Is Honda hydrostatic transmission auto turn? - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums
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post #1 of 25 Old 02-25-2020, 12:28 PM Thread Starter
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Is Honda hydrostatic transmission auto turn?

Are all Honda snowblowers that have hydrostatic drive turn easy? You know, like the the auto-turn feature that is on newer snowblowers.
I'm looking at a Honda 724, year 2009 right now. It has hydrostatic drive of course.

I never looked into Honda snowblowers, so I'm just wondering.

Thanks
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post #2 of 25 Old 02-25-2020, 01:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dman2 View Post
Are all Honda snowblowers that have hydrostatic drive turn easy? You know, like the the auto-turn feature that is on newer snowblowers.
I'm looking at a Honda 724, year 2009 right now. It has hydrostatic drive of course.

I never looked into Honda snowblowers, so I'm just wondering.

Thanks
Short answer - no, it will have a solid axle. Newer HSS models have trigger steering, but that is also not the same as auto turn.
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post #3 of 25 Old 02-25-2020, 03:38 PM
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All Honda HS models use the solid "Live" axle that is a Honda built transmission, a FAR BETTER transmission than the steerable HSS models that use the Hydro-Gear transmission.
The HSS models are the "Steerable" with the trigger that unlocks an axle. Extra parts that break on a light duty transmission that is nowhere near as reliable as the old HS model Honda built transmissions.
HS - Honda Snowblower
HSS - Honda Steerable Snowblower
Your older Honda HS models were built a lot better, especially the 624 and 828 models with nowhere near the problems the new HSS models kept having.
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post #4 of 25 Old 02-25-2020, 04:25 PM
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That’s not entirely accurate.

The HS hydro is stout but has right side transmission( gear reduction box) issues over time that may require a tear down and repair over time. Installing a grease fitting and pumping some low viscosity grease pretty much resolves that if you catch it early enough. This machine is much much more difficult to maneuver. Simple good technique and accurate expectations are important.

The HSS hydrogear trans is extremely stout. No gear reduction box necessary but did have an early production issue with fluid aeration which has been resolved. An external reservoir fixed the early afflicted models. I own one of these models and it has been flawless since. This thing is very very easy to maneuver, I have used An autoturn track machine and it does not compare.

The trigger steering is an internal disconnect integral to the transmission. The trans has only been used for 4-5 years but I haven’t heard of a problem with this system yet, and I wouldn’t assume future issues. Externally mounted disconnects used on friction drive transmissions have a greater risk of issues due to lack of lubrication and corrosion. *knock on wood*.

It’s important to keep the trigger in a fully locked or disconnected position, half engagement could cause wearing of the meshing gears.

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post #5 of 25 Old 02-25-2020, 06:01 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the information folks.

There is a Honda HS724 in my area that looks to be in a very good condition. Granpa owned. Not a single rust spot. Only $400. People don't seem to be interested, because you know this winter sucks.

Too bad, I already have snowblowers.

I learned a little bit more about Honda snowblowers today.
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post #6 of 25 Old 02-25-2020, 07:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dman2 View Post
There is a Honda HS724 in my area that looks to be in a very good condition. Granpa owned. Not a single rust spot. Only $400. People don't seem to be interested, because you know this winter sucks.
That sounds like a steal... If you're not buying it, let us know where it is.

Last edited by tabora; 02-25-2020 at 08:11 PM.
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post #7 of 25 Old 02-25-2020, 08:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dman2 View Post
Are all Honda snowblowers that have hydrostatic drive turn easy? You know, like the the auto-turn feature that is on newer snowblowers.
I'm looking at a Honda 724, year 2009 right now. It has hydrostatic drive of course.

I never looked into Honda snowblowers, so I'm just wondering.

Thanks
No, they don't turn as easily as the new HSS models with the steering assist.

However , the 724 is fairly light ( about 70-90 pounds lighter ) compared to the bigger 928's and 1332 and are easy to turn for me. It depends how you operate the machine . If you let the machine do the work and plan your turns it will be fairly easy to turn. I use wide ovals when doing my drive that includes part of the street.

Also the 724 is an excellent double duty machine.Strong enough to do drive ways and berms but also very good for walkways and decks.

"It Feels Like Beer O'Clock "
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post #8 of 25 Old 02-26-2020, 12:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drmerdp View Post
That’s not entirely accurate.

The HS hydro is stout but has right side transmission( gear reduction box) issues over time that may require a tear down and repair over time. Installing a grease fitting and pumping some low viscosity grease pretty much resolves that if you catch it early enough. This machine is much much more difficult to maneuver. Simple good technique and accurate expectations are important.

The HSS hydrogear trans is extremely stout. No gear reduction box necessary but did have an early production issue with fluid aeration which has been resolved. An external reservoir fixed the early afflicted models. I own one of these models and it has been flawless since. This thing is very very easy to maneuver, I have used An autoturn track machine and it does not compare.

The trigger steering is an internal disconnect integral to the transmission. The trans has only been used for 4-5 years but I haven’t heard of a problem with this system yet, and I wouldn’t assume future issues. Externally mounted disconnects used on friction drive transmissions have a greater risk of issues due to lack of lubrication and corrosion. *knock on wood*.

It’s important to keep the trigger in a fully locked or disconnected position, half engagement could cause wearing of the meshing gears.
Some of the problems with the Hydro-Gear transmissions were the hydraulic pistons and the bores that they sat in wear out fast causing a "slow down" or complete drive failure.
One other problem with their design for the steering "Unlocks" is the wear of the "Dove-Tail" on the gears that do the engagement and disengagement.
What happens is the "Dove-Tail wears off the gear and the slots it engages in wear causing them to "Jump-Out" and disengage when under a load.
It is just like shifting a motorcycle transmission without using/disengaging the clutch and taking the "Load" off of the gear "Dogs". Kind of like "Banging" the transmission in gear without using the clutch with the engine running under power, for an example of the engage, disengage of the steering clutch.
Then the problem is the labor involved with replacing the transmission assembly.
You are very correct about stating to fully either "Engage" or "Disengage" the steering triggers, because if you do not, you will wear the gear dogs off in a big hurry, and that is an expensive repair bill.
On other manufacturer models with the "External Steering Clutches", there is much less labor involved with a repair on them, and as you stated, the Honda's design is better being the gears are internal and bathed in oil, but that design does have drawbacks with the shift dogs wearing the dovetail teeth down to a rounded edge. Once that happens, they will "Jump out" of gear engagement under a load.
They are still pretty new yet to really hear about the failures on them but give it some time and you will hear a lot more about them in the future.
A problem with Hydro-Gear is the material used in manufacturing is not of the highest quality to keep costs down, which leads to early failures in the field of operation.
Years ago when Honda manufactured their own parts, they used much higher quality materials in manufacture, but unfortunately those days are gone now that Mr Soichiro Honda is no longer around.
Now the newer hydro transmission, and especially the older Honda built ones are all far better than a disc drive unit for traction and will normally outlast a friction disc drive before service is required a lot longer period of time, so they do have their advantages and worthiness for the increased price of the Hydro drive machines.

Last edited by ST1100A; 02-26-2020 at 12:31 AM.
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post #9 of 25 Old 02-26-2020, 01:46 AM
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@ST1100A, I'm guessing that the issues you refer to with Hydro-Gear transmissions were from commercial mower usage where they were run many 100s to 1000s of hours per year in hot weather, vs the HSS snowblowers that are run 10s to maybe 200 hours a year in cold weather. It's interesting to note that after 5 years in service that there are no HSS Hydro-Gear transmission issues noted on the forum other than the original oil aeration problem that has been well addressed.
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post #10 of 25 Old 02-26-2020, 03:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tabora View Post
@ST1100A, I'm guessing that the issues you refer to with Hydro-Gear transmissions were from commercial mower usage where they were run many 100s to 1000s of hours per year in hot weather, vs the HSS snowblowers that are run 10s to maybe 200 hours a year in cold weather. It's interesting to note that after 5 years in service that there are no HSS Hydro-Gear transmission issues noted on the forum other than the original oil aeration problem that has been well addressed.
Yes within a hundred hours or so. That's one of the things that worry me. We even see it on many homeowner models that don't get the severe usage.
Granted snowblowers normally do not see that many hours, so I am hoping they are going to hold up for at least 30 years without any problems there.
The other thing that worry's me is the steering clutch design. I see too many transmission gears with damaged dogs on motorcycles, repaired many at a cost and they are built with much stronger metals than the Hydro-Gear transmissions, and the steering clutches work on the same principle as the bike transmissions with the shift dogs. I repaired many older Honda lawnmower transmissions that used the same drive clutch set-up. That was back in the day when you could repair them and get replacement parts for them.
It was a simple design set-up, but in time they wore out and would jump out of drive all the time. It was a common repair for them. We had many that we rebuilt, and they were a robust transmission.
I had one of those Hydro-Gear transmissions apart and saw a lot of things that are going to give a problem with them in the future.
I am still from the "Old School Honda" where they were designed to last for 10-20 thousand hours or more, and that is how my customer base is, they spend the money, they want things to last for eternity, like the rest of us.
I think "Ahead" and can see problems with them. We are not seeing or hearing of too many of them yet, but there have been a few, that's why I say to give them time, and do not be surprised when you start hearing of problems with them in the near future.
My Honda's are 27 years old without any problems yet, and they are used commercially, so my customers and I want to see the new models last at least that long for the price of the machine.
We would like to see Honda guarantee the transmission for a minimum of 10 years at the very least, more like 20 years for a snowblower that does not see the kind of hours that lawn equipment gets.
We have seen the aeration problems on many Hydro-gear transmissions used on lawn equipment, and usually as soon as that happens, the trans is in for an overhaul because of the damage to the pistons and cylinder blocks. You can't run a hydro unit low in oil or you will have immediate damage.
We constantly are repairing or replacing Hydro-Gear products used for power transmission, way more than any other manufacturer's units, and that's what scares us with Honda using them.
We would have thought with Honda's engineering from years ago, that problem with the aeration and not having a fluid resivour would have never happened, they would have known better enough to have one installed from the start.

Last edited by ST1100A; 02-26-2020 at 03:15 AM.
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