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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Ransomes auto certes help

Afternoon all

I am in the proses of repairing my ransomes auto certes, I've no idea what mk it is as all the name plate says is Auto cretes - reg no. F M 02177 and the engine is a villers with an villers b10 carb, 


the problem in having is is I have the eBay cylinder assembley out to remove and get sharpened but the bottom blade screws are rusted solid! I'm in the process of soaking in wd40 and applying heat etc but it's not looking promising! 


Has as anyone had this problem before and do you know where I can get hold of the peice that the bottom blade attaches to if all fails and I can't remove the bolts. 


Thanks in advance



wristpin Sat, 14/10/2017

Not an unusual problem!   First, if any of the treaded end of the screws are protruding through the carrier plate (aka sole plate or bottom block) , grind them flush so that when you get the screws on the move you are not trying to drag the rusty bit back through the plate. 

Then give each screw head a sharp smack with a hammer to "crack" the bond of the corrosion and apply penetrating oil..

The best course of action is then a lot of heat - if possible get each screw head cherry red. Then a soak with a proper penetrating oil, such as Plus Gas  or even diesel or heating oil. All are better for your job ; as its name suggests WD40 is a Water Dispersant not a true penetrating oil . An alternative is possibly a freezing spray such as Crack-it but I've not had much success with similar products.

The problem with getting them good and hot is the amount of heat soak in the carrier plate  - ideally find some one with ocy acetylene to hot them up for you, but a MAPP gas plumbing torch may do the job.  

If the screw head slots are mauled up, or if ok but will still not yield to a hand held impact driver , the job gets a pit more serious. If you have a Mig or MMA (stick) welder , sticking a bit of scrap to the screw heads works wonders; the heat helps break the bond and the scrap gives you something to turn the screw with  - its as near a 100% solution as you will find.

The final and least desirable line of attack is to drill out the offending screws and re-tap etc.

If you can go the cherry red route from the outset, before the screw heads get mauled up, it will save a lot of blood, sweat and tears.   

Good used bottom blade carriers are around but probably come with a knackered bottom blade and rusted in screws!

Petrol_head29 Sat, 14/10/2017

Thanks for your help, I managed to grind around the screw head then get red hot and cracked them and they undone fine, bottom blade was rubbish any way so no great loss! 


I'm going to send the cyinder off to be sharpened, can't I fit a new bottom blade and adjust to suit or dose the bottom blade need to be ground to fit also?


the drive chain seems quite slack so can I tighten this up or dose it. Need the slack? 


I wouldent mind overhauling the engine also but can't seem to find much info on the carb I have fitted, it is a villers b10 and dosent look like the normal carb fitted to most ransomes with villers engines. Where would be best to get engine and mower parts from? 


Thanks for  your help 




wristpin Sat, 14/10/2017

Clean up the sole plate, fit the new blade and have it skimmed . - with an Auto Certes there's a choice of standard (grooved) and shaver. Unless you intend to do cricket wickets stick with standard . If you are going to use the machine as a normal lawnmower you can even fit the blade intended for a Marquis. 

To answer your questions re the engine and carburettor a couple of images will be useful.

The tension on the two chains is adjusted by moving the whole traction clutch assembly but needs to wait until the cylinder and bottom blade are re-installed and adjusted

Parts . Ransomes parts are available through Ransomes agents and some aftermarket suppliers. Villiers parts from Meetens and Villiers Parts.


Petrol_head29 Sat, 14/10/2017

Thanks for that it's most helpful! I have striped the cylinder out so should I put it all back together and then send it to be sharpened together of will they need them spereate, I will be using the mower as a normal mower so shaver blade won't be needed, so I can get a groved or standard marquis blade, what she the difference? 


Here rs are a couple of pics, she's scruffy but I want to get the mechanics sorted before I worry about paint work! 


Should there be a pull start assembaly with the mower? I'm wrapping rope round and pulling it ha ha! And as you can see that's the carb I was talking about 



wristpin Sat, 14/10/2017

The images haven't arrived , make sure that you follow the specific posting instructions for the forum. 

Bottom blades. The shaver has a thin chamfered front edge, the standard grooved is a flat blade with a shallow groove milled out of the top surface just back from the front edge . The marquis blade is more substantial and has a lipped front edge. The lip being higher than the surface of the blade that screws to the sole plate. As well as being suitable and more robust  for normal mowing it is a get out of trouble fix if the cutting cylinder has been reduced in diameter by regular sharpening (grinding) to the extent where it wont meet the standard or shaver blades.

Take the cylinder and bottom blade (on the sole plate) to the grinders unassembled from the machine.

The Auto Certes was designed as a fine turf mower, intended for golf greens, bowling greens and cricket wickets , and wont cope with long grass so if being used for a normal lawn you may nees to mow at least twice a week in the growing season. 

Petrol_head29 Sun, 15/10/2017

Thanks that's very helpful 

I've tried to upload the photos again








wristpin Sun, 15/10/2017

Thanks for posting the images, all is now revealed - well nearly all, how about one of the whole machine. 

That carburettor set up was the later one used on the last applications of the Villiers F12 Sloper and A15 Super Sloper engines, so it is correct. It should have a recoil starter which will make things easier. Your engine would have had Villiers‘s own recoil assembly with the pressed steel case so when browsing for one avoid the earlier Siba alloy cased ones as they are not easily interchangeable;  not only are the pulleys different but also  the mounting bosses on the cowlings have a different spacing .

Petrol_head29 Sun, 15/10/2017

That's no problem, yes sorry about the poor images,I have a tiny garage pretty full to capacity so very tight squeeze! I will move my van and get the mower out and take some better photos when I get a chance. Ok that's worth noting I will keep a lookout, there is one on eBay at the moment but not sure weather it's the right one or not?…


you mower looks smart! Hopefully mine will look that good one day! 

wristpin Sun, 15/10/2017

,If you look at the engine cowling around the circumference of the stater pulley , check on the number of mounting bosses . If there are three, that "three leg" starter should be ok  but the pressed steel ones came with either three or four legs.

hortimech Sun, 15/10/2017

The engine is an A15, I have never seen an F12 with that type of carb, F15's yes. It needs a four legged starter, so the one on e-bay will not fit.

The A15 was the last attempt by Villiers at a new industrial engine (along with the Vertex, shudder) and didn't last long

hortimech Sun, 15/10/2017

I have enduring memories of just how unreliable the Vertex was, it would seemingly run ok, then 5 minutes later it wouldn't start for love nor money. Or it wouldn't start at all, but 5 minutes later it would. The biggest surprise was when the entire Vertex engine line was sold to Mountfield and they tried to get it work reliably, but finally gave up on it.

The A15 was based on the old F12, with electronic ignition and carburetion from the Villiers parts bin, so I am not surprised to see a different carb on it, I just never saw one. Mind you, I never saw many A15 engines, another case of too little, too late.