Pilot John Pendergast, 59, and a male passenger were killed when the Lancair plane they were in crashed as it was taking off from Shepparton Airport in October.
Witnesses to the crash said the plane appeared to pitch rapidly before it crashed into a fence.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau on Monday said the aircraft, assembled in South Africa by the previous owner, had experienced engine trouble in 2010.
The ATSB said the plane's engine malfunctioned on a flight in South Africa in September 2010, resulting in a forced landing that caused "substantial damage to the underside of the airframe".
The plane was repaired and then sold and imported into Australia, the ATSB said.
It said it hadn't identified any pre-existing faults with the aircraft after examining the wreckage.
The agency said the investigation into the crash would now focus on the assembly and maintenance of the aircraft in Australia.
It would also examine the history of the repair work after the 2010 incident, as well as the pilot's flying record.
Collision with terrain involving Lancair Legacy, VH-ICZ at Shepparton Airport, Victoria on 25 October 2013
At about 1415 Eastern Daylight Time (EDT1) on 25 October 2013, an amateur-built Lancair Legacy aircraft, registered VH-ICZ, with the pilot and one passenger on-board, took off from Shepparton Airport, Victoria (Vic), for a flight to Yarrawonga, Vic. Witnesses reported that the take-off and initial climb appeared normal; however, shortly after, the aircraft’s pitch angle increased, followed by a descending right turn that continued until the aircraft collided with terrain alongside the airport boundary. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured.