I will LawnSite members determine this one

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by DFW Area Landscaper, Oct 12, 2006.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    I was recently introduced to Oregon filters as a replacement for the Honda filters. The Honda filters were over $14 each and the Oregon's were only $7 and change.

    I loved the price so I ordered like 18 of these things knowing I would eventually use them.

    About two weeks ago, one of the Honda's came in and wouldn't run. I checked the air filter, it was old and oil soaked and air couldn't get through. I pulled out an Oregon filter and installed and it ran fine.

    Anyway, I was talking to a local dealer in another town yesterday and I mentioned that I was using Oregon air filters on my Honda mowers. He said he didn't sell after market air filters for the Honda's because he was convinced they were just a tad too short and allowed unfiltered air into the engine.

    I was meaning to check this out next time I was working on the Honda's. Anyway, the Honda with Oregon filter came in late this afternoon, broke down, unable to generate enough HP to engage the blade.

    I pulled out the Oregon filter and it is clean. I think the engine is ruined. I compared the Oregon filter to the Honda filter, and just as the dealer told me yesterday, the Oregon is a fraction of an inch shorter. When you install it in the Honda engine, it has a very small gap that allows unfiltered air in underneath the mating surface (or gasket surface...whatever you want to call it).

    In the picture below, the Honda filter is on the right and the Oregon filter is on the left. The Honda is just a tad taller than the Oregon filter and when you mount it on the posts, the Oregon filter leaves a tiny inlet, between the rubber bottom of the filter and the plastic housing of the Honda, where unfiltered air can enter.

    Is the Oregon filter to blame for this engine failure?

    Later,
    DFW Area Landscaper

    Honda Right, Oregon Left.JPG
     
  2. imdawrlus

    imdawrlus LawnSite Member
    Posts: 49

    i would say no....you'd have to run it a looooong time for any "dust" to do real damage.
     
  3. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    Two weeks, or so, is a long time for us. That is probably around 260 lawns, give or take.

    These Honda engines are good engines. I have only had two failures with these motors, both this year. The first time, a worker failed to put oil in the crankcase. It mowed over 20 lawns before it seized. The other one was intentionally idled too high by an ex-employee so he could make the ground speed faster.

    Later,
    DFW Area Landscaper
     
  4. imdawrlus

    imdawrlus LawnSite Member
    Posts: 49

    what exactly happened to the engine? i would think all a little dirty air would do is clog it up and then after a while start wearing down on the rings...like you said 260 lawns is a long time so maby i'm wrong.

    unless something big got around the filter i would say its unlikely that this is the sole cause of the engine dying.
     
  5. MOW PRO LAWN SERVICE

    MOW PRO LAWN SERVICE LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,567

    When you tighten the filter down it should seal all the dust out of the carb, i say no.
     
  6. DLCS

    DLCS LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,380

    Your fault. Sounds to me like you let the filters et so cloged that performance is hindered. Filters should be changed out regularly, not when performance drops so low that the engine will not run properly. if a filter is dirty enough, dirt will be allowed into the engine.
     
  7. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    No, we change the foam filter element on our machines daily. Eventually, the paper core gets so oil soaked that they clog and that is when we replace the entire unit. We also blow the filterw out with compressed air once a week when we change the oil.

    As for the oil, we change that every week and it still a little golden colored when we drain it. The maintenance on our engines is good, in my opinion.

    Why is it that out of all the Honda's we are running, this is the only engine failure we have seen with no logical explanation? The only difference between this engine and the others is that we used an Oregon filter on this one for the last couple of weeks or so.

    I am convinced the Oregon filter is to blame for this failure. Maybe I am wrong, but that is the conlusion I have jumped to.

    Later,
    DFW Area Landscaper
     
  8. WildWest

    WildWest LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 384

    Have you had a compression test done to the engine, and if that's good, check the carb for dirt!

    Hondas are real good engines, but oil and dirt don't play well together.

    260 lawns on that filter? How many hours is that?

    Also, with an air gap, 3 times more air is gonna go through that gap, then will go through the filter! Path of least resistance.
     
  9. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    Yes, path of least resistance is exactly what I was thinking. It doesn't take much of an imperfect fit to essentially be running without a filter.

    I just went out to the garage and I can definitely see how the Oregon filter doesn't seat correctly over the posts. The Honda filters are not allowing an air gap at the base, but the Oregon filters are.

    Usually, we can go months on the same filter because we are putting a clean foam pre-filter on each morning.

    I will take the carb off the seized engine next week and put it on this machine and see if that doesn't make any difference.

    As for compression testing, I have a compression tester. How many PSI should I be able to get if the engine is good?

    Later,
    DFW Area Landscaper
     
  10. WildWest

    WildWest LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 384

    Oh man, I would say probably somewhere around 120 to 160. Call a dealer and ask to speak to their mechanic, they can probably tell you or look it up for you. If you only get 60-90 psi, something is wrong.

    Is the engine SEIZED or will it still spin?
     

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