Ransomes Fourteen

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wristpin
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Ransomes Fourteen

A bit of a change from the usual diet of Marquises; I was given this little Fourteen in exchange for services rendered. Gave it a valve job and mag service but it became apparent that the piston rings were past their best and it was down on compression; it would run for a few seconds and then oil the plug.. Just how much down was not apparent until I'd given the bore a light honing and fitted new rings, then the difference was obvious.

While waiting for the rings to arrive I treated it to a regrind of the cylinder and refaced the bottom blade that still had a decent lip. Also stripped and cleaned the recoil unit and did some brazing repairs to the cowling where the recoil had been trying to tear out its mountings. The fall out from the "hot work", necessitated a repaint of the cowling but other than the cutting cylinder all the paintwork is original.

Grass box. As you can see it's taken a bit of a bashing over the years so I've got to practice my somewhat dubious tin bashing skills to straighten it up a bit  - not a job that I relish. Going to sort it out as best I can to make it a bit more respectable  - no multiple applications of filler etc!!

It had a quick trip up the lawn this afternoon;definitely from the school of ungoverned speedy machines, delicate throttle control required!

stonethemows
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I rather like the Fourteen, I

I rather like the Fourteen, I used one professionally some years ago, it was a competent and reliable machine, ideal in smaller spaces where the Marquis was just a little too big. The one weak point on it was probably the recoil starter which in the end had to be repaired.

It remains a mystery to me how grassboxes get into that state, that is surely not normal, even rough, usage.

I certainly wouldn't hesitate to use another one and recommend them in the right circumstances. In fact I did just the other day I seem to recall.

wristpin
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You are right about the

You are right about the recoils being the weak link. When I started in the mower business in 1981 we used to see quite a few Fourteens and Sixteens and similarly Villiers powered Atcos still in regular use, but many of the recoil units had been discarded just leaving the drum or pulley for a wrap round rope. The gradual deterioration of the engines which led  to poor starting and consequent abuse of the recoil units was the cause - the possibly slightly under engineered recoils couldn't put up with it.

Even in later years with "easy start " engines , many owner just couldn't  grasp the principle of a gentle pull to engage the pawls before the stronger one to turn the engine.  

Antbr123
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Good luck with the tin

Good luck with the tin-bashing here Angus!  If you don't mind me saying so - that looks horrendous and I agree with stonethemows.  Perhaps a local car body shop might help.....? But it looks a tidy little mower.  Did you add the cable-tie?

Antbr123 (Tony)
Consider grass in terms of how you would like to be treated yourself - and you won't go wrong!

NM
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Could you use heat to repair

Could you use heat to repair the grass box. Bashing out the dents cold will probably stretch it although the thicker the metal the more ‘bashing’ it will take. Using the right dollies and chasers on the radius of side panels will make a big difference too. Old files can be used for roughing out instead of hammers.

Nick

    

Chris G
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Very nice job, looks a useful

Very nice job, looks a useful smaller mower.

Is the fuel tank integrated with the cowling?

Good luck on the grass box bashing - nothing to lose in my humble, its got to look much better. Have had quite a few "opportunities" at this and it's certainly a skill (which I don't posses)

Nick, I saw that file process before on a u-tube clip, clever stuff in the right hands

wristpin
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Yes the tank is integral with

Yes the tank is integral with the cowling. When I got the machine, one of the threaded starter mounting lugs had been ripped out, one replaced with a rather dodgy rivnut and one good and firm. I de-gassed the tank, took the guts out of the starter and used the shell as a locating fixture and brazed in new anchor points. brazing being a lot easier to control than mig welding. The starter mountings are probably stronger  now than when it left the factory. 

Experience over the years has shown that hard used or damaged recoil starters are nearly always the result of a not so obvious engine issue.   

On the subject of the tank, I have a similar looking engine on a Ransomes Sprite , except that it is a pre Villiers, BSA lump. An interesting feature is that the fuel tap is integral with the tank and operated with a lever that is within the filler orifice.

As far as the grass box goes, I've had a kind offer from someone on another forum who has panel beating skills, so it is going to him from the outset rather than when I've made the situation worse.  

Chris G
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Experience over the years has shown that hard used or damaged recoil starters are nearly always the result of a not so obvious engine issue.   

Mechanical empathy, something you learn from kick starting / pull starting and knowing a bt about whats going on inside, taking up slack, engaging etc. Just push a button nowdays :-)

As far as the grass box goes, I've had a kind offer from someone on another forum who has panel beating skills, so it is going to him from the outset rather than when I've made the situation worse.  

Would really like to see before an after - well the after as we have the before