Anyone use the Harbor Freight engines? - MyTractorForum.com - The Friendliest Tractor Forum and Best Place for Tractor Information
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post #1 of 35 Old 09-20-2009, 08:28 PM Thread Starter
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Anyone use the Harbor Freight engines?

I just have to ask, because $300 for an 11hp electric start (with recoil back up) sure sounds like a great deal. It "looks" almost like a real engine too!

Anyone know who makes these? Has anyone tried them? Maybe even into a MF 7/8?

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=66524

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post #2 of 35 Old 09-20-2009, 08:37 PM
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Re: Anyone use the Harbor Freight engines?

They are Chinese clones of Honda GX engines.

6.5hp = Copy of Honda GX-200
11hp = Copy of HOnda GX-340
13hp = Copy of Honda GX-390

These particular ones are made by Lifan in China, and imported to the states. Recent international lawsuits from HONDA concerning the appearance of these engines prompted the cloners to make substantial design changes to all engines.

Ive got a 6.5 clone on a Gokart that Ive run at valve float for long periods of time, never a problem...Ive got a 6.5 Lifan (new style) that I broke in on the test bench on hot fuel, made the muffler glow...but it loved it.

Ive seen 11hp clones that were used and abused, and only saw one explode big time..

Get the warranty...1, 2 or 3 years unconditional free replacement.

I asked the lady if I took the thing out of the box in the parking lot, added only fuel and blew it to high heaven if it was covered...she said yup, as long as I had my reciept.

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post #3 of 35 Old 09-20-2009, 09:39 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Anyone use the Harbor Freight engines?

That's great news... Even if I did not get the warranty, the motor is half the cost of the same spec Briggs motor! The best part, is I have one in my work area so I can just stop by in the company car to measure and pick one up. I seem to remember they had some in stock.

May your crops be green, and your tractors red.


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post #4 of 35 Old 09-20-2009, 10:24 PM
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Re: Anyone use the Harbor Freight engines?

I would'nt count on that engine for.... like a generator, I've got 1. It runs, not well, but it does run. The carb always needs to be messed with, and when I change oil there is always "metal" in the oil. I do use my generators every week, but I take that one only if the Honda is on another job. LOL
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post #5 of 35 Old 09-22-2009, 07:53 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Anyone use the Harbor Freight engines?

Well, I stopped down at the local Harbor Freight and checked it out.. (on sale $249.00) and I have a question... Did anyone have a working set up to attach the throttle and choke cable? If you did hook something up, could you please post photos?

Also, will a Honda carb bolt onto this motor if it fails in the future? There is a lot of plastic on the carb that I am not all too fond of.

May your crops be green, and your tractors red.


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1974 Massey Ferguson 12G
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post #6 of 35 Old 09-22-2009, 11:52 AM
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Re: Anyone use the Harbor Freight engines?

Honda carbs and many other parts are a direct bolt on...but Id never pay their prices.

I get my parts, for both my clones, and my genuine hondas, from gxparts.com. They aare chinese parts and priced at a fraction of the price of Honda parts.

For instance, I just finished an overhaul of a Honda GX-390 for kart racing, I paid 150 dollars for the engine, used, running, but it smoked some and wouldnt ru smooth due to a corroded carb.

The parts I needed were a set of rings, gaskets, carburetor.

If Id bought from HONDA, Id have paid nearly 200 dollars for those 3 parts...but I bought clone parts and paid 50 dollars for all 3 parts. In fact I was able to buy a custom 3 stage pipe, K&N filter with velocity stack, all the above parts, paint, for under 150...

The thing starts on one pull, idles great with no playing around with it, no smoke, no problems. Fwiw, many honda parts are made in china....at the same facilties that make the clone parts...no it isnt a coincidence.

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1962 WH702

1997 K3500 Dually Sierra
Crew Cab, Long bed, Vortec 454

1995 K3500 Silverado
TBI 454

1995 K2500 Silverado
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post #7 of 35 Old 09-22-2009, 11:58 AM
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Re: Anyone use the Harbor Freight engines?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mouse View Post
I would'nt count on that engine for.... like a generator, I've got 1. It runs, not well, but it does run. The carb always needs to be messed with, and when I change oil there is always "metal" in the oil. I do use my generators every week, but I take that one only if the Honda is on another job. LOL
We have a contractor I repair stuff for in town, he has a wacker dirt packer with a 5.5 clone engine, it's about 5 years old at least. They run it 5-6 days a week for hours on end. He changes the oil....never. They brought it in one day with no compression. I removed the valve cover and it had broken a retainer and dropped a valve. I fished the valve back up and put on another retainer. IT started right up and ran...however it was jammed open and was floating the valves...I repaired that problem....but they said it had been running like that for months...


I like em, and for what they cost, cant be beat.

Ive had brand new briggs and stratton Inteks drop valves right out of the box...break rods, etc...Keep n mind these are also made in china.

If you want a really really good clone, Kohler sells one as the CH270, it's a 7hp 200+ cc engine, made in china at a Kohler run facility...not too pricey, but its a nice engine.

1993 Wheel Horse 416-H
Onan P216G

1962 WH702

1997 K3500 Dually Sierra
Crew Cab, Long bed, Vortec 454

1995 K3500 Silverado
TBI 454

1995 K2500 Silverado
6.5 Detroit Turbo Diesel

1994 GMC Sierra Z71
350 TBI

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post #8 of 35 Old 09-22-2009, 03:27 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Anyone use the Harbor Freight engines?

Thanks, I book marked that page! Have you ever hooked up one of these motors to use a throttle cable though? It appears that site sells a new choke lever, this one is from metal and may help to attach the choke cable to it. I don't really want to have to reach into the motor every time I want to rev the motor...


May your crops be green, and your tractors red.


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1971 Massey Ferguson 12H
1974 Massey Ferguson 12G
1974 Massey Ferguson 8G
1981 Troy-Bilt Horse 8hp
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post #9 of 35 Old 09-22-2009, 07:21 PM
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Re: Anyone use the Harbor Freight engines?

The factory choke ius plastic, the one in your pic is actually plastic, you'd have to drill a small hole in the lever and fab up a choke pull to your dash to operate it if you dont want to reach under the hood when you first start it cold.

Throttle, the cable will need to run between the filter housing and the fuel tank, there is a spot where the cable can hook onto. You loosen the pinch nut on the throttle pivot so it takes no effort to move it.

1993 Wheel Horse 416-H
Onan P216G

1962 WH702

1997 K3500 Dually Sierra
Crew Cab, Long bed, Vortec 454

1995 K3500 Silverado
TBI 454

1995 K2500 Silverado
6.5 Detroit Turbo Diesel

1994 GMC Sierra Z71
350 TBI

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post #10 of 35 Old 09-22-2009, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Anyone use the Harbor Freight engines?

Great, I did not take the air cleaner off in the store so I must of missed that. I would like to have the choke hooked up so I will play with it and get it hooked up. I may even play with the pivot so the range of the choke lever matches the full throw of the HF motor choke.

Thanks for the help! Next step is to measure the motor to get a feel for how tight the fit will be. If I have to mod the hood, I can, but I would rather keep it as stock as I can.

May your crops be green, and your tractors red.


=My Workshop=
http://www.yankeetoys.org/lee/shop.html
1971 Massey Ferguson 12H
1974 Massey Ferguson 12G
1974 Massey Ferguson 8G
1981 Troy-Bilt Horse 8hp
1972 John Deere 112
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post #11 of 35 Old 09-22-2009, 08:31 PM
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Re: Anyone use the Harbor Freight engines?

The tank is easily removed, and I can show you where to get an aftermarket air filter and flange. That will make the tallest thing the muffler...

I assume you have a tank somewhere else on the frame of your mower? This engine doesnt have a pump, but it's not a terribly difficult mod to add one if need be. If you can use the stock tank it would be easier that way.

1993 Wheel Horse 416-H
Onan P216G

1962 WH702

1997 K3500 Dually Sierra
Crew Cab, Long bed, Vortec 454

1995 K3500 Silverado
TBI 454

1995 K2500 Silverado
6.5 Detroit Turbo Diesel

1994 GMC Sierra Z71
350 TBI

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post #12 of 35 Old 09-22-2009, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Anyone use the Harbor Freight engines?

No, sadly somewhere down the road someone had added a tiny little gas tank. (less than a gallon) It presently is held in place with wire ties where the battery should be. I was looking at the exhaust, worst case I can fully fabricate a pipe for that, but a smaller air cleaner would help, and I hope the gas tank will fit in there. Worst case, I have to figure out if I can move around the original battery box / fuel tank location to clear up some room, or if I have to swap in a different gas tank. One way or another it is gonna fit in there and look good while doing it~!

May your crops be green, and your tractors red.


=My Workshop=
http://www.yankeetoys.org/lee/shop.html
1971 Massey Ferguson 12H
1974 Massey Ferguson 12G
1974 Massey Ferguson 8G
1981 Troy-Bilt Horse 8hp
1972 John Deere 112
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post #13 of 35 Old 09-26-2009, 09:39 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Anyone use the Harbor Freight engines?

Hey, just one more question... Is this motor set up to re-charge a battery?

May your crops be green, and your tractors red.


=My Workshop=
http://www.yankeetoys.org/lee/shop.html
1971 Massey Ferguson 12H
1974 Massey Ferguson 12G
1974 Massey Ferguson 8G
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post #14 of 35 Old 09-26-2009, 10:04 PM
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Re: Anyone use the Harbor Freight engines?

Just a guess, but I would think it would since it is electric start. I am wondering about the recoil only start motors they sell. When you get it all in be sure to take some pix's. because






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post #15 of 35 Old 09-25-2011, 12:50 AM
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Re: Anyone use the Harbor Freight engines?

I bought one of there 6.5 for an old dingo i had ,all i had to do was losen the gas lever and put a return spring on it . There should be a hole in the lever . And if you don't want it to die every time you hit a bump bypass the low oil switch .Mine still runs great , it is now on my home made stump grinder i made form a old side walk edger .It sits out side and will start on the secode pull every time .
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