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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Chain lubrication


I'd be interested to understand what the current thinking is on lubrication of the chains on my Atco Commodore B17. The manual says to use the same oil as for the engine (i.e. 20/50 multigrade) but, with chain-specific lubricants now readily available, I wondered whether there's a better solution.

As a supplementary question, is it recommended to lubricate the centre bore of the wooden rollers and, if so, what should be used.

Thanks in advance



wristpin Sat, 09/01/2021

Lubricating the chains with 20/50, or for that matter SAE30 is fine but don’t overdo either or it will contaminate the traction clutch and may lead to slip - particularly on a sloping garden. That said, we used to use an aerosol product which had an “ anti fling” additive. Some people used to chainsaw bar and chain oil ; also sticky and anti fling.

Front rollers. In season , a drop of 20/50 between the rollers is fine. If, for any reason dismantling , clean the shaft and spray with a white grease containing PTFE, before reassembling. 

hillsider Wed, 13/01/2021

For many years now I have been using Comma spray grease on mower chains and I find it works very well. When I first used this product it was marketed as Comma Chain Spray but over the years it has evolved into a multipurpose grease, I find that it works very well and stays visible on the chains unlike other so called white greases that I have used in other workshops that just seem to dry and look very thin.…

Product is available from other suppliers.


DJD Wed, 13/01/2021

I recently checked the Sturmey Archer type ratchet mechanism in the centre of the two steel rear rollers on a Hayter 56, the inner parts of the rolls inner faces are locked onto the teeth of the chainwheel ratchet teeth. Just together would have been fine I'm sure, but so much dried white grease that had set almost like concrete, had me using an old screwdriver and hammer like a chisel and mallet, it was so very hard, I put it back together without and the effect is now very free and easy. I've never used the stuff myself, there's always graphited grease or MS3 containing molybdenum disulphide.

wristpin Wed, 13/01/2021

The ratchets themselves were sealed for life designed to last as long as they did without any additional lubrication. The only  recommendation was to just a smear of grease on the lips of the concertina seal between the two rollers that covered them. Spacing / thrust washers being used at the outer ends to force the rollers together against the outward pressure of the seal with just enough gap to to avoid  metal to metal contact and allow independent movement. Filling the space with grease, particularly one that “ sets like concrete” probably defeats the objective of a differential action.

DJD Wed, 13/01/2021

Thanks for that info wristpin,  used henton's parts diagrams usually, but Hayter fell down very badly by putting silly little plastic stickers as identity labels on their machines for decades, first pressure wash probably lifted most of them, so machines were thereafter mostly unidentifiable, when you think about the many variations on so many different models over a long period, they did repair people a bad turn there. You can't order parts for a machine you can only guess the age of let alone the model or variation, I'm sure I'm not the first to voice this.

Yes, you could say the engine configuration does help, but then again, Briggs changes it's spec like others change their socks, not helpful. Given though that Hayters had batches of engines made with their own 'livery' on them etc. At least Briggs took the trouble to actually cold stamp three separate lots of info on every engine, which damage and rust etc. cannot obliterate.

Stellacerveza Mon, 29/03/2021

I'm going to go with a very thin amount of comma white grease. Thanks for reminding about this product its easy to apply from an aerosol too.