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Yellow Mower Challenge!

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I've been offered this to work a miracle and bring back to life by a good friend of mine, but only seen it in the pic form from this angle so far and don't know how far gone it is, or if it is a push or self-propelled  -

 

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 Purchased new by his father.

Believe it is an Atco of late 50s- early 60s. Look's like a 98cc Villiers Midget 2 cycle. Grass Box was believed to be of Ali and Canvas. Hopefully the Box and the manual for it will be located.

So, I'm hoping someone will come up with some details on it, as I need to know if it is worth the challenge, time and cost.  

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I may have found what it is?. It look's very much like the Atco 20" (SF9 Model) Side Wheel Mower.

It ties up with the late 50's purchase date. Hoping more images from different angles will confirm it.

Think I'll have to pay a visit to Dorset and see it for real. Also an excuse to visit a few fellow habitual 'Wheel Horsers' .

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Good luck with your latest project Richard, if it were mine I would take the engine and bars off, then stick the rest in a vat of diesel to free things up.. Saying that, maybe an E-tank session is the way to go...

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Received a few more images that show a bit more detail after it has had a little brush over

I like the simplicity of this mower, which obviously is designed for light cutting producing a quality a sward finish.

 

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At least there is the remnants of one Wooden Roller to take measurements from. Just hope the Cylinder is salvageable.

Even has the original Start Rope with Toggle.....looking promising.

 

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Hope to get down to collect it at the end of the month.

.

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Thanks for the Ad Paul, I was surprised it claims it deals with tall paddock type grass volumes, so not just super sward lawns, but now I've seen it, I understand how it can cope with tall grass etc.

 

Now it's out in daylight it looks much more saveable :thumbs:  Liking the air cleaner, a neat small thing.

Yes Ian it does and that Air Cleaner is the old 'Coopers' Oil Bath type. 

 

Bit of an update on this-

Dashed down Wednesday afternoon to Lychett Matravers in Dorset to see my old buddy Roly, with over night stay planned and to help with some Wheel Horse work (Oh and finally delivered the Solid Engine Mounts Ian :hide:)  and to pick this Mower up.

Plans all went to pot and ended up with 2 more of his mates turning up in a Light Aircraft at his local Airfield and also staying the night involving a Pub and Beers. 

No time next morning either due to playing with Aircraft and left for home 1130 due stopping off at Nomansland on the way to briefly visit Andy (wheeledhorseman). Thanks for the great tour Andy, you have a great place there :bow:  and would love to visit again for longer. Then finally stopping off at Billingshurst on way home. Place has now been sold, so have to get moving with the machinery down there as well.   

Any road up, Roly managed to locate the Grass collector for it and is still complete and perfectly useable. It now has a positive ID-

 

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It still has the Atco Makers Brass Tag Plate on it.

It's a 24" Side Wheel Mower (SH4, not an SF9 20") and dated 1957, which confirms the original purchasers date of 1958.

I've uncovered a few improvised running repairs while giving it going over, here's one for example-

 

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Sheared screw that retains the Throttle Slide Cap and cable linkage, now held together by wire. not a problem to sort out. A missing Filter body screw and the other has damaged threads. 

Nothing looks impossible to deal with so far, although I suspect some corrosion in the Cylinder/Piston near the exhaust port, so will strip the engine and not attempt to turn it over.

Bottom Blade is in 2 parts and a hefty 1/4" thick folded stiffener plate is good with a bolt on Blade that can be fabricated out of Carbon Steel if the original is no good.

The reason why there appear to be so few of these early ones (late 50's) around could be due to the fact that the Cylinder Blades were apparently 'un-tempered' according to the Owner, as he had to get it weld repaired several times at an ATCO Dealer after they kept cracking/breaking in different places at least that's what he was told?. I still haven't seen any other early examples yet.  

This model had the heavy Hub Covers/Wheel retainers Chrome Plated-  

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Anyway, I'm going to carry on with this and see how it goes. So my late Dad's Whitworth Spanners are back in service.            

 

 

 

  

 

      

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Reference the bottom blade: Atco were masters at raiding the existing parts bins when creating new models so there's a reasonable chance that a 24" bottom blade used on much later machines will fit. The earlier ones would probably have used countersunk screws  and the later ones pan head.

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Reference the bottom blade: Atco were masters at raiding the existing parts bins when creating new models so there's a reasonable chance that a 24" bottom blade used on much later machines will fit. The earlier ones would probably have used countersunk screws  and the later ones pan head.

I 'm hoping that is the case Wristpin (welcome).

I have done some searching and there are Blades available that have the correct fixing spacing and number of holes, as well as dimensions. Just the profile to match.

Also found the (possible) part number stamped on the Blade carrier (30397).

 

So when the Mower's Parts and Instruction Manual arrives in the next few days, I'll hopefully have resolved that part.

 

Old blade look's like it can be reground to a good edge. Pics to follow soon.

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Illustrated Parts List arrived, but doesn't help locating a replacement Bottom Blade using the part number. Found that Atco had 2 sets of numbers-

 

Service Spares numbers (usually available from stock with 3 digits preceded by a Letter) and Production Part numbers (special order items with 5 digit start with a 3 on this Mower)........ never mind, may come in handy.

Parts in the Drive system look in good condition so far, Paint colour look's like it is probably going to be J.D. Yellow-

 

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Got the Bottom Blade and Carrier out and started to clean up and soak the screws (raised countersunk) - 

 

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Just got to pull the Cylinder today-

 

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- then I'll take the 2 items to see an old Machinery Service Place for an assessment to see if they can be Sharpened after cleaning (don't fancy the challenge of getting all 12 Screws out without at least one misbehaving if I can avoid it).

Certainly better condition than first envisaged though.

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Hi there.

 Not forgotten about the hardness test on the axle shafts, trying to calibrate the tester before I can start. Have found a couple of obselete? council 'donated' bottom blades,brand new but a bit of rust on them,I was going to use them for blades on a box/grader type 'thingy' the rough dims are 30.5" long-3" wide & 1/4" material thickness, 11 csk holes, would one of these be of any use for your restoration? pics should give an idea of the shape/profile.

regards Doug.post-206-0-40762600-1403967660_thumb.jpgpost-206-0-97333700-1403967702_thumb.jpgpost-206-0-45336400-1403967736_thumb.jpgpost-206-0-07456100-1403967784_thumb.jpg

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That bottom blade looks as though it may clean up. If presented with one like that I'd clean the crusty stuff off with a flap wheel before putting it under the surface grinder - kinder to an expensive grinding wheel! Have been known to create a bit of extra relief on the back edge of the top lip with the angle grinder!

If the bottom blade does need to come off those raised head countersunk screws should come out ok. If given the job I would check that no threads protrude through the carrier plate: if any do, grind them flush with the angle grinder, then heat each head and the area around it to cherry red and allow to cool. Then give each head a good firm smack with a decent sized hammer  before using a good fitting impact bit in a hand held impact driver.  Better to work to a system assuming the worst than get some out and be left with a "rescue" job on the rest!

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Hi there.

 Not forgotten about the hardness test on the axle shafts, trying to calibrate the tester before I can start. Have found a couple of obselete? council 'donated' bottom blades,

Thanks Doug, when you can  with the Shafts :thumbs: , no rush as have lots of distractions anyway. Blade size may be too thick, as this one is about 1/8" plus the raised cutting edge thickness, so about 1/4" in total. I'll see how it all goes from here.

 

That bottom blade looks as though it may clean up. If presented with one like that I'd clean the crusty stuff off with a flap wheel before putting it under the surface grinder - kinder to an expensive grinding wheel! Have been known to create a bit of extra relief on the back edge of the top lip with the angle grinder!

Oh yes, it would be pretty clean before going for a regrind, and it could possibly be saved if the pitting is not too deep to grind out. However- 

Think the Kybosh is on this project in view of the Cylinder condition :( . Got it out for a good look over, but knew it was pretty iffy when I saw underneath while dismantling.

Counted 25 crack and break repair welds, several of which have not penetrated well. I think it is beyond repair, as I don't think you can replace the Cylinder Blades individually anyway, and all have been repaired at some point.

No chance of locating another 5 Blade Cylinder machined to fit a Side Wheel Mower of this spec and age.

I think the concern will always be if it decides to crack again.

So, any thoughts Gents?, is it a 'No Hoper' ?. here's a few images -

 

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Seems a shame to have to scrap it, as they are scarce. 

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May be worth talking to Garfitts. Wonder if the blade spirals and webs from a current Royale 24" could be grafted onto your shaft. Presume that as they make replacement cylinders they have them in component form at some point.

Edited by Wristpin

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I've had a while to think about this project and weigh up the practicalities and costs.

I've decided to go ahead and rescue this one on the first basis that the original owner would be 'Over the Moon' if it was put back to new condition so he could see it running again, even though I'll have to undo the Mods and repairs he made to it ;)

Secondly, as Wristpin had suggested,  Garfitts have said they are confident they can sort a cylinder out for me on the original Shaft/Spindle , even if they have to fit a 6 Blader on it (a refurbish job :( ), 5 blades and it will be a restore :) .

It's going to be a 'Money Pit Project', but I've still not found anyone or collection that has an example of this Model and age, plus all the ATCOs in captivity that I can find are green !!.

 

So far I've managed to dis-assemble this machine with only one small nut shearing off the Clutch Lever bracket and the engine did not have a 'tight spot' as first thought......found the right hand bearing on the Cutting Cylinder seized where it had never been lubricated as shown in one of the pics below.  

Engine will probably need a full on rebuild. So, as with all the other Deadbeat projects I seem to find, it will be a back to new and close to original condition for it.

All the drive, side plates and handle bar parts removed, leaving just the Engine on the mounting plate so I can work on it with some leverage. Here's a few pics on the progress of turning it into a pile of bits -

 

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Managed to undo all the nuts and bolts on the Exhaust, so I can make any necessary parts, just need to part the main exhaust body now (soaking the joints at the mo')

Also had to work around a Modification which was a pulley attached to Flywheel that drove a horizontal cutting blade mounted on the front of the Mower by the original owner-

 

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With the Flywheel off, I can now finish the full dismantling.

By the way, the Spark Plug is an old 20-30s aviation type that used a layer of Mica Washers instead of the Glazed, Ribbed, Ceramic insulator. it has 3 cathode prongs around the end!, so I imagine when one erroded, the spark went to the next correctly gapped prong and you had to replace it when on the last prong?. First one I've seen of this type-. 

 

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With the news of the cylinder work, I removed the right hand bearing housing. Took some gentle coaxing, cleaning, soaking tightening and tapping before it gave up resisting-

 

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Can understand why that part was never oiled, being virtually out of sight, just need to locate new bearings.

It can't be seen in the last pic, but under the old bits of Bearing Seal on the Shaft is where someone had used the old trick of 'Centre Punching' around the Shaft so that the Bearing inner race would push fit on the Shaft (may have been turned down under size or an over sized inner bearing race bore?).

Either way it looked original and undisturbed......love it !.

 

Hopefully, this one won't take me 2 years to do  :unsure: .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Knowing your attention to detail Richard, this will end up as another top quality build :)

 

That's a funky spark plug, like you I've never seen one like that before!

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Knowing your attention to detail Richard, this will end up as another top quality build :) . That's a funky spark plug, like you I've never seen one like that before!

Well Ian , thanks, I feel I need to try and do this one some justice. I keep getting little signals or 'familiar links' that says I'm destined to sort this one against all the odds that beset it.

Got an Email last night from Roly that his Father had located all the paperwork for this Mower, Receipts, Warranty (which also quotes the Engine number) and User Manual and what's really spooky is that it was originally purchased on my 6th Birthday!. You don't often get something this age with this much provenance..... I 'Doctored' the Address on the receipt image -

 

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Just for curiosity, I'll keep the Plug, clean it up and see if it will still work, but will be replaced.

Should ship the Cylinder & Blade off this week.

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A little bit of an update on evaluation progress for this project for those interested.

Made up a small Stillage Pallet for the Cylinder and Blade/Carrier and took it to a local Carrier last Friday to be shipped to Garfitts in Sheffield -

 

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Got a call this morning from Garfitts to say they have received it and had a good chat about the possibilities.

They have never seen or heard of this old Model either !. 

Outcome is that they will fabricate a New 5 Blade Cylinder on the Original Spindle and provide a new Bottom Blade. 

 

Good news and so it is go ahead and will be a full restore as all the other bits I'll need, I'm sure I will find, mainly engine/ignition parts.

This is the main part I'll need to replace due to Carbon Deposit damage-

 

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Engine appears it was never dismantled, so the old 'Dig' marks in the Skirt may be from assembly in 1957 !. 

Rest of the engine is well 'In Spec' including those stuck Rings !!,

Carbon build up likely due to continual use of the initial 'Running In' Oil to Petrol ratio, instead of reducing it to the unspecified Oil portion outlined in red in this instruction (by the way, I love the use of the word 'Strangler' instead of 'Choke' in the 'Starting' section)-

 

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..... so will be looking for a Good Used Ali Piston (part # C 6752), amongst other bits.     

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