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Discussion Starter #1
I am working on a Honda HS50 Track Drive, basically stripping it down to the frame to repair and clean after a long term mouse invasion. This has been and will continue to be a long term project (multiple months).
Here’s the question, can I leave it tipped up on the auger for a long period of time? I haven’t decided if I want/need to remove the engine at this point.
Any tips would be appreciated.
Thanks.
The pic attached was just after picking it up and giving it an initial while down.
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Discussion Starter #2
Follow up to the above, can I keep it standing like this long term or should I always set it back down on the tracks (they’re off right now but you know what I mean)
Thanks again.
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I'll usually run it with gas off until it stalls and then put it in this position for days. have worked on dozens of 50's so will be watching your progress. taking the 50 engine off is actually a pain compared to the other Honda's. the only time i did it was to transfer a great engine to another 50 chassis that had a good drive. otherwise i would have left it on.
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Discussion Starter #5
orangputeh, thanks for the reply.
I got it off of Craigslist, couldn't resist it despite never working on a Honda blower and after reading many posts that parts can be difficult to find for this model.
I have already stripped and rebuilt the engine while it was mounted to the frame [replace head gasket, clean the head, new ignition coil (points were shot), spark, new carb, and replace starter recoil rope]. It runs great now. I took pix along the way if you're curious.
I have rebuilt many blowers and machines in the past and currently use a 1994 Noma 9-27 blower [absolute beast], though I didn't use it at all this winter [I'm in Connecticut]. So I am in no rush to complete the Honda, it's something to keep me busy, yes I'm a tinker.
In any case, this seems to be the most over-engineered machine I have ever worked on, but to be honest it's pretty damn cool [to me anyway]. My two daughters refer to it as "Dad's snow tank."
I am currently working on the drive [auger works fine and only needs some de-rusting if you will].
Maybe you can give me some insight on my current issue.
As I am sure you are very familiar, the drive plate rotates to make contact with the stationary drive wheel. But, on this one, when the drive engage handle is released it doesn't release enough for the plate to spin freely and still makes contact, but only in 3rd gear, first gear is fine [1/8"-1/4" or so clearance in first], it's as if the plate is tipped out of plane. My plan was to remove everything [transmission and drive], then clean, repair and test as I went. Can you offer any insight as to where I should focus to repair the plate issue? I can post pix if that would be helpful.
I should note that when I got it the entire interior was packed with a former mouse city which got into everything, and I mean everything, when I took off the bottom plate it was like when you open a wall with blown-in loose insulation. It also seems like it was put in a shed for the last 20 years or more as everything was covered with a thick coat of dirt, dust, etc.
I'd be more than happy to keep you updated on the progress, happy to find a kindred spirit so to speak as my family thinks I'm crazy [this is not the fist time I brought home an old machine and rebuilt it] but they are happy to let me tinker in the workshop with my "projects."
Thanks again.
 

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Dave: that type of crazy fits in well here. I am a tinker-er as well on snowblowers, just not yet a Honda. Orangputeh and others can certainly help, and I would love to see pics along the way.

tx
 

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Dave, it may be as simple as an adjustment. since you now belong to SA ( snowblowers anonymous ) I highly recommend you buy the shop manual from the Honda website about $43. In it are the adjustments for the drive such as tension, friction disk adjustment , speed , etc. It's pretty straight forward but difficult to explain without pictures.

If the adjustments don't work ( they usually do ) I am hoping it'snot a defective final drive. I have taken apart many right side gearboxes on hydrostatic models since parts are available and can be rebuilt. I do have a friend that rebuilt a gearbox on a 50 by welding up the spindle and gear and then filing it down so they will mesh right. Just TOO MUCH work for me haha.

around here I pick up 50's cheap or free. the problem as you know is some parts are no longer available and if the final drive gearbox goes bad ( usually a stripped gear or spindle ) you are SOL. I have had beautiful 50's with a bad gearbox and just transfer everything to a good driving chassis.

ya, would love to see pictures. did you do a compression check or a leak down test before tearing into engine?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
orangputeh, thanks for the reply.
It appears that the gearbox is fine, everything meshes and turns correctly and smoothly from the "disc" down the line to the treads, tread gearing seems smooth and clean, no grinding, no slippage. I have no reason to believe any of the transfer gears are bad. I believe you are correct and the drive plate just needs adjustment. There are so many adjustments in this machine it's crazy, my Noma is about as straightforward as can be in regards to power transfer from the engine to the auger/drive, this thing has me guessing everything. My current issue is, as I have it nearly torn down to the frame anyway, do I disassemble everything and verify the gearing is good, to be honest, I'll definitely tear it down to the gears, like I said, long term project. Not sure what you mean when you say "final drive gearbox" to me there are three different gearboxes [lol] do you mean the one directly behind the friction plate [I am assuming there is something there, but haven't gotten back that far for fear of not knowing the system well enough to put it back the right way even with the parts diagram], or the one on the left side of the frame underneath tied in with the tread drive, or do you mean the one mounted on the front of the engine that transfers the drive line? When the drive system is turned by hand [from either end [belt side, or track axle side] it all turns freely and again, without any grinding or slipping that I notice.
I should also say that it was completely infested with mice and dirt and to be honest, cleaning with WD-40 and a toothbrush in all the nooks and crannies as well as working it into all of the many moving parts has done most of the wonders.
On a sad note, I did break the reverse thread screw on the right side of the track tension bar/axle. It was smooth turning until it wasn't, I think it was initially set bad or was so jacked up with rust and dirt that it locked and I proceeded to remove the head and about 1/2" of thread. So currently drilling that out, which has been very fun. Perhaps someone has an extra rear track axle that is taking up too much space in the workshop, I did find one on eBay, but I'm willing to sacrifice a few more bits to the cause, even if it's a losing one.
Regarding the engine, I did not check anything, I assumed from the beginning it was an electrical issue. I replaced the carb completely [choke was broken on original, not worth saving], any insight on the filter that goes in the bell at the end of the carb? the only thing I found close to the design was out of England or Austrailia. Pulled everything I could off the engine block, verified the piston was clean, no damage or scrapes in the piston chamber, smooth action on the valves, cleaned the hell out of it. Interesting head gasket, more metal than what I am used to on the old Tecumseh's. Found a new one on eBay and installed, little pipe dope on the anchor screws, torque them down, done. The engine was actually in good shape, the points were bad and not generating a spark, I replaced the whole ignition coil [again, found on eBay] and spark plug and plug top, getting the points in the right set-off was a bit of a nuisance, just due to location and me not taking the handlebars off. Then broke the pull line so that got a new cord. Fired right up after that. The muffler was very wet, with god knows what packed inside it, so that smoked for a while but in the end, very happy with the engine.
Here's a question for you, does the auger by design throw snow well, wet/heavy snow? As I plan to disassemble the auger system, sand down the rust and repaint/seal, should I add the rubber [whatever they're called] pieces to the throw blades? I attached a pic looking down into the barrell. Again, being I'm going in there anyway, if it was worthwhile to add them I would do it at that time. Thoughts from prior/current owners?
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wow. lot to read.

the final drive gearbox is the one on the inside side of engine bed. ( drives the tracks from other tranny )

the free axle or tension bar as u call it can be repaired. either take off and remove broken bolt and replace with a carriage bolt or try to remove broken bolt ( inframe ) by sanding/grinding head ( I use a 1inch 18 inch electric sander by Wen ). sand/grind head of bolt and then punch out. replace with carriage bolt.

since you are tearing down , yes good idea to install impeller kit with rubber flaps. try to measure approx from end of fan to housing. I install them a little longer and then try to set impeller into housing. usually have to use a flap disk on a grinder to sand them down so it will fit it . Be sure to lubricate inside of housing with something. dawn dish soap and water works well when you are breaking the flaps in. I just barely turn the impeller with engine on and then go a little faster and faster until I can go full speed.It only takes about 30 seconds to break them it. You may see rubber flying out the chute. That's normal.

so when they are broke in , it should almost create a seal. barely touching the housing or a tiny clearance. You dont want the impeller to drag.

hopefully you just need to make those 3 adjustments that I mentioned before to get the gears working and the speed right. I do this with every service on the older HS50-55-70-80 that has the friction disk.

very common that one or all 3 adjustments are out. it's really hard to explain the adjustments in writing. Pictures are easier which are in the shop manual.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
@orangputeh, again, thanks for the reply and info.
Once I get around to the auger work I will start dealing with the impeller kit.
However, my current issue is still at hand with the free axle, I attached a pic of the tension bar so I am sure we're talking about the same thing. It's the reverse screw [left side] that I broke. I've tried every bit I can lay my hands on and a few older ones and I just cant get through it, assuming it's stainless steel, I've never had an issue like this with a bolt, I've removed many of them. In any case, most likely going to just find/buy a complete replacement, again, any leads would be helpful, but I think I saw one on EBay.
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Now, in regards to the final drive, which seems to be the part that, if it goes, it's done as a usable machine [unless you find a donor machine]. First, I want to make sure I'm looking at the correct item, again, pic of me pointing at it
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without me pointing at it:
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and finally, a pic of the underside.
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As I am most likely calling everything by the wrong name let me run through what I call everything so you can correct me. I call the silver horizontal disc in the center of the underside the "drive plate", and the drive wheel [coated black vertical wheel]. Just so we're speaking the same language, I am the foreigner in this situation so by all means corrections of terminology will not be taken as criticism. I should mention now that I farted around with some of the adjustments and as previously stated, cleaned the hell out of everything with WD40 and a toothbrush and I have an overall clearance of about 1/8" from the drive wheel to the drive plate in all gears and very smooth action from the gear box down to the drive wheel. What keeps throwing me is that on most of the machines I have worked on the drive wheel moves to engage the drive plate, but on this one it is the other way around, pulling the lever rotates the plate to engage the wheel, is that more common than I am thinking, just a rhetorical question there really.
So, getting back to the final drive. Would I be able to tell without disassembly if there was an issue? As stated it spins freely, not grinding or slippage. also, is it as difficult as it looks to get it out of there? If its one of those things where it just goes [gear, gear bushing?] then it's done, would you recommend tearing it down now, or let 'er ride and when she goes she goes?
I guess at this point I have to interject a little about me and the machines I rebuild to ask you one final question for today. I thank you for making it this far and hope you continue. The thing is projects like this are mainly a time killer for me as I like to take things apart, repair them, and put them back together. Then I get bored of whatever it is that I rebuilt or don't need it anymore and I sell it or give it away. When I start a project I have a few rules to keep the cost down. The first rule is it has to be something I need [snowblower], or something that's just too cool not get [mini bike, quad, go-cart] and the price has to be under $150 [snowblower/leaf blower] $500 [Quad, Dirt bike] this is often debatable, but I do stick with teh $150 or less for any equipment. Second, I can never spend more [in materials] than I could replace it for new [labor is always free and out of the cost equation]. Third, I must be able to repair it myself, without outside or professional help and do all maintenance. Now I have some machines that are old, like my compressor [Curtis 1016] where if the air pump broke it would be useless, other pieces can break [belts, air connections] which are general maintenance items, but in a sense, with basic maintenance and use, it will last forever.
So, in a roundabout way I guess what I'm asking is this, is it worth repairing the HS50? What can I reasonably expect from the final drive? Is it a slow painful death, or a quick one? Can you baby the machine and not worry about it or is a final drive loss an inevitability? I look at it this way, if I drop another $100-150 into it, paint it, and have use out of it for at least 10 years, I'll complete the project. But, if it's something that's going to happen relatively quickly with normal use [my driveway is 100'x7' smooth asphalt], I'm going to think about pulling the plug on the project now.
Sorry for the ramble, hope it was somewhat enjoyable... or I will accept my ban from the forum with grace.
 

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first the free axle. i thought you were talking about one of the tension adjustment bolts.

you broke the mounting bolt trying to remove? I would soak it with penetrating oil . perhaps apply some heat and try to use an EZ out to back out rest of bolt.

it's work it because these free axles are expensive on ebay unless you can find a cheap or free doner machine.

i'll get to the rest of your post after I drink a 12 pack.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
@orangputeh, again, thanks for the reply, lol.
I did us both a favor and did a parts search to help solve my current dilemma with the rebuild. I would take the final drive apart to check it out, replacement is about $100 depending on what's broken or looking bad. But, I can't find a replacement gasket for reassembly. I am reasonably sure that I will render the gasket unusable after I disassemble it, maybe not, but odds are good. Can I cut a new gasked out of some rubber material to act as a gasket? It doesn't seem like it needs to be completely water tight or fitted exactly.
In any case, still on the fence about doing a nice overhaul of the machine, given my criteria above it is both useful and very cool. Thoughts are going from "put it back together and dump it" to meh, could still be fun, and it is really cool.
Enjoy those beers.
 

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@orangputeh, again, thanks for the reply, lol.
I did us both a favor and did a parts search to help solve my current dilemma with the rebuild. I would take the final drive apart to check it out, replacement is about $100 depending on what's broken or looking bad. But, I can't find a replacement gasket for reassembly. I am reasonably sure that I will render the gasket unusable after I disassemble it, maybe not, but odds are good. Can I cut a new gasked out of some rubber material to act as a gasket? It doesn't seem like it needs to be completely water tight or fitted exactly.
In any case, still on the fence about doing a nice overhaul of the machine, given my criteria above it is both useful and very cool. Thoughts are going from "put it back together and dump it" to meh, could still be fun, and it is really cool.
Enjoy those beers.
where did u find parts to repair that final drive tranny? ( if needed)
 

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IMO and it's only mine, it's not worth repairing a HS50 that needs major repairs. your drive wheel ( friction disk ) should NOT have any clearance in the gears except neutral. My guess it needs an adjustment.

the only way to tell if anything is wrong with the final drive is to make sure all adjustments are correct and test drive it with engine running thru the gears.

I have one that I put on nose, removed belly plate and with engine off ( of course ) put it in each gear and turned tracks. It APPEARED to work fine in each gear but when tested with machine on it only worked in 2 gears. It was slipping /slightly grinding in the 2 other gears under operating conditions suggesting a worn spindle ( NLA) or perhaps something else worn not letting gears line up maybe.

In any case, it's not worth my time because I can not find replacement parts. What I do is find a donor machine with a good final drive and the rest of tranny parts and make one good machine out of two . Maybe transferring the engine/bucket /augers etc. or just using the best parts from both.

these 50's sell for 50-650 depending on condition. I sold one last week for 650 but it was a 9 out of 10 which is rare. Most 50's are not worth the time. The shops around here wont even work on the old friction disk Honda's because some parts are NLA ( no longer available from Honda. )

Did I already suggest getting the Honda shop manual? That shows how to properly make those adjustments.

good luck..........off to Vegas.
 

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This is epic info. Thank you thank you thank you NE Dave!!! I have a wonderful HS55K2 and rebuilt/maintained a bit of it and love the little beast so seeing you do it as well is awesome but to much more in depth and with pics, no less. Thanks you!!!

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Discussion Starter #16
So after much deliberation with myself and weighing out the pros and cons of the situation I have decided to continue the work on the HS50, My other thought was just to start parting it out, but what fun is that? It is by far the most interesting machine I have worked on and frankly, I need something to do.
So, my next step is to remove everything down to the final gear to verify it is in good order and replace as necessary [as Orangputeh states, many parts are NLA], but with the internet, if you seek you shall find.

Moving right along... Next step, get into the final gear and make sure it's clean, working, etc.
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I thought I could just start by removing the friction disk shaft and work my way down, but I cant get the bolt out of the end of the shaft [just behind the top of the spring in the pic] and am afraid of breaking another bolt.
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The other side of the friction disk shaft ends in a very interesting rubber cover shown here between the two upper bolts.
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so, I loosened the transmission to see how it went together and found the the disk holder shaft has a removable cover that I can slide the shaft out once the cover is off, shown here just above the wheel shaft.
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But I can't slide the shaft out until I can disconnect the friction disk boss, which seems to be held in place with a spring pin.
This is where I stopped for the night. I am thinking it would be best to remove the engine and auger assembly so I can put the whole damn think on the work bench. Hardest part for me with that is keeping everything organized. Also going to replace a lot of the corroded screws along the way.
I'll keep posting progress as some seem to be enjoying the read and I am sure others who have rebuilt one before are enjoying the comedy I am providing.
 

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Glad you are proceeding with the restoration Dave. I very much enjoy these restoration threads, especially with lots of descriptive photos along the way.I'm not familiar with Hondas, so looking forward to learning more about these older legendary blowers. Take lot's of photos to help with reassembly. Good luck with the project.
 

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Thanks Ziggy65, this is my first Honda [snowblower] so we're both in the same boat. Glad you're enjoying. I am sure my comments will be interesting as the amount of time I work on the Honda is in direct correlation to the amount of beer I drink doing it, so if I update the thread after I'm done working, which is when I update my picture files, things could interesting, if they haven't already. More to come...
 

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Thanks Ziggy65, this is my first Honda [snowblower] so we're both in the same boat. Glad you're enjoying. I am sure my comments will be interesting as the amount of time I work on the Honda is in direct correlation to the amount of beer I drink doing it, so if I update the thread after I'm done working, which is when I update my picture files, things could interesting, if they haven't already. More to come...

once again :cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool:. if you have the Honda HS50 official shop manual the directions are all there to remove this stuff unless you want to find out the hard way......:cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool:
 
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