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Joined: Feb 2022
Posts: 4
Novice
I have a 2006 19" VSX160 mulch and catch, 4 blades, which I believe may have been one of the last 2 strokes made in Australia?

It's been running reliably for 15 years, only issue was that sometimes it wouldn't shut off when I pulled the lever to stop, and then 3 weeks ago it just wouldn't start no matter how much I tried. The chassis is like new, it has been kept under cover it's whole life, even the plastic has hardly faded.

So far I have:
- replaced air filter
- replaced spark plug
- rebuilt carby with new parts (except float), including the boot for the ignition wires
- replaced the pull start mechanism (the cord snapped after all my starting attempts)

The spark looked weak even with a new plug so I pulled out the ignition coil. It measured 15k Ohms so I went to get a second hand replacement, the only one I found was from a later model and measured the same, so I put mine back in and reassembled everything, using folded bits of paper to measure the gap. Third pull and it started, I left it running for 5 minutes while i whipper snippered the lawn edge and then started cutting some grass.

After 5 minutes it cut out and twenty pulls later it still won't start.I have pulled out the ignition wires from the carby to eliminate that as a factor, and the spark seems to be pretty strong now.

When I had it apart I looked at the muffler (clean) and peeked inside at the piston. There was a fair amount of scoring so I am thinking that maybe there could be a compression issue. It's getting beyond my level of commitment, I have been quoted $340 to rebuild the motor and wondering whether I should go further down this path or just spend an extra $100 get a new one from Bunnies with a 5 year warranty. Is this why there are so many of them sitting on the side of the road?

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Joined: Mar 2018
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Hi Kev,

At any point have you put straight unleaded fuel into it, rather than 2-stroke mix? If not, what ratio are you using for your 2-stroke mix, what oil, and what fuel?

You should see little to no scoring on the piston if it has had the correct mix in it, the oil in the fuel will lubricate the cylinder and prevent wear.

My first thought would have actually been a fuel flow problem, considering you looked at everything else it seems. That fuel flow could have come from the filter, a kinked hose, or a blocked or the wrong jet. My second thought is that you may need to install the service part - washers - into the carby.

You can perform a compression test to see if you're having an issue with compression, but in my experience, even if compression isn't that bad, you can still have issues starting a scored bore/piston Victa 2-Stroke. The only things to resolve that issue would be to have the cylinder honed or re-bored, and an oversized piston put in.

If a Victa 2-stroke is looked after correctly, it will last a lifetime. The problem is that if you go through all of that process and have it fixed up, you'll end up with a lower life of the mower, because while an over-sized piston is a viable option, it can end up causing wear itself, so your experience with that engine may not be that great.

My recommendation, if you have a good body (Alloy, or steel that hasn't rusted) and you're happy with it, try to find a replacement/second-hand engine and swap it out. You need to be mindful of the length of the crankshaft and the blade boss that's installed, but if you get the right one, you should be able to unbolt the old one and bolt on a new one that has no wear and you're good to go. Alternatively, buy a second-hand replacement mower, that could end up cheaper. Just check that it doesn't have any scoring, make sure it runs correctly before you buy it, and even if it has some issues, you have spare parts from your mower smile

As long as it hasn't had straight fuel through it, you should be able to fix pretty much anything on the mower for a relatively low amount. So before potentially going and spending $450 on a 4-stroke from Bunnings, ask yourself which will last longer, be cheaper to run over its' life, and be easier to service?

pau13z

Joined: May 2010
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Apprentice level 4
Sounds like it will need a rebuild if the piston is scored. Does not necessarily need straight fuel to score the piston, it it has been running lean or getting hot it can cause that as well.

If you were willing to DIY the rebuild, a piston, ring and o ring kit is $50 on ebay, otherwise $350 is actually quite reasonable considering todays labour rates. might be worth asking around though to see if anyone might be cheaper, beware of backyard deals, Some are certainly genuine, a lot are very dodgy though unfortunately.

As far as a new one goes, yes you get a warranty, but the deck is steel and very thin, the new Briggs engines are something you throw away if it needs anything more than an air filter, and are pretty rubbish in general. With a rebuild and some care you will get another 15 or more out of the 2 stroke, expect to replace the new ones every couple of years.

Joined: Jan 2016
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SENIOR TECHNICIAN
Kev,
I have heaps of PT's but don't think I have any long shaft, have a couple here that need new rings.

Joined: Feb 2022
Posts: 4
Novice
Thank for the replies, lots more than what I was expected.

First item: I just looked and the tag on the mower says 25:1, but I was going by the instructions on the oil that say 50:1, so 80ml of 2 stroke oil per 4L of standard unleaded petrol, current brand is Bynorm. I have been doing that forever. If that is too lean then it could be the reason for the scoring? I'll see if I can post a pic of the piston, I took a photo through the exhaust outlet, and also felt through the hole and it was not smooth.

Fuel flow: I disconnected the tube from the carby and opened the tap. I got a steady flow, not a strong jet like a hose but more than a dribble so I figured that would be enough.

I'll also start looking for a replacement motor. I called a local shop yesterday and he said he threw out a couple a few weeks ago as no-one wants the 2-strokes any more. How to I know what is the right crankshaft and blade boss?

Norm - I will PM you.

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Oh yes, that is cooked to perfection. I would just rebuild it but shop around. Norm may do it and for a lot less than that but that's up to him.
Good luck with it.

Joined: Sep 2015
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SENIOR TECHNICIAN & HISTORIAN
G'day Kev and all,

Yep that doesn't look good.

Owners Manual usually explains the fuel mix.

The Victa owners manual states 50 to 1 is for Victa Formula V 2 Stroke High Performance Motor Oil (Usually a synthetic oil)

Then the mix is 25 to 1 for a 2 stroke mineral oil ,(cheaper oil)


Cheers
Max.

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Originally Posted by nath
Sounds like it will need a rebuild if the piston is scored. Does not necessarily need straight fuel to score the piston, it it has been running lean or getting hot it can cause that as well.

A reminder why it's bad to turn off the fuel tap to stop the motor or to let it stall from running out of fuel.


Ahh, if only victa had kept producing the thumblatch catcher series, they would be in better shape today!
Joined: Jul 2018
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SENIOR TECHNICIAN
Originally Posted by Mowerfreak
Originally Posted by nath
Sounds like it will need a rebuild if the piston is scored. Does not necessarily need straight fuel to score the piston, it it has been running lean or getting hot it can cause that as well.

A reminder why it's bad to turn off the fuel tap to stop the motor or to let it stall from running out of fuel.

Hello All


MF, I can't see that being the cause of that bad scoring. The only way I see turning off the fuel tap bad is when people do it with the throttle down at run and shut it down like that. From a moderate idle, I just can't see it provided the seals are ok and it doesn't revs its head off for long at the end.

with regard to oil, bynorm oil until recently was JASO FB oil. JASO FC is required to run 50:1 and even then I wouldn't recommend it. If you run a quality 2 stroke oil like Penrite MC2ST or KO2ST, or Castrol Power1 (I am using a bottle of TTS at the moment) you will never see any smoke while running at 25:1 (bit at start up somethimes).

It is important to note that FB and FC have same lubricity requirment, but FC has better detergency (less carbon).

Without doing a full blown failure analysis teardown my bet, aside from flat out cooking it due to marginal lubricity, would be the FB oil has carboned up the rings as well, one or both got stuck and then the massive heat from blowby took care of what little lube was left.

Last edited by Tyler; 10/02/22 03:39 PM.
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SENIOR TECHNICIAN & HISTORIAN
G'day All,

The way I look at the oil ratio is if you spend normally around $10 a litre it's going to be 25 to 1
and if you spend around $20 a litre then it's 50 to 1.

Yes I agree ,shutting the motor down from the tap ,possibly the engine will only last 29 years instead of 30.

I know of other people that have turned the engine off from the tap for 60 years and haven't had a problem.

If you live in colder climates I can see the motor internals could rust if left dry from stopping the engine from
the fuel tap.

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SENIOR TECHNICIAN
I'm just going to put another motor on it and the motor goes in the to be fixed pile One day when there is no more PT's left, somebody might want to repair them but probably not in my lifetime. Not sure if I am being over optomistic or stupid as I bought another 100m roll of pull start cord. Hard to know how to stop, you buy something because you need it and then you have to keep fixing mowers so you can use up the stuff you have bought


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