FarrOut Slot Racing Club
Tuning Tips and Tricks


QUICK TUNING TIPS

See also Daniel Snipes' overview of how he prepares his motor and gears Daniel Snipes Motor And Gear Break-in as well as his comprehensive Race Car Preparation Guide.  Also worth reading are Michael Smalley's overview of how he breaks-in motors underwater (we are not kidding, see  Michael's Underwater Motor Break-in.) and his 10 Point KISS Approach To Car Preparation. Get additional tips from Gary's step-by-step guide on how to prepare cars for maximum performance.

THE MOTOR

Look for a strong high pitch sounding motor, which appears to have some low speed torque.  There must not be excessive movement in the main shaft.  Run the motor with the pinion off and check shaft for straightness and vibration.  Old Scalextric plastic pinions are prone to splitting and may be replaced with the newer collared type.  If the wires to the guide need replacing, remember to use as close to box standard gauge wire and wiring set-ups as you can get.  The wire to the motor should be hooked through motor terminal and then soldered.  Do not use solder to excess and remember to strip the plastic insulation at the end so that bright new clean wire is exposed for soldering.  Oil the motor bearings.  Oil the end of motor that contains the brushes sparingly because excessive oil can get on the commutator and brushes and will slow the motor.  When "running in" a motor, run it slowly for some time to bed the brushes in against the commutator.

REAR AXLE (INCLUDING CONTRATE AND BEARINGS)

The axle must be straight.  Remove both rear wheels and tyres.  Run the vehicle and check for wobble or vibration in axle.  Check the contrate for wobble.  Also check that the axle is centred properly as occasionally the contrate is not positioned correctly along the axle.  Remove excess plastic due to the moulding process so it does not rub on the main shaft of the motor and check teeth on contrate.  Oil the axle bearings and the contrate. Loose bearings spinning in their mounting points on the chassis will cause poor performance and unnecessary wear in the mounting points.  Bearings can be glued in but you might want to consider using a non-permanent glue such as hot glue or PVA wood glue, Blu-Tack or similar as fillers to take up any clearance between the bearing and their mounting points.

REAR WHEELS AND TIRES

Remount wheels only and check for wobble or vibration by running the vehicle.  Wheels can be glued to the axle by sparing use of "Super Glue".  Remove excess plastic due to the moulding process from the wheels.  Remove excess rubber due to the moulding process from the tyres.  To balance tyres, use 2 old wheels that run true and drill the axle holes through.  Mount them side by side on a straight axle and place in drill or better still use a lathe.  Mount various tyres until 2 are symmetrical and balanced. Sand the tyres slightly to complete balance.  Sand tyre edges slightly so the vehicle will slide otherwise it will trip over the sharp edge on the tyre.  When balanced, remove them from the drill and mount onto vehicle wheels.  Run the vehicle and check the smoothness.  There is normally no need to glue the tyres to the wheels as the motors do not have enough torque to spin the tyres on the wheels.  Keep the tyres clean.  Water (or good old spit) and a rag will do to clean off grime.  The only cleaning agent you are allowed to use is PPS

FRONT WHEELS AND TIRES

Use similar procedures to those mentioned above for rear tyres and wheels.  Remember that the rear end of the vehicle is pushing the front, so the less friction on the front tyres the better.  Let the front wheels lose their grip (but do NOT put polish/glue or other materials on them to make the zero-grip) and oil the front axle.

SHIMMING THE AXLES

Several new cars (Fly and Scalextric come to mind in particular) have significant sideways axle movement.  It is best to eliminate this as much as possible.  Remove the wheel from the axle and place plastic or brass shims or cut a length of brass tube to length and shim the space until there is minimal sideways movement when you replace the wheel and axle.

GUIDE AND BRAID

Guides need to be run in or sanded so they slide easily and do not bind on any narrow or distorted part of the slot.  Make sure that there are no sharp edges particularly at the front.  Use a small piece of sandpaper to round off the front edges and the front tip.  Make sure that the guide blade does not catch at the bottom of the slot.  Carrera and Ninco guides in particular need up to 1 millimetre removed from the guide to prevent them catching the bottom of a Classic Scalextric track's slot.  Make sure the guide turns easily and smoothly in the guide tube.  Braids should be soft and have their strands of wire unpicked and fanned out at then end of the braid for maximum coverage of the power rails.  Flatten the braids along the length of the guide to ensure that the guide will sit as low as possible in the slot.  Slightly bending down a very short length of the frayed end of the braid can improve contact with the power rails.  The braids should be kept as clean as possible.  For vehicles with the newer Scalextric and SCX quick change guide systems, keep the pick-up prongs clean and evenly aligned.  If these prongs become bent, you will get poor contact, so check and adjust the height if required.  You may change these quick change guides to the wired type if you wish.

WEIGHT

Weight can be added to cars in the Ninco GT1 1990's Le Mans class, the Ninco 1950's/60's Le Mans class and all cars except the Ferrari F40 in the SCX 2WD class.  Weight cannot be added to any cars in any other class. See individual class rules for specific regulations.

Weight can be added in any location where you feel it will help the to balance the cars handling.  This includes inside and outside the car - specifically we recommend on the bottom of the chassis, if you can find space for it.  

What you are specifically not allowed to do is to cut or modify the chassis in any way to make space for the weight.  The only exception to this is that if you drilled a hole halfway through the chassis in 2005 in your Ninco 1990's GT1 Le Mans car to make space for your 50 gauss bar magnet you can put weight there - not that we would recommend it as a great place for the weight.  Earlier versions of the chassis have this half hole anyway so all people are equal footing. 

Generally you want

  • as little weight as possible,
  • as far forward as possible if you are trying to control oversteer (loose end), further back if you are trying to stop understeer (front washes out)
  • as much towards the center as possble if at the front, more to the sides if at the back,
  • as low as possible -underneath the chassis is ideal. 

Flat strips of lead weight 0.032 of an inch thick with self-adhesive backing are available from local retailers including Victory Station or Professor Motor or Slick 7 (direct link to the product in their shop at Slick 7 Lead Sheets ).

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