Briggs & Stratton

While mowing the lawn the other week, looking down at my aging Briggs & Stratton, I thought it would be time to give it a little TLC, perhaps even a new paint job. The engine originally came from my great-step-grandfather who owned a little mower shop, he had given the mower to my father many years ago, I remember my father mowing the lawn with it when I was very young, and now it is in my hands.

The engine’s muffler had fallen to bits years ago and had been patched up with bits of metal and rivets by my grandfather who possibly at the time thought that replacement parts could not be obtained for the old engine, needless to say the muffler did not muffle much. I had decided to have a quick look to see if I could find a replacement muffler for the engine, after all even though the engine is old, the design probably doesn’t change much over the years and I should be able to find something. After searching online (mainly ebay) I was pleasantly surprised to find many suitable mufflers for my engine. After ordering a muffler I decided that an oil change is well overdue, then I was thinking that the engine is pretty old, It probably has a lot of carbon build-up inside the head, perhaps I should do a more thorough maintenance job on it.

I had never really been interested in mower’s, unlike my grandfather who loves working on them. However recently I found myself wanting to do more and more on the engine. I decided that it would be a good learning opportunity for me, as I have never worked on an engine before. After quite a bit of research online I decided that I would go ahead and clean out the carbon deposits, then decided to do valve lapping, then after discussing it with my grandfather, he recommended that if i’m going that far I should change the rings too, he also handed me a crank shaft for the engine that he has had for years in new condition, the list just grew and grew…

My to do list so far:

  • Degrease and clean the engine case.
  • Clean carbon deposits in the head.
  • Valve lapping.
  • Replace the piston rings.
  • Hone the cylinder.
  • Replace the crank shaft if required.
  • Replace all gaskets.
  • Strip the old paint off the engine and cover.
  • Prepare the surface for painting.
  • Re-spray the engine and cover.
  • Replace the muffler.
  • Oil change.

After reading a lot about these engines, I found out that my particular engine was manufactured in 1977, so it is 33 years old (older than me! I want it to last at least another 30 years). The Briggs and Stratton model/type/code number which is located on every engine can tell you when the engine was made, my engine is: 110908-0214-03-77012004, the first two digits of the last section is the year code (see model type code), using this code I managed to find the illustrated parts list for my engine, listing every part and its Briggs and Stratton part number for ordering replacement parts. A quick search on ebay, and most of the parts I would want to replace are readily available.

Before I start I will do a compression test, then compare it to after I finish all the work, see if anything I do actually makes a difference. I have ordered a compression test kit, new exhaust valve, new intake valve, new piston rings and new muffler.

I have pulled the head off and the carbon build-up is quite a lot, I gave it a quick clean with a metal brush but I can not do much else until all the new bits arrive.

I amĀ  now awaiting the arrival of the compression test kit before I go any further.

It has been quite a few months since my last post. Most of my projects have been on hold for a while as I have been moving house. But we have finally settled in and it’s time to get back to it! (until the next move).

I have progressed slightly on the old telephone switchboard, all parts have been pulled out of the unit and I have stripped back the old finish, most of it was in such a bad state that it would just flake off when touched. I have started to sand back the wood to prepare for the new finish, there is obvious water damage in parts but nothing too serious. I have decided to go with an original Shellac finish rather than something more modern, after watching a lot of you tube videos on how to apply Shellac I had more confidence. I have ordered a 220g jar of shellac flakes from Ideal Tools (http://www.idealtools.com.au/shellac_flakes) which should make 1 litre of finish, however I am still waiting for my order to arrive but in the meantime I can continue to prepare the surface.

My satellite dish set up has not progressed any further, I need to obtain some steel tube to construct a mount for the dish, until then it is all collecting dust. This is not a high priority for me at the moment, I want to get my switchboard finished and then start working on a few new projects; Briggs & Stratton engine rebuild/maintenance, and a digital read out (DRO) for my lathe (and milling machine when I get one), more info on these projects to come.