Garden Tractor Refurbishment
Model Engineers' Workshop|March 2020
Stan Nesbitt uses his workshop to rescue some garden machinery.
Stan Nesbitt

When I spotted two scrap Westwood ride-on lawnmowers for sale locally I acquired them intending to recover pulleys, bearings, drive belts and engines etc. for use in other projects. These older Westwood tractors are heavily built using sheet steel throughout. The engines were Briggs & Stratton. I was horrified to discover on one engine that part of the crankshaft had been sawn off to recover the cast iron pulley. However, the pulley was found amongst other parts still firmly attached to the piece of crankshaft! Photo 1.

After further examination I concluded that it was worthwhile refurbishing the smaller unit, the S800, photo 2. I managed to purchase an 8 hp Briggs & Stratton engine which only needed a de-coke, the valves regrinding and a new set of piston rings. This engine has both a pull start and electric start which is a useful feature if the battery is flat photo 3.

Where the paintwork fails, surface rust quickly appears especially where panels are bolted together. Nuts and bolts on these American machines are all imperial so I had to dig out the appropriate and seldom-used spanners. An electric impact driver proved very useful and avoided shearing rusty examples, photos 4 & 5.

These older models were fitted with expensive and well-made gearboxes having five forward and one reverse gear and incorporating a differential. Later models like the Lawnflite use a simple adjustable double pulley which provides for speed changes. A differential is fitted between the rear wheels and uses a separate forward, neutral and reverse control lever, photo 6.

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