Looking for Answers about Honda GCV190 21 in. Smart Drive Variable Speed Self-Propelled Deck Mower?

Customer questions and answers for
Honda GCV190 21 in. Smart Drive Variable Speed Self-Propelled Deck Mower

With Micro-Cut twin blades to produce a smooth cut and fine clippings, the Honda 21 in. GCV190 Smart Drive Variable Speed Self-Propelled Walk-Behind Mower helps you maintain a beautiful lawn. The mower features a 4-in-1 Versa mow system to provide leaf sh
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Customer questions and answers for Honda GCV190 21 in. Smart Drive Variable Speed Self-Propelled Deck Mower

Question

I have read that when the 190cc engine is warm/hot from running, it can be difficult to restart and may require multiple pulls. Is this true.?

Asked by
David
West Virginia
about GCV190 21 in. Smart Drive Variable Speed Self-Propelled Deck Mower on
August 27, 2012
Are there any recommedations short of allowing the engine to cool down?
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Answers
answer 1
Asked by
LuckMan
Austin, TX
January 15, 2013
This is not true - the Honda 190 cc engine is used in all kinds of applications and is an extremely well engineered engine. I have never heard of or experienced this issue you are talking about outside of using gas with ethanol and not adding a conditioner - that can cause problems.
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answer 2
Asked by
Punchy
West Chester, PA
August 27, 2012
I have had mine for about 4 mowings, and have stopped to refuel each time. It restarted with no problem on first pull.
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answer 3
Asked by
KJ1211
Chesapeake, VA, USA
August 27, 2012
I have not had that problem with my Honda, just make sure the blade is not in high grass, that will make it more difficult to restart.
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answer 4
Asked by
Honda
Honda National Office / Alpharetta, GA
August 28, 2012
In most cases, you'll need to put the choke ON when starting, even if the engine is fully warmed up. If the choke is not on, it can be difficult to start, especially when the engine or outside air temp is cold. -Robert@Honda
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answer 5
Asked by
imnotperfect
Florida
August 28, 2012
I've had the mower a few months and not experienced such a problem. It started first time right out of the box and continues to do so even when hot. Make sure your gas is always fresh (no more than a couple months). Otherwise, it sounds like it might need to be checked by a small engine mechanic.
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answer 6
Asked by
HondaFan
Owensboro, KY, USA
April 12, 2013
I have a HRX217VKA that I purchased August of last year. The only time I can remember pulling it multiple times to start was the first use this spring, it took 3-4 pulls but has started on the first pull since even after mower and stopping. No issues with this.
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Question

Rear Wheel vs. Front Wheel Drive Mowers

Asked by
IA Mower
IA
about GCV190 21 in. Smart Drive Variable Speed Self-Propelled Deck Mower on
January 14, 2013
I understand that the Honda Mower HRX217VKA is rear wheel drive. What is the difference one will see in rear wheel drive mowers vs. front wheel drive ones? Although I would expect you to say rear wheel drive mowers are preferred, why is that?
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answer 1
Asked by
LuckMan
Austin, TX
January 15, 2013
Rear wheel drive works best on flat terrain in my experience, but hilly terrain is where a front wheel drive works best. Going up a hill with a rear drive mower causes you to have to push down on the handle to gain traction which can cause the front end to come off the ground - not good. Front wheel drives gain traction by lifting up on the handle to put more pressure on the front wheels - this is good for going up a hill without affecting the cut. For flat terrain, it's just a matter of preference. Hope this helps!
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answer 2
Asked by
HondaFan
Owensboro, KY, USA
January 15, 2013
I was advised by a local mower shop to buy a front wheel drive because I have a yard with very steep hills. But I noticed online that some recommended rear wheel drive for hills also, so I borrowed my father in laws rear wheel (Toro) to mow my yard a few times and it did fine. So with that and the fact that rear wheels rated better for dependablility I went with the Honda. Glad I did because the Honda mows my hills like a champ! Seems to have more power and handles the hills even much better than the Toro did. It really is a great mower. My only concern is unlike my last Honda which is 21 years old and will still start on the first pull, when I got the new on out after setting for a month I had to pull on it several times to get it to start. But we will see if that straightens out after using it a few times this spring? As long as the Honda continues to start easly, it was a very smart purchase no regrets.
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answer 3
Asked by
Honda
Honda National Office / Alpharetta, GA
January 15, 2013
Generally speaking, rear-wheel drive is easier to operate and more effective (best overall traction) in most situations. When turning any mower, the front wheels must be lifted, even if only a small bit, to allow the mower to turn/pivot on the rear wheels. When turning with a front-drive mower, drive traction is reduced, and more physical effort is required by the user to push the mower forward and continue cutting. In a rear-drive model, the mower will continue to self-propel, and only slight downward pressure on the handlebars is needed to make the front wheels lift and the mower can start turning.

For mowing on hills, you should never mow up and down the hill, but mow across. Mowing across the slope of the hill is safer, and rear-wheel drive mowers provide plenty of traction best overall control of the mower.

-Robert@Honda
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answer 4
Asked by
imnotperfect
Florida
January 18, 2013
You can do an internet search and find the general differences between the two. I don't buy cheap lawn mowers. All the mowers I have owned were rear wheel drive. I think they are more reliable.
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answer 5
Asked by
jmaxi
March 9, 2013
in one word: control.
in five words: control and less force needed.
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answer 6
Asked by
ace11golf
April 24, 2013
All I can say is with the power being behind the mower and pushing it forward, it gives me more control over the mower and doesn't tear up the grass as front well drive mowers have done to my lawns.
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Question

How easy is it to adjust mower height?

Asked by
Sunny
Lakewood, CO
about GCV190 21 in. Smart Drive Variable Speed Self-Propelled Deck Mower on
September 11, 2013
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answer 1
Asked by
insidetech
Lake Worth, FL, USA
October 1, 2013
Very simple take about 30 sec. numbers on frame help..
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answer 2
Asked by
HondaBuck
Boise, ID, USA
September 11, 2013
The mower height is very easy to adjust by simply pushing a lever and sliding forward or back to a very visible numbered slot. The rear numbers can be a little harder to see if its dark or shadowed. All four wheels can be done under 30 seconds.
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answer 3
Asked by
andyb1
Rome, NY, USA
September 11, 2013
very easy to adjust also height of cut is numbered
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answer 4
Asked by
Higgi
Ocala, FL, USA
January 2, 2014
Each wheel has a tab to ajust to the desired level. If you can bend your knees, you are good to go.
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answer 5
Asked by
Icopus
Richmond, TX
August 17, 2014
Quite easy. The tabs at each wheel are much easier to move than the tabs are on my Toro Personal Pace mower. It no longer feels like something I don't want to do, if you know what I mean.
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answer 6
Asked by
HappyCustomer
Tulsa, OK
August 21, 2014
Easy on one of the back wheels, very difficult on the other back wheel.
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Question

How long will mower run on .25 gals (tank capacity)?

Asked by
Goldida
NC
about GCV190 21 in. Smart Drive Variable Speed Self-Propelled Deck Mower on
August 24, 2013
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answer 1
Asked by
LuckMan
Austin, TX
August 26, 2013
Good news! It will run twice as long as the one with the .125 gallon tank.
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answer 2
Asked by
Lawndude
Tampa, FL, USA
August 26, 2013
About 1 acre of lawn.
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answer 3
Asked by
HondaFan
Owensboro, KY, USA
August 26, 2013
I mow for 45-50 minutes or just under a half acre on very hilly terrain and I do have a little gas left in the tank... But I have to fill it up every time. Hope that helps...
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answer 4
Asked by
Punchy
West Chester, PA
August 26, 2013
I find that it depends on how hilly your yard is and how long the grass is. My yard is quite hilly, and with a week's growth to cut and mulch, I can't quite finish my half acre lot. I believe if my terrain was flat, it whould do the whole yard.
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answer 5
Asked by
Honda
Honda National Office / Alpharetta, GA
August 26, 2013
H Goldida:

Honda doesn't have a published specification on run-times for mowers, since conditions of lawns and other factors (if self-propelled is engaged or not) can effect fuel consumption. Many customer report that under average conditions, a full tank of fuel will usually allow you to mow at least 1/3 of an acre or more of grass. Hope this helps, -Robert@Honda
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answer 6
Asked by
AWSHOOT
richmond,va
Home Improvement Profile: Professional
July 2, 2014
45 min on a tank of gas
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Question

Rough Idle When Starting Engine

Asked by
FredP
Northport, NY
about GCV190 21 in. Smart Drive Variable Speed Self-Propelled Deck Mower on
June 23, 2014
Just got the Honda mower and have used it a few days. When starting the cold engine, the idle is high/low/high/low for about 30 seconds. Is this normal?
Using FRESH 87 Octane fuel with STA-BIL added.
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answer 1
Asked by
MasterMower
Brainerd Lakes Area
June 30, 2014
Fred,

New mower parts sometimes have an oil residue on the components that tends to stick the float and needle valves in the carburetor. Go to premium gas with straight 91 or 92 octane.

STA-BIL is great for over the winter or extended periods of time to protect from varnishing up parts when the machine is unused, but it also tends to cause some engines to run smoky and rough.

If this does not work then you may have a problem with the adjustment in the governor tension and will need to have it adjusted by a knowledgeable mechanic.

My first option would be to use the premium 91 0r 92 octaine first to see if it is the 87 octane being affected by the STA-BIL.

Good luck!
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answer 2
Asked by
SteveR
Twin Cities, Mn USA
Home Improvement Profile: DIYer
June 25, 2014
It appears to be.
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answer 3
Asked by
jgale01
Michigan
June 25, 2014
Mine does the same thing, and then runs normally.
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answer 4
Asked by
norb
Jackson,Mi
Home Improvement Profile: DIYer
June 25, 2014
The engine will idle rough for 5 to 10 sec. I would use the mower 2 or 3 more times to see if problem clears up.If not take for service.
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answer 5
Asked by
Honda
Honda National Office / Alpharetta, GA
Home Improvement Profile: Professional
June 25, 2014
Hi FredP:

Most new Honda mowers have an auto-choke, which automatically operates the choke on the engine. It is normal for the engine speed to vary a bit until it is fully warmed up, usually less than a few minutes.

If, after 5 minutes, the engine is not running smoothly, or if you have any problems getting the engine started, contact a servicing Honda dealer; here are the ones closest to you in Northport:

Village Power Tools
139 New York Ave
Huntington, NY 11743-2148
(631) 421-5020

Provenzano's Kings Park Power Equipment
84 E Main St
Kings Park, NY 11754-3825
(631) 269-1080

Seven Gables Power Eqmt., Inc.
1044 W Jericho Tpke
Smithtown, NY 11787-3208
(631) 543-8455

Tnt
235 Higbie Ln
West Islip, NY 11795-2810
(631) 669-2234

Major League Power Equipment, Inc.
86 Comsewogue Rd
East Setauket, NY 11733-3639
(631) 331-8100

Chief Equipment, Inc.
400 W Old Country Rd
Hicksville, NY 11801-4110
(516) 868-1400

Stamford Motorsports
177 Greenwich Ave
Stamford, CT 06902-6703
(203) 323-3141

Champion Honda
544 W Old Country Rd
Hicksville, NY 11801-4111
(516) 433-0701

Contractors Supply, LLC
17 Viaduct Rd
Stamford, CT 06907-2723
(203) 323-3752

Curbside Mower
70 Jayne Blvd
Port Jefferson Station, NY 11776-2934
(631) 509-6900

110 Honda
272 Broadway
Amityville, NY 11701-2710
(631) 789-2929

-Robert@Honda
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answer 6
Asked by
HappyCustomer
Tulsa, OK
August 21, 2014
Using premium pure gas with stabilizer. No rough idle observed on my machine straight out of the shipping carton.
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Question

How high can the cutting height be adjusted?

Asked by
MowerBuyer
GA
about GCV190 21 in. Smart Drive Variable Speed Self-Propelled Deck Mower on
July 15, 2014
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answer 1
Asked by
FredP
Northport, NY
Home Improvement Profile: DIYer
July 31, 2014
3/4 inch to 4 inches - each wheel has adjustment levers

According to manual, settings in inches:
3/4
1 1/4
2
2 1/2
3
3 1/2
4
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answer 2
Asked by
1e9g2e
Memphis, TN, USA
August 30, 2014
the max is this one just four inches.
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answer 3
Asked by
mmakster
Hannibal, Mo
July 15, 2014
4 inches
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answer 4
Asked by
RichBoston
Boston
July 15, 2014
4 inches. I keep it at 3 inches in the summer but it's vacuuming ability isn't good above 2 inches. I'm getting a lot of pine needles this summer (don't know why) and it does a poor job of picking them up. Great at mulching though.
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answer 5
Asked by
Husq6432
Mass
July 16, 2014
Up to 4 inches
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answer 6
Asked by
HappyCustomer
Tulsa, OK
August 21, 2014
4 inches
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Question

Questions about the Honda HRX2173VKA

Asked by
Roland
Shreveport, Louisiana
about GCV190 21 in. Smart Drive Variable Speed Self-Propelled Deck Mower on
May 20, 2013
First question, on the honda web site it lists the model as HRX217VKA, But in the home depot store the model number had a 3 on it.... why can't I find the hrx2173vka on the honda web site... and secondly, it has been suggested to me by various " dealers' that companies like honda and toro manufacture mowers that are of "slightly" lesser quality for big box stores like home depot, and thats why they can sell them a little bit cheaper than the dealer does... so my question to you is if I buy a honda mower from The Home Depot, is it exactly ( in every aspect ) the same as the mower that the "dealer" sells...to be candid, is it possible that the manufacturers may use some "cheaper" parts to reduce the cost. I don't mean to sound suspicious, but before I plunk down 6 or 7 hundred dollars for a new mower, I want to know I'm getting the Real Mccoy.... I appreciate your help with these questions and look forward to your reply...

Roland
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answer 1
Asked by
ace11golf
Louisville, KY
May 21, 2013
Independent dealers have high overhead and slim profit margins. Big stores can buy in bulk for cheaper rates and are able to pass that onto customers. I paid over $140 less at Home Depot for the exact Honda mower at a local mower shop. Couldn't tell you much about model numbers since I'm not at home. I was fed the same line by the local shop about big box stores and I proved them wrong. I have no regrets about purchasing this Honda mower. Best mower purchase I've ever made. Well worth the cost. Buy it at Home Depot and have it serviced at your local shop.
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answer 2
Asked by
LuckMan
Austin, TX
May 20, 2013
That sounds like a sales pitch to me, the additional designation doesn't appear to me to have anything to do with the main features like the GCV190 engine (this engine is ubiquitous and is used in all kinds of applications by Honda and is the best in the business), the twin blades, smart drive, 9 inch wheels and versamow. I really wouldn't worry about it, and if you are still, call Honda and ask them.

You really cannot go wrong with this mower unless your yard is an acre or more.
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answer 3
Asked by
HondaFan
Owensboro, KY, USA
May 21, 2013
I do not know the answer to this but I would think that the cost to have seperate production runs would outway the savings of using cheaper parts in the engine. The only thing I would suggest is looking them over very good at both locations and comparing model #'s. I do know that I purchased a commercial Honda mower in 1991 (HR195) and it still starts on the first pull today just to small for my current yard. Last fall I purchased a Honda HRX2173VKA which is on its way back from the Home Depot repair service? I am hoping that all it needed was a carborator modification and it will perform as my 1991 model has that is why I spent the extra money for the nexite deck, we will see? My new one had gotten where it was hard to start and that is unacceptable from a Honda, once I got it started it would run fine and start fine when warm but I had to pull, pull and pull when cold. I had read some peoples review that had the same issue and Honda had a carborator recall, Honda stated that mine should not have needed the recall based on the serial number, but I am hoping maybe that was it? Just hope it does not happen again, I will keep everyone updated... But I will tell you that Honda suggested that I take mine to the local Honda certified repair shop for a quicker repair, but the local Honda certified repair shop refused to honor the warranty service since I did not purchase from them, that kind of put me out. Good Luck...
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answer 4
Asked by
Honda
Honda National Office / Alpharetta, GA
May 21, 2013
Hi Roland:

The "3" character is what Honda calls a K-code, and is similar to a version number used in software. The HRX217VKA is currently at the K4 version, but in this case, there are no differences between the K3 and K4 for this model. It was changed so all the models in the HRX series were all to be designated as K4 models. You can confirm which K-code is on a specific model two ways: (1) On the outside of the box, there's a small white label/barcode with the full model name including the K-code. (2) On the mower itself, there's a data plate on the rear of the mower deck with the full model name and serial number. Honda often omits the K-code from websites, advertising, price cards, etc., as different K-codes of the same model are rarely sold at the same time. Typically, most stores will sell out of K3 models right about the time the newer K4 models start to arrive from the factory in Swepsonville, North Carolina (Honda has been building all our mowers there since 1983).

All Honda models sold in the USA are exactly the same; there are absolutely no differences between what you will see from Honda at Home Depot or at any other Honda Dealer. Honda does not make "Home Depot only" nor do we make any "dealer-only" models. No matter where you buy a Honda mower, as long as it is an authorized dealer (which includes all Home Depot stores) you get the exact same product, warranty and support from Honda.

Finally, it's possible you may see a model at a dealer but not at a Home Depot or vice-versa. Honda makes over a dozen different models, and both Home Depot and independent Honda dealers are free to buy any/all of the models they choose. For example, a dealer who specializes in working with commercial operators will probably stock the Honda HRC commercial mowers, but these are not normally stocked at most Home Depots. That said, both Home Depot and other Honda Dealers can special order any mower model you wish, even if it's not a mower they have on the showroom floor.

Sorry if that's a bit long-winded...just wanted to give you all the details and be informed. You ask some important questions, and I hope this will help you and other customers reading this too.

Thanks! -Robert@Honda
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answer 5
Asked by
RonS993
Chicago, Illinois
May 21, 2013
Ok, this doesn't apply exactly to the mower you are looking at, but here is the answer I found regarding the HRX217HZA I just purchased last week. The private lawn specialty dealer where I purchased the mower initially sold me a model that I discovered had a "K3" designation. The "K" number apparently refers to small, yet sometimes significant changes Honda incorporates in any particular model. The K3 model of this mower has electric start and the Honda "Cyclon" battery, but the mower engine DOES NOT recharge the battery. Never. A separate charger is supplied with the mower, and the battery lid easily unsnaps to recharge the battery as needed. 24 hours is recommended to completely recharge this battery. The Cyclon battery is supposed to be good for up to 300 starts between charges.

Now, the K4 series of this same mower, was apparently released in January of 2013, and it has a smaller, more conventional sized 12v lead-acid mower battery, and the mower engine has a charging circuit built in, which eliminates any need for external charging... so an external charger is not supplied. Access to the battery requires the removal of 3 screws... no big deal. Honda claims that if the battery should require charging, say for example after a storage season, that a simple hand start and running it for about an hour will bring the battery back up to full charge. The external charger is available as an option for around $20 from Honda.

That's the only difference I could find between the K3 and K4 models of this mower, and Robert@Honda confirmed this on this forum. This seems to be a significant design change to me, so I think Honda should have made this difference more evident to potential customers and their dealers. My dealer showed me his parts manuals, which clearly showed a misprint regarding the charging feature of the K4 mower. So he was confused about this design change too.

Since I don't believe the HRX217VKA has electric start, I don't know what changes (if any) might exist between the K3 and K4 models.

For my purposes, the K3 or K4 model of the HZA mower both have advantages, but since I didn't know if there might be some other additional upgrades other than the battery charge change, I opted to have my dealer exchange the K3 for a K4. I have read that both models (K3, K4) are sold through Home Depot, so it doesn't seem to be related to what type of store is selling the mower. Who knows, a K5 model may be available by now?

Hope this is somewhat helpful. I'm sure you'll enjoy any model of this mower, since they all seem to share a solid design. Good luck!

Regards,

Ron
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Question

Clippings Setting

Asked by
John
Lakeville, Mn
about GCV190 21 in. Smart Drive Variable Speed Self-Propelled Deck Mower on
May 29, 2013
I have this machine and love it. It has several settings for mulch or bagging and several in between. Why would you ever set it for in between--part bag and part mulch?
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answer 1
Asked by
HondaBuck
Boise, ID, USA
June 11, 2013
I use the variable settings depending on length of grass. I don't want all clippings for mulch left on grass all,the time so it allows you that versatility. Getting rid of the clippings in garbage cans adds up so sometimes I use the variable settings. Try it you'll like it.
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answer 2
Asked by
LuckMan
Austin, TX
May 30, 2013
If your grass is too tall, neither setting can work well at its extreme. I have found with taller grass that a mix of mulch and bag takes care of it without leaving clumps behind or filling the bag too quickly.
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answer 3
Asked by
Honda
Honda National Office / Alpharetta, GA
May 31, 2013
Mulching is great for feeding the lawn. Clippings act as a natural fertilizer. However, depending on how much you need to cut, the amount of the clippings on the lawn might not look so great, and you'd prefer to bag instead. The beauty of the VersaMow System is you can go any point in between and find that sweet spot where you can have mulching clipping left on the lawn but not so much that it leaves an unattractive finish. A bonus is the bag fills slower is need to be emptied less frequently.

Glad to hear you like the mower John. Thanks for being a Honda fan.

-Robert@Honda
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answer 4
Asked by
Punchy
West Chester, PA
May 31, 2013
I find that if you are mulching and the grass is wet or tall, when you open the setting one or two notches, it is less likely to clog and clump. A small portion of the grass will blow out the back. Similar when wou are mulching leaves.
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answer 5
Asked by
Rick
Monticello Indiana
April 29, 2014
The literature suggest that one may want to add some mulch back to the lawn while bagging the remainder.
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Question

Concerns about the 'composite' deck

Asked by
xairbusdriver
Western TN
about GCV190 21 in. Smart Drive Variable Speed Self-Propelled Deck Mower on
May 1, 2014
It appears that the wheel adjustments (cutting height) are molded into the deck. Anyone have any problems with this part of the deck breaking? I imagine the 'repair' would be a whole new deck. Same concern about the handle mountings on the deck. I'm sure Honda did some thorough testing on this material not wanting to suffer breakage reports/bad reviews. Still... ;-)
Thanks!
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answer 1
Asked by
SteveR
Twin Cities, Mn USA
Home Improvement Profile: DIYer
May 1, 2014
I've never had an issue with the Composite deck material. It's a tough mower and does a great job.
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answer 2
Asked by
AllenLL
Montville, NJ
May 2, 2014
I've had this unit for about 4 years and used it extensively with no problems with the deck or breakage of any kind. Of course I don't keep on adjusting the cutting height so that could be one reason that it hasn't broken yet.
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answer 3
Asked by
Honda
Honda National Office / Alpharetta, GA
Home Improvement Profile: Professional
May 2, 2014
Hi xairbusdriver:

The deck on all Honda HRX mowers is a special synthetic material called NeXite, and was developed by General Electric. It won't rust, fade, or warp, etc. and is similar to the stuff used in car bumpers and football helmets. Honda has been making mower decks of this material since the early 1990s, and current HRX models have a limited LIFETIME warranty on the mower deck (non-commercial use).

Watch a Honda Pilot SUV drive over one; see link:

-Robert@Honda
Video Answer:
(click to see the video)
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answer 4
Asked by
Icopus
Richmond, TX
August 17, 2014
I've used this mower for the first time this morning, so obviously I can't answer about the long term. However, this deck seems to be really strong. I don't know how thick it is, but it's not thin by any means. I adjusted the height and it seems the deck only offers the 'catch' position for the height adjustment tabs, so I don't think there is any concern about breakage. The material seems to be a really strong and stiff composite. It doesn't flex at all like metal decks. Hope this helps.
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answer 5
Asked by
1e9g2e
Memphis, TN, USA
August 30, 2014
in my case the firs time is kind of hard to set the heights; but yes what? after 03 or 04 months is more difficult to set the heights so l will try to clean up dust or put some liquid lubricant and l will see what happens.
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Question

Is the 190 engine louder than the 160 version?

Asked by
Bub
Oregon
about GCV190 21 in. Smart Drive Variable Speed Self-Propelled Deck Mower on
March 7, 2012
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4 answers
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answer 1
Asked by
Honda
Honda National Office / Alpharetta, GA
March 8, 2012
For most lawn mowers, the blades make the most noise. While Honda does not publish noise levels, I did get some numbers from our engineering group; the 190cc HRX makes about 86 dB, while the 160cc HRR is 88 dB. The engines both turn about the same speed and have the same muffler, but use different blades and decks, so that's why the 2 dB difference. -robert@honda
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answer 2
Asked by
jiml
Boonville, NC 27011, USA
March 8, 2012
not at all. Extremely quiet
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answer 3
Asked by
LuckMan
Austin, TX
January 15, 2013
No it is not, that I can tell.
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answer 4
Asked by
HappyCustomer
Tulsa, OK
August 21, 2014
I don't know about the 160 but the 190 is certainly louder than my late great Toro.
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Question

New HRX2174VLA

Asked by
Scott
Anchorage, Alaska
about GCV190 21 in. Smart Drive Variable Speed Self-Propelled Deck Mower on
August 12, 2013
What is the difference between HRX217K4VLA and the HRX2174VLA?
I'm also trying to figure out when it was built - MAGA-2250082?
When it's warm it's difficult to start. Also the starter doesn't always engage.
Mower cuts great when it's running.
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answer 1
Asked by
Lawndude
Tampa, FL, USA
August 13, 2013
The mower im using does not have a starter its a pull start. Not sure of the difference but the starting problem comes from one thing. Ethanol in gas. It is horrible on all the small engines. Use sta-bil or true fuel. If you do not use this additive in your lawn mower gas your mower will spend more time in the shop then on the lawn. I learned the hard way myself. Another tip would be to pour 1/2 oz of stabil right into tank of mower. It should get it started. Most carberator repairs are due to the ethanol in gas. Hope this helps and good luck.
 
Products related to my answer
 
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answer 2
Asked by
Honda
Honda National Office / Alpharetta, GA
August 13, 2013
Hi Scott:

They are all the same; the "K4" (sometimes just a "4", sometimes not shown at all) is a version number code. The most current version of the HRX217VLA is the K4. Not all marketing materials, stickers, or advertising include this number, but it is always on the data plate on the mower deck.

This model has the AutoChoke feature, and for it to work correctly, be sure the engine is kept running at least 3 minutes to fully warm up. It can be hard to restart an AutoChoke engine if you don't let it warm up completely.

The serial number you listed is for a unit that was wholesaled by Honda in March of 2013, and it was probably manufactured in late 2012. Still under warranty, so you should have it inspected and evaluated by a Honda Dealer. They can help troubleshoot any problems with the starter not engaging too. Ask the dealer to also register you as the owner and confirm warranty coverage. Here are some dealers in the Anchorage area:

Honda of Anchorage
4908 Old Seward Hwy
Anchorage, AK 99503-7422
(907) 279-9478

Alaska Specialty Equipment, LLC
6871 Old Seward Hwy
Anchorage, AK 99518-2274
(907) 341-2261

Hartley Motors, Inc.
Po Box 800
Palmer, AK 99645-0800
(907) 745-4868
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answer 3
Asked by
Lawndude
Tampa, FL, USA
August 13, 2013
It's new. Model is hrx2174vka. I did read others were having starting trouble when mower was hot. We have not had that issue. Biggest thing to help improve was stable.
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answer 4
Asked by
LuckMan
Austin, TX
August 13, 2013
If you are using gasoline with ethanol, you need to add a stabilizer you can get an auto parts store or don't use gas with ethanol in it - which is available in many areas. That is the probable source of hard starting because these engines are ubiquitous and used in many applications. There is literally nothing negative to be said about the engineering.

K is a version indicator, in this case you have the 4th version of the HRX217 model mower. I think the absence of the 'K' might mean it is older but functionally means nothing.
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Question

Which Honda transmission is best & easiest for people who want to mow more slowly than most self propelled mowers?

Asked by
snarfy
Ohio
about GCV190 21 in. Smart Drive Variable Speed Self-Propelled Deck Mower on
June 9, 2014
My father is 79, fit as a fiddle, but gets tired easily with his Craftsman front drive single speed mower. I'd like to buy him a Honda, but don't know which transmission to pursue. Smart drive (using thumb grip) or the higher end one that uses a hydrostatic cruise control. I'd be happy to hear success stories if anyone would share.
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answer 1
Asked by
TravisHDAtl
Atlanta, GA
Home Improvement Profile: Professional
June 10, 2014
Hi Snarfy,

I'm Travis from The Home Depot. Thanks for visiting our site.

I have owned my Honda for the past 18 years and sold them in my Home Depot store since 1993. (I have been at HD longer than Honda has!)

The transmissions that you mentioned, hydrostatic and Smart Drive, are both variable speed transmissions that are capable of going as slowly as you want.

The top speed of the hydrostatic equipped mower (HRX-217) is 4 mph. The HRR-216 models have smaller wheels and thusly, will have a slower top speed.

Both models will go at a snails pace, if that's what you want. The speed control begins very slowly and responds with a faster speed as the operator gives more input pressure to the control.

The hydrostatic equipped mower (HRX-217) has two methods for limiting the speed of travel. You can loosen your grip on the drive lever to slow the mower' pace. There is an orange lever that also controls the pace.

The orange lever sets the top speed, so if you wish to reduce the traveling speed, pull the orange lever back, towards the operator. This will reduce the speed.

The Smart Drive control on the HRR-216 can be set to the lowest starting position of the 5 settings to help reduce the input motion by the operator and reduce the traveling speed.

Both of these mowers are great choices to give you exactly what you are asking for, while supplying the superior quality that Honda is known for.

Thank you for asking,

-Travis
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answer 2
Asked by
mmakster
Hannibal, Mo
July 5, 2014
The smart drive variable speed would be perfect...a little push gives some go and so on as you press deeper. The mower is so light that the self-propelled feature isn't even needed at times but plenty of power when you want it!
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answer 3
Asked by
1e9g2e
Memphis, TN, USA
August 30, 2014
in my little experience the single speed on any brand almost the same speed is like you have to follow the speed of the mower; but with the smart drive is like chosen your speed and more easy like you said when using the thumb grip or top handle but also depends the ability of his hand to hold the grip or the handle; i guess for your dad is better the handle because required less effort; but also raiders mowers like zero turn make more enjoyable to do the lawn like l do. thanks.
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answer 4
Asked by
WorkHardPlayHard
Traverse City, Mi
September 5, 2014
I have the HRX217VKA - cone clutch Smart Drive system. Researching cone clutch vs hydrostatic cruise, I thought I would turn up something about how the hydrostatic longevity would be greater than the friction-based cone clutch but found nothing. The cone clutch design has been around forever. I'm sure the hydrostatic is better in some respect, but if you'll see it over the life of the mower, I don't know?

My recommendation between the two is in the interface. I've found the Smart Drive thumb grip to be brilliant. When I think of all the times I need to change speed/stop the drive (tree branches, hills, catch breath, turn mower, ...) I wouldn't want to reach for the lever over simply changing thumb grip pressure.
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Question

Sharpening Blades

Asked by
FredP
Northport, NY
about GCV190 21 in. Smart Drive Variable Speed Self-Propelled Deck Mower on
August 2, 2014
Has anyone had the need to sharpen the mower blades? If so, how long was the mower in use before sharpening became necessary?
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answer 1
Asked by
1e9g2e
Memphis, TN, USA
August 30, 2014
in my case since i bought my honda mower three or four months ago still cut fine; but when is time to resharp the blades; the grass seems like not nice cut; when the grass is free of weeds is more easy for the mower to do the job in one pass but when a lot of weeds you have to resharp the blades more often.
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answer 2
Asked by
Mike
Fleming Island, Florida
Home Improvement Profile: DIYer
August 4, 2014
I recommend sharpening the blades at least once per mowing season, more frequently if area mowed is sandy. Also, take a close look at the grass blades after mowing, you can usually tell if you are getting a clean, smooth cut as opposed to an unven, ragged cut.
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answer 3
Asked by
norb
Jackson,Mi
Home Improvement Profile: DIYer
August 4, 2014
After two months of mowing I sharpen the blades, make sure to mark top or bottom on the blades when you are ready to reinstall. I made this mistake and installed the blades upside down.
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answer 4
Asked by
WorkHardPlayHard
Traverse City, Mi
September 5, 2014
I'm sure I'm obsessive about it, because it is easy for me to do, but I can give you my relative experience.
I mow weekly, ~1.5 hours per mow.
The Toro recycler I replaced - I sharpened every time I mowed.
The Honda - I've been sharpening about every third mow.

Hard to say when 'necessary' is? Perhaps when you notice a loss in cutting performance (worse mulching, more visible dead grass)? - but I don't wait until that point before I sharpen.

One comment about sharpening the Honda lower blade is it is made a bit more difficult because the blade has a slight bend in it as it approaches the center - like a F4U Corsair wing. You can't easily use a flat file or grinding wheel.
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Question

How does the discharge work?

Asked by
Mark
VA
about GCV190 21 in. Smart Drive Variable Speed Self-Propelled Deck Mower on
April 28, 2012
It looks like the discharge is in the rear, how does this work with the rear flap down?
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answer 1
Asked by
justaguy
Cincinnati, OH, USA
May 16, 2012
When the bag is disconnected, and the discharge cover is down (its connected by two springs to keep in closed) there is a space at the bottom of the flap (approximately 2 inches) between the body of the mower and the bottom of the safety flap where the clippings will discharge (straight down toward the groud in front of your feet).
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answer 2
Asked by
Honda
Honda National Office / Alpharetta, GA
April 30, 2012
There is an opening at the bottom of the rear door (flap). When the clippings are blown from the mower deck, they hit the rear flap and fall down out of the opening onto the ground. This method is designed to spread the clippings evenly and works quite nicely. -Robert@Honda
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answer 3
Asked by
LuckMan
Austin, TX
January 15, 2013
With the flap down, the grass is deposited just behind the blades just in front of your feet while you walk. There is a mulch lever that lets you set how much grass makes it to the flap and how much is mulched. You can set it to any setting between full mulch and full release.
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Question

Can the Honda be run on NON-Ethonal gas without damage? if not, why not

Asked by
Poacher
about GCV190 21 in. Smart Drive Variable Speed Self-Propelled Deck Mower on
June 5, 2012
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answer 1
Asked by
Honda
Honda National Office / Alpharetta, GA
June 5, 2012
Sure, it is absolutely okay to use automotive gasoline with zero ethanol in all Honda lawn mowers. It is also okay to use automotive gasoline fuels that contain up to 15% ethanol. 86 octane (usually regular unleaded) is all that's required. You don't need mid-grade or premium fuels with higher octane ratings.

DO NOT use automotive gasoline that contains MORE than 15% ethanol.

It's been our experience fuels containing ethanol have a shorter shelf-life, and can develop sludge or other solids that can cause a blockage in an engine's carburetor. If the mower isn't going to be used for more than 45 days, the fuel should be drained from the tank and carburetor (full procedure is in the owner's manual). Remaining fuel should be treated with a commercially-available stabilizer, or transferred to you car's fuel tank. Some of our customers report best results (no carburetor blockage issues) by using fuels that have zero ethanol, which can be purchased at many selected gas stations and marinas. -Robert@Honda
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answer 2
Asked by
LuckMan
Austin, TX
January 15, 2013
Non ethanol gas is the preferred type of fuel - ethanol causes damage over time.
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answer 3
Asked by
JudW
July 17, 2012
It actually runs better on non ethanol gas. If you use ethanol gas get the additive to help the gas not muck up when stored.
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Question

What do we do if this mower is suddenly hard to start? Used to start first pull, now takes several and my wife can't start it now.

Asked by
Jim
about GCV190 21 in. Smart Drive Variable Speed Self-Propelled Deck Mower on
June 5, 2012
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Answers
answer 1
Asked by
Honda
Honda National Office / Alpharetta, GA
June 5, 2012
Jim, just to confirm, you have this exact model, HRX217VKA? If not, which model do you have?

Generally, "hard to start" often means an issue with the engine not getting enough fuel or too much air. Too little fuel can often mean there is an obstruction or blockage in the carburetor. This can happen if fuel is left untreated or stored too long, sometimes as little as 45 days. Sludge or debris can form and cause issues inside the carburetor. Sometimes a commercial fuel system cleaner can resolve this, and in difficult cases, the carburetor may require overhaul or replacement.

Too much air happens when the choke system is not working properly. This model has a very reliable AutoChoke feature, but it may need adjustment or repair.

Either way, you should contact a servicing Honda Dealer in your area and discuss inspection and repair options. If the inspection reveals a factory defect, Honda will generally pay for warranty repairs. You can located a dealer at this link:

http://powerequipment.honda.com/dealer-locator

-Robert@Honda
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answer 2
Asked by
LuckMan
Austin, TX
January 15, 2013
My guess is you gummed it up with ethanol gas. You might try adding conditioner but if it is ethanol damaged it will have to have engine parts replaced.
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answer 3
Asked by
james
walden n.y.
June 26, 2012
Buy and replace the air filter, replace the spark plug, and change the mower oil and uses the right oil. Check your owner manual. You can find these parts at any Home depot.
Try these simple steps and if the problem doesnt go away seek a honda repair shop in your area.
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Question

Are the cutter blades thinner and more easily damaged than those on a single bladr mower

Asked by
sam
about GCV190 21 in. Smart Drive Variable Speed Self-Propelled Deck Mower on
September 22, 2012
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answer 1
Asked by
LuckMan
Austin, TX
January 15, 2013
No. This mower is superior to almost all others in almost every way - including the superior cut. Any blade will bend if you hit something hard enough, but the Honda mower is top grade.
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answer 2
Asked by
Honda
Honda National Office / Alpharetta, GA
September 24, 2012
The twin-blades are not significantly thinner than a single blade, Sam. You can expect both types to last, provided they are kept sharp, and avoid hitting obstacles or debris in the yard. Use only Honda or equivalent blades when replacing one, and always use a torque wrench to ensure the blade bolts are tightened properly. -Robert@Honda
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answer 3
Asked by
WorkHardPlayHard
Traverse City, Mi
September 5, 2014
I don't find them thinner compared to past Toro mowers. The upper mulching blade is thinner than the lower cutting blade, but is still substantial.
The Toro recycler I replaced with the Honda - I sharpened the blades each time I mowed. The Honda I sharpen about every third mow, so I've found them to be durable.
Online prices seem to be about $15 per blade - $30 to replace the pair.
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Question

How steep can honda hrx 2173 handel?

Asked by
goodpoint
PA
about GCV190 21 in. Smart Drive Variable Speed Self-Propelled Deck Mower on
May 5, 2013
Hi, I have a lawn on a steep hill about 40 degree. I understand that I should cut across rather than up and down. However, there are two blocks besides my house, which are too narrow to go across. Therefore, I have to go up and down the hill. Will this mower handle the 40 degree slope well? I was told by an engineer that one cylinder engine won't last long on high slopes, is that true? Thank you.
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answer 1
Asked by
HondaFan
Owensboro, KY, USA
May 6, 2013
I use a HRX2173VKA on about a 35 degree angle and it works like a champ. The back tires will spin if the grass is damp but it will not stop for lack of power.
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answer 2
Asked by
Honda
Honda National Office / Alpharetta, GA
May 6, 2013
Hi Goodpoint:

Honda does not recommend using any mower on a grade greater than 20 degrees. There are too many risks with loss of traction, even when mowing across the slope. Mowing up and down is more of an issue, if there is a loss of grip, the mower may roll and injure the operator.

Honda mower engines use a splash/dipper and timing belt to provide lubrication to the engine. If tilted beyond 20 degrees, the oil may not be distributed as required. Continuous operation at such an angle will indeed cause more rapid engine wear and eventual failure.

The good news is there are other types of equipment best suited for operation on slopes. Honda trimmers, for example, can be run at any angle, as they have pressurized oil delivery systems. There are also specialty mowers designed specifically for operation on sloped areas, some are even remote controlled. Suggest you ask at a local power equipment dealer or try some google searches for "slope mowers."
-Robert@Honda
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answer 3
Asked by
WorkHardPlayHard
Traverse City, Mi
September 5, 2014
The manual warns of slopes greater than 20 degrees - that the engine can get starved of oil in the air cleaner uphill position.
My hill has to be close to your 40 degrees - steep enough that in one direction my previous Toro would periodically sputter without a full tank of gas and in the other it would every so often blow smoke from burning oil in the exhaust. It seemed quickly changing directions made it worse. I haven't seen such behavior in the Honda, even though I know it is susceptible to both problems. I think the key to the Toro's longevity and to hopes of my Honda's longevity is that I don't spend long in either position - it's in the harmful oil starvation position only long enough to traverse the hill's 60-odd foot width.
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Question

Gasoline Additives

Asked by
FredP
Northport, NY
about GCV190 21 in. Smart Drive Variable Speed Self-Propelled Deck Mower on
October 7, 2014
I've seen a difference of opinion in which fuel stabilizers, carb cleaners, ethanol treatments, etc. to add to the gasoline in this mowers engine. Sea Foam, Sta-Bil, Lucas Safeguard??

Which has worked best for those who've had this mower over a year. One of these, or a combination?
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3 answers
Answers
answer 1
Asked by
Honda
October 8, 2014
For best results, drain all the fuel from the tank when storing the mower more than 90 days. Modern gasoline frequently can go stale very quickly. A simple fuel stabilizer is fine if you are storing for less than 90 days and wish to keep the mower fueled and ready to run. In this situation, keep the tank all the way full. The less air in the tank the longer the fuel will last and not break down. -Robert@Honda
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answer 2
Asked by
1e9g2e
Memphis, TN, USA
Home Improvement Profile: Other
November 11, 2014
well is difficult to chose but some times l use ethanol treatment but in my case l used just fresh gasoline and try to keep the container free of dust and water and clean or replace the spark plug to ensure fast start and clean the carburato. thankyou.
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answer 3
Asked by
NickD
Central Wisconsin
November 11, 2014
I only use ethanol free 91 top tier gasoline. Leave the tank full over the summer or winter so no moisture builds up. This is required by the FAA for aircraft.

When I cleaned my new Honda mower for the winter, pulled out my snowthrower, it started on the very first pull after sitting all spring, summer, and fall.

While the Honda manuals says good for E10, believe that just as much as Santa coming down my real chimney.
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Question

Ethanol Gas

Asked by
Anonymous
Houston,TX
about GCV190 21 in. Smart Drive Variable Speed Self-Propelled Deck Mower on
February 1, 2012
Can the mower or how well does the mower run on ethanol gas (10%)?
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2 answers
Answers
answer 1
Asked by
Honda
Honda National Office / Alpharetta, GA
February 1, 2012
Hi Josh:

All Honda power equipment products should be run with regular unleaded automotive gasoline with a pump octane rating of 86 or higher; it may contain up to 10% ethanol (E10) or 5% methanol by volume. Higher concentrations of ethanol may cause starting and/or performance problems. It may also damage metal, rubber, and plastic parts of the fuel system.
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answer 2
Asked by
LuckMan
Austin, TX
January 15, 2013
Add conditioner with the gas or you will eventually have problems.
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