/.” The first number is the American Wire Gauge number. A lower number indicates a thicker, less resistive cable. Your needs will vary, but there are some general guidelines for wire thickness:

16 gauge – under 10 amps
14 gauge – 10-15 amps at up to 50 feet
12 gauge – 10-15 amps at up to 100 feet
10 gauge – 15 amps or more

The number after the “/” is the number of conductors, usually three to support a three prong plug and outlet. For example, “AWG 10/3” means the extension cable uses 10 gauge wiring with three conductors.

Where to Find Cords, Transfer Switches and More for Your Honda Generator

Hondalawnparts.com is a certified Honda Power Equipment dealer, so we’re able to offer OEM parts and accessories including power cords and transfer switches designed specifically for their generators. We ship across the U.S. and Canada.

Storing Your Honda Tiller

Storing Your Honda Tiller

After tilling your garden this fall to turn over sod and mix in organic matter, it will be time to put your Honda tiller into storage. Taking steps to protect your equipment now will make it easier to get it up and running in the spring.

Inspection

Addressing issues now will mean your tiller will be ready to work when it’s time to break ground in the spring. Give your machine a look over and answer these questions:

Are the tines straight? Do they show severe wear or signs of cracking?
If the tiller has a belt drive, is the belt still tight? Is it starting to crack?
Is the spark plug, fuel hose, and air filter still in good condition?

Cleaning

Let the engine cool for at least a half hour before cleaning: rapid cooling caused by water making contact with hot engine parts can cause warping.

A garden hose or pressure washer can be used, but the water should not be aimed at the controls, cables, air filter, belts or muffler. A rag or stiff brush can be used to remove dirt trapped near these sensitive areas.

Once clean, wipe any remaining moisture off of the tiller. To get rid of the last bit of water, start the engine and let it run until it reaches normal operating temperature. If the mower has a clutch, operate the clutch lever several times to remove any water clinging to the pulleys and belts.

Fuel

Even stabilized fuel should not be kept in your tiller’s engine for longer than three months. Before putting it into long term storage, the fuel system should be drained completely.

Start by disconnecting the spark plug. If there is an engine switch, make sure it’s set to “off.”

On models with a Mini 4-Stroke engine, open the gas cap and tip the tiller so that the gas pours out into a container. Once the tank is empty, squeeze the priming bulb to remove any remaining gas in the carburetor.

On models with larger engines, place a fuel container underneath the carburetor and unscrew the gas cap. Open the fuel valve and unscrew the fuel drain bolt or knob at the bottom of the carburetor. Newer models like the FC 600 also have a sediment cup to the right of the drain knob: once the fuel has drained, unscrew this cup, clean out any fuel and debris, and reinstall the cup, fitting a new O-ring to ensure a tight seal. Screw the bolt or knob back into the carburetor once the tank and carburetor are empty.

Oil

If your tiller has a separate transmission, the fluid inside does not need attention before you put your equipment in storage aside from checking the level. On all models, the engine oil should be changed, and the cylinder should be lubricated to prevent rust.

To lubricate the cylinder, first, remove the spark plug.

For Mini 4 Stroke engines, pour a quarter teaspoon of clean engine oil into the spark plug hole. For other engines, add one teaspoon of oil.

Pull the starter handle several times to circulate the oil inside the cylinder, then reinstall the spark plug.

Pull the starter handle gently until resistance is felt. This positions the valve train so that both the intake and exhaust valves are closed, sealing the combustion chamber.

When the tiller is put back into service, it’s normal for the motor to smoke for a few seconds as the oil in the cylinder is burnt off.

Rust Prevention

To keep rust from forming during storage, chipped and damaged paint should be covered in a touch-up paint, while bare metal surfaces should get a light coat of oil or silicone lubricant.

Storing

Even with the fuel tank and carburetor drained, there may still be enough fuel inside of your tiller to release flammable vapors. Keep the tiller in an area that doesn’t have an open flame or sparks nearby. This includes avoiding power tools, heaters, clothes dryers and water heaters.

To prevent rust, the tiller should be stored in an area with low humidity. Placing a tarp over the tiller can trap moisture, accelerating rust formation.

If you fold the handle to make the tiller more compact, make sure the cables aren’t kinked or wedged between the upper and lower handle.

Getting Parts for Your Honda Tiller

From small maintenance parts like O-rings and spark plugs up to major components including tines and engine covers, if it’s Honda, you can find it at Hondalawnparts.com. We’re a certified Honda Small Engine and Power Equipment dealer, and our massive parts stock lets us ship parts quickly across the U.S. and Canada.