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Old 05-16-2009, 10:56 PM
deere615's Avatar
deere615 deere615 is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: McKees Rocks, PA
Posts: 5,672
Did you try adjusting it so the engine will idle a bit higher like I mentioned before-that seemed to help mine with the surging? although mine still does surge a bit. As for the oil it might just be brown because its not all that dirty since you have it on a tight maintenance schedule. I use geniune honda 10w40. and for the bbc- mine used to pop out every once in a while but not often and hasn't done it in a while
23 years old~5 years in business~Fully Insured~LLC
2008 Chevy Duramax
2007 Chevy 3500HD Dump
2003 Chevy 2500HD

6x16 Tandem Trailer
5x10 SS Trailer
5x8 Dump Trailer
Bobcat CT225 tractor-loader
Wright Stander 48" RH & 48" X
Quick 36”
JD GT225
(2)Honda HRX 217's
Echo & Stihl handhelds

*Link to my thread*
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Old 05-16-2009, 11:11 PM
Quality Cuts PLS's Avatar
Quality Cuts PLS Quality Cuts PLS is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Gonzales, Louisiana
Posts: 249
Check out Honda's Power Equipment site under lawnmower accessories they make a single high-lift blade. Also Hustler's M1 mower (honda knockoff) comes with double blades and single blade.
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Old 05-16-2009, 11:12 PM
joed joed is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 1,135

Thanks for the excellent review of the HRX217 mower. It sounds like a good mower but not truly commercial grade. When I looked at it in the store, I was impressed with the build but did not like the length nor the cumbersome engagement of the BBC and drive levers. It seem liked this would slow you down a lot. The Toro SR4 seemed more intuitive plus is has a decent side-discharge section on the side. Not sure about the Personal Pace though. Seems like you're pushing the mower and not vice versa. Sometimes I think I'd be better off getting another commercial Exmark/Toro. Not that much more but at least you know you're getting a good piece of equipment.
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Old 05-17-2009, 12:45 AM
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WeCare-LawnCare WeCare-LawnCare is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Cambridge, Ontario
Posts: 92
Yes, thanks for the info. I can't decide which way to go, but your info will help us decide. We have a Honda dealer close, but not comfortable with the weight, and complicated controls. We can get com LB's here NP, so will probably go that route, but will give these Honda's a second look. Thanks again for posting such great info !!!
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Old 05-17-2009, 12:14 PM
madisonpressurewashing madisonpressurewashing is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Huntsville ,al
Posts: 366
I just bought that mower. It very cool to use the versa at 50-50. The book says to move the lever to the next to last setting for mulching leaves. I do agree the gas tank is small.
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Old 05-17-2009, 12:59 PM
CheapScapesNC CheapScapesNC is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Creedmoor, NC
Posts: 36
Very good mower, keep the blades sharp and has plenty of power. Love the versa mow system, keeps the clippings to a minimum. Have been running it since last year and no problems at all.
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Old 08-23-2009, 01:08 PM
hate2work hate2work is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Seattle Wa
Posts: 91
Roger, you mentioned it was a pain to dump the oil out of this mower. Have you considered using a suction pump instead? There are several on the market, and most hold a pint of fluid or more.

Also, does this engine have a low-oil shut-off feature?

Is another update in the works?

Thanks, great info and update about this mower
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Old 08-23-2009, 02:56 PM
Roger Roger is offline
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Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: McMurray, PA
Posts: 5,891
hate2work, a couple of more observations about the Honda HRX,

Actually, the oil draining procedure has become much easier. Actually, the last time was doing the draining, I was thinking, "... this is better than having to unscrew a plug and try to hold the engine over a catch tray." I've learned how to line up the mower with the oil pans that I have, and how to grab the handles on the mower for better leverage, and (most important), what angle and position is best to hold the mower for best draining. The whole procedure has been boiled down to taking a couple of minutes -- that's it.

All of this means, I will have to rescind my negative comments made earlier, and give the procedure a thumbs up. I have also streamlined the new inventory -- having a couple of former fresh oil quart bottles, all measured out with 15 oz of new oil. So, a couple of minutes to drain, another couple of minutes to get a pre-measured container, pour into the drainspout, and it is good to go.

The engine does not have a low-oil shutoff feature. In all the running so far, I've never seen the engine use any oil. I continue to change about once per week, Shell Rotella 10W-30. Even within one week, the oil isn't very dark, but certainly not down from the mark when refilling during an oil change. I check it every day before going out, but have never seen it use any oil.

There isn't much to add for an update. I've had to change a ground drive speed selection cable. I started a thread on how to do this task, and ended the thread with a series of annotated pics on how to do the job. It took longer than it should, but now I know what to do (if I need to replace again, or need to replace a engine-to-transmission belt.

No other mechanical issues has cost one minute of machine down time.

The machine continues to get heavy use. In the past six weeks, we have gone from dry (very slow growth), to wet (back to very heavy growth again). The machine has been used in mulch mode much more than we ever used the LawnBoy mower. But, some jobs require bagging. Some early morning jobs find a very, very wet dew. Those are nearly always bagged, and it works well for these conditions. I would prefer dry turf, hence dry clippings, but the HRX works well enough to do a good job under very wet conditions. Probably at least half the cost of the mower has been saved in dump fees, dumping clippings that we would have done in past years with the LawnBoy.

I probably will write a season-end post with impressions and observations over the full season (expected to finish out about Dec 1, maybe later on a limited basis).

Thanks for your suggestion, and inquiry.
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Old 08-23-2009, 05:49 PM
hate2work hate2work is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Seattle Wa
Posts: 91
Thanks Roger, do you have a link to the thread where you replaced the cable?
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Old 08-24-2009, 07:37 AM
Roger Roger is offline
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Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: McMurray, PA
Posts: 5,891
Here is the thread that discusses the topic of cable repair. The first post is asking how to make the repair. It sounds a bit desperate - I had a machine down, and didn't immediately see how to make the install. However, after I spent more time, and with the help of the diagram posted, the repair was made. I documented the procedure with pics, annotated them, hoping it may help somebody else with the same need.
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