5 Unexpected Uses For Your Old Lawn Mower Engine

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If you're planning on upgrading to the Honda HRR Gas Lawn Mower and are now wondering what to do with your old lawnmower engine, don't be too quick to toss the old one out. Though it'll never be as high-tech as some mini engine kits out there, that old workhorse may have some life left in it yet and could be a fun family project to boot. Lawnmowers have small but versatile gas engines that can power any number of objects if you do some research and use some creativity.

Before we go further, it's important to note that if you don't have the know-how, messing around with a gas engine could be potentially dangerous. But if you know your way around mechanical things and adhere to basic safety measures, there are a lot of fun projects out there that could put that engine to use. Also, be aware that many of these projects can be complicated and require complex tools, so you're going to need a lot more than your average toolbox. With that, here are five unexpected uses for lawnmower engines.

Power generator

One great use for a lawnmower engine is to make a power generator that could be handy in a power outage or when you need an alternate power source while working in the garage. It requires your engine to be mounted on a box next to an automotive alternator, with a drive pulley system running in between. It turns out about 12 volts of power and could be used to power up your devices and, with the right components, power some lights in a blackout or make sure that medical equipment has power when needed.

It's important to note that the gas tank on an average gas lawnmower is not very large and will only let you run it for about an hour. You can either keep filling it up or attach a larger gas tank to get more out of your generator. Either way, you will now have an extra power source when you need it.

Air compressor

Most people head over to a gas station to fill their car and bike tires, but there is a way you could do it from home if you put in the work and have an old lawnmower engine lying around. You could always buy a new air compressor, but they can be pretty expensive, and you wouldn't get the satisfaction of having built it yourself. A word of warning: dealing with a gas engine and high pressure can be dangerous. You need to know what you're doing with this project at each step to avoid the possible pitfalls.

The video above details exactly what you need for this project and shows which tools are the best for each phase of your build. You're going to need more than what's in your toolbox, and you're definitely going to need to head to the hardware store for items you don't have on hand. Once you're finished, you'll never need to head down to the gas station to air up your tires again.


Wasn't there always that one kid in the neighborhood you grew up in who was lucky enough to have a go-kart? The first thing to know about them is they are loud, but you have to admit they look like a lot of fun. With that said, building a go-kart using a lawnmower engine is a pretty complicated task.

It requires a lot of extra parts, and the tools you'll need won't be found in a standard toolbox. But if you have the resources, this could be a great project for you and your child. That's an important ingredient because while it would be a great time for a child, a lawnmower engine doesn't turn out the power needed for a full-grown adult.

The video above takes you through the many steps needed to disassemble the engine from the lawnmower, build a go-kart frame, assemble steering and accelerator mechanisms, and fashion a gearbox and drive pulley system. It's clearly a lot of work, but it will all be worth it when your kid gets to ride around in it.

Log splitter

Chopping wood is definitely a lot of work, and if you're not as young as you used to be, it's not exactly great for your back. But if you have an old lawnmower lying around, there is another option. You can use that old lawnmower engine, plus several other additional parts, to build a motorized log splitter. It will be a big project for sure, but once you have an easy way to split wood, you'll have all the firewood you need for the winter.

The video above relies on you already having a wood splitter and simply replacing its original motor with a lawnmower engine of your own. Fret not, however; the lawnmower engine will be more than enough to split almost any log as long as you have the hydraulics and a mounted splitting wedge in place. With this setup, you'll not only be able to build up your firewood stockpile but also save the strain on your back.

Boat motor

Lawnmower engines are versatile and can be used for just about anything if you have a little creativity and mechanical know-how. One great use for a lawnmower engine is to use it as a boat motor. For this project, you'll ideally have a broken outboard boat motor so you have all the appropriate hardware and a propeller already attached. That way, the only thing you'll replace is the power source.

What's amazing to see about this particular lawnmower engine application is how effective it is. It won't give you amazingly fast speeds on the water, but it gets you moving at a good enough clip to be useful. Whether you attach it to a regular boat, a dinghy, or even a canoe, this little motor will get you across the lake, pond, or possibly a river. Even better, it saves you the money you would have had to spend on an all-new engine.

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