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7 Steps to Becoming

an RC Drift

Table of Contents
Intro: Background and History of RC Cars & Drifting
Where to Buy RC Cars
Most Popular Models
Setting Up Your RC Car to Drift
Choices: Tires, Motor, Suspension & Drive Train
Techniques for Drifting
Tips & Hints
Important Notes

Intro: Background and History of RC Cars & Drifting

Before getting into how you can become the best RC car driver there is, you
should know a little history about where and when they were originated.
After all, you can’t go forward unless you know where you’re coming from!

In the early 1960s, the first radio control car system was created. The only
difference there was between it and the real deal (regular car) was the size. It
ran on gas and was extremely fast. These mini vehicles were often times
referenced as “road runners”. Not only were they quick, but they were
precise as well.

The architecture of the radio control car is what made it stronger, faster and
easier to control. The small engines were created with methane and were
available from the 40s, but it wasn’t until mid 1966 when the El-Gi, also
known as Elettronica Giocattoli, was created in England; the first fully RC
model to be released. By December of the same year, it was available in
stores throughout the United Kingdom.

During the beginning of the 1970s, a British company known as Mardave

started to manufacture RC models also. Commercial models were
immediately sold all over the United Kingdom, creating competition. This
started a new rave; more and more companies began to create RC models,
especially within the United States. U.S. companies started out making RC
model powered kits with 1/8 nitro. The body of the mini car was made of

The most popular of the engines created was the K&B Veco McCoy. As
time went on, producers took care to experiment as much as they could; with
different types of heat sinks; engines, suspension types and bigger fuel tanks.
A company based in the United States called Jerobee, created the 1974
version of a 1/12 nitro Cox engine car. There were a few other companies
who then created parts for it. Jerobee then changed its name to Jomac and
began to manufacture electric model cars.

In 1976, it was a great year for the radio control model cars. A renowned
company in Japan, called Tamiya took the world by storm with their radio
controlled cars in ’76. The company was notoriously known for highly
detailed mini car models. Tamiya’s prices for the model cars were extremely
high, but their powered kits still sold out in little time. By 1979, the
company released their very first real off-road buggies called the Sand
Scorcher and the Rough Rider.

From then on, Tamiya was one of the top performing car model producers
out there. Earlier models created by them are now collector’s items and can
have values as high as $3,000.

Due to great popularity, Tamiya brought back the early models during 2005.
These were sold out extremely quickly, just as they had expected.

Another great company was Schumacher Racing UK. It was around in 1980
and had created the first ball differential technology. This technology
allowed the model owners to easily adapt their racing cars to different types
of terrains. Before then, on road models only had one solid axle, but due to
the creation of such technology created by Schumacher Racing, radio
controlled car owners could switch from an elegant on road to a rough off
road mode with great ease.

The same company had released CAT (Competition All Terrain) back in
1986. By 1987, the model had won the international RC championship for
having the best off road buggies during that time.


If you have seen recent racing movies, you may be familiar with the term
drifting. It is when you use the back wheels of your car to slide; similar to
how you quickly break on ice. But why do people insist on driving at high
speeds while doing this technique? Well, for the thrill of course. But with
RC car racing, there is much less worry of dangerous outcomes from

Drifting consists of breaking very hard, so that your model car will slide
sideways around corners and curves. The point is to do so gracefully without
banging up the car. There are different models of drifting radio controlled

Some of them come with drifting features when you buy it. Others require
that you upgrade the different parts, so that you are able to drift the car kit.
You would have to modify different parts of the car kit, such as the tires,
suspension, motor and an optional drive train.

Tires – these are specially made with hard-rubber, which lose traction much
easier than normal tires.

Suspension – This is optional; it is used to make traction easier with a stiffer


Motor – It is necessary to upgrade the engine because the one provided from
the manufacturer isn’t capable of drifting.

Drive Train – This is also optional; used to lock up the front and rear
differential gears.

There are specific reasons for getting each of the mentioned parts and each
of them has their own features that allow you to drift the mini car as you so
please. Take a look at the specified sections to find out more about the parts
and what they are needed for.

If you are more old school, you will remember back when drifting first came
out; not it wasn’t when the movie Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift hit
theaters. Part of that statement is right; drifting was created in Japan during
the early 1970s. It was a racing technique used in the All Japan Touring Car
Championship. It ultimately became very popular with Japanese race crowds
in 1977.

During that time, it was still considered as just a racing technique. The father
of drifting is Kunimitsu Takahashi. Sixteen years after it was created was
when it became popular enough for Japanese race track owners to allow it
during competitions. The first drifting competition was held in the mid

Just like with most fashions and trends, America didn’t get a drift of drifting
until several years after. The first official drifting contest in the States was in
August of 1993. It was done at the Irwindale Speedway, which is now
hosted every year by D1 Grand Prix. Soon after, other motor sports
companies begin to hold drifting competitions all across the United States,
like Nopi Motorsports. D1 Grand Prix is still the biggest of them all though
and is the place that drifters yearn to go to.

Now, drifting is so popular that drivers set up lessons with trainers, similar
to dance or music lessons. There are drift clubs all around the nation who are
rapidly growing more and more popular with a wide array of drivers.
Younger generations are looking to learn, so that they can show off; and the
older generations want to learn because they are looking for a new sport.
Even female drifters are popping up all over the place.

You may find some places in your community that has radio controlled
drifting competitions or people hold family and friend get togethers to watch
people they know RC car drift.

Where to Buy RC Car Models


Step 2: Buying the best model car out there is the second step to becoming
an RC drift champion. Without the proper equipment, you will never be able
to accomplish true expertise in drifting.

You can easily find places to buy different types of radio controlled car kits.
If you have internet access, this is definitely your gateway to achieving your
new drifting model RC car. Different web sites contain companies that sell
the model cars and if you already know the model and make you want, you
can visit the actual web site of the manufacturer or reseller.

The radio controlled car models are also available at places like RadioShack
and other retail stores within the mall and at flea markets. Conducting a
search engine search for places in your area that sells them can easily be

Prices of these RC cars vary greatly depending on which brand and features
you decide to go with. There are some that are sold below $100, but for
better quality, you will have to spend a couple hundred dollars at least.

There are two ways you can buy the RC car, either with drifting features
already on it (which will likely cost you more) or as a regular radio
controlled car kit. With the latter, you will need to buy your own parts to
give it the ability to drift. Parts such as tires, motor, suspension and a drive
train can be purchased to help turn your normal RC car into a drifting racing

Other options available are electric powered radio control drift cars or nitro
gas powered RC drift cars. Depending on where you buy from will also
determine how much money you will have to shell out.

Most Popular Models


If you are looking for the RC model car to entertain your hobby, you will
likely want to purchase the most popular radio controlled car out there. This
will be step two in your mission to becoming a RC drift champion. Which
car you will purchase is also determined by what your needs are and how
much work you are looking to do on the car yourself.

You have the option of buying a drifting read RC car or a regular radio
controlled car that you have to fix up to get drifting capabilities. Don’t get
confused with RC cars and toy remote cars. With the toy remote cars, you
are unable to upgrade to have drifting capabilities and there is no way that
the batteries within it can allow it to reach the high speeds that a more high-
tech radio controlled cars can.

RC cars are much more like real cars and are tunable and have powerful
nitro engines and electric motors, tunable suspensions and can average at
speeds between 35 and 45 miles per hour. There are even some out there that
can reach over 70 miles per hour without any add-ons needed.

The most popular of radio controlled cars are as follows:

HPI RS4 3 18 SS – This is has become one of the most popular RC cars over
the past couple of years. The kit comes with a powerful nitro engine that has
1.5 horse powers and 2 transmission speeds and many other advanced
features. It can even travel at speeds up to 50 miles per hour. It is also
equipped with a shaft system, which can be set up to be more durable than a
belt drive.

When driving a HPI with a shaft drive car on roads that have debris, the
shaft drive is less likely to become damaged, unlike with the open belt drive
system. Small rocks and other debris are able to become stuck in between
the belts and the pulley.

Traxxas Nitro 4 Tec – This is another very popular radio controlled model. It
is originally equipped with a mild Pro .15 engine, which is known for being
the fastest. Being that the Traxxas is using the more powerful TRX 2.5
engine makes it one of the fastest RC cars out there. It has claimed speeds
well over 60 miles per hour.

The Traxxas is well known for its high quality models and is very exciting to
watch perform. It has the screamin’ 2.5 engine that revs up to speeds
approaching 50,000RPM. This is very, very good for the nitro engine that is
installed in it. It has a two speed transmission and a belt drive system.

Associated Nitro TC3 – Another popular radio controlled car, the Associated
Nitro TC3, has a shaft drive system that transmits power to all four of its
wheels. It is also equipped with a two speed clutch transmission and very
powerful brakes that help it slow down quickly. It is capable of traveling at
speeds up to 134.4 miles per hour.

There is also a .15 engine inside, which isn’t as advanced or powerful as the
other models out there. Even with this fact, it has still been chosen as a
winner by many people who like its design. Horsepower alone isn’t able to
make a car faster, but RC cars that are properly designed will have a
suspension and chassis that will enable it to be much faster at cornering and
will have better handling.

Fastest RC Cars

The fastest radio controlled car kits are electric, gas powered and are at their
fastest when in lap races that last between 30 to 60 minutes. These nitro cars
use fuel that contains nitro methane and most of them exceed speeds of 80
miles per hour. Some of the fastest RTR car models are in the Team
Associated Nitro TC3 (see details about car above) and OFNA LD3 RTR,
which are 1/10 scale touring and are capable of traveling up to 40 miles per
hour. These two RTRs are perfect for drifting beginners and are also some of
the cheapest on the market.

Even faster nitro cars on the higher end of the radio controlled car market
can travel at speeds up to 60 miles per hour. The CEN CT4-S, OFNA OB4
AND Traxxas Nitro 4-Tec are among this market. The CEN CT4-S is a
recommended buy and can reach up to a peak of 73.4 miles an hour. It has a
bigger engine and is easy on the pockets.

The overall fastest RC cars are:
Team Associated Nitro TC3 – It is capable of going up to 134.4 miles
per hour
Team Associated L3 Oval Racer – Can travel up to 111 miles per hour
Team Associated L3 Oval Racer2 – Travels at speeds up to 105 miles
per hour

Other Great RC Cars

Tamiya manufactures some of the best radio controlled cars on the market.
Many people anticipate each release of its models. The Tamiya TRF-415
MS has a 1/10 scale. It recently had many upgrades including a reversible
lightweight suspension. There is also the feature with a 2 belt drive train and
has a low center of gravity, allowing maximum road holding performance.

Others to look into include:

Pro Tech 1/6 Porche GT3
Tamiya Subaru Impreza WRC-TT01D
Kyosho Inferno MP777

Setting Up Your RC Car to Drift


Getting your radio controlled car ready for drift racing is the third step to
becoming an RC drift champion. Unless you decide to buy a radio control
car kit that already comes with drifting features, you will need to learn
which products to buy and how to set up your RC car to drift. Such a car that
is ready to go right out of the box is the Sprint 2 Drift car from HPI.

You can easily customize any 4 wheel drive on-road radio control car model
to drift. First, you must make sure that the RC car is a 4 wheel drive. This
will allow the front to go sideways like the rear and prevents looping during

It is also preferred that electric cars are used because they are very light
weight and their motors are more durable. RC cars that have nitro engines
are much more susceptible to suffering from damages caused by over

revving the motor while the tires lose traction and begin spinning, during

The tires of the radio control car are made of special rubber material that
help lost of traction to occur, which isn’t so easy with regular tires. The cost
for a set of four tires is about 50 dollars. This has been costly for some RC
car drifter hobbyist, so they have prompted to devise other (more affordable)

Such a popular method, which is the cheapest option, is to to use the 2 inch
PVC pipe. It is cut the width of the wheel and is placed in between two
boards in a vise and is then pressed on. PVC is known to outlast hard drift
car tires as well. Make sure that the PVC tires are on all four wheels, so that
the car will be able to drift.

Suspensions are also sometimes used when preparing a radio control car for
drifting. It is optional, so it is not necessary for all cars. A lot of the RC cars
are made with adequate suspension characteristics and are ready to go from
the box. The suspension should be as stiff as possible, so that the car can
easily lose traction (the stiffer the better).

Finding proper suspensions or figuring out if your RC car’s suspension is

good enough will take some experimenting. You can try using different
shock oil weights and stiffer springs for a tighter suspension.

The motor of some electric cars are no good for drift racing. There is a
balance needed between speed (top end) and torque (acceleration power).
With a modified, high performance 17 motor, you are delivered the right
amount of torque and acceleration power to make and keep the tires on your
race car spinning.

To count the number of turns you have in your electric motor, you must
count the number of times the wire has wrapped around the armature. The
lower the number the better; this means that higher top end speed is being

You must also check to make sure that your ESC (Electronic Speed Control)
is rated to handle it. The Electronic Speed Control should be rated to handle
a lower amount of motor turns than what you have counted. As an example:
a 14 turn ESC is perfect for a motor that has 19 motor turns. This allows
enough room for future upgrades to take place. Most motors are about 40
dollars; these are among the fairly cheaper upgrades.

The drive train is also an option for electric radio control cars with ball
differentials. There is a little trick that you can do to limit slip action that
tries to cancel one of the tires from spinning; simply put, have your front and
rear differential gears locked up to help all four wheels spin. For you to be
able to do this, take a small piece of paper towel and wad it up, then stuff it
within the front and rear differentials to stop the spider gears from slipping.
A little bit of tinkering will be needed to do the trick, but it will have the
effect of making a four wheel drive into an all wheel drive, which allows
longer lasting drift performance.

Set Up Guide

If you are looking for step by step instructions and ideas on how to really get
your car ready for drifting, read on! You will find 17 steps that will help
make sure that your radio controlled race car is the drifter around. Just take
your time to look through them all, so that you can become an expert at your
RC car’s mechanism.

Step One: The Castor – This is the angle in which your steering pivot is
pushed forward or backward in a vertical position. You can tell if it is tilted
backwards because the top of the pivot will be positioned much farther back
than the bottom pivot. At this point, the castor is positive. When the castor is
vertical to the lower pivot point, it is at zero. Then when it is further forward
than the pivot below, it is negative.

The reason why you would want to adjust the castor to the tilted back
position (positive position) is to maximize the contact your tires have while
rolling, braking and accelerating. This can also help to improve the response
you get when turning, increase directional stability, self-centers and
improves the steering of your radio controlled car.

Step Two: The Camber – This has to do with the angle your car’s tires
make with the surface (road, pavement, grass, dirt). When it is said that you
have zero camber, this means that your tires are perpendicular to the ground,
meaning it has a 90 degree angle. You measure the camber in degrees, not
inches or any other metric system.

When your camber is at a 90 degree angle, it is said to have 0 degree

camber. Depending on what your camber’s angle is will determine which of
the various grips your tire has. Usually, the camber is adjusted, so that when
you are turning the car, the entire body car’s weight is shifted to the side
located on the outside of the turn or curve.

This causes the tire to tilt in that specific side. When your wheels are tilted
to the side, they don’t have full contact with the ground. By having negative
camber will help make sure that your tires are getting full contact with the

Negative camber is when the top side of the tires is pointing towards one
another. When the top of the tires are pointing away from each other, this is
called positive camber. You don’t want to have a positive camber because it
does not serve any good purpose.

Step Three: Ride Height – The ride height refers to the height from the
ground to the underside of your radio controlled car. This measurement
should never be set to high as higher the vehicle is. This will cause the RC
car to have tons of body roll. When the measurement is too low, this is no
good either. A slight roll is essential for the RC car to get as much traction
possible while turning corners.

Step Four: Toe-in – This is used to stabilize your RC car. When your car
experiences over steering, this means that the rear end loses traction before
the front does. By giving an a + 1 degree may help with this problem, but
make sure not to put too much toe-in in the rear because on-power turning
and cornering, it will be much too difficult to pull off. And if the RC car is
too stable and gives the feeling of pushing away further from the corner of
the run, this means there is under steering. To help with this issue, give a 0
toe or +1 toe-out.

Step Five: Wheel Alignment – The reason you need to align your wheels is
so that the RC car can move forward in a straight line. To do this, you will
need to adjust the length of the tie-rod. Then you will link it to the steering
post. Servo can be used to help adjust the alignment or adjusting the steering
on the transmitter’s sub-trim.

Step Six: Springs – The point of having springs in your radio controlled car
is so that they can hold the vehicle’s weight above the surface and to the
movement of the car’s suspension.

If the springs you have are softer, it will give the front of the car more
steering effects, but will have lower response to steering. The softer springs
are used ideally on tracks that are bumpier; there is a huge diving effect
when the car is braking. Radio controlled cars used on tight technical tracks
use the softer springs.

When using harder springs in the front of your RC car, they will cause less
steering effect, but a much faster steering response. These are perfect for
driving your RC car on flat tracks. You will see that the car has a minimum
diving while braking, which is mostly used for larger fast tracks.

By putting softer springs at the rear end of your car will cause it to have
much more traction when turning corners, but will have a slower steering
response. This is ideal for bumpy tracks. There is also more lift when
accelerating and this is great for using on mostly tight technical tracks.

Putting harder springs at the rear end of your RC car will cause less traction
on turning corners with faster steering responses, which is ideal for flat
tracks. There is a minimum front lift when accelerating, which is ideal for
larger and faster tracks.

When you are having problems with under steering, you will need to use
softer springs at the front end of your radio controlled car. But if you are
experiencing over steering in your car, use harder springs in the front end of
your RC car.

Step Seven: Shocks – Shock absorbers are used to dampen the compression
of the springs. Not only do the dampers dampen the compression of the
springs, but it also affects the car’s handling while entering turns and exiting

There are different viscosity types when it comes to choosing shock oil.
Depending on the viscosity of the shock oil will determine how fast the
piston shaft will move (also known as dampening). If you are looking for
lower dampening, use the shock oil that is lower weight; this will help you
car have faster piston movement. Looking for higher dampening instead?
Then go with a heavier weight shock oil, which will allow your car to have
slower piston movement.

The pistons in the RC car controls how fast or slow the shock oil will flow
from the lower chamber of the shock to the upper chamber. With a smaller
piston hole, it will cause much slower shock piston movement when
traveling up and down in the shock. With a larger hole in the piston, it will
allow much faster movement to occur in the shock piston when it is traveling
up and down.

The reason for this is that oil passes through the holes in the piston. By
having the right sized holes and number of holes in your piston will effect
how its dampening ability will perform. Take note of the following:

1) The size of the hole: The bigger the hole the faster the piston will
travel. The smaller the hole in the piston, the slower the piston will
2) The amount of holes in the shock piston: The more holes you have,
the faster the piston will travel. The fewer holes there are in the
piston, the slower the piston will travel.
3) With oil viscosity: The thicker the oil you put in, the slower the piston
will travel. The thinner the oil is, the faster the shock piston will

The shocks inside the car control the rate of movement of the springs and the
springs control the car’s movement.

Step Eight: Anti-roll Bars – To help adjust the side traction of your car,
anti-roll bars are used. By increasing the hardness on one side of the anti-roll
bar will cause a decrease in the RC car’s side traction and an increase in the
side traction on the other side of the car. As an example: When the front
anti-roll bar is much harder, there is a decrease in the front side’s side
traction; then the rear’s side traction is increased. This will cause your radio
controlled car to have less steering results, called under steering.

The RC car’s front rolls during a turn are affected by the front anti-roll bar.
While the car is centering a turn, centrifugal cornering forces causes the car
roll and transfers weight to the side of the car that is on the outer side of the
turn. With a stiff front anti-roll bar, the load on the outer front tire will
increase; while the load on the inner front tire will be decreased.

With a stiff front anti-roll bar, it will also increase the load on the inner tire
of the car, while decreasing the load on the outer rear tire of your RC car.
When the side traction in your radio control car is balanced between front
shifts and rear shift to the rear, it gives your car a smaller amount of steering,
but gives your car more steering responsiveness.

When talking about the amount of steering your car has, it is referring to
how much steering ability that your car has. Steering responsiveness is
different; this is referring to the speed and quickness of your car’s ability to
steer. If your car has a anti-roll bar that is soft, your car will have a higher
amount of steering, but will need more time for its chassis to roll and to
transfer weight; the soft anti-roll bar creates slow responsiveness to steering.

When your car has a stiff front anti-roll bar, it will create quicker weight
transfers that will allow your car to have a steering responsiveness that is
fast and a lower amount of steering needed.

When trying to give your car more steering with slower steering response, a
softer anti-roll bar setting will do the trick. It will prove more side traction in
the corner, while allowing more traction out of the corner. Having anti-roll
bars in the RC car’s rear will affect your RC car rear’s ability to roll during a

While the car is turning, the centrifugal forces will make the car roll and will
transfer weight to your car’s side that is at the outside of the turn being
made. With the stiff rear anti-roll bar, your car’s outside rear tire will have
an increase in load; and the inside rear tire in your car will have a decrease
in load; this happens at the same moment.

To increase the load on the inside front tire while decreasing the load of the
outside front tire, a stiff rear anti-roll bar is needed. When the side traction
of the car is balanced between the front shifts and rear shifts to the front, it
gives your radio control car less rear traction while providing more steering

The soft rear anti-roll bar has the opposite effects than the stiff anti-roll bar.
With the soft anti-roll setting, your car has a smaller load on the outside rear
tire and a heavier load on the inside rear tire. There us a lesser load on the
front insider of the car and more load on the outside front tire of you RC car.

More rear side traction during corner turns are created when the side
traction’s balance is shifted to the rear; this also decreases steering

Step Nine: Droop – The droop is where you adjust the ride height. This is
also where you can limit how far the shock and arm should travel. The more
droop you have, the more arm travel you will have; this will also give you
more roll, allowing there to be more traction to a point. The less droop you
have, the fewer roll you will have; this will allow lesser traction to a given

Step Ten: Squats – The motion of your car, where the rear end of the car
sinks or drops toward the ground, is called squats. This happens because of
the weight being transferred to the rear when throttle is applied right away.
This action is very common with off road cars because they have longer
shocks and softer springs; this is why squats are usually done on off road RC

On road cars are known to have some squat adjustments done to them. There
are two types of squats: pro squat and anti squat. To help improve power
steering out of corners, anti squats are applied. But too much anti squat can
be used, which will cause stiffening in the suspension. The more anti squat
you apply will give you more steering off-throttle and will give you more
rear bite when on-throttle. There is no reason to do pro squats because it
does not help.

Step Eleven: Differentials – The differentials in your RC car allows the

wheels to rotate at different speeds while cornering. When the front
differentials are loosened, it gives much faster turn-ins; this is a good idea
for when racing on tight tracks.

Now, if the front differentials are tight or locked, it will cause your car to
make wider turns, which is okay when racing on large tracks where there are
wide turns. When the differentials in the rear are loosened, it will have less
push power when on throttle.

If the differentials in the rear are locked or tight, your car will have more
push power when the throttle is on. Loose front differentials and tight or
locked rear differentials, will increase your car’s steering response. But
when the front differentials are tighter than the rear differentials, your car
will have more under steering during cornering; this will cause the rear of
the car to drift during corners.

Step Twelve: Gearing – It is a very important that you gear your RC car,
but not too much (over gearing) because this can cause the life of the motor
in your car to shorten substantially due to too much stress. It is also
important that you don’t under gear your RC car because this can cause
overheating to occur in the motor; this is very bad for the magnets and other
parts of the car that are made of plastic (which can end up melting if left

You should always calculate and check your car’s Final Drive Ratio to
match the motor. The formula is as follows:

Final Drive Ratio Formula: (Spur/Pinion) x Transmission Ratio = Final

Drive Ratio

Example: (96T / 30T) x 2.4375 = 7.8:1. The Final Drive Ratio of the car in
the example is 7.8. The motor fit for this example was 11Turn motor. The
Gear Ratio Formula is: Spur / Pinion = Gear Ratio
Example: 96T / 30T = 3.2

Step Thirteen: Heat Sinks – If you have an electrical motor in your RC car,
hear is your enemy. It can cause the motor’s magnet lifespan in your car to
deteriorate. It can also destroy other essential components parts of the motor.
With this being known, it is important that you get the maximum power
from you motor while keeping it cool. Aluminum heat sinks can be used to
help the heat escape and keeps your motor cool.

Step Fourteen: Universal Drift Shaft – This is a really good addition for
your RC car. It is made up of a dog bone shaft and axle, which attaches
together and used as a set. The two most stay together at all times when
installed, if one or the other is missing its counterpart, it is very possible for
the RC car to crash.

Step Fifteen: Tires – When buying your RC car tires, it is important to

consider the hardness and size (or shore). The different tire sized and
hardness have various effects on the performance on RC cars. Choosing the
right tires for your RC will take some considerations.

Smaller tires (too small) are known for having low forward traction, which
causes the car to have low top speeds. In this case, the car becomes very
twitchy. Then for tires that are too big gives your car slow steering
responsiveness with a very good chance of traction rolling, making the car
less stable.

Soft front tires that are too big make your car have more steering, but causes
more wear and the car becomes less stable. The harder front tires offer less
steering with more wear and more stability.

Softer tires in the rear will cause your car to have more rear traction with
less steering. It will also give it more bounce on the bumpier tracks, but the
car is more stable.

Step Sixteen: Tire Additives – Two tire additives you can consider for your
RC car are Paragon Ground Effect or Jack the Ripper. These two are usually
created with rubber or foam, which softens up the tires to make it sticky and
to add extra traction. There are cheaper brands to go with that also forms an
additive called the Coppertone no. 45 or WD-40; this can come to be very

Step Seventeen: Maintaining an Electric RC Motor Peaks Performance
– As an RC racer, it is your concern to maintaining your electric RC motor
peaks’ performance. You should replace the motor carbon brushes every 15
to 20 runs for stock motors and after 10 to 15 runs for modified motors. You
should also have it replaced once the tip of the carbon brush begins to turn a
purplish blue color; this happens when the carbon brush comes into contact
with the commutator.

Before you begin replacing the old carbon brushes with new ones, you
should have the commutator “trued” by a comm lathe. It will smoothen out
the grooves and will make the commutator perfectly rounded.

The springs’ tension of a brush will become lose after time; caused by heat
generated by the brush and commutator. You should change the springs at
the same time as you are changing the brushes. The test of time is another
component that teams up with excess heat to weaken the magnets of the
motor. They cause the power of the motor to be reduced and once the
magnets have become weakened, it is definitely time to buy a new motor can
or an entirely new motor.

Choices: Tires, Motor, Suspension & Drive Train


Step four of your journey to becoming an RC drift champion is to make the

right choices for your car’s parts.


RC car tires can be bought either separately or can come already glued. Just
about every RC car model manufacturer has its own line of RC car tires.
There are various types of RC car tires to choose from. You r choice will be
based on the type of car and type of surface your car is driving on.

The drift tires are especially made for those looking to do RC car drifting
races. They are used on cars like the RTR Sprint 2 Drift. They are made up
of rubber and a special resin compound that helps to make sure that your RC
tires won’t damage RC tracks. Usually, these tires are mounted on touring
car wheels.

The Bowtie Tire is a tire that lasts long and is designed for hard packed radio
control car tracks.

The Ribbed tire is used for the front wheels of your car and other cars like
the HPI Firestorm 10T. They provide great grip and are superior to pin type

All Terrain Tires are great for driving your RC car on any terrain and are
suitable for various purposes. These can be placed on both, the front and
back wheels of your car. You can find these type tires on cars like the Team
Associated’s MGT 4.60 SE and the Traxxas Jato 1/10 scale stadium truck.

Street tires are designed for optimum performance on surfaces that are hard,
like asphalt and concrete. The Anaconda 2.8” street tire can be placed on
cars like the Traxxas Nitro Rustler and the Traxxas Jato 3.3.

When changing the tires of your radio controlled car, you will need a 4-way
wrench. This tool will allow you to remove the factory tire nuts from your
RC car. Once you have them screwed off, remove the tires and place your
new ones in their place; glue them on and make sure that you place thinner
tires on the wheels in the front and wider tires on the rear wheels of your RC

As soon as you have placed the new tires on the axle, use the factory nuts to
screw the tires in place. Make sure that they are tight, but don’t over tighten
them. You should replace each factory tire with a new one, one by one, so
that you don’t lose any of the necessary nuts.


Electric vs. Nitro vs. Gas

When deciding which radio controlled car you want to purchase for drifting;
you will have to decide between going nitro and going electric.

Electric Motor Cars

The electric motor RC cars are known to better for those who are just
beginning their journey to becoming an RC drift champion. They are much
easier to take care of and maintaining them is very simple (which isn’t so
true for its gas powered counterparts). Electric cars are much less expensive,
which is another great reason for beginner RC car drifters to consider this
type car.

If you have never tried the RC car racing scene, it is best to invest a little at
first to make sure that this is a hobby that you can really commit to and to
make larger investments to. This also gives you time to practice and perfect
your skills. Once you conquer the electric radio controlled car, you can
move on to the nitro powered motor car.

The electric RC car runs on batteries that are assembled into packs that are
usually rechargeable. This is very cost effective; no need to buy new
batteries every time they die and no gas to refill like with nitro cars. One
flaw about having batteries that recharge is the time it takes. You may be
ready to practice racing, but will have to wait until they are finished
charging. You may want to consider getting a spare battery pack for
moments like this.

No matter what your budget is, an electric radio controlled car is within your
reach. There various price ranges that you can find them in along with
different features. Most electric cars are much slower than any nitro car, but
you can find some that are able to achieve higher speeds.

When you first buy your electric motor RC car, make sure that you break it
in slowly, so that you won’t eat up the motor’s lifespan. Breaking it in slow
will extend the motor’s life and allow the engine to achieve its full potential.
To break in the new electric racing car, you simply begin driving the RC car
at slower speeds at first, then gradually pick up speed. If you aren’t looking
to break your car in first, you can find race ready cars; these are ready for
high speed right out of the box because their motors have already been
broken in.

The electric radio controlled car motors may not have the raw power like the
nitro gas cars have, but they are much quieter and cleaner (incase you are
“green”). These cars also don’t need anything to start them; you just flip the
switch and go.

There are two types of electric motors for radio controlled cars; stock and
modified. The stock motor is a done deal; there is no way to change it in any
way. When it comes from the factory, it has to be used just as the way it was
created (“as is”). So if you buy one of the cheaper version electric cars, you
will most likely be dealt a stock motor.

The modified motor is usually much more powerful than the stock motor
and it should only be used with a separate electronic speed controller.
Typical features for the modified motors are ball bearing and adjustable
timing races.

The newest of the electric motors have been specially made for radio
controlled cars; the brushless motor. The brushless motor offers a whole lot
of power, which can be up to 300 percent more than the normal brushed

The brushed motors have necessary brushes on them that must be changed
every now and then when they wear out. Since the new version of the
electric motor doesn’t have brushes, you have the benefit of not having to
maintain it as much as the older motor.

The motors without the brush are a bit more expensive, but like everything
else in the radio control market, the prices will go down eventually as they
become more widely developed. If you are seriously considering entering
race competitions, you may want to consider purchasing the brushless
motor. But if you are a beginner and are looking to practice a little first, the
stock motor would be best suited for you.

Along with the electric motors comes the speed control. This is a device that
determines the amount of current that goes through the motor from the batter
pack. This is controlled by the throttle stick or trigger located on the
transmitter. There are two different types of speed controls; electronic and

The mechanical speed control requires a servo and linkage, so that it can
operate; these are more prone to experiencing problems. The electric motors
are way more direct and you get the offer of smoother controlling of the

Many of the lower priced radio controlled cars come with the mechanical
speed control. It is a really great idea to upgrade the mechanical controller to
an electronic controller. Try to find one that has a reverse feature as well.

Your electric motor RC car will require a battery pack, which usually comes
with either six or seven Nickel Cadmium (NiCD) cells; they are tightly
wound in a strong plastic film. They are normally 7.2 volts, but there are
others that have different volt amounts. Just make sure that your battery pack
is compatible with your motor, so that they don’t burn each other out.

If you are not sure what battery voltage would be compatible with your
motor, check your user manual or ask someone at the location you bought
the radio controlled car; take note of the model of the car because you will
be asked.

The usual battery pack needs to be charged for about 20 minutes; this is on a
fast charger. When going out, carry a couple of battery packs with you, so
that you don’t have to worry about recharging or not being able to ride
anymore because you are out of batteries; likely there aren’t any electrical
plugs to charge up your batteries where you are racing or practicing.

Nitro RC Cars

Many people prefer to purchase the nitro radio controlled car instead of the
electric car because of its speed, noise and smell. It is said that electric cars
are easier to operate and cheaper to buy, but a nitro car adds excitement! It
can reach very high speeds and they are more fun to drive; such a model
includes HPI RS4 EVO.

This model has different types of body shells; you can even buy one that
looks like a Dodge Viper.

You can buy nitro cars for two different types of settings: on road and off
road driving. Which one you buy will all depend on your personal
preferences. If you are looking to race at high speeds while on a tarmack
track, think on road cars; and if your looking forward to racing over humps
and through mud and puddle, you may be more interested in the off road
nitro cars.

The off road cars usually need a bit more maintenance than the on road cars
because they tend to endure more wear and tear from the rough and rugged
terrains they are raced upon.

Although this is true, many people prefer to race with the off road cars, so
that they can drive any where they want (it can be more fun racing over
rocks and through places that normal cars would get trapped).

Nitro cars are sometimes a little bit temperamental; mostly in cold weather
(makes you think about that electrical car you started out with that is now
tucked away…just a flip of the switch and you’re off!). Once the nitro car is
up and running, you are able to race much longer and at even faster speeds
than the electric powered radio control cars.

Compared to the electric RC cars, the nitro cars tend to need more
maintenance because they have the presence of an engine. If you are
mechanical, you may enjoy this hands on experience.

The features of a nitro RC car are as follows:

Air filter
Pull start handle (another difference that makes electric cars easier)
Tuned pipe
Fuel tank
Chassis base
Sealed radio box
Servo cutout

There are three different ways that you can buy your nitro radio controlled
car; as an RTR, with a Ready To Run motor, body already painted and radio
gear fully installed; ART, Almost Ready To Run, without a motor or radio
gear and sometimes already painted; or the pure kit, where all of the parts
are needed to add to the basic chassis one piece at a time.

Which you will buy depends on how handy you are or how ready you are to
get driving right away. If you have never built a radio controlled car kit
before, there is no reason to shy away. Everyone who has built them started

The nitro cars come with easy to follow instructions, so as long as you can
read directions, you should be able to piece together your nitro car. There are
also many local hobby shops that can help you assemble your radio
controlled nitro car.

After purchasing your nitro car, you will likely need to buy essential field
equipment such as a starter (if your car’s motor isn’t a pull start), fuel, glow
plug igniter, spare glow plugs and cleaning items for keeping the splashed
oil off the body of the car.

Buying accessories for your nitro car is highly essential. There are many
different types of accessories to choose from, but some of the most needed
field equipment for the race track includes glow plug igniter, fuel filler
bottle, spare glow plugs and a glow plug wrench. The spare glow plugs and
glow plug wrench aren’t as essential as the others listed.

But do keep in mind that the glow plugs do give up at a moments notice;
even new plugs have been known to be faulty and unpredictable. It’s a good
idea to keep a few spares on hand.

You can buy the other essentials listed all together in what’s called a starter
pack. In this package, there is usually an inclusion of a bottle of glow fuel.
Buying the starter package is much smarter; it can be much more expensive
if you decide to buy them separately. One of the starter packs is called
Megatech Nitro Performance Pack; it also includes AA batteries, which you
will need for nitro car’s your radio gear.

You may also find it necessary to buy an electric starter if your nitro car
doesn’t have a pull start. The starter also requires a 12 volt battery to power
it up. The Roto-Tech Starter from CEN Racing is an alternative you have to
use to start up your nitro car. It’s a smaller handheld unit that uses a 7.2 volt
battery pack; many find it very convenient for starting up their RC car
without any troubles.

The Glow (nitro) fuel uses methanol based fuel. You can buy it with
different nitro content. The most common are 20 percent or 25 percent.
Make sure to always keep the nitro fuel kept within its proper container with
the top sealed tightly. Nitro absorbs water very quickly; including the water
molecules in the air’s moisture; once this is mixed up with the nitro, its no
longer good, so make sure to keep the nitro container closed tight.

If you maintain your nitro properly, it can last forever; or for as long as you
need. Likely you will use it up before it begins to deteriorate. When the nitro
is burning within you RC car’s engine, there is usually a nasty oil slick left
behind on parts that the exhaust gases touch. With this being known, it is a
very good idea to carry around a fuel cleaner and lots of rags.

A good oil cleaner will cut through the oil and remove it entirely from your
car; instead of just wiping it off. Make sure to spend a little time cleaning
your RC car after every session of driving that you have; this way it will last
longer and save you money in the long run.

If your car doesn’t already come with one, you will need to buy a battery
charger. There are some simple chargers that are cheaper and unfortunately
slower; or you can go with the multi-function electronically controlled
chargers slash dischargers.

The battery chargers for the RC cars are designed to charge up the normal 12
volt car battery (these are known as field chargers because they were
designed for use in the field; wherever you are driving your radio control

The faster chargers are the best ones to go with; not only does it charge fast,
it can also use AC or DC power to charge up the battery. The usual fast
chargers take about 15 to 20 minutes to charge up, so make sure to buy
multiple battery packs and keep them all charged. This way your RC car will
never be without batteries.

Remember that when buying battery packs and chargers they are compatible
with the RC car you have. It is best to go with the brands that were created
by the manufacturer of your RC car, especially when it comes to battery
packs. Sometimes different makes can be used.

Over the past couple of years, the nitro car engine has evolved substantially.
They are now more reliable and robust than they have ever been in the past.
They come in many different sizes; the most popular of them all are the
small-block ones, which can range between .10 cubic inches and .17 cubic

They also come with different features, such as rear and side exhaust; barrel
and sliding card; and pull start, non-pull start, etc. The engines can be simply
modified by replacing specific parts to increase the RC car’s performance.
Many people keep the engine as is from the factory, especially since the
engine is likely to perform more adequately with the model they have.

The two typical model engines for the nitro cars are the pull start and the
non-pull start.

The nitro car engine is made up of all the same fundamental parts as an
internal combustion engine. The cylinder head is at the top of the crankcase;
there are also fins that help to increase the surface area to keep the engine
cooled while it’s running.

Within the head of the cylinder, there is the combustion chamber; this is
where the piston lives. It moves up and down very fast while the fuel and air
mixture inside the combustion chamber ignites. Connected to the shaft is the
piston; the shaft runs horizontally through the crankcase and the clutch of
the car that it’s connected to.

In front of the engine and on top of the crankshaft is the carburetor; this part
of the engine allows fuel to pump into the crankcase. When the fuel and air
are mixed together, it is ignited by the glow plug; this is screwed to the top
of the cylinder head.

The parts you are able to see on the engine include: cylinder head, glow
plug, combustion chamber, piston, carburetor, idle screw, throttle linkage,
exhaust port, pull start, crankcase, crankshaft and mixture needle. You will
have easy access to all of these.

The engine of the nitro RC car 2 cycle or 2 stroke. Most of the larger engine
has 4 cycles (except for lawn mowers and scooters). By having an engine
with 2 cycles means that there are no valves, cams or lifter; pretty much
straight forward. These are usually found in the larger 4 cycle engines.

With the 2 cycle engine, the piston only needs to complete one down stroke
and one up stroke inside of the combustion chamber; this is enough to
complete what needs to be done, which is to draw fuel and air in and then
converting the ignited mix into raw power. It also expels power and exhaust

The piston continues to move up and down, allowing the mixture of fuel and
air to be ignited. When the mixture is first formed inside the crankcase at the
bottom of the combustion chamber before anything happens.

You will need to prime the engine by holding one finger over the exhaust
opening while trying to start the engine with your other hand; or you can
squirt some fuel into the exhaust opening with a plastic bottle that has a fine
nozzle. Either or can be done to ensure that the fuel is getting into the

Once the fuel is inside the crankcase (and has formed a mixture with the air),
the glow plug will need to heat up the piston, so that it can move up and
down. You must manually turn over the engine to start it, either pull the cord
or use the electrical starter; whichever one you have.

While you are doing this, the plug will become red hot when a special
battery is connected to it for a couple of seconds (what heats up quickly is
the core of the plug). Now that the fuel and air mixture is sitting in the
crankcase, it is necessary for it to be moved to the top of the chamber where
it will then be ignited.

As the piston moves down, it will move up. This causes pressure to the area
of the crankcase where the mixture of air and fuel is forced up to the small
ports or channels that run along the top of the chamber. The glow plug then
ignites the mixture at the top of the engine. If the engine is poorly tuned or in
bad condition, it will take a while to start it; other than that it should fire up
after a few seconds of trying.

The exhaust ports are covered right before the piston is at the point before
the mixtures are ignited. The exhaust ports are located on the sides of the
combustion chamber through the silencer. Once the piston has just about
reached the top, the mixture is ignited by the glow plug, which results to
explosive forces that cause the piston back down again. While it’s coming
down the exhaust ports are then uncovered by the piston; the gas that is
burned with the mixture exits through the chamber ports.

The speed of the crankshaft’s spinning causes the piston to then move
upwards and the process starts again. Even Though the battery causes the
glow plug to become very hot quickly; when the engine starts to run, the
heat caused by the combustion keeps it glowing. If the plugs don’t work
effectively, the air and fuel mixture won’t ignite and the engine will cease.

Gas RC Cars

The gas RC car is a lot of times confused with nitro RC cars because they
too are sometimes describes as gas powered; this causes much confusion to
those new to the RC car hobby. The real gas radio controlled cars aren’t as
popular as the nitro cars or the electric motor cars, but everyday they are
becoming more widely available.

One of the differences with the gasoline RC cars is their size. They are
bigger in size due to their small 2 stroke gas motors. These can be found in
the same section that weed eater garden tools are sold (trimmers, edgers and
blowers). Other parts of the car have to be scaled up to fit the motor.

There are some gas cars like HARM, which are around thirty inches long;
this puts it at a large 1:5 scale ratio. The cars within the HARM group are
RTR; there are a lot of different models to choose from. Many of the models
available include smaller versions of popular real life cars.

It has a 23cc motor, which gives the car lots of power to push along the big
body and heavy gas tank; a full tank allows it to run for about 40 minutes. A
reason why many people don’t buy the gas RC cars is because they are
expensive; even more expensive than the nitro RC cars. So if you are a
beginner, you may want to look into either a nitro or an electric car.

Gas RC cars are very easy to maintain; sometimes easier than the nitro car.
It’s very simple to work on its 2 stroke engine and it’s easy to get access to
many parts of the car since it is so big.

Besides the expensive cost of this car; the running costs, such as gas, are
much lower than the nitro car models. This is so because the price of
gasoline is much cheaper per volume than that of the methane fuel for the
nitro car.

Techniques for Drifting


Step five of your journey to becoming an RC drift champion is to learn how

drifting is done. Once you understand it, you can apply it.

It is known that electric RC cars are a lot better at drifting than nitro car
models. Their throttle is easier to control during drifting, unlike nitro cars,
which would probably end up burning out its clutch and overheating its
engine from using drifting techniques during racing.

It is highly recommended that you use a shaft drive RC car for drifting
instead of one that is driven by a belt transmission. With the shaft drive, you
are provided with great throttle response; the belt transmission would likely
give a backlash because of its design.

Then again, there are a lot of people who decide to use belt driven cars for
drifting; and they have no problems doing it successfully. If you are just
starting out, you may find that shaft shifters are much better for drifting

Drifting also works best with a 4 wheel drive RC car; it is easier to control
while drifting. The motor of the radio control car should have high torque;
the standard Mabuchi 540 works great. A lot of other people use 19 turn
motors. When looking for your car, look for something that has great
acceleration instead of just top speed.

If you have a touring car, you can easily transform it to a drifting car by
simply changing its tires. The RC drift car’s tires are created with PVC
pipes. Some others are made with ABS pipes, which is softer than PVC;
either or is fine. Rubber tires wrapped in electrical tape also works okay.

Want to make your own drift tires? All you need is 10 feet x 2 inch PVC
pipe from a local hardware store. Make sure that the pipe you buy is as
round as possible; you may see that at some shops, the PVC pipes have been
deformed into oval shapes.

Be careful when asking for 2 inch diameter pipes, you may not get that.
Some may be slightly larger or smaller and some may fit the touring car’s
wheels or rims exactly. If you buy a PVC pipe that is slightly larger than the
wheel’s diameter, you can place duck tape around the rims about three or
four times. You will get a more snug fit by doing so.

An easier route would be to buy the drift tires from a manufacturer such as
Yokomo. They have rubber tires that have grooves for where you will mount
the drift rings Yokomo created.

Cheaper ways of building tires that can drift is to use the top of spray paint
cans. The fit would be perfect on a regular sized touring car’s rubber tire.
Plus, this is way easier to cut than PVC pipes. The spray paint cap is then
glues over the rubber tires.

Before you begin drifting, you should make sure to seal your transmission so
that dust particles won’t get it. While racing your car with drifting
techniques, the PVC tires will scrape against the asphalt or cement, which
causes lots of fine dust to go flying about. Your car will too be covered by
dust particles.

Many tracks don’t like it when people race with drifting cars because of all
the dust that is left behind after competitions. It is important that you check
with local tracks before you use drifting cars on their track. Whichever track
you decide to drift on should have low friction.

Tips & Hints

For step six and seven, it is important that you practice and conquer. Once
you begin the learning process of drifting you will need to keep at it until
you are a drifting pro! Here are some tips to keeping your RC car up to par.

Tuning Your RC Car Engine

The engine of your radio controlled car is the heart of the machine. It is
important that it is always running effectively by tuning it and not allowing
it to become beat up with rough tracks.

Every engine is different and with this fact they behave differently from one
another. With a nitro engine, it requires that you maintain it differently than
you would an electric motor. It will take time for you to learn how to tune
your engine; soon you will be able to notice how the car’s engine should
sound and feel when it is tuned properly; once you have perfected the craft.

Even the long time RC enthusiasts become confused with tuning nitro
engines. First, you will need to clear the engine; you can do this by
following these simple steps:

You will need to raise the idle to ¼ turn; this helps the engine to stop
from stalling. Don’t get the idle screw confused with the low end
Once the engine’s temperature reaches about 145 to 150 degrees,
proceed to the next step.
Turn to the left (richen) the top end screw by a full turn.
Last, you need to hold the carburetor open widely and continue
richening the tope end until you notice the engine is close to stalling
(you will hear it begin to cut out at this point).

By doing this, it will help to get all of the dirt out along with oil and grime;
these are usually stuck between the carburetor and the engine.

When tuning the engine of your RC car, you will want to start by using the
manufacturer’s base-line settings for the mixture of needles. If it isn’t
provided by the manufacturer, you can try adjusting the needles until the
engine starts up.

The usual starting point is at 1 turn counterclockwise on the needle that is

low speed; and at the same time adjust the needle that is high speed between
2 or 3. The results will vary, but once the engine is cranked up, you can
make more adjustments to correct it. Once this initial start up process ifs
finished, your car will be broken in until racing tuning is needed (another

Now, you are ready to adjust the needles. There is a little debate going on
about which sequence should be done first when adjusting the needles.
Many of the NASCAR type professionals like to start with the needle that is
high speed for regular tuning.

While you are breaking in your car’s engine, it is recommended that you
should adjust the need that’s low speed first; this will run a bit rich first
(loads up about every half a minute). You may need to flick the throttle
every now and again to clear out the unused portions of fuel that has built up
inside the engine. When your engine is fully broken in, you can then move
on to adjusting the high speed needles.

Now you are ready for your first run. You will need a long flat surface; then
set your car on it and accelerate smoothly. Don’t do any quick starts until the
engine has heated up. To tell if your high speed needles are in or around the
right spot, you will be able to get to or almost to your RC car’s top speed
once you have been driving it for a couple of minutes.

To really break in the RC car’s nitro engine is to go through a few tanks of
gas before taking it to full speed.

For the race track tuning, you will be doing this to make your RC car drive
as fast as possible in as little time possible.

You will need to follow the same instructions as before for cleaning out the
engine. Afterward, you will need to tune the bottom; once that is done, listen
to the car idle. If the idle begins to slow and it stalls, you need to turn right
(lean) the bottom end needle. But if the idle starts to speed up, richen the
bottom end needle.

After you have adjusted the needles, set the engine to idle; a minute or so
should go by before it begins to stall. If the idle lasts for a minute or more,
you can lower he idle screw setting as far as you can, then once the engine
stalls, open up the idle screw and turn it 1/8th of a turn. At this point, your
engine should steadily sit idle for at least 45 seconds.

Now you will need to tune the top end. Turn on the car, put the car in full
throttle for about 2 seconds before going back to idle. Then you will need to
adjust your ears to what a good engine should sound like. Turn right the top
end needle while listening to the engine and once it sounds crisp and clear,
you can stop. The carburetor is next; open it up to full throttle for about 3
seconds, then close it for 3 seconds, then open it up for another 3 seconds.

Those two revs should sound neat and clean. If you hear any hesitations, it
may be because it’s too lean, so you will need to richen the top end needle a
little bit.

Tuning Your RC Car Shocks

It may take a lot of trial and error to complete the task of tuning your car’s
shocks, but eventually you will get it right. You will need to test out
different oil viscosities to get the shocks to work the way you want them to.
These oils aren’t lubrication or normal oil, it is silicon oil. There are other
methods to peruse that pertain to changing the piston’s hole size from 1 mm
to 2 mm, or adding more holes around it.

Try to not use just one hole; two or three holes are best for the piston. Just
follow these simple steps for learning to tune your shocks.
First you will need to remove the shock cup and spring, and then open
the shock cap.
Once you remove the cap, you will notice that there is a piece of seal
covering the opening of the shocks. This is known as the shock’s
diaphragm. There are different diaphragm hardness; some have
curvature in its center while others are completely flat. You will find
that some kits have shocks with standard black hard diaphragms; the
soft diaphragms are sold separately and are for special racing shocks.
Now you will remove the oil from the shock by pumping the shaft of
the piston. Clean away dirt as you go, so that none gets into the shock.
Oil’s consistency is affected when dirt gets into it; this may cause
blockage. Each of the car’s four shocks has similar reactions and
behavior. Sometimes the front is different from the rear. This isn’t
good while the shocks are in play.
Once you remove and clean them, almost fill it up to the brim with
new oil.
Move the shaft of the piston slowly up and down. You will need to do
this to remove any air that has been trapped beneath the piston.

Air bubbles will appear while pumping out the air. Just keep on
pumping until you no longer see them. As the air is being removed,
the oil will slowly begin to sink. Once all of the air has been removed,
place the diaphragm back, making sure that it fully fits on the brim.
Any excess oil that has over flown should be wiped off. Last, screw
the cap back on.
You will now place the springs and cup on the shock to make sure that
is has a smooth piston travel. It is important that the shocks aren’t too
soft or too hard. Instead, start off with a medium hardness spring. The
piston hole should be between 1 to 1.5 mm in size. The oil viscosity
should be either 30 or 300, depending on the brand. There is an effect
on the piston’s reaction speed, which is based on the thickness of the

With thicker oil, the pistons will move slower and thinner oil will allow it to
go faster. Depending on the weight of the car and its terrain will determine
what the right setting is. The heavier the car is, the harder the springs you
should use. If your RC car is lighter, then softer springs are to be used.
When driving on bumpy tracks, softer springs are needed; harder springs
should be used for smooth and even surfaces.

The size of the piston’s hole and the thickness of the oil viscosity will
determine how much reaction speed the shocks will have. For flat surfaces,
thicker oil should be used. You can use moderate oil for surfaces that are
uneven and thinner oil for terrains that are bumpy. You will undergo many
trials before figuring out which shock tune up works best for your RC car.
Different tracks will require different set ups, so this will have the need for
more experimentation.

Tuning an RC Car Gear Differential

Tuning a ball differential and a gear differential is very different; the gear
diff isn’t as simple. The ball diff can be tuned up without being removed
from the RC car. With the gear differential, it has to be removed from the
bulkhead and opened up to be filled with grease or silicone oil. Once it is
filled, the cover is placed back on and mounted back to the bulkhead.

Note: Example using the Sprint2 from HPI.

You will need to first remove the screws, so that you can fill up the
diff with silicone oil or grease. This will be determined by the type of
RC car you have. Many of the electric cars don’t have seals that are
rubber in the differentials. Nitro cars do.
Once the screws are removed, you will need to separate the two
halves of the diff. The gear differential has 2 big gears and 2 or 4
smaller gears. These are known as planetary gears. Electric RC cars
have 2 planetary gears.
A common problem with the gear area in electrical RC cars is that
there is no grease; it is pushed to the sides. This is due to the fact that
the differentials don’t have any seals. By using oil on it would cause it
to just leak. Nitro cars do use oil because they have seals on their
differentials; silicone oil is used because of the high speeds and torque
of nitro engine cars travel. The differential uses the silicone oil with
different viscosities; it all depends on the characteristic of its
performance and the requirements for the different types of grounds
traveled upon. Higher viscosity oil is needed, thicker, for bigger value
numbers and lower viscosity oil, thinner, is needed for lower value

Last, you will need to full up the differential with oil or grease (again,
depends on the model of your RC car). If you put a little amount of
grease in the diff, the car will have the tendency of being pushed to
the corners of turns where the gears are most likely to eventually run
without grease; this will cause inconsistency of the differential’s
torque force. This will also cause the handling to be affected. When
you have different torque force for the gear differential in your RC
car, use different grease viscosities as experiments. The thickest
grease is heavy duty machine grease.

RC Car Toe Setup

You can adjust the toe setting of the front wheels by adjusting the link rod’s
length (goes for most RC cars). Adjustments for the rear toe depend entirely
on the model of your RC car. Some RC car models use the link rod to adjust
its rear toe, while others use pivot blocks to make changes to the rear toe.
There are even some models have to change the rear toe block to adjust its

Just follow these simple instructions:

To stabilize the car you will need to toe-in in the rear. When you RC
car is having over steering issues, which is when the rear of the car
loses traction before the front part of the car does. To stop this, you
can give a + 1 degree rear toe-in, but make sure not to give too much
or the on-power cornering will be too hard to accomplish. If you are
RC car is too stable and it seems to be pushing further away from the
corner, this is because of under steering. You must give the front a 0
toe or +1 degree toe-out; either or would greatly help with such a

You will now need to adjust the toe-in in the front of the car; this will
allow slower steering response and more straight line stability. If too
much toe in is applied, there will be a lot of wear on the outside edges
of your tires. By changing the front to zero toe will allow medium
steering response with lowest power loss and lowest wear on your
tires. You can have quicker steering response on your radio controlled
car by adjusting the front toe out. It will also have less straight line
stability. Too much toe out will greatly wear out the inner edges of
your tires.

To have less traction out of the corner and less straight line, less rear toe in
will need to be adjusted. It will allow your care to have more steering and
have higher top speeds. With medium rear toe in (or +1), your car will have
medium straight line stability and medium traction out of the corner. It will
also have medium top speeds and medium steering. More rear toe in
adjustments will allow your care to have more straight line stability and lots
more traction out of the corner. With this, there is less steering and less top

You must choose between them all carefully to determine which settings
would be best for you and during which races. It is important that you try
them out for the best option for your RC car.

Shimming an RC Car Axle

By shimming your car’s axle will allow for better performance. It will allow
your car to have more speed and accurate set up. If your axle is shaky, it will
cause your wheels to be shaky. Speed and cornering will greatly slack if this
problem isn’t addresses accordingly. Bearings would also suffer by not
working as they should; the bearings work individually since there would be
a gap between the two bearings. When the two bearing are working tightly
together as one unit, it works best. There is one straight alignment, allowing
for smooth and stable rotations of the axle.

You can’t solve the wobbly wheel problem by tightening the wheel nut; this
would only cause the wheels to become jammed. If you were to tighten the
nut of the wheels, it would cause the outer and inner bearings to clamp on
the block bearing ring spacer that is within the steering block.

You can place shims in between the two bearing’s inner brim to help stop
the clamping on the ring spacer from occurring. By using the shim, it would
allow the bearing to clamp on to one another, which would make it as one
working piece with the axle. Once the shims are in its place, nuts of the
wheels can then be tightened without the worry of jamming them or over
tightening the wheels.

Here is how it’s done:

Example uses a Cyclone S made by Hot Bodies.

The bearing size is 4 x 5 x 10 mm. Looking into the center of the

bearings, you will see that there is a gap about the size of 10 mm or
bigger. This is where the shims are going to be placed.

You will remove one of the two bearings to see what the depth of it
(different car models have different depths). The hole’s diameter
should be about 7 mm; the inner diameter should be 5 mm; this is the
same size as the axle. Thickness does vary; you will have to use less
shim if they are thicker. For example, if the gap depth is 1.5 mm thick,
you will only need to add a .1 mm shim to make it 1.6 mm. This
allows some space between the spacer and bearings. If the exact
thickness of the shim is the same as the spacer’s thickness, there
won’t be enough room for spinning; it would be way too tight by the
time the nut is tightened. You can also use a .3 mm x 5 pcs + .1mm x
1 pcs = 1.6 mm or .2 mm x 8 pcs = 1.6 mm. It may be wise to use
metal shims, especially since plastic shims become soft, causing it to
get bent out of shape from being clamped.
Next, you will place the correct amount of shims needed through the
It is important that you make sure that the shims are pushed all the
way down until slightly above the spacer depth level.
You will now install the bearing into the steering block. The bearing
should not poke out of the block too much. Once you have snugly
placed the bearing inside the block, you can test if the shims are
sufficient by placing in the hex hub without the shaft pin into the axle
shaft, the wheels, and then make sure that the wheel nuts are
tightened. Now, spend the wheel. The wheel should spin freely, but if
it doesn’t, place a .1 mm shim inside and try spinning the wheel again;
repeat until the wheel does spin freely (just make sure that the bearing
isn’t protruding too much). Once this task has been successfully
completed, you have finished the first part of preventing the jamming
of the car’s wheels and the case about over tightening them. For the
entire process to be complete, you will need to see if there is a gap
located between the bearing and pin shaft; this can be done by
inserting the pin.

To prevent your RC car’s wheels from moving inwards and outwards,
you must check to see if there is a gap between the bearing surface
and the pin. If the axle shaft can be moved left and right, this is due to
extra space in between the bearing and the pin. Simply place a shim in
between to stop it from moving.
Once you have used the shims and placed the shaft pin inside, you can
try to pull and push the shaft in and out. You shouldn’t feel anymore
movement when doing so. Now, you can place on the hex hub along
with the wheels and tighten them up. The wheels should be able to
move smoothly and freely without wobbling from side to side. Once
this has been finished, you have now increased your car’s wheel
performance, which will allow better turning response and higher

RC Camber Set Up

It isn’t important to adjust the camber in your car unless it is really

necessary. To help figure out if there is adjustment needs for your camber,
you can take a look out for specific problems. If your car is having problems
with the turning-in of the vehicle, camber will not improve this; positive
camber will though. Uneven tire wear is can be caused by camber, which
also does not improve directional stability. Braking and acceleration
efficiency is affected by camber as well.

You can have camber give less quick steering response and less side
traction overall by adjusting to a zero degree to a negative one degree
on the front camber; this will also increase the chances of traction
rolling. By adjusting the front camber with a negative one or negative
two, it will allow your car to have much quicker steering response and
more side traction overall with less of a chance of traction rolling.

By adjusting to a zero degree or negative one degree on the camber in the
rear; this will cause less side traction overall and less traction while
breaking; it will also give your car more chance of traction rolling.

A negative one or negative two degree adjustment on the camber in the rear
will allow your car to have more side traction and more traction during
braking; there is less chances of traction rolling.

RC Car Castor Set Up

The adjustments of the castors can be accomplished by changing the castor

block. The number of degrees is engraved on the block.

Example used here is for the Cyclone S.

With less or no (which is 0 degrees) castor settings, your car will have more
off power steering into a corner and much less steering out of a corner. The
more castor (which is 4 degrees laid back) settings, it will allow your RC car
to have less steering into a corner and more on power when steering out of a
corner. You can easily adjust the castor by changing the castor block.

There is another way to change the adjustments of the castor; this method
uses spacer bars, which have various thicknesses. Depending on the
thickness of the spacer bar will determine the angle of the castors. You place
the space bars at the forward arm, which is in between the front pivot block
and the lower deck. Once the spacer bar has been placed on, you will notice
that the lower deck chassis and the arm are not parallel anymore.

This is because the forward front arm is now being lifted up and is at a tilted
angle. This will cause the negative castor to increase much more. The
benefit of having the castor adjusted to more positive (which is the laid back
position) is that it allows maximum contact with the ground while rolling,
braking and acceleration.

Also improved is the response to turning and increases in directional
stability. This castor adjustment also provides a feel for more improved
steering and self centering of your RC car model.

You may notice the wheel contact patch while the wheel turns left and right.
The wheel imitates what the camber would do; tilt, but with the wheel that
was castor adjusted will have maximum contact patch right when the wheel
goes back to center position; the camber doesn’t do the same.

Important Notes

Now that you are on your way to becoming an RC drift champion, it is very
important that you take note of the different tips and information given about
the different types of radio controlled car models. You can easily find
different prices to fit within your budget. It is also very important that you
take care to do research on the different models of RC cars to see which
would allow you to ultimately learn. There are many different types to
choose from (some of the best and most popular were listed).

There were some tips on which radio controlled cars would be most suitable
for the people beginning the RC car hobby (also applies to veteran radio
control hobbyists who are looking to get into drifting). Once you have
decided which car to go with: nitro, gas or electric, you will be well on your
way to becoming a champion. It is highly essential that you practice as much
as you can. If you decided to begin with the cheaper and easier to use
electric motor cars, you set out goals for yourself. Once you have learned the
methods of drifting with the electric car, you can challenge yourself to a
nitro motor car, which is much more difficult to handle (not to mention more

There are also important lessons that you have learned about tuning up your
car. Make sure that once you purchase your RC car that you keep it up to
par. A real champion never lets his equipment go bad; after all, it’s what
helped you become a champion! Finding out exactly how to drift can easily
be obtained. No amount of words can explain this highly skilled technique.
It is something that you must watch as many videos as possible on it to see

exactly how it is done. Many of these videos can be found on sites like
youtube.com. The internet is filled with tons of resources, so take advantage.

It may take you a little while to figure out how the technique is done, but
obviously it isn’t impossible. Drifting isn’t something that is studied, it is
something that is perfected, so once you get your radio controlled car kit,
assemble it and get ready for practice. Depending on your skill set will
determine which of the car kits you will go with. You can have you pick of
just about any car make and model (scales of life size cars), which are
known as RTR (ready to drive right out the box). But if you are a more
creative spirit, you can go with the car kits that require you to get all of the
parts necessary and to paint it yourself. Whatever your fine choices may be,
make it your mission to become the next RC drift champion. In little time at
all, you will have it down packed. You may even have your own how-to
guide that can teach the rest about your mastery drifting techniques.