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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

New To Forum

Hi Ladies and Gents,

By way of an introduction i am new to the world of vintage mowers having a Landrover and military radios as a hobby which i am now selling to pursue small engines,i spent a few months trying to decide whether to go for either Stuart Turner small marine engines or a vintage mower as working on the Landrover and camping at shows was becoming somewhat of a trial due to various aches etc, being i am 65 going on 21 but think my body is saying otherwise!

So an Atco Standard should be delivered on Sunday having brought blind on a certain auction site but i went for this one as it is not covered in rust and seems fairly complete apart from the wood has rotted,also missing grassbox and as far as i could see the ht lead has broken off the mag,if i understand correctly it is a slightly later one with a single throttle cable and the fuel tank running front to rear,the plan is to replace the lead and condensor check points and clean carb and see if it will run and hopefully not throw up untold horrors although the seller states it does turn over so at least it is not seized(or minus con rod)if it runs of some fashion i will have a think about the best way to rebuild it although having read a blog of a restoration plenty of pictures is a must along with labels and boxes,i will try and get some pictures up next week once it has arrived.

Clive1997 Wed, 15/03/2017

Welcome to the forum, pleased to hear you are entering the vintage mower world, it seems a natural progression to go for the smaller machines later in life, one theory being they take up less room, BUT as many of us know it depends on how many we acquire!

The Atco standard is a good starting point and we have many knowledgeable people on the forum to give support,

The owners manual is available here…

Good luck with the project & hope to hear more.

jarrett Sun, 02/04/2017

Well it has arrived and rather than being the mower that all turns over as advertised the engine is solid,so is it seized or is it rusted?out with the plug but could not see a great deal as it looks as though the piston is near the top of it's stroke,off comes the carb and fuel pipe which have water water in them although the tank looks dry and liberal quantities of plus gas in the intake port and the plug hole which i will give a few days to soak in and perhaps apply some heat to the barrel and see if i can get it to budge although i am thinking it could be a bottom end seize or somebody has bent the con rod trying to turn it over previously but time will tell.

If it is the piston seized/rusted not so much of a problem as once free i can then remove the barrel and clean the bore up with some wet or dry with oil and then check the big end without splitting the crankcase,all the above is hoping the rings do not/are not broken,i used this method on a old Tomas moped a few years ago that had the plug left out and it worked so fingers crossed and will update as to progress.

wristpin Mon, 03/04/2017

That's a bit of a B . Nothing against Plus Gas , I'm a great fan of the liquid ( not the aerosol) but just in case you've not already discovered it, diesel ( red or white) is a good cheaper substitute for Plus Gas for such applications and does give s bit more lubrication . Block the ports and fill as much of the bore that is available and leave to soak. Also remember that there is a little drain bolt for the lower crankcase to clear any that seeps past during the process and for draining excess fuel mix should it get flooded in use.


jarrett Mon, 03/04/2017


                    Will try the diesel as the plus gas has run out and as you say cheaper,never knew about the drain plug but removed it and at least water did not run out.

Given the worst case scenario of a rusted piston and a seized bottom end would it be possible to remove the mag etc along with the 4 studs that hold the barrel on and then split the crankcase or are they doweled as well?pity it does not have a cylinder head as i still have my round piece of teak that i used to get the moped piston started along with changing washing machine bearings.

wristpin Mon, 03/04/2017

Removing the studs that hold the barrel may be a bit tricky as from memory there isn't much spare thread  to allow double nutting and winding them out; but if comes to desperate measures such as vice grips or welding to them at least they are relatively simple to reproduce.  Be aware that the crankshaft is built up from pressed together components rather than a machined forging ; too much force in the wrong direction can twist it out of alignment and it is then scrap or a job for someone with the knowledge and equipment to re-align it.

Fairly  certain that dowels, if any, will be between the crankcase halves and not between them and the barrel

jarrett Mon, 03/04/2017

Ok have got all that but will leave the diesel for a week and see what happens,in the meantime i have stripped the carb and after lots of brake cleaner have got that sorted apart from what looks like a small circlip that fits to the tickler rod that i guess has rusted away to nothing with the water?also a spacer that was sitting under the float,is that correct.

Have taken the fuel tank off and washed with diesel and then 2 stroke but it still has a lot of rust in it but no leaks that i can see and think it will need more than pebbles to get it out but it looks as though the end pieces are soldered on(steel tank)if so i may take one end off and clean with a wire brush and flapper wheel,so in summary is the circlip correct and is the spacer under the float right and are the ends soldered on the tank,almost forgot it is a 16" with a v1c? engine.

Will not do any more taking apart for now but may get a lot of photos so i can get it back together again.

My wife has not yet seen the diesel i spilt on the patio but hey ho boys and toys.

jarrett Wed, 05/04/2017

So while waiting for the diesel to soak down thought i would take a closer look at the engine to try and narrow the problem down,the nuts holding the barrel to crankcase were almost taken off and the idea being to see if it is the bigend or piston that was stopping turning over so gently turning the magneto slightly the barrel moves so i now know it's the piston that is the problem,i think i will try some heat next but do not have access to a decent source so will try a small gas blow lamp with a hairdryer or maybe rig up something to go in the plug hole and connect a small compressor i have and see if i can force some diesel down because gravity and capillary action is not working.


wristpin Thu, 06/04/2017

I know that urge to get on but give the diesel time! As far as getting oil stains off concrete etc goes boiling water and Flash used to work well but I'm informed that P&G haven't made the original powered product for ages. The same brew used to be good for cleaning the white powdery efflorescence from alloy castings etc.

wristpin Thu, 06/04/2017

I know that urge to get on but give the diesel time! As far as getting oil stains off concrete etc goes boiling water and Flash used to work well but I'm informed that P&G haven't made the original powered product for ages. The same brew used to be good for cleaning the white powdery efflorescence from alloy castings etc.

jarrett Sat, 08/04/2017

It's off,a bit of a struggle bit the diesel and a combination of heat and cooling and after i found out it is a cast iron piston some tapping with a piece of dowel it freed up,i had to lift the barrell up and scrape off rust around the barrell skirt and then place wood on the 4 studs to raise it and it was free,surprisingly the rings are all good with no rust so apart from some work with wet

wristpin Sun, 09/04/2017

Congrats on the success with the job but not the images. Sounds like you are now all set to enjoy your purchase, awaiting news of the first cough and splutter!


jarrett Sun, 09/04/2017

Barrel was first treated to a good scrape with a model knife to remove the worst of rust and then a Dremel with a stiff wire brush fitted,i then made a flapper wheel from a piece of dowel split with a stanley knife and cut a square of 400 wet n dry,some oil then put the dowel in a battery drill and am quite pleased with the result as i cannot feel any ridges and no pitting.

Piston was just given a hand wipe with the wet n dry and is score free,the rings were all free upon removal so just blasted some brake cleaner around them to remove any debris that may be behind them,plan is to get the engine running then commence with the strip down but i still need to know what goes in the recess on the float valve/tickler,when all fitted in the float chamber and the valve closed there is a 3-4mm gap between the top of the float and the recess on the rod,if a circlip that may account for the iron oxide and a small piece of chrome plating found at the bottom when i stripped it for cleaning.

If a circlip i may be able to get something from a photo copier Co that we have on site,thanks to all for all the help and no doubt i will have many more questions in the future.

wristpin Sun, 09/04/2017

Re the tickler. Presumably there's a spring somewhere so that the weight of the tickler is not permanently resting on the float?


jarrett Mon, 10/04/2017


                No spring came out when taking apart but would that not be self defeating even with a weak one as you would either have no fuel coming in if fitted under float or flooding if fitted above or do you mean fitted above the missing clip?here are some pictures of what came out apart from the small piece of chrome plating.

They are in the order as found with the spacer under the float

wristpin Mon, 10/04/2017

Think that we have a contradiction of terms. Your pic shows the float and fuel shut off needle. The tickler is is the commonly used term for a spring loaded plunger mounted in the float chamber lid that is used to depress the float to raise the fuel level over and above normal to aid cold starting hence the need for a spring to return it to the running position.

Normally there would be a springy clip soldered to the top of the float and engaging in a groove in the needle to to locate it in the correct position to maintain the running fuel level. 

No idea what that circular object is. May be does not belong there at all.

jarrett Mon, 10/04/2017

Yes i understand what you are saying but the rod is the tickler at the top where it protrudes through the centre of the float chamber cap and also the valve where it seats at the fuel inlet in the bottom of the float chamber so what i need is some sort of spring clip to fit the rod and soldered to the float although i see no evidence of this on the float,i have seen something like this but large and would accept a screw through them think they are called spire clips.

wristpin Mon, 10/04/2017

Right, how about a pic of the carburettor. I've got three Atco Standards here so with a bit of luck one will be as you describe. However they are up on a mezzanine above my trailer and will take a bit of unearthing.

jarrett Mon, 10/04/2017

Ok will put some up tomorrow afternoon but in the meantime it has the fuel entry at the bottom and the screw on top cap with a fitting for a spanner and Atco cast on it,it has just a throttle cable with a brass slide without needle although i cannot recall the jet size and a manual choke arm that comes from between the venturi and the float chamber with the operating arm coming up and across the top of the float chamber cap,the venturi can be separated from the float chamber by undoing a square headed pinch bolt.

wristpin Tue, 11/04/2017

That's fine, I'll have a clamber around and see what I can find. S**'s law says that it was on the one that I've just sold.


EDIT . Looks identical to the one on my Standard HY series. ( fuel tank mounted transversely and not  longitudinally) . I will try to get to it in the next couple of days.

wristpin Wed, 12/04/2017

Thanks GTC, saves me from having to dismantle mine. Your image clearly shows the spring clip ( by any name) on the float. If it has rusted away it may be a case of improvisation. Something like a very small Starlock push on retainer, maybe; but I've never seen one that small.

jarrett Wed, 12/04/2017

First of all thanks to wristpin,olc admin and gtc,all is now clear with those photo's although it appears not to be soldered to the float which i suppose would make sense because gravity would do the job of lowering the pin and as the fuel fills the chamber the float would rise to the clip and close off the fuel coming in,looks like an old piece of clock spring would do the job or something like that,woll update on progress.

Once again thanks all and mods you may want to move to tech section?

gtc Thu, 13/04/2017

looks like an old piece of clock spring would do the job or something like that

Yes, as long as it's lightweight and happy to sit in petrol.

Here's a close-up of the spring. Note that it has overlapping holes which grip the indent in the pin.



jarrett Mon, 08/05/2017

Managed to locate an old carb and rob the spring clip from it as the body has a couple of gouges although probably would work,carb back together next and as soon as the mercury rises to something more like summer will start on the mag next which has a missing ht lead so lets hope not too many horrors inside it.

wristpin Mon, 08/05/2017

The most likely ( and expensive) horror will be corroded coil windings , but you never know, you may be lucky. The HT leads on those engines usually have a collar that screws into the back plate and the lead has a spring loaded contact that connects to a soldered patch on the coil. Sometimes the HT lead has been soldered directly to the coil as a " as a get out of trouble" measure.

Ready to fit lead assemblies are available from the likes of Meetens or Villiers Parts, as are coils.

gtc Tue, 09/05/2017

At Villiers Parts the coil type is 1030. A minor modification is needed on the coil's HT contact to allow the spark plug cable to connect with it.

Suggest checking the condenser, too.