0cc vs 190cc Lawn Mower Engines – Which Is Worth It?
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Stuck trying to understand the differences between a 160 cc vs a 190 cc lawn mower?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Understanding the differences between the two is crucial, especially if you have specific mowing needs.
That’s why, in this article, we’ll go into more detail about their differences. This way you can relax knowing you’re making an informed decision.
A 160 cc lawn mower is ideal for smaller lawns. It’s generally more fuel-efficient and affordable. A 190 cc engine, on the other hand, is more powerful and better suited for larger lawns, but it can also be more expensive.
0 vs 190 cc Lawn Mower Engines
In this section, we’ll take a closer look at the key differences between 160 and 190 cc lawn mower engines. We’ll explore different factors such as power, fuel efficiency, weight, and more.
Keep reading to choose the right lawn mower engine for your yard!
#1 Engine power
First, let’s talk about power. For an engine, we often use the volume of the cylinders as a measure of the engine’s power.
For a car engine, you will hear a ‘3 liter v6 or a 2.5l’. The ‘liters’ refers to cubic liters and is the measurement of volume inside all the cylinders in the engine when the pistons are in the retracted position.
On a smaller engine, like in your lawn mower, the measurement isn’t in liters, but in cc’s.
If you’re wondering what cc means in lawn mowers, I got you!
“CC” stands for cubic centimeters and refers to the volume of the engine’s combustion chamber.
Honda HRR216VKA 160cc 21 in. Gas Lawn Mower Operation
So, for a lawn mower, 160cc or 190cc means that your engine volume is 160 cubic centimeters or 190 cubic centimeters. When the engine is running, a fuel-air mixture is injected into the cylinder and ignited. A bigger volume in the cylinder means a bigger ignition. And therefore, more power.
But let’s be honest, 30cc’s isn’t the biggest difference in the world. It’s less than 20%, so while it will make a difference, don’t expect huge increases in performance.
At least not from just the volume difference in the engine. There are lots of different things on a mower that will affect performance including cc’s, compression ratio, drive type, blade diameter and a lot of others.
You need to take all these things into account when choosing your mower. Not just the cc numbers.
#2 Lawn Mower Torque
The reason a lawn mower’s power is important is torque. Torque is the rotational force the engine exerts. In the case of a mower, it’s the force that turns the blades.
The greater the torque, the greater the blade speed and power. Now, torque is affected by more than just the CC numbers, but they are very important.
Basically, the bigger the CC’s on your mower, the greater the torque it will have. But since there are other factors that affect torque, it’s best to check the torque figures on the different mowers you are considering.
#3 Fuel Efficiency
Because the engine volume on a high-powered mower is larger, this means that the fuel consumption is larger as well.
For every rotation of the piston, a larger volume of fuel-air mix is injected into the 190cc cylinder than into the 160cc (or even more so, the 140cc).
But the cylinder volume is not the only measure of a mower’s fuel efficiency. So, you must carefully examine each model’s performance and decide on what is best for your lawn.
For example, a larger mower will, in all likelihood, cut the same lawn faster than a smaller cc one. This might mean that even though it is using more fuel, the time saved negates the extra, and it still might be more efficient to use the larger mower. And some models are just more fuel efficient than others.
Make sure you check out the specs on the different models to try and get an idea of each model’s performance.
It’s also a good idea to visit some gardening or DIY forums and see what people are writing about different lawn mower models. Just remember, some people swear blind by a particular manufacturer or model that might not fit for your use at all.
Cost is always something that needs to be examined. Cost against what you are going to use your mower for. A large mower for a small lawn is probably overkill, but if the lawn is more weed and off-road track than regular grass, it might still be worth it.
Generally, the larger the cc, the higher the cost of the mower. It’s simply that a bigger engine uses more material and costs more to make.
However, a lot of other factors come into play, such as other features of the mower, drive, speed control, and manufacturer. So, you can easily find a well-spec’d low-powered mower that costs more than a high-powered one.
But as a rule of thumb, you can expect to pay more for a higher cc mower than a lower one.
If you need to manually lift and pull your mower around a lot, then the weight will be a consideration. A larger engine will weigh more. So, a 190cc weighs more than a 160cc.
Under normal circumstances, the weight shouldn’t make much difference, but it’s worth keeping in mind for your particular circumstances.
When it comes to maintenance, the cc’s won’t really make much difference.
The level and regularity of maintenance for your mower depends more on other factors. Things like the manufacturer’s parts quality, the type of mower, other features of the mower, and how you use it.
How Much Power Do You Need for Your Lawn?
How much power you need is dependent on your mowing conditions.
If you have a smallish, regular lawn, then in all honesty a 140cc mower will be enough. A bi-weekly cut on an easy lawn is not a problem for 140cc’s.
In fact, on a slightly larger lawn, as long as the grass is easy and there are no obstacles, 140cc will still do the job. It will just take longer than with a larger mower because a larger mower will get the job done faster.
A 160cc will do for most lawns. A regular-sized yard with normal grass will not suffer with a 160cc mower.
Where a high-powered mower comes into its own is if you want to do something other than mow over regular grass.
But, if you’re cutting a large lawn, consider that a 190cc will do the job quicker than a 160cc. If your lawn has weeds, or you’re cutting longer grass, then a high-powered mower will handle that better, too.
The extra power will get through tougher weeds and grass in one go, whereas you might need to go over areas more than once with a lower-powered model.
If you’re cutting wet grass regularly, this is another area where the higher power will help. You’ll get less clogging, and the job will be easier and quicker with a 190cc mower.
Also, if you’re bagging, and in particular, mulching, then a mower with more cc’s will perform the job better. The extra torque will make mulching more effective.
Other Considerations Before You Buy Your Mower
While cc’s are an important consideration, they are not the only ones, and you should definitely consider a bigger picture before you make your mower purchase. Sometimes it can be the things you never thought of that decide whether your mower purchase is a success.
Here’s my quick list for purchasing your mower (see our other articles on lawn mower’s if you want more details on each of the points):
- Power source – electric, gas, manual
- Drive – Non, front, rear, all
- Engine size – 140-190cc
- Manufacturer – Reputation, availability of spares, reliability
- Practicality and functionality – Deck heights, handle heights, starting method, bagging and mulching, Does holding a handle get uncomfortable over time, Stop blades function, etc.
With this rundown on 160 and 190cc mower’s, we’ve given you everything you need to make an informed decision about what size is right for you.
We’ve looked at what cc’s mean, what the power difference has to say for your lawn, what other things you need to consider with the different power levels, and even a general list of mower-buying considerations. I hope you’ve found our 160 and 190cc lawn mower article useful.
Now you can start evaluating your lawn and deciding on what type of mower is right for you. Then it’s down to the hardware store (physical or virtual) and time to have a look at some lawn mowers.
Just know that whatever engine size you choose, as long as you choose a reputable manufacturer, you’ll have a mower that will last you for years to come. Happy mowing!
I’ve been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I’ve since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7 years. My mission is to help your fix your appliances and systems. saving you money and lowering your energy bills. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more
Hi there! My name’s Craig, and I started Appliance Analysts back in 2017.
My mission is to help our readers solve appliance-related issues without paying through the nose for contractors or a whole new model. I’m joining up with experts from across the HVAC, Appliance Repair, DIY industries to share free expert advice that will save you time, stress, and money.
Buying guide for best Honda lawn mowers
Honda has a great line of push mowers as well as walk-behind mowers in a variety of styles to meet your mowing needs. Whether you’re looking for something for your lawn or contracting business, you may find what you need in one of Honda’s durable and easy-to use mowers.
For push mowers, Honda has lightweight machines that are easy to maneuver. When it comes to walk-behind mowers, Honda has machines with varying features in a range of prices. The company’s walk-behinds vary in engine type, transmission control, brake type, and capability. Not everyone needs leaf shredding or an electric start function, so you should consider each machine’s capabilities before you make a buying decision.
This shopping guide will help you find the best Honda lawn mower for your yard or property. If you’re ready to buy a Honda mower, take a look at our top picks in the product list above.
Unlike walk-behind mowers that require you to push or pull the mower to adjust speed, many Honda mowers have a clutch or speed dial that you can easily adjust with one hand.
Push mowers and walk-behind mowers by Honda
Should you go with a traditional gas-powered push mower or move one step up for the ease of a walk-behind mower? Honda has great options either way, but before you buy, you should make sure you understand what comes with each type.
Honda push mowers
Honda’s HRS push mower series consists of tough side-discharge machines at a lower price than walk-behind mowers.
If you don’t mind the exercise, Honda’s push mowers are durable and lightweight, making them easy to use and transport.
Honda walk-behind mowers
Honda’s walk-behind mowers are great machines with simple controls and a variety of features.
Walk-behind mowers work much like push mowers, so if you’ve been using a push mower for years, it will be an easy transition. The engine propels the mower, often at variable speeds to match your comfortable walking speed. Steering is up to you, and stopping the machine is as simple as releasing the blade control lever, just as you would with a push mower.
Honda’s walk-behind mowers typically weigh between 80 and 100 pounds. They tend to be more expensive than the company’s push mowers, but if a self-propelled mower is what you’re after, Honda has several models to choose from.
We assess which Honda lawn mowers offer the best handle positioning. HRS mowers have single-position handles, HRR and HRC mowers have two-position handles, and the HRX has three handle positions, thus providing the most flexibility.
Most Honda lawn mowers have a flywheel brake, which stops the engine and blade when released. However, HRR and HRX Honda models have a Roto-Stop Blade Stop System that is a step above a regular flywheel brake. We note the Honda mowers that have this feature in our research.
Honda mowers have one of two engines: the GCV160 or the GCV190. We compare both engines in our research, noting that the GCV160 offers 4.4 HP, and the GCV190 offers 5.1 HP.
Since the cutting height varies between each Honda series, we note the height in our research. HRS models cut between 1 and 3.5 inches, HRR models cut between 1.125 and 4 inches, and HRX and HRC models cut between.75 and 4 inches.
The best Honda lawn mowers have a clip director so you can choose between bagging, mulching, leaf shredding, and discharging.
Honda lawn mowers come equipped with a 1.9-bushel bag (HRR series) or a 2.5-bushel bag (HRX and HRC mowers). We note the bag capacity of every Honda mower in our research.
We note each Honda’s deck material. The HRS, HRR, and HRC series all feature steel decks, whereas the HRX series has a NeXite deck. NeXite is a rust-proof polymer that’s stronger than steel.
When researching walk-behind mowers, we note what type of transmission control systems each model has. There are three kinds: adjustable Smart drive transmissions, select drive transmissions, and cruise control hydrostatic transmissions.
We often review Honda lawn mowers with electric-start engines because we understand that many readers appreciate how easy it is to start an electric-start mower.
Honda lawn mower features
Not all Honda mowers have the same capabilities. Below, we discuss some features to look for.
Bag-equipped mowers in the HRR series feature 1.9-bushel bags, while the HRX and HRC mowers all have 2.5-bushel capacity. The larger bag can be more cumbersome, however. Either way, you will be emptying your bag multiple times with most yards.
Blade safety system
Most Honda lawn mowers use a traditional flywheel brake, which stops the engine and blade when released. One step up from this is the Roto-Stop Blade Stop System, which some HRR and HRX models have. The Roto-Stop BSS works much like a flywheel brake, but releasing the blade control lever stops the blade while keeping the engine running. This feature saves you the effort of restarting the engine when you need to leave the mower briefly.
Some Honda mowers have a clip director that allows you to switch from bagging, mulching, leaf shredding, or discharging.
- HRR mowers feature a three-in-one clip director for mulching, bagging, or discharging.
- HRX mowers have a four-in-one clip director for mulching, bagging, discharging, or leaf shredding. You can mulch and bag at the same time with the Versamow system, which also allows you to control how much grass is mulched and how much goes in the bag.
Cutting height varies between each series. HRS mowers have a range of 1 to 3.5 inches, while HRR mowers range from 1.125 to 4 inches. Both the HRX and HRC series have a range of.75 to 4 inches to suit a variety of lawns.
All Honda decks measure 21 inches in diameter. The HRX series feature NeXite decks, which are made of a rust-proof material that’s more durable than steel.
The HRS, HRR, and HRC series feature steel decks, which are very rugged, even if they aren’t as tough as the NeXite decks.
Anyone who has used a recoil start (or pull-start) lawn mower knows how unpleasant and frustrating this task can be. Some Honda mowers have electric-start engines. With the simple turn of a key, the engine starts on the first try. And unlike standard electric-start batteries that require charging, Honda’s electric-start batteries are self-charging.
Two engines are available with Honda mowers: the GCV160 and the GCV190.
The GCV160 offers 4.4 HP, and the GCV190 offers 5.1 HP. Both are four-stroke engines with 0.98-quart fuel tank capacity.
While HRS mowers have single-position handles, HRR and HRC series mowers have two-position handles, and the HRX offers the most flexibility with three positions.
Mulching, bagging, discharging, and leaf-shredding capabilities
The HRS series offers mulching and discharging capabilities, while the HRR series can mulch, discharge, and bag. The HRX series does it all with mulching, bagging, discharging, and leaf shredding, while the HRC series can mulch, bag, and optionally, discharge.
For walk-behind mowers, transmission can be controlled in a number of ways. Honda has several transmission control systems to choose from.
- Adjustable Smart drive transmissions, as seen in some HRR and HRX mowers, have five speed settings from zero to four miles per hour. The speed is controlled with a paddle on the handlebar, which can easily be twisted with either hand.
- Select drive transmissions allow you to set a maximum speed before you begin mowing. Then, you can partially or fully engage a lever to adjust your speed as you mow.
- Cruise control hydrostatic transmissions offer the most versatility, allowing you to choose any speed between zero and four miles per hour. You can use cruise control to set a steady speed, and the clutch lever can be used to speed up or slow down as you mow.
Honda lawn mower prices
Walk-behind mowers usually cost more than push mowers, but the higher price usually translates to greater convenience and added features.
Most of Honda’s push mowers – and some Honda walk-behind mowers – fall in the 375 to 550 price range.
Mid-range mowers include most of Honda’s walk-behind mowers and even commercial push mowers in the range of 600 to 800.
In the range of 800 to 1,250, you’ll find some of Honda’s HRX mowers and most of their commercial HRC series.
The leaf-shredding feature of HRX mowers is incredibly efficient and deposits leaves into the bag, so you don’t have to worry about raking.
Q. Can you mow wet grass with a Honda mower?
A. Due to the danger of slipping and the possibility of clogging the deck, you should always mow dry grass.
Q. How do you stop a walk-behind mower?
A. Just like a push mower, you simply release the blade control lever to stop the engine. With mowers equipped with Roto-Stop BSS, release the blade control lever and return the throttle lever to the off position to stop the engine.
How Much Horsepower Does a Lawn Mower Need? (Comparison)
With so much choice out there for lawn mowers, it’s hard to know what’s the best option for you.
How powerful does your mower need to be and what are the benefits between types?
In this article, we take a look at everything you need to know about Lawn Mower Power, from push lawn mowers to lawn tractors, so you can be sure of the right mower for you.
How Much Horsepower Does a Lawn Mower Need?
The most important thing to consider when choosing a lawn mower for your yard is size. The size of your lawn will help determine what kind of mower is best suited for you and how powerful it needs to be. Other factors such as the shape and of terrain of your lawn, as well as your budget will be important for finding the perfect lawn mower for you.
Electric lawn mowers are best suited for smaller yards of around 1500 square feet or under due to limited cord length or battery life. If you are in good physical condition, the electric push mower is a more lightweight and cheaper option than the self-propelled model which isn’t as necessary for really small lawns. Bear in mind that Whether corded or battery powered, electric mowers just won’t have the same power cutting through tall, thick grass that gas mowers have. However, as long as you keep on top of your yard work and your lawn isn’t too large, an electric mower is more than enough for the job.
Gas powered lawn mowers are more heavy duty and better for covering bigger yards whilst still using a walk behind mower. Their durability and power make them a popular choice for many homeowners with medium sized yards up to 1/3 of an acre (14520 sq. feet). Gas mowers also can be push or self-propelled, although they tend to be heavier, and with bigger lawns can be tiring to push around. If your property has a rougher terrain with tough sprigs of grass and bumps, a self-propelled, gas-powered mower with a higher end horsepower is the way to go. These tend to be a lot more expensive than electric mowers, but they are more powerful and durable machines. A good example would be the the Honda, NeXite Variable Speed 4-in-1 Gas Walk Behind Self-Propelled Mower with Select Drive Control. At 200cc, this model has more than enough power to take on medium to large sized yards and tough grass with ease.
When it comes to large yards over half an acre (21780 sq. feet), a riding mower or lawn tractor is the only reasonable option. A walk behind mower for such a large area would be both time consuming and physically exhausting. As for choosing between the riding mower and lawn tractor, it really depends on what you do on your yard as to which mower best suits your needs as both mowers on average have good enough horsepower for your grass cutting needs.
Regular lawn mower
Lawn mowers that have a motor for the blade but still require muscle power to propel it forward don’t need as much horsepower as other types. Their lightweight build and reliance on physical labor mean they don’t need a high output. A regular lawn mower will need about 2.5 HP for a cheaper mower for small, flat lawns with little need for hard maintenance. The higher end power for these mowers is about 4.0 HP, but still only really suitable for smaller yards.
Self-propelled lawn mower
Because a self-propelled mower powers both the cutting blade and drives the mower forward, the motor will be a little heavier. This means more horsepower is needed to keep it moving along smoothly. For a good, heavy duty mower that will work through tall grass and uneven lawns, around 6.0 HP is what you will need.
Electric lawn mower
Electric lawn mowers can’t really compete with the power output of gas mowers and the increased difficulty of task such as big lawns and tough grass. Electric mowers are the eco-friendly option but are best suited to smaller lawns. So, with a reliable power source and a corded mower with 12 amps should be sufficient. Anything lower and you may find it difficult to deal with anything other than a simple, flat lawn.
Riding lawn mower/ lawn tractor
The size of your yard depends on how much horsepower your ride on mower needs. The more distance you need to cover means a lot more work for your mower, so you will need to up the horsepower. From ½ an acre to an acre, a 14HP engine is a sufficient low-end power output. For yards between 1 and 2 acres, an output of 14 to 16 HP is necessary. With yards of 3 acres or more, an engine size of around 18 to 24 HP is needed. Another factor to consider when choosing a mower for these sizes of yards is the width of the cutting deck. From around 42” for the lower end, up to 54” for large yards is suitable. For riding mowers, we suggest the Ultima ZT1 50 in. Fabricated Deck 23 HP Kawasaki FR Series V-Twin Gas Engine Zero Turn Mower with Lap Bar Control, from Cub Cadet. The 23HP engine makes it more than capable for the largest yards. Its 50” cutting deck and zero turn mower will also cut the time it takes to work through your yard.
How much horsepower is the average lawn mower?
You may be wondering how powerful the average lawn mowers tend to be for small to medium sized yards. You don’t want it to be overkill but you still need it to be able to cut your lawn sufficiently without being bogged down.
For push lawn mowers, the average engine output for gas powered models is about 160cc. Because it is gas powered, you will find it will also be more reliable for getting the job done. Electric push mowers are most often 12 amps if you want a corded model. Battery powered mowers average between 40 and 60 volts, with either 4 or 6 Ah (Amp hours), for a good middle of the line mower to get the job done.
Walk behind mowers
There isn’t a great amount of difference in average output for self-propelled, walk behind lawn mowers than push models. Self-propelled gas-powered mowers average 160cc engines again, as well as 12 amps for corded and 40-60 volt for battery models like with push mowers. The biggest difference is as you would expect, the price. The average does not relate to automatically being likely good enough for most jobs though. Always take into account the size and difficulty of the lawns your lawn mower will be taking on before making a decision.
Riding lawn mowers
With around 14 HP being the lower scale for larger lawns and 24 to 25 HP being around as powerful as you can get on average, you will find around 20 being the most common horsepower for riding mowers. That’s the sweet spot you’d be looking for when it comes to most large yards without overspending for unnecessary power. A 42” cutting deck is also the average width for most riding mowers and will be sufficient for most lawns.
Comparison between different engine sizes
When it comes to small engine lawn mowers, comparing engine sizes isn’t a straightforward task. In the past, lawn mowers most often were rated by their horsepower output that would inform the customer of its power capabilities. However, when looking online for a new lawn mower you will probably notice power ratings have changed. The more common output measurement now is recorded as cc (cubic centimetres) for engine displacement. It can all be a little confusing and you can’t be sure what kind of power you will be getting with certain cc lawn mowers.
Unfortunately, there is not a direct translation between what the horsepower output would be on mowers with cc ratings as different manufacturers produce different power for the same rated cc engines. What we can do though, is help you better understand what size of engine you will need for your type of lawn and the amount of horsepower you can roughly expect. However, Once you have a rough idea of the cc rating best suited, its best to ask the manufacturers or experts at your local hardware store for more exact specifications on the model you are looking at because of the variation in engine output between brands.
5cc /140cc / 150cc
125 to 140cc lawn mowers from manufacturers like Briggs Stratton give an output of around 3 HP to close to 4 HP for their lower powered engines. A nice cost-effective option for light work on smaller lawns. 150cc lawn mowers are not as common to buy as 140cc is good for most small jobs and if you are looking for more power, it is worth going to at least 160cc for the difference in power and price you would get.
60 / 190cc
Most mowers powered 160cc and over are well suited to tougher terrains and bigger lawns. Briggs Stratton rate their engines gross HP output from 4.5 HP for 160cc mowers, to 5.75 for 190cc mowers, but it does depend on the series of engine you get as the horsepower can vary slightly even with the same cc rating. However, Honda engines at 160cc can quite often have a horsepower output of around 5.5, which emphasizes the point that engines labeled in cc does not correlate directly to the gross HP they have.
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Lawn Mower Engine Surging – Check this easy fix first!
Lawnmower engine surging is a right pain in the Jacksie; it’s an engine that runs erratically and revs up and down by itself uncontrollably. In some cases, it may only happen under certain conditions, for example, only after the mower gets hot or only when the fuel level gets low.
So what causes the lawnmower engines to surge? The most common reason for a surging lawn mower engine is a blockage in the fuel supply, but there are other possibilities:
Often you’ll find playing around with the throttle helps or applying some choke. You are not on your own; this is a regular complaint. In this guide, we will cover the diagnosis, likely causes, and solutions.
Try the easy fix first – replacing/cleaning gapping the spark plug before attempting carburetor work. If your mower engine is a Honda or Kohler, the fix is simple. Honda and Kohler’s surging is commonly caused by a blocked idle jet see “Gas starvation” towards the end of the page.
If you need more help, check out the “How to fix a surging mower video.”
If your surging mower is a Honda, check out the “Honda mower surging video.”
For many mowers, the fix is to replace the carburetor, and as carburetors are inexpensive, it just makes sense to swap it out and save a ton of messing around. You can check out the quality carburetors available and conveniently delivered to your door by Amazon.com.
Need more info on the fuel system, carburetor components, and how they work, you can check them out here.
Briggs Stratton Surging
Surging BS Classic 450, 500, or 550Some engine types are famous for surging; the Briggs Stratton 450, 500, and 550 series engines are fitted with a metal fuel tank and priming bulb-style carburetor. If you have one of these types of engines and it’s surging – You’re in the right place.
If you don’t have this type of carburetor, skip this section and jump to “Surging Test” below. These engines are fitted with a metal fuel tank and carburetor combination. The gasket sandwiched between the tank, and carburetor distorts over time, allowing a vacuum leak.
The vacuum leak causes the surging; replacing the gaskets and cleaning the carburetor/tank will leave it like new, I promise. In this tutorial, we’ll remove the tank/carburetor unit, clean it and replace the gaskets. Just some basic tools are needed, but get yourself a can of carburetor cleaner; it makes the job a lot easier.
In the workshop, I use WD40 carb cleaner, and you can check out all the tools and parts I use here on the “Small engine repair tools” page.
Tools You’ll Need
Here’s a short list of tools you’ll find useful to complete the task of fixing your surging mower. These tools aren’t essential, but they do make the whole job a ton easier; you’ll need:
Fuel treatment – Every small engine owner should use gas treatment. Most people don’t know gas goes off, and gas left in small engines can cause real problems, as you already know.
Using a gas stabilizer will keep the gas in your mower and your gas can fresh for up to two years.
Carburetor gasket – If you’re fixing the BS Classic engine, then you’ll need this gasket set.
Complete carburetor – As an alternative to replacing your BS Classic carburetor gasket, replace the complete carburetor instead; it includes the replacement gasket.
Manifold – This will only be needed if you have confirmed it has failed. Note there are a few different types of manifold pipe, so be sure to check before ordering.
You can check out all these tools on this page “Carburetor Surging Repair Tools.”
This carburetor style is fitted to a few engines and is prone to gasket failure. The job of replacing is simple and will solve the surge. The process is as follows:
Remove the spark plug wire – prevents the mower from starting.
Remove – Remove and clean the air filter and filter housing – Clean it using soapy water, and when dry, smear some engine oil over the surface of the foam. This helps trap dirt.
Remove tank bolts – They hold the fuel tank to the engine.
With fuel tank bolts removed – pull the tank unit straight out gently and remove the governor control link.
Remove the black rubber elbow crankcase breather pipe. Remove the manifold seal and keeper ring. Sometimes they will come loose and get stuck on the manifold pipe.
Remove – Remove carb screws from the carburetor and set aside.
Using a can of carburetor cleaner – clean all the ports on the surface of the fuel tank.
Empty the tank and rinse it out with fresh gas.
Pull the Siphon from the carburetor; they can be stubborn. Remove both gaskets and use carburetor cleaner to clean the siphon metal filter and all ports of the carburetor. Check the primer bulb for damage; mice like to eat them.
Spray – Spray the carburetor with carb cleaner.
Remove – Remove old gaskets and discard them.
Careful of this spring; it lives under the gaskets, and it can drop off and be tricky to find, as I know only too well.
The gasket is a two-part kit; the rubber-type gasket faces the tank. (carb fitted here for demo only)
The Siphon pushes back into the carb with a click. If you don’t hear the click, it’s not right – try again.
Refit the carburetor to the tank. Don’t over-tighten the screws, as this will distort the gasket. Fit manifold seal and keeper. Smear a small amount of oil on the seal; it helps it seat.
Clean the intake manifold. The grey tube in this shot is manifold. Inspect it for any signs of damage; they are prone to cracking. This will also cause a surge.
To fully inspect the pipe, you need to remove the pull assembly.
I would only do this if there was obvious damage to the manifold or if I had replaced the carburetor gasket and the engine was still surging.
This manifold is cracked and will cause a surge.
Before refitting the tank, fit the keeper ring and O-ring seal. Lube the seal before refitting the gas tank.
Offer the carb/tank unit up to the manifold and attach the governor link and spring. Now push the unit firmly onto the manifold. Fit both bolts.
Refit the air filter and spark plug wire. Use only fresh gas; make sure your gas can is clean. Gas older than three months is stale.
If, after fitting the gaskets, you still have a surge – Replace the Manifold.
As you know, gas starvation causes an inconsistent flow of fuel which in turn causes erratic running. And you also know a vacuum leak will cause erratic running, but it is a much less common cause; however, some carburetors are prone to vacuum leaks.
As engine manufacturers strive to make their engines more efficient, they have also made the carburetors more likely to clog; this has become a common issue.
To quickly diagnose which problem you have, a clogged carb or vacuum leak, follow this simple test.
You will need a helper to hold the bail lever or improvise with duct tape. CAUTION careful where you place your fingers and toes; the engine will be running, so the blade will be spinning.
Your mower will have a Manual choke, Auto choke, or a Primer bulb. Identify which type your mower has; the test is slightly different for each.
If you have a manual choke – apply half choke with the engine running.
If the engine now runs without surging – Gas starvation is the likely fault. If it runs just the same – A vacuum leak is a more likely fault.
If you have an Auto choke – Remove the air filter cover and filter – place a clean rag over the intake while the engine is running.
If the engine now runs without surging – Gas starvation is the likely fault.
If the engine runs just the same – A vacuum leak is the more likely fault.
If you have a primer bulb – you can still do the test – while the engine’s running (need a helper); give it some extra gas by pressing the bulb.
If the engine now runs without surging – Gas starvation is the likely fault.
If it runs just the same – A vacuum leak is a more likely fault.
If the test revealed gas starvation, it also showed that your problem is likely a dirty fuel jet in the carburetor, or the gas may be stale or contaminated by water.
Cleaning the main jet usually does the job.
Idle Jet Surging – Honda and Kohler use a relatively easy-to-access idle jet that clogs up and causes surging. The Kohler is easier to access than the Honda.
The Kohler is easier to access than the Honda.
Briggs has fitted a plastic carburetor to a range of engines which also clog up and cause surging.
All of these carburetors can be repaired by cleaning, which I’ve covered previously in videos (links below). Videos cover step-by-step removal, cleaning, refitting, and adjusting your carb.
Fixing this is not difficult. Sometimes you can get lucky by just draining and cleaning the gas bowl, which only takes a few minutes.
I have written a complete guide to Carburetor cleaning with pictures; it includes the gas bowl clean-out, which, as said, is worth trying first.
If cleaning doesn’t work out for you, go ahead and swap out the carburetor for a new one. Check out “New lawn mower carburetors page,” here, I’ve listed good quality replacement carburetors for all the most popular engines.
Carburetors aren’t expensive; messing around with them doesn’t make sense.
You might find this page helpful too – “Carburetor repair tools” I’ve listed some really useful tools that make the job easy. Some of these tools I’ll bet you already have some.
Best Lawn Mower? Honda HRX 217 Exposed
But do try cleaning the gas bowl before removing the carburetor.
Finding a Vacuum Leak
Air that enters the combustion chamber without passing through the carburetor is un-metered. This means the fuel-to-air ratio is unbalanced and, in turn, causes erratic engine performance.
When air sneaks in like this, it causes the engine to run lean (lacks gas). A lean engine runs hot, which isn’t good for an engine, especially an air-cooled one.
Vacuum leaks usually occur because of damaged gaskets. Gaskets are sealing materials fitted between the mating surfaces of engine components. Their function is to create an airtight seal.
They are commonly made from paper, felt, cork, Teflon, neoprene, metal, and rubber. The material type is dependent upon where the gasket is to be used.
Gaskets wear out and break down, and that causes surging.
Extreme Caution – You need to be careful, the engine will need to be running, and so the blade will be spinning when running this test.
A vacuum leak check is performed with the engine running and a can of carburetor cleaner; WD40 works, too, (is there anything WD can’t do?)
Spray the cleaner around all carburetor gaskets anywhere the carburetor meets the engine. The trick is to hear an instant change in engine note; that’s the sign of a vacuum leak.
This can be challenging; you must train your ear to notice the instant change in engine note (and not the surging).
Just do a small section at a time; this will allow you to pinpoint the failure area. Jumping the gun and replacing gaskets without finding the actual leak may work out for you or leave you with the same problem after the rebuild.
You’re right in thinking carburetor gaskets usually cause the problem, but other components, such as manifold pipes, can crack or become loose, causing surging.
Fixing A Vacuum Leak
If a leak is detected, replace all carburetor gaskets, and as you have the carburetor removed, go ahead and clean it. Replacement gaskets are available online; you will require the make and model numbers from the engine.
All manufacturers will have a model number printed on a sticker placed on the body or on the engine. Have a poke around; you’ll find it. Most engine manufacturers will stamp the model numbers in an accessible area. Briggs Stratton stamp their numbers on the metal engine cover.
A new carburetor comes with new inlet gaskets; I like to fit original parts where I can; they fit and are guaranteed.
If, after replacing the carburetor gaskets, the engine still surges, you’ll need to go a little further and replace the manifold intake and gasket.
It’s not a big job, and they don’t give a lot of trouble, but they do crack as they get older. I wrote a step-by-step guide showing you everything you need to know – “Briggs Manifold Replacing.”
Honda lawn mower surging fix? To fix a surging Honda lawn mower engine, clean the carburetor, gas tank, and fuel filter. Use fresh regular gas or e10. What causes a lawnmower to run slowly? The most likely cause is a throttle linkage bent out of shape by bumping into the shrubbery or a throttle spring has detached itself.
Hey, I’m John, and I’m a Red Seal Qualified Service Technician with over twenty-five years experience.
I’ve worked on all types of mechanical equipment, from cars to grass machinery, and this site is where I share fluff-free hacks, tips, and insider know-how.
And the best part. it’s free!
This is Why Your Honda Lawn Mower Loses Power (Solved!)
You’re pushing your Honda mower along when you notice it isn’t giving you the power it once did. It begins to bog down and run sluggish and the engine isn’t performing at its best. There are many items that can affect the way your engine runs.
A Honda lawn mower may lose power when it is not able to get the fuel or air the engine requires. This could be due to a plugged air filter, bad fuel, a clogged fuel filter, clogged fuel lines, or a dirty carburetor. The Honda mower may also lose power due to a low engine oil level, clogged mower deck, slow engine speed, or fast ground speed.
Before performing any repairs on your mower, take safety precautions including removing the spark plug wire and following your operator’s manual.
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Follow all safety instructions provided in your equipment operator’s manual before diagnosing, repairing, or operating. Consult a professional if you don’t have the skills, or knowledge or are not in the condition to perform the repair safely.
Reasons Your Honda Lawn Mower Loses Power
Clogged Air Filter
Check your air filter when your experience a loss of power. A plugged air filter restricts the amount of air the engine receives. When the engine isn’t able to get the air it requires, your Honda mower may run sluggish and possibly quit.
Clean and replace it as necessary following these steps for a paper air filter element:
- Remove the air filter from the air filter housing.
- Wipe out any remaining dirt in the housing with a dry cloth. Be careful not to allow dirt to fall into the air intake.
- Tap your air filter against a solid surface to knock as much dirt loose as possible.
- Hold your filter up to a light source.
- Reuse your filter if you can see light through the paper element.
- Replace with a new filter if you can’t see light through the paper element.
Bad or Old Fuel
Because gasoline can begin to break down and become unstable as soon as 30 days after purchase, it is important to either consume your fuel quickly or add a fuel additive to your gasoline to stabilize your fuel.
Ethanol contained in gasoline today attracts moisture to the fuel system. This ethanol and moisture can gum up and begin degrading the fuel system. Not only can this cause clogging and fuel restrictions, but it can also be harmful to your engine.
Here are a few tips to take when purchasing gas for your Honda lawn mower:
- Buy fuel from a busy gas station.
- Use unleaded gasoline with a minimum octane rating of 87 and maximum ethanol content of 10 percent. The lower the ethanol content, the better.
- Add a fuel additive to stabilize your gasoline and reduce moisture.
- Store any remaining fuel in a cool dry area away from the outdoor elements.
Remove old fuel from your Honda using a fuel siphon. Fill with fresh gasoline. To learn more about gasoline and fuel additives read these articles: “Why Use Sea Foam Additive in a Lawn Mower” and “This is the Gas Your Honda Lawn Mower Uses”.
Clogged Fuel Filter or Fuel Lines
When fuel can’t get to your engine because of a clogged fuel filter or fuel line, your Honda mower will experience a loss of power. Dirt and gummy deposits from running bad fuel can collect in your fuel filter and fuel lines.
Replace a clogged fuel filter by installing the new filter with the arrow on the housing pointing in the direction of the fuel flow. The arrow should be pointing toward the carburetor.
Check for clogged fuel lines by stopping and starting flow while checking sections of your fuel line. You can use the fuel shut-off valve or crimp your fuel line to start and stop the flow. When you identify a clog in a section of the fuel hose, remove the hose from your Honda mower.
Spray carburetor cleaner in your fuel line to loosen up the blockage. Follow this by blowing compressed air into the line to remove the clog. Repeat these steps if necessary. If you are unable to remove the blockage, replace it with a new fuel line.
A carburetor’s purpose is to regulate the fuel and air mix required to form combustion.
When the carburetor becomes dirty from running old fuel through your Honda, components in your carburetor can become clogged preventing a sufficient supply of fuel from getting to the engine.
Disassemble the carburetor and clean it to remove fuel restrictions caused by gumming and hard crusty deposits. Check your components to make sure they are in good working condition.
If you are a little mechanical, follow my instructions in this guide to clean the carburetor. You may also choose to have a small engine repair shop perform this for you. If the carburetor still fails to correctly supply fuel, you will have to replace the carburetor assembly.
Bad Spark Plug
A fouled spark plug can cause an intermittent spark that can cause a loss of power. Inspect your spark plug for signs of carbon, dirt, and oil buildup on the tip.
If you find a dirty or damaged spark plug, I recommend replacing it with a new one to ensure you’re running a good plug in the mower.
Alternatively, if it’s only dirty and not very dark in color, you can attempt to clean it with a wire brush and reuse it.
Engine Power is Too Low
Your Honda mower deck requires full engine power to run. The throttle must be set to the “fast” position when your mower deck is engaged. Check your throttle lever to make sure it is in the correct position.
Low Engine Oil
When the engine oil in your Honda mower is at a low level, there isn’t enough lubrication to keep the moving parts in your engine moving freely.
Increased friction can build heat in the engine causing a power loss. If a low engine oil level isn’t caught quickly enough, it can result in a significant engine repair bill.
Because of the damage a low engine oil level can cause to your Honda mower, it is good practice to check the engine oil level before each mowing. Doing so may catch engine problems at an early stage before it develops into a larger issue.
To fix this, bring your engine oil level to the correct level using the lines on your dipstick for reference. If you caught your problem soon enough, you may be able to fix it by adding engine oil and identifying the reason why your engine level is low.
If you didn’t catch it early, you could have serious engine damage that should be diagnosed by an experienced small engine mechanic.
Too Much Engine Oil
Overfilling the crankcase with engine oil will cause your engine to smoke. Increased pressure builds as a result of too much engine oil and oil can be pushed into the cylinder through the valve train.
When this happens, a bluish-white smoke is emitted when the oil burns in the cylinder.
This thick Cloud of smoke can plug your air filter causing running issues because your engine isn’t able to get the clean air it needs. Check your air filter and your spark plug, and clean or replace them if needed.
Continuing to run your Honda mower with too much oil can cause seal damage, the engine to hydro lock, and a bent piston rod. Correct an engine with too much oil by removing a little oil. You can do this by using an oil evacuator, a drain plug, or even a turkey baster.
Ground Speed is Too Fast
Mowing your lawn at too fast a speed can put extra load on your mower and cause it to lose power. Your engine must work harder in thick grass-covered lawns over thinly covered lawns. Adjust your mowing speed according to your mowing conditions.
Cutting Wet or Tall Grass
Avoid cutting wet or tall grass as this will strain the engine causing a poor cut and extra load on the engine. Mowing grass when it is dry will reduce the amount of grass clippings collecting under the deck.
To mow taller grass, adjust the cutting height to its highest height and make your first cut. Follow it by lowering your mower deck and making a second cut.
If your grass is extremely tall, I recommend using a walk-behind brush cutter to cut down the grass and make it manageable going forward.
Check out your local rental center for options to rent a brush cutter. You can read more about cutting tall grass in this article.
Mower Deck is Clogged
Keep your mower deck clean and free of grass clippings and debris so your blades can spin freely. The engine will lose power when it is required to work hard to turn blades through a deck packed with debris.
Scrape your mower deck regularly to remove debris collecting under the deck. The area under the deck uses the air movement created by the blades to form a suction to stand the grass tall for a good cut.
A clogged mower deck not only causes a loss of power but also creates a bad cut because it restricts air movement under the deck.
Dull Mower Blades
A dull mower blade can further magnify the power loss your experience when not only does the engine need to turn blades into a deck packed full of debris, but it now how to turn dull blades through this debris.
Remove your mower blades and sharpen the blades using this guide for your Honda mower blades. Mower blades need to be sharpened at least after every 25 hours of use. They may need to be sharpened more frequently when using your mower in sandy or gravel conditions.
Performing routine maintenance on your Honda lawn mower and checking your engine oil before you mow can prevent engine problems that cause a loss of power.
If none of the items above solve your power loss problem, take your mower to the local small engine mechanic to be looked at. There are internal engine problems that are hard for the homeowner to diagnose without the proper engine tools to accurately perform tests on the engine.
Is Your Honda Lawn Mower Smoking?
You can experience a loss of power from items that cause your lawn mower to begin smoking. If your Honda mower is smoking, check out this article for more details.
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