Honda Mower only runs when choked


Old 05-31-06, 08:53 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2006
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Honda Mower only runs when choked

Hi, I have a Honda HRR216 that only runs when it is fully choked. When I unchoke it, it dies. Here is the history of my problems.

1. Mower died while cutting the grass. I found that the float was stuck. I used carburetor cleaner and cleaned the "gum" off the float.

2. After reassembling, it would only run when fully choked. I mowed the lawn, but the next time I tried to use it, it would start, then die after 1-2 seconds.

3. I took apart the carb, and sprayed carb cleaner in all the opening that I could locate. and replaced the spark plug.

4. After reassembling, it will start and run, but only with the choke fully on.

Any suggestions? Thanks!
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Old 06-01-06, 01:18 AM
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Sounds like you need to remove the carb and soak in a bath type carb cleaner. Remove any rubber parts before soaking it.
Old 06-01-06, 08:36 AM
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Thanks I'll try it

So, you are thinking something is still clogged? It can't be as simple as an adjustment? I guess I will take it apart and blast it with the carb cleaner again. If that doesn't work, I'll try the "bath".

Old 06-03-06, 02:06 PM
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clean the main jet. you may have loosened some trash while cleaning the carb, that is now stuck in the jet.
Old 06-06-06, 08:43 AM
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how to remove jet?

Do you know if I can simply unscrew the jet and remove it? When cleaning with the Carb Cleaner, I squirted up the jet and it is definately flowing out the other you think it is still worth it to remove and clean it. I found a schematic of my carb if this will help....

I am hesitant to use the bath type carb cleaner because it is like $20. I'm afraid I'm gonna end up bringing it to the repair shop anyway and I don't want to waste the money.

Old 06-08-06, 08:25 PM
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The best would be the bath, but for an aerosol cleaner:

You can unscrew that jet for cleaning. Be careful not to over tighten when reinstalling. There is also an idle circuit that would need attention. Also check for air ports that lead to the throttle throat. If you can tip the mower up so you can see the top of the float bowl they're easier to find and clean.

When you cleaned it did you remove or change the settings on the mixture screws? If you'd rather not do the bath right now, I would note the settings of those, remove them and use the carb cleaner in those areas.

When you get it going put a little carb cleaner in the fuel. If its going to sit over a month use a little stablizer in the fuel. Todays fuel has a very short shelf life.

Hope this helps

Last edited by marbobj; 06-09-06 at 11:46 AM.
Old 06-12-06, 10:32 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2006
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How to remove Jet?

Hi Marbobj,
Thanks for the suggestions. I unscrewed the jet, but I can't remove it? Is there a trick? Once it is fully loosed, it won't come out of the nozzle. Does this make sense? Also, If I get it out, how do I remove the nozzle for cleaning? Should that also unscrew?
Thanks, Doug
Old 04-20-08, 08:59 AM
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 1
Don't waste your time try this first

I've seen a lot of suggestions on various sites and many of them are way off the mark. So for anyone with a lawn mower that won't start or shuts off quickly or surges read this first. These steps will help each situation in most cases.

I've had an 18hp tractor mower and a 5.5 Honda mower from an HRR216 with the same problem, they wouldn't start. Both with the same solution.

Spark plugs cost about $2 a piece and should be replaced after the engines sits for a long time. Even if you clean the carbon deposits off it's not a bad idea. The first and easiest thing to do is to remove the plug and insert it back into the spark plug wire. With the help of a friend hold the plug against a piece of metal on the lawn mower and attempt to start as normal. If there is no arc from the plug then make sure it's a new one, if so you may have a bigger problem.

Assuming there is a spark then there is only one problem with it not starting and that is a bad air/fuel mixture. If the engine has sat then the carb is likely the culprit, larger engines could be a fuel pump. But unscrew the gas cap, remove the air filter and attempt to start a few times just to check, sometimes the gas cap or air filter is an issue but not usually. If the air filter looks really dirty replace it. Bad gas isn't the problem. It might not run smooth with bad gas but it will run with the correct air/fuel mixture. Surging is the result of bad air/fuel mixture as well, not bad gas. So now what do you do? Well here's where it gets tricky. For small engines, first if you have a fuel shut-off valve turn it to the off position. Then you are going to disconnect the carb from the engine and the fuel line. Make sure to pay VERY close attention to how it was hooked up before removing it can be confusing putting back together. Draw a detailed diagram if you have to. So remove the cable and fuel line. You should have some gas spill, that would be a good sign, don't light a match. The clamps used are cheap and hard to get off and back on properly unless you use the proper tools so be careful not to ruin it. When unscrewing from the motor be sure to pay attention to how any gaskets that might be loose are positioned. You've unscrewed it from the motor and removed any lines attached. Now you have the loose carb and possibly some gaskets depending on the type. The gaskets in this case can be re-used but if they're torn should be replaced. Put a rag under the fuel line and open the valve for a second if gas flows freely then the carb is the culprit. Tractors might need to be siphoned, be prepared to spit.

So now you have a faulty carb, you could replace for $30 or so or you could perform the following steps. Get a can of compressed air, perfect for this job and if you've got some carb cleaner that might help. All carbs so I'll explain the carb on the HRR216. There is a drain plug at an angle, remove that first to drain the fuel. Put it back then unscrew the bottom to remove the resevoir from the carb. The float should move freely, look at it carefully because there is a tiny valve. Remove the pin then shoot some air up in the hole. In the center of the carb there is a stem put a screw driver up there and unscrew, it's going to take some time so just keep unscrewing. This is the jet, pull it out and look through the tiny hole. If you can't then there is your problem. Blow the compressed air through the hole and I'll bet you'll see more light. You can take a piece of very small wire and fish it through if you still think there is a clog but the air should to the trick. Use the air cleaner freely on other parts as well. You can use some carb cleaner as well. Put it all back together the way it came apart. Reinstall the carb, open up the fuel valve, make sure the plug is in and give it a pull. It should start right away. If not then you can keep trying to clean the carb but at this point it might be easier just to buy a new one and install. Remember at the end of the season to shut off the fuel valve then restart the engine until the fuel is burned off, engine will stop by itself. If a new carb and nothing else worked, that would be very surprising and where this post no longer serves of use. This will fix the problem MOST of the time though.

If it's a tractor engine it should have a fuel pump. You can pull the fuel pump apart and change the fuel filter but if the fuel pump isn't working properly it usually can't be full fixed and you'll see optimum performance out of a new fuel pump, trust me it's worth the money. If you elect to try to fix take it apart and use a screw driver to open all the valves. Put it back together and it should work at least a little but might not work properly.

Hopefully this helps with your problems. Please post back any results, good or bad.
Old 05-21-08, 08:26 PM
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 2
Try This

I realize this is a 2 year old posting, but I was having the same problem and found this post via google. I figured I'd share my experience in case it helps someone else.

I cleaned the carb as mentioned above, which didn't improve the situation. Then I got to thinking that if it runs with choke then it likely has a vac leak that is causing it to run lean. While it was running somewhat off choke and surging (rpm up/down/up/down...), I sprayed some carb cleaner near the carb butterfly shaft and it steadied right down.

Anyway, that confirms my carb is worn out.


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