Wolseley Major Merry Tiller rotor shaft wobble

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XT500fred
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Wolseley Major Merry Tiller rotor shaft wobble

Postby XT500fred » Thu Oct 13, 2016 8:39 am

Hello,

I have just taken possession of a Wolseley Major Merry Tiller that was first purchased on 8th March 1979 (It comes with the original guarantee card and manuals). It starts first or second pull and ticks over OK, but I will be giving it a thorough service before using on my allotment. I work on classic motorcycles, so doing the servicing won't be a problem.

My only concern at the moment is that there is some flex in the rotor shaft where it enters the crankcase, and having not owned a rotavator before, I do not know if this is the norm and is therefore acceptable, or if the bearings need replacing. I have taken a couple of short videos of me moving the rotor blades by hand and put them on youtube. Would those with the relevant experience and knowledge mind looking at the videos and letting me know if it's OK or needs bearings.

Also would like to get a spark plug and air filter, does anyone know who supplies them? I can't think of anything else I might need for a service, apart from oil (I have plenty of 10W40 semi-synthetic, is this OK?), please let me know if there's anything other than a spark plug and air filter that ought to be replaced.

youtube videos:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgKo_2HMcUg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTtwZbF1CAU

Photos of the Wolseley Major:

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Yours,
fred
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Re: Wolseley Major Merry Tiller rotor shaft wobble

Postby Pa Snip » Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:49 am

Cant help you with the technical stuff but just wanted to welcome you and say that for its age that looks a tidy machine.

The oil type seems to be answered by the numerous labels which are surprisingly readable

Good luck with it
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Re: Wolseley Major Merry Tiller rotor shaft wobble

Postby robo » Thu Oct 13, 2016 1:55 pm

I've never worked on a merry tiller but looking at your vid I would say the bearings or bushes are passed it
Welcome to the forum there will be more definite answer's shortly
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Re: Wolseley Major Merry Tiller rotor shaft wobble

Postby John » Thu Oct 13, 2016 3:48 pm

Hello XFred
I don't think you have a problem here. The inner and outer pairs of rotors are held in place by pins each of which has a semi-circular clip. The whole arrangement is not rigid but quite loose as your video shows. It could be that your pins have become worn and are allowing more movement than normal. You will need to remove the pins and pull off the rotors (a very easy job) to look at the main shaft at the bottom of the crankcase. The most common problem at the bottom of the crankcase is often the oil seals on the shaft leaking ( yours don't show any sign of this) rather than wear.
If the retaining pins are worn replacements are easy to get hold of.
Good luck with your MT - they're great machines despite their age.
A quick tip - when rotovating take things SLOWLY and run the machine at tortoise not hare speed at this time of year. You only want to turn over the soil - if you go too fast you will simply pulverise the soil and damage its structure. So many when they get behind a rotovator race over the ground and think the job will all be over in 5 minutes. This is the quickest way to ruin your soil.
Also my soil is very light and I rotovate with the transport wheels still on to prevent MT digging herself in. With a heavier soil remove the wheels and use the rear skid bar.
Happy tilling
John
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Re: Wolseley Major Merry Tiller rotor shaft wobble

Postby peter » Thu Oct 13, 2016 4:40 pm

Agree with John.

What you're wigglimg are detachable parts.
The proper securimg pins have a semicircular clip attache to the head and it folds over to the tail end, in the direction of rotation.

Take off all the rotors and check the one piece solid axle hidden underneath, if that moves you may need new bearings if so remember to replacethe big gasket.

A though occurs to this old cynic you might have the wrong rotors for your machine - very sloppy fit.
Other options are;
worn or undersized/incorrect pins
Correct inner and incorrect outer rotors.
Wear in the holes in the rotors
Wear in the holes in the solud axle.
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Re: Wolseley Major Merry Tiller rotor shaft wobble

Postby XT500fred » Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:33 pm

Thanks for the welcome and all the replies.
Looks like I'm in capable and knowledgeable company here.
I'll remove the rotors and inspect them and the pins, and where the shaft enters the crankcase I'll let you all know what the outcome is.

Thanks again :)
Cheers,
fred
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Re: Wolseley Major Merry Tiller rotor shaft wobble

Postby peter » Fri Oct 14, 2016 2:29 pm

Spark plug and filter, any Brigg & Stratton familiar mower / garden machinery workshop or dealer can help.
Just photograph or wrote down the engine plate details, which I suspect are the stamped numbers in your engine photo.
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Re: Wolseley Major Merry Tiller rotor shaft wobble

Postby John » Fri Oct 14, 2016 5:57 pm

Hello Fred
If you get bitten by the MT bug (as you surely will) then you will find this site very interesting

http://merrytiller.co.uk/index.html

Lots on the history, maintenance, how to use these machines and good range of spares available.

John
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Re: Wolseley Major Merry Tiller rotor shaft wobble

Postby XT500fred » Sat Oct 15, 2016 2:07 pm

Well, I got busy yesterday and removed the rotors, gave everything a good old clean and took some measurements.

John and Peter, you were right about the pins, they are very worn where they have been rubbing against the rotors, and one of the pins is not the same as the rest. The shaft has very very little vertical movement but has 2mm horizontal movement (I am able to pull and push the shaft in and out of the crankcase by 2mm), and I found some oil on the right side, on the shaft and inside the inner rotor. So new oil seal needed there. The bearing seems to be OK?, but if I'm going to open up the crankcase, I might as well replace the bearing and both oils seals just to make sure. I've already been in touch with Richard Tallentire from http://merrytiller.co.uk, who has been very helpful, and will be getting those parts from him. You're right John, his website is very interesting, and an absolute necessity for maintaining these machines. Much kudos for him!

Here's some pics of the rotors, shaft and pins. I'd thought I'd include them, as Peter mentioned that it might be possible that they are incorrect for the machine. I've taken measurements with digital verniers so you can clearly see if they are OK. Everything seems to be OK to me, and it's just a matter of replacing the pins.

Rotor shaft, showing an OD of 31.7mm

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Inner rotor ID: 32.58mm

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Inner rotor OD: 41.25mm

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Outer rotor ID: 43.22mm

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Rotor pins, showing an odd one

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Rotor pins close up, showing wear near the shoulders

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Here's one of the inner rotors showing some letters (WW MT-R K) stamped on the blades:

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I also removed the engine cowl, which Richard seemed to think is not original for the year and model, and could of been added later. He is right. Removing the cowl revealed a home-made bracket made from a length of aluminium which is attached to the front of the engine by one of the head bolts, and to the rear by a piece of wire through a hole in the fuel tank (see photos below and prepare to grimace!). The air cleaner cover is bolted to the cowl, and this set-up is all that keeps the air filter cartridge in place on top of the carburettor, which means that a tight and proper fitting is not in order and fine dust can pass into the carburettor.

I've had a look at some parts diagrams for this model of engine, and discovered that there should be a stud attached to the centre of the carburettor inlet, to which a base, air filter and cup are clamped down with a wing nut, and then the air filter cover is bolted down on top with a threaded knob. Most of these missing parts are available within the UK on eBay (official part suppliers only stock parts for modern machines), except for the stud and threaded knob which are available from the USA on eBay, but the cost of shipping a simple small part makes them too expensive (approx £19 shipping for each item). Unless I can find these 2 parts without forking out a fortune on postage, I'll fabricate them myself. The threads are 3/16", and I have tap & dies for the job.

Here's the front bracket

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And the rear bracket attached to the cowl by a rivet (shown upside down)

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Which was attached by means of a small hole drilled in the joining lip of the fuel tank and a piece of wire

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Here's all I have of the air cleaner assembly

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Inside view of the air filter cover

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So that just about sums it up for now.
I'm just waiting for Richard to get back to me, and then I'll be ordering parts galore and having fun in my workshop.

Thanks again for all your advice and help, of which I have a feeling there'll be more!
Cheers,
Fred.
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Re: Wolseley Major Merry Tiller rotor shaft wobble

Postby peter » Sat Oct 15, 2016 4:48 pm

Looks like three original pins and a random replacement.
The cowl, well words fail me....
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