Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Southeastern Pa.
I don't have experience with LCT engines but did you check the oil level both times with the machine in the same location and position? If the dipstick goes in at an angle the reading can be skewed if the engine is in a slightly different position.
Also,if running synthetic oil after the initial break-in (4hours or whatever) may not allow the rings to fully seat. The 4 hour break in oil change is mainly to get the metal particles and presumably assembly lube flushed out, engine aren't fully broken in for many more hours. According to Kohler for example, they recommend waiting to 50 hours before changing to synth. oil.
The Predator (Harbor Freight) engine owner's manual for the 212cc model says the "operational break in" is about 3 hours during which not to apply excessive loads and not to run at full speed, then it says the "maintenance break-in" lasts about 20 hours after which change the oil. Point is it takes time to break it in.
There is the off-chance that the engine was build slightly out of tolerance with regards to the cylinder or rings. Best bet is to top it off to the mark, then use it to see if it drops enough to be certain that it did actually use some.
2003 Snapper I55224 - 5.5HP Tecumseh OHV OHSK55 (195cc)
2016 Toro Snowmaster 724QXE - Loncin 212cc, 2017/18 Toro PowerMax 724OE - Loncin 212cc