Heat Cycling and Break-in
Please run the engines in a bucket of water. This helps torque the gearbox and drive system. It also reduces any harmonic noise from the drive system being run without any back pressure.
On all 4 stroke engines, it is imperative that you cycle the engines through full warm up (about 10 minutes). Let the engine cool down and repeat the same procedure 2 more times and check oil levels. During this process cycle the throttle and rev it up occasionally and back to idle. Honda engines do not technically need break-in, but it is always good to run the engine and make any throttle adjustments before you hit the water.
Check the oil level immediately and fill up to the upper level if needed. 30 weight oil works great in the warmer climates. Adjust weight if necessary depending on season.
Once you have a few hours on the engine, I normally fully drain all 4 strokes and refill them with new oil. 4 oz. of oil is required. Do not overfill. Fresh oil is the key to engine longevity. Engine damage and seizing will occur. Protect the investment. Always check oil levels before and after every trip to maximize life on all size power-heads. Don't void warranties by being careless. No low oil shut-off switches are found on these small 4 strokes with the exception of the Honda GXV50 engine. The larger 5 hp and up vertical engines commonly have this feature and a much larger oil sump. The safe zone for all Honda and non-branded small 4 strokes is to check your oil every trip, and top off after a day of hard run time.
|30 Weight Crankcase Oil||4.0 Oz.|
|*90 Weight Gear Box Oil||*Fill until it seeps from filler opening and use RTV sealant on bolt threads|
|Air Filter||Honda Paper Element|
|Shear Pin||3.75mm x 27mm|
|**Drive Shaft||**Clean and grease spline to spline|
|***WD-40 / Marine CRC||***All external surfaces exposed to water|
Each time the leg is used wipe it clean with soap and water and clean and coat all surfaces with a CRC Marine or WD-40 to prevent any unnecessary salt and corrosion issues.
No matter what type of engine you are using, check the oil regularly. The 4-stroke Honda takes a small amount of 30 weight oil in the crankcase, but check the reference material that comes with the engine. Do not add more oil than the recommendation, as this will foul the plugs and make starting harder. On Honda engines lay the engine on its side with the prop pointing to the sky and the oil filler pointing up as well. Do not fill the engine with it mounted vertically. (30 weight oil@ 4.0 Oz.)
All models of the vertical engines comes with centrifugal clutches that operate on variable RPM levels . It is important that every 6 months, you unbolt the power head and clean the clutch bell of dust and any rust occurring from salt spray intrusion. When I build my engines, there is no gasket between the engine and clutch housing, so I press marine bearing grease in the seam around the housing , so no water enters. Wipe off all excess. This holds up for many trips and keeps any salt spray out. The bottom of the housing that bolts to the drive line vents the heat downward, so do not fill or close this area.
The lower drive gear box should have the oil changed once every 30-40 hours. It comes pre-filled in the upgraded version, so no immediate maintenance is needed. I pull my engine, clutch housing, and drive shaft out to perfrom the oil change and then I grease the driveshaft. The gear oil only needs to be filled up to about 70% of the gearbox case. Do not overfill it. If you add to much oil it will find its way past a seal. These engines spin upwards of 7,000 RPM. (90 weight oil)
Do a visual inspection on all bolts, since these engines get abused and run hard, vibration can loosen bolts. Thread lock medium works great and can be cleaned from the threads as the maintenance is completed.
Why write about this you may ask. Well, it has happened to me. Depending how long it is submerged and the depth of the water, all hope is not lost. When possible disconnect the power head, tilt the leg upside down and let the water exit, unbolt the clutch housing and spray all of the bearings, shaft, etc. with WD-40 as such once it is right side up. Let it soak for a few minutes and let it drip out and dry. Clean and spray the clutch housing and bearing and let it dry. Wipe the bell where the clutch sits, so it is dry and will not contaminate the clutch itself. Otherwise, a new clutch will be needed. As far as the engine, pull the plug, carburetor, and gas tank and spray it thoroughly and let it soak and then dry. Check for oil contamination and replace as needed. Don’t risk a locked up motor and do not try to start the engine if water has made it to the piston.
If a part is needed, because of damage, feel free to call and find out about the availability of the part. Control arms, mounts, kill switch covers, clutch housings, gear boxes, and props are usually always in stock. There is not too much that will go wrong with these units, but life happens.