Longevity of Japan 2 strokes over Chinese 2 strokes

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#1
Anyone have any info or miles of a Japan made engine used on a bike? Subaru,tanaka,zenoah etc. vs a Chinese clone or similar engine to these types. Just don't know if I want to spend $300 on a 40cc engine. Any info is appreciated. I have heard they can last several times the amount of a standard HT engine. Keep in mind the setup I want to use is the GEBE belt drive and have a hard time spending $350 on 2 pieces of sheet metal/ bent flat stock, a plastic sheave and a clutch so if anyone knows of a cheaper alternative I'd like that. I do have a Mitsubishi clone with electric start and may use it with the setup.
 


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#5
I want to make a Pa legal bike and the engine I have is 49cc electric start. I'm going to get a billet rod and flywheel and springs and put the 212 on the mini chopper I cut all the mounts off and welded a flat plate so I can mount the 212. I originally wanted to get a gx270 clone but I saw the 212 was cheap and everyone uses them.
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#6
I've used tanaka 2 stroke engines (the ones built before hitachi bought tanaka) fitted to GEBE and Staton-Inc.. The engines are similar to my 250 straight six Chevy pickup with one barrel Rochester carburetor: they run forever.
 
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#7
I've used tanaka 2 stroke engines (the ones built before hitachi bought tanaka) fitted to GEBE and Staton-Inc.. They are similar to my 250 straight six Chevy pickup with one barrel Rochester carburetor: they run forever.
That's what I was looking for I'm thinking about purchasing a 40cc purefire engine or a Zenoah. I wouldn't mind the price if it lasted 20k or more. I have a Mitsubishi clone with electric start and it should bolt up to the belt drive setup may run that till the engine goes and get a Japanese motor. I'm tired of the HT kit engines and want something that would last a long time.
 
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#8
The tanaka 40cc purefire engines are the ones I've used. The individual engines are still around. I don't think they are manufactured as engine only anymore. I believe that tanaka built some of the best small engines. The quality of tanaka engines may have changed since hitachi bought them out. I think the old Zenoah were among the best. The Zenoah now is not what they once were.
 
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mark20

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#9
well, if it were me i would go with the Chinese engines, its how you break them in that matters.
if you have a 300$ engine vs say a 64$ ebay special, your most likely to beat the crap out of the cheap one because you get get another one for nothing, vs say a quality Japanese engine, you arnt going to run as hard because its way more out of your pocket if it breaks. thats why Japanese engines get a great reputation because the people who buy them know what there doing. vs the common fool who thinks that it dosent need oil.
also the parts are similer but the Japanese one has more quality control, vs none at all for the cheap one, the price is the quality control. ( if it breaks just buy another one)
ive had my ebay kit and the only thing to break is the muffler.
if its loud, its fast!
 
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#10
The metallurgy is better as well. I still have 2 ht engines I will run them for now. Just wanted to see how many miles folks have gotten with the smaller 49cc and below Japanese engines.
 

FNTPuck

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#11
You can build a reliable HT engine, but the cost outweighs the benefits.

The real weak link is the crappy chrome plated cylinder, so a sleeved jug with quality piston rings goes a long way to increasing longevity. They are hard to find though and $100+ just for the cylinder. Then I would look into a balanced/welded crank (~$70), and a CNC head that won't warp (~$50). Two part "Supercharge" CDI is more reliable than the stocker and only $20. CNC adapter to prevent worn out/wobbling rag joint sprocket setups is another $40-50.

When all is said and done you are at like $350 for what is still just a chinese 2stroke and at that point you could have gotten three spare Triple40s to swap at the first sign of trouble or did the smart choice and went with a 4stroke for longevity for a commuter and put the savings into HD wheels and a triple tree fork.
 

LewieBike

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#12
I have a 1980's Kioritz 32 cc weedwacker engine that has been thoroughly used with it's weedeater attachments that still starts and runs like new, Very quiet, lots or rpm and decent power for a tiny engine. I was my first engine on my friction bike. But mounting it was a big problem. The Italian McCullough I now use on that bike is also pretty old and well used too, but it's a nice engine. They both run well, I'd think any Echo, Honda, Tanaka, Mitsubishi, type of Japanese made industrial garden implement engine is miles ahead of a HT Chinese bike engine if not power, longevity.
 

LewieBike

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#13
You can build a reliable HT engine, but the cost outweighs the benefits.

The real weak link is the crappy chrome plated cylinder, so a sleeved jug with quality piston rings goes a long way to increasing longevity. They are hard to find though and $100+ just for the cylinder. Then I would look into a balanced/welded crank (~$70), and a CNC head that won't warp (~$50). Two part "Supercharge" CDI is more reliable than the stocker and only $20. CNC adapter to prevent worn out/wobbling rag joint sprocket setups is another $40-50.

When all is said and done you are at like $350 for what is still just a chinese 2stroke and at that point you could have gotten three spare Triple40s to swap at the first sign of trouble or did the smart choice and went with a 4stroke for longevity for a commuter and put the savings into HD wheels and a triple tree fork.
The HT engines are not hard chrome bores, they're Nikasil. An alloy of Nickle and Silver, Nikasil is plated onto the aluminum bore, MotoGuzzi uses Nikasil on most of their modern V twin motorbikes now, It's a good substitute for chrome but not quite as durable.

I still think iron or steel liners are best.
 

FNTPuck

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#14
The HT engines are not hard chrome bores, they're Nikasil. An alloy of Nickle and Silver, Nikasil is plated onto the aluminum bore, MotoGuzzi uses Nikasil on most of their modern V twin motorbikes now, It's a good substitute for chrome but not quite as durable.

I still think iron or steel liners are best.
No they are not Nikasil, they are chrome plated AL. You can literally see the chrome peel on a damaged cylinder or if you race and let one hit ~425*. One Vendor is trying to get Zehe to do a run of true Nikasil bores but has not made any progress on it.

I agree an iron sleeve would be best, they are available but expensive.
 

junglepig

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#15
No they are not Nikasil, they are chrome plated AL. You can literally see the chrome peel on a damaged cylinder or if you race and let one hit ~425*. One Vendor is trying to get Zehe to do a run of true Nikasil bores but has not made any progress on it.

I agree an iron sleeve would be best, they are available but expensive.
Not to hijack thread, but I'm planning on installing a thermocouple to measure CHT soon. Do you have some experience with that?
I'm planning on installing the TE at the base of the spark plug. On a slant head, would this make sense, and what temperature at that point would indicate danger? I may set it up with a temp display, or maybe just a warning light.
 

FNTPuck

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#16
Not to hijack thread, but I'm planning on installing a thermocouple to measure CHT soon. Do you have some experience with that?
I'm planning on installing the TE at the base of the spark plug. On a slant head, would this make sense, and what temperature at that point would indicate danger? I may set it up with a temp display, or maybe just a warning light.
Most just use a relatively cheap laser thermometer after a run to get a rough idea, but I have seen people on the zeda group who use the temp ring under the spark plug to monitor it and I'm sure the more serious racers likely do as well.

From what I have seen on the group chats from builders like Rob and Kurt is that between 250-350* is safe cylinder head temps for continuous running, 350-400 is hot but should be OK if the setup is right(filed rings, proper end gap, good quality oil, retarded ignition timing, etc), and ~450+ even for relatively brief periods you have to start worrying about the cylinders peeling. Your average build won't be anywhere near there, but when the kids run those cheap $20 pancake heads with 100:1 oil ratio, lean jets for top end, and a milled head with 1 base gasket for 200psi compression, they are the ones who run into those issues. They brag about hitting 50+mph on a Monday and complain that the motor was defective and lost all compression by Friday :LOL:.

I mostly build commuters to resell so don't go that crazy with mods that sacrifice reliability for performance, but if I did I would go with the spark plug mounted thermocouple and a cheap temp display to keep an eye on it.
 

junglepig

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#17
Most just use a relatively cheap laser thermometer after a run to get a rough idea, but I have seen people on the zeda group who use the temp ring under the spark plug to monitor it and I'm sure the more serious racers likely do as well.

From what I have seen on the group chats from builders like Rob and Kurt is that between 250-350* is safe cylinder head temps for continuous running, 350-400 is hot but should be OK if the setup is right(filed rings, proper end gap, good quality oil, retarded ignition timing, etc), and ~450+ even for relatively brief periods you have to start worrying about the cylinders peeling. Your average build won't be anywhere near there, but when the kids run those cheap $20 pancake heads with 100:1 oil ratio, lean jets for top end, and a milled head with 1 base gasket for 200psi compression, they are the ones who run into those issues. They brag about hitting 50+mph on a Monday and complain that the motor was defective and lost all compression by Friday :LOL:.

I mostly build commuters to resell so don't go that crazy with mods that sacrifice reliability for performance, but if I did I would go with the spark plug mounted thermocouple and a cheap temp display to keep an eye on it.
Sounds good. I'm just waiting for a couple of components from China. I have some 14mm ring terminals that I think are suitable for the type K thermocouple mount.
I'm going to mount either a Raspi or Aduino to do some data aquisition and display. Just because it's the sort of thing I like to do. I love hard data.
I'm thinking some temperature, rpm, and vibration data will be useful. Since it will likely be a small display if any, for the temperature, I'll probably set up an RGB LED temperature status light. Maybe mounted in the lower part of the speedometer or tachometer dial face. That could give me a Green "OK" plus some statuses of yellow/orange/red blinking etc. Maybe even a 10-segment bar graph for temp. But I'm just talking and not building for now...
 
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#18
Well I guess I will get no personal mileage to go by for Japanese engine setups on bikes. Everyone seems to be set on Chinese engines I either get people that say yep Jap engines last forever or guys saying Chinese is better. I realize not everyone with the Jap engines have a speedo/odometer. I think I recall someone saying they got 20k but I'm not sure. With small Jap engines on bikes most times guys sell the bikes before the motor goes which is a good thing. Fixing motorized bikes gets annoying after a while and I just want to ride tbh. If I got a job in a nearby town I would ride the crap out of a properly built bike with a good engine.
 

mark20

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#19
Well I guess I will get no personal mileage to go by for Japanese engine setups on bikes. Everyone seems to be set on Chinese engines I either get people that say yep Jap engines last forever or guys saying Chinese is better. I realize not everyone with the Jap engines have a speedo/odometer. I think I recall someone saying they got 20k but I'm not sure. With small Jap engines on bikes most times guys sell the bikes before the motor goes which is a good thing. Fixing motorized bikes gets annoying after a while and I just want to ride tbh. If I got a job in a nearby town I would ride the crap out of a properly built bike with a good engine.
if you got the money go for it, it will most likely be truble free, we have a hasquvarna chainsaw ( closet thing i have to a japaense engine)
it starts first pull every time, we sold it to are neigbor becuase we dont use it anymore, its a 455 rancher
plus a quality name brande engine will hold its value. we sold it for 300$.
 
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