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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m new to this forum and just purchsed my first Honda mower. Growing up we always had Craftsman mowers, and I had always wanted a honda with the hydrostatic drive. Well I finally pulled the trigger and could not be happier! I’m excited to meet some folks on here and contribute from time to time.

Aside from non-ethonal gas and an oil change after the first 5 hours of use, is there anything else that is recommended for longevity?
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Aside from non-ethonal gas and an oil change after the first 5 hours of use, is there anything else that is recommended for longevity?
Nice machine. Hope it holds up for you as long as my 40-year-old HR214 has for me. Follow the entire recommended maintenance schedule and keep the undersides clean and it'll be an excellent tool for the long term!

The HRX equivalent of my HR would be the HRX217HZA. Maybe someday when my HR214SMA is 50+. It was my first Honda of almost 20...
 

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I bought an HRR with the faulty rear wheel situation and wishing I bought an HRX. The HRX does not suffer from the crappy rear wheel design so far as I know. I didn’t know any better At the time. So far as I can tell you made the right choice. Congrats on the new machine.
 

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I’m new to this forum and just purchsed my first Honda mower. Growing up we always had Craftsman mowers, and I had always wanted a honda with the hydrostatic drive. Well I finally pulled the trigger and could not be happier! I’m excited to meet some folks on here and contribute from time to time.

Aside from non-ethonal gas and an oil change after the first 5 hours of use, is there anything else that is recommended for longevity? View attachment 62796
Congradulations,
Don't be shy about changing the oil. There is no oil filter so IMO changing the oil more often will prolong the engine life. I have only used 10W-30 synthetic after the initial Honda break-in oil change.
Also keep a couple extra genuine Honda air filters on hand. Thats another thing that I highly suggest replacing more often than the manual indicates.
Since this can be a 40+ year lawn mower (depending how you take care of it) I would recommend purchasing the shop manual if you are mechanically inclined, $45 from Honda. I am amazed how affordable and available the replacement parts are for my 2003 HXA.
Also using Honda Spray Cleaner & Polish will keep the plastic deck looking new.
My 2 cents.
Enjoy!
Bottle Tin Fluid Liquid Alcoholic beverage
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, the party didn't last. The mower was working wonderfully for the first two mows. Per the manual, I changed the oil around the 5 hour mark. After doing so it fired up fine.

Yesterday, when I went to mow, the pullcord kicked back hard. It felt like I almost had my hand broken. I tried again, thinking I just caught it right at the top of the compression stroke, but the same thing happened. The motor would get to the top of the compression stroke and was almost impossible to pull over. My initial thought was that the motor was somehow partially seized, but I was able to get it started by catching the engine between compression strokes with the pull cord to avoid kickback, and it would start and ran perfectly fine.

I checked the oil and mowed my whole yard without any issues. Plenty of power, ran smooth, etc. After I was done, I let it cool down and then tried to start it again. The kick back issue was gone and it easily fired right up.

I called the dealer and they said I probably overfilled the oil. I've been around small engines most of my life and highly doubt that I screwed up something as simple as an oil change, but figured I would try draining some oil. Perhaps too much oil could lead to pressure in the crankcase. I started draining oil, a little at a time until it just hit the very middle/low spot on the dipstick, which is very hard to read with clean oil. When I first cranked it the issue was gone. All of the sudden, it came back and basically breaks my hand. I tried pulling the cord with the oil cap removed and the issue persisted, so it's definitely not an issue with pressure in the crankcase.

I read something about a compression release on these engines to prevent this sort of kickback at low RPMs. Could this be the issue?

It's going back to the dealer this week. Go figure this is the most expensive mower I've ever bought and in less than a month it's broken.
 

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is there anything else that is recommended for longevity
Nice machine- sexy in a lawn mower way:love:
avoid cutting wet grass, keep it clean, keep it dry, keep it warm (if you live in snow country)
I read something about a compression release on these engines to prevent this sort of kickback at low RPMs. Could this be the issue?
sorry for the sadness - a emotional roll coaster :cry:
Yes it sounds like something with the automatic start compression release
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I just spoke to the dealership. The tech said the valves were in spec but not perfect, so he adjusted them and still no change. Most likely the compression release.

Apparently there is an updated parts kit that includes a new cam gear to correct this issue. They are ordering and hopefully the issue should be fixed next week.

I will try to get more specifics on the update kit. With luck it could help someone else experiencing the same problem.
 

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Thanks for the follow up. Sorry you’ve had this experience. So far, the rear wheels on my HRR haven’t locked up but I’m pretty much expecting them to do so next season. I think that when you pay top dollar for a lawnmower, it shouldn’t come with these problems. When it comes time to replace the HRR, I won’t be buying a Honda product.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Thanks for the follow up. Sorry you’ve had this experience. So far, the rear wheels on my HRR haven’t locked up but I’m pretty much expecting them to do so next season. I think that when you pay top dollar for a lawnmower, it shouldn’t come with these problems. When it comes time to replace the HRR, I won’t be buying a Honda product.
Agreed that these problems on a premium product shouldn’t happen, but manufacturers defects are unfortunately inevitable.
 

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Thanks for the follow up. Sorry you’ve had this experience. So far, the rear wheels on my HRR haven’t locked up but I’m pretty much expecting them to do so next season. I think that when you pay top dollar for a lawnmower, it shouldn’t come with these problems. When it comes time to replace the HRR, I won’t be buying a Honda product.
That could be at least 20 years from now if you keep up with maintenance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Quick Update:
They ended up having to put a new camshaft in it. Issue seems to be solved. The part number is 14100-Z9M-000.

He also said that Honda is good about continuing to cover existing issues even after the warranty period expires.
 

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That could be at least 20 years from now if you keep up with maintenance.
This is a design defect which Honda should have done a recall on. It’s not about keeping up with maintenance. I got 30 years out of my last mower. My cars are 15 years old and my motorcycle is 45 years old. I can handle maintenance just fine. It’s this sort of thing that pisses me off:

 

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After watching this
This is a design defect which Honda should have done a recall on. It’s not about keeping up with maintenance. I got 30 years out of my last mower. My cars are 15 years old and my motorcycle is 45 years old. I can handle maintenance just fine. It’s this sort of thing that pisses me off:

After watching the video I agree with you. I'd be pissed too!

And I have to revise my statement from 20 years to 30 years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Update:

After a 20 minute mow of the front yard, I shut the mower down. When I restarted, it snapped back again and the decompression mechanism had failed. I ended up just keeping it running for the rest of the time. Interestingly enough, this morning the cord pulled fine.

I am working with the dealer and Honda to discuss repair or replacement options. The dealer has been very understanding and easy to work with. The experience with this mower has been disappointing, but I am really glad I purchased from a local dealer and not a big box.

I have wanted one of these mowers since I was a kid cutting grass for $10 a yard. I was finally in a place where I could afford one, and very excited. Oh well, guess that is life sometimes…
 

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Update:

After a 20 minute mow of the front yard, I shut the mower down. When I restarted, it snapped back again and the decompression mechanism had failed. I ended up just keeping it running for the rest of the time. Interestingly enough, this morning the cord pulled fine.

I am working with the dealer and Honda to discuss repair or replacement options. The dealer has been very understanding and easy to work with. The experience with this mower has been disappointing, but I am really glad I purchased from a local dealer and not a big box.

I have wanted one of these mowers since I was a kid cutting grass for $10 a yard. I was finally in a place where I could afford one, and very excited. Oh well, guess that is life sometimes…
I commend you on having really good attitude about this.

This should be a lesson for not buying from a big box store. I recently purchased a new HRX217VKAA from a local Honda dealer and it was actually $100 less than at HD.

Being an old 2 stroke dirt bike rider I'm still trying to wrap my head around a compression release in a 4 stroke engine. I thought that was the exhaust valve function? Always learning something new.
Honda went from an overhead cam engine to a pushrod design since I bought one in 2003. Seems like they went backwards.
 

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Honda went from an overhead cam engine to a pushrod design since I bought one in 2003. Seems like they went backwards.
The older design Honda engines (GX) are overhead valve (OHV) with pushrods. The newer design engines (GC & GS) are overhead cam (OHC) with a timing belt. I have both, but my GX engines have a LOT of hours on them with no issues, other than a ring job on the 1983 GXV120.
I'm still trying to wrap my head around a compression release in a 4 stroke engine.
It basically short-strokes the exhaust valve.
 
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The older design Honda engines (GX) are overhead valve (OHV) with pushrods. The newer design engines (GC & GS) are overhead cam (OHC) with a timing belt. I have both, but my GX engines have a LOT of hours on them with no issues, other than a ring job on the 1983 GXV120.

It basically short-strokes the exhaust valve.
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Thank you sir, I actually looked that up last night. A spring return device to slightly open the exhaust valve when starting.
The shop manual I have has a section on it, page 10-15.

Looks like the new GCV200 in my K6 VKAA is OHV pushrod. Maybe older is better?

The first few times I started my new mower I was thinking it was way to hard to pull start. Thankfully it now takes much less effort. I just brushed this off.
 

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Looks like the new GCV200 in my K6 VKAA is OHV pushrod. Maybe older is better?
You are correct, the new GCV200 and the GCV170 have gone back to a pushrod design. All the other GCV engines use a timing belt with an overhead cam. I do believe that the pushrod design is better, avoiding the timing belt, but only time will tell!
 
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