Honda HRX 217 Suction issue

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mkefer
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Re: Honda HRX 217 Suction issue

Post by mkefer » October 11th, 2017, 1:34 pm

So... I bought a used Toro SR4 (Super Recycler) to compare a few weeks ago. Definitely more suction while mulching, super noticeable now that there's some leaves on my lawn (it will suck up leaves from a couple inches away) and the cut quality is better. It cuts the grass blades more cleanly, possibly mostly due to sharper blades (I'm gonna try and sharpen my HRX blades very thoroughly before I give it another shot), and it mulches maybe even a little better than the HRX? It's close, both are excellent with regard to leaving no visible clippings behind. The SR4 is considerably lighter, so wheel marks are lighter, and it definitely pulls up the grass more before cutting it. It does leave stragglers, if I walk fast through thick grass - but I can definitely slow down and it leaves few to none. With my HRX I could slow down as much as I wanted and it would cut the same. It has a 190cc B&S engine, which is a bit underwhelming in comparison to my 190cc Honda - but good enough I guess. The personal pace is ok, but it definitely does feel like I'm pushing it if i want to walk fast or up hills. The HRX feels like it could pull me up a hill on a sulky if I wanted.

The weird thing I've noticed is my Honda never, ever bogs down... like I can mulch wet 8" high grass and the engine never even changes pitch. The deck can get overloaded and start shooting out clippings on the lawn, but the engine never does. Every other mower I've used (including this new to me SR4) slows down at least a tiny bit when going through heavier grass, it's audible. I know for certain I could stall the SR4 in ridiculously tall, thick, wet grass if I tried - I'm less certain I could stall the HRX because again, I've never heard it even strain. Now this seems like a good thing, but I'm not so sure. I'm wondering if there's something slipping, like the blade brake clutch, so the engine keeps spinning the same RPM all the time, and when the blades meet resistance they just slow down and slip instead of taxing the engine. This would explain some of my cut quality problems, although it's clear suction is lacking as well.

I've tightened the blade engagement cable, there was a little extra slack, but there was no improvement. I'm considering opening it up and examining the blade brake clutch itself to see if it's worn, but I don't expect it to be, the blades engage just fine every time. I saw someone on YouTube get so frustrated with his older Honda blade clutch that he just welded the pieces together and eliminated it. That seems a bit beyond my tools/skills though. I'm not sure what else to check or adjust. I hate to give up on my (very expensive and still basically new) Honda HRX217HYA. I really like how it runs & handles, and it's clearly built to a better standard than my Toro SR4 - the Toro feels a bit like a cheap toy in comparison - but that's more a compliment to the Honda than a knock on the Toro.

seiyafan
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Re: Honda HRX 217 Suction issue

Post by seiyafan » October 11th, 2017, 5:52 pm

Would suction improve if you move the Clip Director a few positions to the left? By the way I have a HRX217HYA too, so far mowed twice with it.

schreibdave
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Re: Honda HRX 217 Suction issue

Post by schreibdave » October 11th, 2017, 9:02 pm

Used my new (to me) Honda once and I think the lack of suction is going to be a problem. But I will try cutting at a lower height.

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Re: Honda HRX 217 Suction issue

Post by seiyafan » October 13th, 2017, 4:33 pm

I noticed sometimes it can blow away leaves instead of sucking them up. Not sure if anyone else noticed it too.

schreibdave
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Re: Honda HRX 217 Suction issue

Post by schreibdave » October 13th, 2017, 6:51 pm

When cutting at 3" rathet than 4" it does pull up the grass from the ptevious pass however it leaves tracks from the most recent pass. Toletable I think. It is a nice machine. Thats tbe only negative.


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Re: Honda HRX 217 Suction issue

Post by seiyafan » October 13th, 2017, 7:36 pm

mkefer wrote:
October 11th, 2017, 1:34 pm
I'm gonna try and sharpen my HRX blades very thoroughly before I give it another shot
Please do and let us know.

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Re: Honda HRX 217 Suction issue

Post by seiyafan » October 16th, 2017, 1:22 pm

I returned my Honda, it's nice one but I will try something else.

One thing to note, I measured the engine speed with a tach and it showed 3050 rpm even though the governor spring was in the 1st (left) hole, I think some people here got 2600 rpm in that position. Always check the engine speed before changing it.

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Re: Honda HRX 217 Suction issue

Post by schreibdave » October 16th, 2017, 2:28 pm

Does anyone have a picture of the 1st/2nd hole for the spring? I looked at mine and it's not obvious to me what we are talking about.

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Re: Honda HRX 217 Suction issue

Post by mkefer » October 16th, 2017, 2:54 pm

Image

These are the two holes in question, towards the bottom right of the picture. The spring is currently in the first, lower rpm hole, second hole will bump it up a couple hundred RPMs, but seiyafan is right, you should have a tach to know where you're at - jacking it up to 4000 or something by accident could be dangerous or damage the engine.

seiyafan
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Re: Honda HRX 217 Suction issue

Post by seiyafan » October 16th, 2017, 3:57 pm

There are only two holes that the spring can be hooked too, it's located under the fuel shutoff.

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Re: Honda HRX 217 Suction issue

Post by schreibdave » October 16th, 2017, 8:14 pm

Is the higher rpm supposed to help with the suction? That's the only reason for me to fool with it. The motor makes enough power to cut well at the lower rpm.

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Re: Honda HRX 217 Suction issue

Post by Hammbone81 » October 8th, 2019, 2:16 pm

I didn't know whether I should start a new thread or add to this one. I opted for the latter.

I too have been extremely UNHAPPY with my 2018 Honda HRX217VKA. I had a 2006 HRX217TDA, then in 2010 we moved to an acreage that necessitated a rider, so I sold told the 2006 HRX217TDA to my father-in-lawn. Fast foward to 2018, we move again to a smaller yard. I loved my HRX, so I blindly bought I new one without doing ANY research. I just went off past experience. BOY WAS I FOOLED!

I exclusively mulch. 100% KBG. And I religiously follow the 1/3 rule, starting at 2.5" in the spring, ramping up to 4" in July/August, then ramping back down to 2.5" at the last mow in November. (I live 10mi north of I-80 in eastern Iowa).

I too have noticed poor suction. At 3" or higher I can mower directly over the mulch beds and not pick up anything. It won't even pick up laid over grass to cut it off. The WORST thing is the uncut strip on the RH side. Since I always mow in stripes, the RH sides overlap and this really stands out.

I did several experiments trying to make this problem go away.
  • HOC - 3”, 3.5”, & 4”: Sharpen blades -FAIL
  • HOC - 3”, 3.5”, & 4”: Overlap by placing front wheel track on top of front wheel track. -FAIL
  • HOC - 3”, 3.5”, & 4”: Overlap by placing front wheel track right of previous swath’s wheel track. -FAIL
  • HOC - 3.5”:Remove top “flat” mulching blade, try both overlaps. -FAIL
  • HOC - 4” front, 3.5” rear: Lift front of deck 1 notch higher than rear, try both overlaps. -FAIL
  • HOC - 3.5” & 4”: Mow in rear discharge mode, try both overlaps. -FAIL
  • HOC - 3”: Move governor spring to #2 position (higher RPM), try both overlaps. -Better, but FAIL
...nothing worked.

I took it back to the JD dealer where I purchased it. They acted oblivious to the problem. They set my governor back to the lower setting and gave it back to me. Then they said they'd contact the Honda rep to see what they said. The dealer forwarded me a "lawn mowing 101 brochure" on how to mow your grass from the Honda rep. I continued to complain. Honda said I shouldn't remove more than 1" at a time. I called BS. Then they put me in touch with Honda Customer Relations. https://powerequipment.honda.com/support/contact-us
Honda CR told me to return the mower to the dealer and I would receive a call with in a week. Well, I didn't. I had to call the dealer to see what was going on. "Oh, it's done, you can come pick it up if you want."

Here was the "fix" - the removed my Micro Cut blades and installed the Quadra Cuts used on the HRR series, then adjusted the governor to 3,100rpm.
(By the way, it's funny how rated horse power is at 3,600rpm, but the manual says to set rpm to 2,950-3,150rpm. You'll never see full hp)

I received the mower back on Friday 10/4/19. I mowed Friday evening, then again Monday evening. Sigh... I suppose it does mow a little better in regards to the uncut strip on the right side, but it is still sub-par. It also still leaves huge wheel ruts in the grass that drives me nuts. I noticed when on concrete, and I place the right side close to the grass, it pushes the grass down. When I do this to the left side, it pulls it into the deck.

One final comment: I was at the in-laws this past weekend looking at my old 2006 HRX217 that they now own. I tach'd the engine, it's running at 2745rpm! HOLY COW!!!! That seems wrong, but it seems to mow well. I assumed it would be much higher, higher than my new one even. Also, I noticed that the Nexite deck is actually from different tooling than my 2018 model. The biggest difference I noticed is around the rear wheel area. The old one had structural webs, the new one doesn't. The new one has the HOC numbers molded in, the old one doesn't. I couldn't really see any difference in the blade area that would cause an obvious air-flow difference.

This whole ordeal is driving me nuts. I'm kind of a Honda guy. I've owned 5 Honda vehicles, 2 Honda motorcycles, and 2 Honda lawn mowers. But this has me beside myself. Come spring time, this thing is going to get a "FOR SALE" sign and I'm going to seriously consider a Toro Super Recycler. I'd love to hear more from those who have experience with both mowers on KBG. ...I'm also open to suggestions on other rotary walk-behinds that excel at mulching.

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turf_toes
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Re: Honda HRX 217 Suction issue

Post by turf_toes » October 8th, 2019, 2:35 pm

Hammbone81 wrote:
October 8th, 2019, 2:16 pm
I didn't know whether I should start a new thread or add to this one. I opted for the latter.

I too have been extremely UNHAPPY with my 2018 Honda HRX217VKA. I had a 2006 HRX217TDA, then in 2010 we moved to an acreage that necessitated a rider, so I sold told the 2006 HRX217TDA to my father-in-lawn. Fast foward to 2018, we move again to a smaller yard. I loved my HRX, so I blindly bought I new one without doing ANY research. I just went off past experience. BOY WAS I FOOLED!

I exclusively mulch. 100% KBG. And I religiously follow the 1/3 rule, starting at 2.5" in the spring, ramping up to 4" in July/August, then ramping back down to 2.5" at the last mow in November. (I live 10mi north of I-80 in eastern Iowa).

I too have noticed poor suction. At 3" or higher I can mower directly over the mulch beds and not pick up anything. It won't even pick up laid over grass to cut it off. The WORST thing is the uncut strip on the RH side. Since I always mow in stripes, the RH sides overlap and this really stands out.

I did several experiments trying to make this problem go away.
  • HOC - 3”, 3.5”, & 4”: Sharpen blades -FAIL
  • HOC - 3”, 3.5”, & 4”: Overlap by placing front wheel track on top of front wheel track. -FAIL
  • HOC - 3”, 3.5”, & 4”: Overlap by placing front wheel track right of previous swath’s wheel track. -FAIL
  • HOC - 3.5”:Remove top “flat” mulching blade, try both overlaps. -FAIL
  • HOC - 4” front, 3.5” rear: Lift front of deck 1 notch higher than rear, try both overlaps. -FAIL
  • HOC - 3.5” & 4”: Mow in rear discharge mode, try both overlaps. -FAIL
  • HOC - 3”: Move governor spring to #2 position (higher RPM), try both overlaps. -Better, but FAIL
...nothing worked.

I took it back to the JD dealer where I purchased it. They acted oblivious to the problem. They set my governor back to the lower setting and gave it back to me. Then they said they'd contact the Honda rep to see what they said. The dealer forwarded me a "lawn mowing 101 brochure" on how to mow your grass from the Honda rep. I continued to complain. Honda said I shouldn't remove more than 1" at a time. I called BS. Then they put me in touch with Honda Customer Relations. https://powerequipment.honda.com/support/contact-us
Honda CR told me to return the mower to the dealer and I would receive a call with in a week. Well, I didn't. I had to call the dealer to see what was going on. "Oh, it's done, you can come pick it up if you want."

Here was the "fix" - the removed my Micro Cut blades and installed the Quadra Cuts used on the HRR series, then adjusted the governor to 3,100rpm.
(By the way, it's funny how rated horse power is at 3,600rpm, but the manual says to set rpm to 2,950-3,150rpm. You'll never see full hp)

I received the mower back on Friday 10/4/19. I mowed Friday evening, then again Monday evening. Sigh... I suppose it does mow a little better in regards to the uncut strip on the right side, but it is still sub-par. It also still leaves huge wheel ruts in the grass that drives me nuts. I noticed when on concrete, and I place the right side close to the grass, it pushes the grass down. When I do this to the left side, it pulls it into the deck.

One final comment: I was at the in-laws this past weekend looking at my old 2006 HRX217 that they now own. I tach'd the engine, it's running at 2745rpm! HOLY COW!!!! That seems wrong, but it seems to mow well. I assumed it would be much higher, higher than my new one even. Also, I noticed that the Nexite deck is actually from different tooling than my 2018 model. The biggest difference I noticed is around the rear wheel area. The old one had structural webs, the new one doesn't. The new one has the HOC numbers molded in, the old one doesn't. I couldn't really see any difference in the blade area that would cause an obvious air-flow difference.

This whole ordeal is driving me nuts. I'm kind of a Honda guy. I've owned 5 Honda vehicles, 2 Honda motorcycles, and 2 Honda lawn mowers. But this has me beside myself. Come spring time, this thing is going to get a "FOR SALE" sign and I'm going to seriously consider a Toro Super Recycler. I'd love to hear more from those who have experience with both mowers on KBG. ...I'm also open to suggestions on other rotary walk-behinds that excel at mulching.
I’m a Toro SR fan. I think it cuts great. My local Toro dealer was also an Authorized Honda dealer. He suggested the Toro because it supposedly provides a better cut.

But I think it was Gary who went out and purchased the same mower, but reported the cut didn’t meet his expectations.

Some of this is just personal taste and tolerance.

I still love my Toro SuperRecycler. But it’s hard to say that your results or satisfaction is going to be any better.

Hammbone81
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Re: Honda HRX 217 Suction issue

Post by Hammbone81 » October 8th, 2019, 3:36 pm

turf_toes wrote:
October 8th, 2019, 2:35 pm

I’m a Toro SR fan. I think it cuts great. My local Toro dealer was also an Authorized Honda dealer. He suggested the Toro because it supposedly provides a better cut.

But I think it was Gary who went out and purchased the same mower, but reported the cut didn’t meet his expectations.

Some of this is just personal taste and tolerance.

I still love my Toro SuperRecycler. But it’s hard to say that your results or satisfaction is going to be any better.
I found a dealer close to where I work that sells both Toro and Honda. They had multiple Toros on the show room floor and only one low-cost push HRS Honda.
I asked "what is the best cut quality walk-behind mower you sell?" and he took me to the Toro SR.
I asked "what about the Honda HRX?"
he said "Nope, Toro is superior in cut quality." (I didn't even tell him about my situation at this point.)

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Re: Honda HRX 217 Suction issue

Post by micvog » October 8th, 2019, 8:49 pm

I owned a Toro SR for the past 3 seasons, and used a neighbor's Honda HRX at the beginning of last year. He was having the same issues as you described, but with his NoMix lawn. After two bad mows, he asked me to use it on my KBG lawn. Same thing. He mulches at the highest setting; I mulch at just under 3". He got lucky as the retailer ended up taking it back for a full refund. In my opinion/experience the Toro has a better cut, and is much less susceptible to leaving clippings. However, I did have the rut issue with the Toro.

Thanks to end-of-season sales at Lowe's, I ended up selling my Toro and bought a battery SBD Craftsman mower, with some cash left over. While not as powerful as either the Honda or Toro, I like the cut best of the three. If I were to get another gas mower, I would look at the TimeMaster. There are some YouTube "lawn celebrities" that use one and the wider cut looks really nice... at least on TV.

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Re: Honda HRX 217 Suction issue

Post by Hammbone81 » October 21st, 2019, 12:29 pm

I sold my Honda HRX217VKA over the weekend. I'm borrowing my parent's 15yr old Lawn Boy 2-stroke until I buy something else. I'll wait until spring to buy something. I'm looking at the Toro Super Recycler and the Commercial 21". I have a few months to vet that out.

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