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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Ransomes Auto Certes starting problems

Having learned a lot of great info from a guy in gateshead who holds the entire Atco/Webb spare parts store from when they went bust in the early 2000's, I realised my Webb isn't really suitable for cutting a cricket wicket, and have gone out and bought a Ransomes Auto Certes. It's been sat in a garage for ~20 years, but much to my surprise actually starts without me having done anything to it. It fires up, runs slowly for about 4 seconds slowly, and just as it starts to pick up speed and sounds like it's going to run properly, it dies completely. It then has to be left for a while before trying again (or it won't turn over at all if you pull start straight away) but the same result happens every time. Any advice on where to look first. I'm guessing some of the jets in the carb must be blocked. I've no idea of the actual age of the machine, but the carb has a small pull out knob to operate the choke, with the air cleaner sat on top.





wristpin Mon, 15/12/2014

Having learned a lot of great info from a guy in gateshead who holds the entire Atco/Webb spare parts store from when they went bust in the early 2000's

First, they didn't "go bust". The then owners of the brands, Bosch, decided to get out of the mower business and sold the various brand names and manufacturing rights including the parts stock to various different businesses.

From your description it sounds as though you have an Auto Certes fitted with a Villiers or BSA "sloper" engine with an Amal carb' and that your diagnosis of a "gunged up" . carburettor is probably correct.

Start by removing and cleaning the fuel tank making sure that any gauze filter attached to the inner part of the fuel tap is not gummed up. The fuel pipe is probably hard and brittle so replace that. Then remove, strip and clean the carburettor and you should be good to go. If it has not been discarded by a previous owner there should be a gauze sleeve around the main jet accessed by the big "Acorn" nut under the carb. That may be partially obstructed by wax/gum . If it is missing a new one can be obtained from Meetens or Villiers Parts .…;


middld Thu, 18/12/2014

Yes, I abridged the story to 'went bust' but was previously given chapter and verse by the Gateshead chap of how Bosch bought them up, asset stripped and then sold everything off.

Anyway, thanks for the info, sounds like a nice Christmas project. I'll let you know what i find. I assume no special tools need to strip it, just standard imperial spanners?



wristpin Fri, 19/12/2014

The only thing approaching a "special tool" needed for the engine is a flywheel puller.

Best not to use an off the shelf legged puller as there is a risk (albeit a small one) of pilling the outside rim off leaving the hub still on the crank .  There are three treaded holes near the centre of the flywheel - from memory threaded 5/16 UNC and its fairly simple to make a puller using a bit of steel plate and some suitable hex head screws with nuts or some studding and nuts. For one off use there's no need to have a centre forcing screw , just back the flywheel retaining nut off a couple of turns and position the plate over it while taking up the tension on each pulling nut in turn.

As it's to be a working machine you may like to consider increased reliability by converting to electronic/ pointless ignition using a small module to replace the points and condenser. From then on, no need to worry about dirty or mal adjusted points and no need to remove the flywheel for routine servicing.  I use Meco modules that cost less than £20 and can be fitted inside the flywheel on the coil stator plate or "hung" outside the flywheel for easy access and replacement in the very rare event that the module fails.  

A "special tool|" that may be useful (but not essential" for adjusting the drive chain is the Ransomes peg spanner for slackening off the "nut" holding the traction clutch in position. Having the peg spanner enables this rather fiddly job to be done without dismantling the clutch. The Ransomes part number is  LCG1491.


middld Thu, 29/01/2015

I took the carb apart and renewed the needle and gaskets. Unfortunately the carb wasn't blocked up as I'd suspected it would be. What I did find though was a lack of fuel coming in tot he carb (the tank is full, and when I removed the fuel hose from the carb, fuel barely came out (I was expecting to have to quickly lift the hose over the height of the tank). I've taken the tank off and the gauze filter at the tank is clear, so It can only be the pipe or the union at the end of the fuel pipe where it screws into the tank. I'll buy a new pipe anyway, but what's the fitting at the tank end for (with the knurled knob that turns. Some sort of shut off valve? I find it just turns and turns...

hillsider Thu, 29/01/2015

The fitting below the fuel tank is as you suspect the fuel shut off valve or tap as some folk call it. You may have to remove the fuel tank to remove the valve for further investigation, the problem could be as simple as a blocked filter screen that is attached to the end of the threaded valve body and sits up inside the base of the fuel tank.
It is difficult to be too precise about your particular valve as some types screw to open and close and others simply operate on a push /pull system to open or close the fuel flow. Either way you need to remove the fuel tank due to way that the tap is tucked in close to the engine cowling, this will also make life easier to clean out any dirt from within the tank.

middld Thu, 29/01/2015

After all that, put it back together, pulled out the fuel cut off switch and it started perfectly first pull...! Seems the fuel cut off valve was leaking enough to allow the fuel through to almost start, but of course then it died as it used all the fuel in the float chamber.

Thanks for all the help and the valuable parts catalogue.