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Afraid to touch it!

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  • Afraid to touch it!

    Confession time.... and I suspect I am likely not unique in this!

    Do any of you have a car that, when you look at it critically, you think "Man, but I have set up this car SO badly!" But on the track.... it flies! My it-has-no-right-to-be-this-fast car is an Avant Slot Porsche Spyder. On Luf's last Targa track it was in the fastest 5.5% of my cars.

    The reason for today's head scratching for me is that tomorrow evening is our annual Big Christmas Race at our club member Perry's track. This is probably more a social event than a serious race, but still: we all have some pride and want our cars to be good for the race. Historically my Avant Porsche seems to love a faster track, and up until our recently completed club track, Perry's "Rocket" used to be the fastest track around. So every Christmas race I tend to bring out my Avant Porsche. And it is a blast to drive.

    This afternoon I started preparing the cars I intend taking to the track tomorrow. So along with a couple of NSR Moslers etc, out came the Porsche. And when I took it apart to clean and lubricate the car, it struck me how poorly the car is set up. I look at it and I absolutely cannot understand WHY it runs so well! Consider:
    1. I left the car essentially stock other than better (wider) wheels at the back with urethanes. I also did not like the Avant crown gear so I replaced it with a Slot.it crown. And here's the kicker: I also replaced the rear bushings with Sloting Plus RRSS Victors self aligning bushings. These are the rather bad nylon ones (part # SP053003). When I started out in the hobby again >10 years ago these appealed to me as it seemed like a good idea to have bushings that make up for bad alignment due to poor bushing holders in poor chassis (think Fly....). Only as I got more experienced in the ways of slot car performance did I realise that these bushings typically deform immediately you clip them in, leaving an awful amount of slop that just gets worse over time. So my Avant Porsche has a somewhat sloppy rear axle. I have stopped using these bushings even in low performance cars some time ago FWIW.
    2. The implementation of the pod suspension on the car is questionable and the way I set it up is even worse... It has a leaf spring arrangement (one leaf spring running fore-aft on either side of the pod with all kinds of different screws to adjust height, spring rates etc). Highly tunable... too much so unfortunately. And a bear to get the two sides close to the same. So the play, spring rates and heights on the two sides of the pod are different.
    3. The car has height adjustment on the front axle: the first car I got like 8 years ago with this feature. So, needless to say... it is badly set up! Up - down slop on the one side, overall height suspect etc etc.
    4. I have some weight in a somewhat questionable position: probably a total of at least 10g on the sides of the motor. Now this might be OK, it might not. But I am looking at this with some suspicion. I believe experimentation could deliver some improvement here. And the weight actually touches the body as well.
    5. The rear of the car is too high: about 2mm of ground clearance. If I were to set up the car now I would never have left it this high.
    These are just the quick things I noticed now. Really bad, isn't it?

    And yet...

    And yet the car flies! So the critical me says "This is AWFUL! I HAVE to fix all these things!" And my practical self says "You want to mess with a car that you know goes really, really well on Perry's track just before the Christmas race? Seriously? And risk messing the whole thing up irrecoverably?"

    So I have resigned myself to taking it to the track as-is for now. But I really need to tidy things up come the new year: my OCD self cannot live with it the way it is. And I fear the outcome might be a bad hit in the performance stakes.

    Damned if I do, damned if I don't?

    Alwyn



  • #2
    Leave it but someone will need to video you twitching for not doing what your mind wants you to do.

    Comment


    • #3
      I feel your pain and the predicament you're in my friend...

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Brumos RSR View Post
        Leave it but someone will need to video you twitching for not doing what your mind wants you to do.
        Why Tony, over the years I got to know you as such a perfect, kind gentleman. Where does this cruel streak come from all of a sudden??!!

        Comment


        • Brumos RSR
          Brumos RSR commented
          Editing a comment
          Of course, I'm kidding. I know you will make the calculations as to what's best

        • SuperSlab
          SuperSlab commented
          Editing a comment
          Knowing you I absolutely know that Tony: I was just pulling YOUR socks in response to YOU pulling MY socks!

      • #5
        Originally posted by Beast Lee View Post
        I feel your pain and the predicament you're in my friend... :
        Thanks Ron. Reminds me of that awful definition of mixed feelings: seeing your mother in law drive over a cliff in your new Porsche...

        Comment


        • #6
          dont mess with it. know when to say when.

          Comment


          • #7
            I used to be afraid to open up my cars for fear of letting the magic out. Slowly and very gradually my tuning skills have improved to where I'm no longer afraid to work on a car that is running well in order to attempt to make it better.
            In your case, with the holiday race coming up so soon, I would say leave it alone for now, but tweak it afterwards.
            Just my ever depreciating 2¢.
            Steve
            Team SCANC
            Woodland Trace Raceway - SlotZuka - Bent Tree Raceway
            OFI - Buena Vista Motorsports Park - Slotkins Glen
            Leadfinger Raceway

            Comment


            • #8
              Last minute changes are an invitation to disaster. Tuning is a +/- thing, each change can be either an enhancement or detriment. Make several changes at once and while some may be + others may be - and you won't know which is which to recover in the time you have. Plus, the things you mentions might be less than ideal individually, but combining to create an overall positive effect. Like when I've heard a 1:1 driver say they brushed the wall or got into another car and their car actually drove better afterwards. No one would take a sledgehammer to their car hoping for a beneficial outcome, but sometimes things can work out that way.

              Race it as is since it's fast, you like driving it, and you know how to race it. In the new year you can consider rebuilding it as you image would be better, but you might find out what you have/had was best.

              Dale Earnhardt Jr. told the story on his podcast show about getting his car tuned perfectly for a race so that he won the pole during qualifying. Dale Sr. asked him to check out his car and let him know what he thought of it. After a few laps he told his father it was a piece of junk because of how the weight shifted in the corners. Dale Jr. said he found the car to be undriveable. Dale Sr. was starting back around 8th or 10th but just before the race started he told Jr. he'd be seeing him in about 20 laps. Sure 'nuff, about 20 laps into the race his father pulled up beside him and cruised on by. Dale Jr. said he thought if it was fast during qualifying it'd be fast for the whole race, while his father knew his car was slower at the start but would get quicker as the race progressed.

              Comment


              • #9
                Originally posted by SuperSlab View Post
                Thanks Ron. Reminds me of that awful definition of mixed feelings: seeing your mother in law drive over a cliff in your new Porsche...
                Hahahahaha...!!! True that...

                Comment


                • #10
                  OK, so I have decided to be very brave. No, no, not stupid brave like working on the Porsche. I have rather decided to take "lesser" cars to the racing tonight!

                  I think it is a bit silly to run my "fast cars" more often than others. So as a general rule, for our normal weekly racing, I always try to run all my different cars (and yes, you are right: I have too many...) regularly, regardless of how "good" or how "bad" they are. Seemed silly to make an exception for our Christmas race so I have now decided to extend this principle for that as well.

                  So tonight: no FAST Avant Slot Porsche Spyder. No FAST NSR Moslers. I have decided on more "normal" fast-ish cars so I have decided tonight will be a "red car" night. I am taking my new RED Revoslot Ferari 333SP and my RED Revoslot Viper. Plus my RED Policar Ferrari P4. And my RED Thunderslot Lola T70 Mk III as backup. All decently fast but not crazy fast.

                  We will be racing on a three lane track and as always I will be following my other self-imposed rule of running a different car in each lane. Yes, silly I know: just as I get used to one car I switch cars. But I personally like the challenge and pressure this brings. And if I lose/do not do all that well, then so be it: this is a hobby and I am having a HUGE amount of fun!

                  Love it and looking forward to it!

                  Alwyn

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Go for it!! I'll bet you could make it a couple of 1/10th faster if you just adjusted a few little things before you head off to Perry's...………. ……………. …………………..

                    Allan

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                    • #12
                      Alwin, don't mess with the car. Instead, put down your trusty Slot.It controller and use a Difalco….

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        We call it a "medley" when we run a different car in each lane. You have so many cars it only makes sense to try to exercise as many as possible! Like you, I have an Avant Slot LMP car and it certainly didn't get any special attention - just a regular set up but it is blindingly fast and handles really fantastic. I run it every week on one lane in a medley of 4 different "fast" cars. Not sure if I could set up another Avant Slot the same way but I guess I should try.

                        I've never tried to sort my cars by color and try a night of all one color... Sounds interesting...
                        BB

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Originally posted by Fast Co. View Post
                          In your case, with the holiday race coming up so soon, I would say leave it alone for now, but tweak it afterwards.
                          Yes that was basically my conclusion and decision in my first post. But then I went and decided to not use it at all: go figure!

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            Originally posted by slothead View Post
                            Last minute changes are an invitation to disaster.

                            Race it as is since it's fast, you like driving it, and you know how to race it. In the new year you can consider rebuilding it as you image would be better, but you might find out what you have/had was best.
                            Yep, as mentioned to Steve that was pretty much what I described as my fears and intentions in my original post. Until I decided to do something completely different and the "problem" became moot....

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