New Lawn Mower Engine

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11,362
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Illinois
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I don't think I can really go too wrong here. Just picked up the Greyhound 5.5HP engine at Harbor Freight for $79.99+tax. It was marked down from $129.99 to $99.99, and I had a 20% off coupon making the final price $79.99 Aluminum block with a cast iron sleeve according to the box. It matches the dimensions of the crankshaft of the B&S 12V8xx engine it will replace that is 10 years old +/- a year. http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=96156 Since I got it at the store, no shipping charges. I supposed I could have guilted oilBabe into a new lawn mower since we just dropped $4K on furniture today, not to mention her car last week. But I might need a second job cutting grass to pay for all the goodies. Anyway, I'm hoping this experiment works out well. I may tear down the old engine and have my daughter rebuild it with me, just so she knows how this stuff works.
 
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4,030
Location
Chicago, IL
Originally Posted By: BigCahuna
I think the question on everybody's lips is, what oil are you gonna run in it?.,,
I couldn't have said it better myself!!!! I'm sure you'll be happy with the new engine. what was wrong with the old one? obviously, if you have questions on the rebuild, stop by! there's plenty of knowledge here! years ago I actually took a class in small engine repair. rebuilt a briggs and a lawn boy for my first two... and yes, what oil?!?!?!? proper break in please!
 
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11,362
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Illinois
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Originally Posted By: tomcat27
Originally Posted By: BigCahuna
I think the question on everybody's lips is, what oil are you gonna run in it?.,,
I couldn't have said it better myself!!!! I'm sure you'll be happy with the new engine. what was wrong with the old one? obviously, if you have questions on the rebuild, stop by! there's plenty of knowledge here! years ago I actually took a class in small engine repair. rebuilt a briggs and a lawn boy for my first two... and yes, what oil?!?!?!? proper break in please!
I got tired of re-reviting the starter recoil assembly to the engine, not to mention it was a pretty good mosquito fogger. Actually, it's still very servicable. But for the price of what the parts would cost, new housing, new starter rewind and probably new rings and gaskets, I have a whole new engine. The deck is fine, the wheels are ball bearing wheels, so it's a dream to push around. So why buy a whole mower when for $80, and probably closer to $100 when I buy all new fasteners and a cable mechanism for the "chock" (Chinglish spelling of choke) and perhaps some spray paint for the mower deck so it matches the new engine.
 
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153
Location
Park Hills, Missouri
Originally Posted By: javacontour
PYB 5W30 or 10W30
Darn, I was hoping he would say 'Rotella T6'..... frown Just kidding, should be fine. thumbsup A buddy of mine used one of their (Harbor Freight) horizontal-shaft motors for a homemade generator - spinning an alternator. Works great, starts easily, no problems at all.
 
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11,362
Location
Illinois
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Well, it's installed. I had to get new blade adapter as I broke the pin out of the old one trying to remove it. So that and the new mounting hardware added another $9.00 to the cost, meaning I'm at about $95 to put a new engine on the mower. This engine had 3/8" Fine Threads 3/8" 24 instead of the 3/8 16 that was on the B&S, so I needed new bolts to mount it to the deck. But other than that, it bolted right up. Filled it with gas and oil, used a zip tie on the choke for now, and reversed the handle so the engine brake lever and cable would reach, and after a fight, it started. I started to check for spark, and had it. It just took a while to get it going. I ran it for 15-20 minutes and it ran with no drama. Sounds just like any other power mower. So I still need a choke lever as there isn't one fixed to the engine and I'll look for a longer engine brake cable so I can return the handle to the original orientation, as this one is stretched to it's limit, even while reversed. My neighbors probably think I'm crazy. It's 20 degrees outside and I was out playing with my lawnmower.
 
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234
Location
MN
Java, I have an old lawnboy that the engine went heck on me. I am thing of project like this for old lawnboy. (lawnboy is 30 years old) Andy
 
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4,209
Location
Central Wisconsin
It might be cheaper Andy to rebuild that Lawnboy. Especially if you do it yourself. Fun and learning all in one. Parts aren't very expensive and the hone/boring and press work can be done by any auto shop.
 
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11,362
Location
Illinois
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Just used the mower for the first time today. It ran well. Took a few cranks to get started as I shut off the fuel valve and ran it out of fuel back on New Years Day when I installed the engine. I'm still using a zip tie as my chock (yes that's how they spelled it, I know its spelled choke) cable. Engine ran fine. It doesn't hold it's speed as well as the 6HP B&S it replaced. It seems to hunt for the right speed when it's in heavy grass. Other than that, it seems to run fine. So the approx $95 I have in it seems to be well spent. I think I'll still get a longer cable for the engine brake lever, and then use the other as a proper choke cable. I don't think I'll re-paint the engine green or yellow to match the mower deck. It looks like the redneck machine it is with the blue engine atop the green and yellow mower deck.
 
Messages
728
Location
Nebraska
Just make sure you go round and round it and check every bolt and nut for tightness. Might even pull the easy to get ones and put some lock tite on them. I once got chocked (choked) on a hot dog. That sounded a little gay...
 
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11,362
Location
Illinois
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OK, I got the longer cable for the blade brake/ignition kill and that works well. Using the shorter cable for the choke is a no-go as the cable assembly when plugged into the opening for the sheath doesn't leave enough travel to effectively control the choke. What I was thinking was something like what is used for a bikes brakes. It's a threaded rivet sort of thing with a hole in it for the cable and a nut and washer to clamp it in place. Looking at the hole in the choke lever, it looks large enough for this to fit and then I could simply use something like the shifter from an old-school 10 speed, or something like that. Does anyone have any other ideas? I can keep using the zip tie, but I want something a little less redneck and more long term. The zip-tie is a short term solution that periodically must be replaced as I inevitably pull it too much making the loop too short to catch and hold in place. Maybe I'll get some pictures if folks need some ideas. I just need to head down to the hardware store and look for some hardware to fabricate a solution.
Originally Posted By: javacontour
Just used the mower for the first time today. It ran well. Took a few cranks to get started as I shut off the fuel valve and ran it out of fuel back on New Years Day when I installed the engine. I'm still using a zip tie as my chock (yes that's how they spelled it, I know its spelled choke) cable. Engine ran fine. It doesn't hold it's speed as well as the 6HP B&S it replaced. It seems to hunt for the right speed when it's in heavy grass. Other than that, it seems to run fine. So the approx $95 I have in it seems to be well spent. I think I'll still get a longer cable for the engine brake lever, and then use the other as a proper choke cable. I don't think I'll re-paint the engine green or yellow to match the mower deck. It looks like the redneck machine it is with the blue engine atop the green and yellow mower deck.
 
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2,933
Location
Canada
Go to a bicycle shop. They can make you a top notch cable made of stainless steel fairly cheap and will be able to make the end pieces you need as well.
 
Messages
728
Location
Nebraska
Let us know how your Chonda works out. More than a few interested parties on here. Also, put a socket on your exposed head bolt(s) after a few hours to make sure it's still tight. Don't tighten too hard and make sure you put some thread dope of some kind on it if it comes lose.
 
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11,362
Location
Illinois
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Thanks, I was leaning that direction. I knew a guy that worked in a bike shop. Don't know if he still works there, but it's worth a shot. I don't need racing bike quality stuff, just something that is consistent with the Harbor Freight engine, LOL.
 
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11,362
Location
Illinois
Thread starter
Originally Posted By: yeehaw1960
Let us know how your Chonda works out. More than a few interested parties on here. Also, put a socket on your exposed head bolt(s) after a few hours to make sure it's still tight. Don't tighten too hard and make sure you put some thread dope of some kind on it if it comes lose.
So far, it's been great. I've gone over it and check the fasteners, and it was well built. I've used it 5 or 6 times this year so far. Yesterday's cut was after about 13 days growth as we've gotten a lot of rain in the past two weeks. I set the mower up a few notches and knocked down the grass with a freshly sharpened blade. The 5.5HP engine was able to knock off an inch or so of the grass without drama. It uses about 1/2 tank of fuel for my 1/5 to 1/4 acre postage stamp yard. I'll probably change the oil after the next cut or two. If I remember, I'll post pictures of the technicolor horror it is, as well as what the oil looks like. (I.E. does it look sparkly or just normal air cooled mower oil?)
 
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11,362
Location
Illinois
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Did the first oil change after about 5 hours of use. The oil looked like this: The oil just looks dirty. The dirt in the pan was just accumulated dirt from the pan sitting around. I really didn't see a lot of silver bits if any in the oil stream. It just looked really black and watery, just like any other air cooled engine I've changed oil immediately after using the engine. The mower in it's technicolor horror:
 
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2,933
Location
Canada
"The mower in it's technicolor horror:" Hey! As long as it's cutting grass, how much time do you spend staring at the machine? If's it's really bothering you, go get a rattle can of Duplicolor. They have some real nice colours out there now. Go nuts!
 
Messages
11,362
Location
Illinois
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Maybe I'll strip it down and give my two daughters the mower deck and $30 to spend on spray paint and see what I get back in return, LOL
 
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