Information about Honda RT5000, H5013, and H5518 Garden Tractors

H5013

Pictures of my 1997 H5013 and attachments

These were interesting and capable tractors, well ahead of their time in many design features. They were sold in the US and Canada (roughly--someone please correct me) from the late 1980's through about 2000. These tractors were expensive. My H5013 cost $4,995 in 1997 (but it came with a 3 point hitch), and the 46" mid-mount mower deck cost $1,350. The basic tractor line consisted of three models, the RT5000/H5013, the H5518, and the semi-mythical H6522 (not covered here). Click on the model number to download an owner's manual from Honda (links updated 12/2008):

  • RT5000    1 cyl air-cooled 11 hp gas
  • H5013    minor changes from RT5000;1 cyl air-cooled 13 hp gas (pictured above)
  • H5518    new mechanical/body design (two headlights!); 2 cyl liquid-cooled 18 hp gas
  • H6522    3 cyl liquid-cooled 22 hp diesel, category "1" 3 point hitch. This was Honda's "big brother" diesel tractor, forerunner of today's sub-compact tractors (like the Kubota BXs).

The RT5000, H5013, and H5518 shared these features:

  • available in 2 or 4-wheel drive versions; 4-wheel drive includes differential lock
  • standard: four-wheel steering (neat!)
  • standard: gear drive transmission (8 forward, 4 reverse); CV joints rather than simple universals
  • standard: independent 2,650 rpm (@ engine speed of 3,600 rpm) front PTO (1" 15 spline shaft)
  • standard: independent 2,000 rpm (@ engine speed of 3,600 rpm) rear PTO (1" 15 spline shaft)
  • standard: front hydraulic lift (~550 lbs. lift at front horns)
  • optional: rear Category "0" 3 point hitch (~550 lbs. lift at rear horns)
  • standard: R.O.P.S. with seatbelt
There were a variety of options/attachments available from Honda for these tractors. The RT5000 and H5013 shared attachments. The H5518 could use any RT5000 or H5013 attachments, and added the choice of a 52" mid-mount mower (instead of the 46" mower), and a 42" front loader.
The H6522 compact diesel had it's own set of attachments, including a front loader and backhoe.

Attachments for RT5000, H5013, and H5518 tractors (Honda's number and description is in bold; links to the attachment manuals are current as of 12/2008):

  • RLK5000 Rear Hydraulic Lift Kit Includes Cat. "0" 3 point hitch.
  • R1 AG tires 5-12 front (FT50AG); 7-12 rear (RR50AG).
  • MM46K1A 46" Mid-Mount Mower 3 blades, belt driven, uses standard equipment front hydraulic lift.
  • MM52 52" Mid-Mount Mower Only for H5518 tractor; 3 blades, belt driven, uses standard equipment front hydraulic lift.
  • RM752A 42" Rear-Mount Mower Requires rear hydraulic lift and 3 pt. hitch; 2,000 rpm PTO shaft drive. Until 2005 Tractor Buddies, Inc made a 42" rear mower that would mount on a RT5000/H5013/H5518 (their RM42 model); unfortunately, they have ceased operation.
  • QH5000 Front Quick Hitch Adapter (patented and supplied by AGRO-TEC/RAD). The hitch lifts and lowers using the standard front hydraulic lift. This same basic quick hitch system from RAD has been used (at various times and for various models) to attach front implements to Kubotas (B, BX and G series garden tractors), and on some Burton, eXmark, some newer Gravely, and some Ferris mowers.
  • DB752A (46") or DB5054 (54") Front Dozer Blade Requires QH5000 quick hitch adapter. A manually-angled dozer blade from Kubota (like their 44" T2090 or 54" TG2754) will fit a Honda tractor with a QH5000 quick hitch, and will raise and lower using the front hydraulic lift. A new Kubota TG2754 blade costs about $400.
  • SB752A or SB800A 42" Front Two-Stage Snowblower Requires QH5000 quick hitch adapter; shaft drive from standard 2,500 rpm front PTO. Manufactured and supplied to Honda by AGRO-TEC/RAD. RAD does not stock or sell individual snowblower units that will fit Honda tractors. They do make quick hitch, front PTO snowblowers for several other maufacturers, including Kubota (models B2660 and BX2750A), eXmark, Ferris, and John Deere. The trouble with both Kubota's and JD's RAD blowers is that they rotate in the opposite direction from the Honda blower. Standing behind an unmounted Kubota blower the sprocket shaft rotates counter-clockwise; the blower for the Honda rotates clockwise. Bercomac makes PTO-driven snowblowers, but their quick-hitch is not AGRO-TEC/RAD compatible.
         For more information about Bercomac snowblowers (and other Bercomac attachments), visit Jim's Tractors.
         For rear, 3 point hitch snowblower fans, JRW in Canada makes snowblowers as small as 42". Their current website only lists 540 rpm blowers, but as recently as 2004 they sold 2,000 rpm units.
  • FS5047 47" Front Rotary Broom Requires QH5000 quick hitch adapter; shaft drive from standard 2,500 rpm front PTO. AGRO-TEC/RAD made this rotary broom that attaches via the RAD/Honda quick hitch. They make brooms for other manufactures as well, but, as with the Honda snowblower, most of these other brooms are driven by a PTO shaft that rotates in the opposite direction from Honda's. Bercomac Limitee ("BERCO" brandname, in Quebec; 877-772-3726) makes a PTO driven rotary broom, but it is not compatible with RAD's hitch (most BERCO implements attach via a ladder-style subfame customized for the specific tractor. It might be possible to adapt a BERCO attachment to the RAD quick-hitch system.
  • TL5040 40" Rear Tiller Requires RLK5000 rear hydraulic lift kit and 3 pt. hitch; shaft drive from standard 2,000 rpm rear PTO. Bercomac makes small tillers; Befco makes a line of small tillers: you need the 42" 2,000 rpm cat. "0" T30/542 model for a Honda.
  • RT752A-AH Light Duty Rotary Tiller Requires RLK5000 rear hydraulic lift kit and 3 pt. hitch; the "RT" prefix makes me guess this is an older tiller model.
  • DS752A Tandem Row Disk Harrow Requires RLK5000 rear hydraulic lift kit and 3 pt. hitch.
  • PL752A Moldboard Plow Requires RLK5000 rear hydraulic lift kit and 3 pt. hitch.
  • CV752A Spring Shank Cultivator Requires RLK5000 rear hydraulic lift kit and 3 pt. hitch.
  • FL5540K0 42" Front Loader or FL5540K1 42" Front Loader Only for H5518A4 (four wheel drive) tractor. Requires RLK5000 rear hydraulic lift kit.
  • wheel weights, chains, front weight bracket, suitcase weights, etc.

Attachments for H6522 Compact Diesel Tractor (Honda's number and description is in bold; links to the attachment manuals are current as of 12/2008):

  • QH6000 Front Quick Hitch Adapter
  • FL6555 Front Loader Only for H6552A tractors.
  • BH6575 Backhoe Only for H6552A tractors.
  • TL6552 Rotary Tiller Only for H6552A tractors.

Other attachments?

  • add a non-OEM backhoe? Tifermec makes small backhoes for garden tractors: their B13 needs 13hp., the B15 needs 15 hp. Choose "Backhoe - Technical Card" / "Green Line" / "Series 'B'" on their website (thanks to Roland for this info). The B15 looks like a good match for an H5518 tractor; you would need to fabricate/extend a frame for the backhoe.... The B15 is about $4,500 CDN in June, 2007.

Advantages/disadvantages of these tractors:

The initial disadvantage was price; these were very expensive tractors when new, and the dealer network was limited (compare with the hundreds of John Deere dealers).

These tractors are gear transmission in a world going increasingly hydrostatic. Gear transmission is very efficient--a 5013 is a powerful worker with "only" 13 hp.--but it's a pain to mow around lots of trees and plantings with a manual transmission tractor.

There is also the problem of Honda's choice of gear ratios. These tractors have 4 speeds forward and 2 reverse, in two ranges, for an effective 8 speeds forward and 4 reverse. If you plan to go anywhere in gears 1-4 you'd better pack a lunch: these are super slow creeper gears, useful (I guess) when using a tiller....

Mow quality with the 46" mid-mount is excellent. I think blade speed is higher than with my other mowers (I have been told there is now a Federally mandated limit to blade tip speed for consumer mowers). A minor irritant is that the 46" deck is not fully suspended: it rides partially on two guide wheels at the rear corners of the deck. These wheels don't swivel. With four-wheel steering the tractor can turn so sharply that these guide wheels drag.

You can't leave the mid-mount mower deck installed and use the front quick hitch (i.e., it's a pain to change from mowing to snowblowing and back again). The standard front hydraulic lift raises and lowers the mower deck. You have to remove the deck and the deck linkage from the front hydraulic lift in order to install the front quick hitch. Once the quick hitch is installed, it's simple to swap out attachments like snowblower and dozer blade, but you have to remove the quick hitch to go back to mowing. (Why didn't Honda simply add a 3 point hitch at the front, and use this to mount front implements? This re-design is left to the reader.)

The category "0" 3 point hitch is limiting. It's a big advantage to at least have a 3 point, and the tractor's 3 point can do useful work, but you're limited in the number and size of 3 point implements you can use. You need an implement that doesn't weigh more than about 400 lbs. max, and, if powered, runs off a 1", 15 spline, 2,000 rpm PTO shaft. Almost all "big" tractors run a 1 3/8", six spline shaft at 540 rpm, so you can't use implements designed for them. You need the tiniest tiller (with 2,000 rpm gearbox), box blade, rear scraper blade, or york rake you can find.

NOTE ON DIRECTION OF ROTATION
By convention, the direction of rotation of a shaft is described WHEN FACING THE SHAFT. Thus, a Honda's rear PTO rotates clockwise (clockwise when facing the back of the tractor). The front PTO rotates counter-clockwise when facing the front of the tractor. For the rear you need a PTO attachment that has an input shaft that rotates counter-clockwise when facing the input shaft of the attachment.

The Honda-supplied 42" two-stage snowblower is not super heavy duty, but it's effective and simple in design. With a four-wheel drive tractor with differential lock you probably don't need chains. Add chains to all four wheels and you can skid logs for a living.

The big issue now, of course, is parts availability. By now most dealers have sold off any implements or spares they had in stock. You can get most tractor parts from Honda, but they can be expensive. For instance, the front PTO belt for a H5013 is ~$35+ from Honda, but less than half that from other sources (by the way, the PTO belt is a 5/8" x 34" "B" section Kevlar V belt. Honda part no. 22431-752-631 or 22432-736-A01, industry interchange number A-B31K. So, for instance, Google "A-B31K" or ask NAPA for a "B31" belt).

** REPLACEMENT TIRE - WHEEL - ATV CONVERSION PROBLEM SOLVED **

February 2008:   Charles Bush, a talented machinist and H5518 owner, has taken pity on us all and geared up to produce custom wheel adapters for all 5000 series Honda tractors. He also offers custom steel or alloy wheels.

PLEASE SEE THIS WHEEL ADAPTER PAGE for details; the information here makes the May 2007 tire page noted below of mostly historic interest.

NEW!  March, 2008   Charles Bush can fabricate custom wheels for Honda tractors. Download his wheel brochure as a PDF by clicking here. The brochure pictures wheels that allow the use of ATV dirt tires without the need for wheel adapters.

Tires can be a problem. See a new page about tires (May 2007).

The original turf tires on my tractor are Ohtsu "Green Grip"s, 20x7.00-12 [2 ply] (front) and 24x8.00-14 [2 ply] (rear). The front 20x7.00-12 is a size nearly impossible to find today. See tire page for a very long-winded discussion.
AG tires were an option for these tractors. The ag tires were Goodyear R1s, 5-12 (front) and 7-12 (rear). They came as tire/wheel sets. 5-12 R1s are fairly easy to find (they're used on some New Holland TC16s), but the 7-12s are more difficult to come by, as are the wheels. (A number of Honda tractors with ag tires were sold in my area for use in mowing apple orchards.)
At least one owner has done a successful tire/wheel conversion, switching to ATV tires. This is not for the faint of heart or thin of wallet. There is a short discussion of the problems with such a conversion at the bottom of the tire page.

What happened to these innovative and well designed small tractors? One day Honda America simply called their dealers and said "we're out of the garden tractor business," and that was that.

Please email me with additions/corrections.

Links: Tractors, Attachments, and Parts For Sale

NOTE: I have no business or other relationship of any kind whatsoever with the sources that follow.
I know about them only from their activity in newsgroups, etc. A link implies no endorsement!!!!

  • BOATS.net online exploded parts diagrams, Honda part numbers, and (!!!) parts prices for many RT5000/H5013/H5518 components, including 3 point hitch parts and parts for MM46 and MM52 mid-mount mower decks. *Many* thanks to Patthehat for this link (added Jan, 2011).
  • Formula H Motorworks is a Honda Power Equipment dealer in Middletown, NY. They have a special interest in Honda tractors, and often have tractors and attachments for sale (Click for their tractors page). Contact Brian Baker at 845-344-5511 or fmotorworks@hvc.rr.com.
  • Mark Gradowski seems to have a continuing supply of quick hitches, snowblowers, dozer blades, etc. for Honda tractors. Email him at markgradowski@yahoo.com.
  • Honda Power Equipment dealers Many parts can be ordered through Honda dealers. Click for Honda's dealer locator.
  • Plano Power Equipment lists some common parts online, including parts and shop manuals:
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