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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Some success today!

Finally got a day that I could spend in the garage tinkering with the mowers.

Got the Qualcast up and running and finally got the mixture about right, new chains on and it mowed!

Wife wasn't happy when I mowed the emerging crocuses though!


Thought I'd have a go at the Atco lightweight I also have but had less joy.

There was no spark so checked the coil, open circuit, same with one of the spare engines I had but then a glimmer of hope when the last spare had a resistance of around 2k ohms. 

I guessed that this was probably a bit low though.

Pulled the engine and swapped the coil over, still no spark, points set all ok, no spark but if I hold the ht lead there is a slight jolt but nothing like it should be like.

I'm assuming that 2k ohms probably means that the coil has a short somewhere in it?

So I'm looking for a coil for the Atco, if anyone has one they'd be happy to part with I do have a few spares I would swap.


Cheers and happy Mowing



gtc Fri, 04/01/2019

So I'm looking for a coil for the Atco

Good luck with that as those Villiers are renowned for developing bad coils. I would hazard a guess that the reason most Atcos are taken out of service is a dud coil. New ones are available, but they are not cheap.

One place to try:




Davedup Fri, 04/01/2019

Thanks for the link, coils seem to be available, but as you say, not cheap!



wristpin Sat, 05/01/2019

As you have found, new coils are not cheap. However beware of some of the “new old stock” coils offered on auction sites at tempting prices, as although never fitted to a machine, they may have suffered similar age related deterioration. Sixty or seventy pounds for a new coil for a “ hobby mower” is probably an unwelcome expense but it will save a lot of messing around with a coil that works one minute but not the next. Then, of course, there’s the condenser; nearly all of the pre WW2 mowers that cross my bench, and a good few of the machines from the 50s, and 60s have failed or failing condensers.




Davedup Sat, 05/01/2019

Thanks wristpin.  As you say that cost becomes prohibitive.

Was hoping someone might be pulling a machine apart that had a usable coil for a little less on the cost. Difficult to justify spending too much on the hobby. Might end up pulling the coil from my Qualcast which I know runs fine to get it going.  Will also swap over the condenser, just in case.

Shame there's no easy test for a condenser.


Chris G Sat, 05/01/2019

I believe Clive on here gets a few mowers in and out so my be worth sending him a message on the coil? But a 2nd hand old be might be just as problematic..

Quality of NOS stock is often about storage condition, I've seen things like clutch plates asking a fortune for unusable stuff, and other items fortuitously in good order.

There are some painful ways to check capacitors :-)

Are capacitor replacements that expensive? I would nt have though so?