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Yellow Mower Challenge!

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Think that it's an American term. Certainly used on pre WW2 Caterpillar starting engines that we call Donkey engines and the Yanks call Pony engines !

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No stopping you now Richard, I bet the poor mower doesn't know what's hit it :)


"Outcome is that they will fabricate a New 5 Blade Cylinder on the Original Spindle and provide a new Bottom Blade."   I didn't know that sort of service was available!!   That's fantastic :thumbs:

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I reckon American would be the choice for me too as to where the term Strangler came from. So to deviate from my (many) Engine issues which I'll get sorted in the end,

I hit the Output Shaft and Clutch Unit to check for condition :fingerscrossed: -




Looking ok-ish, but the Cork Friction Segments have seen better days...and this is the good side ! -



Preliminary clean up showed some pitting in the painted surfaces, but all the Bearing, running Journals and friction Plates are very good and no wear :).

Size comparisons for you are shaft main diameter is 3/4" (19.05mm) and the Pressure Plates are 3 1/2" (89mm) dia -   




Only the Split Pin and the Cork Friction Segments to replace.

The latter, I can make my own or modify a set of Villiers/James Bike Clutch replacements, so no issues there. Reassembled to store ready for final clean, paint and refit-




Dirty Jobs time now cleaning parts, as all other parts I need to find can be dealt with, and the rest of the moving parts are/will be in very good/unworn condition.

Only real issues I'll have is re-cutting the correct tread pattern in the old Connelly Solid Tyres and deciding whether to get the Hub Caps/wheel retainers re chromed?.

Now I know this Mower is salvageable, I suppose I should link it by a move to the 'Step-by Step Restore' section, unless it's ok here?.


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So be it, and here it will stay. Well I've made some progress on a couple of iffy bits and incurred some more (predicted) expense.

Wanted to get the old Cylinder Shaft bearing out of it's carrier housing that was shown in an earlier pic. Didn't want to damage or distort the housing, so having soaked it a few times with the cellulose thinner and Redex mix, I applied only progressive hand tightening pressure to shift the old bearing-




Went off with usual satisfying BANG when it finally relented and then a few more and it was out-




I'll clean the housing up in the Lathe and make a new Dust Excluding/Spacer Washer to fit the larger diameter.

I'll also be making a different lubrication system on this using a 'Screw Down' Greaser later.


Second challenge was to get most of the Carb issues and deep clean dealt with, mainly get the broken screw out and replace all the important bits-




Postman had arrived with Carb O/haul Kit, new Top Plate screw and I had to replace the Oil Bath Filter Body, as the old one was covered in cracks and leaked. Got one of the last few NOS ones in the country and not cheap :wacko: .

The operation began with the usual trepidation wondering if my smallest 'Easy Out' stud extractor would do the job. Set it all up on the Vert Mill and commenced the surgery with a 1/16" diameter Ball Nosed Slot Drill-




Followed up with 5/64" drill for 1/4" and then ran a 3/32" Ball Nosed Slot drill for 1/8". Bearing in mind that the core diameter of the screw I am/was trying to remove has a core diameter of about 1/8" (3.2mm), I had to be sure I didn't touch the threads in the Carb body !. In with the 'Easy Out' and out it came with ease (mopped brow)-




I will change the 'Strangler' (choke) Lifting rod by making a Stainless Steel one as the old one is badly rusted and as all the old Bakelite type plastic button grip has disintegrated off the threaded brass fitting long ago, I'll mould a new one around it.

Just the 2 Filter Body screws to make and all Carb bits are done.




Turned my attention to the Drive Sprocket and Pawl Plates where they had suffered from damage when past attempts were made to undo them with Chisels etc (usually undoing the wrong way due Left Hand Threads or tightening them up). All the red lines in the pic show where the damage repair is required has been done, chains now run smooth and virtually no wear on the rest of the bits (no pic)- 




Engine will be next, then the Framework.















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More years ago than I care to remember we used to use Alum powder mixed with water and poured into a plasticene 'well' surrounding the hole with the broken steel stud/tap in.

The 'mixture' used to eat/rust away the steel item,the remains of which could then be picked out. NOTE!! This should only be used to remove steel from aluminium castings etc or brass ones.This is ok if you are not in too great a hurry!

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Hi Norm, Thanks!.

Ranger- I recall Alum being used for something by my Father. Didn't ask what he used it for, but it was the first compound to disappear from my Chemistry Set when I was a child ;) .


Well, with a wet Bank Holiday weekend forecast last week and the Postman having brought me various goodies, I was able to crack on with the engine.

I had previously also found that all 3 (original)HT Coils I possessed were dead in the secondary windings, also that the Condenser on this engine was iffy, as the Points were quite blackened and pitted.

Ordered a New Coil and took a good Condenser and Points from the other 'Donor Engine',(as well as the Cylinder/Head and Cast Iron Piston) .

The Engine bits shown loosely assembled, the nice Donor Cast Iron Piston, Gasket Set and the new Upper cylinder parts -




Engine finished, except for the Pull Start bits- 




Clutch Friction Plate 're Corked', Drive Shaft bits painted and re-assembled. Just out of shot is a new Cylinder Bearing fitted into it's housing -




Yet another delivery the other day was the rebuilt Cylinder (Reel) and New Bottom Blade/Screws-




Garfitts had done a superb job, right down to the thickness of the Knives.


Freewheel Sprocket/ Pawl Plates and Drive Pinions shown fitted on each end are now all good. I'll reverse the Pinions so the unworn parts will do the work in future (not much wear anyway).


Back to cleaning plate work and panels etc and decide on painting method.











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Seem to remember that Alum was the main ingredient of the "styptic pencils" that we dabbed on shaving cuts! Stung like b******y but stopped the bleeding.

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Fantastic work as always Richard, I almost need a pair of shades to handle the bright glare from the engine :D


So tell us then, what's the secret to getting parts so shiny?

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Fantastic work as always Richard, I almost need a pair of shades to handle the bright glare from the engine :D

So tell us then, what's the secret to getting parts so shiny?

Don't worry Ian, it's only the Camera Flash that tends to make it look all shiny. No secrets, just take a bit of time cleaning before working with progressively finer grades of 'Wet Or Dry' and some 'T' Cut (old original type) to finish. It's nowhere near as shiny as the Genset Engine though!.


Well that month shot by (Sept). Made the most of the dry weather to prep n paint after seeing what I have to replace.

The Spacer Tubes were an issue, the front ones were ok, but I was not happy with the corrosion level on the ones from the rear of the Mower (2nd row from top in the pic). As I had a 1954 20inch Donor Atco Mower, I made up 2 new Spacer Tubes seen 3rd from top in Pic ready cut and prepped for welding together.

I have to scrap the rear 5/8" diameter Roller Bar as you can see in the pic (4th from top), it's too far gone.

So my dilemma of replacing it was solved by having to use the Donor Mower's (20inch) 5/8" diameter Bar (2nd up from bottom in pic) and making an extension for it to screw on and weld it up.

Reason is 5/8" (15.9mm) won't pass through my Lathe Headstock Spindle (19/32" or 15mm limit), so I can't make a new one. I'll also use the Donor Mower Rollers for the time being as they are exactly the right size. 




Top Panel, Side Plates and Blade Carrier were Sandblasted and Etch Primer baked on. Rest of the parts were left to simmer in the E-Bucket before prepping and painting. I went with Old JCB Yellow in the end, which may be a tad darker, but happy with the Paint quality. Several sizes of BSF Nuts n Bolts also needed replacing-.




About halfway through this now, so the end is in sight and over the worst :blink: of the expensive bits.

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Thanks Gents and for looking in on this thread.

Yeah!, bit of a jigsaw Ian :lol: .

Started the partial reassembly and then decided that several bits of the Clutch Linkage are too sloppy, worn and pitted.

  Don't want to 'Spoil the Ship for a Ha'p'orth of Tar', so I'll make new bits during the forecast rainy days ahead - 




Hit the Wheels the other day, full of the usual dirt n detritus mixed with Grease n Oil- 




Slow job cleaning out all the 'Cast In'  gear teeth while trying to avoid getting any solvent in the gap between tyre and rim. 

Bushings showed a bit of wear, Stub axles are good, so extracted them and ordered replacements the other day.

Gave the wheels a few coats of paint and left them to dry.

Bushings arrived today so fitted those and now feels a smooth 'running fit' -




Gave the tyre walls a clean and a coat of Holts Tyre Wall Black (old stock of some 40yrs) to seal the surfaces.

I'm leaving the 'Tread' pattern and the Hub Cover issues until it is up and running.

Next is more Blasting, Etch Priming and 'E' Bucketing parts before painting and assembly.

Would be nice to get a Test Cut in before the winter if I can.      

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Great work Richard, I can't wait to see the finished machine.. :thumbs:        How are you planning on cutting the treads back in the tyres?

Sorry for the delay in reply, been making some obsolete bits that were worn or iffy.

Yeah, will be good to see it finished, but half the enjoyment for me is actually doing the work.

Just picked up the remaining parts from the Media Blasters clean and primed.......need some good painting weather now.


As for the Tread pattern, in short, I'll be using the Vertical Mill and either the Rotary Table to index the cuts or the 'Cast In' gear teeth.



Looking well mate I'm liking the attention to detail !


:thumbs: That's where the Devil hides James......in the detail!. So I figure if I take care of those bits, she'll run good and strong long time :fingerscrossed:   

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