OK everybody....I want to say that Steve did a great job explaining to me what I did. I think there are 2 levels of RC cars out there....one would be the AE/Losi type where you can have a mediocre build and run fine. And then there are another type of car like the 'cuda/Atlas/X-Ray where the build of the car is critical. I can actually say that I have run a X-ray, but it was never up to par with other top drivers in the area. That being said, I learned ALOT in building a car from Steve...keep in mind I have been racing for about 2 1/2 years and was always in that 2nd tier of drivers...some is my driving...
and some is the car....
Again, from gas racing...I have kung foo grip and thread lock addiction!!!!!
Anyway, don't flame me....I am just a poor soul with a sweet car...
Thanks again Steve!!
His email to me:
Good Morning Mike,
I finished rebuilding your Cuda last night, and right now, the car is a lot smoother now then when I first got it (a lot smoother!). Here's a couple things I noticed and took care of for you :
1. The first thing I started with were the bearings. typically, brand new bearings in the kits are packed with heavy grease. This is just standard industry procedure from bearing manufactures, however, for our purpose, the thick grease really slows down the car and attract a lot of dirt. So I used an Integy sparkle cleaner (Part number E2006) which you fill with motor spray, dump in the bearings and it'll vibrate out all the grease. This is a little trick that every fast drivers do. For future kits you purchase, you should always do this to your bearings. After a good 30 minutes of shaking, all the grease should be out of the bearings, then you place a drop of light oil (ex. Trinity royal oil) to lube it.
For future maintainance of your bearings, you can do the sparkle cleaner procedure again. I do this after every weekend of racing. It is also a good time for you to inspect the bearing for any shot ones.
2. While I was cleaning the bearings, I decided to take all your suspension components apart. The front I noticed that the shock tower screws (the four long ones) one of them was the wrong length? and also I noticed a lot of thread lock residue on the screws. thread lock is a good idea on aluminum parts, but I think just a tiny half a drop on each screw is good enough. I think you had a tad too much on all the screws throughout the car This really didn't cause any problem on the screws that goes into the bulkheads, but the two setscrew that held on to the center shaft had too much threadlock as well and it went around the graphite shaft. I suspect the graphite shaft might not have set perfectly straight because of the threadlock. So I pull the shaft out, clean out the inside and the shaft a little bit, so it should be fine now.
3. Another thing I noticed was the amount of strength you used to tighten down the screws. Although the screws need to be tight, they were a way too tight. The plastic front and rear case on your car shows signs of stress cracks at where the screws goes through. This weakens the strength of the cases and also possibly causes a tweak in the drivetrain. The screws need to be tight, but don't overtighten
4. On the threads I saw you mention something about the diff housing and how it might be defective. I checked the diff housing against a spare ball diff of mine, and they were both equally good. As I rebuild the diff, I noticed that you only had 4 of the 6 thrust balls necessary for the thrust assembly. I put in some of my spare ones and rebuild it with associated black grease on the thrust and silicone grease on the diff balls.
5. I also noticed some over tightening on the camber link positions on the hub carriers (front and rear) The screws were tighten down too much to the point where the aluminum ball ends were eating into the plastic hub parts. Another thing I noticed was you put the front camber link on the other side of the C-hub (possibly to avoid rub on the front foam tires) this caused a severe bind on the front suspension and pushed back the upper deck by about a good 1/4th of an inch if you remove all the screws on the upperdeck, so I change those back to the front. You can try a lower profile screw (like a button head) for the front camber link mount to prevent possible rubbing.
6. I checked out the condition of your input bevel gears and the diff ring gears. I did the tip we mentioned before and sand down those gears. The gears are a bit sharp out of box and because of the hard matieral that it is made of, it would be a long while before they break in naturally, so you just sand it down a little bit until the sharp pointing edge of the teeth becomes a little bit flat. I'm not sure if you ran grease on your gears, but grease is not necessary, and I "flossed" the teeth with an Xcto knife
7. Okay, so by now the bearings are done and I'm putting the car together. I did notice some string fibers a quite a few places (I'm assuming they are from the carpet you race on) so if that's the case, you should maintain your car after every race day as the car will pick them up as you race. I followed the same transmission alignment procedure we posted online and assembled your car back. You basically screw in all the screw on the bulkhead at the bottom (but leave them about 2 turns away from tighten) place the shaft holder on the bulkhead (and make sure they are seated properly) hold it with your hand while you screw in the screws from the bottom of the bulkhead. Then you do the upper deck starting with the front and rear bulkhead and the two servo post screws last.
One thing I noticed is that you didn't have any shims between the axle pin and the outter most bearings (I believe the instruction shows 1 for the front axles and 2 for the rear) you'll need these shims to prevent the aluminum hex hubs from "eating" into the bearing when you tighten down the wheel nut on your tire.
That's pretty much it. All it was is a combination of a lot of little things that added up to a huge bind on your car. In racing that's really the whole secret behind a fast car, just a lot of small advantage here and there added together. Same goes for a lot of things (Motor tuning, battery maintenance, tire selection...etc.) just a lot of little things. You can post any of these information on the threads as you see fit. If you don't want to post it is perfectly fine too I will incorporate more tips to the Alex Racing USA website.
I'll be away for the weekend, but I wanted to get this taken care of before I leave. I will be in contact with you Monday when I return. Have a good weekend!
If anyone has ANY doubt...Steve is a great guy to do this for me and I have learned ALOT from this experience....