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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Atco Starting Issue

I've been contacted by an enthusiast who's having a bit of trouble getting a late-1960s Atco 20" heavy weight model started. It's complete but has been stored for many years.

Apart from general advice to check and clean the carb and mag, is there anything else he should be looking for? I suspect it's going to be a fairly simple fix, even if that means a new condenser or coil.

There is a small brass button on the side of the magneto. Once the mower is running is this the short-out button to stop the engine?

The bigger problem is that the original kick-start pedal is snapped in too and the enquirer does not believe it can be easily welded. That may be so but can anyone offer any advice? Even better, does anyone have a spare one handy?

Please reply here on the forum. If you want to contact the person concerned, email me and I will forward messages or provide a direct email address.


Lee Smallwood Wed, 28/07/2021

Hi Keith,

I've had a groundsman with a mk25 Villiers before, bit to heavy for me. So I moved it on, but I did have a problem getting engine going, so eventually after going through all the checks, spark, carb, new fuel, it went to a mechanic friend, who got it going after finding valves were stuck.

I cannot remember seeing a loop the loop in the fuel line, but judging by the mess in the middle a full fuel clean is necessary.

If the rope pull spindle is still on the engine, I wouldn't worry too much about the kick start, but a decent welder should be able to help.


wristpin Wed, 28/07/2021

Looks as though that kick start is some form of aluminium alloy and a competent welder should be able to tig it and perhaps reinforce it. Failing that, fit a rope wrap pulley on the flywheel end to check out the ignition. No point in throwing a coil or condenser at it until they have been properly checked.

Floydism Thu, 26/08/2021

I'm pretty sure the kick start levers are cast iron (I've just stuck a magnet to one of mine!). Cast iron is a bugger to weld properly as it needs a lot of pre-heating and proper cooldown cycle, along with the right filler material. While I have done it successfully, I've also done it unsuccessfully too!

A far better option would be to braze it, it's by far the best way to repair cast iron parts although it does require a pretty serious blowtorch or an oxy-fuel torch to get anywhere near the heat required (Bright red-orange). I regularly braze busted old bits of machinery (great for re-building gear teeth etc) and it's usually permanent as long as the original cause of the breakage is fixed! I'd be happy to braze it up for you if needed. It might take a week or two to squeeze it in around paying jobs though.