Electric start on gx390?

Anybody here ever converted their gx390 to electric/key start? Looking to convert 2 of them but want to know 1. the best kit to buy and where to buy/ 2. is it possible to keep pull start as a back up in case our started dies on the job

That is a major headache to do. Nothing lines up. Charging system won’t keep battery charged. You can get a new 390 with electric start for $700 .I would do that before I did another conversion, and I like tinkering. Mine was on a generator I didn’t want my wife to have to pull start

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Does this headache apply to the Honda 270’s ? I was thinking about adding electric start to it as well.

Don’t know but I imagine so. Flywheel doesn’t line up with starter, after you dremel and knock out enough room for starter to fit. Just a headache.

well, damn! Guess I should have spent the extra $200 when it was offered lol

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damn thatst upsetting to hear. at that rate i might as well upgrade to a gx690 and have the option of bigger pumps later

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Yes indeed.

would have made life a lot easier though. its always a pain in the add to pull start these things with all the equipment around

Yes, it’s a hassle.

Here is an older thread where it was discussed in detail, with external links to more discussions… and @Infinity talks about trying to get it to work on his motor.

There’s a whole thread on it here somewhere where @Infinity did the conversion and if I remember right the electric start aftermarket units are made for the older engines so on the newer one they don’t line up properly or something like that.

ahh gotcha. Well, for now we will continue pulling until i decide its worth it lol

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That’s correct. Apparently Honda changed the location of the ignition coil as well as the size of the knockout. So in addition to needing to dremel out the hole larger, the timing will be thrown off by 30° or more. Had me completely baffled when I went to start it.

The workaround would be to take the new flywheel to a machine shop that has metric broaches, and have them cut a new keyway in the proper location. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, you could attempt attaching the flywheel without a key, just make sure you have it seated real well (with “lapping compound”, IIRC?) and torqued properly. Supposedly a lot of racers build their engines without the key so they can adjust timing easily.

I still haven’t bothered bringing my flywheel to a machine shop 20 miles away to have a new keyway cut, so I’m pull starting with the old flywheel despite having the motor and everything else setup for electric start.


For those of you that stumble upon this thread and get confused witch engine is compatible with the off the shelf electric start kits that don’t need any drilling or cutting. I’ve attached 2 photos of the difference between the old and new style GX390. If you don’t want any headaches you need to have the engine with black gas cap style of engine. The newer generation engines that we use are the ones that will end in a headache also pictured.


It’s 2021. And no these are not hard like these old people say, they install with ease. I’ve done more than one and they take about an hour, I’m sick of this bad information on the internet. If you can’t put a starter on a small engine you shouldn’t be touching anything mechanical.

@XNSXxRx1, how about you provide a link to a starter kit designed for the newer 390’s, instead of just insulting people? If you actually read through the thread, you’d see it has little to do with anyone’s knowhow, and more to do with a lack of good aftermarket kits for the newer design.

Welcome to the forum, btw.

Some people’s “easy” is other people’s “hard”. I’m sure there are areas that you struggle in that other people have no problem with. But I’m guessing those people don’t insult you like you just did to people on this thread.

Instead of jumping into the conversation unannounced, why don’t introduce yourself on the New Members thread and tell us a little about yourself. It’s pretty easy to do. :wink:

If you’re sick of bad information on the internet here’s a tip to make your life happier… stay off the internet.

If you can’t put a starter on a small engine you shouldn’t be touching anything mechanical*

Thank you for this bad information - you are helping to sustain the internets. :laughing: :roll_eyes: :muscle:

At least this bad info isn’t going to be here anymore. I know people who read this and didn’t even try, and from what I’ve seen a simple cheap eBay kit is all you need, they bolt right up and there is no issue. I’m doubting anyone who actually commented that they are bad hasn’t tried at all. But thank you for attacking me for pointing out this bad information. Nice forum…

Go troll somewhere else. The people who posted above did so out of personal experience (myself included).

Many of us have bought one of those widely available aftermarket starter kits from ebay or amazon. Most of them come with no disclaimer that they’re designed to fit an outdated model (pre-2011, IIRC).

You’re the one making insults here, as well as making assumptions. People are just calling you on it. It’s called accountability.