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.

Honda GS Engine Overview

honda gs engineThe horizontal shaft Honda GS can be found in a wide range of residential lawn and garden equipment as well as commercial equipment that puts a premium on low weight. No matter what your GS engine is powering, there are a few things you should know about it to get the most out of your motor.

Controls

Honda makes three versions of these engines, each with their own unique control setup. The controls can be found just to the right of the fuel tank, although some equipment may use remote levers for these functions. All model have a metal loop handle to control the choke: pulling it out closes the choke. Next to the choke, you’ll see one of three controls:

A gray manual throttle lever – Moving the lever up opens the throttle, increasing engine speed.
A red ignition switch lever – Moving the lever up will enable the ignition. Pushing it down will stop the engine.
An engine stop switch – Turning it to the right enables the ignition. Turning it to the left will stop the engine.

Engine Oil

Some versions of the GS come with Honda’s Oil Alert system. It uses a float inside the crankcase to detect low oil levels. If the level is too low, it will shut off the engine to prevent damage. If the engine stops suddenly without any clear external cause, check to make sure the oil level is correct.

The oil drain bolt is located on the bottom edge of the engine, directly below the muffler. The dipstick is part of the cap on the filler neck, located to the right of the drain plug. To check the oil level, the dipstick must be inserted into the filler neck without screwing it down. Honda recommends using 5W30 or 10W30 oil for most operating temperatures, or SAE 30 for temperatures above 50 degrees F (10 degrees C.) When changing the oil, the fresh oil should come up to the top of the filler neck. It should take about 20 ounces (0.58 liters) of oil to fill the crankcase.

Engine oil should be changed after the first month or 5 hours of use, then every 6 months or 50 hours thereafter. If the engine is used under heavy load or high temperatures, change the oil every 25 hours.

Air Cleaner

The air cleaner box, located above the fuel tank, can be opened by pressing in two tabs on the side of the cover. Below this, there’s a foam filter, a plastic grid, and a paper filter. Wash the foam element in a mild detergent or clean it with a nonflammable solvent, then soak it in clean motor oil once it has dried. Squeeze out any excess oil before installing. Remove dirt from the paper element by tapping it against a hard surface. The air filter should be replaced every two years or 200 hours of operation.

Spark Plug

The spark plug should be gapped between 0.028-0.030 inches (0.70-0.80 mm.) It should be checked every 6 months or 50 hours of operation and replaced every two years or 200 hours of operation.

Spark Arrester

The arrester is a metal sleeve that fits inside the exit of the muffler and can be added to any GS series motor to meet local safety requirements. To access it for cleaning, take off the muffler protector by removing three bolts around the outside edges. The arrester itself can be removed by removing a single screw. Use a wire brush to remove any deposits, and replace the arrester if it shows signs of damage.

Fuel

The fuel tank is designed to hold fuel up to the bottom of the filler neck. This engine is designed to run on gasoline with no more than 10% ethanol (E10.) A stabilizer should be used if the fuel will be stored more than 30 days, and even stabilized fuel should be replaced after 90 days.

If you need to drain the fuel system for storage or to remove stale fuel, use the drain on the carburetor, located directly below the air filter. It has a place to attach a hose which can be inserted into a fuel tank to capture the exiting fuel. Use a flathead screwdriver to open the valve directly above the drain to let the fuel flow out. If you’re storing the engine, start the motor and let it run until it dies to ensure the fuel system is completely empty.

High Altitude Use

Honda recommends having the carburetor jets changed if you use your GS motor at altitudes above 5,000 feet (1,500 meters) to better match fuel delivery with the available air. If you have an engine with an automatic throttle, the throttle mechanism may need to be adjusted if the motor doesn’t want to slow down once the load has been removed, or it takes a while to return to speed once the load has been reapplied.

Getting Parts for Your Honda GS Engine

www.hondalawnparts.com is a certified Honda Engines dealer offering everything you need to maintain and repair your GS Series motor. Our site has factory exploded parts diagrams built in to help you find the parts you want to order, and we can ship those parts across the U.S. and Canada.

Honda GX Engine

GX100_imgmedChances are if you own any commercial-grade small engine equipment, you have at least one Honda GX Series engine. Available in horizontal and vertical shaft versions and displacements ranging from 98 to 389 cc, this series of motors can be found in just about any type of small engine equipment you can think of. Here’s what you need to know about this motor’s quirks, from starting to troubleshooting.

Controls

There are many variations on these models and individual pieces of equipment may leave controls on the engine or move them to a remote control center, typically on the device’s handle.

The main controls are located on the carburetor, which will be directly below the air cleaner housing. Some models will have a throttle lever at the very top, almost against the air cleaner housing. Next, on the carburetor body itself, there will be a choke lever. Below that, some models have a fuel valve.

For starting, the throttle should be set to 1/3 of the way from “Slow.” On models with the lever on the engine, move the lever left to open the throttle. The choke should be closed unless the engine is already warm, and the fuel valve should be open.

On electric start models, the engine is started by turning the key or switch to “Start.” After 5 seconds, if the engine hasn’t started, release the switch and wait 10 seconds to let the starter motor cool before trying again. If the engine won’t start, set the switch to “On” and use the recoil starter.

Checking the Oil and the Oil Alert System

The dipstick is built into the oil filler cap. To check the oil level correctly, the dipstick needs to be wiped off and then inserted into the engine without threading it back into the filler neck. When adding oil, the oil level should come to the edge of the filler neck.

Some models are equipped with Honda’s Oil Alert system. This will automatically shut off the engine if the oil level gets too low. If your motor stops abruptly, check the oil level to make sure this wasn’t the cause. On electric start models, there should be a light on the starter panel indicating the oil alert system has been triggered.

On motors with a reduction gear, the gear is in a separate case with its own oil supply. It has its own filler cap/dipstick and uses the same oil as the engine. The case should only be about half full of oil, which will be well below the top of the filler neck.

Spark Arrester

No matter the model, the muffler on your engine is designed to be used with a spark arrester where required by law. The arrester can be accessed by removing the muffler shield. The arrester itself will be held in the muffler by one screw. To clean the arrester, scrub off any deposits with a wire brush. If it has any splits or holes, it should be replaced.

Air Cleaner

There can be up to three types of air filters inside the air cleaner that need occasional cleaning:

Paper elements can be cleaned by knocking them against a hard surface to loosen dirt.
Foam elements should be washed with a mild detergent or non-flammable solvent. Once dry, dip the filter in clean motor oil and squeeze out any excess liquid.
Cyclones should be disassembled and wiped clean. Any dust inside the cleaner housing should also be wiped out before reassembly.

Propane (LPG) Powered Engines

If you have an LPG-powered version of the GX270 or GX390, there are a couple differences in operation.

Since LPG is a gas, there won’t be any visual signs of leaks. Instead, smell the area around the engine. If you detect any trace of LPG, have the fuel system repaired before starting the motor.

The choke lever increases vacuum to help pull gas into the combustion chamber. Once the engine is running, the engine will provide the necessary vacuum, and the choke can be opened. There’s no need to wait for the engine to warm up.

Use only SAE 30 weight oil designed for use with LPG engines, or a synthetic 5W-30 oil if using the engine below 32 degrees F (0 degrees C.) A mineral-based multi-weight oil may be fine in other GX motors, but it will damage your LPG model.

Getting Parts for Your GX Series Engineering

No matter what your Honda engine is connected to, you can get parts for it at www.hondalawnparts.com. We’re a certified dealer, covering both small engines and Honda power equipment including generators, water pumps, and mowers. Our advanced search engine can show you factory parts diagrams so you can see exactly what you’re ordering. We ship to both the U.S. and Canada.

Honda iGX Engine Overview

Honda iGX EngineThe electronically-controlled Honda iGX has been making its way into a wide range of equipment including Honda’s own EM and EB series generators. At first glance, it’s easy to confuse a Honda iGX motor with their GX Series, found in pretty much every piece of commercial-grade small engine equipment. That’s understandable since the iGX is a GX at its core, but the iGX has some unique features that change how you need to operate and care for these motors.

What Makes an iGX engine different?

The iGX is based on the GX Series engine, the same design that has been a cornerstone of small engine equipment across the industry, used in everything from generators to pressure washers.

The biggest change is the Electronic Control Unit (ECU.) It can read engine conditions and adjust the governor and throttle, keeping the engine at just the right speed to meet current load demands. The result is fast power response and up to a 15% increase in fuel economy. It’s no wonder that these engines first saw use in generators.

These engines also use CDI ignition with variable timing and a rev limiter. By varying ignition with engine speed, these motors can produce more power over a wide RPM range.

Low Profile Models

For equipment where space is at a premium, Honda offers low profile versions of these engines. These are easy to identify by the large plastic panel next to the recoil starter. This is the cover for the air cleaner. The muffler is located at the rear of the engine, while fuel is stored on the equipment itself instead of a tank bolted to the motor.

The Honda Oil Alert System

The Oil Alert system is designed to protect the engine if it doesn’t have enough oil to stay lubricated. It works a little differently on the iGX than it does on other Honda engines: on some motors, the ECM, located directly above the carburetor, has a small LED light. If it flashes twice, the Oil Alert system has been triggered. On other models, the Oil Alert light is clearly visible next to the ignition switch and will either blink continuously or stay on once the system has been triggered. Most models will shut down to protect the motor, but if a shutdown may be dangerous due to the type of attached equipment, the motor may keep running. If you see the light come on, try to shut down the motor as quickly and safely as possible. Add more oil as needed before starting the engine again.

Starting the Engine

To start an engine with electric start, turn the ignition switch to “Start.” On these engines, the choke is engaged automatically. If it doesn’t start after 5 seconds, release the switch and wait 10 seconds before starting again. If it refuses to start, switch the manual start lever, located next to the ECM, to “On.” Turn the ignition to “On,” then use the recoil starter to start the engine. Don’t move the manual start lever until shutting down the motor.

To start an engine without electric start, locate the fuel lever (lower lever) and choke lever (upper lever) on the carburetor. If you have a low profile engine, which places the muffler and air cleaner behind the engine instead of above it, there will only be a choke lever. If you have an iGX270 or 390, the choke is automatic, so the sole lever is for fuel. Set the fuel lever to open and the choke to closed, as applicable. Turn the ignition switch to “On” and use the recoil starter to start the motor.

Fuses

One or more automotive fuses are used to protect the motor’s electrical system. These fuses are in a clearly marked fuse box on the side of the iGX440, while other motors will have an in-line fuse behind the ignition switch panel on electric start models. A burnt fuse will keep the engine from starting.

Low Power at High Altitude

It should be no surprise when engines make less power at higher altitudes due to the thinner air, but in the case of these engines, this loss in power is due to an incorrect fuel mixture. Honda recommends having the carburetor set up for high altitude use if your motor spends most of its time running at altitudes above 5,000 feet (1,500 m.)

Engine Identification

The serial number and engine model on any iGX can be found on the crankcase directly above the oil drain plug.

Getting Parts for the iGX

www.hondalawnparts.com is a certified Honda Small Engine Equipment dealer, carrying everything you need for Honda small engines and equipment from older lawn tractors to advanced powerplants like the iGX. Our site makes finding parts easy thanks to factory parts diagrams and information built into our search engine. We can ship your order to any address in the U.S. and Canada.

Honda HRX Overview

HRX2173HYAPE_IMGLGThe HRX is Honda’s line of top performing mowers, offering all the company’s latest technical advancements including a few industry firsts. What makes these mowers stand out?

Cutting Performance

All HRX mowers use Honda’s MicroCut twin blade cutting system. This design pairs two uniquely shaped blades that sit on top of each other, cutting grass twice in the first pass for smaller clippings when collecting or discharging. When mulching, the dual action chops up grass faster, helping the mower deal with thick and wet grass that would clog other mulching mowers.

These mowers use Honda’s 4-in-1 Versamow System, letting you choose between mulching, bag, or discharge clippings plus a special leaf shredder mode. The bag and deck plug can be attached without tools, and the Clip Director allows clippings to be redirected by moving a single lever, making it easy to switch modes. Continue reading