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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hi there, up in Barrie Ontario. i picked up a repowered 318 with a v twin honda in it [GX610]. weve got snow here and it came with the model 49 blower so it immediately went to work. engine seemed to run okay, but i was experiencing alot of bogging with heavy snow loads, loads an onan would have chewed up and spit out without skipping a beat. mid pass the honda bogged out and stalled on me, i could not get a restart even though it was turning over, i did a compression test only to discover 0 psi left and 40psi right... eek!

i pulled the 318 in for the season and decided to yank out the honda to take a peek. inside i discovered the camshaft snapped in half and it dropped a valve, crunch.
not certain which direction to go at this point, Barrie honda says the camshaft is discontinued and not available. and i certainly dont want to invest big money into an old orphan engine. not sure where to go at this point, but i thought id share the carnage for those that like honda... har har... just poking fun they are all good. ill post some photos.
 

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Yikes. I thought about a Honda in my 400, but the cost for parts is almost as bad as Onans. One of the reasons I went with Vanguard was parts availability. If I had the $$ I would have gone with a Kohler Command 25.
 

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I've heard that the HF Predator is a Honda clone and it's a lot cheaper than Hondas.
I also went with B&S Vanguard like Merc, and so far I've been happy with it on my 318. Good luck!

Henry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
here are some photos, i realize i never took any of the machine in one piece, as you can see the exhaust exited through the front grill which is a bit hack. not lookin good for the ol honda. gonna have to see what options surface. currently also trying to get a 332 that has been parked for 10 years running again, i have ordered a glow plug module for that so hopefully thats the ticket.
 

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I have a local Deere L&G dealer that has auction every spring to clear out excess inventory. I have always been surprised by the number of walk behind mowers he has for sale with Honda engines that they either sold someone a new. rather than repair old mower or the engine was not repairable. Either way my faith in Honda engines is somewhere near whale manure.

FYI ... These are single cylinder engines I am seeing.
 

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Looks like the failure may have been in the unloading/decomp mechanism. At 0 RPM, the camshaft is in a different position so that it is in a decompression mode to assist with starting.

I had a similar honda engine that had a similar failure.
 

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That is interesting, plastic cam gear OK, but shaft broke. If that cam is NLA, did the parts man check for a substitute? Kawasaki eventually offered a replacement for their original design and made the original part NLA or obsolete, for those built for JD.
Do you have any idea how many hours are on the Honda?

tommyhawk
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
hours unknown for the gx610 honda, might have alot who knows, the swap was done before my ownership. its an 87 318, it has 1800 hours on it, original onan is long gone unfortunatly. No substitute offered by Barrie honda, they said it was old an obsolete, i was advised to search ebay for a cam if i want to bring it back to life.
 

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My experience with Honda engines is limited to an 8 HP (real one) that I bought in the mid-90's. It's a sweet little motor. I love the darn thing. I also have several clones. Two of them (13 HP) have valvetrain trouble and have been set aside. One was used for about 8 years on my golf cart. After it developed the valve problem I put the shiny new 13 HP engine on it that I bought on sale for a spare. It was only 200 bucks. Never expected to have to use it. It developed the same problem as the first one in only 20 hours or so. They're fixable but I don't actually need them right now so I haven't bothered yet. I have a 6.5 HP clone too. Paid $99 on sale. Runs ok but smokes a bit. It only has about 25 hours on it (at most) so it's definitely not a good little engine. My brother has a high mileage (5400 hours) 420 with a 24 HP Honda that works great. It has a cab and a 47 blower on it all year round so it doesn't see a lot of use. The dealer where he bought it did the repower on the 420 and told him the Onan had about 2500 hours on it at the time. So for me it's a thumbs up on real Honda engines and a thumbs down for the copycats.
 
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I have had good experience with real Honda engines, 4, 5.5, a couple of 13s, were bought new. I replaced the carb on the 4, but nothing else. I also have a GX670 that I bought used and installed in a 400. It has worked well, but has had limited use.
Years ago the Princess Auto catalog rated the Honda GX engines as 5000 hr engines. Honda does make cheaper models like GC as well.
 

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Years ago, maybe ten and/or more now, there were posts on this site regarding Honda replacement engines that were available for 318s. Complaints, knocks were that they ran too hot, overheated.
 

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I have experience using Vanguards in 318s, great engines but they will run really hot if you don't add some form of firewall insulation or seal to duct the air through the tractor and engine the way it was done using the Onan. With the side panels in place on the engine compartment, there isn't much fresh cool air ducted through the engine so you'll get the warm/hot engine compartment air being sucked through the cooling vents. When you install the Vanguard (Honda would be roughly the same), there's a big gap between the firewall and the engine cowl and this gap needs to be closed off to get the cooler air from under the tractor. Alternatively you can leave the side panels off the engine compartment.

In addition, a lot of the re-engine installations have no heat shield over the muffler, this adds a lot of heat to the engine compartment. If you fab a heat shield, it needs to act as part of the air ducting to push the muffler heat out the front of the tractor.

The last major point in promoting engine cooling is the oil. I recommend adding an oil cooling radiator to these engines.

The Vanguard also fails from constant high heat, the failure is often a failed head gasket which can ruin the head and block from the blow through. Burned valves are also not uncommon
 

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CaptPete, you are correct about recirculated heat from the muffler. JLang, a member here sell the foam kit for Deere lawn and garden tractors that cure this problem. I am putting one on my 1983 318 now. Oil cooler is already designed in this tractor and this foam kit helps it perform as designed.
 

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Many understand that the opening in the firewall \ partition may require some change account it may be larger than what
would be necessary for a replacement engine vs. an OEM Onan. Engine oil cooler? Think transmission oil cooler was standard equipment on later 316, and 318, 420 tractors. Optional on units with liquid cooled engines.
 

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you are correct ... it is transmission oil cooler.
 

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I haven't seen any insulation kits for sale that are intended for a replacement 318 engine, but with a bit of ingenuity they wouldn't be hard to fab. I made mine with some sheet metal and silicone, the heat shield is also easy to fab from a bit of sheet metal.

The oil cooler I was talking about isn't for the transmission, it's for the engine itself. Vanguard has an optional cooler but won't work with a 318 due to frame constraints on the engine filter mounting. I made a custom filter adapter from a piece of aluminum, similar to the way the way Small Engine Warehouse mounted them on their 318 replacement kits. You may be able to buy one from them cheaper than getting a machine shop to do it. There are some cooler kits for a Vanguard that you can find online, you just need to pick a good spot to mount the radiator - the kits have enough hose to mount it just about anywhere.
 
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