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Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 4,675
Likes: 164
SENIOR TECHNICIAN
I was going to put this engine onto another base as this one was getting scaly but then realised the other base is 18 inches wide. This one is 19. so I plan to make this base viable. Due to prolonged storage in the elements, the axles had rusted so much, two of the wheels had seized onto the stubs. Fortunately I kept a set of Tornado specific axles aside after wrecking one a while back.
I originally planned to treat the rust and paint the areas affected but don't have any matching colour so plan to rattle can the whole thing and replace the axles and wheels.

I wish I had a better base to fit the now running motor to, but the rust on this hasn't gone though at any , so I guess it's worth a try.

Suggestions appreciated.

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IMG_20230322_225105_copy_992x560.jpg (60.48 KB, 107 downloads)
IMG_20230322_225127_copy_992x560.jpg (36.81 KB, 107 downloads)

Ahh, if only victa had kept producing the thumblatch catcher series, they would be in better shape today!
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Joined: Feb 2006
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SENIOR TECHNICIAN
Thanks for all the input. I can take a hint.


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
I suppose if we dont have anything nice to say about the mower we dont say anything at all laugh

Bin the rusty paper thin tornado chassis is what I would do - unbolt the handles and it has probably cracked under the rear of the saddle mounts, so you would need to weld as well.

Powerhouse museum has a tooling test piece for the tornado - the tooling test failed due to metal rupture. Guess where it ruptured - both all around the inner side of the high arch and the lhs handle. The bends were too deep and it thinned the metal too much. The failed tooling test breaks exactly where they fail down the line in use

Victa knew it was crap and marketed it anyway

Joined: Feb 2006
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SENIOR TECHNICIAN
That's better.
Now, I have heard bad things about this chassis from a certain highly regarded poster here from the south east Melbourne region, but same fellow was doing cut and shut jobs on them for their width, the same reason I want to use this. What will I do with the 19" cutting disc in good condition with near new blades? Besides, fitting it to an 18" base seems a backward step.

I have started grinding the rust and treating with phosphoric acid on the left side and it looks promising and I will be removing the handles anyway, so well check the condition of the metal underneath that you mentioned.

Thanks for the info on the stress test.


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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Hi MF,
Sorry I hadn't responded earlier, have been very busy with other stuff. As Tyler said they have plenty of inbuilt flaws. My mate is extremely happy with his cut and shut Tornado, it is his go to mower, he loves it. Only thing he complains about is the front sits too low and when he is pushing it hard into longer grass the front skirt tends to bog down. I did lift the front on the height adjuster bar a while back but I think he wants it lifted higher. He loves the cut width and the Honda power and because it used the Tornado bases it is a lightweight big mower. Going to be interesting to see how long the body holds up. The hammertone paint on the outside is standing up fine and I have given it a couple of coats of fish oil on the underside and I have told him if he does cut wet grass with it to make sure he cleans the underside at the end of the day. I have another Tornado base sitting here and if/when another turns up I might cut and shut them so he has a spare if he ever needs one. I do lots of jobs and a lot end up problematic but this one turned out really well

Joined: Sep 2015
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SENIOR TECHNICIAN & HISTORIAN
I'm sure I would have thrown this base out Mf as good mowers are so cheap these days ,not much demand for them as it
took me 10 days recently just to get $60 for a good serviced mower.

I've thrown out a lot of good bases.



Cheers
Max.

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Joined: Feb 2008
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Apprentice level 3
I still have my Tornado 300 here that I bought new. Still works perfectly and not a spot of rust on it. Maybe it will be a collectors item one day, with the rate these bases are rusting away.

The thing that really pisses me off about them is the PT's off them all have the long shaft, which makes it an issue doing anything with the motors you find on them except....try to find a Tornado base.

Joined: Feb 2006
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Sapper, how did you take such good care of it that it remains so clean to this day?
Readers could learn.


Ahh, if only victa had kept producing the thumblatch catcher series, they would be in better shape today!
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 235
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Apprentice level 3
Originally Posted by Mowerfreak
Sapper, how did you take such good care of it that it remains so clean to this day?
Readers could learn.

Hey MF, I think the secret to my success has been a dry, sandy front lawn. I mow the back first, fairly lush and much wetter soil there. Then I head out the front where all the crap is almost sand blasted off due to how dry it is there. I virtually never have any grass build up under the deck.

Also, every pancake day, I will give the underside a good spraying of WD-40.

Mind you, the thing does flex a bit at the handles if I try to turn it a bit too quick, so yeah, these things are flimsy.

1 member likes this: Mowerfreak
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They also feel very light and nimble for their size so there's that.
Sand laden soil is ideal for steel bases for both their abrasive qualities in keeping the steel clean, and not sticking to the metal.and retaining moisture in the metal.
Exactly what an alloy base does not need. I've seen photos of a VC Sports eroded right through because of sandy soil under the deck.


Ahh, if only victa had kept producing the thumblatch catcher series, they would be in better shape today!
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 235
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Apprentice level 3
Originally Posted by Mowerfreak
They also feel very light and nimble for their size so there's that.
Sand laden soil is ideal for steel bases for both their abrasive qualities in keeping the steel clean, and not sticking to the metal.and retaining moisture in the metal.
Exactly what an alloy base does not need. I've seen photos of a VC Sports eroded right through because of sandy soil under the deck.

Yeah, I have to say it isn't a bad weight for a steel mower. It doesn't match up to the old alloy series 80 machines in terms of how light they are to push, but it isn't bad compared to some of the big monsters out there.

Looks like I was on the right track with my musings for the sand blast theory. I might have to watch out for the alloy deck machines though, I wouldn't want that happening to my Mustang collection.

Last edited by Sapper; 25/03/23 10:41 PM.
Joined: Feb 2006
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SENIOR TECHNICIAN
I spent much of the night coming up with this partial solution to front axle movement on a Tornado base.
I discovered rear axle for and aft movement was causing the front axle to move up and down like it has suspension, what I call suspension effect.
The LH bolt holding the retainer on for the rear axle was slightly loose but tightening it up didn't cure the problem. The retainer was still moving away from the chassis (see pics with arrows) when you pushed down on the front axle.
I thought up the idea of fitting washers to the back of the bolt to add rigidity. First I put in the wider one but it wasn't making much difference and I was about to give up but after taking it out found it had bent a little after my earlier testing, so thought to put in a smaller but thicker washer over it to back it up. It's still not free of play, but noticably better.
The Tornado base is a shocker but this may be a solution for anyone who wants to keep it going for its 19" cutting width and longer crankshaft engine that won't go on most other Victa chassis except the Razor alloy base(?).

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IMG_20230408_134039_copy_992x560.jpg (51.7 KB, 37 downloads)
IMG_20230407_234623_copy_992x560.jpg (28.25 KB, 37 downloads)

Ahh, if only victa had kept producing the thumblatch catcher series, they would be in better shape today!
1 member likes this: Sapper
Joined: Jan 2016
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Hi MF,
Sometimes you can spend a lot of time working out how you can repair some of these mowers but it does feel good when you come up with a fix

1 member likes this: Mowerfreak
Joined: Feb 2006
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SENIOR TECHNICIAN
NormK I spent a lot of time just sifting through three separate collections of washers to come up with the one I felt was most suitable. I forged ahead more than I normally would have to come up with this remedy. Lots of crouching down to undo and tighten up this little bolt.


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
You need a bench to put them on MF, too hard trying to work on the ground

Joined: Feb 2006
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SENIOR TECHNICIAN
I do that sometimes when I can get someone to help lift it on. It is way better.


Ahh, if only victa had kept producing the thumblatch catcher series, they would be in better shape today!

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