Honda Fourtrax 300 Repair TRX300

Honda Fourtrax 300 Repair TRX300

This post covers Honda Fourtrax 300 Repair TRX300.  Here we troubleshoot the Honda Fourtrax 300 engine and repair it.  We also explain how I used multimeter to aid in the troubleshooting process.

Honda Fourtrax 300 Repair TRX300

Honda Fourtrax 300 Repair TRX300

The Troubleshooting Process

The first thing I try to do on a simple motor like on the Honda Fourtrax is to break it down to either an electrical issue or a fuel issue.

The easiest way that I have found to do this is to remove the spark plug and then try and start the engine.  Now hold the sparkplug up to the frame of the Honda and try starting it, you should see spark.  If you do, you likely have a fuel issue.  If you do not, you likely have an electrical issue.

Honda Fourtrax 300 Repair TRX300

Honda Fourtrax 300 Repair TRX300

Fuel Issues

At the same time as you are turning the engine with the spark plug out, give a smell and see if you are getting a gas smell out of the spark plug hole.  If you smell gas, that means your fuel line is not clogged.  If you do have spark and you smell fuel, then the fuel mixture could be off.  At this point you need to do a deeper dive into the carburetor and adjust according to the manual or do a carburetor rebuild.  That is not the problem with my Honda today, so we will save carburetor issues for another day.

No Spark

The issue with my Honda is no spark.  There are several things we can check out, but everything is under the gas tank, so we will need to remove that.  It is removed by simply unscrewing one bold underneath the seat and removing the fuel line.  Make sure the tank fuel switch is set to the off position.

Tank Off

Honda Fourtrax 300 Repair TRX300

Honda Fourtrax 300 Repair TRX300

I removed my tank and immediately saw the likely cause of my issues.  There was a great big wad of pink insulation in my wiring harness.  A mouse had decided to make a nest under my gas tank which is on top of my coil and wiring harness.  Now I have to hope that the little critter didn’t chew through the wiring harness, as that would be a big old pain to repair.

Honda Fourtrax 300 Repair TRX300

Honda Fourtrax 300 Repair TRX300

Nest Removed

I removed the nest and inspected the wiring harness.  He did chew through the outer insulation of the wiring harness, but did not chew through any wires.  That is good, but I still have some kind of electrical issue.

Honda Fourtrax 300 Repair TRX300

Honda Fourtrax 300 Repair TRX300

The Coil

There is mouse urine on the coil, which could be causing the spark to short out before the spark plug.  But I need to be sure.  So I removed the coil and checked the system out with a multimeter.  The coil has two wires going into the back side of it.  A green wire which is ground and a black wire which gets 12 volts applied at a certain point as the engine turns.

Multimeter

The multimeter I own came from Harbor Freight Tools.  I had a coupon that let me get the multimeter for free if I bought one other item.  I don’t have a problem finding things to buy at this store, so it was free.  Even if you don’t have a coupon, you can pick one up for under ten dollars.

Ohms

The first thing I did was to check that I had a good connection to ground on the green wire.  Make sure the coil is connected up to the frame with the wire on the screw.  That is your connection to ground.  Then remove the green wire from the back of the coil.  You will check that wire for connectivity to ground.

Set your voltmeter to Ohms and put one lead on the green wire you removed from the coil and touch the other lead to the frame of the Honda.  You should see a direct short.  Depending on which multimeter you have, you will either see a needle move or you will see the meter reading go down near zero.  If you have a good reading here, connect the green wire back up.

Voltage

The next step is to remove the black wire from the coil.  Here we are checking for voltage, so change your multimeter to the DC voltage setting at 20V DC.  You will need to connect one wire of the multimeter to the frame of the Honda and the other to the black wire.  Then with everything in the “On” position on the Honda, push the start switch.  You should see some voltage on the meter.  It will not get up to 12V unless you have a really good multimeter.  It is just a quick 12V spike, so it usually doesn’t measure the full voltage.  Mine only showed between 2 and 4 volts.  Connect the black wire back up.

Coil Issue

If you see voltage there and have a good ground, your coil has everything it needs to generate a spark.  At this point you need to look at the coil as the issue.  In my case, I had a good ground and voltage.  It was a coil issue.  Fortunately, I found a new coil online for about $16.  I ordered that and will install it as well as a new spark plug and give a general tune up on the Honda.

Impatience

I’m a little impatient and didn’t want to wait for the new coil in the mail to prove that was the issue.  So I removed the coil, cleaned up the mouse urine, and reinstalled the coil.  The Honda started right up.  I’m still going to replace it because it is so cheap, but I just wanted to make sure there wasn’t another problem as well.

Happy Homesteader

With this project near complete, with the troubleshooting done at least, I’m a happy homesteader.  Time to move on to another project.

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Epi068 Great Escape Farms Podcast

Epi068 Great Escape Farms Podcast

This post covers Epi068 Great Escape Farms Podcast – The Week in Review, November 2016 Sustainable Homestead Update, Blanching Tomatoes and Freezing Them, and Winterizing Hardy Bananas Musa basjoo.

Great Escape Farms Podcast

Great Escape Farms Podcast

Great Escape Podcast is an audio version of the blog posts from Great Escape Farms, Specializing in Unique Edible Plants, Permaculture Gardens, and Homesteading. The blog posts can be viewed at GreatEscapeFarms.com.

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Winterizing Hardy Bananas Musa basjoo

Winterizing Hardy Bananas Musa basjoo

This post is about Winterizing Hardy Bananas Musa basjoo.  We go over the various steps to winterize as well as when to remove the heavy mulch.

Why Winterize

This weekend I winterized the hardy banana bushes.  If I mulch them up to 3-foot-high, they will start growing at the level next year.  Normally they grow to about ten feet.  If I winterize them, they will grow up to twelve feet or more next year.

Trim Them

Winterizing Hardy Bananas Musa basjoo

Winterizing Hardy Bananas Musa basjoo

The first thing to do is to trim them back to about three foot high.  I use a sheet rock saw to cut them back.  Make sure you put a little bit of an angle on your cut.  You do not want to make a perfectly level cut.  If it is at a bit of an angle, then any water will run off and won’t rot the stalk.

Lay all of the top parts off to the side.  We will use these later.

Winterizing Hardy Bananas Musa basjoo

Winterizing Hardy Bananas Musa basjoo

Wall of Leaves

Winterizing Hardy Bananas Musa basjoo

Winterizing Hardy Bananas Musa basjoo

I have been collecting bags of leaves for the last couple of weeks now.  At this point I put the bags of leave around the cut back banana plants as well as in the center.  Then I stuff loose leaves in between the bags to form a good solid wall of leaves.

Winterizing Hardy Bananas Musa basjoo

Winterizing Hardy Bananas Musa basjoo

Winterizing Hardy Bananas Musa basjoo

Winterizing Hardy Bananas Musa basjoo

Banana Tops

Now lay the banana tops across the leaves and bags of leaves.  This will hold all of the loose leave in place and prevent the wind from blowing them away.  I get a lot of wind and if I didn’t do this step, most of the leaves would be gone in a month.  I crisscross the banana tops so they form a good mesh across the top.

Winterizing Hardy Bananas Musa basjoo

Winterizing Hardy Bananas Musa basjoo

Mulch Removal

I remove the banana tops and leaves between mid-February and mid-March.  You don’t want to remove them too early and have the temperature go down into the low twenties again, as this could kill the stalks back to the ground.  But you also don’t want to leave them on too long as it will stifle the growth of new shoots.

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Blanching Tomatoes and Freezing Them

Blanching Tomatoes and Freezing Them

This post goes over Blanching Tomatoes.  We will go over the entire process of blanching tomatoes, including the preparation and freezing them after blanching.

Too Many

This summer I had several occasions where I had an overabundance of tomatoes.  It got to the point where I could not give them away fast enough and some of them were starting to over ripen.

Blanching Tomatoes and Freezing Them

Blanching Tomatoes and Freezing Them

Too Busy

Many times during the peak tomato season I was too busy to actually make anything with them.  While there are several recipes I could make, most involve canning, which simply takes too much time when I have a million other things going on at once.

The Fix

The fix for me is to simply blanch and freeze the tomatoes.  I can do this and then when I have more free time in the fall and winter, I can pull them out of the freezer and cook away.

Wash’em Up

The first step is to pull off any green stems left on the tomatoes.  Then they need to be thoroughly rinsed off.  Then I cut out any bad spots.  I also use a knife and make a small “X” in the bottom of the tomato.  This will make it easier to remove the skin later.

Boil them Quickly

The next step is to bring a pot of water up to a boil.  Then drop the tomatoes in the boiling water for about sixty seconds.  After the sixty seconds, use a slotted spoon and remove the tomatoes and put them directly into cold water to stop the cooking.  After they have cooled off a little I put them in a strainer to drip dry. blanching-tomatoes2

Remove the Skin

I then grab the tomatoes and remove the skin and any remaining bad spots.  Then I cut the tomatoes into about one-inch cubes and they are ready for a bag.

The Bag

I take 1 gallon bags and mark them with “Blanched Tomatoes” and the date.  Then I put the tomatoes in the bag and put them in the freezer.  I will pull them out later this year when I’m ready to use them.  All I will need to do is to defrost them and they are ready to go.

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November 2016 Sustainable Homestead Update

November 2016 Sustainable Homestead Update

The November 2016 Sustainable Homestead Update is a split weekend update.  By that I mean it covers projects from both the WV and MD homesteads.

November 2016 Sustainable Homestead Update

November 2016 Sustainable Homestead Update

Groundhog Update

The groundhog is still trying to get under the deck.  He has been digging and trying to get in his old holes about twice a month since I buried chicken wire back in August.   He is now trying to chew through the chicken wire and just this week started trying to chew through the lattice work.

November 2016 Sustainable Homestead Update

November 2016 Sustainable Homestead Update

Mowing the Fields

My goal was to mow the field behind the garden area as well as the field in front of the mobile home next door.  Once complete the plan was to remove the mower from the tractor for the year and attach the hay spear so I could move some hay.  Well, I finished mowing the field behind the garden, but I bent a blade when I was mowing the field in front of the mobile home next door.  I think I did enough to say I’m done mowing for the year, but I need to replace the bent blade before I disconnect the mower, so the hay spear will have to wait.

Hay and Wood Chips

I had three round-bales of hay delivered a couple of weeks ago.  They hay needs to be moved a little to make room for wood chips.  I got a hold of a wood trimmer and he is going to be dropping wood chips off for the next couple of weeks.  I have hopes of getting ten loads in the next couple of weeks.   The hay and wood chips will be used for mulch and soil building in the food forest area.

Free Pallets

I was perusing through Craig’s list and found a post that offered up free pallets.  So I took my trailer out and picked up 14 pallets and brought them out to the WV farm.  I’m going to use the pallets for some mushroom logs in later winter or early spring.  I will cut down some trees and cut the logs into manageable sizes.  Then I will inoculate the logs with mushroom spores.  Time to do a little mushroom farming.

November 2016 Sustainable Homestead Update

November 2016 Sustainable Homestead Update

Cheap Firehose

I was doing a little more browsing on Craig’s list and found some trash pumps for sale.  On the same page they had some firehose pretty cheap.  So I went out and bought 700 foot of 2-1/2 inch fire hose and brought them out to the farm.  I will buy the water pump sometime in the future.  I will use the pump and the firehose to pump water from the stream into the ponds.  The ponds have been quite low this year because of the drought.

Revamping the Garden

November 2016 Sustainable Homestead Update

November 2016 Sustainable Homestead Update

In preparation for moving to the farm and selling the MD residence, I am removing a lot of my garden beds.  I will be digging up the herbs, strawberries, and some other plants and moving them to the WV location.  I also dug up a lot of blackberry suckers this year and will take some to WV and sell some through the nursery.  This weekend I did manage to get three of the beds cleaned up and ready to be removed.

November 2016 Sustainable Homestead Update

November 2016 Sustainable Homestead Update

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Epi067 Great Escape Farms Podcast

Epi067 Great Escape Farms Podcast

This post covers Epi067 Great Escape Farms Podcast – The Week in Review, Toro GTS 6.5 won’t start, Propagating Blackberries via Tipping or Layering, and Harvesting Maypop Passiflora Incarnata.

Great Escape Farms Podcast

Great Escape Farms Podcast

Great Escape Podcast is an audio version of the blog posts from Great Escape Farms, Specializing in Unique Edible Plants, Permaculture Gardens, and Homesteading. The blog posts can be viewed at GreatEscapeFarms.com.

If you would like to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, you can do so by clicking on Great Escape Podcast.

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Great Escape Farms Podcast

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Harvesting Maypop Passiflora Incarnata

Harvesting Maypop Passiflora Incarnata

This post is about Harvesting Maypop Passiflora Incarnata.  Here we show you when and how to harvest these fruits that are native to the eastern United States.

Harvesting Maypop Passiflora Incarnata

Harvesting Maypop Passiflora Incarnata

 

The Basics

Maypop Passiflora incarnata is an attractive vine that flowers in the early summer and then produces two-inch-long fruit that is shaped like a chicken egg and is ready to pick in the fall.  It is a hardy perennial that survives down to -20F and is hardy in USDA zones 5-9 and is native to the Eastern United States. The vines freeze down to the ground each winter. Maypop gets its name by popping out of the ground in May.

A Little Behind

My maypop plants are a little behind and will not all get fully ripe because it is so late in the year.  The reason my maypop is behind is because I was steadily cutting them back to the ground through the end of June.  The maypop is growing in a blueberry and blackberry patch and I wanted to let those fruit full ripen in full sun before I let the maypops takeover.  After July forth, I let them go.

Beautiful Flowers

The maypop has beautiful flowers.  They are extremely fragrant and bumble bees just love them.  You’ll sometimes see three bumblebees on one flower.

Harvesting Maypop Passiflora Incarnata

Harvesting Maypop Passiflora Incarnata

Quite Aggressive

The one issue I do have with maypop is they can be a little aggressive with their suckering.  I planted one plant three years ago near my garden area.  The first year it did just fine.  The second year it suckered a good bit.  I just pulled the suckers out of the ground and tossed them into my compost bin.  Well they rooted in my compost bin which is next to my blackberry patch.  Now they are coming up all over the place in my blackberry patch.

Awesome Fruit

The fruit has a tropical fruit flavor and makes a wonderful juice.  The fruit is similar to pomegranate in that it is a flesh wrapped around a seed.  Make sure you don’t pick them too soon though.  They are sour, kind of like a lemon if you pick them before they are fully ripe.

Harvesting Maypop Passiflora Incarnata

Harvesting Maypop Passiflora Incarnata

Ripe Fruit

The ripe fruit is a little yellow on the bottom and starting to shrivel up.  If you open the seed pod, the fruit around the seeds are a yellow color when ripe.  If they are white in color, they are going to be sour.

The Harvest

In order to harvest the fruit, simply pull them off of the vine.  Don’t worry about harming the vine because the vine is going to die back to the ground, as it does every fall.

Crack it Open

To get at the fruit around the seeds, just pull the seed pod open.  It is a soft pod around the seeds and is easy to just pull apart with your fingers.  Then just pull the fruit out and enjoy.

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Propagating Blackberries via Tipping or Layering

Propagating Blackberries via Tipping or Layering

This video is about Propagating Blackberries via Tipping or Layering.  These wonderful bushes propagate themselves and we show you how to dig them up and transplant them.

Propagating Blackberries via Tipping or Layering

Propagating Blackberries via Tipping or Layering

Rooting Themselves

The blackberry plants that I have, grow into almost a vine and extend out for up to twenty feet.  Anywhere that they touch the ground they root.  This is sometimes done on purpose and it is called tipping or layering.  To make a new plant all you have to do is cut the plant stem about six inches above where it sprouted new roots.  The next year the plant will sprout new stalks and grow into a new bush.

Propagating Blackberries via Tipping or Layering

Propagating Blackberries via Tipping or Layering

Potting Them Up

After I have cut the plant stem above the sprouted new roots, I put them in a pot.  I’m using five inch pots for these cuttings.  The first thing I do is to put a layer of soil on the bottom of the pot.  I only put about a half to three quarters of an inch of soil on the bottom.  Then I put the plant in and it usually requires me to fold up the roots to get them to fit.  This is no big deal because the rooting system will be unfolded and spread out prior to planting.  After the roots are in the pot, then I cover them with some more soil and water them.

Propagating Blackberries via Tipping or Layering

Propagating Blackberries via Tipping or Layering

Protect from Freezing

I will bring these pots into the garage during the months of January and February.  This is so the roots don’t get below 20-degrees Fahrenheit, which would kill the plants.  The plant can withstand temperatures below 20-degrees if it is in the ground because the ground will not actually get that cold.  In a pot the roots will get colder because the ground can’t insulate them, so they need protection.

Planting

The best time to plant these cuttings would be in the fall.  This would allow them to start building their root system over winter and if they are in the ground, the root system is protected more.

The next best time to plant them is in the spring as soon as the ground is workable.  I will be selling some of these at Great Escape Nursery.  They will ship in the spring as bare root plants.

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Toro GTS 6.5 Wont Start How to Troubleshoot and Repair The Engine

Toro GTS 6.5 Wont Start How to Troubleshoot and Repair The Engine

My Toro GTS 6.5 wont start and this post is how to troubleshoot and repair the engine.  We will cover troubleshooting steps and how to narrow down possible issues.

Toro GTS 6.5 Wont Start How to Troubleshoot and Repair The Engine

Toro GTS 6.5 Wont Start How to Troubleshoot and Repair The Engine

The Problem

I have a Toro GTS 6.5 that worked fine.  I put it away in the garage and when I pulled it out a few weeks later to mow the lawn, it did not start.  Nothing really changed that I’m aware of, it just didn’t start.

Troubleshoot – Divide by 2

The first thing we want to do when troubleshooting a small engine is to figure out if it is a fuel problem or an electrical problem.  It pretty much has to be one of the two problems.  Once we figure this out, we have divided the problem in half.

Spark

To tell if it is an electrical issue, see if you have spark.  I do this by removing the spark plug, hooking up the top part to the coil wire and using jumper cables, like you use to jump a battery in a car, to ground the base of the spark plug.

Then tie down the on/off/safety lever on the push handle so that is in the on position.  Give a couple of tugs on the pull cord and see if you have spark.  If you do, the engine likely has a fuel issue.  If there is not spark, look future into the electrical system.

Make sure the base of the plug has a good ground connection.  Make sure it is not too bright where you are checking for spark as it may be too bright to see the spark.

Toro GTS 6.5 Wont Start How to Troubleshoot and Repair The Engine

Toro GTS 6.5 Wont Start How to Troubleshoot and Repair The Engine

Fuel

One of the things I check while the spark plug is out and you are tugging on the pull cord is if fuel is flowing.  You should be able to smell a little gas mixture coming out of the hole where the spark plug is removed from.  If not, there could be a fuel issue.

For a fuel issue check kinks or clogs in the fuel line, water in the fuel tank or fuel line, make sure there is gas in the tank, and clean the carburetor.  Also check the air filter and make sure it is not clogged up.  To work properly, your engine needs a fuel and air mixture.

Back to Electrical

My lawnmower had fuel and did not have spark, so I’ll focus on that part of the system.  If you do not have spark, there are only a few things it could be.  The spark plug itself, the coil assembly, or the safety mechanism that shuts the system off.

Spark Plug

If there is no spark, there is no easy way to test a spark plug that I’m aware of, other than replacing it.  Spark plugs are relatively cheap, so I just bought a new one.  Make sure you have the right gap on the plug.  Check your owner’s manual or look your mower up on the internet to figure out the right gap.  I did mine right around 22 thousandths of an inch, measured with a feeler gauge.

Toro GTS 6.5 Wont Start How to Troubleshoot and Repair The Engine

Toro GTS 6.5 Wont Start How to Troubleshoot and Repair The Engine

Safety Mechanism

The safety mechanism is on the handle and connects to the engine with a cable.  When the safety mechanism is not pulled back in the running position, it is actually grounding out the coil so it cannot make a spark.  To test and see if this is the problem, you can remove the wire from the safety mechanism to the coil.  With the top off of the lawnmower this is easy to access.  The wire slips onto a lug on the coil, so you do not have to cut the wire and can easily replace it.

Toro GTS 6.5 Wont Start How to Troubleshoot and Repair The Engine

Toro GTS 6.5 Wont Start How to Troubleshoot and Repair The Engine

Warning: Only use the bypass methods here for troubleshooting while doing repairs.  Never bypass safety features during actual operation of your device.

Coil

There could be a couple of things with the coil.  It could be spaced too far away from the flywheel to create a spark or it could be broken and need replacement.  I measured mine to 22 thousandths of an inch.  I also ended up replacing my coil.

After replacing the coil and spacing it at 22 thousandths of an inch, I have spark.  I buttoned the system up and the lawnmower started right up.

Toro GTS 6.5 Wont Start How to Troubleshoot and Repair The Engine

Toro GTS 6.5 Wont Start How to Troubleshoot and Repair The Engine

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Epi066 Great Escape Farms Podcast

Epi066 Great Escape Farms Podcast

This post covers Epi066 Great Escape Farms Podcast – The Week in Review, The Week in Review, Baltimore City Fruit Tree Partnership Program, Collecting and Saving Paw Paw Seeds, and Garage Plumbing Winterization

Great Escape Farms Podcast

Great Escape Farms Podcast

Great Escape Podcast is an audio version of the blog posts from Great Escape Farms, Specializing in Unique Edible Plants, Permaculture Gardens, and Homesteading. The blog posts can be viewed at GreatEscapeFarms.com.

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Want to Help our Small Business Out?

Any time you are going to buy something from Amazon, please go through our site. All you have to do is click the Amazon button on the menu bar at the top of every page on our web site. That link will take you to Amazon and you then shop as you normally do. It does NOT cost you one penny more! Thank you very much for helping to support our small business!

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