A brace of Ransomes Marquis - Restoration

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RedLeader
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A brace of Ransomes Marquis - Restoration

The finish line was in sight for my Atco / Suffolk Super Colt and I wanted to get something lined up for my next project. I spotted a Ransomes Marquis 18" non runner due to no spark (here we go again!), and when I went to look at it, the chap also had a running Marquis which was a slightly newer model, but had a fuel leak at the carb. Needless to say I ended up getting them both in the back of the car, with assistance!, and brought them home. 

I'm not going to go to the lengths I went to with the Atco - as good a learning experience as that was, I now want to keep the mowers cosmetically as they are, bar a couple of little touch ups here and there, but overhaul them mechanically to get them both running well. Hopefully I can use one of them as my regular mower as the 18" cut will hopefully make things easier around the garden, and I do like the look of these mowers. 

I would like to get an idea of manufacture date for both, and one should be easier as it has the plate on the side which says Mk4, but they both have the same BSA marked F12 Sloper engine

Mower 1 - Ransomes Marquis 18" Mk4 - Reg No. DC 398

No numbers on the exhaust side of the block like the other mower, however the sump drain plug side has the following - RS 119 B 1979 K

 

Mower 2 - Ransomes Marquis 18" Mk??- No ID Plate

RedLeader
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I asked the question to Paul

I asked the question to Paul at Meetens and he kindly advised the following: 

The Mk4 Marquis with engine marked BSA RS119  is an early model - Late 1950's to Early 1960's

The other mower with engine marked F12-02-01 is Mid 1960's to 1970. So providing the engines on both are the originals that came on the mowers, that gives me a good idea of approx age. 

Can anyone confirm if the 'newer' of the two is a Mk4A? From what I can see online the cylinder height adjuster changed to this style with the Mk4A? Should both have the black plastic telescopic clutch shaft cover? Also the ignition cut out seems to be some sort of modification on the Mk4, as its held into the engine cowl by a big rusty self tapper??

wristpin
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The ignition cut out should

The ignition cut out should be held by the lower of the two exposed head bolts but by the looks of yours   that has been replaced by a stud sans nut; probably because the thread in the block has been stripped and someone has found some good metal further in for the longer stud to grip. The thread is Whitworth / UNC and there’s a long Briggs head bolt that will usually do the job . Really all the guy had to do was to put the cutout over the stud and fit a washer and nut. The stud left exposed with no nut isn’t clamping the head  on that corner.

hortimech
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As Wristpin says, the cut out

As Wristpin says, the cut out should be retained by the head bolt, or in your case the nut you removed, but more importantly, the carb stay is missing.

I was told that the plastic guard on the clutch shaft was fitted after someone had an accident in the mid sixties, so your earlier one wouldn't have one from new.

Ransomes-Suffolk
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Two very nice machines. I

Two very nice machines. I have a Mk4a and find the engine is very smooth and quiet. The mowers have a real feeling of quality about them. Nice to work on too but heavy when it comes to lifting them on to the bench for repair!

RedLeader
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Thanks very much all. They

Thanks very much all. They really do seem like good quality solid mowers, and lifting them in and out of the boot of the Ford Focus certainly gave my back a good test :)

Although a different beast to the Atco, I feel much more confident to tackle things now, based on everything that I've gone through with that mower! Really looking forward to getting stuck into these 2.

Thanks Hortimech and Angus - that explains about the telescopic guard and the ignition stop 'modification'.

The two ignition stops are slightly different - one says 'PRESS TO STOP' and has a brass pivot and operates 'correctly' with the spring, however the other one is plain, and it's arc of motion doesn't cause the spring to stretch and provide any resistance? Is one from a different mower perhaps?

As for the missing air filter bracket, I've had one made up using the existing one as a template

RedLeader
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After trawling all the

After trawling all the pictures I can find on the internet of Marquis mowers, I believe the ignition kill switch with the 'Press to STOP' engraved on the lever is the correct one for these mowers. I'm sure i've seen the plain one on a different mower at some point but can't quite place it.....

wristpin
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After trawling all the

After trawling all the pictures I can find on the internet of Marquis mowers, I believe the ignition kill switch with the 'Press to STOP' engraved on the lever is the correct one for these mowers. I'm sure i've seen the plain one on a different mower at some point but can't quite place it.....

Both are correct, just a time thing. Don’t loose sleep over it !

RedLeader
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Thanks Angus, I'd seen the

Thanks Angus, I'd seen the plain one on a super colt before, so they must have stolen it from a Marquis in that case :) Just needs straightening out a little to get the spring to work correctly.

A few pics form the carb strip down - doing both carbs at the same time as they are the same model, new fibre washers, float needles, needle seating, main jets etc replacing the items that have been attacked/mauled previously...

Everything went through the US cleaning tank

Just trying to get hold of a replacement small felt washer like the one above then I will have both carbs completed

Throttle valves will be getting stripped and overhauled next - springs are a little rusty and cabled feel a bit stiff

Also investigating what seems to be an incorrect engine breather on the Mk4a

This has been hacked around quick roughly to make it 'fit' - and looks quite different to the one on the other engine

 

wristpin
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Never seen a breather like

Never seen a breather like that on a Sloper and would venture that it’s a total bodge. Does raise the question as to why it was necessary as the correct one is fairly robust. The result of some traumatic incident perhaps.

RedLeader
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It certainly looks like

It certainly looks like someone got 'creative' with a breather from a different engine, which uses the same breather body, so possibly another BSA/Villiers engine? It has a ball bearing and retaining clip in it

and has been hacked to have a straight edge down one side to sit up against the engine cover

Compared with the correct breather on the other engine

I've seen the same/similar breather on an engine online, an Atco of some sort with a villiers engine

Correct breathers for the sloper engine are available, so I've got hold of the parts to swap this out for the correct setup. I can only imagine the original must have gone astray at some point in it's life, and this one was lying in the spares bucket so was made to 'fit'. New breather top and small plastic top hat inset

wristpin
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That pepper pot breather was

That pepper pot breather was common on various Villiers engines such as the Mk 7, 10 and 12.

Back to the correct one, make sure that the push in top is a snug fit and if necessary, centre pop the three raised bits to create some friction, otherwise at some inconvenient time it will blow out together with the plastic valve - never to be seen again. 

RedLeader
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...which could well explain

...which could well explain where the original one went astray at some point! Sounds like the voice of experience there :) Yep both breather tops are nice and snug fitting thankfully.

Would the Ewarts fuel taps have been a standard fit on both mowers? I assumed they were, as they fit the tanks without any thread adapters, and have a 1/4 BSP thread, however when I ordered some replacement fibre washers using part number 18617 from the parts diagram, they were much too small, and are actually sized for 1/8 BSP thread

So the thread in the tank and the tap must have changed diameter at some point throughout the Marquis lifecycle?

wristpin
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Yes, but don’t ask e when as

Yes, but don’t ask e when as I only realised  it the other day when I found that only two of a box of several would fit a tank on an Auto Certes that I was sorting out for someone else. If you look at George’s Villiers parts site I think that he shows the two diameters.

RedLeader
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He does indeed - I've got

He does indeed - I've got hold of the correct sized fibre washers for the Ewarts taps now. In terms of the fuel tanks, the Mk4 has had the mounting brackets welded at some point - I have never even tried welding so I can't criticise, although I've certainly seen neater jobs :)

The inside of the tank looks absolutely fine, other than needing a swish out / de-rust with nuts and bolts and then some electrolysis. Is this likely to have been to rectify rust where the brackets join the tank? Just trying to imagine what would have necessitated this repair?

 

hortimech
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It looks more like soldering

It looks more like soldering than welding to me and soldering steel isn't easy, which is probably why it isn't neat. Personally, I would either find another tank, or have the old one welded correctly.

stevecross
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If it helps, here's a photo

If it helps, here's a photo of my Mk 4 Marquis showing the correct locations for the ignition cut-out (upper bolt) and carburettor support bracket (lower bolt).

Regarding the telescopic clutch shaft cover, the 1964 Ransomes Mower leaflet shows the Marquis, Mercury, Meteor and Matador all without a cover. My Mk 4 which I think dates from 1965 or a bit later has a cover.

Accidents with rotating parts must have happened. One of the mower salesmen at our local dealers back in the 60s always wore a bow-tie after an earlier incident when his normal tie got caught in a cylinder which fortunately cut the tie before his face met the blades.

RedLeader
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It looks more like soldering

It looks more like soldering than welding to me and soldering steel isn't easy, which is probably why it isn't neat. Personally, I would either find another tank, or have the old one welded correctly.

Thanks Hortimech, spares for these mowers don't seem to crop up that often since I've been on the lookout, so I think I will go down the route of getting the old one welded properly. Although that might mean having it painted afterwards, and if the tank is painted, the rest will look odd, which means.... no I can't go down the painting route again, once is enough!!! Maybe just the underside primed and painted to preserve it though.

If it helps, here's a photo of my Mk 4 Marquis showing the correct locations for the ignition cut-out (upper bolt) and carburettor support bracket (lower bolt).

Thank you Steve, that would be helpful - no image was inserted though, so perhaps you only uploaded? Thanks for the info on the telescopic guard - that matches what Hortimech said and fits with the age of both my mowers. I can imagine wearing a tie and ending up in a tug of war with the cylinder blades briefly must have been a bit of a brown pants moment for the salesman!! 

hortimech
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It is not just ties, I know

It is not just ties, I know of one instance where the operator of a Saxon triple had the drawstring of his jacket wrap around the rear axle, with rather unfortunate consequents.

wristpin
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If it helps, here's a photo

If it helps, here's a photo of my Mk 4 Marquis showing the correct locations for the ignition cut-out (upper bolt) and carburettor support bracket (lower bolt)

I would question the upper bolt being the  “ correct” location for the cut out . I can’t recollect ever seeing the cut out fitted in that position and none of the eleven Slopers in my fleet has it there; they all have it sharing the lower bolt with the carburettor stay.

 

 

hortimech
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No, the upper bolt is the

No, the upper bolt is the wrong location, every F12 I have seen had the cut out fitted to the lower bolt.

RedLeader
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I think you are all wrong -

I think you are all wrong - the correct location is somewhere between the both bolts, using a self tapper ;)

RedLeader
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Only two screws were holding

Only two screws were holding the SIBA recoil starter to the cowling, so probably just missing the screws.... oh wait, nope, the threads in the holes/rivnuts on the back of the engine cowling are no longer threads! I've measured the diameter of one of the screws being used, and it's 0.193" or 3/16". I don't have any taps, so in order to make sure I get the correct size either individually or as part of a set, what would be the next recommended thread size up to tap the rivnuts out to?

Also, the 3 bent over 'tangs' (not sure where I've heard that word before, but might be suitable here!) on the cowlings - are these just to hold on the separate fixing bracket to the cowlings? I know the 2 outer ones are for holding the HT lead in place...

wristpin
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Tang, the sharp end of a file

Tang, the sharp end of a file, or , if the BS manuals are your bed time reading the hooky bit that anchors the Governor spring that requires the use of a tang bender tool to reset it.

Tangs on the Sloper cowling. The internal ones are for the fuel pipe in its proper position . The external ones are for the HT lead in its correct position and on machines with an on/off switch the lead from there that follows the HT lead into the magneto.

The stripped rivnuts. Consider dome headed screws with the heads slimmed down, put through from the back with nuts on the starter side, BUT CHECK OUT THE CLEARANCE BETWEEN THE HEADS AND THE FLYWHEEL FINS.

RedLeader
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Aha, tang mystery solved,

Aha, tang mystery solved, thanks!! A quick google resulted in some entirely different meanings, so thanks for that! Right, so I see why people have used the alternative 'easy/quick' routing for the fuel pipe as and when they have needed to replace it in the past - just running it around the outside. I won't be having any of that when these 2 go back together :)

As for the stripped rivnuts, that's a very good suggestion, thanks. I'll just have to not let it bug me that 2 fixings will be correct, and 2 will be different! I know, these things really shouldn't bother me...

In terms of making sure they aren't too long, here's an illustration of what fitting screws that are too long can do to the flywheel fins...

Gouges of up to 10mm on some of the fins - the ones that still remain at least....

Someone was a little heavy handed when removing this poor flywheel in the past :( There are cracks on 4 other fins at the base in between the 2 missing ones

If only they had used a puller instead

Time to treat this mower to a new flywheel :)

Strange that the front of the flywheels say 'Set Points' but not what they should be set to?? I know it's in the manual, but though that it would have been inscribed on the flywheel.

Another question - what is the purpose of the holes around the outside of the flywheels? Is it due to removal of material in order to achieve a balanced flywheel? Like balancing wheels wiht stick on weights, but in reverse?

wristpin
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Yes, just occasionally I come

Yes, just occasionally I come across a Sloper with a correctly fitted fuel pipe. Villiers used to use a hard plastic thin wall pipe with the correct inner and outer diameters so that it was not badly pinched by the tangs. With a bit of care standard 3/16 bore pvc pipe works so long as the tangs aren’t pinch onto it too hard. Just check that they aren’t rubbing on the flywheel.

RedLeader
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Thanks for the info. When

Thanks for the info. When they go back together I will get the fuel pipes routed correctly . 

In an effort to better understand how the clutch engages/disengages and locks, I took the chain cover off from the mowers to have a look while squeezing the clutch lever. I can see the outer plate moving in and out. What I don't understand, is why the friction pads don't move and stay still when the clutch is operated? The chain sprocket seems to float over the friction pads - i expected the pads to be fixed to the sprocket based on other pictures I've seen on here and while searching images online. I've made a short video clip showing what I mean - is this correct, or is something not quite right...

Marquis Clutch

wristpin
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Looks as though the clutch

Looks as though the clutch has been over lubricated . The pads are a push fit in the sprocket , usually fairly firmly positioned and move with the plate. I would give the plate and pads a good wash off in petrol and also clean all the surplus lube off the pressure and back plates.

I will sometimes give the pads a tap to centre them in the sprocket but it’s quite unusual for them to need it.