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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

atco 28

Hello everyone, I've just started the resto of a atco 28 groundsman, it's a monster compared to the 12" colts that I have done in the past. I have a queries which I'm hoping to find some answers to. When removing the engine to clean and get running, there are three prongs that insert into the clutch, the rubber buffers that are inside the female side are completely rotten and fell to bits, there is a part number on the pdf parts list on the site but cannot source them anywhere, could anyone help with advice. Also, on the carb, there is the lever that operates the choke at the air filter end, there is no spring on this and I think once started it won't stay in place what with vibration etc, any help on this would be much appreciated. I will.upload photos of resto in the near future, if the motor doesn't run I think it will be game over for me as not machanically minded but love to tinker and then tidy. Keep you all posted.


wristpin Tue, 13/02/2018

Possibly your best bet for the rubber bushes will be Jon Cruse at the Hailsham Mower Centre. Failing that a bit of improvisation with the appropriate size of plastic or rubber pipe. 

Have you identified the engine, possibly a Villiers Mk25 or, if a bit younger, an iron block Tecumseh? Certainly, the Villiers will have points ignition which may just need cleaning but the Tecumseh may be electronic which, if it's failed, could mean an expensive replacement.

Images will be useful.

Lee Smallwood Wed, 14/02/2018

Hi, it is a Villiers mk 25. I have maybe identified the year as a 54 with the last numbers on the back of the fly wheel plate. So far removed the flywheel and tin plate, the pulley wheel that cover the magneto points are held on with three flat head bolts, got one loose but other two are proving stubborn. Even with an impact driver. So Gunna leave it for now, ordered new plug, I've found a clip on plug cap from my Suffolk spares, it may be a case of testing for spark with the new plug, hope it lives and if not give the engine to a Villiers specialist who can get the thing running as it should. Rubber sleeves shouldnt be too hard to mess around with. One thought, the leaver to separate the clutches doesnt pull them fully apart, Ive now got it dismantled and the rear rollers run free but once back together I think I'll struggle to get it out of drive as the bottom bolts were adjusted t the max, something to scratch my head over when it goes back together. Cleaned the engine ready for paint whilst swearing at the three flat head screws wondering without heat tools how to get them off. Although last magneto I took off fell to bits in my hand so not keen on doing it either. Cleaned and cleared carb as well, need an exhaust if anyone has got one as its pretty bashed up, also need a handle for the clutch leaver, oh and a throttle cable. Everything else is pretty much together, i am 30 years newer than it and I'm thinking it's in better nick than I am. Now, how to upload photos, thanks for advice,

Lee Smallwood Wed, 14/02/2018

Struggling to upload images, do they take a while to upload, i followed instructions, I'll try again on this one, 

Lee Smallwood Wed, 14/02/2018


hortimech Wed, 14/02/2018

How far does the clutch cone go into the main body/cup, it should stand slightly proud. If it is level or even worse, sunk into the body, it may be time for new components, but lets see some photos before worrying.

Oh and the Cast iron Tecumseh (HH120 ???) on the later 28" and 34" Atco machines was most definitely electronic ignition.


wristpin Wed, 14/02/2018

Images, have you resized them to reduce the amount of pixels being uploaded?

Those metal to metal cone clutches were s bit sensitive to set up and very sensitive to over oiling. If over oiled the cast material used to absorb the surplus and it would sometimes take a cooking with the gas axe to “ boil “ it out.

Those screws. With no heat available an end on blow with a flat punch followed by a single “ doing up” blow with the impact driver before trying to undo. If they are the ones that I’m thinking of they are countersunk which gives them a lot of friction surface.

Lee Smallwood Thu, 15/02/2018

Thanks to you both for responses, I'll endeavour to upload photos, I'm going to workshop tomorrow, I'll try straight from camera as can't change sizes on my phone. The gap between engine side and female clutch was about 8 mm. Other the pins being round 20 - 25 mm long it needs to pull 12 to 18 mm to clear, I reckon it's possible with some fettling. Worry about that when I put it back, plan is to get motor working, strip frame and running gear, send the cutter off to be reconditioned, paint the whole lot and sort the small things out after. After doing a 59 colt its pretty much the same although 3 times the size. Engine cleaned up beautifully, just a bit of black heat proof paint on the head and exhaust if I can't source a new one and it'll change the look completely. Do you know of a reliable sharpening service near Bristol or surrounding area. I'll look online but I believe word of mouth and recommendations are better than an unknown source online.  Watch this space for photos and keep you all posted with engine news. 

Lee Smallwood Thu, 15/02/2018


Lee Smallwood Thu, 15/02/2018

Anyone know if this choke leaver needs a spring or something on it?

Lee Smallwood Thu, 15/02/2018

This is a picture of the same mower as mine, although I have just a metal seat as the sales brochure shows so I think original. Excited to get it to a nice standard, I'll do my best to get it to concourse condition. 

wristpin Thu, 15/02/2018

Can’t remember ever seeing that pattern carb on a machine of that age but if you look at 12 o’clock above the moving lever there appears to be a small hole in the casting. I believe that the hole should be occupied by a “ springy peg” that engages with the visible serrations around the top of the lever, keeping it in the desired position.

Lee Smallwood Thu, 15/02/2018

Yes, there is a small pin sticking out that looks like it should do something, it turns around but doesn't locate on anything, I'll Google images of it and see where it gets me. Cheers.

hortimech Thu, 15/02/2018

Not sure about the spring for the choke, but the main question would be, why is the Villiers engine fitted with a Japanese (Mikuni ?) carburettor ?

Lee Smallwood Thu, 15/02/2018

Thanks for that, I think the padded seats came in 56/57, as for the carb, are you saying it shouldn't be on there, I'll have to research the carb and if so find one that's as close to or is original if it wasn't fitted with this one. Interesting  that I actually took photos of the name on the carb, didn't cross my mind that it wasn't an English one, any input would be great.

Lee Smallwood Thu, 15/02/2018

Thanks for that, I think the padded seats came in 56/57, as for the carb, are you saying it shouldn't be on there, I'll have to research the carb and if so find one that's as close to or is original if it wasn't fitted with this one. Interesting  that I actually took photos of the name on the carb, didn't cross my mind that it wasn't an English one, any input would be great.

Lee Smallwood Thu, 15/02/2018

Another discrepancy I have notice, I think the seat is original, but I've got a single bar attaching to the mower, the original I think is an a frame with a wooden foot board, not two pegs sticking out, would the olc be upset if I left it, I've got a Webb 24 inch cut which is my project after the atco is complete. It might be the right one for that. I'll look about for an original one, if they're not too pricey it might be worth the investment

wristpin Thu, 15/02/2018

Thanks for that, I think the padded seats came in 56/57, as for the carb, are you saying it shouldn't be on there, I'll have to research the carb and if so find one that's as close to or is original if it wasn't fitted with this one. Interesting  that I actually took photos of the name on the carb, didn't cross my mind that it wasn't an English one, any input would be great.

No, not saying that it is the wrong carb, just that I've never seen one of that pattern on a Mk25.

EDIT. Just seen Hortimec's reply. If that is the case, definitely wrong!!  From what I remember of the original carbs they were very prone to flooding even with new float needles etc, so perhaps someone got fed up ! 


Lee Smallwood Fri, 16/02/2018

Maybe. If it works I probably will leave it on, its in good nic and apart from the choke springy thing I think it will be ok. Thanks for your help. Not back with it until tomorrow so hopefully get it running and get moving forward with restoration. Talk soon.lee

hortimech Fri, 16/02/2018

The problem with the carb that is fitted is, you will not have a governed engine. The correct carb fits to an elbow and inside the elbow is a butterfly valve which is operated by the governor.

The correct carb is a Villiers slide carb and I cannot remember having a lot of problem with them. Should be fairly easy to find a carb, they were also used on the motorcycle engines, type 22 seems to come to mind, a bigger problem will be finding the elbow and governor linkage.


Lee Smallwood Sat, 17/02/2018

Sorry, I thought the picture of the carb had the governor included, the governor, spring bar and elbow with the butterfly are still there, the carb is attached to the elbow, it doesn't create a spark so that carb issue is taken back seat. I've found a Villiers specialist just north of Oxford end emailed him for a quote to get the thing going, I've done all I'm mechanically capable of, as I cannot get the pulley wheel off, damm thing. (Flat head screws should be bannished) I'll consider spending the money but I'll probably end up selling the whole thing for spares as I'm mechanically limited. I sourced and replaced the magneto in my Suffolk colt as it had the same issue, that didn't put up a fight like this is. If anyone knows of someone that can help nearer Bristol I would be truly grateful. My last option I thought about is trying an anti clockwise drill and trying to hopefully get them out that way, but I think that will just cause more issues for me and it'll have to be a long one as they're sunk in the pulley about 60 mm. The magneto is working as in the points are touching when the pulley is turned and everything seems to be ok, but I've just caused myself another issue by snapping the plastic lug that goes through the casing into the magneto so trying to get a connection is virtually impossible now, screwdriver ended up the other end of the workshop and I came home. I may take another look Monday. But I can't see any progress until I can get to the magneto. I'll think I'll buy a push along one next. Lol. 

wristpin Sat, 17/02/2018

Lol. I'll paint the seat, what can possibly go wrong with that.

Sit on the wet paint!

Lee Smallwood Thu, 08/03/2018
  • Ha ha, it lives. Had a phone call from my local machanic and family friend who said after freeing up a valve and fixing the points and getting HT lead sorted it ran, only gave it to him this morning, and he charged me a tenner. Jumping up and down with excitement. I can paint the engine now and get the engine cowl on. The plate with all information punched onto it is pretty rough, any ideas where I can get another. Then start the frame, tank and seat. May be able to cut the grass on the riverbank next door, will be a good one for the photo box. Can't wait. 

wristpin Thu, 08/03/2018

Are you referring to the engine (Villiers) plate or the Atco chassis plate?  Image?

Before you get carried away (!!!) near the river have a bit of practice well away from potential disaster, those 28s can be quite a handful to turn.  

Lee Smallwood Thu, 08/03/2018

It's the plate on the Villiers engine cowl, riveted on, not sure if it's a bespoke one for that engine or if it's a standard thing, I can't make out the markings but looks as though it had engine specs. And don't worry, im along way off fishing it out of the river. Maybe in the summer.  I'm arranging with the Mrs to come to the annual rally in may, won't be bringing this one but may bring my colt and my ransommes push along. Not vintage but older than me. Lol.

Lee Smallwood Sat, 10/03/2018

Hi, thanks for link, I've emailed them, hopefully can source or make one, I'm trying to contact Gerry regarding transfers but the link isn't working on my emails. Could anyone let him know I'm after some. Ta. Resto is taking a back seat as rental has become empty so need to fit new kitchen in that, but I get the garage as my little mower museum, happy days.

Lee Smallwood Sat, 17/03/2018

Finally engine is sorted and painted, just the red to do and the motor is ready. More pics to follow of chassis and trailing seat. 

Lee Smallwood Mon, 19/03/2018




My Villiers mk 25 is now finished.and runs beautifully. I thought I'd add that Craig pellow of Riverside garage in clevedon got this baby running when I thought it was dead, makes me wonder what gems have ended up in the bin or been stripped for parts when it may have been saved.