My Tractor Forum banner

1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
197 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Somehow stumbled on this on Craigslist, guy had a yard full of OPE and push mowers and he mentioned a "1958 Roto Rugg push mower." Yard and sheds were probably no worse than an average MTF'er, but must have had 20mowers, 10 trimmers, a few tractors. Saw my first Toro hovermower.

I was mostly browsing, he liked 4-strokes, I like 2-strokes mostly, so there wasn't much in common. He had 2 stroke equipment he had no interest in ever fixing or selling for much money (anyone want a Toro Commercial Suzuki 2-stroke self propel in Baltimore?). Anyhow finally decided to look closely at this--the Roto Rugg & picked it up for $35.

It's a magnesium deck with one small crack, and what looks like an old Briggs on top of it. (out of my realm of expertise) What made me finally grab it was the staggered deck like a Lawnboy, and the fact that it was in pretty good shape overall. Ok, no original handle and mismatched wheels. Haven't even tried to start it--too many more pressing projects.

My internet searches had turned up almost nothing, I'm joining a Yahoo group that may have more info. I see "Rugg" tractors here which appear to be the same company, but no push mowers. Anyone here know more about these?
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,135 Posts
I suspect you will find the deck is aluminum not magnesium as aluminum was much cheaper to use and only a few companies (LB and maybe Toro) did for a short period of time. Aluminum is a fine material for a deck so it isn't a big deal plus it will not burn which magnesium can do. That makes it possible to weld aluminum something not really possible with magnesium. Looks like a great project mower. Roger
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
437 Posts
Cool mower. Probably a 1 hit wounder from a company that made some other type of machinery of some sort??
 

·
OMG I got another LawnBoy
Joined
·
1,178 Posts
Definately looks like a Briggs. Cool mower!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
197 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I suspect you will find the deck is aluminum not magnesium as aluminum was much cheaper to use and only a few companies (LB and maybe Toro) did for a short period of time. Aluminum is a fine material for a deck so it isn't a big deal plus it will not burn which magnesium can do. That makes it possible to weld aluminum something not really possible with magnesium. Looks like a great project mower. Roger
Roger, Think you're right. Tried a drop or two of weak vinegar on a bare spot of the deck this morning, no reaction. Same vinegar created fizz on the lawnboy deck which I know is Mag.

Now to learn how to actually hook up and get a Briggs "Vacu-Jet" carb working!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
444 Posts
Rugg made reel type lawn mowers back in the 70's also. They had B&S horizontal shaft engines.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
699 Posts
Looks pretty intact... the shroud, air-cleaner, carb are all late'50's B&S...

The Vacu-jet is one of the simpler carbs, and ( IFRC ) doesn't have any of those pesky diaphragms that distort as soon as you undo the screws, and have to be replaced.

Neat machine...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
197 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Frank, appreciate the info -- I should be asking more questions on this one. This is my first time tearing into an old Briggs. I don't have an engine number so I'm cobbling together knowledge from old Briggs manuals.

Carb did not have diagphrams, or much in the way of gaskets (left at least). I'm trying to get it running at least to figure out what else it needs. I am still chasing a no-spark problem.

Have cleaned and reset the points, but the coil has me a little perplexed -- 2 wires coming out of the back of it that appear to go straight to ground, and no mention of this in Briggs manuals ("reattach how you found it"). May play with those wires & try a new condenser if another project doesn't become more pressing (see Honda carb swap to Suzuki).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
364 Posts
It doesn't have any of those pesky diaphragms that distort as soon as you undo the screws, and have to be replaced.
Interesting theory, I always have them stick solid even though all the screws are removed. I thought the diaphragms failed because they got stretched out from the spring or became stiff.

Looks like a fun project.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
699 Posts
Interesting theory, I always have them stick solid even though all the screws are removed. I thought the diaphragms failed because they got stretched out from the spring or became stiff.

Looks like a fun project.

My experience had always been that when you pulled the pump-cover off (Pulsa-Jet - side cover with four screws) or separated the carb from the tank (vertical engines), if the diaphragm did not stick and tear, it wouldn't go back into place because it was all distorted / shrunken, whatever...

I usually had to get into these because of clogged passages; rarely was a diaphragm the primary culprit, but rather a secondary victim ?

Haven't worked on one for nearly 20 years; don't particularly miss them...;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
699 Posts
Atom,

I think the engine # might be on an aluminum tag attached to the cylinder/ crankcase, or it might be stamped on the lower edge of the shroud...

I'm pretty sure this carb / tank arrangement has a plain paper gasket between the tank and carb, which you can easily replicate out of 1/32" or 1/64" gasket paper. The fuel pick-up tube has a "foot" with a screen and check ball in it... should all be brass.
If you hold the carb as it would be positioned on the engine, and blow through the pick-up tube, air should pass (needle valve open or removed) fairly easily; if you try to suck air back through it, the check ball should close and prevent air from sucking back through the foot of the tube. If air goes both ways or not at all, you might be able to open it with carb cleaner, if not, Briggs manual should show proceedure for removing tube from carb for cleaning.

The Vacu-Jet was one of Briggs first non-float type carbs... it works well enough with the pint-size tanks such as you have (runs best between full and 1/2 tank), but on higher HP engines with larger tanks, there were issues with fuel starvation, soBriggs developed the "Pulsa-Jet" carb, which employed a vacuum-operated pump section that drew fuel up through a long pick-up tube, and deposited it into a small cup in the top of the fuel tank, where a second, smaller tube fed the carb itself from venturi vacuum (like the Vacu-Jet). Since the carb was always pulling fuel from the same small cup, close to the carb, performance was usually the same , regardless of fuel level in the tank.

As for the mag, does the coil have three laminated legs or two ? Generally Briggs coils have three leads: high-tension to spark plug, bare copper wire(s) to a lug that goes under one of the coil mounting screws (ground wire), and a small insulated wire that goes to the condensor. If the machine has a remote kill switch, there will probably be a second small insulated wire from the condensor to the ground-out switch. Armature air-gap should be about
0.010", measured between the coil legs and the "dummy" (non-magnetic) slugs in the flywheel.

With everything put right (or close), it should run... Briggs are decent enough engines, just have to make sure to keep oil in them, particularly if you're cutting on hull-sides...

Good luck with yours !

Gravely Frank


Frank, appreciate the info -- I should be asking more questions on this one. This is my first time tearing into an old Briggs. I don't have an engine number so I'm cobbling together knowledge from old Briggs manuals.

Carb did not have diagphrams, or much in the way of gaskets (left at least). I'm trying to get it running at least to figure out what else it needs. I am still chasing a no-spark problem.

Have cleaned and reset the points, but the coil has me a little perplexed -- 2 wires coming out of the back of it that appear to go straight to ground, and no mention of this in Briggs manuals ("reattach how you found it"). May play with those wires & try a new condenser if another project doesn't become more pressing (see Honda carb swap to Suzuki).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
197 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Frank,
Thanks for all of the help. A picture may be worth a thousand words for some of your questions--
I believe I have the 3 leg coil, as you can see there are 2 wires coming out of the back of the coil which both lead to a grounded lug. The second wire is not currently grounded, since I was not 100% sure if it was connected to the lug originally, or if I broke it while tweaking the coil gap. As you can maybe also see, there is solder tin on the wire from trying to repair my mess. I get 4k Ohms from the high tension lead to ground which seems to be within spec (4-10k).
Inside the points/condensor cover, I do not see any additional wires (had it open earlier tonight, but did not take a picture). It appears the "stop switch" is a metal arm you use to ground out the spark plug (ouch!).

So, next steps? $6 for points and a condensor at NAPA...$30 for a coil? Magnetize the flywheel (but it sure seems strong when grabbing screws off the work bench)?

As for the tank to carb gasket, I will go ahead and make one, that may be the easy part of this.

You seem to be a bit of a briggs expert, I appear to have leaks around the crankshaft, are the seals removable externally (without splitting the case?) I've done plenty on Lawnboys, not my favorite job, but it will make an even bigger difference in cleanliness on a 4-stroke!
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
699 Posts
Yep, that's an old three-legger, alright... complete with the exposed lug to solder the high-tension lead to...

The other small wire, the one to the points should be on the underside of the coil.

The two on the top side are grounding wires.

If your magnets are strong enough to pick-up screws off the bench, they're probably strong enough to make spark.

I would hold-off on spending $30 on a coil... unless a wire is broken-off inside the windings, these usually work.

Crank seals: are you getting oil in the points well ? I am not aware of a way to change the seals w/o removing the crank, which requires splitting the crankcase... Someone else here might know of a trick though...

Briggs were the first engines I worked-on as a kid, through my high-school years...

Have hardly touched one since getting my '57 and '62 Lawn-Boys, 15-some years ago...

Keep us posted !

Gravely Frank
 

·
Mowerholic
Joined
·
1,127 Posts
Never seen one myself, thanks for sharing. Very neat find, reminds me of something off of Mad Max. I like it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
197 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Alright, the 2 minute update. Decided to buy new points/condenser since they were $6. Took everything back apart ....some night this week. I had sanded the condensor with removing it and the points in place. Well, once I took the points out, it was pretty clear what the problem was--the points still had a huge layer of burned-on-caked-on mess on them. This wasn't even coming off when I was running paper through.

Anyhow, replaced the points, reused the original condenser. The new one started to collapse when I tried to replace the spring that holds the ignition wire.

Decent ~1/4" spark, haven't tried to fire it up...haven't been home enough in the daylight hours.

thanks for all the help. Hopefully she'll run!
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
197 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Year later update

Well I've been negligent in keeping this thread up to date!

When I left off I had a leaking lower seal & no spark. Now I have a completely repainted mower with all new seals & gaskets with great spark, and only a little carb tuning left to do!

I got the Rugg running shortly after I posted last September, but was not too happy with how it ran. Started right up, sounded good, but smoked worse than my 16:1 Lawnboys and dripped out out of anywhere a seal should have stopped it. The crank was well coated in oil after 2 minutes of mowing.

So I struggled mightily to pull the lower seal, but as Frank predicted above, she wouldn't budge! Pulled the motor from the deck (rusted on blade, etc etc) and started opening her up. Was a big mess inside! Sorry I don't have pics, but the oil pan/lower crankcase was full of dark sludge, and even worse, the head was covered in carbon especially around the exhaust valve. Spent a lot of time cleaning all of that up, some scraping, some dunking in the ultrasonic cleaner.

At this point my friend from Ohio shows up and loved how the mower looked, and that it was made in Newark, 10 miles from where he's from. I don't need another mower, so I agreed to let him have it once it was "done." We redefined what "done" was -- he'd media blast the deck and repaint it, I'd finish the motor and paint it. Somehow I got the job of the wheels too.

That's pretty much where it is now! Replaced almost every gasket I ran across, finally got the lower seal done, and put in a new exhaust valve. Put the valve in twice actually, I didn't follow the manual and did not set the valve lash with a new valve. Had about 35psi when I first tried it :banghead3, but resetting that has me up to 95psi. Somewhere in the cleaning process I uncovered a pin hole leak in the gas tank, but thanks to MTF, I used JB Weld Waterweld and it seems to be holding!

The product review: Rustoleum Engine Enamel does not seem to be working for me! It chips, gas eats it and peels it like saran wrap. Maybe it needs a heat cure? Right now it doesn't seem very durable, especially where I used it as a color match on the wheels.

Long story short, she runs OK now, I love how it looks. One of the bolts into the head for the cab is stripped, so I think I have a big air leak. Will probably just retap this a little bigger. Have only mowed about 10 feet with it, but will try to get a better update.!

Before & after pics below, plus several of the deck. Lots of Aluminum pitting! Will follow up with more photos once she has some grass on her.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
699 Posts
Great Job, Atom !

:thThumbsU

Some of us ( particularly Lawn-Boy fanatics ) tend to look down-on Briggs power, but B&S from that era are simple, rugged, and pretty reliable.


Gravely Frank
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,396 Posts
Fantastic paint job!:thThumbsU I love the striping. You've really been working hard on that over the last year. You should be very proud!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
578 Posts
-That mower looks pretty sweet! Another "thumbs up" for the pin-striping! I go through Newark every now and then. We pass through on our way to Columbus. I think Newark is something like 1 1/2 hrs SW of me.

L8R,
Matt
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top