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lakesregionscapes
02-07-2007, 02:30 PM
While I'm here I figured I'd run this one by you too...
Just posted an issue with our backup snowblower/walkbehind mower unit (13hp).Now for the "better" machine.
I did post this in the snow forum without much response, but I was hoping some guys here might have the Honda multi-purpose commercial walkbehind units still around. Our 18 hp setup is 6 years old, with a 2 year old replacement engine on it (run as snowblower, sweeper or 52" mower depending on the month). Since the engine is the "exact replacement for the GVX610 18hp vertical shaft V-twin" but not "approved for our application(snowblower)" Honda washes their hands of it... Carburator is positioned differently and other minor variation from original motor.
Problem: In cold weather it will start fine, and run forever just hanging around. Get into a snowbank though, and after 15-30 minutes it starts reving up and down, smoking black smoke, loosing power and if you're lucky conking out halfway onto the trailer, or in the middle of the customer's driveway. Leave it to sit a while and it will fire right up. It's been to the local Honda repair guy several times (he replaced the carburator, screwed up the linkage, replaced plugs, etc.) but he never runs it long enough... It's had both coils and wires replaced, carb rebuilt, plugs replaced, run with the air filter on/off, with the air filter cover on/off, fuel pump cleaned/replaced... Thought maybe the pinhole of a breather on the fuel pump was clogging with ice, but protecting it didn't make an iota of difference. Thought it might be water shorting it out somewhere - spritzed it for an hour this fall to trigger the problem. Nope.

Bottom line, it hates snow (doesn't seem to mind rain). Any one out there with a reason WHY? Honda's made millions of these and similar engines - it's the only engine of any maker we've ever had with this kind of attitude displacement. $1200.- of aggravation

pugs
02-07-2007, 04:04 PM
Have you tried removing the air filter when it does this? I wonder if it could be icing up???

olyman
02-07-2007, 09:02 PM
is the carb icing up--as in frost on it when running hard--may need to route heat off the engine to warm it a bit--

mattfromNY
02-07-2007, 09:11 PM
The honda generators have what they call "cold weather kits", basically just a insulation for the crank case breather tube. Once the cold air and moisture from the air get into it, it freezes, builds too much pressure into the crankcase, and possibly blows out crank seals. Dont know for sure this is whats happening with your motor, but I'd check with a dealer.

mattfromNY
02-07-2007, 09:27 PM
I'm driving myself crazy trying to get you a part number, I've googled Honda Power Equipment, and Honda generator parts, etc., but I have yet to find the part. I'll call the dealership I used to work at and get you a part number if you want. Let me know. We just got one last year for a vendor at the snowmobile races, his generator quit, we found it had spit a crank seal because of too much crank case pressure.

lakesregionscapes
02-08-2007, 10:34 AM
Have you tried removing the air filter when it does this? I wonder if it could be icing up???

Always run it without the air filter in winter at Honda tech's recommendation (had same issues with it on) - filter did used to ice up, but not over the entire surface, just a patch in the middle...

lakesregionscapes
02-08-2007, 10:44 AM
is the carb icing up--as in frost on it when running hard--may need to route heat off the engine to warm it a bit--

This ( the carb can look pretty frosty at times) and the crank case breather insulation kit... Makes me think my vision of a jury-rigged " lawn-tractor hood" type of cover might not be as far off base at it seemed - just due to the fact that the colder it is, the worse it gets. Although I remain baffled why this one engine model is so different from the older one it substitutes (that ran like a dream for 4 years before blowing the piston seals)- different in some minute way that is so flawed....
The exhaust and muffler glow eerily at night, right below the carb assembly so it shouldn't be too hard to borrow some of that heat... Hmmm.... Thinking...

Details of the block casting appear as though this engine was essentially designed for a lawn tractor, not a walkbehind in the first place.

lakesregionscapes
02-08-2007, 10:48 AM
I'm driving myself crazy trying to get you a part number, I've googled Honda Power Equipment, and Honda generator parts, etc., but I have yet to find the part. I'll call the dealership I used to work at and get you a part number if you want. Let me know. We just got one last year for a vendor at the snowmobile races, his generator quit, we found it had spit a crank seal because of too much crank case pressure.

I'll check with our local guy...He gave up carrying Honda lawn equipment and switched to Walkers. (we switched to Ransomes-Bobcat, out of town) He does still carry the generators though: he might as well help out a little with this - sure hasn't been useful so far.

Thanks for all the helpful input - I'll let you know if this leads to a solution
(I doubt we're the only ones trying to get a few more years out of our discontinued machines)

olyman
02-08-2007, 02:38 PM
discontinued machines---hah!!!! never--till the day i cant MAKE parts for them--i even reseurected a yt18 snapper--and it goes just fine--not much money in it either--

pugs
02-08-2007, 06:13 PM
Hmmm, sounds like an old Kohler Generator we had in here. Turned out to be a small carb bowl vent that must have been partially clogged. The muffler would get to glow red hot....and then the engine would finally sputter and die.

Maybe the bowl vent on this thing is freezing up?

Also, is the fuel being gravity fed or going through a pump? If its going through a pump, have you tried bypassing the pump and running fuel out of a tank straight into the carb?

Bill Kapaun
02-09-2007, 01:45 AM
It's my understanding that "snow" engines have less cooling and/or warm air ducted to the carb to prevent icing.
Since your engine isn't approved for "snow", maybe that's the problem.

Something that MIGHT help is to use fuel with as much alcohol/ethanol in it that you can get. It MIGHT act as antifreeze. If nothing else, it would absorb any water in the tank.

lakesregionscapes
02-09-2007, 10:53 AM
It's my understanding that "snow" engines have less cooling and/or warm air ducted to the carb to prevent icing.
Since your engine isn't approved for "snow", maybe that's the problem.

Something that MIGHT help is to use fuel with as much alcohol/ethanol in it that you can get. It MIGHT act as antifreeze. If nothing else, it would absorb any water in the tank.

The fact that the current motor isn't rated for snow unfortunately implies that there is no real replacement from Honda for their older snowblowers... bummer; I hate it when they do that!

The 10% ethanol gas hasn't quite made it to our area, but we do use a fair amount of drygas - as far as I can tell the MBTE or whatever other crap is in the gas currently causes a significant amount of condensation in a matter of a few days - chronic problem all year 'round (at least in freezing weather the water is a cube at the bottom of the refill can, but unfortunately in the bottom of the carb bowl too...)
There might yet be a trade-off when we do get E10 gas and have to replace all the 2-cycle lines and seals... the bigger equipment might run smoother?

lakesregionscapes
02-09-2007, 11:07 AM
Hmmm, sounds like an old Kohler Generator we had in here. Turned out to be a small carb bowl vent that must have been partially clogged. The muffler would get to glow red hot....and then the engine would finally sputter and die.

Maybe the bowl vent on this thing is freezing up?

Also, is the fuel being gravity fed or going through a pump? If its going through a pump, have you tried bypassing the pump and running fuel out of a tank straight into the carb?

From experience troubleshooting fuel flow issues, they do have fuel pumps, and they just won't run on gravity feed, period (tried that a couple of times when fuel pump was screwed up to try to get through the end of the day) given that the tank bottom is just about 3in above the level of the top of the engine, you'd have thought that it would work....
The exhausts have always glowed at night on all of them, only visible when you're out in the sticks with no light pollution at 2 or 3 AM - pretty cool to see. Make good finger warmers in a pinch too.

The carb has been cleaned a dozen times (and replaced once under warranty - so it is an issue caused by operating it, not just something stuck in there - which I guess is good to be able to rule out.
It seems like the consensus is that the carb is getting frozen up at some point,in some spot, and we need to try to find a way to keep it warm(er) if we intend to continue using this machine in winter without causing extreme aggravation, frustration, and hair loss.


Thank to all of you for your input and suggestions

Restrorob
02-09-2007, 07:23 PM
I've been sitting in the back row thinking about this one.

If the engine runs fine for a period then goes to skipping and puffing black smoke that could be three things, Carb. flooding or one cylinder dropping spark or loss of compression on one cylinder.

Since it runs fine for a period compression could be ruled out, But have you checked the valve adjustment on this one ?

IMO, I really don't see how a cold (Frozen) carb. or fuel/water would cause the carb. to run rich (flood) causing the puffing black smoke. If anything it should run lean due to a frozen or partly frozen main jet restricting fuel flow.

I would lean toward a ignition problem on one cylinder (Dropping spark after heated up).
Even though both coils were replaced doesn't mean they are OK, I have installed a few coils right out of the box that were faulty.

A test to perform; Operate the unit until it starts acting up, While skipping and running bad grab either of the plug wires with rubber handled pliers. Remove it while the engine is running, If there is no change in the sound that coil is not firing. If it dies when the wire is removed the other coil is not firing.

This engine has a engine stop diode assembly on it, Not knowing exactly what all kind of crap they put inside of it (Never cut one open) could be heating up and dropping spark to one coil ?

Good Luck

pugs
02-11-2007, 11:46 PM
Hmmm, I must have read right over the running rich part or something...And the part about replacing both ignition coils. For some reason had it in my head that it was running out of fuel.

When you replaced both coils did you replace the diode module thing?

lakesregionscapes
02-19-2007, 02:57 PM
Unless the spark dropping is somehow tied to cold temperatures I think it can be reasonably ruled out... damn thing runs fine for hours in temperatures above freezing; although I'm sure we'll look at the coils and the valve settings before long too. At least one coil was replaced early on because we thought wires were shorting when wet, and a spark plug boot turned out to be broken. (Being a V-twin, that still leaves one original coil).
Talked to another Honda service guy Saturday (the carb froze again Thursday night, and a quart or so of gas got into the oil - oil was spewing out the breather into the air filter casing - we though the engine was blown for a while).
Service guy tells me the newer Honda engines have had cold conditions problems (Duh! - where was he 2 years ago when we first had this issue?) and his solution is to tape off 1/2 to 3/4 of the cooling fins on the fan (under the recoil assembly) with duct tape to reduce the cold air flow past the carb.

In the meantime, ran the machine Sunday with a cap of ductwork cobbled to fit over the whole front of the engine: ran like it never gave a us a day of trouble, three driveways, and not a hiccup. Of course it was above freezing so we really aren't sure what to think...

I hope someone, someday, can use our many attempts recounted here and spare themselves months of frustration....!