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Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 2,086
Likes: 80
Tyler Offline OP
SENIOR TECHNICIAN
Have been looking for a Victa Vortex/Mustang GTS for a good while now.
Had seen a Red Vortex at the tip, but it was seized and all the plastics stuffed.

The other day, this popped up for $40 a few streets away so I jumped on it. Not quite a vortex, but anyhow..

Couple of cracks in the plastic around the mounting screws and a stone dent on the high arch, but I am pretty happy with it.

Still trying to work out how to use my new 'smart' phone (which nearly makes me shoot it every time) and somehow managed to take 10 photos of the lawn, the paving and generally anything that wasn't the mower. I thought double pressing the screen about 1in above the photo button focused it - it must locate it.

Anyway, pulled the cover off and got a tonne of muck out, had a nice newish decomp and kill switch rubbers.
Pulled the carby down and put it back as it was perfect (even had a brass washer)

Found the needle was in upside down, and needed a new o ring. Fuel tap leaked so on went another. New air filter as was disgusting.

Some 2 stroke oil down the plug hole and though I had better check the blades.

The photo didn't come out but the rubber ring had chunks out, the disc was rusted out and the blades were one off the worst I have ever seen.
They were ground back past the bolt (about 1/2 normal width) and about 2 inches long. So on went a regular carrier with 2 new blades
(they put the conical square washer on above the disc last time the blades were done haha). Went second pull but revved way too high in the idle position, so another thick bunnings washer (filed out and smoothed) went in and it runs spot on.

It is somewhat quieter but I must say I can't see what all the fuss was about (and as we have already discussed - neither did the buying public).

And my usual shut down trick didn't work; Switch fuel off, wait till engine starts to struggle, kill ignition.
Then drain the fuel by pulling the fuel ... line (realized its all covered up) laugh

At least the regular PT ease of repair is still all there (when the carby plays ball)

Wish the phone was this easy to get working right laugh

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Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 4,675
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SENIOR TECHNICIAN
Hi Tyler,
good find at a good price. I remember when they were new in the stores, some displayed both the yellow Vortex and the Mustang GTS and I couldn't decide which I liked better. They were both stunning mowers to my eyes and I loved that they continued the thumb latch design after I had seen the VC -125 mark III and my neighbour's store brand Mayfair gold 125 thumb latch base mower.
I now like the yellow Vortex look better but like how the GTS featured in the Victa Guaranteed To Start ad campaigns for the Powertorque engines.
Funny enough, a few years ago there was a yellow Vortex in Perth on Ebay for many weeks unsold going for $40 in decent used condition.

You've done well. I have been lazy in making progress on repairs to my GTS cover. Must get back into it.
Your mower will help in getting me going again.


Ahh, if only victa had kept producing the thumblatch catcher series, they would be in better shape today!
Joined: Jan 2016
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Likes: 143
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Hi Tyler,
Good score there and I think they look smart but for some reason people shy away from them. They do have that issue of trapping all that grass inside the covers

Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 542
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wce Offline
Qualified Senior
Glad you got it, I was tempted

wce

Joined: Jul 2018
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Tyler Offline OP
SENIOR TECHNICIAN
Thanks guys

Last reply obviously went to god - I was just guessing maybe when potential customers back in the 80s had the vortex demonstrated to them they probably found the motor not quiet enough to warrant spending the extra coin. It is no doubt quieter, but not significantly.

Wce, did you grab that imperial 125cc that came up around the same time?

Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 542
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wce Offline
Qualified Senior
Nice looking unit but the shed is full, I will be thinning it out a bit.

Cheers

Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 4,675
Likes: 164
SENIOR TECHNICIAN
[/quote]
Originally Posted by Tyler
I was just guessing maybe when potential customers back in the 80s had the vortex demonstrated to them they probably found the motor not quiet enough to warrant spending the extra coin. It is no doubt quieter, but not significantly.
I remember seeing one back in 88 and was disappointed in how it sounded just as noisy as any other Victa.
I was expecting it to sound a 1950s flying saucer sound effect with the way it looked!

I don't know how people would have gotten demonstrations from department stores. It would have been a case of opening the box after buying one with high expectations.
I have noticed a difference with my bomby yellow Vortex but that's only after hearing another PT beforehand. The difference didn't at all live up to (my) expectations.


Ahh, if only victa had kept producing the thumblatch catcher series, they would be in better shape today!
Joined: Jan 2016
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SENIOR TECHNICIAN
I don't know why they would have been any quieter, all the noise comes from the exhaust and unless they had some special muffler they would have sounded much the same. A bit of plastic is not going to quieten it,.

Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 4,675
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SENIOR TECHNICIAN
NormK they added a heat shield over the exhaust which has a slight effect but certainly not worth the extra (see photo).
This was the more sensible (and a bit cheaper) model to get at the time (in link below).
Most of the main benefits that count, without the drawbacks of the full cover. Better heat dissipation too I'd imagine.
https://collection.maas.museum/object/158742#&gid=1&pid=2

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Ahh, if only victa had kept producing the thumblatch catcher series, they would be in better shape today!
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 2,045
Likes: 145
SENIOR TECHNICIAN & HISTORIAN
G'day Tyler ,Mf ,Norm and wce

The Vortex looks a good buy for $40 Tyler.

The last Vortex I had seemed a lot quieter than a normal Victa ,my Vortex had a good standard muffler and
the original Vortex carby with the black poppet valve that stops the mower revving past 2500rpm.

The Vortex was so quiet it reminded me of a Briggs quantum compared to the Briggs 3.75 sprint motor ,
I have wondered how much quieter the alloy heat shield makes the motor . The enclosed covering is meant to quieten the motor down further.

The Vortex at 2500 rpm when compared to other mowers running at 3500 rpm was about 11 dB quieter.

Is 10 decibels a lot?

On the decibel scale, the quietest audible sound (perceived near total silence) is 0 dB. A sound 10 times more powerful is 10 dB. A sound 100 times more powerful than near total silence is 20 dB. A sound 1,000 times more powerful than near total silence is 30 dB, 40 dB and so on.

Safe listening levels

90 dB - lawn mower - two hours 30 minutes. 95 dB - an average motorcycle - 47 minutes

The 94 dB rating of the Vortex does seem high .

I could be going deaf but a lot of mowers seem less annoying for noise levels at 2500 rpm than 3500 rpm.

If your Vortex has a non Vortex carby then I would say it's probably going to be as loud as any other Victa also
old worn out mufflers can be louder.

Cheers
Max.

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Joined: Jan 2016
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SENIOR TECHNICIAN
MF,
I thought that heat shield was to stop the big fancy cowling from melting I didn't think it was going to quieten it much, it might have a little

Joined: Feb 2006
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SENIOR TECHNICIAN
Hi NormK,
I think when they designed the mower, they incorporated that shield to stop the cover melting first, but took advantage of it's slight quieting effect to claim it as their "quietest mower".


Ahh, if only victa had kept producing the thumblatch catcher series, they would be in better shape today!
Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 2,086
Likes: 80
Tyler Offline OP
SENIOR TECHNICIAN
Hi Mf ,Norm, Max and wce

I think part of the problem for me is I don't use full throttle on any regular mowers, aside from Briggs (especially 3.5hp which are borderline too gutless for me).

So my regular 2 strokes are probably only going 2500 rpm anyway - I never have any issues catching at that speed. If needed, I up the throttle until it catches well.

Therefore I don't really immediately see the difference. Haven't done a full mow with it yet so will see. Top speed on them is supposed to be 3100 and I think it is about there

On its handle it says 72dB, which I figure is at 10m (or whatever the distance mandated is), but I know most have the 75dB.

Having test run it without the plastic or exhaust cover - they do help.

I think Victa worked out fairly quickly that they didn't need a CSIRO disc or a big piece of rubber; all they really needed was 4 upturned blades. The downside is (as Max's article discusses) is the unavoidable wind noise.

If you have ever started a Briggs 35 without blades, you will know how quiet it is.

Joined: Feb 2006
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SENIOR TECHNICIAN
I had a GTS Mustang that overevved and it was just as obnoxious as any other.


Ahh, if only victa had kept producing the thumblatch catcher series, they would be in better shape today!
Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 2,086
Likes: 80
Tyler Offline OP
SENIOR TECHNICIAN
Mowed with it today

Started first pull and got halfway through the back when it started raining.

At least I learnt they really are an unclog-able chute

Fair bit quieter than a regular PT

Only thing I don't like is the range of cut - I had it on max height 10 and it was cutting lower than a regular one on 8. I figure this is the same for all alloy decks - I only normally deal with steel decks since alloy is rare over here (figure sandblasting kills them quick).

Its not as bad as a tornado, but was nearly taking too much off

Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 4,675
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SENIOR TECHNICIAN
I noticed the lack of height when I used the Vortex beater and 10 wasn't high enough and scalped part of a lawn I was doing where it needed it a tad higher.
It could be that the front axle locations are badly worn and the free play up and down gets multiplied be each additional millimeter of wear.
The Mustang which has the same base but no front axle movement, has never presented an issue with not enough height, but I haven't used it in that piece of spongy lawn I had the beater on, where the wheels sunk abit.

You're right about the chute Tyler, I have mown some weed jungle and it leaves a clean well defined path despite the huge amount of cuttings it's dealing with. A Mayfair won't have a hope of achieving that. Glad to hear wet grass gets taken care of with flying colours, just as the VC mowers were designed to do with their cavernous chutes all that time ago.
I'm surprised the Vortex type chute does so well with it's tall but skinny design. It must be the airflow it permits that helps the most, rather than sheer volume for the cuttings to travel through.
It would be nice to see a science based study of how the high arch bases do their work.


Ahh, if only victa had kept producing the thumblatch catcher series, they would be in better shape today!
Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 2,086
Likes: 80
Tyler Offline OP
SENIOR TECHNICIAN
MF, the axle is as tight as anything - not flogged out at all - neither is the rod going to the front wheels

I stripped down a alloy deck today (severely cracked and blasted) and next to a steel deck it was noticeable (though axles were a bit worn)

The issue is although the buffalo doesn't have much thatch, the only way to keep it alive through summer is to keep it high (grows nicer anyway)

Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 4,675
Likes: 164
SENIOR TECHNICIAN
They do sit lower without a doubt.
Might have been deliberate for the market they were aiming at, the manacurists willing to spend more on a higher end machine who cut their lawns regularly and low.


Ahh, if only victa had kept producing the thumblatch catcher series, they would be in better shape today!
Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 2,086
Likes: 80
Tyler Offline OP
SENIOR TECHNICIAN
Must be MF - can't think of many other reasons. I would have to say the range of adjustments are much closer so you could really dial it in to the exact height you want for couch - whereas steel decks have a rougher wider range of adjustment

Joined: Jan 2016
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SENIOR TECHNICIAN
Hi Tyler and MF,
I looked into this a couple of years ago and from memory it has to do with the axle position relative to the plastic height adjuster quadrant. I think there is a 20mm difference between the pressed bases and the alloy bases.

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