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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The original Onan P220 in my Steiner 420 has finally committed suicide (ok, maybe it was murder) and needs to be rebuilt or replaced. After looking into the cost and availability of parts for the Onan, I’ve pretty much decided that replacement is the better option. There are a few companies offering plug-and-play kits using engines from various manufacturers, but almost all of them are on back order and quoting 30-60-day minimum delivery times. The one place I found that has a kit in stock and ready to ship is Repower Specialists in Eugene, Oregon, which is on the other side of the country from me. They have a replacement kit featuring a Honda GX630 engine and (supposedly) everything needed to perform the swap. So, my questions to you all are: 1) Has anyone dealt with Repower Specialists before? They couldn’t have been more helpful and sounded super-knowledgeable on the phone, but they’re 3,000 miles away, so any potential problems are going to be hard to deal with. 2) Do any of you have experience with this particular swap or the GX630 engine in general? If so, what were the results. I’d appreciate any feedback you could offer. Thanks.
 

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Hello Fuzzy Jay, welcome to the forum.

Does the kit include the engine? In view of the long shipping distance, I would buy the engine locally. I have a 14 year old pressure washer with a Honda GX390 engine, it is still running fine. IMO, Honda engines are among the best in the business.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, the engine is included. Shipping for the whole kit is $125.00, which isn’t horrible. Engine warranty is good at any authorized dealer, so that shouldn’t be a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I think I’m going to go ahead and pull the trigger on this, if for no other reason than I don’t have time to wait for the other options to become available. I’ll let you know how it works out.
 

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As with any OEM engine swap, the usual install problem is the exhaust system. Kohler and Briggs offer a wide variety of exhaust options, Honda not so much because you rarely see a GX630 in a lawn tractor. Engineering the exhaust system for a zero-turn OEM engine swap is fairly easy, a conventional tractor with a hood like your Steiner makes for a little more complication. Honda does offer a nice clean "Side Mount" exhaust system which may be one of the few options, without butchering up your hood. It's a little pricey at $180. Hopefully the kit includes an exhaust system that will work on your 420 and not look like something Rube Goldberg designed......
GX630 Side Mount Exhaust System

73406
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
As with any OEM engine swap, the usual install problem is the exhaust system. Kohler and Briggs offer a wide variety of exhaust options, Honda not so much because you rarely see a GX630 in a lawn tractor. Engineering the exhaust system for a zero-turn OEM engine swap is fairly easy, a conventional tractor with a hood like your Steiner makes for a little more complication. Honda does offer a nice clean "Side Mount" exhaust system which may be one of the few options, without butchering up your hood. It's a little pricey at $180. Hopefully the kit includes an exhaust system that will work on your 420 and not look like something Rube Goldberg designed......
GX630 Side Mount Exhaust System

View attachment 73406
According to the tech I spoke with at Repower Specialists, the exhaust with the Honda kit fits through the existing opening in the hood, just like a stock exhaust. Again, I’m taking their word for it, but the guy seemed very knowledgeable about the product. He says they sell about 50 Honda kits a year for the Steiner 420, and customers are happy with them.
 

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According to the tech I spoke with at Repower Specialists, the exhaust with the Honda kit fits through the existing opening in the hood, just like a stock exhaust. Again, I’m taking their word for it, but the guy seemed very knowledgeable about the product. He says they sell about 50 Honda kits a year for the Steiner 420, and customers are happy with them.
10-4 ...... Just trying to point out the usual pitfalls of an OEM engine swap. Another one people overlook and regret later is failure to install the piping to drain the oil easily. I believe the drain ports on GX630 are metric and not NPT like a Kohler, or Briggs
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Update: So I finally got the swap done. It took about 10 days for the engine and conversion kit to arrive from Oregon, and another week or so to find the time to do the job. It was pretty much plug-and-play, except for the following:

I had to buy a spacer for the PTO shaft. It was supposed to come with the kit but did not, and I didn't want to wait for Repower Specialists to ship it to me.
The choke cable was WAY too long and had to be replaced, because it couldn't be shortened, and again, I didn't have time to wait.
I had to cut about 1/4" off the headlight mounting posts to get them to clear the muffler so the hood would close.

Tractor is running great. Quieter and a bit more powerful than with the old Onan lump. My only gripe is that the hood becomes very hot, because it's almost touching the muffler. Not a big deal, as long as you remember to let it cool for a few minutes before trying to open it or rest your hand on it if the engine has been running for a while. Overall, I'm pretty happy with the results and would recommend this kit to anyone who needs to repower their old Steiner.

73749
 

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Really nice job.... You might want to consider putting that "old Onan lump" for sale on the site listed below. You'd be surprised at what those still useable parts are worth to the right people. The most $$$ is in parting it out and selling the individual good parts. Use those pre-paid USPS shipping boxes and the buyer pays the freight. I'm about 1/2 way through selling off the parts on a worn out B43G(needed rings) and I've pocketed close to $300 so far. Looks like it's going to pay for most of the parts/machining to overhaul the Briggs 16hp Vanguard going back in the 1979 case 446 ;)

Garden Tractor Collectors Club
 
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