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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
basically i'm curious to see what folks know about honda engine failures -

what's prompted this is in watching ebay, and personal contact with a few honda lawn tractor owners that had "blown" engines, i noticed all the engines i've seen or heard of failing, were lower end failures - a few were "thrown rods" but the three that i've come in personal contact with were "cracked" blocks - and those blocks cracked were either after overheating from hose failure & dumping all the coolant (2 of the three) and the third being a bad water pump. That sudden fluid loss from hose failure translates into external surfaces of the block cooling much faster than the internal surfaces, and that will crack a block.

john c reported, in that 3813 oil filter thread, that someone's eng threw a rod and he connected that to a recently installed substitute oil filter.

but i am curious to hear what engine failures others are aware of.

reason i'm curious - in looking at this engine, it should give an incredible life if properly maintained and i can see that overheating would be these engines primary killer, especially given the number of times i have to clean the radiator screen on my 3813 while mowing. THe last time i cut the grass, front yard is approx 1/3 acre - and i checked the radiator screen twice while mowing (temp sensor had not sounded) and screen was nearly fully blocked both times. So apparently the temp sensor is a "last minute" affair and/or the brass rad is shedding enough heat thru the tanks above and below the radiator's core to keep it below the temp sensor's limit. But the cooler the engine stays, the better the oil is functioning

I noticed that on the 5518, Honda moved the radiator to the rear of the engine, ie just in front of the operator's knees - where kubota puts them on their lawn tractors, and that should help it avoid drawing debris/clippings as quickly, and make it more convenient to clean the screen without leaving the seat.

btw, i noticed all the engines, 3813, 4514 & 4518, the water pumps have extraodinarily tall "towers" or bosses in the center of their sprocket, and the ends are tapped/threaded for a three bolt flange. I did a little research and found the 13 hp twin cyl engine (3813) is used in a tube frame for industrial application (referred to by honda as "DD2") but don't know the actual application - maybe they offer that engine already framed for water / trash pump mfgrs, generators etc - but the important part, in that DD2 offering, the fan is mounted directly to the water pump, at the rear of the engine. I'm thinking a neat project would be to move the radiator to that knee panel in front of the operator - it would also move the battery to the front, putting it's weight where it'll serve better, especially when mowing uphill.

,

 

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I also think that the engine failures are probably due to overheating. My tractor has had the overheat light come on a couple of times due to the screen being blocked. This only will happen when it is totally blocked by leaves and grass on a hot day.

On the 4514 and probably the others, the thermo switch is designed to come on at 208-216*F. That seems to be a warning temperature not a meltdown and makes me wonder if the problem is the operator just ignoring it.

The lower end failures may be oil related but unless the oil filter comes apart and plugs a gallery, it is hard to understand how an aftermarket filter could be a problem. I have been using the Bosch filter for at least 12 years.

These GX commercial engines were used on many pieces of rental equipment and are known for their long life in adverse conditions. It is a good feeling to have it in the tractor. :trink40:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
what you just said made me remember something i was told by the honda rep when i bought my tractor - the 13 hp twin cyl was a car engine in japan for a two seater, ala the japanese version of the fiat 500 - he said with a different cam it turned out a whopping 27 hp

while the engine's only 359CC, keep in mind the fiat 500 was, well, 500CC

don't know if his report was true, but what made it plausible was that japan then, as now, had hellacious fuel taxes as well as car taxes based on displacement
 

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They must not any good... I've been trying to sell one for $100.00 all summer and got no takers....
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
They must not any good... I've been trying to sell one for $100.00 all summer and got no takers....
i had told you i was coming up to take it and meant it

my mother in law has been in rhode island for the past two weeks - as soon as she gets back we'll be hitting allentown and stopping in

thought you had said 4 - 5 weeks wasn't a hassle for you??
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
and as an FYI for those that aren't aware, there is a 1/2" bypass hose hidden under the thermostat housing on the 3813, and it runs under the intake & exhaust manifold. I plan on replacing mine when i pull the engine to install the new water pump, but the kicker is, it appears that to get to the back end of that hose, you have to remove, both the intake manifold & the exhaust manifold.

Only reason i'm paranoid about removing it, my mitsubishi montero with 135K on it, ruptured a hose in 5:00 traffic and dumped all it's coolant. 2 hours later when i got water in it, block had cracked - didn't know it at first, just that it idled rough, real rough. When i pulled the head (hoping the issue was a blown headgasket) i found the crack in the block - figure a $5 hose is cheap insurance, even if it means $30 in gaskets and an hour or so of labor

 

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Just had one that had a failed oil pump gear (no teeth left) All it did was spin a rod bearing. Everything else was still fine... even ALL the other mains and the other rod... Crank cleaned up fine when I had it polished. New rod bearing and now it runs fine... amazing.. I guess the P/O caught it right in time.
 

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i put a external aftermarket temp gauge on mine so i coul dkeep a close eye on it. i also totally gutted the stock fan, and have a electric fan to handle cooling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Just had one that had a failed oil pump gear (no teeth left) All it did was spin a rod bearing. Everything else was still fine... even ALL the other mains and the other rod... Crank cleaned up fine when I had it polished. New rod bearing and now it runs fine... amazing.. I guess the P/O caught it right in time.
curious - was the oil pump gear nylon or metal?
 

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It was nylon. Did they have metal ones for these as well?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
don't know but doubt it - i hadn't seen one so that was why i asked when you indicated the teeth had worn off
 
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