Can someone give me the scoop on the bigger honda motors?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. LawnSite Member
    Messages: 169

    All you see now a days on the bigger gas mowers is pretty much Kawi's and kohlers. (I think maybe Hustler has honda engines on some of there mowers?)

    I've got someone trying to sell me a 60" with a 28 hp honda. I told him I was going to learn more about the power plant before I gave him an offer... so here I am.

    Only thing I've heard is they might have electrical problems of some kind?
  2. bls47303

    bls47303 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 354

    buddy of mine had one on his tiger cub and hated it always had issues with it.
  3. mtmower

    mtmower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,111

    Depends on the age. Hustler did offer the big Honda on their early SZ and still offer smaller Hondas on there residential mowers. I had a standard deck 60" SZ with the 24 Honda (which was and may still be the biggest available). It had nice low end torque. You could move the 1500 lbs. machine with the engine idling. Of course this is not real world use idling around. It did ok on gas. Was at the time quieter and smoother than some of the others (ie. Kohler) I wouldn't have wanted any smaller engine on the unit esp. with the huge bagging system that I sometimes run. Sold it with 1000 hrs. on it. Ran synthetic after brake in and changed every 100 hrs. Checked valve adjustment twice in that time and wasn't out hardly at all.

    Out of the box the first problem I had was finding the air tube from the carb. to the air filter unhooked sucking in unfiltered air. I reinstalled the hose and tightened the clamp to find the plastic neck of the carb. would just collapse, causing a funnel type shape the the hose would just pop off of. My dealer was also a metal shop. We found a piece of pipe the same OD as the ID of the carb plastic and slid a 4" piece in so you could tighten down till the cows came home.

    Other problems I experienced were the need to remove the engine shrouds once a year to clean out fins. If run in a dusty/dry environment the fins and shroud clearances are tight enough the stuff starts getting caught and starts plugging up air flow. You can blow some out with a blow gun even without removing shrouds. And it's only 8-10 bolts and a clip or two to get the shrouds off. Maybe a 45 min job once you've done it once. The tighter clearances when unclogged may give better cooling then engines with more open fin/shroud design. I don't know.

    The early Hustlers had a slow/int. no cranking problem. I had my starter off and apart two or three times, cleaned connections, replaced battery. Found out there was an update for it that included a pigtail and a relay or two which fixed this.

    Got enough dirt in the carb. on two occasions that required pulling carb off and cleaning it. Carb has sacrificial no-tamper pilot screws which need to be ordered and cost to much for what they are. YOU WILL NEED THESE SCREWS IF WORKING ON THE CARB. Two or three times messed with this and had to order them which meant a week or so of mower down time. This being said, any engine, given time will get dirt in the fuel system.

    Coils are a known problem. Go out slowly. A cyl. will start to miss after start up then picks up a runs ok till cold start again. They eventually fail and you have a useless single cyl. Dealer had to order these as well. They've been updated a few times. Close to $80 for the coil.

    At 1000 hrs. the dip stick o-ring starts to let things get a little damp with synthetic and you might see some dampness at a oil cooling line, engine block gasket, etc. Burned about 1/2 qt. in 50-75 hrs. on synthetic.

    I use my equipment hard or harder then anyone should and then I push it some more. They take a beating. They quit offering the 24 on the SZ and if I remember right it was due to head gasket problems from overheating if I heard correctly. This is one reason I checked and cleaned religiously. I may be incorrect on this.

    Overall it is a good motor IMO. But I have had less problems with my 27 EFI Kohler and now they only offer big Kawasaki engines on the SZ.

    I believe Honda has since revamped it's big block motors in 2011 so it may be a hole different beast now.
  4. LawnSite Member
    Messages: 169

    man, thanks for the great reply mtmower! (and bls47303)

    Yikes... I like the power on the engine but... that's a lot of work to keep it running decent.

    Will be interesting to see how there new big blocks are!

    I'm going to steer away for now... the mower I was think of getting is an old demo Zipper model with a 2 year commercial warranty. I figure they will probably cover all the problems but down time isn't any fun and right now I don't have a suitable mower to cover it when its in the shop...
    (I'm not sure how old it is either ... Zipper's new stuff at least spec. wise is top of the line. Check out there website.)
  5. pugs

    pugs LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,025

    What model Honda? To my knowledge they have never had a 28HP engine.
  6. LawnSite Member
    Messages: 169
    here's the link.
    I'm having problems getting the pictures to post. Someone who knows how would you please post the pictures from the ad here? Always a bummer when looking through archived posts and having a deleted c-list ad to look at.
  7. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,337

  8. LawnSite Member
    Messages: 169

    your my hero! Thanks! :)

    Going by their website, the new Zippers are monsters! (spec wise) Interesting to see if they can get a following or not.

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