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  1. #1

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    DR Bachtold

    G200 Honda ignition woes

    I have a Honda rototiller (around 20 years old). It always fires right up, except this year. I replaced the plug since it had gone a long time. It didn't fire. I pulled the plug and grounded it--still no spark.

    I pulled the flywheel and cleaned everything up. Points were moving and everything looked okay. I thought perhaps it was grounding so I pulled the kill switch from the handle. Still nothing.

    I have never had a small engine coil go bad, but could this be the problem? Parts are really expensive on these little devils (quoted $88 for the coil and $22 for the points). If I get into too many repairs I can buy a new GX200 for $300 including shipping. The engine is getting on in years.

    Anyway, I would appreciate your response.

    Thanks in advance.

    Jim

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  3. #2

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    Re: G200 Honda ignition woes

    Jim, the troubleshooting section of the tiller shop manual is weak, so I looked at the engine manual instead; here's what they show for ignition troubleshooting:



    For a breaker-style ignition, the engine shop manual shows:
    Ignition coil resistance = 6.6kohms
    Condenser capacity 0.24 microfarads.

    If both the coil and condenser measure good, not sure where to go from there. There's not a whole lot left that is responsible for making spark. If you could find a dealer who might be willing to let you test with known good parts, that might help.

    -Robert@Honda

    Caveat: I work for Honda, but the preceding was my opinion alone.
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  4. #3

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    Re: G200 Honda ignition woes

    Thanks so much for your info. I love those Honda engines.

    I will check the coil with my ohm meter. Are the coil and condenser in one unit? Can you convert these to CD units?

    Is there a way to check the ignition timing?

    Should I buy a new engine are these fairly standard. I notice two units. One is listed as a tapered shaft. The other as a tapered shaft with 3" pulley.

    Jim

  5. #4

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    Re: G200 Honda ignition woes

    The condenser is pretty close to the coil; there is a wire that connects them. The shop manual lists microfarads as the unit-of-measure for the condenser (since it's a capacitor) but say to use a VOM set to resistance and apply leads to both sides of the condenser. The meter should deflect to 0 ohms, then slowly turn to infinite ohms. When measuring the resistance of the actual coil, be sure to remove the spark plug cap:



    I'll need to do some digging to find out which exact G200 is the right one for your tiller, but I'll caution you, there's a chance it may no longer be available.

    While it may be technically possible to convert a breaker-style ignition to a solid-state, I'm 99% sure some of the necessary parts are no longer available.
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  6. #5

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    Re: G200 Honda ignition woes

    Thanks for the in-depth information. I will give it a try later today.

    By the way, the engine I was looking at is a GX200. Will it fit?

    Jim

  7. #6

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    Re: G200 Honda ignition woes

    Okay, here are the results:

    My meter had a 200mfd scale on it. Putting it on the condensor it went up over 100, dropped to infinite, went up again over 100 and again.

    Ignition coil resistance didn't register at the spark plug but when I stuck my probe through the insulation it registered 6.4kohms.

    Jim

  8. #7

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    Re: G200 Honda ignition woes

    Coil is barely out of spec; can't believe it's not okay.

    How does the spark plug wire and cap appear? Any fraying, cracking, damage? Can you see if the female end looks clean and is making good contact with the tip of the plug?

    Condenser seems fine too, but that's a cheap part to swap just in case.

    Re-check the ignition timing and confirm the points are opening/closing correctly, and the contacts are parallel where they touch.

    A new plug (if not one already) is also a cheap/easy to replace and test.

    Beyond that, carefully inspect all the wires associated with the ignition. Make sure none are frayed, cracked or the insulation has not worn off.

    If all the above is totally right, there's no reason you should not get a spark. I'm no technician, so it might be time to let somebody who is take a closer look.
    - - -
    Robert@Honda
    Caveat: I work for Honda, but the preceding was my opinion alone.

  9. #8

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    Re: G200 Honda ignition woes

    Jim:

    Due to the belt/clutch and guards design on that tiller, our engineers have told me there is a safety concern if anything but an original engine is used. To swap out with a modern GX-style OHV or lower-cost GC OHV/OHC engine seems ideal, but the different pulleys would present some engineering challenges; I don't have the exact details, but suffice to say, Honda can't legally recommend any other engine except a identical G200 as a replacement for the tiller. The GX200 is not recommended to replace the G200.

    Worse yet, the G200 is very, VERY old side-valve design, and has been out of production for many, many years. Honda has none of these engines in stock here in the USA. I'm very sorry. I know the tiller is probably in good running shape otherwise. FYI, the general rule-of-thumb is to maintain stock of replacement engines and parts for a model for 10+ years after the last ones are manufactured. Personally, I think this should be extended to 15, 20 years, as you and I both know Honda stuff lasts for a long time.

    There were quite a few thousand G200 engines imported by Honda in the day. It's possible craigslist or ebay might have one somewhere. If not, I'm hopeful you can sort out the ignition woes and keep it running for a while.

    Finally, at the risk of sounding like a salesman, Honda makes a nice unit called the F220 that does a great job. I realize it's a sizeable investment ($900 list price) to buy a whole new tiller, but I'm sure it would last even longer as the one you have now. You can learn more about it here:

    Honda Tillers: Honda F220 Mid-Tine Tiller
    - - -
    Robert@Honda
    Caveat: I work for Honda, but the preceding was my opinion alone.

  10. #9

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    Re: G200 Honda ignition woes

    I think it must be somewhere in the ignition wire. It looks good where it contacts the plug and the plug is new but I get no reading with the ohmmeter at the end.

    I used to have this on an acreage before we moved into town. Now I don't have much use for it or I would get a new one. Actually I might go look at a smaller one for our large city lot.

    Thanks so much for your help on this one.

    I will give it one last try and then go from there.

    Jim

  11. #10

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    Re: G200 Honda ignition woes

    If a slightly smaller one (9" width) might work, the FG110 is a best-seller. It has a nice 4-stroke engine, is commercial-grade and very durable, lifetime tine warranty, and rolls out of the Honda factory in Swepsonville, NC. $389 list, but can be had for a bit less most places. I've seen 'em for $349 very often.

    Again, not trying to be a salesman; google it and you can read Honda's propaganda here:

    http://powerequipment.honda.com/tillers/models/fg110
    - - -
    Robert@Honda
    Caveat: I work for Honda, but the preceding was my opinion alone.

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