Honda HR214 with GXV120 engine smoking

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  #1  
Old 10-19-09, 05:15 AM
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Honda HR214 with GXV120 engine smoking

I recently acquired a Honda HR214 lawn mower with a GXV120 engine. It is unknown how long it sat unused. When I got it, the engine was stuck, but by giving a socket wrench a little nudge on the flywheel nut, it broke free. The motor started easily, and after warming it up, I put in new 10W-40 oil as directed by the operator's manual. I have removed and cleaned the carb. This one has the rubber breather tube that just press fits into a hole on the side of the engine. There is no sign of oil leakage around the oil fill tube where it meets the engine block. Problem is, it smokes badly for several minutes after start up, and in fact, spits droplets of oil from the muffler when it's cold. The smoking lessens, but never completely goes away after the engine warms up.

Suggestions I've received as to what the problem is have been,
1. Rust had formed on the inside of the cast iron cylinder, thus causing the "stuck" piston which is now scraped off and causing scratches on the cylinder lining.
2. Bad rings.
3. Worn valve guides.

I'm not having any luck finding a shop manual for this engine to get the specs on it.

Professional advice and a manual would sure be helpful.
 
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  #2  
Old 10-19-09, 07:39 PM
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It's pretty common to find these engines with badly worn rings. I have never had a problem re-ringing these engines with a new set of rings, gaskets, and a good honing.
 
  #3  
Old 10-20-09, 05:11 AM
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Thanks Cheese. I read your suggestions to ahencman last year when he was asking pretty much the same things about his. He posted an experiment he did with Restore. I haven't been able to find a way to contact him directly to find out if he replaced the rings on his, but did find pictures on flicker that he took apparently during his tear down.

I've done a fair amount of work on small motors, but never torn one down to replace rings. Wish me luck. Oh, and I may be back to ask more questions as I go, if that would be alright.
 
  #4  
Old 10-22-09, 07:43 AM
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O.K., I pulled the head off of my motor. It actually sort of fell off when I pulled the last bolt out. That, to me, was sort of strange because I've never had a gasket seal give up that easily. What I noticed then is signs that the gasket was not properly sealed, and oil was getting into the cylinder from the oil channels passed the gasket, and not the rings. There were all sorts of signs that oil was being blown to the outside of the engine passed the gasket as well. The cylinder walls still show signs of cross hatching, and no overt scoring of any kind.

I'm going to try replacing the head gasket first before tearing the engine down any further, and see what happens.

My question then, what is the proper torque for the head bolts, and is there a sealer that should be applied to the gasket before reinstalling it?
 
  #5  
Old 10-25-09, 11:02 AM
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The new head gasket didn't do it. I see signs of cross hatching on the cylinder wall. The oil ring gap is .030, or more. The compression ring is .018, and the wiper ring is .021.

There is some pretty good scoring on the connector rod where it spins on the crankshaft.

Can anyone tell me what is the proper gap for these rings?

Is there any chance that the smoking problem could be caused by worn valve guides, and is there a simple check for this?
 
  #6  
Old 10-25-09, 07:29 PM
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Sounds like you need rings. I don't know what Honda recommends, but I like a ring gap of .010" or so, not more than .020" for the compression rings. Valve guides are very unlikely to cause large amounts of smoke. You can wiggle the valve back and forth when it's open to see if there is much play, but I have never seen a worn valve guide cause a significant smoking problem in a small engine in my years of working on them.

The cross hatch pattern is consistent with hondas. That's why I say they generally take well to a ring job because the engines don't wear out, just the rings.

The scoring on the rod sounds like it has been run low on oil before. You might look into purchasing a rod as well. Check the crankshaft for wear just to be sure.
 
  #7  
Old 10-26-09, 04:07 AM
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Thanks again Cheese. I'll check for wiggle in the valves. The crank shaft bearing surface seems nice and smooth.
 
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Old 11-20-09, 04:41 AM
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I got all the parts I needed together, did a hone job on the cylinder, replaced the rings and gaskets. Didn't have any extra parts left over when I got it all back together. So far, it starts easily, and most importantly, no smoke! Thanks for all the advice and help.
 
  #9  
Old 11-20-09, 09:08 AM
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Great! Glad we could help and thanks for the update.
 
  #10  
Old 11-20-09, 09:47 PM
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Enjoyed reading this exchange, is this a fairly common type rebuild sequence for most small engines? Rings the most common things needing replacement the first time around?
 
  #11  
Old 11-21-09, 10:24 AM
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On Japanese engines, yes this is probably similar to what happens to a majority of them when they get used long enough to smoke. On domestic engines, except maybe the kohler command single cylinder engines, there is usually more wear on other internal parts by the time the rings are worn out. Sometimes all they need is rings, but often they also have worn rods and the briggs singles commonly have a lot of wear on the balancer (rider engines) by the time the rings are worn out. Domestic walk behind engines almost always have cylinder damage when they start smoking. Most of them have aluminum cylinder walls and most japanese engines have cast iron cylinder walls.

There are plenty of exceptions to the rule, but this is usually pretty accurate in my experience.
 
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Old 11-21-09, 08:13 PM
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I guess Briggs has made a judgement call that most consumers of their engines will be ready for a new one instead of rebuilding the old when it starts to give trouble? Interesting that the japanese mfrs would go with that stout a bottom end on theirs?
 
  #13  
Old 03-29-12, 05:02 PM
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Hey Cheese!

Hey Cheese,

I just found this thread after having the same issue with the honda hr214. Just wanted to say I'm gonna give the rings a shot!

I'll let you know how it goes!

best,
JTM
 
  #14  
Old 03-29-12, 08:13 PM
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Great, let us know how it turns out. Don't forget to hone the cylinder and get a nice cross-hatch pattern.
 
  #15  
Old 09-03-12, 06:57 AM
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Cheese, I also have a Honda hra 214 with a gxv 120 engine that smokes badly when first started. After the smoking stops the mower runs great for about 10 minutes. After that when mowing grass the engine seems to lose power to the point that if I don't stop and let it catch up it will stall. I'm thinking this is due to a loss in compression from worn rings. Do you think replacing the rings would solve the power loss also? Thanks
 
  #16  
Old 09-03-12, 10:12 AM
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I don't know, if it's due to loss of compression, then yes.
 
  #17  
Old 05-29-13, 08:46 PM
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Smokin' HRA-214

I appreciate this thread - would like to know if someone would care to provide direction on the replacement of the rings. Is there a good manual available somewhere?

I am confident mechanically - but this would be a first for me. Input would be appreciated.

Thanks!
 
  #18  
Old 05-30-13, 05:56 AM
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Most instructional small engine repair books will cover the procedure. There are probably loads of youtube videos covering the process as well. Basically, take the engine off, open the engine, remove the head, remove the rod cap, slide the piston and rod assembly out, remove the rings, install new rings, hone the cylinder, wash the cylinder, clean the gaskets off, reassemble and torque the bolts. Fill with oil.
 
  #19  
Old 05-29-15, 01:49 PM
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Gonna give this a shot here in the near future I think.
This mower is as old as I am, it was a hand me down from my uncle.
Smokes on startup and a little bit of smoke while cutting, hopefully gets me through the summer.

Thanks!
 
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