Two weeks ago my trusty roto-tiller a four year-old Troy-Bilt CRT Pro, decided to croak in the middle of my little lake house garden. Just from experience, I knew I had a fuel problem. After checking fuel flow through the filter and seeing it was fine, I knew I had a carburetor issue. Normally I think varnish has built up in the ports or on the needles, so I picked up a bottle of Sea-Foam and Carburetor cleaner.
This is the second Honda carb I have worked on and the last time, the results were not so sporty. On that carburetor the float had picked up a hole and the local dealer sold my step-son a complete carburetor. All we needed was a new float. This time around I was expecting a float problem also, as the tiller is used frequently, so spoiled fuel should not have been an issue. On the GC-160 Honda engine, I was surprised to see that only two bolts were used to secure the entire air filter, carburetor and diaphragm assemblies. I was hoping to try out my new Kobalt Sockets and Ratchet, but after removing the two cap screws, everything flopped free from the engine. I mean the fuel tank, the carb, the diaphragms and all the vacuüm lines and fuel lines were now in my hands. after disconnecting the throttle/governor connection and choke actuator, the entire assembly was free.
Kudos to Honda for simplifying the fastening of an entire system using just two cap screws, but that is a lot of items to keep aligned when reassembling the carburetor et al back to the intake. After removing the carb bowl to access the float and needles, I could inspect the general condition of the carburetor. Very little varnish was seen, but I still gave all of the ports, valves and needles a thorough cleaning with carburetor cleaner. I also discovered after removing the float that the float needle was detached from the float and was stuck in the closed position. After cleaning the needle and seat I reassembled the carburetor. Making sure that the float needle was clicked into place on the float and moving smoothly. I reattached the carburetor bowl and reinstalled the carburetor, to the manifold shield, the diaphragm bracket and the air cleaner housing using the two bolts to align the holes. I attached the small spring and throttle rod to the carburetor along with the small choke actuator rod and slid the entire apparatus back on the motor. I screwed the two bolts to the intake and all that was left was to attach the fuel lines, gas tank and vapor lines and the job was finished.
I added the Sea Foam additive and gave the starter cord a pull and thankfully the GC 160 came to life and I finished my tilling. I dread carburetor work. But this time the task was very easy. I do recommend taking digital photos of everything before after and during tear down. I use the images to make sure all the hoses are hooked up just as they shipped from the factory and it also helped me when reassembling the throttle linkage and springs. This year I am short on tillers as a new garden plot was started on some family land in my mother’s home town. So having my current tillers in running order is even more important than ever with three garden locations. With a can of cleaner and an hour or two, you can easily rebuild/renovate one of these carburetors and have your OPE tool running smoothly again.