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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

No body said it was easy :(

I’m struggling with the very first task on my Suffolk Punch, trying to figure out how the safety switch, clutch cable grabber and spring are assembled. I’ve found a photo on line from a handle assembly for sale on eBay, but it’s not really clear enough to see. If anyone has one and can help, I would be most grateful.

Chris G Wed, 25/09/2019

I think you have quite a later model 43 Punch? It would give people a better idea if you added the exact model and post some pictures of your mower to help you out.

the2ems Wed, 25/09/2019

Thanks for the input Chris G. My model is a 1999 17S. 

I had put it as my signature,but it seems to have vanished :/. 

I already have those attachments. They don’t really show what I want. Thanks anyway. 

the2ems Wed, 25/09/2019

wrispin, thanks for the pics. The second one shows me the position of the little coil spring, which is what I needed. But even in this position, it doesn’t seem to be of any use. The safety switch just swings about loosely. I must be missing something simple. 

wristpin Wed, 25/09/2019

Guess that you've not got the coil spring fitted correctly . It should apply light resistance to being pushed forward to grab the cable before the bar is raised . 

the2ems Sun, 20/10/2019

Hi, I've now got my Suffolk Punch at home, so am able to give it more of my attention, depending on what my other half finds for me to do.

So a quick update. I have sorted the clutch cable grabber/safety switch. As I suspected, it became clearer when reassembled in situ, with cable connected.

Concerning the rear roller not freewheeling. I have removed both drive belts, and can now roll the machine backwards without issue. But when trying to roll forwards, it comes to a stop. But a little manual wiggle on the pulley sets it going again, just for a few inches, then needs another manual wiggle. No force or pressure is required to get it free, so I'm hoping it will be something simple. I assume it's going to entail a bit more disassembly. Better get the camera out.

wristpin Sun, 20/10/2019

Sounds like a meshing issue between the pinion and the ring gear in the roller. Might just be a worn pinion but more likely either worn pinion or roller bearings. 

wristpin Sun, 20/10/2019

I would be inclined to take the engine off  - just to make the machine easier to handle when it looses rigidity with a side plate removed . From memory, it’s easier to take the RH side off but I struggle to remember the configuration of a ‘99 17s. A couple of images will be a useful reminder.- saves digging out the appropriate book!

hillsider Mon, 21/10/2019

Definitely agree that some photos of the machine would help but from memory If you remove the belt pulley you may then be able to remove the drive pinion from within the side casing without disturbing the roller and then you may be able to see what is happening inside where the roller gear is located before committing to removing the roller assembly.


the2ems Mon, 21/10/2019

Looks like I need a new drive pinion. With this removed, the machine rolls easily forward and backwards, and looking inside, the ring looks ok. But I still have the sound of something rolling about inside, so I may investigate further. 

As an afterthought, what kind of lubrication grease/oil should I use?

wristpin Mon, 21/10/2019

While that is the immediate answer and a new one may appear to solve the problem, consider why it is in that state. It is probable that it has got into that state as a result of wear in either its support bushes or the bushes in the roller where it runs on the dead shaft. The accumulative effect of such wear allows the pinion and roller ring gear to move apart and slowly destroy the pinion teeth. 

Check the roller bearings / bushes for wear. Early machines had plain “plastic”  bearings. Later ones had oilite bronze bushes within plastic carriers ; both were held to the roller with some fairly heavy duty 6 mm pop rivets.  

I hoped that you would post an image of the drive end with the belt cover off which should show the pinion mounting support. This was beefed up during production to improve support and maintain mesh between the pinion and ring gear.  

Finally, be aware that  across different models there were several similar looking pinions so when obtaining a new one, check both the tooth count and material.  Your noise is probably nothing more than a ball of hard mud rolling round within the roller.  Lubrication - always a matter of opinion and debate! Some would say that with a “plastic” pinion on a steel ring gear , none is needed. I would use a smear of silicon grease.

EDIT. Have a look at this - there were a lot of meshing issues with early production.…

the2ems Mon, 21/10/2019

Is this the pic you wanted?


regarding the file you attached. I will have to study that later. I'm on to conservatory roof repairing at the moment :(

wristpin Mon, 21/10/2019

Yes, it tells me that your machine is later than I imagined . Good news as it has the drop out rear roller and , as you have discovered, a pinion that can be removed fro outside the frame. Forget about removing engine and side plate etc but the advice to check for pinon and roller bush wear is still relevant. I think (but will have to check) that the triangular pinion support bearing was superceded by a larger one that spread the load over a wider area and gave greater resistance to the pinion teeth "jacking" out of mesh.  *****

Good luck with the roof  - if your weather is the same as here, not a good time to be up there!!

Edit. A few of the pinions . I think that the one you need is the second from the right, pt no F016102295 , but do check for yourself.

***** looks like the larger support was only used on the Balmorals.

the2ems Mon, 21/10/2019

Yes you are correct about the pinion, I've ordered one today. Not got round to checking the roller bush yet, but I have sorted that annoying rattle when I roll. Can't believe it hasn't fallen out while I've been moving it around. It was just sitting in the hollow part of the rear roller on the right hand side.


Henno Tue, 22/10/2019

@the2ems; Just wanted to add that when you wanted to convert from plastic roller bushes to plastic/bronze ones you also need to find a different axle, or machine one, since we found out (to our astonishment) that the diameter is different...

wristpin Tue, 22/10/2019

 Just wanted to add that when you wanted to convert from plastic roller bushes to plastic/bronze ones you also need to find a different axle, or machine one, since we found out (to our astonishment) that the diameter is different...

I may have just been lucky but have never encountered that issue . Don't hold me to it but I believe that the current ones from the Balmorals are a straight swap.

Henno Tue, 22/10/2019

You where lucky. We changed the bushes on my neighbours Balmoral 14s, we machined a new axle because the one for the nylon bushes is about 2 mm thicker then the one with the bronze/plastic bushes. Live is a b****, bu there you go... This Balmoral is one from 1999, same as the Qualcast.

the2ems Wed, 23/10/2019

Just a thought, when refitting things like belt pulleys, are there any torque pressures recommended, or maybe a bit of blue thread lock?

wristpin Wed, 23/10/2019

Unless the manufacturer specifies a torque value, just good and tight. If a spring or anti shake washer was used in the factory, make sure that it goes back on. Correct  torque is important where steel screws go into alloy castings  or critical areas such as big end caps etc. Taper fit flywheels and blade bosses require more than guess work!

A drop  of low strength thread lock not only reduces the possibility of the fastener working loose but also excludes moisture and subsequent corrosion. On the downside it acts as a lubricant and upsets torque values to the extent where a critical fastener can be over torqued before the set break point on the wrench is reached, resulting in stretched or sheared fasteners. If the manufacturer says “ clean and dry or lightly oiled the torque value will have been calculated on that basis - add lubrication and it may be necessary to reduce the stated figure by as much as 25%. 

the2ems Wed, 23/10/2019


wristpin Wed, 23/10/2019

You where lucky. We changed the bushes on my neighbours Balmoral 14s, we machined a new axle because the one for the nylon bushes is about 2 mm thicker then the one with the bronze/plastic bushes. Live is a b****, bu there you go... This Balmoral is one from 1999, same as the Qualcast.

Possibly why in the day they sold a "repair kit" of oilite bushed bearing carriers and a shaft. I've still got one kit if anyone has need .  That said I'm fairly sure that I have fitted oilite carriers onto  existing shafts - still researching it!!

the2ems Thu, 24/10/2019

Good evening all. I have another couple of questions please. Same mower as in signature.
1. When gripping the drive shaft, should there be any free play in the rubber coupling? Or is it a good idea to change anyway if I'm taking it off?

2. Again gripping the drive shaft, should I be able to turn the engine over? I'm not talking about trying to start it, but just turning it past the compression stroke.

3. On the bolts holding the engine in place, are the nuts on the rear of the unit fixed, so that they drop off when the bolts are removed. It looks like they can only be accessed with the rear roller removed.




hillsider Thu, 24/10/2019

Ideally the coupling rubber should be a snug fit between the two halves of the coupling but a small amount of slackness can be tolerated. If excessive slack is present the coupling will become noisy especially when the engine is idling.

Re turning the engine over via the coupling it rather depends of your strength of grip but you should feel some resistance as you turn the engine through compression. Just how much rather depends on the condition of valves and piston rings etc.

All four engine bolts screw into a square nut that is is held in a spring metal cage that clips into the engine base plate, the 'nut' will be free to move inside the cage but should not fall out and get lost.

the2ems Wed, 30/10/2019

Good morning all. Can anyone tell me if a handle from a 35S will fit a 17S please. Part number is F016S50101. Thanks

part number edit

the2ems Sun, 17/11/2019

Any hints on getting into those hard to reach places to remove loose paint and rust?

Chris G Wed, 20/11/2019

The lower section on the earlier handles were a different part number, see the link I posted, yours being later could be all different again. Re hard to get paint stripping bits, wire brush on stick or flat ead screwdriver. Whatever you score will likely show through as a scratch after painting though.

If you were closer you could try out some handles, I have 43's all over the place


the2ems Sat, 23/11/2019

Reference the pre paint clean/derust, there is a Toblerone shaped box section underneath which is welded into place, with no access. When I tip the mower body end over end, it is obvious that there is some debri/loose rust inside. I was wondering about cutting an access hole in the right hand end panel, which would enable me to at least empty out whatever is inside. I can't see that a hole would compromise the structural strength, and I could use a rubber grommet to close it afterwards, after maybe spraying some waxoyl inside? I'd be interested to know if anyone else has done this, or reasons against doing it. Thanks

the2ems Mon, 17/02/2020

Finally getting back to working on my Suffolk Punch, after several months of travelling backwards and forwards, and staying away from home due to my wife's dad being ill.

So, I'm starting to deal with the roller. Going back to previous posts, I purchased a new drive pinion, due to heavy wear on the teeth, but needed to check the roller bushes and the drive ring. The ring looks fine, but there is a little play in the shaft. I wouldn't say it was any more than 1mm, but I'm guessing that is too much. Problem now is finding new ones. From the ID label on the mower, the model number is F016304042, but when I look at a parts diagram for that model, it looks different. The diagram shows a two part roller, where mine is all one piece. The diagram also shows a bush with angled teeth, which I don't have. I'll continue to look for a correct parts diagram, but any help/advice would be very much appreciated.

wristpin Mon, 17/02/2020

An  image of your bush with angled teeth will help but I’m guessing that what you are seeing is Qualcast’s creative use of the parts bin where they used one of the diff gears forum the two piece roller  riveted to the end of the one piece to carry it on the dead shaft.

Going back to your query re access to the interior of the triangular stiffener . I doubt whether a small hole will compromise the strength of the chassis but if other components allow, why not drill the left hand side frame so that the plug is out of sight within the belt guard ?

the2ems Tue, 18/02/2020

Thanks for the continued advice, without which I'm not sure I would have taken on this project.

I'm not sure whether I explained myself properly in my last post, or I'm unclear about your reply, so I'm hoping these pics will explain better.

This is what I have (no idea why the image is upside down)


And this is what all of the parts diagrams show (at least the ones I have found) And that is described as Suffolk Brush? (Typo?)

So I'm stumped as to what to order for new bushes.

the2ems Tue, 18/02/2020

This is the wear on the rear roller shaft. How can it get like that when the plastic bushes look fine?

wristpin Tue, 18/02/2020

The plastic bushes become embedded with abrasive dust and act as files. Used to get the same issue on Ransomes Super Certes rear rollers as well.

Your red circled bevel gear is what I expected to see. It’s just Qualcast using what they had. If you go back to my post 18 , the one bottom right should do the same job F016L61256. The pop rivets are 6mm and require a fairly heavy duty hand tool to set them . Unless you know someone with a pneumatic one !

the2ems Wed, 19/02/2020

Thanks, that is the part I have been searching for, but just couldn't understand why the diagrams showed a different part.

My search has been unsuccessful up to yet, all results showing "obsolete" "no longer available" "out of stock". I'll just keep searching. Do you think I should also change the shaft?

wristpin Wed, 19/02/2020

I would say that changing the shaft is essential for restoring the correct mesh between your new pinion and the ring gear. Have you tried Jon Cruse at Hailsham for the bearing?

the2ems Wed, 19/02/2020

Thanks again for the reply. I hadn't come across Jon Cruse in my searches, but have now visited their website. I've not found the part there, but there are quite a few pages, and I didn't look at them all. The shop is closed today, so I have emailed them. Thanks.

the2ems Sat, 22/02/2020

I've been in touch with Jon Cruse. He has the bushes, and is also getting a new shaft machined for me.

the2ems Thu, 26/03/2020

So, I bought a new HT lead and plug cap. The cap is already fitted to the lead, but how does the lead fix at the other end? Screw fit like the old cars?

wristpin Thu, 26/03/2020

Having trouble recognising that as a Suffolk coil but if HT lead is removable it is probably screwed onto a tapered threaded spike recessed into the socket in the coil.

the2ems Thu, 26/03/2020

Deffo looks original. Maybe it's not the original engine. 

don't know why my images are appearing upsidedown :(

hortimech Thu, 26/03/2020

It appears to be an Australian Tecumseh engine fitted to a badge engineered Atco ;-)


wristpin Thu, 26/03/2020

It appears to be an Australian Tecumseh engine fitted to a badge engineered Atco ;-)

That would be a Kirby Lauson then  cheeky