Where can I get spare parts for my Paladin lawnmower? I need a new bottom blade and can I use semi-synthetic oil in a Paladin mower's Honda engine and clutch box?


A: I like the Lloyds Paladin cylinder mower and so do a lot of people. In fact, so successful is this machine that it in many respects has not changed in the 40 years it has been available. It is still hailed by many groundsmen as the Rolls Royce of fine-turf mowing.

The Paladin gives a classic finish to high-quality lawns and is ideal for use on bowling greens, putting greens and tennis courts. This is a mower with power and a good turn of speed. But what I like about it is its nippy manoeuvrability and the way that, due to the short distance between front and rear rollers, it takes undulations in its stride. Scalping is not in this mower's vocabulary and the operator always has a good view of the grass ahead. Handlebar height is adjustable through nine settings - perfect.

The best bit, perhaps, is the smoothness of running. It just pulls away gently - no lurching or jerking. This mower has independent spring-actuated plate clutches and oil-bath gearbox, with v-belt final drive to the cylinder and chain drive to the divided cast-aluminium rear roller. It is the transmission that prevents the machine from snatching as it takes off. It is kind to the turf and it is kind to the operator.

The Paladin is worth looking after. When it comes to spare parts such as new bottom blades, I would go direct to the manufacturer. Lloyds & Co (Letchworth) is based in Birds Hill, Hertfordshire. It has been in business for more than 130 years and I always find the staff there really helpful and friendly. You can contact them on 01462 683031 or sales@lloydsandco.com. Alternatively, try Spaldings UK of Lincoln (01522 507500) or Central Spares of Wimborne in Dorest (01202 882000).

The question about using semi-synthetic oils in Paladin mowers is not so straightforward. One of the changes that Lloyds has made to this mower is to upgrade the engine to a 4hp Honda unit.

Now, Honda does not recommend the use of synthetic or semi-synthetic oils because they can result in the piston rings not correctly bedding in the cylinder bore of the engine. This in turn will cause wear and poor seating of the piston rings. You are likely to see the engine smoke. In short, I would not use synthetic or semi-synthetic oils in the engine.

With regard to the clutchbox, Lloyds & Co managing director Clive Nottingham tells me that he does not see a problem using semi-synthetic oil. However, it makes more sense to use just the one oil. It means one container to store and a reduced risk of mistakes being made. Lloyds recommends 10W/30 or 10W/40 for engine and clutchbox.

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