Honda HRX217 surging/won't run


Old 08-06-10, 09:13 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 2
Question Honda HRX217 surging/won't run

I just joined the community and am a first time poster.
I''ve combed these forums and come across a lot of good advice and tried much of it to no avail...
You all seem knowledgeable when it comes to this so maybe I can be enlightened (and get my grass cut at the same time )

I have a Honda HRX217 that "died" a few weeks ago while I was on vacation. I had someone house-sitting for me and when it came time to cut the lawn a 2nd time around they said it just wouldn't run.

The lawn mower would "sort of" start with the choke on but promptly die OR run for 30 or so seconds while surging/hunting. It would die when any attempt to move it to full throttle was made (I did get the blades to engage once and run for a few mins then it cut out (gets hot?)

The mower has a history of surging but would stop once the engine was put under load. I am not sure if something is wrong with the governor itself or if its just going "crazy" in an attempt to keep the motor running. Fuel is getting to the carb best I can tell and flows freely from the tank to past the shut off valve. Remove the carbs bowl and its always full of gas.

I've taken the carb out and cleaned it three times and finally with a soaking solution (irony is now the mower wont even run with the choke on). Originally the bowl and the main jet had some crud on/in them and one of the seals was also bad from the carb to the motor (leaking out a small amount of gas, so maybe it was creating a vacuum/pulling in air there as well).
I replaced the seal and there is no leak now that I can tell.
I cleaned the carb thoroughly (it is spotless) but I can find no adjustments for air/fuel mixture. The owners manual gives no adjustments for the main jet (to my understanding this is adjusted via how many 'turns" are put into it) or anything else on the carb. I've read these newer carb are tamper proof...

I've also done the following:
cleaned the air filter
changed the spark plug (old one was fouled up/dirty)*
drained gas and put fresh in w/fuel stabilizer
changed oil

***after installing the new plug and cleaning the carb yet again I attempted to start it to no avail. I pulled the plug and the end had a bit of carbon on it, I am not sure what this would mean.
Also the machine will partially stay alive well spraying engine starter fluid into the air intake.
I've also tried starting with the air filter and gas cap off to make sure I don't have a vacuum going on.

I just don't know what else I can do before having to bite the bullet and take it to the shop.
I am at my wits end

ANY advice would be greatly appreciated...
Also I apologize for such a long post but I wanted readers to know the background of this...

With warm regards
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Old 08-06-10, 10:54 AM
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Iowa!!!!!
Posts: 3,728
It would be a good place to use Sea Foam. You still have some blockage in the carburetor. A lot of times with an engine that runs and has had kits/gaskets/lines taken care of but still dogs out at throttle changes or surges Sea Foam gets the job done.

It sounds like you have fuel in the bowl so the main variables lie in the running circuits in the carb. It can be the smallest obstruction that is causing the problem.

You can get Sea Foam at most auto parts stores.
Old 08-06-10, 11:10 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 2
I do use seafoam in a lot in my dirtbikes so I will try that.
I just can't see any way that the carb is still got problems. I tear apart and clean these Keihins all the time since they are used on so many Japanese motors.
FYI after letting the mower sits for a few hrs it will run without surging with the throttle on high. Even was able to engage the blades but it starts surging again and died after 2-3 mins.
Like its got fuel that slowly fills the bowl and when that runs out its not coming in fast enough although I was 99% sure that wasn't the case....
Old 08-06-10, 02:20 PM
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Iowa!!!!!
Posts: 3,728
The fuel flow to the bowl has to be enough to take care of the load demands of the engine. Should that be insufficient, the problem may very well be before the carburetor = in the pump(if equipped with one) or the filter, tank, lines, etc.

As far as the surging lessening at full throttle and returning when the blades are engaged, that is typically a change in the throttle position the governor goes to for the load. For instance you may set the throttle lever at full, but without the load on the engine the governor only sets the throttle plate at 1/2 until the load occurs. So at full throttle on the handle you likely have enough fuel available for the lighter load, but not enough for the load which the blades impose on the engine. That is when you start getting the surge.

Another consideration is the rpms of the engine without the heavy load = greater volume of air past the venturi in the carburetor which crutches the fuel flow past a partial obstruction. The engine at that point is actually running lean, but it's hard to tell it because of the impetus of the engine revs.

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