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Silicone tires

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  • Silicone tires

    I cast my own silicone tires for the 3D proxy I am entering. This means I am running silicone tires on my track as I run this car in. Can someone please explain why running these silicone tires is going to cause me problems when I go back to rubber and urethane tires. What do I need to do to my track to neutralize what the silicone tires lay down?


  • #2
    Hi Barc, I'll tell you want I know and have heard.

    1. Silicone tires will pick up debris from the track surface. Silicone tires tend to grip the best on clean track surfaces, and when the silicone tire itself is clean. When running rubber or urethane tires, they will shed particles as they wear, and stick to the track surface. If your track is broken in on rubber or urethane, then it is broken in with those particles on the track. If you then use silicone tires on the rubber/urethane bedded track surface, the silicone will pick up those particles and those particles will stick to the surface of the silicone tire, which will make the silicone tire have very little grip, loose on the track surface.
    2. If your track is bedded in with silicone, which in my experience takes longer to do, and then go to rubber/urathane, those tires will be loose as there will be very little silicone material on the track and nothing for the rubber/urethane to adhere to.

    Basically, silicone tires like clean track surfaces and rubber/urathane tires like dirty surfaces.

    I'm pretty sure other explanations can do a better job than me explaining. My club ( Great Lakes Slot Car Club ) uses silicone exclusively , and all our tracks are silicone embedded. My track is 4 lanes. I am getting ready to do a Can Am Proxy race and the rules call for rubber tires. So I will be cleaning 0ne lane on my track and as I am testing and tuning with rubber tires, that lane will wear in with the rubber particles. .

    Disco Denny

    Hope this helps


    • #3
      Supposedly, silicone tires leave an oil residue on a track and that makes it slick for other types of tires. I know silicone leaves something,because I have tread marks around my lanes from the silicone. For best grip, I only wipe dust off my track before racing. The silicone is allowed to stay. Wiping a cars rear wheels over a wet cloth is all that is required to keep tires clean on the already clean track. That usually is all that is need, although dust continues to settle on the track. Wiping tires before a race seems to all that is needed for the rest of that session. A good cleaning with alcohol or lantern fuel will remove the silicone oil.

      Urethane is a bit slippery on a silicone track. There is some grip, but nothing like the silicone tires get. I don't have much experience with urethane. I have urethane on some older cars to replace dried out factory tires, but these are not cars I run. I need to setup a car to race with urethane and actually run it awhile to see just how urethane does on a track bubbered in with silicone. Maybe I'll do that the next day or two.

      Having run nothing but silicone, even on the local commercial track, I know a lot about the different types of silicone tires and how to make them, but not much about urethane or "rubber".

      I do think if you are kind of starting new, urethane is the way to go. If you are running 1/32 rtr's you can buy nice tires to fit the nice wheels that come on the cars. You get the track rubbered in with urethane and everything should grip fine.

      Matt B
      So. In


      • #4
        Denny's description is pretty much accurate. The silicone tires do like a clean track. When dirty, they slide all over. They won't leave anything on the track, but they will remove what is already there. They will become faster as the track cleans. When you go back to rubber, they won't have the same grip since the silicones mostly pick it up but it will eventually come back as rubber gets layed back down.
        Come Race at The Trace!
        Timberline Trace International Raceway - SW of Mpls, MN


        • #5
          I'm not sure that the silicone tires pick up particles from rubber tires or lay down a film that makes the track slick for other tires.

          I race with a guy that never cleans his track. The track surface is gray with heavy black rubber from running foam tires. Both the foam tires and silicone tires have great grip but after we run silicone tires the foam tires slide all over the place. I personally think what is happening is the silicone tires are polishing the rubber on the track making it to slick for foam tires. To make the foam rubber tires work again all he has to do is spray his track with Koford or Camen tire glue/goo mixed with Coleman fuel. Silicone tires might be doing the same thing to the rubber laid down with rubber/urethane tires.

          Just my theory.


          • #6
            What I’d like to know is who dug up that dead horse!
            Scott.....War Eagle River......Tampa, Florida, USA


            • #7
              I have done a great deal of very careful testing of both silicone and urethane tires. I ran foam tires with traction compound on them when I raced on commercial tracks, but I have never used that combination on a home track except for running a few laps to get up the last traces of dust before running on silicone tires.
              Information that I post about tires is based on own observations during my 60 years in the hobby and not on what other people have said that I have not been able to verify.
              Only dust sticks to silicone tires, they do leave a residue on the track and if you run urethane tires on a track where only silicone tires are used they will get coated with the residue and their grip will be greatly reduced. Dust does not stick to urethane tires, so they are less fussy about the track being perfectly dust free. If you run on silicone tires and clean them every few laps you will eventually get the track clean, at least where the tires roll. That would not be the case with urethane tires, those just push the dust around. Urethane tires and rubber tires both wear out a lot faster than most silicone tires, so it stands to reason that the dust that they generate has to go someplace. That could form a coating on the track or remain as loose particles. probably there is a little of both.
              At one time my 1/32nd club ran on silicone tires, except for one class that used urethane tires. If the first race was for the cars with urethane tires during the next race for cars with silicone tires there would be less grip than usual.
              My club does a lot of proxy races and we have seen good grip with all types of tires providing that the track was conditioned for the specified type and other types were not run until the proxy racing was finished.
              If you want to remove any residue that silicone tires might leave on your track lighter fluid, lantern fuel or naphtha (all essentially the same thing) on a rag will do that. If you have conventional plastic track avoid soaking the track with a lot of lighter fluid, just a little on a rag will get the job done. Some people use water based surface cleaners on their tracks. That may remove the residue, but it could also get into the track joints and cause corrosion.
              After you have stripped the track you are likely to have poor grip with rubber or urethane tires, so you will need to condition the track by running a lot of laps using your choice of tires.
              Last edited by RichD; January 12, 2021, 08:21 AM.


              • #8
                My track is 5 X 12 Masonite banked oval with a glossy enamel finish. I used silicone & foam exclusively for 2 or 3 years until I discovered
                HRW & all the wonderful information here. When I began using urethane tires I couldn't make a half dozen laps without the
                urethanes glazing over & loosing all traction. After cleaning the tires, it would happen again. I wound up cleaning the track several times
                with different solvents, until the glazing stopped.....I will NEVER put another silicone tire on my track.


                • #9
                  Yes I am wondering how much running silicone is going to cause me grief. Maybe I should just true these things and run the car in using urethanes, and just slap on the silicones prior to mailing it off.


                  • #10
                    Depends what the rest of the 3D group are running? If it's a mix then you're stuck using a slower tire because as was stated earlier urethanes and rubber ruin the surface for silicones. We're a silicone only club and during an enduro for example, we get about 7 minutes before we need to clean the tires. They tend to drop off a bit at about the 5 minute mark.


                    • #11
                      Okay. I’m going to chime in, then we can hopefully bury the dead horse!
                      We ran rubber/urethane for years, the track only got better with time as it got ‘rubbered’ in. Only cleaned the braid twice a year to get off the carbon and oils, used naphtha, that’s it, no Voodoo, Inox or any other ‘stuff’. Almost 3 years ago we went exclusively to silicone tires. Before running them the first time, naphtha was used to remove the rubber/urethane. Then a warm dish soapy wipe down to get any oils that were left. Since then, we have cleaned the braids twice a year with Naphtha. Haven’t touched the track surface. The silicone tires have left a ‘colorization’ that mimics being ‘rubbered’ in. But be assured it is not ‘rubbered’ in like using rubber/urethane tires. As for silicone tires losing their grip, that will happen if the track is not dusted, we use a tack cloth before racing, that’s it. If you choose to run rubber/urethane and then run silicone, you will notice a lack of grip, and that’s because rubber/silicone leave a debris on the track that the silicone tires will pick up. Now, if you have run nothing but silicone, and then choose to run rubber/urethane, there will be period before the track gets ‘rubbered’ in again that those tires will have less grip. We run longer heats here than most clubs/groups. 5 minutes being our shortest of heats. Usually 8-10 minute heats. The silicone tires do NOT ‘go away’, in fact they get grippier. We just got done doing a RevoSlot Endurance race here, 1 hour heats. The tires held up and stayed grippy the complete hour+, IMO, they got better the longer they were run. Did notice that they cooled down faster than rubber tires. We run on a MDF track with Latex Enamel paint with a bit of texture. Quick Slicks are the go to on our track, having tested EVERY brand on the market. Sorry to run on, but this topic comes up every now and then, and..............
                      Scott.....War Eagle River......Tampa, Florida, USA


                      • #12
                        To me, there's no reason not to run silicone tires. They don't just crack in a couple of weeks, they don't turn to red goo, they last a long time ( we ran one set for 24 hours), they don't dry out like sponge rubber tires that need glue to get any traction even when they are brand new and they are relatively inexpensive, especially for what you get. All you need to do is keep your track and floor clean.

                        At one time I had a rental track in a family fun center. You got 15 minutes on the track including a car and controller for $3. The whole fun center had wall to wall carpeting. As people walked around the nap and dust on the carpet would float in the air and settle on the track. I had to dust the track about every two hours or even the foam tires on a sprayed track wouldn't get traction. I also had to clean the foam tires every time I rented the car.

                        I have a problem on my track with very fine sawdust. Even though there is a wall separating the raceway from my workshop the furnace is in the raceway side and the cold air returns (even though they have filters) suck dust into the raceway. When I'm going to have a race I open up the garage door in the shop and blow as much of the sawdust out that I can. Then I let the sawdust settle and repeat this three times. Then I sweep the floor in the shop and raceway, shop vac the whole track, swiffer the whole track and wipe the track down with a damp rag.

                        I know this sounds like a lot of trouble to race silicone tires but unless you have a woodworking shop on the other side of the wall all you'll need to do is sweep your floor and dust your track. Most people don't think about the dust stirred up from people just walking around.


                        • #13
                          I worked in a clean room for about a year, I know a lot about dust. People generate dust and the fibers that make up a carpeted floor break off and become dust. If you vacuum the carpet just before a race the smaller dust particles will go right through a conventional vacuum cleaner and eventually land on the track. Any dust that has settled into the carpet pile can get stirred up when people walk around.


                          • #14
                            The best advice I can give you in simply not to mix silicone with either rubber or urethane. Choose one and run those exclusively. I have run silicone, urethane, sponge, silicone-coated sponge and rubber. SCANC now runs rubber only and I like that because to me rubber tires behave more like 1:1 tires.
                            Team SCANC
                            Woodland Trace Raceway - SlotZuka - Bent Tree Raceway
                            OFI - Buena Vista Motorsports Park - Slotkins Glen
                            Leadfinger Raceway


                            • #15
                              Yes, I usually run only rubber and urethane, but the 3D proxy specifies silicone tires, so in order to compete I need to run silicone on my track for testing. As mentioned earlier perhaps it best I run urethane tires on the car while testing and then just slap on some silicone tires before it leaves for the post office.