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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

drive pinion on a Ransomes Marquis


The drive pinion on my Ransomes Marquis is broken and I want to replace it. However I don't succeed in taking off the broken one.

Can somebody help me?

Thank you,


hortimech Tue, 05/08/2014

Hi, which 'drive pinion' are you referring to ? If you mean the cylinder sprocket, this is screwed on with a lefthand thread, or if you mean the small sprocket on the end of the top clutch shaft, this is again screwed on, but this time is has a normal righthand thread. Both of these will be extremely tight and may require something with long handles to undo them.


wristpin Tue, 05/08/2014

You've asked this question somewhere else !

as Hortimech's says long "levers" and a bit of grunt. Made easier as the sprocket is already damaged so 24" stilsons are the order of the day!

keith2001 Wed, 06/08/2014

Indead, as I didn't know whe're to ask my question; I also asked it somewhere else.

Thank you for your reply, it worked.

keith2001 Wed, 06/08/2014




keith2001 Wed, 06/08/2014

Thank you, it was the top clutch shaft.

Now I found out that the bearing misses a ball and is blocked. My spare-bearing doesn't fit. Where can I buy one - for a Ransomes Marquis MK 5M.

Thank you


hortimech Wed, 06/08/2014

find your nearest bearing supplier, it is a standard self-aligning bearing, a '1203' if I remember correctly, same size at both ends of shaft, also used as cylinder bearings. just take the old bearing with you if you buy locally, another option is to clean up the bearing to confirm size and then do an internet search for bearing suppliers.

wristpin Wed, 06/08/2014

I've replied  at length to your similar post on another forum so I'll  save my breath here!

a good on line bearing supplier. Simpley  Bearings

keith2001 Fri, 08/08/2014

Thank you.
I did find the bearing 1203 and replaced both. It works.

But now I have another problem:
There's a knocking noise coming from the flywheel.
It seems that the drive shaft from the engine isn't fixed for 100% to the flywheel.
if you turn the flywheel for a few millimetre, the drive shaft isn't turning.
Screw nr 3 on the flywheel seems not to be tightened for 100%, when i tighten the screw
there no knocking noise anymore for 1 minute, then it comes back.
Changing the screw nr 3 and nr 2 doesn't help.
How can I fix this?
Thank you.

Picture expl:
1 - drive shaft
2 - screw
3 - screw
4 - flywheel

hortimech Fri, 08/08/2014

If you are lucky it is just the key that is worn, but you could find slight wear in the crankshaft and/or the flywheel. I suggest that you go back to the bearing supplier, they should be able to supply you with a  new key, it is 3/16 inch square if I remember correctly, they should also be able to supply you with a loctite (or similar) product to take up the slight wear. I would also replace the two grub screws. This was a fairly common problem with the later Ransome machines fitted with the Briggs & Stratton engine.


keith2001 Sat, 09/08/2014

I removed the engine from te mower, and took some pictures.

The key seems to fit on the flywheel but not on the engine's output shaft.
You can easily move it, it seems to small.
Is it a wrong key?

I have a spare Marquis but with a BSA engine, I could take that key if it fits.



"picture 1": the keyway on the engine's output shaft.
 It doesn't seem damaged to me.

"picture 2": the key in the flywheel.

"picture 3": the  key with its sizes. 4,4mm x 4,4mm x 44,3mm,
 if you look closely you'll see it has a bit of damage of the screw

"picture 4": the key on the engine's output shaft.
 It doesn't fit for 100%, it is a little loose, easy to move.

"picture 5": the flywheel cleaned.

Thank you,

wristpin Sat, 09/08/2014

The BSA has a tapered crank with no key.

Don't mess about with the old key which will be damaged as it's been run with a loose flywheel.

The key will be 3/16" square (.decimal 1875" ) 

An impression from the grub screws on the crank is quite normal.

You've asked for advice, several people on two forums have taken the time to give it, now get on with it!

hortimech Sun, 10/08/2014

The pictures show that the flywheel was already being retained by some form of 'glue'. You need to either replace the crankshaft, flywheel and key, or carry out a repair as already suggested. As the former is likely to be very expensive, this only leaves the repair, clean up the crankshaft and the inside of the flywheel, throw the key away, buy some loctite 660 (or similar), give the crankshaft a coat of the loctite, fit a new key, assemble everything, replace the two grubscrews, ensure everything is tight, then walk away and leave it for  about a week before trying to start the engine, this will ensure that the loctite has fully cured.

Before you ask, you cannot fit the entire sloper/flywheel assembly to your machine, for one thing, it probably uses an imperial bearing in the flywheel and secondly, you would have to drill and thread new engine mount holes, the original ones are in a different place.

Now, as Wristpin has said, get on with it.


wristpin Sun, 10/08/2014

This is going off on a bit of a tangent from the original topic but Hortimech's comment reminded me of a " get out of trouble wheeze " that we worked out many years ago when a similar situation occurred . I can't say that this works with all makes of bearing  but it solved out problem at the time.

A metric 1203 and it's imperial equivalent , say an RLS5 obviously have different internal and external diameters but this is achieved by thicker thinner inner and outer races, the ball diameter remains the same.. With a bit of patience and fiddling about the bearing can be picked apart and then reassembled with a metric outer and imperial inner or visa versa! 

This solved our immediate problem which, I'm fairly sure,  was on a Marquis but can't remember whether it was a clutch or cylinder issue. However while digging us out of trouble I bet it caused some head scratching and bad language for some poor devil in the future!

Just as an aside, on smaller metric bearings if the last figure is multiplied by five you get the inner race size in mm. So 1203 or 6203  have 15mm inner races. 


keith2001 Tue, 12/08/2014

I first tried to replace the key.
As I live in Belgium they have no stock of imperial keys only metric, so
I bought a 5 x 5mm oversized and filed until it fitted on the crankshaft.
Stange,it did not fit on the flywheel, so I filed half of the key to fit the flywheel.
Strange that it is not a square size.
The key fits now in both, but is asymmetric.

The engine doesn't make a knocking noise anymore on a first test.
As it rains today I hope to cut the grass tomorrow, let's hope it stays ok.
I will let you know in a few days if everything is working.

Thank you very mutch for your help!!



wristpin Tue, 12/08/2014

That's fine but I would still use Loctite. May be the grade called Penetrating Adhesive injected through the grub screw holes. It will also keep the grub screws tight.

hillsider Tue, 12/08/2014

Yours is not the first job to be fixed with a stepped key, it may not be ideal but if it cures the problem run with it,  it will not cause further damage so no worries there. 

Uncle Albert Sun, 10/05/2015

Hi there i am a forum newbie so please be patient with me in regard to terminology. I am a sailor not a mower expert but I do like a nce lawn!!!

Now the issue is that the shaft on my Marquis, Briggs Stratton appears to have sheared where it emanates from the engine crankcase (as a ref the last picture in posting #15 of this thread is the part which seems to have parted company with itself)  I have unbolted the engine and shaft which looks like its a forging is in a sorry state.

My main question is can someone confirm that the broken bit is the end of the engine crankshaft (as I suspect) and if so are crankshafts available and where from? (the Ransomes website does not seem too user friendly but maybe that's just me being a www numpty.)

Any guidance would be appreciate before I start stripping down the engine assembly.  Pictures can be provided if felt necessary for clarification.

Thanks in anticipation,   Unc



wristpin Sun, 10/05/2015

Sounds as though the end of the crank has snapped off; possibly as the result of running with a loose clutch flywheel.

the starting point with any Briggs parts hunt is the Model,  Type and Code numbers stamped into the blower housing (engine cowling with the recoil starter fitted to it) you will find the words Model, Type and Code stamped into that housing either on the horizontal surface adjacent to the spark plug or on the vertical surface partly obscured by the carburettor. Below these words there will be a series of numbers. Post all of the numbers and we can then work out a part number for the crank and give you some suggestions for where you may be able to obtain either a new or used one.

hillsider Sun, 10/05/2015

I have never seen a lawn on board ship but given the size of some of Cruise Ships that visit down here nothing would surprise me!

Re your mower problem wristpin just pipped me to the post, post us the model, type and code numbers and if possible a photo of the engine with broken part and maybe we can help.

Uncle Albert Mon, 11/05/2015


Hi there well found the numbers as requested.  Struggled a bit to get photos on here so hope I have done so.

 However I think these may need to be taken with caution.  The reason being can probably be seen from the picture 1 of the general arrangement.  The pull cord starter has always worried me in that it requires that I stand in front of the mower in order to pull it.  The mower starts very well and I have to perform a nifty bit of foot work to get to the clutch and throttle controls before the mower takes off. Yes I know its potentially dangerous but I have gotten (!) used to it.  I guess the machine was modified before I got it (Its an ex council machine so possibly some corners were cut in its maintenance) so perhaps the pull cord casing is not the original and the numbers are useless..

Any how the numbers shown on picture 2   are Model 94502.  Type 5911 02  code  86082804


 The 3rd picture shows the crank exit in its sorry state.

And finally the 4th picture shows the flywheel clutch within which I notice that one of the shoes has some loose copper rivets . The screwdriver blade at the top edge of the picture  indicates the looseness  of the shoe.


I suppose that you will now tell me I have a basket case ;-(

Thanks in anticipation ( again)


wristpin Mon, 11/05/2015

Oh dear! Looks like you have the blower housing from a vertical crank rotary mower so those numbers are of no use. S***s law says that I sold a Briggs engined Marquis a couple of weeks ago but didn't keep a note of the engine numbers. 

Someone on this forum may know the model and code for the correct engine so that we can get to the part number for the crank but in the meanwhile I'll see what I can find. The loose clutch lining is just a minor inconvenience !!

hillsider Mon, 11/05/2015

Hmm, I quite agree re the engine casing being wrong for the engine I am also a bit suspicious of the clean outline on the side casing. I don't recall there being any Ransomes parts bolted here and the way the seal is recessed makes me think that this engine was once close coupled to a generator or a water pump. If so this could be why the crank has snapped from the overhang of the centrifugal clutch etc.

Re the correct engine type for this mower I have had a couple of these pass through my hands and guess what I also have no records of the engine codes! So we throw the question open to any kind soul that can fill in the details for us.

It could be that as the originality may already be lost due to an engine transplant the best way forward could be to look out for a compatible engine and fit it as a complete unit.

hortimech Tue, 12/05/2015

No, it looks like a service engine has been fitted and it looks like it is the correct spec to me, this is not the first time I have seen a broken crank on a B&S engine fitted to a Ransome, this was always caused by a loose clutch flywheel on the crank.

Problem is there where a few different specs fitted to the marquis/auto certes, so even if someone did come up with a number, there is no saying it will be the correct one.

Best plan would be to strip out the crank (watching out for the circlip hiding behind the output oilseal) and then take both of the broken parts to a B&S dealer, they should be able to identify it from its dimensions.




Uncle Albert Tue, 12/05/2015

Many thanks messrs Wristpin/Hillsider/hortitect

Not done anything yet other than.................. now dont pass out or get a touch of the vapours when I say this............but I have made a visit to a mower repair facility which I remembered from a previous life when acting as a delivery boy(!) for my son-in-law.  The very nice owner immediately indicated that he knew what had happened and why, just like what the knowledgeables on this site have stated, and then said what you want to do is replace that BS with a Honda.

(Puts on hard hat and runs for cover).

So for not a lot of beer tokens he indicated for me to take 2 used hondas ( said that they were definitely operational) and said use what you like and return what you don't use.

The mounting holes all seem to line up and the pull cord is on the correct side, there is good compression and the output shaft looks ok (not measured it yet.)  So I will explore this route also.  

I know this is not the purest's route but I potentially will get a working mower.

 I will keep my options open though for rejuvenating the BS or if the H works well enough then potentially there is a BS soon to be available for spares, admittedly with a u/s crank.

I am fascinated now by mowers and can see an enthusiasm being kindled.

I will post on here the outcome.................................... unless of course I am excommunicated in the meantime!!!!!




wristpin Tue, 12/05/2015

Well, I suppose it's what's called a pragmatic solution to your problem!

Three observations .

Your Briggs has a ball bearing supporting the PTO (drive) end of the crank to cope with the weight of the Ransomes clutch flywheel. Does either of the Honda lumps that you have been offered have a ball bearing crank and if not will it put up with your application?

If you are happy about that make absolutely sure that your flywheel and key are a good tight fit on the shaft and if not consider using a good strong formulation of Loctite to ensure no movement ( or flogging in the engineering vernacular )

Finally, if all the above are OK you may find that the Honda is reluctant to  idle slow enough to disengage the centrifugal clutch and then respond when you try to increase the revs to re-engage the drive.

Honda used to have an advertising strap line - "Honda, the power of dreams." Let's hope that it's not a nightmare!




hortimech Wed, 13/05/2015

Should have no real problem replacing the Briggs with a Honda, they used to be the standard replacement for a duff engine on a Ransome, even when you had to drill new mounting holes when replacing an F12.

You should, as advised by Wristpin, use loctite (or similar) when fitting the flywheel. The only problem is, as again mentioned by Wristpin, getting the engine to tickover slow enough, but it can be done by careful adjustments of the slow run side of the carb etc.

hillsider Wed, 13/05/2015

Sounds positive re using the Honda engine, it would be helpful to know the model that you have been offered I am guessing it could be one of the GX series of engines. If so the question of the crankshaft bearings should not be a problem as I am sure that both ends of the crank are supported on ball bearings.

Re the idle speed presuming that the original B&S engine idled slowly enough for the clutch to release I think that the Honda will stand a good chance of working as surprisingly the Honda idle setting is around 1400 RPM and the Briggs setting is 1750 RPM

One thing that has been suggested that puzzles me slightly and hopefully wristpin and hortimech can educate me is the need to Loctite the flywheel?  are you referring to the clutch carrier as I have not seen a loose engine flywheel - even on engines fitted to Plate Compactors.

Re tbe centrifugal clutch the loose lining rivets can be tightened by placing a pin punch or a nail in a vice to support the head of the rivet holding it in place while peening the underside of the brass rivet to tighten it on to the shoe. 

Whilst the clutch is open to view do check that both of the pivot points are moving freely, they do tend to seize over a period of time.




wristpin Wed, 13/05/2015

quote "One thing that has been suggested that puzzles me slightly and hopefully wristpin and hortimech can educate me is the need to Loctite the flywheel?  are you referring to the clutch carrier as I have not seen a loose engine flywheel - even on engines fitted to Plate Compactors."

Yes, the clutch carrier / flywheel. -  the probability is that it being loose was the cause of the broken crank on the Briggs.

My comment about the Honda's tick over was not so much aimed at its ability to tick over low enough to disengage the clutch but at the possibility that it may be unhappy picking up from that speed to re engage it. It was always a bit of a juggling act with the Briggs, particularly when they were past their best. Times move on, but with governed idle now being available on smaller BS engines that problem should be easier to deal with.


hillsider Wed, 13/05/2015

Ok, I now understand the thinking re the Loctite issue - that lump is heavy enough to behave like flywheel! 

I think it was hortimech suggested that some fine tuning may be needed to get a clean pick up. 


Uncle Albert Wed, 13/05/2015

You very helpful folks deserve an update.  The pictures here show work still in progress.

I show both the engines offered Old Smokey and the Green Giant.  In true 'Top Gear' tradition I went for more power so have selected the biggest !!!

I have started it in its raw form ( ie no flywheel) and it runs really sweet and steady with very little vibration.  Took a bit of time to find out how to stop it but I think I have that sussed now with the wiring.

The kind man at the mower place gave me some replacement hardly worn clutch shoes which were not 'loose' rivitted. And I took great care to ensure that they were installed the right way round.

So just the final adjustments to the engine position by getting the output shaft to go further into the flywheel, loctite all the grub screws and connect the electrics and throttle cable.  Then good to go.

If you see a green blur with a screaming fat bald bloke hanging on for grim death passing you on a motorway near you  it could be me!!!!          


wristpin Wed, 13/05/2015

Give the end of the top shaft a polish up with some fine emery and apply a drop of oil to ease it into the bearing. Just to the left of the clutch drum (viewed from the operator's position) you should see a circlip. Release the grub screw in the clutch drum and slide it up to the clip and then  move the clutch shoes away from the flywheel about half way up the pins. This will allow you to look between the shoes and the flywheel and aid entering the shaft into the bearing. A bit of polythene between the engine and the platform  makes it easier to slide about .

 If the shaft, although correctly lined up, is reluctant to enter the bearing remove the chain case and with one hand apply pressure on the starter housing and tap the top sprocket with a SOFT hammer . This will usually seat the shaft in the bearing. Once seated move the drum right back against the flywheel so as to re-position the shoes and then ease the drum away by just enough to stop it rubbing before locking up the grub screw.

hortimech Wed, 13/05/2015

Well, you won't be lacking power with that engine, we usually fitted the GX120, 3.5hp if I recall correctly. I agree with everything Wristpin posted, except you should be able to push the circlip back up the shaft a fair way and the clutch drum with it, this will get you a better view of the self-aligning bearing in the center of the flywheel, take care here, it is very easy to damage this if you don't get the shaft to bearing alignment correct, especially if you have to tap the sprocket to get the shaft into the bearing.


Uncle Albert Mon, 22/06/2015

Its been a little ( well a long while) since I posted about my issue and potential solution and in one of the earlier posts.  So many times people do not know teh outcome. Iam prepared here to air my washing for all and to provide a conclusion.

Mr Wristpin made a comment in an early entry that was:-     Honda used to have an advertising strap line - "Honda, the power of dreams." Let's hope that it's not a nightmare!

He must be clairvoyant!!!

The nightmare occurred after I had installed it and went for a test mow.  Now any self respecting excited individual  (having just rejuvenated a mower) and having acquired an engine with half a tank of fuel, may reasonably assume that it had oil in the sump.  Well it didn't and after a couple of runs up and down the garden it tightened and seized. Many expletives later after I had found the emptiness of the sump I removed the the engine and dismantled it's head and end plate housing and with some oil in the bore, some mallet tapping on the piston top, it freed up. No sign of any metal filings in the block, I think I have got away with it!!!!   Sent off for new gasket set for the princely sum of less than a tenner, and reassembled.  After filling with oil (YES!!!!) re installed on mower, it started first pull.  I had some confusion connecting up the springs to make the governor/ throttle balance, but it ticks over nice and slow and the clutch disengages better than it did with the old BS engine.     

I am a happy bunny, with a stripey lawn

I would like to take this opportunity to thank those on this forum for their help and guidance.

Hopefully the above may give a few a laughs in the pub as to how stupid someone who used to be in engineering can have screwed up so bad.

Good night from Unc 




hortimech Mon, 22/06/2015

Don't worry about it, as long as the engine runs ok, then the problem is fixed. It sort of reminds me of the time I went out to carry out the 50hr service on a Kubota B1750HST tractor, I removed the engine drain plug and drained off the old oil. The Customer then came to talk to me, after this I then started to refill the engine with oil, I had got about a couple of litres in before I remembered I hadn't refitted the drain plug but had removed the drain tub, net result, oil all underneath the tractor. Luckily it was on a gravel path and all the oil soaked in ;-)

hillsider Tue, 23/06/2015

Thanks for letting us know the end result and good that it all turned out well in the end.

As hortimech says most of us spanner men have had oil on the floor moments during our careers. The trick is to learn from such moments and hopefully not to do the same thing again.