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Thread: XUV 550 Honda Engine Conversion

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    Senior Member Dane's Avatar
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    XUV 550 Honda Engine Conversion

    I am replacing the Briggs & Stratton engine in my XUV 550 Gator with a Honda GX630. Deere spec'd a non standard taper on the Briggs' shaft and drive clutch. In order to stay with a stock engine and clutch I am also replacing the drive clutch with a Team Rapid Response aftermarket clutch.

    The engine arrived today and I used the forklift to help lower it in place. It is very similar in overall size to the Briggs but has a more boxy shape.



    The first problem I encountered is the engine mounting base which is formed of sheet metal in a "U" shape. The Gator had a semi circular cutout for the flywheel and fan shroud of the Briggs but the larger and boxier Honda hit so I had to do some trimming of the vertical flange.

    XUV 550, engine replaced with Honda GX630, MBDiagman tuned primary clutch, all LED lighting, roof mounted Rigid LED lights, split no scratch wind screen, roof, home made rear panel & window and 1/2 doors, Super Winch 4500, set of CST Ancla tires & set of Carlisle All Trail tires

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    Senior Member Dane's Avatar
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    I was really, really hoping I would get lucky with the exhaust but... no! The center to center bolt spacing for the exhausts is wider on the Honda. Luckily there was enough metal on the flanges to elongate the holes.



    Also, the axis of the exhaust mounting studs is about 5 degrees different and the spacing between the two cylinders is slightly greater so out came the saw and welder. It's a pretty complex exhaust for a simple little vehicle. Beside simply connecting the engine to the muffler I wanted to retain the stock heat shield, clear clutch housing's aluminum casting and miss the choke & throttle linkages. Needless to say everything is in very close proximity as this is a very "busy" area.





    While I had the headers off I did a minor polish of the inlet area but did not spend too much time on it. The sharp bends and varying pipe diameter leads me to think there is not a whole lot to be gained. Still, the stock pipes had some pretty hideous weld bead intruding into the flow path. Easy to manufacture but not so great for letting the engine exhale.
    XUV 550, engine replaced with Honda GX630, MBDiagman tuned primary clutch, all LED lighting, roof mounted Rigid LED lights, split no scratch wind screen, roof, home made rear panel & window and 1/2 doors, Super Winch 4500, set of CST Ancla tires & set of Carlisle All Trail tires

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    Senior Member Dane's Avatar
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    Since my new engine and clutch bore are 1" straight with a key there is nothing to establish the clutch's position on the shaft. I attached the driven clutch to the transmission and using a long straight edge and scale (ruler) established a rough position for the drive shaft. The crank of the engine has a nice, broad flange for a spacer to bear upon. My dad helped out and took some 1 1/2" diameter aluminum and bored and reamed it .002" over the engine's shaft diameter.



    The spacer can be made shorter but I don't have a way of making it longer short of starting over so it's what I think is about .050" long. I hope to get the rest of everything put together enough to run the engine and make sure the clutch disengages properly before I go through the hassle of installing the clutch housing.



    The key is fitting too snug so taking it down a bit will be the next project.
    Last edited by Dane; 04-30-2014 at 12:02 PM.
    XUV 550, engine replaced with Honda GX630, MBDiagman tuned primary clutch, all LED lighting, roof mounted Rigid LED lights, split no scratch wind screen, roof, home made rear panel & window and 1/2 doors, Super Winch 4500, set of CST Ancla tires & set of Carlisle All Trail tires

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    Senior Member Dane's Avatar
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    Oh, I forgot to mention the irony or silliness of manufacturing. I removed an American engine made in Japan and replaced it with a Japanese engine made in China.
    XUV 550, engine replaced with Honda GX630, MBDiagman tuned primary clutch, all LED lighting, roof mounted Rigid LED lights, split no scratch wind screen, roof, home made rear panel & window and 1/2 doors, Super Winch 4500, set of CST Ancla tires & set of Carlisle All Trail tires

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    Senior Member Bunky's Avatar
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    I am jealous. I wish I had metal working skills.
    Al


    2013 825i - OG&B, Black Alloy Wheels w/ Maxxis Bighorn Tires, Mid range lights (front and rear), Superwinch Terra 45 winch, Koplin Rhino grips, Seizmik mirrors, Silent Benz muffler, rear seat organizer

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    Can't wait to see the rest of the story!!

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    Senior Member Dane's Avatar
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    The problems continue. Even though the overall dimensions of the Honda are very similar to the Briggs it's more squared shape is causing problems. Most recent is bracket and linkage that controls the four wheel drive and differential lock. To keep the linkage pull lines in order I had to modify the four wheel drive control lever moving the actuator point up 1 1/4" higher.

    First was modifying the 4wd control lever. It sounded easy when I came up with the idea. I welded up the addition to move the attach point for the actuating spring. This structure raises the spring attach point and adds strength to make up for what I cut away from the stock arm. The problems started when I put the stock, cast arm on the band saw and only made a scraping sound and left nothing but a little shiny spot. Out came the cut off wheel and 20 minutes of sparks later the offending part was removed. I placed my already made steel assembly on top and tried welding... bubble, bubble, fizz. I stopped welding and I flipped the helmet up to see the weld bead on fire. Not normal. The weld was crap with no penetration into the Deere cast arm. I ended up having to take it to a weld shop where they tried a few things and stick welding with nickel worked best. I hope it holds.

    Next I modified the stock bracket holds the cable end for actuating the 4WD and differential lock. I cut out an arc where it was hitting the engine and bent it so the cable attach point was elevated by 3". Unfortunately the cutting to clear the engine removed the flange or lip that was bent down on the side and stiffened the bracket. So I had to bend and form steel to add a stiffening lip to the bracket.



    And here it is showing the cut out around the engine.



    Unfortunately I was in a very, very bad mood working on the cast 4WD actuating arm and did not take photos during fabrication. The weldment I added and that was nickel welded is where the spring attaches.



    An awful lot of work for a control arm and bracket.
    XUV 550, engine replaced with Honda GX630, MBDiagman tuned primary clutch, all LED lighting, roof mounted Rigid LED lights, split no scratch wind screen, roof, home made rear panel & window and 1/2 doors, Super Winch 4500, set of CST Ancla tires & set of Carlisle All Trail tires

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    Senior Member Dane's Avatar
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    Hooking up the throttle was pretty straightforward. Trimming the big plastic end of the Deere throttle cable allowed it to be gripped by the Honda's cable clamp. I'm not crazy about the throttle and choke linkages so close to the exhaust pipes but there is not much I can do if I want to preserve the engine's governor. If it poses a problem my plan B will be to run without the mechanical governor. The engine will still be protected by it's electronic ignition limiter which kicks in at 4'250 rpm.

    The engine's choke cable attachment put the cable dangerously close to the exhaust. There was an unused tapped hole on top of the engine's linkages plate so I made a bracket to hold the choke cable. It looks complex but was one of the easiest builds for the day.





    I also re-attached the clutch housing base casting and bottom plastic. The driven clutch is in place and I have the drive clutch on there but don't have a bolt. The one I got is too short and none are available locally. Not much call for 3/8-24 grade 8 bolts over 4" long so... I've ordered 4 bolts. The overnight shipping being three times the cost of the four bolts.

    I've also been working on the heat shielding around the exhaust pipes. Not much worthy of photos. The largest pieces work with slight trimming or moving bolt holes. I'll have to do some custom fabricating up forward where the header is right under the seat. I don't want to set my but on fire.
    XUV 550, engine replaced with Honda GX630, MBDiagman tuned primary clutch, all LED lighting, roof mounted Rigid LED lights, split no scratch wind screen, roof, home made rear panel & window and 1/2 doors, Super Winch 4500, set of CST Ancla tires & set of Carlisle All Trail tires

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    Senior Member Dane's Avatar
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    More work on the exhaust heat shield mainly around the front to protect the passenger compartment plastics. I fabricated little steel bits to cover the open spots and a bracket to attach the shield to the forward part of the engine. The exact placement was much easier to do in place so I tacked everything while the shields were on the engine.

    First step is to cover everything in leather. I don't want a spark catching anything on fire.


    To the right of the dipstick tube you can see some of the pieces I tacked in place. No fancy fitting or finishing since they will be out of sight and I'm running out of patience.
    XUV 550, engine replaced with Honda GX630, MBDiagman tuned primary clutch, all LED lighting, roof mounted Rigid LED lights, split no scratch wind screen, roof, home made rear panel & window and 1/2 doors, Super Winch 4500, set of CST Ancla tires & set of Carlisle All Trail tires

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    Senior Member Dane's Avatar
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    Next came the wiring. I was mistaken when I thought there was a unused connector that did what I needed so I had to add a relay since the Briggs and Honda ignition are opposite. The Briggs engine runs and you ground the ignition wires to turn it off. The Honda needs the ignition wires grounded to run and the engine dies when the ground is lost.

    I mounted the voltage regulator next to the winch solenoid and circuit breaker. It's a relatively protected location under the passenger seat about where you 850 guys have an engine.


    After hooking up the fuel line it's time for a test run. I did not want to risk starting it inside so I wheeled it out between thunderstorms. It looks rather funny without the body panels and bed. A bit more like a dune buggy.

    XUV 550, engine replaced with Honda GX630, MBDiagman tuned primary clutch, all LED lighting, roof mounted Rigid LED lights, split no scratch wind screen, roof, home made rear panel & window and 1/2 doors, Super Winch 4500, set of CST Ancla tires & set of Carlisle All Trail tires

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