Harbor Freight is back with an upgrade for their famous 212cc Predator! But how much different is it for the 212cc and is it worth paying the extra $40 for? That’s what we will be looking through in this article. If you’re looking for the performance parts that will fit the new engine, check out our performance parts list for Predator 224
The most important difference is the displacement! Predator 224 has 12cc more displacement in comparison to Predator 212.
The 224cc Predator has a 3mm bigger stroke in comparison to the 212cc but uses the same sized bore, it makes about 0.1 hp more (max) power and about 0.5 to 1 ft/lbs more (max) torque in comparison to 212cc.
Another thing to note is that, unlike Predator 212 which came with two models, Hemi and Non-Hemi, the 224 cc engine only has 1 model (as of right now) which has a Non-Hemi head.
Predator 212 (Non-Hemi)
Note that the cover and manual of the Predator 212 says 8.1 ft-lbs torque, but that engine makes much more than that, you can check that mathematically, even if the max torque was at 3600 rpm it still only equates to 5.5 hp and we know from dyno tests that first of all the max power isn’t at 3600 and second, the power is around 6.5 hp.
In all likelihood, they haven’t mentioned the correct torque in the 212cc and are closer to real torque in 224cc, so even though the difference seems big and it will be noticeable but it won’t be as much as you might expect from the specs.
In terms of weight and dimensions, surprisingly the 212 cc is about 3 lb heavier than the 224cc. The dimensions are also slightly different, however, the engines are interchangeable for almost any application.
Let’s talk in more detail about the difference in the internals!
Air Intake, Exhaust & Carburetor
There is no difference in these parts. The 224 comes with the same Air-filter and muffler as the 212cc. The carburetor on 224cc is also identical to 212 cc carbs, with a non-adjustable air-fuel screw. For upgrades, you can use the VM22, its 26mm clone, or other 0.9″ carburetors for the best increase.
The headcover that the new engine comes with is the same as the 212cc non-Hemi headcover. You can swap it for other honda and honda clone head covers if you wish to.
The working of a 224 is the same as any other industrial engine, it uses a push rod and a rocker arm to move the valves up and down with the movement being timed with the camshaft.
The head is very similar to the non-Hemi and other honda clones, however, there are differences in comparison to the Hemi head, you can check the differences between the two in this article.
The rocker ratio is set the same as a Predator 212. The intake and exhaust ports both have got some sharp edges similar to the non-Hemi Predator 212, you will need to work on porting for best performance gains.
The intake Valve is 27mm and the exhaust is 25mm on the 224cc. The valve stem is 5.5 mm. The honda clone valves will fit perfectly if you want to upgrade to stainless steel.
The valve springs that come stock are the same as predator 212, i.e, 10.8 lb springs that will float at about 5500 rpm. The maximum you can upgrade them to is 26 lbs without machining the valve pockets.
Rod & Piston
The 224cc comes with a dished piston similar to the 212 non-Hemi. Good news – the engine can use clone rods! No need for a separate rod like we had to in Predator 212.
Wrist Pin: .709″
Crankshaft Journal: 1.180″
If you’re doing a build you’ll likely switch to a billet rod. With the stock Piston, you can use an ARC 6773 rod (will require some block and cam clearance) or you can swap the dished piston with a flat piston and use the Wildcat 223 Rod and Piston sold by ECcarburetors (EC 8281)
Note: While choosing the rod and piston, maintain at least 0.030″ clearance.
The new engine is coming with a plastic cam, this has raised some questions about the reliability and longevity especially for Engine builds. But the truth is that many manufacturers have been using it in small-block engines for a long time and the plastic cams hold just fine even at high RPM.
The cam will most likely not cause any issues, however, if you do wish to switch it up, the engine will take all the Honda/Clone cams.
The mechanism of the governor’s work is pretty much the same, plastic governor gear which is geared with the rotation of the cam and the crankshaft that uses centrifugal force to expand the pins and push the ball in the governor gear to limit the speed.
The 224cc’s speed governor limits the engine to 3750 while the Predator 212’s limit it to 3600, out of the box you’ll likely see little to no gain in top speed.
Top Speed & Acceleration
As stated above, the top speed is limited due to the governor. However, with the governor removed, you can expect a 1-2 mph difference with the bigger engine and the same minibike/go-kart setup.
Since the 224cc engine produces more torque you’ll get up to the top speed quicker with the 224 engine in comparison to the 212cc engine. There have already been several videos uploaded on YT related to speed comparison that you can check out.
Now the important question – Is it worth the extra $40? In comparison to the non-Hemi Predator 212, I would say definitely it is worth spending a little extra, due to its better build quality (manufactured by Ducar!), slightly better performance, and huge mod potential.
But in comparison to Predator 212 Hemi, the Hemi head has its own benefits like better porting and their rocker arms. The choice is for you to make, do you like the Hemi head more or would you like a more powerful non-Hemi?
If you’re still deciding on an Engine for your Go-kart or minibike then there are some other options to consider like Tillotson and Ducar Engines, check out our choice of best engines for Go-Kart and Minibike.