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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Suffolk Colt tin roller.

Did the Suffolk Colt model always have a Tin rear roller in place of the traditional cast? the reason I ask is because the one I have is tin and battered beyond repair, is there an alterative or am I stuck with sourcing another tin roller?

wristpin Wed, 18/11/2020

Always tin as far as I know. The stitch welds between the two halves used to fail followed by the ones between the end caps and the shaft. Back in the day when the machines were in every day use and deemed to be worth repairing a local heating and ventilation duct manufacturer used to knock me up some light gauge shells . These were slightly over length and when held in place by some big worm drive clips, could be trimmed leaving a couple of mm gap. A seam weld down the length pulled it tight when it cooled. The small overlap was then brought to cherry red and gently dressed over the ends. The shaft could then be welded back to the drum ends , sometimes reinforced by a big repair / mudguard washer.

OK, it increased the rolling diameter a smidge but there was still clearance between roller and fame stretcher but no one ever commented on the slight increase in forward speed or difference in the height of cut.


John.Sutherland Fri, 20/11/2020

Useful information, thank you but if I chose to find a donor, are the rollers standard for all Colts or would I need to be selective in finding like for like. I have seen one for sale on the well known auction site which may be suitable but it looks like the shaft is not welded to the roller given the way it has been displayed on it's end,  is this a warning sign not to purchase? 

As usual my phone camera delivers poor quality photos, the engine and Carburettor look white when it is a light grey. 

Overall I am happy with the end result cosmetically to the engine and final checks will be made by my good friend before it is bolted to a bench and fired up either at the weekend or next week.

Just the frame work to tackle next which is the easy part.  

wristpin Fri, 20/11/2020

As long as the roller is from a cast iron chassis Colt it should be ok . The rollers fitted to the later alloy chassis machines were of a totally different pattern with no central seam and rotated on a dead shaft rather than being driven by the shaft.

Just to be safe, post an image of yours and a link to the one on the bay of thieves.

wristpin Sun, 22/11/2020

The eBay one is correct for your machine. Looks as though your existing one may have had a bit of welding to the centre seam. Even when new the metal was thin and will need a delicate hand to weld it now.

John.Sutherland Sun, 22/11/2020

Thank you, I have popped a question to the seller as to the overall condition, I much prefer a dent free replacement or at best, nothing as bad as mine.



John.Sutherland Thu, 26/11/2020

Chose not to buy that rear roller because the seller was not forth coming with an answer when I asked if his roller was free from bad dents, in the mean time I will keep mine until something better becomes available.

I started assembly today but I am bothered by the chain, it becomes slack when the cylinder blades rotate forward but less so when the cylinder blades go in reverse, it is nothing I have done, it was like it before.

It reminds me of rotating a bike peddles in reverse and tenison of the chain is lost, would this suggest that I need to remove a link or make adjustments?

Here are a couple of pictures both show a lack of torque, the third pic is just todays progress


wristpin Thu, 26/11/2020

First, do you have the cutting cylinder adjusted down onto the bottom blade? Secondly, there still appears to be some adjustment to go on the tensioner. Thirdly, to drive the cylinder it is only the rear run of the chain that is under tension, ie the chain pulls , not pushes,the cylinder sprocket round.

Finally there is the possibility that a previous owner tried to get the last bit of use from a worn bottom blade, and added an extra pitch to the chain.


hillsider Thu, 26/11/2020

I agree with all that Wristpin says plus rather like a bike chain they do tend to have a tight spot and a happy medium has to be decided upon when setting the chain tension.
But more importantly from your photos are you trying to set the chain without the engine in place to support the free end of the drive shaft? As it is in your photo the top sprocket can have considerable movement especially if the mower has the self aligning bearing fitted.


John.Sutherland Fri, 27/11/2020

I stopped assembly to pop the said question before continuing as I did not want to get to the stage of completion only to be advised to start taking things off should an answer warrant it, just saving my self labouring time.

I would not attempt any adjustments unless directed by a group member if my pictures did identify an issue and only then follow direction, I just want to avoid finishing it off only to ruin the mower because of a slack chain.




John.Sutherland Fri, 27/11/2020

I have not yet adjusted the Cylinder blades down to the bottom blade, ( Bottom blade looks to be in good shape )  The tensioner has remained untouched by me and I would like to learn how to make those adjustments once all other parts including the engine has been fitted back into place.

one last thing I need advice on is, what is the best practice to remove this last part from the original engine, it is the last part of my project I need to remove, clean and paint before transferring over.




Lee Smallwood Sat, 28/11/2020

The male part of the clutch stayed on the drive shaft on my colt, I gave up trying to remove it for fear of breakage. It's bound to come off but I couldn't figure out how. One for WP to answer I'm sure. 

hortimech Sat, 28/11/2020

It shouldn't be that difficult to remove, there is only one securing screw, probably a bolt with a square head but it could be a grub screw. Undo the screw and with a bit of luck it will just pull off (it is on a straight shaft), though you may have to give it few taps with an hammer from behind. If it doesn't come off easily, you will have to resort to a two or three legged puller.


John.Sutherland Tue, 01/12/2020

Followed your advice but no luck without a 3 leg puller, so I have ordered one online, the tool works out cheaper than buying a donor part.

Many thanks once again for your support, it means a lot to me..


John.Sutherland Tue, 01/12/2020

I will get there in the end. I am so looking forward to seeing it up and running, I am glad to have saved it from going to the scrap yard, I think everyone would agree that it is worth giving a lawnmower a second chance of becoming operational  before any consideration scrap or sell off for parts.

The things some lawn mowers end up as is beggars belief, Corner room Lamp, a three tier shelf for flower pots, a water fountain feature, Crazy stuff.

Thanks for your input, it is appreciated.