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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Atco Villiers Champion 8 Com Spark Plug

Hello all. 

This is my first post. 

I have just purchased an Atco Villiers 14" Light Mower, my father had one of these when I was young and I had to get one of my own. She's not in bad shape apart from the rust and cobwebs.  The grass box is a bit beat up but mechanically its ok. Petrol tank was completely gunged up, the fuel banjo had snapped off and the was no spark. I've had the tank in the degreaser bath at wotk and now that seems clean and free flowing. I removed the flywheel and unfroze the points, reset the gap and popped the magneto flywheel back on. Eventually I found the timing marks under all the alu oxide! One quick jab with a battery drill and the little beauty fired into life.smiley Ahh that sound took me back to my youth!.


However after it ran up to temperature it started to misfire evntually stopping and was a bugger to get going again. After double checking everything again, I've put the problem down to the fairly knackered looking spark plug. I can get a bright blue spark with  the HT lead spade direct to the chassis but with the plug connected, its very weak. I got a few good belts off itsurprise.

 Besides eBay, do any of you knowledgable chaps know of any suppliers of 8 COM plugs or if any modern alternative exists.

Once I get all the mechanicals sorted I'm going to strip it down and sort out the paintwork. I'm looking forward to seeing it in its former glory.

Thanks for your time.





topgunhorse Mon, 06/06/2011

The coil is usually the problem. After 50  to 60 year they can deteriorate. Jon Cruse at the lawn mower centre will be able to help you, A new coil cost me £46, and that is cheap.

It is problem for our hobby, essential bits can be expensive.

However, a coil can become less effective once it has warmed up, but I'd check and double check your carb is perfectly clean  first. are agood place for plugs or ask your local motor factors. Kind regards Andy

hillsider Tue, 07/06/2011

Hello and welcome to the Old Lawmower Club,

    Sounds as though you are going to be busy with your new project and it would seem that you are on the right path by proving the mechanical bits before pulling it all apart. Re the intermittent spark I would certainly replace the plug before condeming the coil in view of the belts that you have received. Was the engine hot or cold when it gave you a jolt? 



wedi Wed, 08/06/2011

Hi Andy & Ray.

I was right, it was the spark plug breaking down. I got a compatible NGK one from a local motor factor.  With it fitted along with the new fuel banjo, it fired up right away and she's now running like a swiss watch. With a little adjustment of the bottom blade, I've had it cutting grass! Even with a dull blade, it cuts better than the Qualcast suffolk punch 35S I currently use! Considering the two machines are both a 14" cut difference is weight between them is amazing. The Qualcast is all metal sheet pressings and plastic. I'd like to see how much of the qualcast is left after 60 years!

I'd like to get the blades sharpened up. I've seen the bolt on type sharpeners with the sticky backed emery paper on Ebay, but this only dresses the cylinder blades and not the bottom blade. Are there any prefered methods?

One other issue I have is that the internal baffle inside the pepper pot exhaust can. It has cracked off from the stub pipe and is rattling around loose inside and also making it sound a little loud! I would try and replace the whole pot, but the bolts to the cylinder head are badly corroded and to be honest I don't want to disturb them for fears of shearing a stud. I've read on some other site about packing out the exhaust with steel turnings or swarf. Anyone had any luck with this?

Thanks again.



hillsider Wed, 08/06/2011

Hi Alan,

Good to hear that you now have a mower that runs. Re sharpening the cylinder and blade I am afraid that there is only one way to sharpen them successfully and that is to have them sharpened by grinding. I believe that there are machines that can do this with the cylinder and blade still in the machine but you would need to seek advice on whether this would work on your Atco or not, the method that I am familiar with is to remove the cylinder and blade from the machine so that they can be set up in grinding machines. Best to seek the advice of your local mower repair shop on that subject you also need to be aware of the costs involved. Re the quality of cut a well sharpened cyinder will give a really good finish and make the mower a treat to use. 

Personally I would avoid packing the exhaust with swarf etc as it would probably blow out over your grass the next time you use the machine. I would try to keep the mower going as it is until the end of the mowing season then treat it as a winter project to sort ut the exhuast either by repairing it or replacing it.

In the meantime you can research a few suppliers such as Villiers Parts or Meetens Engines re the availability of replacements.