Honda mower surging

This video walks you through the process of fixing your Honda engine surge, from cleaning your carburetor idle jet, to carburetor removal, teardown, clean and reinstall.

A bad spark plug can be the route of many problems, be sure to check the plug before performing carburetor work.

Over View

You’ll find useful resources on this page, tips, links to tools, parts and supplies required to complete your repair. Congratulations, you own a fantastic mower, I love Honda and I know the Honda engineers love us too because it shows in the little details, plug wire holder, easy oil draining, gas bowl drain bolt.

All mowers however suffer from a common complaint, clogged up carburetor and Honda are no different. Surging is a common Honda issue and it commonly occurs because the carburetor idle jet is blocked.

Cleaning the jet usually fix’s the issue, I say usually because sometimes the whole carburetor will need to be removed, stripped and cleaned.

Other common causes of surging Honda include a bad spark plug, bad gas and moisture in the gas bowl, so eliminate them first.

A worn out carburetor happens too and a cracked manifold, or damaged carb gasket will cause a vacuum leak, which results in a erratic idle.

This video covers the removal, teardown, cleaning and refitting of the carburetor.

Before working on your mower be sure to remove the plug wire to prevent accidental starting, see “Repair Safety Video”.

Tools & Parts

To nail this procedure you may need the following tools, parts and supplies.


This is first on the list for good reason, Wd solves a ton of problems. I won't work without it, because I can't. Picture links to

Ratchet Tool Set

Before we can do anything, we'll need tools. I've selected this set as I own some Craftsman tools and while I have worn some out, they did do a lot of work. So I expect this set will last the occasional user quite a long time.

This set carries both metric and standard sockets and that's important, because some mowers will have both type of fastener sizes. Set includes spark plug sockets. Picture links to

Gas & Oil Syphon

You'll find this tool really useful if you need to drain the gas tank, and you will if the gas is stale. The siphon will remove it without fuss or mess and it can be used for extracting the oil too. Picture links to

Gas Line Clamp

Some small engines will have a gas tap, which is really handy when removing the carburetor, stops gas flowing all over the shop. However most engines won't have one, these useful clamps simply squeeze the fuel line and prevent a spill while you perform surgery. Picture links to

Carb Cleaner

When cleaning your carburetor you'll need this stuff. Gumming is a sticky substance that's hard to shift. The carb cleaner will remove it, however if your carb is really bad, save yourself some work, go ahead and buy a new carburetor. Picture links to


You'll find these nylon brushes super useful when it comes time to clean those tiny passageways of the carburetor and jet. Use these in conjunction with the WD Carb cleaner. Picture links to

Gas Stabilizer

Mix this with the gas when winterizing your small engine. Gas isn't what it used to be, it goes stale, in some cases after just one month. Bad gas causes gumming and that's a carburetor killer. Stabilizer will save you money and stress in the long run. Picture links to

Gas Can

Briggs and Stratton refuel can. These guys got it right, I like it a lot, it offers press button control, no fuss no mess and no funnel required. Picture links to

Drill/Screw Gun

I use a Dewalt screw gun (also a drill) in the workshop to speed up the process of removing engine covers, carburetor bolts, Armature bolts etc. It's a brushless motor and as tough as nails, I driven over it a few times - still works great! Batteries are interchangeable and so if you have a Dewalt product already you won't need the battery. Picture links to

GCV190 Carburetor

This is a Hipa GCV 190 carburetor fitted to the Honda GCV190 engine only, not the GVC160 or GCV135. It comes with gaskets, plug, air and fuel filter and fuel line.

Fitting isn't difficult, just a little tedious, take your time and some pictures of where the old gaskets are positioned and their orientation. Picture links to

GCV160/135 Carburetor

This is a Hooai GCV 160 carburetor fitted to the Honda GCV160 and GCV135 engine only, not the GVC190. It comes with gaskets, plug, filter and fuel line.

Fitting isn't difficult, just a little tedious, take your time and some pictures of where the old gaskets are positioned and their orientation. Picture links to

Auto Technician and Writer at | Website

John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on I've been a mechanic for over twenty years, I use my knowledge and experience to write "How to" articles that help fellow gear-heads with all aspects of mechanical repairs, from lawn mowers to classic cars.