Skip to main content
Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Problems with a small 2 stroke Villiers engine.

I've had this one for more years than I care to remember, but I feel sure I did have it running at one time. First problem was trying to remove the outer clutch drum on the crank, there was a large nut and split washer that appeared to suggest it was mounted on a thread, removed both nut and spring washer then used heat, light hammer blows, then finally an hydraulic Sykes-Pickavant puller, on it, which bent the drum, but it didn't budge a thou.

I think it's a Junior model.

DJD Thu, 18/03/2021

Te flats on the rear of the clutch drum shaft convinced me that putting a big Whitworth open ended spanner on them then hitting sharply with a lump hammer in a anti-clockwise direction ought to loosen the thing, whether it was threaded on or even a very tight taper fit. Many wallops later it gave in and just fell off, no heat this time needed.

Lots of bits were missing from the Ht side, the Bakelite screw in holder, the felt seal, spring and brass contactor. Put my ohmmeter onto highest reading, with X10,000 the dial figure multiplied, it read about 5k on scale, multiplied by 10k equals about 50K! Much too high, 3 to 5 K would have been fine.

Ht wire was from a car by the looks and feel, also very dirty and discoloured.

No oil seal used this side I believe, just felt.

Instead of spending a few shillings, someone had wasted time by soldering the car type HT lead directly to the Ht take off point of the coil, probably damaging it there and then. It's better to not use heat at all near these old coils.

Nice old slotted and countersunk screws are always used here, they do their job nicely too.

Imagine searching for a bit of brass that has the correct threads to fit the ally casing, then drill a hole through it to get a tight fir for the car HT lead etc..




DJD Fri, 19/03/2021

Suspect items need removing for proper testing and inspection, I'm quite surprised at how clean the inside of flywheel area is.

I remember the ads for Philips or Posidrive screws and drivers, a screw was proudly shown to be held into the end blade of the screwdriver, so well engineered were the two items, but good quality slotted screws can do the very same, especially if you look after your screwdrivers keeping them clean and sharp with a file.

Such abuse, it was probably the very cause of the hair like thin HT wire breaking, but age and dampness etc. always help.

As an older child I can remember thinking I'd never manage to get something like this back together again.

A friend who's fond of his takeaways stores dozens of the old plastic trays, I took a few off him to try, but I personally prefer the stainless magnetic ones, folk like MPMD etc. used to give them away free, but alas! not any more now it's been taken over.

Whatever you use, almost anything is better than simply leaving vital parts laying on a cluttered bench, one of the very first things you learn as a mechanic or enthusiast.It won't hurt to clean the points whilst I'm at it. They're very hard, tungsten tipped usually, the so called 'points files' always seem to slide off to me.

That's better.

I cleaned the fixed one in situ, no need to strip the whole assembly out just yet.

What's this I see? The correct Villiers capacitor item generally lives under the points assy. I'm not a 'rivet counter' as motorbike folk call those paying close attention to minor detail, but I do hate to see totally wrong parts being used like this, in an emergency yes, maybe, but what constitutes a 'lawn mowing emergency'?!

Someone else always seems to get there first...

DJD Wed, 24/03/2021

Some self styled 'repairers' of old mowers use some strange  tactics, instead of spending a few pounds to get the correct parts, some folk think it best to just bodge everything they come upon, fancy drilling through an ally casting threads just because you couldn't wait a few days for correct part.

Two separate holes were drilled, which didn't do the threads for the Bakelite ht cable carrier any good at all.

I've had the correct bits for years now and only now got around to sdorting this one out.

There's another problem, part will only start on damaged threads.

Even a cheap Chinese digi caliper is a good investment, first get an idea of overall size of male threads on part.

Then I measured up various taps, not sure where I got the idea, but I felt that Whitworth would be most likely thread used in ally casting. This was too small, 3/8ths I think.

This half Inch I think was much nearer size.

But then measuring internal threads just to be sure, even 7 thou's deficit or oversize still can make a difference.





The smaller whit. tap could almost be pushed through, yet the larger was a tight fit and was damaging the threads, BSF threads appeared much too fine for ally. I then measured and tried a half inch UNF tap, it appeared to be the same when laid against the Bakelite part, I tried it in the ally casting and it was a nice fit, a couple of hicoughs occurred whilst cleaning the damaged by drill bits, but all seemed well after.

I took off the felt seal and was gratified to find the Bakelite screwed right in.

The felt looks wrong and out of place here, original was white, but it ought to keep the water and damp out.

Looks even better with the little brass piece fixed also, it simply sits on the brass soldered on contactor on the HT coil.

The threads cleaned up well.



DJD Wed, 24/03/2021

I have no connection with this company nor know if they are still in business, but this may well be a modern plastic copy of the original Bakelite?

1/2" X 20 TPI is what I used.

Japanese sets of taps and dies are better than Chinese, as a general rule.

I read somewhere that a lot of old magneto coil faults start by dampness, probably due to lots of old machinery being stored over winter in cold wet sheds etc. what he recommended was to put the coil/s into the airing cupboard indoors and forget about them for a couple of weeks. Admittedly, warm, dry conditions will and can dry out dampness over time, but nothing can cure a broken two thou thick wire deep inside a Ht coil where there are many thousands of others! Other folk have cut into old Villiers coils also and have often found just lumps of blue oxide, what was once again, thousands of turns of very fine wire.

It looks like I'll be looking on the dreaded ebay for at least one new coil, they're no longer the £15 I remember paying for one about ten or so years ago. Probably twice that now for new ones, I imagine new old stock real Villiers items may be twice that now?


villiers98 Fri, 09/04/2021

I guess the engine number begins 764 -  Atco Lightweight 12 14 or 17 inch cut 49-61. Carb looks like a Marquis one - was Villiers Junior until the last year when another type was used . No oil seals - plain mains only -  use any oil but not less than 25:1.

An old chap said to remove the clutch drum rest the hub on nose of an anvil and hit the other side of hub with a heavy hammer . Comes straight off with no damage.

Rewound HT coils available as they are used on motorcycles. Cheap but long lasting engines

Adrian Fri, 09/04/2021

Independent Ignition Supplies are no more, probably closed circa 2013 - see

That's a pre-1994 phone number (when the 1 was added after the 0), so you've had that a while! I think I bought some bits off him about then, and probably still have them...