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Tunning Guide
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World's BEST only Chassi Tuning Guide Tuning Version 3.5
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The following guide is designed for racers who wants to get more out of their touring cars by tuning their chassis in various ways. Note that some of the topics in this guide may not be applicable for every chassis.
It is highly recommended that you read ALL of this pages' content

1.1 Intro
Gen
Yup, the title says it all, this will be the last tuning guide you'll ever read!! Well.. you know, I have to get your attention some how right? Anyway, my name is Gen, a cartoon tool girl that will be guiding you into the complex and twisted world of tuning. Pay attention to what I say because every sentence contains valuable tips. You can also print what I said in case I am not around. Use the (print button ) on the bottom right corner of this page to keep me for good.

Why Tune?
Lets begin with the question, why tune? Is it for more speed, traction or looks? Well, obviously it isn't looks, I mean, a losing car with a pretty body isn't exactly popular. How about speed? Well let's see, in a perfectly straight road, you could definitely use speed, fastest car wins right? But what if the track you are on is full of sharp turns, would speed matter than? That brings us to traction, which in turn controls your car's ability to turn at high speeds. Sort of getting the image yet? As the speed of your car goes up, your ability to make sharp turns goes down. A well-tuned car can "Execute a turn at maximum velocity". Confused yet? No? Ok, read on to find out what traction is made of.



1.2 Traction Defined

Gravity
In this world, gravity is the only thing keeping your tires stuck to the ground. Think of a heavy person vs. a light person. It is easier to push the light person across a field of ice than it is to push the heavy person. The exact same concept goes with cars. The more "Pressure" each tire has with the ground yields greater traction (therefore keeping the tire/car in place). I sense that you are already thinking of ways to increase traction! (hint: weight of the car, hint, hint)

It's all in the Tires
When you think of it, the only thing that touches the ground is the 4 circular rubber things called tires right? Shall one of the 4 tires leave the ground; it only makes sense that traction is decrease by a quarter. So in order to obtain maximum traction out of those 4 rubber circles is to keep them all touching the ground as much a possible. Tire touches ground = traction, makes sense? Now lets look at how can this be accomplished in chapter 2, the core of this wonderful guide.


1.3 Good Practice

The concept of tuning is fascinating, as it is dangerous. Why? Because every millimeter you change can have dramatic affect on your touring car. So it is important to keep in mind some good practice while tuning your vehicle. Here some basic things to keep in mind before you begin to tune your car. Don't Forget These!

Change ONLY one thing at a time
If you dial in an extra degree of camber, shorten the wheelbase and install stiffer front springs all during the same visit to the pits, you'll have no idea which adjustment has made your car handle better or worse. Take the car out for a few laps after each adjustment; if performance decreases, it's easy to "undo" the last adjustment.

Make small adjustments
Touring-car setup isn't a game of inches; it's a game of TENTHS of inches. Make small adjustments, or you may overshoot the perfect setting. Test the car frequently as you dial it in.

Know when to say "Enough"
How long does it take to get the perfect setup? Answer: How much time you got? It's easy to fall into the trap of chasing setup all day, all week, or all season. Though you should always be looking for ways to go faster, you should not be altering your car so often that you never get used to one setup. It's more important to be able to drive your car at 100% of your ability, even if it's only 80% dialed in.

Keep Notes
You'll notice that the fast guys all have greasy little notebooks on which they jot all their setup info. You should follow suit; write down all the setup info you can stand - even the stuff that didn't work! It doesn't take long to acquire a lot of useful data, and you'll save a lot of practice laps when you need to tune your car for conditions you've encountered previously. Modern Touring Cars now comes with their own Setup Sheets that allows to easily record your settings.
- Free chassis specific SetupSheets for download


2.1 Weight Distribution

On your chassis you may have the choice of moving things around such that one wheel applies more pressure to the ground. If you put the majority of your car's weight towards the rear of the car, your rear wheels will have more pressure vs. the front wheels. This extra pressure on the rear wheels will give the rear wheels more traction. As a result your car will be less likely to fish tail in a turn. However, as you move the weight of your car from the front to the back, your front wheels will lose traction! (Less weight = less traction) When there is less weight in the front, your car will lose steering. Think of a monster truck pulling a wheelie, it cannot steer because it's front wheels aren't touching the ground. The exact opposite happens if you transfer weight to the front wheels

General Rule
- Front weights more than Back = Good Steering, Likely to Fishtail
- Back weights more than front = Bad Steering, Unlikely to Fishtail


2.2 Differentials

Every touring car has differentials on the front and the rear wheels. However not all touring cars allow you to adjust their differential easily. If your chassis is equipped with a "ball differential" system, you may easily adjust the "diff action" by tightening the appropriate parts. If your car uses gear differentials, you have to adjust the diff action by changing the diff oil inside the differentials. The tighter a diff, the harder it is for one to rotate only the left or right wheel while the diff case itself is not rotating.

Slip
Stop! The following paragraph only applies to "ball differentials"
However, take note that there is something called "slip" which is a bad thing. Slip is caused when the diff is too lose. The result is lost of power. You can detect slip by attempting to rotate the left wheel while holding down the diff case and the right wheel. If the left wheel is able to move easily, then the diff is "slipping". The diff should be tight enough so that it takes excessive force to cause the left wheel to rotate given that the diff case and right wheel is fixed. Note that "gear differentials" owners need not to worry about slip.

General Rule
- Loose Diff = Optimal steering response, less stability
- Tight Diff = Less steering response, more stability


2.3 One-Way Unit

The One-Way Unit
Some top end cars on the market today include a One-Way unit. The one-way unit allows the front tires to freewheel while the motor is not moving at all. The same technology applies to the back wheel of a 2-wheeled pedal bike. On a RC car, this feature eliminates all braking capability of the front wheels.

Lost of braking
So what does this "lost of braking" do to your car? Well, there are two things. As you can imagine, your car will roll further down the road off-throttle. Your braking distance is reduced since only your back wheels are capable of breaking. So you may be wondering, what's the point of a One-Way unit then? Well, the good thing about an enabled One-Way unit is that it allows superb steering ability. Normally, going into a turn requires you to brake, and then turn the steering wheel. The concept behind this is that braking reduces traction on all four wheels, and traction in the front tires is required for good steering. So you see, A one-unit defies that law allowing the driver to brake AND steer at the same time.

Side Effects
The most common problem with an enabled one-way unit is that it can cause the rear wheel to loss traction and spin out. This usually happens when the driver brakes too hard going into a corner causing the rear wheels to lock (not rotate). Therefore when the one-way unit is enabled, you should ease up on the braking to prevent such spin outs.

General Rule
- Enabled One-Way = More off-power steering, harder to brake
- Disabled One-Way = Less off-power steering, short braking distance


2.4 Rear Camber

Camber
Camber is the more simple of these two to explain so I'll start with this. Camber is the lean of the wheels. If the wheels lean outward this is called positive camber, inward is called negative. Positive camber is now very rarely used so when I am discussing settings I are talking about degrees of negative camber. To explain this effectively you must now get a hold of your car. Lean the car to the side as if it were turning a corner. Leave the front wheels for now as we will deal with this part later. As the car leans you will notice that the suspension linkage makes the wheel lean outward. This effect reduces the size of the tire's footprint on the track surface thus reducing traction. (Camber is used to counter this effect)

The Right Camber
There is no magical camber amount for a particular track. It is dependent on souly on your chassis. An ideal camber should give you even tire wear. Even tire wear indicates your wheels are perpendicular to the ground most of the time. If you now examine the angle of the tire while resting on the ground, it should when adjusted properly lean slightly inwards. Needless to say you should use a ruler to ensure that both rear wheels has the same camber angle. We advise to use no more 3 of negative camber. At this point you must also remember that in most categories the rear wheels apply the motive power to the track. This means that the more negative camber you apply the less stable your car will be under acceleration.

General Rule
- More Camber = Increased traction when cornering, Decreased straightline stability
- Less Camber = Decreased traction when cornering, Increased straightline stability
- Less Camber is needed for stiffer suspension


2.5 Caster Angle

Caster What?
Caster is the angle of the steering kingpin in relation to a vertical plane perpendicular to the ground. With the top of the kingpin angled back towards the car you have negative caster. Negative castor makes the car more stable to drive in a straight line. The more negative caster you have, the more steering you will have in high speed sections, during turn in, and the more stability you'll have in the straights. With less caster, you'll have more low speed steering with less stability in the turns and less steering during turn in.

Enough Caster is Enough
As a guide for anybody who has a car with variable caster the more the hinge pin called the kingpin is inclined backwards the greater the lean of the wheel as the wheels steer. Roughly speaking the greater the amount of grip then the greater the amount of lean there is when the car corners (this lean is called body roll). So basically the more grip you have the more caster is desirable.

When we now go to deal with the amount of caster we want for the front wheels we must take this into account. When you study your car check how much the front leans when cornering. Back on your table put your front wheels at full lock and lean the car as if it was cornering. The wheels should be leaning inward at about two or three degrees. If the car is 4wd it is important to remember that power is also applied through the front wheels. In this case we must rely on caster for a lot of our body roll compensation.

Dynamics (in-depth)
To illustrate a real situation, we have to examine the shape of the car as it turns a corner. Centrifugal force increases throughout the corner and so we can stale that body roll is greatest just before the driver begins to straighten the car up after the corner. When turning in there is little body roll at all therefore caster is least desirable at this point. Too much caster will prevent the car from turning in sharply as the footprint is reduced by the lean of the tire. Progressively through the corner the grip of wheels lent inward by the caster increases. The most balanced point is therefore when the caster sets the wheels flat at the mid-point of the corner.

General Rule
- More Track Grip = More Caster
- No Track Grip = Little Caster



2.6 Ride Height

Ride height is measured from the surface underneath the axle to the ground. Adjusting the ride height in the rear and front will do you two things. Number one, it will rise or lower your vehicles CG and number 2 it can control how much steering you get.

Center of Gravity (CG)
Picture monster trucks, they flip or tip over very easily, but why? The reason is because most of the trucks' weight (all the engine, driver and stuff) is located very high on the vehicle, which makes it very easy to tip over. The general location of the vehicles main weight is what we call center of gravity or CG. So when you decrease the ride height equally in the rear and front, you are actually placing the components of your car closer to the ground producing a low CG (less likely to behave like a monster truck).

UnEvEn Ride Height
If you recall the weight distribution, than you would remember that the more weight there is on a wheel the more traction it has. Remember? Great! When the rear and front ride height is uneven, the side with the lowest ride height gains a little bit more weight giving that side more traction. Touring cars traditionally enjoy a lower ride height in the front than the rear to give more steering. Note that the weight on a car is limited, any traction transferred to the front will be taken off in the rear equally.

How to Adjust?
Begin with a loaded chassis. That includes all the stuff you need to have the car running; batteries, fuel, whatever. (excluding the body) Now compress the suspension by forcing the chassis to touch the ground repeatedly to relax the suspension to it's natural state. Now to adjust the actual height you can add or remove spacers on yours shocks or turn the collar on your threaded shock bodies.

General Rule
- Ride Height = Lower the better
- Rear > Front = Shifts traction to front
- Rear < Front = Shifts traction to rear



2.7 Gearing

Gear Ratio
A gear ratio indicates the number of revolutions of the motor has to do for the wheel to complete one full revolution.
For example: a ratio of 9.0 means that when the motor has done 9 complete rotations, the wheel will have done just one, if the motor has done 18, the wheel will have done 2...

Here's the tricky part: a higher number means a smaller ratio, and conversely a smaller number means a higher ratio. So 9.0 is a taller or higher ratio than 10.0. Think about it: if the motor has to do less rotations for the wheel to do one (smaller number), the car will go faster for the same rpm, which means a taller ratio.

Smaller Gear Ratio
- (bigger number means smaller ratio) More punch and acceleration.
- More runtime.
- Lower top speed.

Bigger Gear Ratio
- (smaller number means bigger ratio) Less punch, but more top speed.
- Less runtime.

How to adjust
There are two things you can do adjust your gear ratio. You can either change the size of your pinion gear or the size of you spur gear. The size of these two items are measured by how many tooth they have on the gear.
For Example: A 20 teeth pinion gear is bigger than a pinion gear with only 15 teeth.

Smaller Pinion Gear = Smaller gear ratio
Bigger pinion Gear = Bigger gear ratio
Smaller Spur Gear = Bigger gear ratio
Bigger Spur Gear = Smaller gear ratio
Overall Ratio Overall Ratio = (Spur/Pinion)*Internal Gearbox Ratio Rollout
(mm/rev) Rollout = (Pi*Tire Diameter)/Overall Ratio

Time the Shift!
In most cases, the best gear ratio is the one that allows your car to accelerate as fast as possible, without over-revving your motor on the straight. So finding the right gear ratio is quite simple in most cases: just make sure the motor reaches maximum rpm towards the end of the longest straight.

However, in some cases it can be beneficial for your lap times to over- or under gear your car: a slightly undergeared car will accelerate faster, so if the track is full of short straights where acceleration is very important, you might want to consider a smaller ratio. Overgearing is frequently used to prevent wheelspin under acceleration, mostly on low-traction tracks. It can make the car somewhat easier to drive. It's only advisable on tracks where wheelspin is a problem.

General Rule
- Smaller GR = More punch and acceleration, More runtime, Lower top speed.
- Bigger GR = More top speed, Less punch, Less Runtime



2.8 Anti-Dive

Ok what is anti-dive??? or dive???
This is a condition that occurs when you are running at speed and you suddenly hit the brakes. It depends on several factors, which include but are not limited to...center of gravity, ride height, springs, and weight.

If you watch your car or truck when you brake, you will notice the front end go low, or dive. This is BAD! When the front end Dives, you lose traction at the rear wheels and the car wants to slide. And if you apply sudden throttle, the rear will break lose and you will turn it around. (at least on a two wheel drive.)

How to Cure it??
Good question. There are a few ways. First and easiest, you can change the front shock oil to a heavier weight, maybe 50 or 60.

For a sure fire cure, and in my eyes the proper way, is to change the front spring rate. it should be a little stiffer then the rear. You will have to check your manufacturers parts list for spring rates. After you make the change, observe the car when you break hard... it should stay level. Even if you lock the wheels and skid, it should not nose down.

For the real cheap skate (aren't we all!!) you can also relocate the lower shock mounts inboard.... but remember, this also limits travel... AHH another subject.

Caution!!
What ever you do, do not lighten the spring rate of the rear thinking it does the same thing!! It doesn't!!

General Rule
- Thicker Oil in Front Spring = Better rear traction when braking
- Stiffer Front Spring = Better rear traction when braking
- Softer Rear Spring = DOES NOT WORK!



2.9 Anti-Squat

Got Squat?
Squatting is the effect caused by acceleration, or in pure English for the rest of us, A "Wheelie" where the front wheels lifts up. In a touring car it is very hard to spot but easy to feel, just try to accelerate very hard and you would not be able to steer while accelerating. The physics of this is simple, as you accelerate the weight of the car is transferred to the rear end causing the rear suspension to be compressed. When this happens, the ride height in the rear is lower than normal therefore creating a low center of gravity in the back of the car while the front has a higher than normal center of gravity. When this change in CG occurs, it makes it easier for the car to flip backward and upside down, in extreme cases like a monster truck would.

Anti that Squat!
Unfortunately us touring car fanatics don't have a wheel sticking out in the back of our car to prevent a wheelie like they have on drag racers (Hey, anyone want to racing with one installed?). However we can modify the rear suspension to behave "Stiffer" when accelerating so that the rear suspension will not decrease in CG as much! This is done via the tilting of the hing-pin in the rear suspension. Not all chassis comes with this adjustment however, but on smooth surfaces it is advised to apply 3 degrees of anti-squat.

General Rule
- More Anti Squat = Less acceleration & Rear Traction (on bumpy surface), More steering
- Less Anti Squat = More acceleration (on bumpy surface), Less on power steering
- Non-Zero anti Squat is desired on high traction surfaces.


2.10 Toe-In/Out

No, Toe has nothing to do with your toes. Having a toe angle means your left wheel is not parallel with your right wheel when looked from directly above your chassis. They can be pointing inwards (Known as Toe-In) or they can be pointing outward (Toe-Out). Both the rear and front wheels could have a toe angle on them depending on the chassis you own, some chassis even lets you adjust your toe angles also. Which brings me to another point, what is toe-Angle???

How Toe Angle is Measured
Every wheel (left and right) has it's "CenterLine". Most importantly, the centerline of the left wheel is always parallel to the right wheel centerline. Also, the centerline points straight ahead in the direction where the car is suppose to go. The Toe Angle is the angle between this centerline and the actual direction the wheel is pointing at. If the wheel is pointing into the chassis, than we call that toe-in and the angle we measure is a positive number (I.E. +2.0). Toe-Out is the exact opposite of Toe-In (I.E. -2.0), also commonly called "negative toe-in".

Note: To Qualify as a valid Toe Angle reading, the angle on the left wheel MUST be the same as that of your right wheel. A example invalid reading would be: left wheel points in wards at +1 but right wheel points in wards at +2

How Toe Angle Help
Toe angle can easily cause a dramatic difference in handling. The difference in half a degree can mean life and death (OK maybe not death). The mechanics is rather complex, but the general idea is that Toe-In stabilizes things by not letting the car move to either side. Lets begin by looking at the front wheels.

Front Toe-in in the front removes steering abilities from the front wheels but increases stability at the front. By adjusting the front Toe Angle, you can control the over or under steer effect of your car. Understeering can be solved by decreasing front Toe-In (increases traction at front wheels). If you want very aggressive steering response (very high traction when corning), you can get into toe-out but your car can easily go into over steer from too much front traction. Note that front toe-out also decrease stability on the straight.

Rear toe-in is very common in touring cars because it stabilizes the rear of the vehicle. The difference between having no toe-in in the rear and having some is dramatic. To the driver, having toe-in is like locking down the rear wheels, it ain't going anywhere! However this extreme stability is bad news at low speed corners, it makes the front wheels work very hard to steer the car into the direction you want. So if the track consist of some low speed corners you may consider easing up on rear Toe-in. However never ever try rear Toe-Out as this will make the vehicle very very unstable (fish tails easily).

General Rule
- More front Toe-Out = Over Steer & more unstable & lost of speed
- More front Toe-In = UnderSteer & more stable & lost of speed
- Increased Rear Toe-In = Decreased Low Speed Steering & More Stable & lost of speed



2.11 Tires

When your car is handling bad, and you wonder what's happening to it, one VERY important thing is often overlooked. This is the Tires you are using. You can have exactly the same set-up as someone else, but with different types of tires on, you can get very different results! This is explained missing out all the boring Physics sides of things and tells you what will work and what won't! Firstly Tires are important because they are the one and ONLY part of the car that come into contact with the surface you are racing on. So if they are bad then your car will handle badly. Makes sense really doesn't it?

Different types of tires
So visually there are two types of tires. Slicks and Treads. With slicks you get the maximum amount of rubber on the ground at all times, so therefore you have most grip.

Slicks are used nearly all the time, except in certain conditions, such when it is raining, or when the ground is dusty. When this happens you need to use treads to get the maximum grip out of the ground. This happens by the treads in the tires allowing the water / dust to be channelled down these holes so that they are not in the way of the rubber getting to the ground.

In very special circumstances you may want to use mini-pin tires. These are just tires with little spikes on the outside of them. These are used when racing indoors on a slippery surface such as a polished wooden floor, or outside on Astroturf where they sink in and give loads of grip. But these wear down very quickly so are not used much anywhere else.

Compounds of Tires
Ok so once you've decided what general type of tire you are using, there is another factor to consider. The compound. This is the relative soft or hardness of the tire, and one will work better than others.

The soft tires will work better at a higher temperature. As they are softer, then this allows the tires to grip the warmer tarmac better, as it sort of forms its self around the surface, providing lots of grip, because of friction. But one downside is that the softer tires will wear a lot quicker.

So if softer tires work better in hotter temperatures, then it makes sense that harder tires will work better in colder temperatures, which they do! This is because the harder rubber, generates more heat between the two surfaces, which give you more grip (see sub heading HEATING). Be warned though, the softer tires will quite literally shred very fast, but will give you lots and lots of grip on hot surfaces!!!

Problems with Wrong Tires
All of above is saying what will work and what won't. And if you don't believe all that, then here are some problems that occur with the wrong types of tires.

Under steer - the front tires have less grip than the rear tires, so there is not enough grip to "pull" the car around the corner and tell it where to go. So if the car going at high speeds, then the car won't turn in enough and most likely you will either have to slow right down to go around on the right line, or you will run wide in the exit of the corner, loosing time.

Over steer - the front tires have more grip than the rear, the complete opposite to under steer. So the car has TOO much steering. Why is this bad I hear some of you cry? Well it can cause the car to turn in too much , loosing the back end and swinging it round (i.e. skid) ; or it can cause the car to fishtail. This is when you are just exiting a corner (or any part of the track actually) where you have just turned. You try to correct the steering to make it go straight again, but it turns too much and it's heading the wrong way, then you have to correct it again, and again, and again…… You get the idea? Good, it's a bad thing to do in a race, loosing valuable time!

Aquaplaning - OK so this only happens when you are driving in the wet , and you are using slick tires. Imagine this example: You are driving at high speed down a straight and you come up to a corner / stray cat on the road. You try to steer quickly to avoid hitting the cat and get around the corner. But because there is very little or no grip on the front tires, then the wheels turn in the direction but the car carries on going straight! And this means that you miss the corner, or you hit the cat MEOW . Kittens are not pleased with being hit by a speeding car and may attack your car!!!!

Quality of tires
Ok so you're in the LHS deciding what tires to buy for the race meeting you are heading off to. It is very hot outside and no rain at all, and you have decided to go for a soft slick tire. There are two options you can choose from. Brand X which is a lesser know brand, where 4 tires cost 10; Or there is Brand Y which is a very successful make, all the Pros use them , and a pair of tires cost 9. So which one do you choose? Well its simple. If you can afford it, go for brand Y every time. There's a simple reason why they are expensive. That's because they're good! Other wise why would all the Pros use them? Plus there's an old saying "You get what you pay for". So Y will be better quality, and last longer, making you more competitive, which is a good thing!

Heating
Nearly all tires work better when warm rather than being cold. Especially the hard compounds, where they generate more grip on the cold surface. So when you just start your race you would expect the tires to have a bit less grip. This is all down to friction, which without you wouldn't be going anywhere! But there is a way you can overcome this. Simply like in full size racing. Tire warmers. These heat your tires up so that as soon as you start, they are at their best operating temperature, giving you full grip from the word go!

Conclusion
So it is in your own interest to choose the right Tires. They can make your car handle well or handle bad. It's no good just copying someone else's set-up who is doing well and forgetting about the tires, by saying they're all the same! Because they're not! It's one of the most over looked problems with beginners and semi-pros alike! Just remember, that they're the only bit coming into contact with the road, and you should recognize that it's important to get the right ones!!!

General Rule
-Dry track = Slicks
-Wet track = Treads
-Hot Track = Hard
-Cold Track = Soft


2.12 Suspension

Introduction
Welcome to one of the most important parts of tuning your car, suspension. Suspension is one of the most important parts of the car to maintain. The suspension found on most RC cars are very efficient at absorbing the shock of bumps, cracks and stones found on the surface it drives on, hence the name "Shock Absorber". The basic way suspension works is as follows:

Suspension Principles
The primary job of the suspension on any vehicle is to isolate the chassis from shock loading and vibration. The suspension does all this by allowing the wheels to move vertically, with respect to the chassis. Secondly, the suspension must help and not impair the stability and handling of the entire car. This is accomplished with a damping system that also helps in the load distribution onto the wheels.

Most suspensions in use today are of the independent type. As indicated by the name, an independent suspension works on its own and does not affect the suspension of the other wheels. With careful design, several advantages of the independent suspension come to light. It allows a lighter unsprung weight and also maximizes the sprung track width. Weight distribution can also be easily adjusted to various track conditions.

Shock Damping
As a car moves over bumps and pits, the springs in the suspension have a tendency to make the chassis bounce. In some cases where the wheels are subjected to a series of repetitive vibrations, the suspension resonate causing the chassis to oscillate. The suspension system of a car can help in making the car more stable by damping such chassis movements.

Damping in cars and RC models alike, is achieved by shock absorbers. Most shocks in RC cars are of the Girling telescopic type. These shocks consist of single tube into which a holed piston moves through viscous oil. The piston is also connected to a plunger at one sealed end. This enables the damping action to be transmitted to the suspension arm. On the opposite end of the tube, a free piston or rubber diaphragm is provided to accommodate the change in volume when the plunger is pushed into the main tube.

The Basics
  1. First of all you have its casing which holds it together and holds it onto the car.
  2. The shock absorber is attached to a "wishbone" system which allows the unit to move up and down with the car
  3. The unit consists of 4 main systems:
    • The joint which attaches to the car
    • The damper oil casing
    • The piston (which have a certain amount of holes for different preferences, I will go into that later in the guide)
    • The piston rod
    All of these work together to produce a smooth working system that enable the unit to absorb shocks from the running surface.
  4. Inside the damper oil casing, is where a special substance is inserted to help cushion the shocks exerted onto the car, we call this damper oil.
Tuning
Clean your shocks! If your shock absorbers are not set up properly and are dirty they will perform less efficiently and possibly result in damage, here are the main parts to clean and set up on the shock absorber.

Joints - Keep these clean so that the screws will have no trouble screw in properly and also make sure you screw it on straight and not at an angle so that it will attach the unit properly.
Shock Body - The casing of the unit needs not to be greased or oiled so keeping it clean is fine which will in turn attract a lot less dirt and grit to the unit meaning less dirt and grit will get inside of the unit.
Piston Rod - Keep this rod clean also so that it will not slide dirt inside as it moves up and down.

Note: DO NOT use bare pliers to help attach the piston rod to the joints, cover the rod with a tissue to stop the pliers from bending or denting the rod.

Piston Holes
As the shock piston travels up and down through the oil in the shock body, the oil must flow through the holes in the piston (or around the edge of the piston).

The thinner the oil, the easier it flows, the more holes, or the larger the hole, the easier it flows - and vice versa. Thicker oil or smaller holes create stiffer shocks, thinner oil or larger holes create softer shocks.

Smaller piston holes will make the shock feel stiffer. This is better to help keep the car from bottoming out but can make the car bouncy if the holes are too small, with too thick oil it will not handle well. The key is to find that happy medium.

Shock mounting
Some cars, all professional have the option for your shocks to mount at different settings. For example if the shock is set to its default setting there maybe optional holes to place the shock more at an angle or further vertically. You would want to do this if you are having difficulty with either to hard and unstable driving or too soft and less responsive driving, if you want soft and less unstable then try to point the suspension more vertically and if you want to increase response time and stiffen the suspension point the suspension more diagonally.

Spring Rate
Spring rate is a measurement of how much force it takes to compress a spring. Usually this rate is a linear measurement that indicates how many additional units of force it takes to compress the spring another inch. For example, blue rear springs for the Associated T3 truck has a spring rate of 2.5 pounds per inch, indicating that it takes 2.5 pounds of force to compress the sprint 1 inch, and 5 pounds for 2 inches. There are also progressive springs where the amount of force required to compress the spring one additional inch increases as the spring is compressed.

Damping is a bit hard to explain, but it essentially is a resistance to movement. The best way to experience it is to actually take one of your oil filled shocks without any springs and push-pull on it. You'll notice that if you push-pull slowly, you feel very little resistance. As you push-pull increasingly faster, you'll feel more resistance. Generally, using a heavier weight oil or smaller shock piston holes will increase this damping effect.

A combination of properly selected spring rate and damping is critical to the proper functioning of a vehicle's suspension system.

To sum up
Basically you want to achieve a medium that suites your driving, the running surface and the type of car you have. Before tuning your suspension you need to think about these key things:

- What type of running surface am I using?
- What problems have I faced before and how could I tune my suspension to fix this?
- What driving conditions will I be driving in?
- What type of race am I racing in?

Once you have decided those key points then you can then refer to this guide and follow my recommendations.

A lot of tuning cannot be told, it has to be learned and perfected by trial and error, so if you go out one day and you feel your car has more potential, tune it. If it degrades in performance revert back and try something else.


2.13 Track Width

Track width refers to the distance from outside of the left wheel to the outside of the right wheel. So as you can imagine, there is a front track width and a rear track width. Both the rear track width and the front track width is measured from the outside of the wheels. However track width is much like those magic number "36,24,36" , they have to be symetric(the same). This means the distance from the center line of the chassis to the left and right wheel must be the same. What are you looking At?!?

Front Track Width
Some models of touring cars out on the market allows the builder to adjust front track width infinitely. If you increase the front track width, you will have more understeer but less steering response. If you decrease the front track width, you will have less understeer but you are rewarded with more steering response.

Note: Remember to reset the front toe setting to compensate for the width adjustment.

Rear Track Width
If your chassis lets you play with the front track width than chances are you can play with the rear. It is advised that you don't change the rear track width from its default setting, changing it will affect stability of the car.

General Rule
- Increase Front Track Width = more understeer, slower steering response
- Decrease Front Track Width = less understeer, quicker steering response


2.14 Anti-Roll

Anti-Roll Defined
No it does not mean your car will not move!!! ^_^ Anti-Roll is when you control the lean of your car or truck in a turn. Take your 1:1 out for a ride... and make a right turn at oh... lets say 30 MPH. You will feel the car lean to the left... the right side actually lifts up. When this happens, you loose not only traction one the right side, but also control of steering!

The Cure!
To cure this problem, we use anti-roll, or Sway bars. What they do in brief is exert force on the outside wheels of the turn. Example, if you make a right turn, the inside wheels are on the right, outside on the left. The right side of the car will lift ...or unload. This causes a loss of traction on the inside wheels.

Ok, How do we stop this??? Use sway bars!! (or anti roll bars). Here is how it works... When you make the back Left turn at a gazillion miles an hour... the car starts to lift on the left. The downward force on the sway bar creates a torque affect on the right wheels; pushing the sway bar up... this in affect creates a downward pressure on the frame and keeps the car level. All four wheels stay in contact with almost equal pressure on the road with little lose of traction... Makes for much better handling.

How to Adjust
Most sway bar kits you buy come with several bars that are from light to hard stiffness. you should try the lightest, and watch the car in a turn for lean, and work your way up until you find the right bars to use that keep the car level in the turns.

General Rule
- Rear Anti-Roll bars = LESS rear traction, MORE steering
- Front Anti-Roll bars = MORE rear traction, LESS steering
- Both Anti-Roll bars = More of Everything!

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