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#1 OFFLINE   Keith

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 10:01 PM

I am considering the Lifan 420, this is a Honda GX 390 clone that is sold by Home Depot and Harbor Freight as the Predator.
These 15 HP motors can be bought for $350 at HF (about $400 at Home Depot). I have heard nothing really bad about
the Lifan 420 - most Honda parts interchange, just anecdotal stories that the alloy in the block is lower quality than the Honda.
My tractor (800 Special) has an 8 HP B&S which I have been told might cost twice as much to rebuild as a new Lifan 420.
Plus the Lifan is rated at 15 HP.

The question I have relates to the centerline of the crankshaft on the OEM 8 HP B&S motor being about 4 inches above the
bottom of the block. The Lifan by my measurements is about 5-3/8 inch above the bottom ( I think per Honda it is actually
5-1/2 inch). How does this height difference affect the belt guard? I think the Lifan is basically a bolt in swap for the Honda
GX so if the Lifan busts I will get a Honda after the HF 2-year wuarrantee expires, otherwise I have a cheap motor.

I know some have used the GX 390 in a Wheel Horse like mine. What is involved in such a swap where the dimensions of
the block are not the same? I am mostly concerned that the crank of the Lifan 420 is about 1+ inch raised compared
to the OEM motor.

Sure. I would like a cast iron Kohler 12 HP or so. But the Lifan is pretty economical for a brand new motor. The 2-year
no questions asked warrantee is a big factor as the HF stores do honor this policy. I am not planning on using the tractor
for mowing, I will use it to tow and to push a blade for leveling a driveway.

#2 OFFLINE   Wheel-N-It

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 10:16 PM

Sounds like an easy swap if all to be concerned with is the beltguard. Of course the belt length could be a facor but no worries there. I hate seeing more of our money going to China, but I'm as guilty as the next person for buying an engine or tools at Harbor Freight.
And yes I know what you mean about the price of rebuilding an American engine. One week from tomorrow I am scheduled to take a Kohler K-341 to a guy down the road from me for him to rebuild it. Before its all over I will have 700 or 800 dollars in the rebuild, maybe a little more including rebuilding the carb. That does include removing and replacing the engine and testing and tuning it. But hey, thats the going rate, and I gotta have it.
Speaking of Harbor Freight, is anyone seeing them selling V-twin Honda clones there yet?

Van's horses listed below
1991  312-8 Kohler Magnum 12
1986  416-8 Kohler K341
1986  417-A Kohler KT17 Series 2
1984  C-165 Kohler K341
1987  414-8 Kohler Magnum 14

1993  314 HYDRO Kohler Magnum 14

1987  416-8 Kohler Magnum 16

1995?  312 HYDRO Kohler Magnum 12


#3 OFFLINE   Keith

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 10:51 PM

The HF 420 is painted blue. The same motor from Home Depot is black. I'll bet that someone sells the Lifan in red.

What I read if after lawsuits from Honda Lifan "improved" its GX 390 clone by enlarging the cylinder bore for 30 cc more displacement to make it to not be a 100 percent match. The really popular Honda clone from Lifan is the 6-1/2 HP version. At HF those sell for $100 on sale. The complaints about inferior alloy come from kart racers who boost the power of the Lifan to multiples of the original output, but the alloy blocks in the Honda may also crack when those are highly modified. There is a lot of aftermarket support for the 6-1/2 HP Lifan, not so much for the larger models.

I really the cast iron Kohlers, but I think even the new Kohlers are alloy. I believe Kohler is also moving its production to China. Honda components are already made in China.

#4 OFFLINE   bowtiebutler956

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 04:46 PM

We am running two of these 420cc clones on our off road buggies, and their great! One is a Home Depot 15hp non-electric start $250, the other is a DuroMax 16hp from Max Tool Online $290 with electric start. Those prices both include shipping. I opened up both of them and removed their governor gears before I ever started them, and added open headers. These little motors can take a lickin and keep on ticken! :thumbs:

Matt :flags-texas:

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#5 OFFLINE   can whlvr

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 08:43 PM

well im going to stir the pot a little,i have 4 or 5 hondas(real thing)a 13hp on my 308,i cant tell you about the comparison between the 308 and the commando in respect to the crank centering but on the 308 it came with the riser plate to make up the diff between the 8 hp and the 10-16,s,so for me it was so easy,just bolted the 13hp right on,and i had the 1 inch pullie from the 8hp,i had to take a dremel tool and grind the outer portion of the crank fight next to the block as it flared out and the pullie woulnt go tight up against the block,and i had to take the headlights out for the exhaust to exit,but i really like it,now to stir the pot,i have a chinese knock off and i hate it,i will never get another one,i have never had had roblems with any of my hondas,the chinese crap has been nothing but greif and now sits on a shelf because the ignition blew,some guys have good luck with them,i havnt,down there cant you get a used kohler for the same kinda cash,but thats only my experience with the china junk
don from hockley valley ontario,1975c160auto,1975c160-8,1975c120auto,1978c101-8,1986308-8,1987414-8,1989414-8,1990 312-h lots decks,a tiller,some throwers,a blade or two and other non horse stuff

#6 OFFLINE   bowtiebutler956

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 09:09 PM

well im going to stir the pot a little,i have 4 or 5 hondas(real thing)a 13hp on my 308,i cant tell you about the comparison between the 308 and the commando in respect to the crank centering but on the 308 it came with the riser plate to make up the diff between the 8 hp and the 10-16,s,so for me it was so easy,just bolted the 13hp right on,and i had the 1 inch pullie from the 8hp,i had to take a dremel tool and grind the outer portion of the crank fight next to the block as it flared out and the pullie woulnt go tight up against the block,and i had to take the headlights out for the exhaust to exit,but i really like it,now to stir the pot,i have a chinese knock off and i hate it,i will never get another one,i have never had had roblems with any of my hondas,the chinese crap has been nothing but greif and now sits on a shelf because the ignition blew,some guys have good luck with them,i havnt,down there cant you get a used kohler for the same kinda cash,but thats only my experience with the china junk

To date we've had 5 china honda clones, and they've all been great motors. They have taken horrible beatings on our buggies, and have survived the test of time. Three of them were the 6.5 Harbor frieght $100 specials, and two of the 420cc. The two big ones we've only had a little over 6 months, but without governors they've been run far beyond the stock limitations, and the rods haven't exited the blocks yet. :ychain: As far as I'm concerned, they can't be touched for the price. :twocents-02cents:

Matt :flags-texas:

#7 OFFLINE   sorekiwi

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 09:32 PM

I cant help you with specifics, but one thing you need to keep in mind if your crank centerline ends up in a different place is that this may complicate any engine driven attachments you want to use.

It may end up being a real headache to have to adapt a mower deck, snow blower or tiller to the new pulley location.
Mike in North East Ohio

#8 OFFLINE   Keith

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 10:02 PM

I meant to post this in customizations. I got a 16 HP Kohler. The 6.5 Lifan is on sale for $99 at HF. My Horse will have an iron Kohler.
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#9 OFFLINE   can whlvr

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 07:22 PM

i think you have made a very good decision,and you got the king of single cylinder big block kohler,congrats
don from hockley valley ontario,1975c160auto,1975c160-8,1975c120auto,1978c101-8,1986308-8,1987414-8,1989414-8,1990 312-h lots decks,a tiller,some throwers,a blade or two and other non horse stuff

#10 OFFLINE   littleredrider

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 08:43 PM

I got a 13 horse clone from HF two years ago. I had it on my 63 lawn ranger, mostly for snow blower and towing a trailer around. I put the mower deck on it late last year, mowed a couple times with it. I took the 13 horse off to put a K181 on it, did a "duh" on the K181 so put the 13 horse back on. It hasn't been run since last fall, mounted it, filled the tank with fresh gas, and after the recoil decided it wanted to break, it started on the third pull. Other than being misshaped compared to Kohler's, Briggs, Tecky's etc, they are great inexpensive little engines.

1963 Lawn Ranger 13 horse
1964 854
1965 1045 long hood 10 horse diesel Frankenstein

1965 1045 project

1974 JD 70 16 horse twin!!!


#11 OFFLINE   bowtiebutler956

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 12:11 AM

So you have a K-341 now? :scared-eek: As much as I like how economical the clones are, the K-341 is the ultimate Kohler!!! :woohoo:

Matt :flags-texas:

#12 OFFLINE   Keith

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 12:45 AM

I got a 16 HP Magnum . It runs but it might be a good time to freshen it up to make it like new. First I need to do a basic compression test. It is very heavy, that is about all I know for sure right now.

#13 OFFLINE   can whlvr

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 09:44 PM

as you may know the magnum is basically a k series with some differences,ignition is a module :thumbs: flywheel has a removable plastic air fins :thumbs: different sheetmtal and starter,but the guts are the same so a magnum is a very good engine,better than any china motor,and i have a horse with a honda,i really like the honda but its no kohler in my opinion
don from hockley valley ontario,1975c160auto,1975c160-8,1975c120auto,1978c101-8,1986308-8,1987414-8,1989414-8,1990 312-h lots decks,a tiller,some throwers,a blade or two and other non horse stuff




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