Engine Identification

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Old 10-06-02, 10:20 AM
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Age of engine...Attn Fish and Cheese


Recently when cleaning out my shed, I came across a seized minibike engine from years ago .

I pitched it, but I was wondering how old it might be:

It had:

Model HS40-552900 (C or O?)
Serial #2160B

Lauson Division, New Holstein, WI. It did mention SE motor oil on the sticker.

Any ideas? I remember getting the engine and bike in December of 1982.

I will eventually get new motors for these two frames, rebuild 'em and give one each to my nephews .
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Old 10-06-02, 11:53 PM
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Hi Joe!

According to your numbers, the engine is a techumseh 4HP (lauson) horizontal shaft engine made on the 160th day of 1982, at shift and line "B" at the factory.

Those little mini-bikes were a lot of fun, but liabilities put a stop to their manufacture. Seems like everything fun is found to be "unsafe" and put to an end, LOL.
Old 10-07-02, 09:03 AM
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Thanks Cheese. What did they use to denote 1972? As I recall in '82 when I got the minibike the frame was old and I don't think the motor was new at the time. I paid 20 bucks for the motor and the frame, I can remember.

The engine grenaded in 1984 or so and it was not worth fixing. I remember replacing it with a 1985 Suzuki FA50 moped which lasted me through when I started driving and I sold it for more than we paid for it in late '84 in mint condition !!!
Old 10-07-02, 05:18 PM
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Since you all keep discussing Tecumsehs, I must invite the
Tecumseh champion here. He will appear here soon. Just
call him Tecumsehman, T-man, Tcumcman, or worse.
He is a good guy.
Old 10-07-02, 06:51 PM
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Age of HS40


Every 10 years, the date-of-manufacture (as it's currently called)
or the serial number, rotates. I would guess your engine IS a
1982 model, made on the 160th day of that year.

Old 10-07-02, 08:00 PM
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Could have been, but it's gone now. Man, it was rough in '82 when I first got it. That's why I was thinking 1972. In fact, the frame it was on looked to be that old.

I believe (I was 11 at the time I got the bike) that the previous owner thought it to be a four cycle and mixed the oil and gas. It only lasted 2 years and then puked out. It literally exploded inside. Lol. We babied this engine when we had it, but I think the kid that sold it to us ruined it. Again, it was a frame and motor for 20 bucks back in Dec. 1982.

HS40 showed up on the 1983 Tecumseh microfiche I had at work as a 4HP engine. A new engine in 1983 was 196 bucks according to the old fiche I have at work. I was hoping that the fiche would give more insight as to date codes and what not.

I have piles of old Tecumseh fiche from the 80s at work .

T-man: I am a Tecumseh fan and prefer their engines on my equipment. I have a bunch of Sears mowers (AYP actually) which are "Chief" powered.

What can I say, I have this thing for Indians (I own 3 Pontiacs and probably that many Tecumseh engines ).
Old 10-07-02, 08:11 PM
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It very well could have been a 1972. The numbers don't indicate the decade, just the year. Every ten years, the year code just starts over again.

As far as techumseh engines....hmmm. I'll stay away from this one, LOL! Lets just put it very mildly and say I don't share your view. The older ones weren't bad though.
Old 10-07-02, 09:31 PM
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Yeah.....What cheese said!.....

Really, as long as a chief will start on the first or second pull or before they kill a battery they are as good as any. Its those ornary hard starting ones that make my neck stiff. Seems those Eager 1's from Sears from the 70's and 80's were the worst. Maybe we ought to start a thread so we all could go into what we like and don't about Briggs (if there is anything....LOL) and Tecumseh......Mike
Old 10-07-02, 10:53 PM
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That would probably make for an interesting topic! I just look at the way techumsehs are built and shake my head. No wonder they are so unpopular and low-priced. AYP to my knowledge has stopped using them on riding mowers. MTD uses very few. Murray uses them occasionally. You never see them on a better quality piece of equipment. They pretty much have the snowblower market hemmed up though from what I gather. (what's a snowblower?...I live in S. GA.) They're easy enough to work on though...thank goodness. I guess I should like techumseh...they keep me busy! LOL

Last edited by cheese; 10-07-02 at 11:12 PM.
Old 10-08-02, 09:51 AM
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Lol. .

I have had numerous Tecumsehs, no problems with any of them.

I will say that the Tecumsehs I have contain a primer bulb and fire right up even after sitting. Most of those dastardly B&S motors lack primer bulbs and you'll pull till you're green to get it started.

You're right about the snowblower market. Ariens and the top guys use Tecumseh on their products.
Old 10-09-02, 11:25 PM
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Briggs has had primer bulbs on their walk-behind mower engines for many years now. The old ones with the pulsa-jet carb would turn your arm to jello before they started if the diaphragm was neglected....(which most of them were). That diaphragm also activated the choke on those old ones. I suppose the smaller HP Techumsehs really aren't THAT bad...other than the soft crankshafts. It's the larger engines that should be illegal. Is Ariens really considered a top notch product up in your area? In the snowblower market; or the mower market?
Old 10-10-02, 06:38 AM
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Ariens definitely is a top notch snow blower product. Considering they are made in WI where the winters are severe, I'd say their field testing is good .

For me, I always seek to find equipment that is need of TLC that I can perfect and repair (as you have seen in a couple cases with discarded mowers I have fixed).

I'm after a good snow blower now. A couple "project" ones on Ebay that I have seen that I'm after if the price is right. I'm sure with some time and effort I can get them going. I'm always scouting garage sales for things like that.

The only "bust" so far has been the edger I found. It needs an engine and may not be worth it. I can probably find a running one in better shape for less money .
Old 10-10-02, 06:55 AM
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cheese, I was curious about your question on the Ariens. Do you not think much of them? We have no snow throwers in my area.....:-(......but Ariens riders are considered at least equal to Snapper around here which is not the best but well worth the money. At least the ones a few years old fall into that catagory but the new ones may have gone the route of Husky riders which are nothing but MTD with a Husky orange paint job which there ought to be some kind law against......Mike
Old 10-10-02, 03:48 PM
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Cut me some slack....One moment you're complimenting my engines and the next... the Tec rep ran off with your wife...??? In
some cases, the latter might NOT BE BAD, huh ??

I've been a B & S AND Tec rep for 20 years (5 and 15), and I am simply amazed at comments such as "illegal", "Techumseh", "Soft cranks" and so forth and so on ??

There is SO MUCH SIMILARITY in the 2 product lines now, and Tecumseh is a VERY STRONG corporation.

The MTD Corp. will use BIG NUMBERS of engines in 2003. The new
V-twin has been very successful, thus far, and is getting BIG
INTEREST from the OEM's.

PLEASE, PLEASE....all I ask....get better knowledge and education on the product. We will be VERY HAPPY to include you in our schools in Lawrenceville and at the Douglas, GA plant.

Tecumseh supports the economy of S. GA....and would
welcome the same support from their Dealers and shops in the
region. Cheese....DON'T MAKE ME DRIVE DOWN THERE.....and.....


Moderators Note:
Thus far I have not read any statement that was non complimentry towards Tecumseh products thus far by any of the moderators within this forum topic.

No mention of {your quote} "I am simply amazed at comments such as "illegal", "Techumseh", "Soft cranks" and so forth and so on ??

Where are those comments??? Thus far there where non. Did I miss them???

Paragraph spacing to allow easier reading also part of this edit.

Last edited by Sharp Advice; 10-16-02 at 09:09 AM.
Old 10-10-02, 09:37 PM
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Hey Tcumcman!

I'll shake your hand anyday, LOL . And I don't worry about my wife when the Tech. man comes around...hehe!

Techumseh doesn't have a good reputation around here. Maybe they're more popular in other areas of the country, but if you visit other forums similar to this one, you will find that in almost every discussion about the durability and reliability of techumseh engines, the majority of people do not like them. (I've seen you...or someone with a like-name in another forum defending techumsehs against a group of posters who don't like them). They ARE the cheapest manufacturer on the market. They HAVE used very soft metal for the crankshafts. When they throw a rod...we all know there's gonna be a hole in the side of the block. If not, call ripley's . For what they are...they fill a niche. I have 13 years of knowledge and education on the product, and this is my cumulative opinion. It's not that I am ignorant of proper small engine repair procedures or need training on techumsehs. I just think they are at the bottom of the totem-pole. I've seen countless 13hp and up engines blow the bottom crankshaft seal out of them before they wore out the original set of blades. Many more that started knocking, blew up, etc... The carburation on the same engines is a bad, but money-saving design. (for the company).

Briggs has built some sure-enough bombs too. I'd rather have a 4.0 techumseh than a newer 5.5 briggs vertical anyday. It's like GM and Ford I guess. I don't like Ford for the same reasons I don't like Techumseh. There are too many places that just a small design change, or better-grade material, or 5 more cents could be used to make the machine much better.

I didn't really intend to get into this kind of discussion, and I don't want to trash the name. I just want to explain why I personally don't like them. My advice to everyone is to use what has given you good service in the past, whether it is Briggs, Techumseh, or whatever.

Mike: You are getting warm at the end of your reply about Ariens. The older ones were pretty darn good. The newer ones are still OK. Just not top-notch, and more expensive than they're worth. A dealer in my area dropped the Ariens line when they introduced the newer mowers. He tried to keep the line, but it was hurting his business. Customers got angry with him for selling them such a trouble-prone machine. I guess they still make their own product though. The trouble is, they used high quality combined with poor design. You have durable parts combined with a few cheap undersized parts. Those cheap insufficient parts are the places you get the trouble every time. It's the same things over and over. Again...before I step on any Ariens fans' toes....this is my experience in my trade and area. Others may have more successful results.

I dont hate Techumsehs or Ariens...I just don't prefer them.
Old 10-12-02, 01:13 AM
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I think Ariens is morphing into Gravely's consumer line, which is
odd, since Ariens owns Gravely. Old Ariens tractors and tillers
were well made.
Old 10-14-02, 09:14 AM
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Whoa .

I guess that's what happens when you get the Chief mad, you get scalped. LOL.

It's like folks that say "A Chevy beats a Pontiac any day". My answer to that is that anyone can make a Chevy engine fast, but to do a Pontiac takes talent and skill. And there's always one guy faster, better, more adept.

Back in 1992, I did seize the 1979 Sears Eager 1 mower we had by hitting a tree stump with it. Yes it did ruin the crank shaft. Lol. However, it ran flawlessly up till that minute. My 1992 Craftsman/AYP has run flawlessly for 10 years with nothing more than tuneup and oil changes/TLC.

Same with the 1988 Craftsman my neighbor threw out. Starts the first time, every time each week that I use it.

As you guys have said, it all depends on your experience. I will say that the Briggs and Stratton website has Tecumseh's beat by a landslide. Much more interactive, informative and their product support is excellent.

B&S has a large part of the small engine market for a reason, I guess, like it or not. There's reasons why they outsell Tecumseh.

All of the Tecumseh's I have had run strong, powerful and a long time.
Old 10-14-02, 08:46 PM
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Hi Joe.

The engines you have are small push-mower type engines. They aren't bad. The briggs 3.5 classic has the same track record. Both manufacturers made reliable engines when it came to the small hp mowers. The Techumseh is still more apt to bend a crank than the Briggs, but both were good. The larger techumseh engines are where my complaints come in. Briggs has the market for one main reason...they are overall better engines, yet still cheap enough to be standard equipment. "Overall" being the key-word here. Techumseh is cheaper, but still doesn't have the market pinned down like Briggs does. Briggs doesn't build the best engine either. Honda and Kawasaki are infallible in my opinion. I don't know of a better engine than these. Onan and Kohler are both superior to briggs in most cases also. In most cases, the price directly reflects brand quality. It's like you have said in your forum about GM being the largest carmaker in the world for a reason. Briggs is the most popular for a good reason.

After working with small engines 5 to 7 days a week, sometimes more than 10 hours a day, for years....you get a REAL good idea of what is quality, what is mediocre, and what is bottom of the line.

Tcumcman said MTD will be using Techumsehs more often in the near future. MTD is also a low-end consumer brand, so that doesn't shed any new light on the subject. He also is a techumseh rep, and naturally is defending the name he represents. That is fine, and I hope we can agree to disagree. I don't see where anyone got "scalped" ?? I hope he continues to visit this forum and contribute. I have differing views with the best of my friends, but we remain friends none the less.

Last edited by cheese; 10-14-02 at 09:07 PM.
Old 10-14-02, 10:23 PM
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Open-Minded Discussion


I'm "thick-skinned" from years of experience in this business. It's
not my nature to react negatively to "opinioned discussion".
However, I take exception to "Moderators" who take personal
opinion to a level in which discussion becomes criticism and an
opportunity to tell its participants how they feel about ANY product. It's NOT the purpose, nor should it be the intent, of ANY
discussion forum. I sincerely appreciate the kindness and the
complimentary posts. I even appreciate an occasional correction
or chastisement when one is due. However, it's not professional,
nor is it ethical, to call ones self a "Moderator", yet at every angle,
add your negativity and lack of knowledge to an open forum. It's
not "MY IDEA" of what a forum should be, and especially NOT how
a moderator should conduct himself. You will NEVER HEAR from me a negative comment about ANY engine product, and though I
rep for a particular manufacturer, my opinions will ALWAYS be fair,
open-minded, and an honest assessment of what I've seen and
experienced with technicians in the field. My comments will never
be directed at what I perceive as a "QUALITY ISSUE", and will be
centered on learning and gaining more knowledge of a product, or
product line. After 20 years of fighting for good Dealers, and a
better reputation, I just can't sit back and see Cheese make the
comments he has decided to convey as a "Moderator". It's
"Tecumseh" and not "Techumseh", by the way. sir. It's regretful
that you have chosen, as a Moderator, to diminish this forum with
personal comments that serve no purpose but to harm and
discourage the use of ANY product, just because you find it not to
your liking. I'll visit another forum where discussion is always
aimed at being constructive and educational, and NOT...."Cheesy"

Old 10-15-02, 07:28 AM
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Hello: Tcumcman

Your Quote:
"However, it's not professional, nor is it ethical, to call ones self a "Moderator", yet at every angle, add your negativity and lack of knowledge to an open forum."

I somewhat agree with your statement and your opinions on product bashing. However, there was no real product bashing involved here.

Simply a matter of personal opinions being expressed. Which is perfectly fine, if stated as such.

Personally, I simply think the topic got off it's original intent. The topic was not intended to be a topic of personal opinions and product choices.

If you feel there is another web site that you prefer to use and you deem as more friendly towards products you value as better and or superior, etc. than by all means do so.

In my opinion after second a re-evaluation of the postings contained here, there was no intent to bash any product nor you. Sorry you feel the way you do.

Moderators Note to all posting parties:

Post constructive problem solving solutions, helpful advice and suggestions.

Avoid personal opinions, unless you clearly state it as such.

If you want a chat forum to discuss opinions and can conduct the conversion in a manner acceptable, use the topic "Chats & Whines" topic I started earlier this year.

Web Site Host and Topic Moderator

This posting has been edited to reflect a more accurate evaluation of the postings contained within it.

Last edited by Sharp Advice; 10-16-02 at 09:29 AM.
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