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Robert,

Do you know the exact model # of JD that is corresponding with Honda 4120? Thanks
Off the top of my head, no, but let me dig through some files and see what I can find.

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Caveat: I work for Honda, but the preceding was my opinion alone.
 

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Okay, the model engineer tells me it was "mostly" a Deere LX173. Some of the Honda-specific parts (besides the engine) were the seat, hood, anti-scalp rollers, steering wheel, stickers and of course, the 186CV Honda Paint.

Trivia: During the production run, Deere introduced the RIO (Reverse Implement Operation) system. The PTO on the tractor was magnetic. If the PTO was ON, and the operator put the tractor in REVERSE, the PTO would disengage. The operator had to willfully pull up on the PTO switch a second time to deliberately activate the PTO while in REVERSE. Kind of a mechanical "Are you sure?"

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Caveat: I work for Honda, but the preceding was my opinion alone.
 

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Discussion Starter #24 (Edited)
Thanks Robert for the Honda info :thanku:

I agree that the 4118 and 4120 are based on the 173 model series, however since the model numbers all the way up to the LX178\LX186 come with either a standard transmission or a Kanzaki hydrostatic transmission I still think the Honda 4118/4120 more closely resembles the JD LX188 since the LX188 has a TorqTuff K61 transmission as does the Honda 4118 and Honda 4120.

The deck also has the options for easy removal like that on the LX188. I am speculating, but one would assume the PTO clutch would be heavier duty as well since the deck is a 48 with either a 18 or 20 hp engine.

IMO the mower that is for sale in OK is a very nice mower and well worth the money compared to any box mower in that price range found at Lowes and Home Depot. That being said, however, when you get into the $1200 - $1500 dollar range you can find some very well maintained and well built 90's era John Deere's and even Cub Cadets's (2165 and 2185) because the hydro's in them were less prone to failure when mowing over 1 or two acres.
 

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lX173, 178. and 188 use the same PTO clutch, and all share the same deck hanging arrangement. I would guess the Honda also uses the same Warner clutch

The 173 part could come from the dash as the LX173 only has a battery light, where as the 178/188 have a temp light and an oil light along with the battery light..

FWIW, the 4118/4120 was built on a near 10 year old chassis design, and Deere abandoned it for a newer but simmilar chassis the year they were introduced, not that it's a bad thing, but the liquid cooled Deere version ( LX188 ) can be had for less than $1k and it's a common tractor to find and get parts for.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Good to hear you got it sold. The buyer got a very nice LG with what appears to be very low hours and taken care of as well.

If I didn't already have 4 in my herd I would have drove down and bought it.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6529475377/in/set-72157628439440313

However, I would really like to find a very nice 4518 hopefully in the same condition as your 4120. Believe it or not, about a year ago there was actually a new one back in Ohio still on the showroom floor at a Honda dealership.
 

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Here's a little bit of the backstory on the H4118/4120:

In 1992, I was hired by Honda to be the tech writer for all riding equipment. In the late 90s, Honda introduced their large 18 and 20 hp V-twin engines. Being an engine company first, Honda wanted to showcase these new motors, and a lawn tractor would give them large numbers to do that. But, the US factory in North Carolina was busy knocking out walk-behind lawn mowers, rear-engine riders (H1011), and smaller 13hp tractors (H2013/H2113). After some discussions, a deal was made with John Deere to produce a "Hondeere" tractor that would be based on a Deere chassis / deck, built to Honda R&D specs with the new Honda V-twin engines.
Interesting stuff, Robert. Perhaps you can fill us in on Honda's philosophy on riding mowers.

Around that same time a friend of mine got laid off from his engineering job and not knowing when he would work again, decided to buy a new riding mower for his large lot. He got a Honda tractor-style mower because he judged it to be better engineered and higher quality than JD. It worked really well for years until the starter solenoid failed. The Honda part was expensive, so he replaced it with a generic Ford solenoid. Eventually something in the drive or transmission failed and he got rid of it because it was too hard to repair. Another Honda story, my neighbour bought a new Honda H3011H RER years ago. I was amazed how quiet it was compared to the all the domestic B&S powered riding mowers. (I have that mower now and he has a Simplicity ZT mower to get around all his flower beds.)

Anyway, here is my question: Why did Honda get out of the riding mower business (at least in North America)? Now all they sell is walk-behind self-propelled mowers.
 

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Interesting stuff, Robert. Perhaps you can fill us in on Honda's philosophy on riding mowers.
[snip]
Anyway, here is my question: Why did Honda get out of the riding mower business (at least in North America)? Now all they sell is walk-behind self-propelled mowers.
I would say it was a clear business decision. Looking back at the situation, here's my take on it:

Back in the 80s, Honda was on a roll. Accords and GoldWings were flying out of the showrooms. There was plenty of opportunity to develop some great projects, like tractors, for the North American market. All this started in Japan, where, at that time, the dollar was VERY strong, about 200 Yen or so. It made perfect sense to develop and manufacture tractors in Japan for the US market. As a lot of the engineers got their start working on Honda racing teams, some of that tech found its way onto tractor projects, like the 4-wheel steer models. How about the "mid-engine" H3011 rider? Pretty awesome, trick stuff, and while it was spendy, it was profitable.

As the dollar started to cool, and more and more production shifted to the USA, Honda elected to develop some riding products locally. The first was the H1011. It was offered in three versions (gear/recoil, gear/e.start, hydro/e.start) and about the same time, Honda elected to start selling products to Home Depot. While many of the independent dealers were unhappy, it proved to be a good choice, simply because that's where customers wanted to shop. However, the H1011 was a bit lonesome out there on the showroom floor, up against those large front-engine tractors with bigger decks, metalflake paint, bigger motors, and lower prices. Along come the retro-styled H2013 13hp Honda lawn tractor, and the situation only got worse, along with a dramatic shift in Yen-to-Dollar values.

Keep in mind, Honda has always been an engine company first. So when the new V-twin 18 and 20 hp engines showed up, Honda needed a showcase product for them. Capacity at the domestic plant was full, and Honda had already had a reasonably success with the Bunton and Auburn companies to manufacture the H7013 and H7113 large walk-behind commercial mowers. So, Honda was able to hook up with Deere to make the H4118/20 and get them to market.

Meanwhile, on the commercial side, the ZTR marketplace was heating up fast. I suspect Honda wanted to compete here, but elected not to for whatever reason. The increased demand for ZTR units took away some commercial sales of Honda riders too.

As the currency exchange rates worsened, riding equipment sales at Home Depot never really took off, and the growth of ZTRs by commercial users increased, Honda had little choice but to exit the market. By regrouping, they have been able to focus better on walk-behinds, generators, and have done quite well. That's not to say there will never be any more Honda riding equipment in the USA, of course. Just nothing right now.

[email protected]

Caveat: I work for Honda, but I must strongly stress, the preceding was my opinion alone.
 

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the only pc that doesn't fit that descript is that honda is still offering riding mowers, both the lower end 1000 series to riding lawn tractors, in the UK with a neat center discharge deck with a rear bagging or catcher system (suspect it's a **** of a belt setup on the deck though) http://www.honda.co.uk/garden/ride-onmowers/

believe they're made by simplicity as they had the identical rear bagger system here a few years ago

 

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Wow, those are pretty pricey, checking the UK Honda website. Of course, in Europe only the landed gentry and nouveau riche entrepreneurs would have big enough lots to need a rider.
 

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Okay, from what I remember living there 60 years ago, their sales taxes are included in the price, not added afterwards, like here, right?

(VAT - Value Added Tax - always seemed like an oxymoron to me. If you have to pay 20% more than an item is worth, it detracts from its value, not adds to it.)
 

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no oxymoron to a gov't bureaucrat

but what a lot of folks don't realize, we have the same thing except it's hidden - i used to import quite a bit. On firearms, whether mfgr'd here or imported, 11% FET - on batteries 50% ( i assume to protect a non-existent US battery industry

i made the mistake of importing 300 quartz clocks that unfortunately came with US mfgr'd Rayovac AA batteris - tariff per battery was 50 cents per battery - i can buy AA batteries at Costco for 25 cents per - go figure
 

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Does anyone know what the honda 4120 sold for when they were new?
I bought my HA4120 48" August, 1998 in Baytown, Texas (suburb of Houston) for about $4200. I have used it "hard" for 17 years. It is the best piece of machinery I have ever purchased! I recently had to buy a hood because my husband hit the front loader of our 560 and busted the grill of the Honda.
 

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Here's a little bit of the backstory on the H4118/4120:

In 1992, I was hired by Honda to be the tech writer for all riding equipment. In the late 90s, Honda introduced their large 18 and 20 hp V-twin engines. Being an engine company first, Honda wanted to showcase these new motors, and a lawn tractor would give them large numbers to do that. But, the US factory in North Carolina was busy knocking out walk-behind lawn mowers, rear-engine riders (H1011), and smaller 13hp tractors (H2013/H2113). After some discussions, a deal was made with John Deere to produce a "Hondeere" tractor that would be based on a Deere chassis / deck, built to Honda R&D specs with the new Honda V-twin engines.

I was part of the team that traveled to the Deere plant in Horicon, WI to see how we'd get this done. Their operation was impressive. The stamping plant was knocking out fenders and hoods at a blistering pace, and the robotic carts were moving frames through the workstations right on schedule. We watched the Deere tractors get built with passion and care. I was impressed with their use of reusable shipping crates, and how they would pull every third tractor or so for a round of tests. After meeting with their teams, I walked away with one key thing; everyone at Deere, from the VP to the receptionist to the guy who put the stickers on the carton, was focused on one thing; making the best **** tractor they could make.

We were thrilled when we go the first sample units back at our office. Working on the shop manual, it took some time to figure out how the Deere guys engineered everything, but it was logical and clearly showed plenty of experience, especially with regards to service. The deck, for example, was really simple to remove, compared to others I'd worked on before.

In the end, the market wasn't quite as excited; sales were not so good, and the H4118/20 would be the last riding equipment product American Honda would sell in the USA; they would exit that market for good in 2001. Out of sheer pride, I owned one for a while, even though I only had a 1/3 of an acre of grass. Used to tow the kids around the neighborhood in a wagon with it, without helmets. :eek:mg:

Here's some old line art I still had in the archives:

[email protected]

Caveat: I work for Honda, but the preceding was my opinion alone.
Hi Jason here from Australia. I have this model Honda. Do you know what model Deere it is as I’m chasing parts. To fix the cutting deck.
 

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First, welcome to MTF Jason! Just thought I'd let you know that Robert hasn't been seen on the site for 11 months. You may get a response from him but hard to say for sure. If you could post a picture of your machine we may be able to determine what body type of Deere it resembles, however if Honda spec'd the machine it may not be just what you need. If he does answer then that should be very helpful!
 

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First, welcome to MTF Jason! Just thought I'd let you know that Robert hasn't been seen on the site for 11 months. You may get a response from him but hard to say for sure. If you could post a picture of your machine we may be able to determine what body type of Deere it resembles, however if Honda spec'd the machine it may not be just what you need. If he does answer then that should be very helpful!
Hey thanks. I have a serial no. Do you know if I can look it up anywhere. I’ll get some pics.
 
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