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Honda 5.5 hp GC160 engine problem
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CTOBAC
Posted 6/17/2009 11:42 (#748423)
Subject: Honda 5.5 hp GC160 engine problem


Tidewater Va.
I have a pressure washer with a Honda engine. To be quite honest this engine has not impressed me since new. It is now 4 years old. Since new I would have to keep the choke on slightly to keep the engine running smoothly even after warmed up. Numerous carburetor cleanings did not help. I few weeks ago I got it out to clean a tractor engine. I filled up with fresh gas(I allways drain the tank and carb after each use) and started the engine. Everything was fine for about 15 minutes and then the engine began to backfire and spit through the exhaust. I again removed the carburetor, dissassembled and cleaned with varsol and reinstalled. Same problem (ran OK for about fifteen minutes then started to backfire again). I decided to purchase a new carb and fuel pump. I installed these items and a new filter with no effect on curing the problem. This engine has less than 50 hrs. of use and I paid extra to get the Honda engine but this thing is driving me crazy. I realise this is not a top of the line GX series engine but I still paid a premium to get this engine.
The problem seems to be temperature related. The plug is new and I see no carbon build up. Would a weak ignition module cause this? I thought about valve lash problems but I don't think temperature would affect the valves. What would you guys do? Keep trying to repair or purchase a new engine. This engine is $250 new at Northern tool plus shipping. Should I maybe look for a different brand? If so what would you recommend?

Thanks in advance for any and all replies.


C. Elliott
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mike in sw mn
Posted 6/17/2009 12:41 (#748466 - in reply to #748423)
Subject: Re: Honda 5.5 hp GC160 engine problem


Walnut Grove MN USA
I have a theory. i think they have leaned these small engines down so far to meet emmission standards that when you get some less than perfect gas they tend to run to lean and cause the problems you are seeing. A conversation I had with a very experienced mechanic a few weeks ago suggested that a guy should mix a little aviation gas in with regular gas for small engines. He is running straight av gas in his chainsaw and said the difference is amazing, no smoking or sputtering. He was afraid it would burn up but so far it's been fine. Plus the stuff doesn't go stale like normal gas. It is expensive at about $5/gallon but like he said 5 gallon will last most people all summer. Havee you replaced the air filter? a plugged air filter can do that too.
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nebfarmer
Posted 6/17/2009 12:56 (#748484 - in reply to #748423)
Subject: Re: Honda 5.5 hp GC160 engine problem


Southeast Nebraska
A single drop of water in the bottom of those carbs will cause that. You don't need to clean the whole carb, just take the main jet out of the bottom of the bowel. The bowl will come off of coarse. A little heet or ethanol will usually solve the problem unless there is too much water for the alcohol to absorb, then you get jelly!
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commissioner
Posted 6/17/2009 13:25 (#748506 - in reply to #748423)
Subject: Re: Honda 5.5 hp GC160 engine problem



southern Illinois
All the hondas that I've have had to run the choke on to make them run had build up in the main jet. Just drop the bowl off and take a large screw driver and unscrew the main jet, you'll see it looking up in the carb. Use torch tip cleaners to ream out the build up in the jet and it will probably run better than it has for a while. You usually cant see it but the tip cleaners will get it out.
Mike in mn is right in that they have leaned out the engines so much that they hardly run rich enough when new, I usually ream a little extra but be careful cause too much will mess them up too.
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lylefarm
Posted 6/17/2009 13:27 (#748511 - in reply to #748423)
Subject: RE: Honda 5.5 hp GC160 engine problem



East of Dowagiac Michigan
Try cracking the gas cap open when it starts to sputter. I had one that was not venting right. I fought with mine all summer.
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CTOBAC
Posted 6/17/2009 13:35 (#748521 - in reply to #748506)
Subject: Re: Honda 5.5 hp GC160 engine problem


Tidewater Va.
The carburetor is brand new and it made no difference.
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CTOBAC
Posted 6/17/2009 13:47 (#748528 - in reply to #748423)
Subject: RE: Honda 5.5 hp GC160 engine problem


Tidewater Va.
OK,
I took off the new carburetor and removed the main jet. It looked good but I sprayed it with carburetor cleaner and rodded it with a tip cleaner. I completely drained the tank and bought another new fuel filter. I refilled with a mixture of premium and racing gas (50-50). Engine cranked on second pull, ran about 10 minutes and started to backfire just like before. I removed tank filler cap to allow positive ventilation and there was no improvement. I have had enough. I have all ready wasted a half days labor and $70 in parts. The service manual for this piece of crap is $30. I am positive this is not a fuel delivery or fuel quality issue.
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dave morgan
Posted 6/17/2009 14:13 (#748542 - in reply to #748528)
Subject: RE: I can still hear the plane engines at Pearl


Somerville, Indiana
but I can't say anything bad about Honda small engines. There are four here, 2 are Tianamun Square look alikes, but they start on first pull and run good. Have good luck with the Briggs and Stratton too though. I use Paul Harvey gas treatment regular, and gas lead treatment, specially in the Koehler.

Edit: The old Koehlers will drop their valve seat on occasion, reason for lead treatment. I can't prove that doesn't happen with other brands as well and may be your problem. In our case tho, the valve seats came completely loose they dropped out of alignment=no start, no compression.

Edited by dave morgan 6/17/2009 14:17
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smokesgasman
Posted 6/17/2009 15:50 (#748598 - in reply to #748528)
Subject: RE: Honda 5.5 hp GC160 engine problem


so.wisconsin

i would really try to check timing and/or valve lash

smoke

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Jon Hagen
Posted 6/17/2009 16:11 (#748608 - in reply to #748598)
Subject: Re: Honda 5.5 hp GC160 engine problem



Hagen Brothers farms,Goodrich ND
Also, most any little air cooled engine will run much better / longer with synthetic oil in the crankcase.
Briggs is very fussy about the wieght of mineral oil in their engines depending on the temp range it is operation in
too thick for the temp will make it hard to start and score the cylinder, too thin for temp and it will use a lot of oil and wear quickly. BUT Briggs says they recommend synthetic oil for any Briggs at any load and any temp.
http://www.briggsandstratton.com/maint_repair/routine_maintenance/c...

Briggs OHV engines have 0 valve train problems after switching to synthetic oil
Check out the oil recommendations on the Briggs site. I run Mobil 1 multi weight synthetic in all Briggs and other air cooled engines. Have had 0 trouble with them and some of those little "throw away" Briggs are 30 years old. Those little air cooled engines run too much oil temp for mineral oil, Conditions that PAO based synthetic loves (Mobil 1 or Amsoil)

With the little honda in question, with all the fuel system work done, I would suspect a defective low oil level switch or bad ignition module. Disconnect the low oil switch and see if the problem goes away, make sure the oil is full.. Those switches do go bad.

Edited by Jon Hagen 6/19/2009 12:38
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CTOBAC
Posted 6/17/2009 16:58 (#748632 - in reply to #748608)
Subject: Re: Honda 5.5 hp GC160 engine problem


Tidewater Va.
Thanks Jon,
I guess I will try an ignition module. This engine does not have the low oil switch. I was tempted to give up but I have decided to make a personal challenge to find the problem. It may cost me more than a new engine but at least I will learn something and it never hurts to learn. Please reply back if you have anymore ideas.

C.Elliott
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JonND
Posted 6/17/2009 16:59 (#748633 - in reply to #748423)
Subject: Try this it may help????


EC North Dakota
Some of these smaller engines have a spark arrestor in the exhaust system, usually a small screen just behind the discharge muffler or director. Try taking the deflector off and see if there is one, if there is take it out and see if that makes any difference. I had to do that to a small engine designed for homeowner use. If there is that screen on the engine it can become clogged and create back pressure on engine.

Might be worth a try.
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Jon Hagen
Posted 6/17/2009 17:56 (#748670 - in reply to #748632)
Subject: Re: Honda 5.5 hp GC160 engine problem



Hagen Brothers farms,Goodrich ND
CTOBAC - 6/18/2009 15:58

Thanks Jon,
I guess I will try an ignition module. This engine does not have the low oil switch. I was tempted to give up but I have decided to make a personal challenge to find the problem. It may cost me more than a new engine but at least I will learn something and it never hurts to learn. Please reply back if you have anymore ideas.

C.Elliott



Good deal, don't let that little mut get you down, and be proud when you find the fix. :-) The money you spent on fuel system parts may not be wasted . I saw a very low hour Honda engine like that sell at auction for scrap price. The owner had let it set for years with the fuel system full of sour gas. The fuel tank and carb were corroded beyond repair, but for the fellow who had a good used carb, the repair cost would not be very high.

Having to run with the choke partly on MAY be a sign of a weak ignition unit. A weak ignition finds it easier to light a rich fuel mix.

Edited by Jon Hagen 6/17/2009 17:59
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CTOBAC
Posted 6/17/2009 18:41 (#748707 - in reply to #748598)
Subject: RE: Honda 5.5 hp GC160 engine problem


Tidewater Va.
Thanks Smoke,
I will pull the valve cover and check the valve lash. I would think the timing belt is ok because it runs fine while cool. If it had jumped time I would think it would run poorly all the time.
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Larry in AB
Posted 6/17/2009 19:24 (#748744 - in reply to #748423)
Subject: Re: Honda 5.5 hp GC160 engine problem


Alberta, Canada
Something is wrong sorry I can't tell you what. I have the same motor on a 14 year old pressure washer that has started the first pull since new. Plain old oil in that gets changed "now and then", gas is left in it always. Only issue is I had is the gas tank developed rust holes in the bottom a couple times. I guess I had moisture in the gas sometimes.
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FFJR
Posted 6/18/2009 00:11 (#749126 - in reply to #748423)
Subject: RE: Honda 5.5 hp GC160 engine problem



nc IA
Sorry I can't add much insite, but interested to hear what you find. I have the exact same GC160 on a pressurewasher now for going on 3 years or so, use it every week or every other week it seems. Start choked and back it off to partway immediantly, then after about 15 seconds it will run without the choke, gas stored in it year around - but do add a shot of stabil over the winter months. 10% ethanol blend always as well. If it died tomorow I'd buy another in a heartbeat.... There is NOTHING that I can't pressurewash (yet:) ) good luck, hope you find the gremlin.
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rjvagt
Posted 4/25/2010 10:35 (#1173677 - in reply to #748423)
Subject: RE: Honda 5.5 hp GC160 engine problem


hey sorry this may be out of date, i have been looking at this thread and think you may have a problem with a sticky exaust valve, in turn a crack in the rocker arm lifter assy. I have two of these engines of differnt vintage washers, one was a GC190 Brute branded and the other was a GC160 Troy bilt branded, both had a small hair line crack where the adjusting screw goes through the rocker arm, My theroy is that the ehaust valve gets thight and adds strain on the rocker arm, and in turn the weakest link cracks under stress. Both these engines i have breathed life back into by cleaning the ehaust valve stem and replacing the rocker arm lifter assy. , Let me know if this helps , as everyone else I talk to about this thinks I crazy !!! Russ Vagt rjvagt@charter.net
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