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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Ransomes Ajax Mk5

Looking for advice.

My dad has given me a Ransomes Ajax Mk5 which is perfect working order but is a bit on the tatty side. I'm going to strip it down and re-spray it but I'm not sure what the white metal parts are made of or the best way of cleaning them up sealing them?

Any advice gratefully received.

redfernmowers Tue, 04/09/2012

Before christmas, I acquired exactly the model you have and fully restored it so it's now a full runner. so have expertise in this model for service, strip down and repairs.

Firstly, the side bodies and the casting with the name plate are aluminium. you can use nitromors acid stripper to remove any paint. in fact, I advise it for most parts here. use some wire wool between 00 and 0000 grade to clean and polish, rinse with water, dry and coat with a 2 coat primer before any coating is used. in my case, I used honda silver as a finish to the aluminium sides and casting after using 2 coat primer. the green should be Ransomes Green but I went a shade or two down as it is a machine for my own use and didn't have the time to acquire  the right official colours. 

Physically dismantling the machine will require patience here. first off, unwind both height adjuster bolts for the cylinder to bed knife so the springs are loose.. remove the brackets and bolts for the wooden rollers so they are separate from the machine. remove the handle frame next, so you're now left with the main head assembly.

WARNING: When removing the cylinder, ensure you place a strong object such as a steel bar, wrench, etc into the blade so it comes out the other side to the bed knife to lock. From memory, this nut is left hand thread.

Ensure you have a place to safely lay out your drive fixings so that you know the system and how it goes back together..

the roller gear has a pin which keeps the roller gear locked. carefully remove this. if stuck, use a 1/4" allen key or centre punch and hammer to drive the pin out. keep this with the roller gear. when all are free, the plate can be unbolted. 

WARNING: for safety sake, wear gloves to remove the cylinder including bearings from the springs on the frame. the springs still have slight tension and can fly off. goggles would also be a good idea at this juncture. lol.

before you remove the cylinder, turn the unit upside down. you will notice 4 bolts (2 either side) which need to be removed so the bed knife can come out for sharpening and cleaning.

The roller assembly will lift out completely from the non geared plate side.

A support rod is threaded into the non geared side case so with mole grips, carefully  unwind the rod for stripping and coating. this is a normal right hand thread.

Once all parts are removed, you can acid strip the blades as well.

NOTE: cylinder bearings are encased. the bearing plates do pop off with a little gentle persuasion. at this point, I recommend a clean in either petrol or paraffin and then some grease to keep the bearings running. A good tip here is house hold tissue regarding spraying where necessary on the bearing plates. block off the bearings with tightly  bound tissue and then spray. the grease also helps here as a barrier.

a good tip regarding the cylinder shafts is to use some either decorator's tape or duct tape and fold the seam so you can undo it for use when you've finished painting. this keeps the shaft clean. give the shafts a clean with 320g sand paper and wire wool to polish them ready for the bearing sleaves to slide over.

Other than that, time for a good painting session. the blades, shafts, handle frame, throw plate and rollers (rear) would be coated in 2 coat primer and then ransomes green (central spares do this either as normal brush on paint or 500ml aerosols which do last and give a great finish.

you can either leave the aluminium bare and polish it,, prime and coat with a suitable silver hard finish (2 or 3 coat application recommended here) or if you really want the stunning look, chrome plated....... NICE!

Bed knife I'd either spray ransomes green or matt black 2 coat, as well as the primer first. a good trick at the end of the coating process, when totally dry, use a stanley blade to scrape the cutting edge to remove paint ready for grinding. edge grinders and drum grinders don't like paint on the stones. the same goes for the cylinder after painting. follow the profile of the cylinder knives with a scraper blade to expose the metal ready for surface grinding or honing.

if you need the decal for the grass box, either OLC has them or if you contact Dave "Titch" sanders at, he has all the ransomes decals to hand and can produce full vinyl decals for you.


tumbletey Sun, 14/10/2012

Hi thanks for the reply, thats a great help. It will give me something to do over the winter!