18hp Honda won't deal with cold weather

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by lakesregionscapes, Feb 7, 2007.

  1. lakesregionscapes

    lakesregionscapes LawnSite Member
    Posts: 145

    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
     
  2. pugs

    pugs LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,022

    Have you tried removing the air filter when it does this? I wonder if it could be icing up???
     
  3. olyman

    olyman LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,649

    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--
     
  4. mattfromNY

    mattfromNY LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,580

    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.
     
  5. mattfromNY

    mattfromNY LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,580

    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.
     
  6. lakesregionscapes

    lakesregionscapes LawnSite Member
    Posts: 145

    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...
     
  7. lakesregionscapes

    lakesregionscapes LawnSite Member
    Posts: 145

    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.
     
  8. lakesregionscapes

    lakesregionscapes LawnSite Member
    Posts: 145

    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)
     
  9. olyman

    olyman LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,649

    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--
     
  10. pugs

    pugs LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,022

    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?
     

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