Which Snowblower is Right for You?

Which Snowblower is Right for You

It’s that time of year again: the leaves have fallen and the grass has stopped growing, replacing lawn care with snow removal. What Honda snowblower will fit your needs?

Single-Stage vs. Two-Stage

A single-stage snow blower uses one auger to pick up snow and push it through the chute, while a two-stage snowblower adds a second auger to push snow through the chute. This lets two-stage blowers throw snow farther so they can clear larger areas. Honda’s single-stage blowers can throw snow up to 33 feet away, while their two-stage blowers can throw snow between 49 and 56 feet away, depending on the model.

Drive System

Honda’s single-stage snowblowers are “semi-self propelled.” There’s no drive system, but the action of the auger digging through the snow helps pull the machine along the ground, reducing the force needed to push the blower through the snow.

All two-stage snowblowers except the HS1336iAS come with a hydrostatic drive like you’d find on a riding mower. The wheels are driven by a hydraulic system that can be infinitely varied to get the speed you want.

The HS1336iAS uses a hybrid drivetrain. The engine powers the augers, while electric motors power the tracks. While there are efficiency benefits to this system, its biggest advantage is the motors’ ability to deliver maximum torque as soon they start moving. This keeps the blower rolling in situations that would bog down other equipment. It also has a transport mode, allowing the snowblower to be moved around without starting the engine.

The HSS1332AT, HSS1332ATD, and HS1336iAS use a track drive system, which gives them the grip needed to clear snow on inclines.

Starting

The HSS928AWD, HSS1332ATD, and HS1336iAS all have electric starters. Unlike most snowblowers on the market, these starters are powered by the on-board batteries, so there’s no need to plug it into an outlet.

All other models use a standard recoil starter, but since the engine has an automatic decompression system, they’re easy to turn over, even in cold weather.

Height, Width, and Pounds per Minute

A snowblower has a maximum snow height it can handle and a maximum width it can remove with each pass. While it’s technically possible to reach the maximum width and height, the actual amount it can handle without bogging down will depend on snow density, which can vary a lot: a cubic foot of light snow may only weigh 7-8 pounds while the same amount of hard pack snow can weigh well over 20 lbs. To make apples-to-apples comparison easier, Honda includes a pounds-per-minute rating, which is how much snow the machine can move regardless of depth. All things being equal, a snowblower with a higher pounds-per-minute rating will be able to cut through a wider strip of snow with each pass.

Chute Control

Honda’s smallest model, the HS720AM, uses a simple chute control: the height is adjusted using a pair of bolts, while the direction can be changed by turning the chute using the handle.

Most models come with Honda’s Snow Director. This uses two levers mounted on the handle to change the direction of the chute and the angle of the opening to drop snow exactly where you need it with each pass. The largest models use a power tilt system with similar controls.

Parts

No matter which Honda snowblower you end up purchasing, you can get everything you need for it from skid shoes and shear pins to major components from www.hondalawnparts.com. We’re a certified Honda Power Equipment dealer, which lets us offer the full line of OEM parts. Finding what you need 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. or Canada.

Winterizing Water Pumps

Winterizing Water pumps

Winter is on its way, which means it’s time to think about putting up your Honda water pump for the season. Depending on the model, that may mean removing a submerged pump from a well at a vacation home, stopping work on moving water between ponds or knowing that you won’t need to worry about flooding until the snow melts off. No matter how you use your pump, there are a few things you should do to ensure your equipment will be ready to be put back to work next spring.

Before You Begin

Before working on the pump, disconnect the spark plug to prevent an accidental start. Give the engine some time to cool off before working on it: some parts of the engine including the head and exhaust can remain hot up to a half hour after the motor has shut off.

Running the pump without water, even on self-priming models, can cause the pump seals to overheat and melt. If you need to warm up the engine to change the motor or gear box oil, make sure the pump is shut off.

Cleaning the Pump

The pump chamber should be flushed with water using a garden hose. To ensure all water is drained from the pump, it should be tilted so that the discharge side of the pump is lower than the suction side. Never tilt the pump the other direction: while water may still flow out, this also tilts the engine in a way that will flood the carburetor. A few drops of water may still be inside the pump case, but this isn’t enough to cause freeze damage, and there’s no need to run anti-freeze through the pump for protection.

Electric Pumps

Ice can damage the pump, whether it forms on the pump body or on the power cable. If temperatures are going to dip below freezing, the pump should be pulled out of the well or sump where it’s being used. While it’s out, this is a good time to remove the impeller cover and clean out any debris.

Yearly Service

Servicing your pump now will save you from having to do so when you first need it next season.

If the pump has a separate gear box, the oil should be changed. The engine should be run for a few minutes to warm up the oil so it flows out easily. Refill the gear box with a GL5-rated 80W90 gear oil.

Some models have grease points for the pump connecting rod. In most cases, Honda recommends NLGI Category 2 grease. These components are shielded from water, so marine grease is not required.

The air filter should be inspected and cleaned. Remember that foam elements need to be re-oiled after cleaning and the air box should be wiped out before reassembly.

All nuts and bolts on the pump and engine should be checked for tightness.

Engine

Any fuel inside the engine should be removed before storage. Honda recommends draining fuel that is over a month old or three months old if it has been treated with a stabilizer. Some small engines like the Mini 4 Stroke may need to be tilted to let gas flow out of the tank, while other motors with a removable sediment cup will have a bolt on the base of the carburetor that can be removed to drain the entire fuel system. Either way, this fuel should be drained into a suitable gasoline container and disposed of properly. Using this fuel in your car is fine, as fuel injected motors are less sensitive to stale fuel and the fuel you add will be diluted by the fresh gas already in the tank.

If the engine has a fuel valve, set it to “Off” to prevent any residual fuel from leaking out during storage.

Have an electric pump? The motor shouldn’t need anything outside of normal maintenance before storage, and it should be left alone to make sure it stays sealed off from water, which can cause a short or electrocution during operation.

Storing

Storing the pump indoors will help prevent damage from UV light and extreme temperatures. Since there may be a little fuel left in the motor, it’s best to keep it stored away from ignition sources including power tools, furnaces and anything else that produces a spark or flame.

Keep the pump uncovered. If a tarp is laid over it, moisture can become trapped, promoting rust.

Getting Parts for Your Honda Pump

Hondalawnparts.com carries parts for everything from submersible electric pumps to trash pumps and everything in between. Our site makes finding what you need easy by letting you see factory parts diagrams and descriptions for your model, and we can ship those parts to any address in the U.S. and Canada.

Preparing Your Lawn for Snow

Preparing Your Lawn for Snow

While your lawn might not be foremost on your mind with winter coming, snow and cold can do serious damage. By making preparations now, you can reduce the effects of moisture, cold and snow mold to help your grass come back full and lush next spring.

Control Your Leaves

Left undisturbed, fall leaves can create a thick mat of rotting material that blocks air and sunlight from the grass, keeping it from absorbing the nutrients it needs to survive the winter. Once it starts snowing, this layer holds in moisture that encourages the growth of snow mold.

Honda’s mulching mowers are designed to handle large amounts of lawn debris, even if it’s wet. If you mow frequently as the leaves fall, you’ll be able to turn those leaves into mulch, feeding the soil and reducing the money you need to spend on yard waste disposal. Expect to mow at least twice a week at the peak of the season. If the number of leaves gets out of hand, you should collect and dispose of them either by creating a mulch pile or by having them collected as yard waste.

Fertilize, but Not Too Much

By now, the time for fall fertilizing has passed in most of the country, but if you’re still a few weeks away from winter, now is a good time to get a soil sample tested so you can use the right mix on your soil. Nitrogen is emphasized in fall fertilizer mixes to encourage chlorophyll production and the resulting sugar stores needed to survive the winter, but too much can promote the growth of snow mold. This makes it critical to get the right balance to supplement your grass without opening it up to infection.

Cut Your Grass Short

The less grass you have, the less moisture it can hold. Ideally, the blades should be around an inch in height, but you may need to go a little higher to keep from cutting into crowns. Remember never to mow more than 1/3 of the grass blades at one time. Warm season grasses should stop growing after the first freeze, while cool-season grasses may grow just enough to need one more mow after the initial freeze.

Be Careful with Hibernating Grass

Both warm and cool season grasses should stop growing once temperatures are regularly below 40°F (4-5°C) and enter hibernation. Photosynthesis shuts down, the blades of grass turn brown and the plant starts using the sugar stores collected through the later summer and fall. In this state, the grass is very sensitive to damage, especially if it’s covered in frost. At this point, the grass shouldn’t be mowed; walking and any other contact with the ground should be kept to a minimum.

Spread Out Snow

When most of us use our snowblowers, we simply aim the chute to get the snow away from the area we’re clearing. This centers the snow on one area, creating a pile that is thermally insulated, slowing down the melting process. In turn, it keeps the ground underneath wetter longer, encouraging the growth of snow mold and the washing away of mud surrounding the grass. To keep this from happening, try to adjust the chute angle to drop the snow in a different spot with each pass, spreading it out over a wider area.

Take Care of Your Equipment, and Your Equipment Will Take Care of Your Lawn

If you have Honda power equipment or a Honda small engine, you can get everything you need for it at www.hondalawnparts.com. We’re a certified dealer for both arms of Honda’s outdoor equipment division, letting us ship OEM parts across the U.S. and Canada.

Maintaining Your EB2800i or EG2800i Generator

Maintaining Your EB2800i or EG2800i Generator

The EB2800i and EG2800i are the latest generators from Honda, and as with any new design, maintenance requirements and procedures are a little different from older models. Here’s what you need to know to keep your generator running like new for years to come.

Safety

Carbon monoxide build-up from the generator’s exhaust can kill you. Even if you’re just starting the motor to check how it’s running, it should first be moved outdoors.

Unless you’re changing the oil, make sure the engine has had time to cool down before you start working it. Some parts, like the exhaust, can stay hot enough to cause burns up to a half hour after use.

Oil

The engine oil should be changed after the first 5 hours or month of use, then every 50 hours or 6 months thereafter. Always check the engine oil before using the generator.

To check the oil, remove the dipstick/filler cap from the oil filler neck, located on the engine at the back of the generator. Wipe the dipstick clean, then insert it into the filler neck without screwing it in. The level should be between the marks on the dipstick.

To change the oil, let the engine run long enough to get warm, but not hot to help the oil flow out of the engine, taking dirt and sludge along with it.

Support the generator on blocks, keeping it level to provide space to slide an oil drain pan underneath it. The drain bolt is located at the base of the engine to the left of the dipstick. Remove the dipstick/filler cap and the bolt to let oil flow out of the engine. Once the oil has drained, reinstall the plug using a new sealing washer.

Using a funnel, refill the engine with SAE 10W30 oil. The oil level is correct when it reaches the edge of the filler neck. Reinstall the dipstick/filler cap.

Air Filter

Check the air filter before using the generator, and clean it every 25 hours or three months of use. If you use the generator in a dusty area, clean the filter more frequently.

The air cleaner box is located on the left side of the generator near the control panel. To access the filter, push in the tabs on the top of the cover and swing the cover downward. The air filter should come out with the cover.

The air filter uses three components: a paper element, a foam element and a plastic screen that separates these elements. Dust can be cleaned from the paper element by knocking it against a hard surface. The foam element should be cleaned by rinsing it in warm water and dish detergent. Once dry, soak the foam element in clean engine oil. Squeeze out any excess oil before installing. The easiest, cleanest way to do this is by putting the filter and oil in a resealable plastic bag.

When reinstalling the filter elements, the foam element should be placed above the tabs inside the cover. Follow this with the plastic screen and the paper element. Reinstall the cover on the motor, making sure the rubber seal fits into the groove on the inner half of the air box.

Spark Plug

Check the plug every year or 100 hours of operation, and change it every two years or 250 hours.

The spark plug is located at the top of the engine. It can be reached from the back of the generator between the two humps in the gas tank.

To remove the spark plug, disconnect the plug wire, then unscrew the plug with a 13/16 inch or 21 mm plug socket or wrench. The plug should be replaced if it’s fouled, has a worn electrode or shows cracks in the insulator. The plug gap should be between 0.028-0.031 inches (0.7-0.8 mm.)

To reinstall, screw the plug in by hand to keep it from cross-threading. Tighten down the plug with the plug socket or wrench, tightening 1/8-1/4 of a turn once the plug is seated. If the plug is new, tighten it 1/2 turn to ensure the plug washer makes a tight seal. Reconnect the plug wire.

Spark Arrester

The arrester should be cleaned every year or 100 hours. Unlike other Honda equipment, these generators always come with an arrester from the factory.

Disconnect the spark plug wire to prevent an accidental start. Remove the screw on the side of the exhaust opening with a Phillips or 4 mm screwdriver and slide the plug arrester out of the muffler. Use a wire brush to clean carbon deposits off of the arrester screen. If there are cracks or holes in the arrester, it should be replaced. Reinstall the arrester and reconnect the plug wire.

Getting Parts for Your Honda Generator

From spark plugs to spark arresters, if it’s Honda, you can get it from www.hondalawnparts.com. As a certified Honda Power Equipment dealer, we’re able to ship the full line of Honda OEM parts and accessories across the U.S. and Canada.

Operating EB2800i and EG2800i Generators

Operating EB2800i and EG2800i Generators

The home backup-focused EG2800i and job site-ready EB2800i are recent additions to Honda’s generator line up, providing the self-grounding and tough construction of a frame generator in a lightweight package. If you own or are buying one of these generators, there are a few things you should know about these units to get the most out of them.

Before You Begin

Carbon monoxide from the exhaust can kill you in a matter of minutes, even if it’s running in a garage with the door and windows open. Always run the generator outdoors at least three feet away from buildings.

If you just got this generator, take a look at our earlier article on setting them up. Oil needs to be added to the engine before its first start-up.

Controls

Most of the controls can be found on the panel at the front of the generator.

Choke rod: upper left
Engine On/Off switch: a large red switch on the lower left
Indicator lights: To the right of the choke rod
Eco throttle: To the right of the engine switch
Power receptacles: On the right side of the control panel
Circuit protectors: Just to the right of the receptacles.
Ground terminal: Lower right

There are also three areas on the engine itself that you’ll need to find to run the generator:

Fuel valve lever: On the right side, directly below the fuel tank
Starter handle: On the right side, next to the control panel.
Dipstick/filler cap: On the left side near the base of the engine.

Tips for Starting

The Oil Alert system will cut power to the ignition if the oil level is too low to protect the engine. If the system is tripped, it will switch on the bottom indicator light. Even if it hasn’t been tripped, it’s a good idea to check the oil level before starting the engine.

Before starting, make sure the generator is at least 10 feet away from fuel containers to prevent the ignition of gas fumes.

The fuel lever and engine need to be switched on for the motor to start, while the Eco Throttle should be off. If the engine is cold, the choke rod should be pulled out to the “Closed” position.

Once the engine is running, if everything is working correctly, the “OUTPUT INDICATOR” light should be green.

Stopping

Unplug all cords from the outlets and turn the engine switch to “OFF.” If you won’t be using the generator for a while, turn the fuel lever to “OFF” to keep fuel from leaking into the carburetor.

Power Demands

Both the EB2800i and EG2800i have a maximum output of 2,800 watts. With 120 volt appliances, that’s equivalent to 23.3 amps. Power draw at this maximum load should be kept below 30 minutes at a time. For longer power use, the maximum draw should be limited to 2,500 watts or 20.8 amps. If there is a short or the power demand exceeds 2,800 watts, the Overload Alarm in the middle of the indicator lights will switch on, and the circuit protector will trip.

Electric motors are reactive loads: they take more power to start up than they need to run, causing spikes in electricity demand. Motors are used in air conditioners and refrigerators as well as more obvious appliances like drills and mixers.

Eco Throttle

When switched on, the Eco Throttle automatically reduces engine speed to match generator output to the current load. This conserves fuel, reduces noise and saves wear and tear on the generator. Eco Throttle should be switched on once the engine is running.

GFCI Testing

When using the EB2800i at a job site, OSHA regulations require testing of the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) system before the generator can be used as a power source. Here’s how you test the outlets:

1. Start the engine.
2. Unplug all cords from the outlets
3. Make sure the circuit protection is on for both outlets by pushing in the buttons.
4. Push the “TEST” button in the middle of each outlet. The “RESET” button should pop up, and a small green GFCI LED next to this button will light up. Push the RESET button back in to use the outlet.

If the reset button won’t push down or the GFCI light stays on after reset, the generator should be inspected and repaired before use.

Grounding

These generators are grounded to the frame, which in almost all cases is enough to meet the grounding requirements for the National Electric Code (NEC) and OSHA so long as the generator is sitting on the ground. If external grounding is needed, a wire can be connected from the grounding terminal to a grounding electrode.

Maintaining Your New Generator

www.hondalawnparts.com is a certified dealer for Honda Power Equipment so we can provide you with factory original replacements for everything on your generator. With built-in factory parts descriptions and diagrams, it’s easy to find exactly what you need, and we can ship your order to any address in the U.S. or Canada.

Setting Up the EB2800i and EG2800i Generators

EB2800i

The EB2800i and EG2800i are recent additions to Honda’s generator lineup, combining low noise and low weight with tough frame construction. If you just bought one of these models, there are a few things you should know before you start using it.

Safety

Running an internal combustion engine indoors can kill you in just a few minutes, even if you have doors and windows open. Carbon monoxide in the exhaust keeps red blood cells from carrying oxygen, leading to asphyxiation and death. Plan ahead by getting extension cables to deliver power where you need it while leaving the generator outside. Always run the generator at least three feet (one meter) away from any building walls or roofs.

If you hook your generator up to your household wiring, you are legally required to have it connected to a transfer switch installed by a professional electrician. This switch cuts the connection between the house wiring and the grid, where it could electrocute line workers.

What You Need to Set Up Your Generator

Every generator Honda makes is tested at the factory. There may be some residual fluids left over, but gas and oil still need to be added during setup. Unlike some equipment, oil is not included in the box. Honda recommends using SAE-certified 10W30 motor oil for most operating conditions. Along with oil and fresh gas, you’ll also need a long funnel to add oil to the engine.

Unboxing the Generator

These generators weigh a little under 70 lbs so they can be moved by a single people. The box is designed so that the generator can be lifted straight up out of the top. Inside, you should find three items:

  • The Generator
  • The Owner’s Manual
  • A registration card

Your generator can be registered by sending in the registration card, filling out a form on the Honda Power Equipment website, or scanning the QR code in the “Registration” section of the owner’s manual. You need to register your generator to get recall information and make warranty claims.

Oil

Add oil before trying to start the generator. Even with the Oil Alert system, it’s possible to damage internal components by repeatedly turning over the engine.

To add oil, start by unscrewing the oil dipstick/cap, located at the base of the engine next to the frame rail. Pull it out and set it aside.

Place a rag under the filler neck and use a funnel to add 10W30 oil to the crankcase. It should take between 12-13.5 oz. (340-380 ml.) The oil is at the right level once it’s at the edge of the filler neck. Screw the dipstick back into the engine.

The Oil Alert system will shut down the engine if there isn’t enough oil in the crankcase. Indicator lights for the system are located on the front panel.

Fuel

The engine can run on automotive gasoline that has an octane rating of at least 86 and a maximum of 10% ethanol. This fuel should be fresh, purchased within 30 days, or within 90 days if it has been treated with a stabilizer: if you store the generator for long periods, it’s a good idea to drain the fuel tank and carburetor. The tank should be filled no higher than the red fuel level mark inside the tank screen.

Starting

Even if it’s the first time or fiftieth time you’re starting the engine, the procedure remains the same:

1. Find the fuel lever, located between the fuel tank and the engine on the starter grip side, to “ON.”

2. Turn the Eco-Throttle switch, located on the control panel to the right of the engine switch, to “OFF.”

3. Pull out the choke rod, located on the upper left of the control panel, to the closed position.

4. Turn the engine switch to “ON.”

5. Hold down the generator with one hand, then gently pull the starter grip until you feel resistance with the other hand. Give the grip a hard pull. It should start.

6. As the engine warms up, slowly move the choke lever back in. Let the generator warm up for three minutes. If the engine runs fine with the choke completely open, the generator is ready to use.

Stopping

Again, there’s no special procedure for your first use of the engine.

1. Disconnect any cables or appliances connected to the generator.

2. Turn the engine switch to “OFF.”

3. Turn the fuel lever to “OFF.”

Getting Parts for Your New Generator

If you want genuine Honda oil for your generator’s engine, or you need parts for maintenance and repairs over its life, you can get everything you need at www.hondalawnparts.com. Our site makes it easy to find parts by letting you search by your model and see factory diagrams and descriptions, so you know you’re ordering exactly what you need. We ship across the U.S. and Canada.

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.