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Finicky Honda 3011 hydrstatic lawn mower


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06-13-11, 09:48 AM   #1  
Finicky Honda 3011 hydrstatic lawn mower

I've have this awesomely dependable mower for close to 15 years and I even bought it used! But the last couple years it has been having an electrical issue that I can't figure out. Some days when I go to start it (like the first time this spring) it starts right up. Other times it is absolutely dead on the key. It's not the battery (tested). The safety switch in the seat (tested) seems to be ok although one day this year I was able to step off and it continued to run. Sometimes if I just hold the key on long enough, it starts. Other days like yesterday, nothing works. I took it in to a small engine repair shop last year and of course it never acted up. The day I went back to pick it up, it wouldn't start. The mechnic, now intrigued, wiggled some wires and tapped on a box that had wires running to it and of course he decided that was the answer to all my problems. They didn't charge me anything or I would have hit the roof. Is there anyone else with Honda 3011 experience that knows what part to replace?

 
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06-13-11, 12:12 PM   #2  
I have the same issue with mine!!!! I hope someone has an easy answer, VERY Frustrating....

 
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06-13-11, 10:32 PM   #3  
I have seen this on one or two of these and it was the keyswitch. I can't say with out testing if that's your problem or not. You'll have to check for voltage to and from the switch when it's acting up to tell for sure. Try moving the key slowly back and forth to see if there is a spot in the travel that allows it to start.


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07-16-11, 06:05 PM   #4  
A while ago I had a similar problem with my 3011. I had been leaving it outside behind the garage uncovered when not in use. I found that my keyswitch bad. I believe that water was getting into the switch when it rained. I replaced the switch and things got much better. I started covering the keyswitch area with plastic after using the mower.

Recently I have been having a hard time starting the mower. I have found that wiggling the wires that go to the combination relay mounted behind the battery helped me get it started. My friend came over and suggested we work on the connectors that go into the relay box. Now I am needing some help from the forum. We had made a drawing of the wire positions and colors before he took the wires out of the connectors, but the mower won't start at all now. I really need help to confirm the correct wire colors and positions in the two connetors. There is a 6 wire connector and a 4 wire connector. Actually one or more photos of the wires going into the connectors would be even better. Can anyone help me?

 
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07-30-11, 10:58 AM   #5  
HONDA 3011H Starting Problems

You are correct. The 2 sets of wires going into the relay box are the problem. I had the same problem. I corrected it by loosening the taped wires and disconnecting and reconnecting these 2 connectors to the relay box. Before doing this I had installed a new ignition switch which seemed to fix the problem temporarly. If it fails again I will replace the wiring harnes.

I have 2 photos of the wiring connectors and colored wires going into these connectors. I am not sure how to attach the photos since I don't have a URL address for the photos. I will be happy to send the photos if you tell me how.

You can purchase many of the Honda 3011H parts at the Boats.Net web site. The site has honda scematics as well. They have the wiring harness and relay boxes and just about anyother part you may need. https://www.boats.net/index.php?p=login

This is the best site I have found for parts.

 
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08-01-11, 02:12 PM   #6  
I was able to correct the wiring and have gotten the mower to start (yeah!).

Of the two drawings of the connectors that were made, it was the 4 wire one that I wasn't 100% sure of. It seems that the position of the locking clip was wrong in the drawing we made. However I still need to wiggle the wires to get the mower to start, so effectively I'm back to where I began trying to figure out which connection is flakey. My feeling is that the connectors may have some oxidation preventing a good connection. What I was attempting to do was tighten-up the individual pins in the connectors. I have also heard mention of a connection cleaning spray called DeoxIt that I am considering trying.

@Hondaguy: Thanks for the reply. Can you confirm the order of the wires in my connectors just so I can be extra sure? When looking at the relay box as mounted, the wires can be viewed as being in two rows of 5 (disregarding the connectors).

First row closest to the battery from left to right: 1. black/yellow stripe, 2. black/blue stripe, 3. black, 4. green/blue stripe, 5. black/red stripe.

Second row from left to right: 6. black/white stripe, 7. green/yellow stripe, 8. green/red stripe, 9. white/black stripe, 10. green/black stripe.

 
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08-04-11, 01:07 PM   #7  
Here is an ASCII sketch I made of the wire positions in the connectorsas viewed while looking at the face of the connector with the locking clip or notch is on top and with the wires coming out the back.



--###-----###---
| 1 2 | | a b c |
| 3 4 | | d e f |
------- ---------

1. black/blue stripe
2. black/yellow stripe
3. green/yellow stripe
4. black/white stripe

a. black/red stripe
b. green/blue stripe
c. black
d. green/black stripe
e. white/black stripe
f. green/red stripe

 
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09-15-11, 10:54 PM   #8  
Honda 3011 no crank no start

I've had this problem since the beginning of summer. However, at the beginning when it wouldn't crank I'd move the PTO lever forward and backward, yank on the brakes put the transmission through a few gears and it would crank and start up.
Now being the end of summer it doesn't start at all, at least when I want it to. So I tested the PTO switch (good), brake switch (good), neutral switch (good), the combo key switch, the solenoid and the starter all good. Then on Youtube I saw this guy talk about how to test a solenoid. From testing the solenoid you can isolate the problem to the solenoid or your safety switches and negative ground. Check it out "testing solenoid on your briggs n straton".
Anyways whenever I used his test method it steered me to the safety switches and negative ground. But I tested everything and it was alright. So I checked my positive cable and cleaned it really good. And it started right up. However, when I tried starting it again it wouldn't crank. Same problem. Then I just studied the wiring diagram on my shop manual, (you need to get one of these) and the white wire from the battery goes to the regulator/rectifier. I tested that component according to the manual and it failed. It was the only component that I tested that failed. It is a little black 1" x 1" thing with fins bolted on the panel next to the combination relay just above the battery. Now not to get your hopes up but I placed the order for it and I'm waiting for it to come which is going to take about 2 whole weeks from now, so about the end of September 2011 I'll get it. I'll get back to you all in the meantime I'm planning on testing the combination relay because the wire that goes to the solenoid comes from the combination relay.

To do the test for the solenoid you must remove this wire from the solenoid and hook it up to your multimeter and you should get 12v when you turn the key switch to start. I don't get the 12v ordinarily. When I do get that 12v after reconnecting I can turn the key switch and my H3011 cranks and starts. So trying to get the 12v to show up at that connection is the key to solving this conundrum.

I'm crossing my fingers on the regulator/rectifier because that is the only component that failed any of the electrical tests. It should have read 50-200K ohms but it was reading 10 million ohms. So my theory is that the resistance is so high that it doesn't allow current to pass through it. Why would this component let the mower start sometimes? Could it be that the resistance isn't that high all the time? Temperature, movement, vibration I can only hypothesize. I'm a golfer not a lawnmower specialist. Anywho I will be posting the results of my installation good or bad news by the 1st week of October. I'm a stubborn son of a ***** and I'm determined to figure out why this is! Grrrrrrrrr


Last edited by scratchgolfer; 09-16-11 at 01:28 AM. Reason: fine tune wordage
 
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02-22-12, 09:26 AM   #9  
I have an old Honda H3011H that has not given a minutes trouble until last year. I have had the same issues stated above with cold starting this mower. I have checked safety switches, battery, connections through out the wiring harness. Finally I have had enough. This winter replaced the solenoid and cleaned/checked starter. This was only part of the problem. I also had to replace the relay combination (expensive 165.00). Starts and runs like new again.

 
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05-20-12, 09:01 PM   #10  
No Crank Starting "Follow Up"

Okay then! I finally got my Honda 3011 Mower Started!

However, I could still wind up with the same 'no crank no start' situation.
But this is what I've done!

I replaced the rectifier/regulator and it wouldn't start, Great the Rectifier wasn't that expensive. So I used my shop manual and followed the directions for testing the "Combination Relay". It was a difficult test because the pins are so close together and chances for shorting is high. So I tested the "Starter Relay Inspection" and this TEST FAILED. The "Ignition Relay Inspection" PASSED! But what's interesting about the Ignition Relay test was when you hook up the battery to the 2 pins using alligator clips you can hear the relay "click". When I hooked the battery up to the 2 pins for the Starter Relay test there wasn't any 'click'.So it was obvious that you weren't going to get your 12V reading from the 2 other pins that you had to measure.

So knowing that the 'combination relay FAILED the "Starter Relay" test it was very discouraging because the combination relay is $161 buckaroos. And furthermore you don't want to fix a problem wasting money by just replacing parts that are suspect only to find that it doesn't work!

HOWEVER! Reconnecting the combination relay and hooking up the battery I sat on the seat and prayed that a Miracle would happen and IT DID! It started about 6 more times in a row given 30 minute and 2 hour wait times in between.

So here's my theory! I think I handled the relay short of shaking it by turning it upside down rotating it that I unstuck the relay! What am I talking about you might think? Well can anyone of you remember the days when some drivers would jump into their cars turn the keys and have a no crank no start situation? Well, the solution for some of these no crank no starts was getting under the car with a hammer and giving the solenoid a few taps. The idea was to unstuck the relay by hitting the outside casing. What I believe I did was handle it enough to free up the relay.

So if this were to happen to me again, I'm going to pull the combination relay disconnect it from the wiring harness and give it a good shake up and down side to side and all the way around. If this does not work, I'm replacing the combination relay unit. I'm sure this is the problem now. The combination relay unit has 4 functions. The Combination Relay Unit has 4 relays when energized and engaged will allow circuit completion to the 1. Solenoid, 2. Ignition 3. Parking system warning buzzer and 4. a Safety Interlock System!

Like an All-in-One Print/Scan/Fax/Copy machine a Combination Relay Unit allows for the function of 4 different components of your Riding Mower. For this Forum our issue is with starting and if the Starter Relay in the Combination Relay Unit is energized but if the relay is stuck doesn't allow it to engage then current cannot make it t the solenoid to engage the STARTER!

In my case I believe it is the Combination Relay Unit! Now it is working so in order for me to test my theory it will have to fail again and I will have to replace it to confirm whether it is the culprit or not!


Last edited by scratchgolfer; 05-20-12 at 10:43 PM.
 
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05-20-12, 09:28 PM   #11  
Electrical Starting Process in Riding Mowers

So now that my Honda H3011 starts I've learned a lot about how the entire starting system works!
Those of you that are having a No Crank No Start situation this information might help you troubleshoot and understand what happens when you turn the key on your Mower to get it started!

When you turn the key on your Honda H3011 mower you close the circuit from the battery that flows through your "Seat Switch", "PTO Clutch Switch", "Neutral Switch", and the "Parking Brake Switch". That means if your "Sitting on your seat", "have the PTO lever off", "have the "transmission in neutral" and the "parking brake on" you will energize the Starter relay in the "combination relay unit". When the "Starter Relay" in your Combination Relay Unit is energize and engages it allows current to flow to the positive terminal on your solenoid attached to your starter. Your solenoid with a clean contact to ground energizes a magnet that pulls on a mechanical switch that allows 12 volts @ about 5 amps coming straight from the battery to crank the "STARTER". As long as your key is held in the "START" position the solenoid allows hot cranking amps to flow from the battery directly to the "Starter".

The Starter turns the Crankshaft and Flywheel. Simultaneously as the key is held in the Start position the "Ignition Relay" in the Combination Relay unit energizes and sends current to the ignition coil stepping up 12v to 18,000 volts finding its way to the spark plug igniting the compressed gas in the piston chamber. Once the piston gets going on its own you release the key from the "START Position" and let it settle to the "ON" position as the engine miraculously comes to life with the right balance of gas & ignition timing.

So that is how the electrical system for Starting the Honda H3011 works in a nutshell! If you check every grounded wire, every switch (pto,neutral,seat,brake) rectifier/regulator, combination relay switch, Ignition Coil,Starter Solenoid and Starter you are bound to find the electrical problem to a "No Crank, No Start" situation. It helps very much however to have the "Honda Power Equipment Shop Manual" on hand to help you test all of the components.

PS - To clarify I don't really know what the ignition coil steps up the voltage to. I just know it is in the thousands of volts and it send it to the spark plug everytime a designated spot on the flywheel spins around and meets up with the ignition coil.


Last edited by scratchgolfer; 05-20-12 at 11:27 PM.
 
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05-20-12, 09:57 PM   #12  
Manually starting your honda H3011

There is another way that you can "START" your Honda H3011!
I haven't tried this yet but if Worst got to worst I would do this!

Pop Open the Hood to your Honda H3011. You will see the engine shroud w/a diamond shaped screen over the cooling fan. A 1" hex nut fastens the cooling fan to the vertical shaft of the engine.

You will cut a section of the screen w/wire cutters or metal snips directly above the 1" hex nut enough so that you could fit a 1" socket onto the hex nut holding down the cooling fan. Attach a loosely fitted 1" socket on your variable speed drill driver and you will spin the nut in a clockwise direction. You'll need the socket to be loosely fitting because after you spin the engine clockwise w/your drill you need to pull the socket off of the nut when it gets going on its own.

You can practice this! Make sure the Key switch is OFF! Remove the key better yet yank the spark plug wire. Turn the engine clockwise w/your drill with the key on off and practice pulling the drill off the nut after you get it going a few turns. When your ready, do the same thing but turn the key to the "ON" position!

Make sure you have the Throttle on CHOKE before you turn the nut w/your drill driver! And Wallah! If you were British you would actually remove the entire screen and tie a chord around the nut and give it a good pull. Very very difficult!

Anyways, you can start your Honda Mower in this manner if the Electrical Start is just too frustrating.

PS - You dont have to be sitting on your seat to start your mower this way. But the PTO lever should be OFF, Transmission in Neutral and Parking Brakes ON! You are starting the mower manually so any electrically connected starting procedure isn't required! This is similar to the hand cranks they initially had on the 1st Model T's till they came up with electric starts.
This method is also tantamount to spinning a propellor by hand to START YOUR ENGINE!


Last edited by scratchgolfer; 05-20-12 at 10:24 PM.
 
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05-20-12, 10:25 PM   #13  
The starter works on 12 volts, not 18,000.


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05-22-12, 08:49 AM   #14  
This may also explain why in the previous cases as it was with mine, where the H3011 would start sometimes and NOT! Being that the Starter Relay within the Combination Relay Unit would somehow get stuck internally because of old age, wear n' tear or fatigue.
You have to admit this H3011 for having been built from 1986-1990 is unbelievably RELIABLE. For my mower the Starter in just the past year has been an issue!. In an attempt to being a 'TRUE' diyer I tore the H3011 completely apart and cleaned and pressure washed everything. Pulled and tested every switch & component in accordance to the SHOP MANUAL on Chapter 19.
This was a fun project and I'm looking forward to many more years w/my H3011.

 
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05-24-12, 11:32 PM   #15  
Replace the Combination Relay Unit. The Combination Relay Unit is the black box sitting on the firewall between the battery and the engine held w/one 10mm bolt. You can buy it at Pat's Small Engine Repair or Boats.net. It can be ordered online or use their sites to get the phone # and call them up.

 
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06-06-12, 08:51 AM   #16  
Or . . . . . ?
So I've ordered the Combination Relay and waiting for it to show up at my doorstep and this is what I've done.
Remove the battery, remove the combination relay, Turn it upside down and give it a couple of knocks on something hard. No Wait, Give it a lot of knocks on something hard and plug it back in and reinstall the battery. The relay is sticky over time and needs to be jarred loose.
My Honda 3011 starts all the time now but I'm still replacing the Combination Relay Unit!

 
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07-11-12, 03:30 PM   #17  
After having the same type of starting issues with my H3011H I too finally replaced the combination relay. The mower now starts without any problem.

I wanted to mention that before I replaced the part, I found that the combination relay could be bypassed completely. I ran like this at the end of last season and the start of this season. Big Warning - this will remove all the safety interlocks so do this at your own risk. You would first need to unplug both connectors from the combination relay and leave them unplugged. Then get a small wire (I used a short piece of insulated #22 bell wire) and jumper between the black/blue stripe and black/white stripe wires on the four pin connector. In the diagram I had posted earlier in this thread that would be between pins number 1 and 4. This will connect the "start" position of the key switch directly to the solenoid allowing cranking and stopping the engine to work normally (but no interlocks so again be very careful).

 
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07-19-12, 01:43 PM   #18  
My work-around (so far)

I bought my H3011H about 3 years ago and the PO told me about this intermittent problem. He said he solved it by cleaning and re-plugging the connectors to the combination relay box, but obviously, it wasn't a permanent solution, or he wouldn't have even mentioned it. I struggled with it on and off for a couple of years. Sometimes there was never a problem for weeks, other times it wouldn't start from one week to the next. I always "fixed" it by trying all the interlock switches and unplugging and re-plugging connectors. One time, after nothing else worked, I raised the deck to the highest position and dropped it and it worked. Whenever I thought I had it isolated to a specific connector, it turned out to be a different one next time. Finally, a couple of weeks ago, after trying everything, I gave the combination relay box a whack with a lug wrench while I had the key turned to "start" and it started! I had always been suspicious of the combination relay, but didn't want to think about it because of the outrageously high price. It least now I know how to make it work. Thanks mower3011 for the tip on bypassing the box. I may just splice in a connection in the harness to do that with a push-button. Has anyone cut open the combination relay box? I was also thinking of doing that and cleaning the relays inside.

 
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07-19-12, 08:34 PM   #19  
Most relays used on most lawn equipment are regular standard relays used in the automotive trade and other electrical equipment. Take yours to an electrical supply house or even radio shack... you may be surprised how cheap one can be had. I don't know for certain if the honda one is like that or not, but I suspect so. If not, it can be wired to whatever relay you choose if you go by the schematics normally printed on the relay cover. Many of them can be popped open as you suggest and you can clean the contact points inside with an emery board or sand paper.


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07-20-12, 07:08 AM   #20  
Thanks, cheese, I know relays and had exactly the same thought. Once the mowing season is over, I'll probably dissect the combination relay box and replace the relays with generic 12VDC ones. I have a few kicking around. I may have to wire them external to the case ifthey won't fit inside.

 
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07-23-12, 11:26 AM   #21  
Better work-around

Well, the next time I tried to assist the starter by banging the combination relay box, it took more than a few taps. Looks like that's a hit-or-miss solution.

So I followed mower3011's instructions and ran two wires from the black/white and black/blue leads at the 4-wire connector on the relay box to a push-button near the key switch. Now, whenever it won't turn over, I just hold the button and try again and it works. Still a stop-gap fix but saves a lot of frustration until I'm bored enough to dissect the relay box and replace the relay(s).

 
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07-23-12, 07:15 PM   #22  
Wiring diagram

Does anyone here (scratchgolfer?) have a legible wiring diagram they can post or link? All I have is the owner's manual downloaded from the web and the diagram there is barely legible. Thanks.

 
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08-07-12, 09:55 PM   #23  
Here is a link to a scan of the wiring diagrams from my owner's manual.
imm.io - wiring_diagrams_3011.jpg

 
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08-08-12, 05:50 AM   #24  
Thanks, that's great! Most of the wire id text in the on-line manual is unreadable. I've also learned on another forum that the combination relay innards are potted, so it's not rebuildable using generic components.

 
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08-08-12, 09:44 AM   #25  
Can you pop it open to clean the contacts?


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08-08-12, 12:12 PM   #26  
I didn't take mine apart, but someone on another forum, who replaced it with a new unit did. He could not see the relays or circuitry because everything is encased in a potting compound, probably to guard against moisture and vibration. I don't know if the stuff is hard like epoxy or rubbery. Perhaps with the clear wiring harness schematics posted above, someone could figure out the circuitry in the box to replicate it, but it gives me a headache.

 
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08-08-12, 07:10 PM   #27  
Sheesh, it shows 10 wires going to the relay, but it doesn't show the circuitry in the relay itself. I suppose they don't intend for you to know what goes on inside that black box.


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09-12-12, 07:56 AM   #28  
Honda 3011 Combination Relay

Has anyone found a non OEM relay that is cheaper?

 
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09-12-12, 12:08 PM   #29  
It's not just one relay that's in there, plus other circuitry and it's all encapsulated in potting compound, so it's virtually impossible to open it up and reverse engineer if yourself. I don't think that would be economical for any aftermarket manufacturer for sure.

An update on my pushbutton kludge to bypass the relay box for starting:

Worked fine the first time, but no spark the second time. I could only get it started by unplugging a ground wire to the engine and then had to plug it back in so I could shut it off with the key at the end. Worked okay the next time. I haven't had the time to figure out the problem yet.

 
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06-04-13, 08:40 AM   #30  
Well, I bit the bullet. A few weeks ago the mower stalled while cutting on a slope (I think some crud in the gas tank shifted and blocked the outlet). I rolled it down to a more level spot and restarted it. The thing is, with the workaround to bypass the combination relay, it started in gear with the blade engaged, which was a bit disconcerting and certainly dangerous. That's when I decided to splurge and buy the relay. The best price was here Honda 38450-763-D03; RELAY, COMBINATION but the shipping was too much for me, so I got it here 38450-763-D03 HONDA RELAY, COMBINATION (Honda Code 4066890) $131.58 Even so, it cost me almost $200 CAD after shipping, Canadian taxes and brokerage. It also took 17 days to get here. But I have it installed now and any moron can use the mower without special instructions and the chance of getting hurt.

 
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10-15-13, 09:11 PM   #31  
Great to hear that the new relay got things working again. I completely agree that things are safer with all the interlocks in place and had warned that the bypass had risk. I only used the bypass temporarily to finish out the season while I obtained the correct part.

On another issue, other than some minor repairs I have one item that I haven't settled on the best way to fix. A couple of weeks after Hurricane Sandy hit and after I had cleaned up the branches in the yard, I was using the mower with the bagger attached. As I cut the lawn and leaves I hit a small piece of stick which flew up the chute and hit the sharp 90 degree bend at the top hard enough to cause a crack in the plastic (all the pieces are still attached though). I searched for the upper chute piece online but it seems that it is considered obsolete, likely due to the warehouse reserves being sold out. I am looking for a way to protect the cracked area to keep it from spreading. I thought about glue or epoxy but am concerned that the type of plastic the chute is made of may not adhere well. I also remember years ago using p-tex to patch gouges in ski bottoms and wondered if that was the same type of plastic as the chute and could be used to sort of weld the crack together. Another idea I thought of trying was to bend some sheet metal into shape to fit inside the chute to cover the area and possibly attach it with something like pop-rivets. I'd appreciate any other ideas that could help me extend the life of this mower's grass catcher.

 
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10-16-13, 07:46 AM   #32  
I would pop rivet a patch made of galvanized sheet metal on the inside.

(I don't have a bagger, but the original owner did and it fell apart, so he scrapped it.)

 
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04-09-14, 06:54 PM   #33  
Honda 3011 ignition switch not working

I have a simple suggestion to try if nothing happens when the key is turned to start the engine: when turning the key push backward on it in the start position to help the internal switch connections make contact. I discovered this by accident after doing some of the things suggested on this thread.


Last edited by HondaAddict; 04-09-14 at 07:34 PM.
 
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07-09-14, 06:58 PM   #34  
Thanks !
I'll try that. It's about the only thing I haven't tried. My H3011 is about 25 years old and except for the recent ignition problems, no problems at all.
I've changed the rectifyer, combo relay, cables. Still nothing working. I'll try your suggestion tomorrow.

 
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05-16-15, 06:33 AM   #35  
How to start your 3011

When your 3011 will not start, use heat from a hair dryer or heat gun directly on the relay assembly combination(black box). Let it it get hot. Mine starts every time. Once it's running, will start after each stop until next use. Heat then needs to be used again.

 
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05-05-17, 09:18 AM   #36  
honda 3011 ignition switch wiring

seems people understand these 3011 machines, i want to put a generic switch in my machine, does anyone know what each wire on the factory switch does? factor switch has numbers on the back.

 
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