How Honda Develops Engines

High Altitude Honda Engine

How does Honda develop their world-renowned small engines? It takes an effort spread across research and development facilities across the globe. Borrowing design tools, materials and other developments across the company, engineers both here and abroad work to make sure that each engine fits their applications and each application fits their engines, even if they aren’t made by Honda.

Developing Engines Hand-in-Hand with Applications

Honda introduced their first general purpose engine just 5 years after opening their doors, and they started making waves in 1954 with its follow-up, the four-stroke T-type. In a market dominated by two strokes and big diesels, this engine stood out for its ease of use. It was first used in backpack sprayers shipped to Brazil, but the engine would find its true place in the domestic market. With more people heading to Japan’s cities to find work, farmers needed a way to do more work with less manpower. Demand for labor-saving devices skyrocketed, leading Honda to start building their own small-scale farming equipment.

From that point forward, the small engine division and the power equipment division were linked. While other engine manufacturers acted independently, Honda was able to find and address issues in their engine designs by developing them side-by-side with equipment. This can be seen in their entry into two markets: compact generators and lawnmowers.

Sony introduced their portable Micro-TV in 1962, leading Honda to develop an equally tiny generator prototype to use this portable television on the go. Seeing the potential for such a device, they launched the world’s first compact generator, the E300, in 1965. To get this new design to work, they designed a new 50 cc engine specifically for the application and in the process introduced the world’s first timing belt.

50ccWith the release of their first mower in 1978, they introduced a unique blade brake clutch system that would shut off the blades if the operator lets go of the handle. This made the mower safer and ended the hassle of restarts required with competing systems. This feature is still built into some of their lawn mower engines today.

Developing an Engine

Honda’s small engines start their development at the small equipment lab at Honda R&D Co, Ltd, located in the outskirts of Tokyo. Sitting between two elementary schools, this small office building houses everything you’d expect to see in an automobile development lab, but on a smaller scale. Advanced CAD and simulation software is used to develop prototypes which are put through a battery of tests on-site. These tests include everything from cold weather testing in a room that has artificial snowfall to a high-temperature room that can stress and prematurely age engines to quickly identify the sources of common breakdowns. The quietness of Honda’s engines is the result of tests in an anechoic chamber. It blocks all outside noise so engineers can isolate and identify where noises come from inside the engine.

These designers are able to use production techniques and materials developed in Honda’s labs across the globe. In the U.S. alone, Honda has 14 research and development centers working on everything from jet engines to new materials. Honda also performs final small engine development for North America at a research center in Haw River, NC. Established in 1993, this 11,000 square foot facility makes sure each model can tolerate our widely varying weather conditions while meeting emissions standards.

Working with Equipment Manufacturers

When an equipment company wants to use a Honda engine in their products, they don’t just order a few units and bolt them on. Instead, they go through a development process with Honda to make sure the engine and equipment are fully compatible.

First, the manufacturer contacts a regional distributor. Together, they work out what engine will best fit the application as well as pricing, availability, technical requirements and other issues.

Once the manufacturer knows the basics, they can build a Honda-powered prototype. This equipment is then tested at the Haw River lab to make sure the engine will work properly. This includes factors like oil temperature, vibration, operating speeds and engine loads. Wiring and mounting systems are also inspected to make sure they’ll be reliable.

Maintaining the Quality of Your Honda Engine

Want to maintain the quality engineering of your Honda small engine? When you need parts, visit www.hondalawnparts.com. As a certified dealer, we’re able to offer the full line of OEM parts, letting you keep your engine running just like it did when it left the factory. Our site even has factory information including parts descriptions and exploded diagrams so you can quickly find what you need. We ship across the U.S. and Canada.

Best Honda Lawn Equipment for Late Summer Lawn Care

Honda Lawn EquipmentThe high temperatures and low rainfall of midsummer are hard on your lawn, which makes it important to do what you can during this stressful period and before winter hibernation. While you may need to rent some specialty devices, the Honda equipment you already own can aid and sometimes replace these devices when preparing your lawn for fall.

Aeration

Foot traffic and construction can compact the soil over time, which can keep oxygen and water from reaching the root system. A coring aerator gets the best results since it removes compacted soil instead of pushing it to break it up. The cores left behind can be chopped up by your mower, but this is hard on the blade, so it will need to be sharpened before you next mow.

Dethatching

If the thatch layer, the dead material on the surface of the soil, is over a half inch thick, it should be removed using a dethatching rake or power dethatcher. This loosened thatch can then be mowed and bagged for disposal. Mulching the grass can reduce thatch buildup by keeping the microorganisms in the top layer of the soil well fed so they be able to tackle woodier plant material.

Fertilizing

Fertilizing starts with your mower: mulching breaks down the grass into small pieces that are easy for microorganisms to digest, returning nutrients to the soil. By using a mower with Honda’s Twin Blade system, you can even mulch when the grass is wet for maximum nutrient recovery.

There are plenty of specially blended fall fertilizers on the market, but before you start the application, you need to have the soil tested to make sure you’re feeding your lawn what it needs. After application, the lawn can be mowed after granular fertilizers have been applied after watering, while liquid fertilizers should be allowed to dry for 24 hours.

Applying Herbicides and Insecticides

In the late summer and early fall, broadleaf plants like dandelions are preparing for winter by transferring carbohydrates to their roots. By applying herbicides during this period, these poisons will be drawn into the roots, killing the entire plant. Have a grub problem? Now is the time to apply an insecticide to stop their growth.

Seeding

Once the soil preparation is finished, it’s time to overseed any bald spots so they can take root and get ready for the winter. Mowing the grass at your mower’s lowest height and bagging the clippings will help the seeds get maximum contact with the soil, and it will help the new grass grow along with the old, evening out your lawn.

Pruning and Trimming

Late summer is the perfect time to trim shrubs and bushes, and with Honda’s VersAttach pruner and hedge trimmer, you can have all the tools you need to get the job done quickly.

If you’re dealing with an old or overgrown shrub, cutting back a third of the oldest, thickest branches will encourage the growth of new stems from the root of the plant. Once the shrub is at the right height, cut the top off after it’s had a chance to grow another 6-8 inches. Shaping the plant so that the base is wider than the bottom will increase sunlight exposure.

Mowing

Tall grass helps retain moisture at the peak of summer temperatures, but it’s also a good idea to keep the turf layer thick into early fall to push out weeds, make it harder for grubs to hatch and more easily identify areas that need to be seeded. Most grass varieties should be kept at a height of two to three inches for optimum coverage. Unless you’re overseeding, never remove more than 1/3 of the grass at one time: this helps the grass recover faster. After mowing, check the grass for tearing at the tips, which indicates a dull mower blade.

Edging

Using your string trimmer or brush cutter, you can create narrow trenches around landscaping features and between the lawn and paved areas. The resulting borders help features stand out, and they can halt the ingress of plant roots into your sidewalks and driveway. Doing this in the fall will help these borders survive the winter, making it easy to re-establish gardens and thick mulched areas underneath trees next spring.

Keep Your Equipment Ready with Parts from Honda Lawn Parts

Hondalawnparts.com is a certified Honda Power Equipment and Small Engines dealer, so we carry everything you need to keep your lawn care equipment working. Our site has built-in parts diagrams to make it easy to find what you need, and we can ship those parts anywhere in the U.S. and Canada.

Fuel System Tips for a Honda HRR216PKA Mower

hrr-mower-deck

Having problems with your Honda HRR216PKA mower? It might be the fuel: it’s the most overlooked part of maintaining small engine equipment, yet it’s also the source of the most common problems. Here’s what you need to know to maintain the fuel system on your Honda from day-to-day operation to long term storage.

Buying and Storing Fuel

The engine in the HRR216PKA is designed to use automotive unleaded gasoline. This fuel should contain no more than 10% ethanol (E10.) Why? Ethanol is very hygroscopic, which means it absorbs water. Fuel with higher concentrations of alcohol will gather water from the air at a rate that can make the fuel hard to ignite. Over time, this moisture can cause corrosion of the fuel system.
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