Tom's 1981 19" with Flipover Handle

Sensational Tom's picture

This mower has been in steady, hard use since 1981. You can see where I've had to weld a piece in, and on this reworks had to have it welded again where a piece was missing next to the left front wheel flange. The welder also replaced two pins that were missing on the handle brackets.

When the 3rd motor was starting to go (yes, I've worn out 3 motors on this deck), I contacted Rocco for an upgrade - from a stock 3.5 Hp to a (nominal) 4 Hp "Skunk Works" motor. The idea is for extra power and inertia when I hit heavy grass. I'm hoping most of my "rock-kicking" days are behind me.

The rest of the restoration was simply clean and paint (brushed on Rustoleum), plus new wheel bearings all around. A "happy accident" occurred when I visited a local sharpening shop with a reputation for having a wide selection of blades. She only had two that would work and they weren't the same - but they could both be mounted, one above the disk and one below it, giving a perfect separation for additional cutting, air flow, and added rotating inertia.

Also, Rocco used button head Allen screws on the engine cover, which gave me the idea to use them coming up from the bottom on the handle brackets, which makes the underside slightly smoother & easier to clean.

This beauty sees a lot of service on my hills. The design is perfect, as it allows me to point the chute away from the house and go back and forth across the hill behind it without turning the mower around. As well, if I lean over a bank, I can reach a lot farther as the handle lays all the way down when I face the chute away from me - this is also nice for dragging it up a hill. I don't need them any more, but I used to have eyehooks in the front wheel flanges to allow me to use a chain to drag it up and down steep hills. If I go that route again, I'll use swivel hoist rings.

My wife asked me why I was putting so much time & effort into such an old machine. "You could have a new mower for all that!" she said. But I told her, "I don't need a new mower, I need that mower! Criminee, I have a nice new bagger I use for the flats - it's horrible to use everywhere else, and self-propelled or not it's useless on the hills & banks compared to my beloved Sensation! My father-in-law had one before he passed and used to say that these things thrive on abuse!

But I note - I always wear safety toe boots as well as eye and hearing protection. You should too!


Looks good!, You'll love it! Sending a new shroud to you!

By Rocco
Sensational Tom's picture

Thanks; I filled the cranckcase with Amsoil 20W-50 Z-Rod and put some fresh 91 octane in the tank and fired it up - sounds wonderful, and the airflow is something to behold!

It was too late to try mowing anything, but that's all right, it will be seeing its share of tough mowing shortly!

By Sensational Tom

Glad to hear. Amsoil is good stuff! That motor will need it! Sending a new shroud tomorrow. I'm jealous!!!

By Rocco
Sensational Tom's picture

Rocco, I appreciate that. For those who may come across this and need some background, Rocco sent me the special-built "Skunk Works" 4 Hp motor shown above, but UPS dropped our "baby" on it's head, splitting the plastic knob and badly denting the shroud. ("Hmmm... it says 'Frah-GEE-lay'... must be French!") With some careful re-forming (it's still the original knob & shroud in the pics above), I was able to get things very close to right, but I had a question about how the metal should look under the knob, so I asked Rocco, and he instead, on his own expense, sent a new knob and shroud.

Class act. I'll be in line when the next bandwidth funding drive comes around! (err... have we had one yet?)

By Sensational Tom

Ha!, not enough traffic yet! But Nate our IT guy somehow handles that.

By Rocco
Nate's picture

Its getting difficult to keep up with adding all the new folks who are finding the site, let alone try to keep up with upgrades and stuff. No need to pass the hat at this point, and someday I've gotta get my old tired B&S broken down and sent out to Rocco for a rebuild!

By Nate