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I have two Honda GX 390 (13hp) Engines - one in a Generator the other in a hydro drive - snowblower. As I was buying the snowblower this week I complained that the new Honda Engines are oil lubricated by ' splash ' only with a shovel bolted on to the connecting rod bolt to assist in the splash lubrication when 20 years ago Honda use to be oil pressuredized lubrication with a spin on filter in another 13 hp enigne that was 2 cyclinder- water cooled and over head cam. I had one of those and you could not kill that water cooled 2 cylinder oil pressurized motor. The owner, in an attempt to defend the newer Honda GX 390 said " the Honda GX 390 engine does have a Tricoid(sp?) automotive type pump that pressurizes the oil delivery thoughout the internals of the engine." I then said , I don't think so because there is no spin on oil filter. He came back and said , " that's only because Honda will put a filter on engines where the application has the room for a spin on filter - but if the application for the engine is a tight fit, Honda will save the 3.5" of room and not put the spin on filter on - but it's a oil presurized lubricated system! Well, I don't beleive what he is saying but wondering if anyone here knows if these GX 390 engines are ' Splash Oil Lubricated" or are they " Presurized?" As far as the snowblower - I wanted the Honda Hydro Drive anyway since so many other snowblowers are now coming out with LCT engines which I suspect are Chinese made. The other choice was a Briggs Engine , but I could not find a ' I.C. ' Briggs. Just homeowner Briggs which I suspected had bushings instead of bearing.

Blair
 

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Discussion Starter #3
rscurtis,

thanks for the info.... any thoughts on how good splash is versus pressure? Another told me if I pulled the cover off the GX while it was running it would splash all the way onto my face! Personally I don't see how a little bent shovel bolted on to one of the connecting rod bolts can efficienly splash the oil from (1) fixed location - evenly- to all critical locations on the engine. I'm assuming the Over Head Valve cam gets drenched pretty good where an OHC would not and would require pressure. So I'm ok with the OHV cam getting lots of oil. Next the ball bearings on the cranksaft are bathed in the oil itself , no problem there - so - I guess the only parts that need an even coat of oil are the cylinder wall / rings and the wrist pin between the top of the connecting rod and the piston. I just dunno how one splashing shovel in just one location can splash oil up to the wrist pin in the piston and at the same time get an even coating on the round cylinder wall? I can just see it projecting oil to one spot since the shovel is fixed in one location and a lot of that splash might be hitting areas inside the engine block that don't really need a splash of oil. I mean , how does Honda assume that wrist pin is going to get a direct shot of splash where it counts? You would think for the increase in price for a Honda - you would get a little more - but yes - I keep hearing nothing but praise for Honda GX engines. Just wish I knew someone who has taken one of these apart after many years to see if it works as advertised.

what say you?

Blair
 

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I think you are over concerned about something that has been worked on by engineers for a LONG time. If Honda makes splash work, it works. Briggs, Lauson, Clinton, Tecumseh, and Onan, to name a few, have made splash lubricated engines for decades. Successfully.
There is no need for 'pressure' except to push oil through a filter on these small engines, or to get flow where it cannot be gravity fed. If there splash enough to fill a reservoir that in turn trickle-feeds the upper crankshaft bearing, it will have sufficient lube to operate without problem over the life of the engine. The wrist pin doesn't need a lot of lubrication. If you looked at the bottom of most pistons, you'd see the area washed clean by splash lubricant, and it is sufficient to oil the pin, and keep the cylinder walls lubricated.
I do remember replacing an engine on a Toro in ~1962 that had been run in a non-horizontal position by myself and my grandfather to mow the face of a slope. He held it on a rope from above while I ran the controls mowing across the face of the terrace. I think we starved the bearings. When I took it apart a few years later when it knocked badly, I discovered a very small piston operated pump in the sump. It ran off an eccentric on the camshaft, and I think it pumped lube to the top of the crankshaft, but memory is fuzzy, and that was 50 years ago. Everything else was splash.
The 'guys' know their business. They have made 'dipper' engines for along time. The Chevrolet 'stove bolt six' was mostly splash lubricated until the 1954 version. They did add a pump and 'nozzles' to squirt lube at an opening on the big end of the connecting rod some time before that. They had to be 'aligned' to get the oil to squirt in the proper direction. But, thing is, they ran successfully for a long time. They did NOT have oil filters as standard equipment, and a 'partial flow' filter was the only option. The 265 was the first Chevrolet {to my knowlege} to have a 'full flow' filter, and that was years after some of the competition, FWIW. FoMoCo quit drilling holes in their connecting rods in the late 1970's to squirt oil on the cylinder walls. They figured splash from the oil flowing past the rod bearings, thrown up by the spinning crankshaft would be enough. It was, except for those places where the temperature was cold, and people drove their cars without letting them warm up before demanding performance. I'm not sure what they do today. Point is, splash does a lot, and doesn't take excess horsepower that a pump requires. They do know what they're doing, for the most part.
tom
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Tom,

Well I didn't figure the wrist pin might have little bearings - if that's what you mean by the ' upper crankshaft bearings?" I though it was just a polished tube or pin held in with C clips to connect the piston to the connecting rod -sorta a bushing. But if it's a little needle bearing rotating inside the hole in the piston then an occassional splash will last for many rotations before it goes dry. Even on a steep slope. Well I guess this might just be the last snowblower and generator ( both GX 390's ) I'll need in my lifetime and they made some more improvements this year - But - on the snowblower I do not get a paper filter - it's an ' Air Box' no filter in there. How does an AirBox keep dirt out- especially if you are picking up sand from a previous job? The Gen Set still has a air-filter ( I think) but the snow blower gets an AirBox. Any clue how an AirBox works?

Blair
 

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No snow blowers have air filters, the filters would become snow logged, freeze, and plug in minutes. Snow blowers operate in a low/no dust envoronment, much like an outboard..no filters needed.

Splash lubed engines work exceptinally well, at operating speeds the dipper hits the oil and it vaporizes into thousands of tiny oil droplets thats splash throughout the crankcase, up under the piston, wrist pin, and windage blows oil up onto the rocker arms as well. The crankshaft on honda is ball bearing supported, no bushings there.

I have one of those old GX360 Inline 2 cylinder engines, SOHC..I wouldnt give 2 cents for that thing....broke the timing belt and are the top end and caught on fire.

All horizontal shaft engines, with the exception of Kohler Commands, Onans, and a very vew select others, are splash lubed, either by dippers on the rods, or a cam driven splash wheel. And an Oil filter does NOT indicate pressure lubrication, most engines today have an oil pump that pumps oil through the filter then dumps it back into the sump...and has a plastic splash wheel that does most of the oil distribution.

Kart racing engines turn over 8000 rpms, run at 15* angled mounts, and usually have 1/2 the reccommended oil capacity, and failures are rare..using only a dipper on the rod.

Ive had engines break off the dipper from being over revved...and run for a long time off of just oil splashed up from windage off the cam gear and rod....

GX engines can go 2000hrs + before needing a rebuild...easily.
 

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I have two Honda GX 390 (13hp) Engines - one in a Generator the other in a hydro drive - snowblower. As I was buying the snowblower this week I complained that the new Honda Engines are oil lubricated by ' splash ' only with a shovel bolted on to the connecting rod bolt to assist in the splash lubrication when 20 years ago Honda use to be oil pressuredized lubrication with a spin on filter in another 13 hp enigne that was 2 cyclinder- water cooled and over head cam. I had one of those and you could not kill that water cooled 2 cylinder oil pressurized motor. The owner, in an attempt to defend the newer Honda GX 390 said " the Honda GX 390 engine does have a Tricoid(sp?) automotive type pump that pressurizes the oil delivery thoughout the internals of the engine." I then said , I don't think so because there is no spin on oil filter. He came back and said , " that's only because Honda will put a filter on engines where the application has the room for a spin on filter - but if the application for the engine is a tight fit, Honda will save the 3.5" of room and not put the spin on filter on - but it's a oil presurized lubricated system! Well, I don't beleive what he is saying but wondering if anyone here knows if these GX 390 engines are ' Splash Oil Lubricated" or are they " Presurized?" As far as the snowblower - I wanted the Honda Hydro Drive anyway since so many other snowblowers are now coming out with LCT engines which I suspect are Chinese made. The other choice was a Briggs Engine , but I could not find a ' I.C. ' Briggs. Just homeowner Briggs which I suspected had bushings instead of bearing.

Blair
Ill share a little industry secret with you...

LCT is in fact Chinese...

Honda parts are made in China at the same plants as the clone engines, these parts are the nshipped to japan for assembly. Thats how the cloners got the molds...They just used the old stuff Honda had.

Briggs Small and medium frame single cylinder Intek engines are made in China as well...

The I/C moniker has been gone for some years..now the order is..

Power Bilt
Intek
Intek PRO
GEN-TEK
VANGUARD

THe Power bilt will have alimunim bores and bushing mains, the others, it depends on how it was ordered.

But I can tell you, there is nothing from with a bushing main..95% of vertical shaft mowers engines in the world are bushing mains...problems are exceedingly rare.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Red and Tom,

thanks for the informative replies. Now I can sleep at night knowing my 2 Honda GX 390's is spreading the oil - not just one direction from the dipper but getting distributed all over from all the turbulence inside the case when everying is spinning fast. I didn't think about that and it makes sense. Not wild about the Chinese parts assembled in Japan. I wonder what I can buy now in this 13hp class that isn't Chinese influenced now. That LCT engine on the Husky Snow Blower turned me away. Too bad, cause I liked the way the Husky Hydro Drive allowed you to lock up one of the tracks to turn the unit which Honda's hydro drive does not do. You just tug on the Honda Hydro Tack to make it turn. Seemed dumb for the premium Honda gets. Then again, Husky bought Red-Max. RedMax is a great name but now their 8050 back pack blower engine is blowing up according to one dealer who sell the Shindy and Red-Max back pack. That didn't thrill me to see a great name like Red Max having an issue on their top of the line back pack blower right after Husky buys them out and then seeing an LCT on a Husky snow blower. I guess I'm lucky to still have my Kohler Command 25 from 2001. Guess I'll think twice before selling zero turn mower and pray when I need a replacement I can still find a name brand engine that is not Chinese.

On the Honda 2 cylinder water cooled over head cam oil pressurized engine from the old Honda Gen Sets like the ES-6500, I just sold that unit to a friend. I always thought that was a better egnine then the GX 390 I have now in the new Gen Set. Maybe needlessly more complcated - but seemed like it didn't care no matter how many days I had to run it up here in CT with our 7 day power outs everytime the ice forms on the trees and brings them down on the powerlines. When the timing belt broke on your unit - did it destroy the valves at the same time or did Honda design that to be ' non-interference?" As to the fire that happened after the broken timing belt - how did that fire happen?

Blair
 

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Red and Tom,

thanks for the informative replies. Now I can sleep at night knowing my 2 Honda GX 390's is spreading the oil - not just one direction from the dipper but getting distributed all over from all the turbulence inside the case when everying is spinning fast. I didn't think about that and it makes sense. Not wild about the Chinese parts assembled in Japan. I wonder what I can buy now in this 13hp class that isn't Chinese influenced now. That LCT engine on the Husky Snow Blower turned me away. Too bad, cause I liked the way the Husky Hydro Drive allowed you to lock up one of the tracks to turn the unit which Honda's hydro drive does not do. You just tug on the Honda Hydro Tack to make it turn. Seemed dumb for the premium Honda gets. Then again, Husky bought Red-Max. RedMax is a great name but now their 8050 back pack blower engine is blowing up according to one dealer who sell the Shindy and Red-Max back pack. That didn't thrill me to see a great name like Red Max having an issue on their top of the line back pack blower right after Husky buys them out and then seeing an LCT on a Husky snow blower. I guess I'm lucky to still have my Kohler Command 25 from 2001. Guess I'll think twice before selling zero turn mower and pray when I need a replacement I can still find a name brand engine that is not Chinese.

On the Honda 2 cylinder water cooled over head cam oil pressurized engine from the old Honda Gen Sets like the ES-6500, I just sold that unit to a friend. I always thought that was a better egnine then the GX 390 I have now in the new Gen Set. Maybe needlessly more complcated - but seemed like it didn't care no matter how many days I had to run it up here in CT with our 7 day power outs everytime the ice forms on the trees and brings them down on the powerlines. When the timing belt broke on your unit - did it destroy the valves at the same time or did Honda design that to be ' non-interference?" As to the fire that happened after the broken timing belt - how did that fire happen?

Blair

Id gotten a Honda tractor, I had the air filter off, letting it warm up the firsttime, checkign things out, I opened up the throttle and suddenly it stopped fairly violently and shot a jet of fire out the carb..fell down onto the engine, burned through the fuel line..I was just going ot let it burn but I really wanted the radiator..so I put it out.

Based on how violently and suddenly it stopped, with that metallic clank noise...Im guessing it kissed a valve or 2.
 

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"Upper crankshaft bearing..." was a reference to the bearing in a vertical shaft engine at the end opposite from the PTO. It is actually in most cases a bored hole of specific diameter in the upper crankcase half. The better {read: more expensive} engines will likely have a pressed-in bearing journal with spriral lube guides and various 'indentations' meant to hold some oil for, I assume, startup purposes when there is no splashed oil drizzling down from the upper surface of the crankcase. Newer engines may use ball bearings, but I don't have any to reference.
In a way, splash lubrication is an art form in some cases. You want there to be enough flow to keep the bearing from seizing, and also to cool the bearing, but not too much to allow clankage. {just made that word up...} I remember seeing a groove, more like a trough, cast into the sidewall of a manual transmission. It was the lube carrier to get oil to the rear bearing. The gears would dip into the lube, and fling some oil up onto the outer wall of the case. The trough caught the oil drooling down the inner wall, and directed it back to where they wanted, which did not really have a good way to get lube otherwise. The lube then fell onto the rear bearing, if memory is working right...
In the same way, you may find troughs built into the crankcase halves of small engines which direct flow to where they want it.

Splash goes way back, and I'd bet there were some very smart minds mumbling around with the problems.
 

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The Model T engine was splash lubed, with no oil filter...



On my open modified Honga GX200 race engine, it has a billet connecting rod, with Clevite77 bearing inserts. The dipper on this rod is shaped like a scoop and in the bowl of the scoop is a hole, this hole goes all the way up into the bearing surface, and forces oil right up into the clevite bearing and crank journal. Its not "required" to make them last..but it certainly helps at over 9000 rpms. Ive often wondered why such an idea was never used my the OEMs.
 

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Based on how violently and suddenly it stopped, with that metallic clank noise...Im guessing it kissed a valve or 2.
The GX360 is a NON interference engine so unless it ate a bolt or screw there would not be damage. And the GX360 engine was one of the best built engines ever made. It has cast steel rods with bearing shells cast liners liquid cooled and is very smooth and sips fuel, it is built like a car engine.. with proper maintenance they should outlast and out perform anything in its power category.
 

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The Next Generation of GX Engines.
GX390
The GX390 is all new for 2010, featuring more power, quieter performance, lower fuel consumption, and lower emissions. With new features and better performance, the new GX engines establish themselves yet again as the best engines in the business.

Common Applications
Pressure washers
Commercial lawn and garden equipment
Tillers / cultivators
Generators
Forestry equipment
Construction / industrial equipment
Agricultural equipment
Small vehicles
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Owners Manual
Features Specs Performance Curve GX series engines offer premium features and quality.
Digital CDI Ignition Coil
Superior air filtration systems
Ball bearing supported crankshaft
Dual oil drains and fill
Automatic mechanical decompression for easier starting
Multiple charging coil options
Fuel Efficient, High Output Operation•Digital CDI ignition system with variable timing•Increased compression ratio | Learn More•Precision camshaft design offers precise valve timing and optimal valve overlap for better fuel efficency•OHV design for increased efficiency and optimal power transferSmooth Performance•Precision engineered components result in lower vibration•Ball bearing supported crankshaft for greater stability•Heavy duty balancer shaft•Improved piston designExceptionally Quiet•Large capacity, multi-chamber exhaust system•Improved camshaft and muffler reduce overall engine noise by up to 5 dB•Forged steel crankshaft and rigid crankcase•Helical cut gears•Sophisticated air intake systemProven Reliability•Oil Alert | Learn More•Cast iron cylinder sleeve•High quality materials, fit, and finish•Dual element air cleaner•Fuel Valve•3-Year Limited WarrantyEasy to Use and Maintain•Simple throttle control•Large fuel tanks•Large automotive type fuel cap•Dual oil drains and fill•Easy, convenient, heavy duty control box•Easily accessible spark plugEasy Starting•Heavy duty recoil starter•Automatic mechanical de-compression system | Learn More•Variable ignition timingEmissions Compliant•CARB and EPA certified•No catalyst necessaryAvailable Options•Low profile versions•Gear reduction options•Electic start•Spark arrester available•Charge and lamp coils with multiple output options available•Cyclone Air Cleaner available
Engine Type Air-cooled 4-stroke OHV
Bore x Stroke 88 X 64 mm
Displacement 389 cm3
Net Power Output* 11.7 HP (8.7 kW) @ 3,600 rpm
Net Torque 19.5 lb-ft (26.4 Nm) @ 2,500 rpm
PTO Shaft Rotation Counterclockwise (from PTO shaft side)
Compression Ratio 8.2:1
Lamp/Charge coil options 25W, 50W / 1A, 3A, 10A, 18A
Carburetor Butterfly Float Type
Ignition System Digital CDI with variable timing
Starting System Recoil/electric
Lubrication System Splash
Governor System Centrifugal Mass Type
Air cleaner Dual element
Oil Capacity 1.16 US qt (1.1 L)
Fuel Tank Capacity 6.4 U.S. qts (6.1 liters)
Fuel Unleaded 86 octane or higher
Dry Weight 69 lb (31.5 kg)
Dimensions
Length (min) 16.0" (407 mm)
Width (min) 19.1" (485 mm)
Height (min) 17.7" (449 mm)
PTO Shaft Options
E type Tapered shaft
H type Reduction type PTO
L type Reduction type PTO
P type Threaded type (SAE)
Q type Straight shaft
R type Reduction type PTO
V type Tapered shaft

*The SAE J1349 standard measures net
 

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The GX360 is a NON interference engine so unless it ate a bolt or screw there would not be damage. And the GX360 engine was one of the best built engines ever made. It has cast steel rods with bearing shells cast liners liquid cooled and is very smooth and sips fuel, it is built like a car engine.. with proper maintenance they should outlast and out perform anything in its power category.
Well, all I know is when I pulled off the plastic timing cover, the belt had shed a couple teeth and it was broken in two and any attempts to rotate the engine resulted in firm clunks...Never bothered to take it apart any further, pulled the radiator and sent the rest to the salvage yard...Ill keep my Air cooled GX engines.

Good engine...yes, great engine, possibly if they werent on those shoddy Honda tractors, the tractors fell apart around the engines it seemed. Guy tried to give me another one, it was like 14hp or something, I passed...of those was enough to sour me on the design.
 

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LCT engines are contracted by Certified parts corporation ( who bought the assets of Techumsea ), or somthing like that. There china clones, but good clones at that. They run very good

Also, many old car engines are splash oil lubed on the lower end.. I have a '51 Chevy with the low pressure 235. splash oil dippers lube the crank. oil is only pumped to the top. I used to joke with those not knowing, that it was built by briggs and stratton as the keys say briggs and stratton on them. used to fool many, but really B&S just made the ignition switch
 
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