Honda HR214 with GXV120-White Smoke


Old 06-02-12, 11:52 PM
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Honda HR214 with GXV120-White Smoke

Hi guys.

I've got a problem. My aunt has a Honda HR214SXA mower with a GXV120 engine. This mower is 26-years-old as of last month! It's been great, to put it mildly, except for some issues in 2004. I've maintained it since 1986 when she bought it, but in 2003 and 2004, I was unavailable due to a severe back problem. She didn't maintain it and in the spring of '04 the mower ended up needing a new carb and fuel line(repeated use of old gas and maybe age?) and the BBC and starter rope happened to wear out too. Since then, no issues. Flawless operation and regular maintenance by me.

This year, right before the mowing season began, I did my yearly routine. Oil change, spark plug, air filter(both), fuel filter, and it was time for a new blade. I've run it twice since then and both times, it's blowing smelly, white smoke. I've confirmed the oil level is perfect as always, no leaks anywhere, pre-filter is not over-oiled, the engine runs smoothly and strong, the mower cuts beautifully, and this mower still starts on the first pull.

She then tells me that the white smoke issue showed up during her last two cuts the previous early November. She didn't tell me this back then when I drained the gas and changed the oil.

My first thoughts are head gasket or worn rings. I believe I can change a head gasket but I have no experience with changing rings, pistons, honing, etc. Any ideas? I thought about trying the head gasket first but my gut says it's the rings. I don't know what the Honda dealer would charge for a ring job and they'd likely then recommend valve job, complete rebuild, etc. It's 26-years-old and I hate to have her spend a fortune on something that old.

What would a dealer charge for a ring job? Is it worth it on such an old mower considering you'd still have a 26-year-old engine, transmission, muffler, tires, ignition coil, etc.? Should I fix it, recommend a new Honda mower, or just have her run this mower until it will run no more?

Thanks guys. I appreciate any advice.

Last edited by Breather; 06-03-12 at 12:09 AM.
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Old 06-03-12, 12:25 AM
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Probably the rings. Doubtful that it's the head gasket as I think that's all metal on this engine. First thing I would recommend is changing to straight sae30 oil if you aren't using it already. If it still smokes too much for comfort, then go for the ring job. I'd say do it yourself if you're mildly mechanically inclined. These things will run forever even smoking, if it's not enough to be a problem for the operator. Keep the oil level full and change the plug once in a while when it gets fouled.

If you do the ring job, hondas take re-ring jobs quite well generally. Usually all you have to do is replace the rings, hone the cylinder, and put it back together with a new crankcase gasket and head gasket. Should be under $75 if you do it yourself.
Old 06-03-12, 03:32 PM
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I'm pretty sure Cheese has forgotten more about these things than I'll ever know, but here is my .02; I just started my hr214 after a ring-job today =).

75$ can cover you easily as long as you have the right tools (torque wrench, calipers, bore gauge). I'm mechanically inclined, but no pro, and it took me a few months of playing at it on saturday afternoons.

You'll need a parts list, and a manual if you don't already have one.If you follow the link below, you'll see a place on my blog that has the manual, parts diagrams, a video on how to clean the carb, a list of places to get parts and more.

Make sure to let us know what you decide-and don't just junk it, i see these things go for 100$ or more on C-list, even with lots of smoke.

EDIT: Here is the blog, coulda sworn it was put in there automatically: Honda HR214 Blog

Old 06-03-12, 05:08 PM
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Yup, but I wouldn't worry much about a bore gauge or calipers on a honda unless you see a big ridge in the cylinder. I don't think I ever saw one with excessive wear on the cylinder to where a re-ring wouldn't fix it. Some feeler gauges to check the ring end gap should suffice.

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