Above: One of the few design flaws in the Honda mower I’ve found. This depression is a bath tub of sorts that allows the spring to rot in wet dirt. The remedy is easy to apply, remove the spring, drill some drain holes, oil the spring, and keep it wet with oil..
I have touched on this before, companies that knew they had to join the crowd and design throw away equipment or simply fail to sell their goods. Arguably, Honda is one of those companies, and I believe lawn mowers were one of the products that built the company in the early days.
I bought one of the first hydrostatic drive Honda mowers with OHVs I saw. I bought it on Honda’s reputation, and perhaps my Dad’s Honda rototiller and the excellent service it provided did the deal.
But… I’m not the ordinary guy shopping for a lawn mower, we have nearly an acre of lawn, and that lawn is in the Puget Sound Basin where we mow lawns often and for a much longer season than many if not most areas.
But, there’s another factor, I also like to get my last dime out of equipment, so when others throw a lawn mower on the junk pile and buy new, I’m attempting to rebuild or repair the weak link and get another year out of it.
I’ve mentioned that the little Honda OHV engines have provided 10,000 hours of service running battery chargers for off girders, and it’s not just one of them claiming the longevity and trouble free running.
As for the Honda Lawn mower, I did find the weak links in mine, and one of them is the bushings the drive shaft runs in, I have rebuilt this area three times, and I think the front wheels have nearly fallen off twice, or was it three times?
I did retire the first Honda mower to our Easton Summer property, but I’m not sure retire is a proper term as the mower has spent many eight hour or longer days mowing there. You can say you’d be on a rider, but my wife says.. why is it you’d take regular walks for the exercise and not walk behind a mower?
Hats off to Roger Sperle down the street from me.. he tears lawn mowers apart as a hobby, refurbishes a few, and junks the aluminum and steel as a hobby. Since we are friends, we trade favors and help all the time, and one of his grand gifts is access to junked Honda mowers where I am able to find serviceable parts for that first mower! As I say, it mows at least four times as much lawn as most people do, and it’s well over 20 years of service and ALWAYS starts on a first or second pull.
I don’t like the bushing and bearing designs on the wheels, but who can be disappointed with the service I’ve gotten? So much for a rebuild able and more commercial walk behind.
Yes, we did think we were gambling on the old Honda, so about 12 years ago, we bought a Harmony Hydrostatic, a residential grade mower with an OHC, internal cam belt, and even a plastic cam!
I doubt anyone rebuilds this engine, but after 12 years of mowing four times as much lawn as most people have, we are still going, and I have found many of the weak links are exactly the same as in the commercial grade machine.
The bushings are easy enough to replace, but if they were bronze, and there were some grease fittings, and if you greased regular, you might keep the dirt and grit out. Grease?.. an environmental hazard! A grease gun for the average home owner? Well, there’s a problem..
After two Honda mowers, one commercial, one throw away, I can only say the through away is doing fine. I just got two more serviceable wheels from Roger, and I replaced the bushings up front that made the wheels all floppy, might be good for another three years of mowing four times as much?
Now I did find something today that I will call a design flaw. The area where the spring lies that tensions the rear door for the bagging system is a depression that holds dirt, and water,. The spring eventually starts to rust and the end of the spring eventually snaps off. A bungie cord helped with the problem till I robbed a spring off a junked Honda today. One thing you need know.. we never leave a mower outside in the weather, we know people that do.. and even leaving them in the sun can cause more trouble than you might know, we do however hose it off, and this may have helped that spring fail.
Money saved is the same as money earned..