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Thread: Another Muscle Chair--Invacare Torque SP Off-Pavement Configuration

  1. #1

    Another Muscle Chair--Invacare Torque SP Off-Pavement Configuration

    I use the term "muscle chair" to describe a old school rearwheel drive powerchair that provides rigid frame like positioning, has a reasonably light weight, and enough power to do a wheelie and be driven off the beaten path.

    Until now, I have limited the use of that term to the Quickie P222SE. It may come as a surprise to some that Invacare also makes a powerchair that meets the "muscle chair" criterion--the Torque SP equipped with the 6.5 MPH high-performance 4-Pole motor package...



    Some of you may be thinking, "But the P222SE's top speed is 8.5 MPH, how can a model that is 2 MPH slower even be considered to be in the same class? The answer lies in an option that is not available on 3G Storm Series chairs equipped with more powerful gearless brushless motors--those monster 14x4" pneumatic knobby rear tires...





    That wheel/tire combination provides the potential to transform the Torque SP into a legitimate muscle chair. While it might not be as fast, light, or nimble as a P222SE on paved surfaces. when properly dialed in, it can outperform a P222SE in those environments where traction and stability are a higher priority than how quickly one can get from point A to point B.

    One has to be willing to accept a couple of trade offs in order to live with those wider tires. At ~27.5" wide, they add considerably to the chair's overall width--making the Torque borderline for some vehicle lifts/ramps. There is also one option that, inexplicably, is not available with these tires. Who can guess what is missing from either of these chairs?



    While the P222SE has to do little more than roll off of the assembly line to achieve its muscle chair status, a Torque SP requires a little work. When it leaves the factory, the seat angle of the Torque SP provides minimal dump--giving it marginal ground clearance and providing less than optimal postural stability for off pavement adventures. The seat frame is also mounted on the base frame in a relatively forward position. This puts a significant proportion of weight over the front casters. Even under full throttle it will be difficult to get the front end to lift. While a front heavy chair may be good for driving up hills, it makes negotiation of obstacles difficult.

    In order to attain the proper balance, the blue Torque was ordered with the Rear Wheel Forward 1" option and the seat was moved back farther on the base frame. Note the location of the rear wheel relative to the solid white line as well as the location of the front mounting bolt for the seat frame (yellow arrows).



    The front-rigging hangers had to be telescoped out on the blue chair in order to maintain sufficient front caster clearance. Thus, while the overall length of both chairs is the same, the blue chair has considerably less weight over its front casters.

    These adjustments have the same effect as changing the location of the rear axle on an ultralight rigid frame, and the result can be equally as dramatic. Compared to the red chair, the blue chair can easily do a controlled wheelie at relatively slow speeds. At the same time, it is much less-likely to tip back going up a grade or bottom out on rugged terrain than a P222SE. To ascend a 3-4" curb, one only needs to stop with the front caster at the curb, back up ~8", and give it full throttle forward. The front casters lift slowly up in the air as the chair's momentum changes back to a forward direction. The casters clear the curb while the rear drive wheels easily roll up and over in a very comfortable controlled fashion.

    Like some other chairs I have recently posted, these Torque's have the custom fixed front frame. The reason for doing this will be discussed in my next post.

    So which one is better, the Torque SP or the P222SE? It depends on what the end user needs to do with their chair.


  2. #2

    Custom Fixed Front Frame

    Since discovering we could use Bodypoint's Fulcrum Series extension tubes with a Quickie GT footplate to make a custom fixed front frame, this mod has become a common occurrence on nearly every muscle chair we do. While it may give the chair an aesthetically pleasing look, the actual reasons we go through the extra effort have nothing to do with aesthetics.





    The main reason we do the custom fixed front frame is to provide proper lower extremity positioning and ensure that positioning will be maintained when its end user is taking advantage of the chair's full performance capabilities. Over the years, I've seen too many people who have broken a leg after their foot came off of the footrest driving on uneven ground.

    The other reason is to improve the structural integrity of the front frame. Having the ability to tie all the components together with fasteners significantly improves its strength and durability--especially compared with the OEM swingway legrests or one piece flip up footplate that would normally be found on these chairs. I said in another post that I could literaly stand on the this custom fixed front frame. Here's proof...



    Try that with Invacare's swingaway legrests or a P222SE's one piece flip up composite footrest!
    Last edited by SCI_OTR; 07-29-2012 at 09:29 PM.


  3. #3
    Torque SP is this with lipstick!

    http://www.wheelchairs.com/offroad.html

  4. #4
    at around $6800 the torque sp is actually about $3000 (base price) cheaper than the other $9700 storm model. about half a bounderplus $12000+. donnie

  5. #5
    Senior Member NWC4's Avatar
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    Greetings SCI_OTR,

    I like your setup of the Torque Sp and have numerous questions.
    1. Why do you uses 4 pole motors instead of gearless/brushless. Is it just a power/torque issue or is there a reliability issue as well?
    2. Are the leg rest hangers available in a swing-away version?
    3. How is it that moving the seating system back would “much less-likely to tip back going up a grade or bottom out on rugged terrain”? Or is this only in relation to the P222SE? Doesn’t this cause more trouble with the front popping up in uneven terrain?
    4. What is the difference between Invacare's Torque Sp and Arrow Strom?


    I currently have a 7 year old Torque Sp with MKIV electronics and GB motors. I have had to replace the motors 3 times and just had one rebuilt as Invacare does not make them anymore and do not have or make a replacement. I have also replaced the module 2 or 3 times. I will be using this as a backup and would like to gear it to more off road terrain. I would like to replace my 2” tires with the 4” tires in your photo. Questions:
    1. The bolt configuration appears different than the standard 2” tires. Is this true?
    2. Are any other modifications needed to the axel or wheel mount hardware?
    3. Is this something that can be done by someone with some mechanical ability as opposed to a DME tech?
    4. Would these larger tires burn up my GB motors?
    5. What would be the approximate cost?

    Thanks!

  6. #6
    Senior Member forestranger52's Avatar
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    4 inch wide rear tires really help when crossing side hills. Much more stable.
    C 5/6 Comp.
    No Tri's or hand function.

    Far better it is to try mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure. Than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much or suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory or defeat.

    Teddy Roosevelt

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by NWC4 View Post
    Greetings SCI_OTR,
    I like your setup of the Torque Sp and have numerous questions.
    1. Why do you uses 4 pole motors instead of gearless/brushless. Is it just a power/torque issue or is there a reliability issue as well?
    The 14x4 drive wheels are not available with GB motors. GB motors are more powerful, quieter, and have more torque, but the additional traction, stability, and suspension that those rear wheels/tires provide trump GB motors for an off-pavement "muscle chair". If a chair had power seating or would be used on slightly less rugged terrain, no question I'd go with GB motors.
    Quote Originally Posted by NWC4 View Post
    2. Are the leg rest hangers available in a swing-away version?
    Both of these Torque's actually have tapered 70 degree swingaway hangers (look closely). We perfrom the fixed front frame conversion ourselves by replacing the pivot slide tubes and flip up composite footplates with Bodypoint's Fulcrum series extension tubes and a Quickie GT rigid frame footplate. Swingway hangers would likely get bent and be less effective securing one's lower extremities during active use where this chair is intended to be used. (Besides, what do you think would happen if I tried taking a picture of my feet if I tried standing on standard 70 degree tapered swingaways?)
    Quote Originally Posted by NWC4 View Post
    3. How is it that moving the seating system back would “much less-likely to tip back going up a grade or bottom out on rugged terrain”? Or is this only in relation to the P222SE? Doesn’t this cause more trouble with the front popping up in uneven terrain?
    I meant in relation to the P222SE. It is lighter, more rear tippy, and the COG can't be dialed in quite as precisely. Again, we are talking about "muscle chair" criterion (No power seating, minimal weight, off pavement performance). To negotiate obstacles, it is desirable to be able to make the front end lift--provided it can be done in a controlled fashion.
    Quote Originally Posted by NWC4 View Post
    4. What is the difference between Invacare's Torque Sp and Arrow Strom?
    The main difference is that GB motors and the "missing option" I refer to in the original post are both standard on the Arrow.
    Quote Originally Posted by NWC4 View Post
    I currently have a 7 year old Torque Sp with MKIV electronics and GB motors. I have had to replace the motors 3 times and just had one rebuilt as Invacare does not make them anymore and do not have or make a replacement. I have also replaced the module 2 or 3 times. I will be using this as a backup and would like to gear it to more off road terrain. I would like to replace my 2” tires with the 4” tires in your photo. Questions:
    1. The bolt configuration appears different than the standard 2” tires. Is this true?
    2. Are any other modifications needed to the axel or wheel mount hardware?
    3. Is this something that can be done by someone with some mechanical ability as opposed to a DME tech?
    4. Would these larger tires burn up my GB motors?
    5. What would be the approximate cost?
    Thanks!
    I'm just a therapist with some mechanical skills and basic fabrication abilities who's job it is to prescribe and configure custom mobility equipment so that is optimal for the function of the end user. While I doubt GB motors are compatible with those hubs, I'll let jakeyboy cover these topics as they are more his area of expertise.


  8. #8
    From the pictures it looks like your missing the 9 inch caster fork option?
    those pictured are the suspension casters that will allow only 8 inch casters, not the 9 inch..........

    I currently have three rwd storm series 'chairs that i use... I've more or less have built two of these myself....... because i use power recline i have all long-frames. I use fixed leg rests (old style labac four-axis adjustable) that i bolt the foot plates together using a flat piece of steel.

    1. I had a TDX-SR that i couldn't get use too, OQS(old quad syndrome)...So i took the GB motors and controller and put it on a old arrow frame i found on craigslist for a 100.00 bucks. it was pretty easy, just re-calibrate the motors from MWD to RWD using a pro card programmer...... I lucked up and found a PSF Mk6i to replace the Mpj joystick that i had. I took my ultra-low recline seating system from motion concepts and mounted on the arrow frame using a motion's conversion plate kit........I like the GB motors over the four pole motors. they are more quiet and pull less juice from the batteries. Another thing is the mk6 electronics are less prone to thermal rollback than the older mkiv electronics.....

    2. I just finished putting together a chair thats a torque sp frame with another motions seating system. All the parts and pieces i found on ebay and craigslist. It had the high performance 6.5 mph motors with mkiv electronics.. the trick was mounting the recline motion seating system from a pronto base to the torque frame. I had to improvise some angle iron steel brackets to mount up with motion's interface base plate. i was able to get mounted and still have a 18 inch stf height, with it 17 1/4 in the rear. I put flat free 14x4 wheels on the rear with 9 inch casters... I moved the 4 pole motors in the middle holes on the the motor mounting brackets like SCI-OTR described above to get more weight over the back wheels. It does really good off-road except on long treks across plowed fields when thermal rollback occurs....

    3. the third chair i have is my oldest but the newest looking of my chairs..
    It's also a torque sp. I got it in 2001 but have kept in like-new condition. medicare paid for at the time and i kept it up, because i mainly used an old 1995 ranger x that i just recently retired This chair has an old "bullet- proof" recline LaBac seating system on it. At the time, my dme vendor was able to upgrade the batteries to 24's and put HD motors and shocks on it.
    It's the slowest of my chairs because of HD motors, i'm guessing 5 miles an hour. I only use this 'chair when i go out towning since the other two chairs i have wrapped in camo film, lol.

    It was ten years(2011) before medicare bought me my TDX-SR which i converted. luckily my vendor had that tdx-sr demo that he was willing to take assingment on....otherwise i would have gotten a basic torque 3 with group 3 motors and joystick.

    The thing with these chairs is that they all had to be within a 1/16 inch in all measurements; stf height, seat width, seat depth, back height, joystick placement, and etc..... I have to have them exact because i drive my van and my truck out my chairs, I've got the ez-lock bracket mounted in same spot.

    It's become almost an obsession of mine scouring the internet for wheelchair parts, lol.... but with a little patience i was able to obtain all of my parts including those hard to find labac legrests on the 'net. I've probably got less than a couple of grand in all three.....

    Lance

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by lance30276 View Post
    From the pictures it looks like your missing the 9 inch caster fork option?
    Nope. That's not it Lance. Those 9"x2.75" casters are only available on the long base and footrest clearance is a major issue with the fixed front frame.

    I am curious if you were able to mount the missing option over your 14x4 tires.


  10. #10
    nope, don't do fenders......lol..
    caster clearance has been an issue, especially with size 13 shoes, needless i say i have few scuffed up heels on my shoes & boots..

    thats why i have those labac legressts. i can adjust them at about 76-78 degrees so those big tires will just miss my heels... plus with chronic foot drop, i need the ankle adjustments.

    is there any other options regarding leg rests that let you adjust knee angle, taper, ankle and foot angles?

    i like the lower foot plate on the chair you have pictured,,,are those made by body point?

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