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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Help to identify my Lawn Mower please.

I am a new member to the club as I just purchased what I think is an early Suffolk Colt, this was a bit of a barn find as it had literally been sat in a barn being stored for the past six or seven years.

Bought it as a project to see if I could restore it, I have stripped this mower right down to every last nut and bolt, new gaskets, oil seals, decoke and after taking all components back to metal, a nice new coat of paint.

Before restoration

Before restoration 2

I have hopefully added two photo's of when I collected it, if I have worked out how to upload correctly. 

And four now restoration is almost completed. Reassembled to check mechanics and get engine running smooth, before its stripped down again for final coat of paint.

After restoration 1

Restoration completed 2

Restoration completed 3

Restoration completed 4

I would like to, if I can, to get hold of some decals that would have originally been on this mower, just to finish it off nicely, but I am having trouble identifying which model of Suffolk mower this is.

There is no plate between the engine and large back roller, the carburettor is a Zenith 13 TCA not the 13 TCA-2, the float in the carburettor is brass not plastic, the fuel tank as you can see is rectangular and not kidney shaped, it has a 12" wide cut, the three front rollers are solid wood, and there is no where to top-up the engine oil and no dipstick. Hope these facts may help identify it. The grass box is in the paint booth, I can post photo's if you need them, when it comes out.

Any help would be appreciated, model, approximate year of manufacture, any bits missing I could source. 

Lee Smallwood Sun, 05/06/2022

Hi, great little mower, my first mower a few years back was a colt, slightly later with the different tank and recoil starter, I think Colin who runs the club shop may have decals for the Colt now but will have to check, when I did mine I purchased some from Australia which I found on eBay, 

although no dipstick, at the base of the engine on either end there are two hex head plugs, one is the oil filler(vertical) one is the drain plug(horizontal),  these engines are pretty bullet proof and has an oil splasher deep inside the sump, have a look at James Mays the reassembler, the first episode is the Suffolk Colt, 

i had 4 colts at one stage, couldn’t stop buying them, but now have the one I started with but 7 other Suffolk mowers to go with my small collection, hope to see finished pictures soon, welcome to the club, you’re in good hands.

wristpin Sun, 05/06/2022

Assuming that your machine is as it left the factory and has not had an engine swap, that carburettor points to it being made between 1956 and 1964. The exposed front cooling fins with no shield suggest nearer 56 than 64 but there’s always the possibility that the shield has been left off at some time. The vertical fill plug above the drain plug ( same part number)  again says early. The later vertical filler plugs were drilled and a small split pin inserted as a dip stick. The rectangular tank and engine cowl that leaves the cylinder head exposed  is, again, correct for an early engine but it’s interesting that the pressing shows the three indentations for mounting the later recoil starter. I can’t relate to your comment about a “ plate” between the engine and the back roller. As far as I know , the Colt engines were always clamped to to the transverse frame cross members using J  hooks.  Whatever, it’s a nice tidy example of an early Colt and will cut grass every bit as well as any later machines.

When it comes to transfers / decals , Titch Sanders at Machinery Decals , is the man. No need for stickers from Oz!!


villiers98 Sun, 05/06/2022

Wristpin has some of these as the Punch version. This is version 4 or 5 as it has the toggle drive the rear roller. Wristpin may identify this. Nice job

OLC Shop Mon, 06/06/2022

Yes, we do indeed have the Suffolk Colt transfer - see the catalogue on this website. I notice from your photo's that your grassbox appears to have a different transfer to the chaincase. I'm not an expert on this model but my understanding was rather that the design was the same for both ? Have you got other photo's of the grassbox showing more clearly what was on it ?

Carleepops Mon, 06/06/2022

Thank you gentlemen for your advise and comments.

Lee the vertical hex plug you refer to is how I managed to get the oil into the sump after the engine was rebuilt, half a pint I believe, if I did my homework correctly? the puzzling thing is how do I now know if the oil is getting low and to what point, or how much oil should I use to top it up when it does get low, I don't want to over fill.

Wristpin, thank you, some useful information that is a great help, as far as I know this lawnmower is as it left the factory, but who can be 100% sure with so much water under the bridge between when it was made and now, if it had been in my family from new I could say for sure, but sadly that is not the case. Great to work on such a nicely engineered piece of machinery and without a bit of plastic to be seen, made to last, and it has, in fact, from what you have told me, it seems it could be a lot older than I had been thinking. Am I correct in thinking it is a Colt or could it be a Punch, showing my ignorance. Anyways,  I am looking forward to cutting the lawn with it when finished. I will contact Titch Sanders reference the decals thank you.

Any more advise, comments or general observations please let me know, I love to learn and want to know more about this little mower.

wristpin Mon, 06/06/2022

"the puzzling thing is how do I now know if the oil is getting low and to what point, or how much oil should I use to top it up when it does get low, I don't want to over fill."

Refer back to my post re plugs and split pin dipsticks! 

Original plug with no dipstick


Later plug, drilled and with a split pin dipstick

Carleepops Wed, 08/06/2022

Thank you Wristpin, now I understand where the confusion comes from, I do not have the plug you talk about. the recess is there for it to go into but this recess gives no access into the sump to add oil. Also it has never been threaded for a plug to screw into. The only way I have of adding oil to this engine is to undo the bolt behind the recess, not ideal I know, as this releases pressure on the sump gasket.

Please see photo.

No Plug

wristpin Thu, 09/06/2022

Very strange, never seen one like it. As well as the possibility of leaks, the possible danger from removing the bolt to top up is that the casting that it screws into will fill with oil and be split by the hydraulic action when you screw the bolt back in.  

Carleepops Fri, 10/06/2022

Very true, this is far from a good situation. I have seen a number of second-hand sumps with the plug and split-pin, I think I will buy one and clean it up so I can swap it for this odd one.

It goes against the grain to change an original engine part, but then as I have said, with so much time gone past, who is to say I have the original sump anyway, and to change it would be so much more practical.

Thank you again Wristpin for the help.

wristpin Fri, 10/06/2022

Obviously you are limited to sumps with the indentations to locate on the chassis tie bars which, I think was unique to the Colt. The images that I posted were engines from early Punches with flat bottomed sumps. The other thing to bear in mind when swapping Suffolk/Atco/ Qualcast sumps is that it may be necessary to change the big end oil dipper / splashed .

Carleepops Sat, 18/06/2022

Well after some time looking, it now looks as if, for now, I am going to have to stay with what I have and just be careful whenever need to add oil.

All the sumps I have found that will fit the chassis tie bars and have the plug and split pin are about twice as deep as the one I have, fitting one of these is not possible, it would raise the whole engine from the chassis bars further and then everything else will be out of alignment. 

I will just have to keep looking. 

wristpin Sat, 18/06/2022

It’s certainly a strange combination that you have, and disappointing that no one has thrown any light on where and when it was in production. My collection of dealer manuals go back to the early 1950s and none show your machine’s set up. A possible answer to your oil filling issue could be to drill through the centre of the bottom of the recess , say 5/16 or 3/8” and tap it UNC to take a screw and washer. That would give you access to the oil without disturbing the relationship between the block and sump. You could always drill out through the bottom of the recess and tap it to the same as the drain plug - 1/4 BSP ? . However that might  be risking an unnecessary disaster such as a cracked casting. Not to mention having to purchase  1/4” BSP tap or finding someone locally to do it for you.