Tuesday May 19, 2009

This is why you do after run maintenance

Do you wonder why one racer's truck is always faster and handles better than yours ?

It is often the little things, like regular maintenance. Off road trucks take a tremendous amount of punishment, especially if you are prone to running into curbs or cartwheeling off a ramp. At the end of every session you should give your truck a thorough examination and replace parts like this bent hinge pin.

Why you do after run maintenance 03 - Bent hinge pin

04 - Straight hinge pin
Click image to enlargeClick image to enlarge 

It may not seem like much but this hinge pin will cause the steering block to bind in the caster block which will will impact the handling of the truck. This will be more pronounced coming out of a turn but it may even prevent your truck from keeping a straight line. If this is a four wheel drive truck you may experience a lack of power when turning. You will also be creating additional work for your steering servo which can lead to shorter run times and premature failure of the servo itself. And this is completely unnecessary. A replacement hinge pin is a $2 part and takes just a few seconds to replace it.

Before you invest in an expensive brushless power plant and high capacity energy source, do the little things.

Get your truck ready for the stresses of a more powerful motor.
  • Reduce rolling friction everywhere (large bearings on the axle carries and steering blocks)
  • Stronger lower suspension arms
  • Aluminum caster blocks to prevent bending your hinge pins in the future
  • Steel transmission and differential gears
  • Heavy duty output drives
  • Large front and rear bumpers to protect suspension parts and your new motor
  • Heavy steel steering links, and if available adjustable steel camber turnbuckles
  • Heavy duty aluminum shock towers (as the stock ones fail)
  • Get a range of pinion and spur gears (and start at the low end of the recommended gearing range and move up if the motor, esc and battery stay cool)
Once you have done these upgrades, then get yourself a Mamba Max or Novak Havoc system. Once you have run a brushless system with lipo batteries you will never go back to brushed motors. I'm even converting my 1/18 scale trucks to brushless, as time and repairs permit.

And at the end of every race or afternoon of bashing
  • Thoroughly inspect your truck for damage and replace all broken parts
  • Clean dirt away from electronics (radio, speed control, servos)
  • Make sure your suspension moves freely
  • Replace any bent screws or hinge pins
  • Tighten screws that have become loose - be careful with plastic parts as they can easily strip
  • Oil your motor bearings, and if brushed clean with motor spray and check your brushes and commutator
This will keep your truck in top running form and fun for years to come.

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Sunday Apr 05, 2009

A Good Weekend of Bashing

With the temperatures climbing into the mid 80s and plenty of sunshine, it was a great weekend to get out some of the RC trucks and see what they could do. The final tally for the weekend was

  • A broken rear shock on the Rustler - and oil everywhere!
  • A broken front shock spring retaining clip on the RC18MT
  • A broken servo brace on the Mini-T
  • Finished all but the cosmetics for the Hornet (see left)
  • And not a (new) scratch on the Stampede. It just keeps going, and going.....

    A couple of dollars in parts and maybe an hour of wrenching on the trucks and they will all be as good as new. Except for the Rustler who might be getting a brushless motor upgrade. I'm trying to decide between a Mamba Max ESC with either the 4600kV (conservative) or 5700kV (wild) or the Traxxas VXL-3 Velineon (simple). Of course this will set in motion other things like a wheelie bar, new diff, LiPo batteries and charger, maybe some aluminum hub carriers.

    And of course when all of this is done, the Stampede gets upgraded with the old parts from the Rustler. We'll see how it holds up with a new ESC and the 12T motor. I'm seeing a lot of transmission work here too. But it will all be fun.
  • Click image to enlarge 

    Bob Netherton is a Principal Sales Consultant for the North American Commercial Hardware group, specializing in Solaris, Virtualization and Engineered Systems. Bob is also a contributing author of Solaris 10 Virtualization Essentials.

    This blog will contain information about all three, but primarily focused on topics for Solaris system administrators.

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