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9 hp Honda or 9 hp Vanguard

Post in 'The Gear' started by John_M, Mar 3, 2009.

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  1. John_M

    John_M Minister of Fire

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    Will soon be ordering an Iron and Oak log splitter. I have a choice of either of these engines. Servicing and warranty dealerships for both engines are within a 1 hour drive. Both engines will be running strong long after I am "pushing up posies" so longevity is not an issue. However, I have a few questions about ease-of-starting:

    1) Is one of these engines easier to start than the other? Which is easier?

    2) Why is it easier to start; fewer pulls and/or less resistance?

    3) The Honda is available with electric start. At my age (70) I am not getting any stronger so might someday wish I had purchased electric start, especially during cold weather splitting. No dealers in my area have either engine for me to try so I am operating with a scarcity of information. Do any of you old timers (or new timers) now wish you had purchased an electric start on your log splitter?

    4) The electric start engine w/ battery (motorcycle size) will take up more real estate on the splitter but does anyone know if the extra space interferes with operator's stance, etc?

    And to think that just 5 years ago I would have been embarrassed to ask about electric start on a 9 hp engine!

    Best wishes,

    John_M

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  2. NoPaint

    NoPaint Member

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    I believe the rental splitter I used a bit ago was an Iron and Oak and it definitely had a 9hp Honda on it. No electric start on this one but it started with a gentle to moderate pull and did it consistently. Would I go for the electric start? You bet I would, there is nothing to lose but a couple bucks. The electric start won't labor much on a Honda but it will be nice to have even if you have someone else do the service (helps troubleshoot ignition or carb down the road). The Briggs engines are not the easiest to start but I am referring to the old flat heads. I own a Vanguard 14hp that was spectacular when it ran, it stopped running after I left fuel in it for a couple years and now needs a carb (generator). I would get the Honda with electric start.
  3. kevin j

    kevin j Minister of Fire

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    Can't comment on the 9 hp. I do know 12 hp recoil is too much for my elbows (age 58). One pull great, if hard to start, pain.

    I would get the electric option, or at least the flywheel and charging coils. You could then add the actuall starter motor later if you so chose. Which I suspect you might.
    Battery maintenance is the biggest hassle I see. for me, best of both worlds would be the 120 vac electric start like on snowblowers. No batteries to deal with, but use electric start the first time of the season, at the shop, to get it running. Even with stabil and non alcohol gas, the first time is the hardest.
    On my 18 hp, rather than maintain a seasonal use battery I just use a little jumper pack or a spare car battery in a plastic box for starting it.
  4. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    John - go with the electric start. Nothing sucks more than a cold engine with cold hydraulics that wants to be stubborn. I built mine with electric start, although the engine starts quite easily. You won't be sorry.
  5. NoPaint

    NoPaint Member

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    Honestly the Honda and Kawasaki engine charging systems are light years ahead of the briggs one. The Briggs 19HP flat twin I had needed a battery a year. The Kawasaki I have now went 4 years on one. I would say if you got it with a battery then just get a new one from Costco which makes the strongest batteries in the industry under their "Kirkland Signature" brand and it will run for a bit.
  6. John_M

    John_M Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the input. My decision has been made: New splitter will be an Iron and Oak BHVH2602 with 9 hp Honda electric start. Done!

    Best Wishes,

    John_M
  7. ihookem

    ihookem Minister of Fire

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    The Honda is a better motor but I have experienced hard starting in cold weather with them. Well, ok it was -12 last week and they started but I also have a vanguard on my splitter and it starts easier. Put them side by side and the Vanguard will be long gone when the Honda quits.
  8. John_M

    John_M Minister of Fire

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    ihookem, the "... hard starting in cold weather..." is why I am getting the electric start. I won't be splitting in -12 deg. temperatures but as long as there is safe access to the wood I'll split down to freezing temps, assuming there is no wind chill factor.

    Best Wishes,

    John_M
  9. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    I wouldn't' compare the Vanguard to a standard B&S motor. I have both and actually prefer the Vanguard to the Honda 390GX, if only for the reason my vanguard is over 15yrs old and still perfect. Both are very easy to start. Both motors come with decompression on start up. I'm not trying to talk you out of electric start, but I haven't used mine in over 8 years. No point with either motor.
  10. iceman

    iceman Minister of Fire

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    i have a 9hp honda snowblower with elec start just like yours... the only problem is remember to disconnect battery or leave a trickle charger on it when not used for extended periods... other than that the thing is a dream come true best 1800 i ever spent!
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