The How To series continues with Jonny Bowker from JA Bowker, showing us simple steps for pre-start checks on a pedestrian cylinder mower.
It is important to take out pre-start checks before every use of the mower, as this will help keep the machine in good condition and help reduce maintenance bills at the end of the season.
For this demonstration we are using a Ransomes Superbowl 51, but the same checks apply for any pedestrian mower. Consult your owner's manual if you are unable to locate any part of the machine, we show you in the video and pictures.
First, check the oil. Photo 1 shows the location of the oil reservoir. Unscrew the dipstick and check if the oil comes to the top of the dipstick (shown in photo 2). If the oil is level with the hole (photo 3) both of these are fine.
Left: Photo 2. Right: Photo 3
Second, check the air filter. Photo 4 shows the location of the air filter which you will need to access by un-screwing the wing nut and removing the cover. Photo 5; Check there is no loose debris blocking the filter and, if so, remove all of this before re-placing the cover. (The air filter should be replaced every 12 months as part of the annual service).
Left: Photo 4. Right: Photo 5
Next, check your fuel tank. Photo 6 shows the location of the fuel tank. When pouring fuel, we advise using a filtered funnel to avoid debris going into the tank as this will eventually block your carburettor. If the tank is dirty inside get it cleaned out to avoid any damage to the engine.
It is also very important to check your grease nipples. Photos 7 and 8 show the location of the grease nipples either side of the cutting cylinder. If you're using your mower two to three times per week, you should top up the grease in the cylinder bearings every week. (We advise you to invest in a grease gun if you don't have one). The bearings rely on grease to expel moisture, dirt and grass so f you don't grease them they will fail, meaning extra maintenance costs.
Left: Photo 7. Right: Photo 8
Photo 9 (below left) shows an old bearing that is from a machine that has been well greased. It has been cleaned and has come up like new.
Photo 10 (above right) shows a bearing from a machine that has not been greased regularly. This is full of sand, muck and water; all of which will lead to bearing failure. Johnny can't stress enough how much money greasing your bearings regularly will save you in the long run.
There are other videos in the How to Series including:
Setting cylinder mower on cut
Pre-start checks for a ride-on mower
Setting height of cut on a cylinder mower
Storing machines away for winter
Back-lap a pedestrian cylinder mower
The importance of using the correct sprinkler nozzle
Step by step guide to strip down a sprinkler