3rd generation to use a late 1980's Honda HRC216HXA commercial hydrostatic self proppelled mower and I need a trans seal.

1OLDHONDA

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Hello all,

The title says it. My step mother's father bought this mower in the late 80's to supplement his retirement by cutting grass. He did well and maintained it miraculously using it for about 5 years before he no longer could work because of age at 80 in 1995. Then my dad inherited it and used it every summer until 2010. During my dads ownership the oil was changed once and the air filter, spark plug, trans oil was never changed! He would check the oil and add to it whatever oil he had laying around to the full mark, no joke! I can remember mowing the grass at his house as a teenager every summer until I got out of house. While in high school I took a small engines class and became interested in engines etc. I offered to change the oil for him in during that time and we never got around to it like most things with my dad. After high school I went to a tech school and got my Automotive Mechanics Degree and during that time in the early 2000's I changed the oil. I actually was at his house one day and changed the oil in it with left over oil I had from changing it in my car. This was the only only oil change this thing ever had since he got it from his father in law. Dad continued to mow with it every summer until 2010 then it wouldn't start and no he never put fuel stabilizer in it. 2011 rolls around and I'm married, moving into a house and I need a mower! I call my parents up and ask to have the old Honda. Dad went out and bought a new Craftsman riding lawnmower and said sure but it's not running. I got it back to the house and went to work on it with all the memories of using it as kid. Before I knew it I's spent $180 on it and thought man I could bought some thing new for what I just put in it but I was sentimental about it.

I bought a new carb with with gaskets, spark plug, air filter and two rubber tires for the rear. Cleaned out the fuel tank and fuel line. Then changed the engine oil with 15W-40 Mobil Delvac diesel oil, no joke. I worked as a diesel mechanic for years and liked it. At the time I was a tech working on school buses and we used 15W-40 in everything as it was the only motor oil we had. it was put in Diesel buses, 60's and 70's Dodge services trucks, service cars, gas air compressors, air compressor pumps, fork lift, tractor and the old Snapper lawnmower that had been the shop lawnmower for 40 years. Couldn't hurt in an old Honda I thought as I wasn't expecting more than one summer out of it. I did changed the oil in the trans. Not having any hydrostatic trans oil around I put what I had laying around, lol. Full synthetic Ford Motorcraft manual trans gear oil for a Focus I used to have as I figured it was better than the oil in it. So i called dad and ask where the pull cord recoil mechanism was as it was missing. His reply was that broke years ago and I wrapped the cord around the crankshaft and snatched it LOL! Whatever I guess I can do that til I buy one, put gas in it and let her rip. Started right up and filled the yard with smoke! So much smoke my neighbor came outside and asked if my house was on FIRE! I thought well she's shot and I dumped almost $200 bux into it. Well I'll use it until she BLOWS UP, then go buy a new one. Nine years later this bastard is still running, yea she smokes on start up but still running. Nine years later I'm still wrapping the cord around the crankshaft and snatching it like my dad! About every five years I have to replace the spark plug cause it fouls out. I change the oil with trusty 15w-40 every two years or so and every three or four year for the air filter. I'm on a mission to see how long it runs without dumping too much $$$ into the old girl. Note it had 15 years of horrible no maintenance abuse by my dad prior to it coming to me. This mower is a testament to the Honda name and their manufacturing capabitles at that time!

So transmission input shaft seal from the motor to the trans is leaking. Honda built a great trans as I didn't realize it was leaking and it quit moving last summer. I thought the old girl was done until I filled it back up with walmart super tech full synthetic gear oil for the heck of it and it started moving again, lol. I check and add gear oil to it every time now before I mow as is leaking alot. Where can I source a seal for this thing? I hope ya'll enjoyed the story and I will try to post pictures of it in the coming days since this virus has use confined to the house.

Thanks for reading and good night.
 

BHRS

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Honda's are a great machine. My HR215K1HXA has been faithfully serviced each year (15 years now) and runs like it did new. I change oil 2X year, replace the plug and air filter every other year. The trans gets pulled, drained, and refilled every other year plus lube the rear wheel cogs and axle bearings. At 13 years I replaced the coil and at 15 the rear wheel adjusters/bearings. The rear wheel bearings are the most piss poor design without seals. I found aftermarket sealed bearings for it so when I pull the rear axle out next year I am going to replace the factory bearings with aftermarket ones and hopefully never replace them again.

When your HRC finally dies, I hope you decide to buy another commercial Honda and then service it annually. It will last you a lifetime. If I were you... I would then pull down the engine and just see how much wear she has and maybe rebuild it. You can buy standard and oversized pistons if it can be bored.

Years ago I bought a NOS GXV140 engine, hydro transmission, plus a lot of other parts from a Honda dealer going out of business. I have no plans to ever buy a new mower again. Just keep rebuilding this one.

If I don't have the parts in need I buy them through these two places - great prices and service. Good luck with your Honda. -Brian

 

1OLDHONDA

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Hi Brian,

Thanks for the response and thank you for the parts websites. It's been so long that I couldn't remember where i bought parts for it? I appreciate you telling me about your Honda. I have removed, cleaned and re greased the rear ratchet cogs a few times since I've had it. Probably time to do it again now but i will say I haven't messed with any of the wheel bearings on it, they are original. I did buy another blade when I got it running again and it's time for another one of those. I did order a new air filter for it last night and will order both the seals for trans today. I have thought about rebuilding it before in the past but don't want to put much money into machining and parts cost. My my luck the trans will go out and its way too heavy at 100 plus pounds to push this thing around. Are there any other members on here still running a old HRC216HXA from the 1980's? Mine was made in the USA and I still need to post serial numbers with pictures.

James
 

1OLDHONDA

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Now with my cars, truck and other equipment I maintain them accordingly to the manufacturers specs. I can be obsessive about it as for my job I care for and maintain a fleet of 65 vehicles. I wish my dad had taken care of this but he didn't like most things. Once he got a hold of something he used it until it broke and you couldn't fix it. Around the time I got the old Honda from my parents I got to where I refused to work on their cars anymore because of their sheer irresponsible unsafe neglect of a vehicle. They'd run 30k mile oil changes on their 1994 Buick Century. Then look to me to fix as cheap as possible when it broke down. If this HRC216HXA would have have annual oil and filter changes all of its life before I got it I believe it would running for 50 years or more.

James
 

BHRS

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James,

No problem. I think when your HRC finally calls it quits you should buy a new HRC and use the old one for parts. Not much on these have changed through the years. I know a lot of people like your dad who run equipment with no maintenance. I was talking with my neighbor the other day and he has had four new lawn mowers since he moved in 15 years ago. He couldn't believe my Honda is the original. When I told him how I maintain it he was shocked I put so much time and effort in keeping it maintained. The sad thing is if he spent $300/mower times 4 mowers he spent as much as a new HRC216 with nothing to show for it, but another new mower in a few years. I just don't understand. I service my OT Mustang every 5k as well as my wifes GMC suv. Oil and maintenance is cheap compared to the alternative. I suppose it also boils down to most people were never taught how to work on or maintain equipment. I hate to think how many people can't tell the difference between a screwdriver and a ratchet. -Brian
 

1OLDHONDA

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Putting up pictures is a difficult task right now. But it's a 1989 Honda HRC216HXA Commercial Hydrostatic Drive Self Propelled 21" deck serial # 6009014. What year Mustang do you have Brian? I have a 65 Mustang.
 

BHRS

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James,

The '65/'66 is a true classic. What color is it? 289 or 200 six? Coupe or fastback? Mine is a little newer... It's a 2015 LE 50th Anniversary #1326 out of 1964. She is wimbledon white with a manual trans. Sorry no pics of the Honda atm. -Brian

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1OLDHONDA

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That's a purdy Mustang and it's got the reliability of a classic one beat all day long! Ours is a 65 coupe 200 3 speed manual. I do plan on converting to a V8 bc this 200 is a PITA. Especially when certain things break and you can't find parts that aren't made anymore. Like an 8 1/2" flywheel that's too thin to turn when your putting in a new clutch. I've got a 1959 9 inch rear end with a 3.50 gear with 31 spline axles. 89 GT Mustang T5 Trans and will eventually get a 302 motor, would love EFI but expensive. See why I don't seem interested in rebuilding the Honda? Although after some more searching Boats.net has cheaper pricing on parts than the two sites you listed. I've been trying to upload pictures to the site for my Honda but i'm having trouble and I'm not a computer person. But in curiosity how much would it take to rebuild the motor for the Honda? Machining and parts cost?
 

BHRS

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Thanks... sounds like you've got a great Mustang project on your hands. Adding the 302 and T5 will make a night and day difference - great choice. Thanks for the info on your parts source. I will check them out.

Not sure on the cost for machine work as I haven't bored a block in years, but $20 seems reasonable. For the parts you'll need to price out a full gasket set, piston (cylinder might clean up std with a hone), rings, connecting rod (depends when you tear apart), valve springs, gasket set for carb, needle for carb, and that's probably about it. In the past I've been able to hone the cylinder, clean the piston, new std rings, polish the crank, reuse the rod, lap the valves w/new springs, rebuild the carb, and the GXV120-160's will run for many years. They are just a well built engine. You just need to ensure the clearances are in spec for the rings, piston, and connecting rod. Since your's hasn't been serviced well I suspect it will need a little more than a hone, rings, springs, etc. You won't know till you open it up and see how it looks. I would price out the parts I mentioned to see the cost as a worse case scenario. Again, you won't know until it's opened up.
 
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