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Old 07-01-2009, 08:19 PM   #1
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Default How do you "dial your car in?"

I am just curious on how you guys dial your cars in. Now I do understand the basics and probably more than the basics as far as what does what when you change certain things. And, I am pretty good about making adjustments for when the rear slides out, the front pushes, gearing, etc... In other words, when there is an obvious problem, I somehow eventually make the right adjustments to correct it. But I am kinda lost on how to make a fast car faster(if that makes sense).

Is it just a trial and error thing? So should I just keep messing with different adjustments and see how the car reacts? Maybe some of you have a certain order in which and what you adjust in certain orders that you could share?

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Old 07-01-2009, 08:29 PM   #2
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One of the adjustment's I was told to make were one of the hardest things to do and that's work on how you drive the car. a car will be faster if your smother through the corners and smother with the throttle on and off. I was teached by turning the wheel easy instead of snaping the steering hard left/right and with the trigger controle ease off and on the throttle instead of snaping off and hard on. a well adjusted car will drive like crap if you dont have experience VS a bad tuned car and a good driver. Hope this helps you get to were you want to be. sounds like you got a good handle on seting up your ride
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Old 07-01-2009, 08:34 PM   #3
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I've read an awful lot of rctech over the last three years, and I'm quite certain that no one who is really, really fast has ever written out the knowledge that the really, really fast guys have that allows them to get extra corner speed out of their car.

It's unfortunate, and I'd like someone to prove me wrong.
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Old 07-01-2009, 08:45 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by wiscnitro View Post
One of the adjustment's I was told to make were one of the hardest things to do and that's work on how you drive the car. a car will be faster if your smother through the corners and smother with the throttle on and off. I was teached by turning the wheel easy instead of snaping the steering hard left/right and with the trigger controle ease off and on the throttle instead of snaping off and hard on. a well adjusted car will drive like crap if you dont have experience VS a bad tuned car and a good driver. Hope this helps you get to were you want to be. sounds like you got a good handle on seting up your ride
Assume I drive well enough. Driving is a whole other topic IMO. I think I learn how to drive better every second I am on the track. There is always something I feel I can do better driving to get around the track faster. But that is not what I am looking for. I am purely talking about setup.


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Originally Posted by adamge View Post
I've read an awful lot of rctech over the last three years, and I'm quite certain that no one who is really, really fast has ever written out the knowledge that the really, really fast guys have that allows them to get extra corner speed out of their car.

It's unfortunate, and I'd like someone to prove me wrong.
I don't think there is a "secret" to setting up your car. Just because bob TQ'd and won with his car and setup does not mean John will with the same car. John might have to set his car up his way because of the way he drives.

I am looking for tips on what to do that will hopefully work for me. I am afraid that answer is going to be trial and error, experience.

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Old 07-01-2009, 08:52 PM   #5
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It's a little cliche but "loose is fast".

If you're able to drive your car lock to lock (wheel turned all the way) through every corner and not get loose then you're scrubbing speed.

Once I got the big stuff figured out (sway bays, springs, toe, camber) I could make the car easy to drive. I didn't start getting faster until I started playing with roll center, wheelbase, camber gain, shock oil, and track width. I'm still not even close to understanding these yet, but I can tell you they make a huge difference in corner speed.

There is definitely no substitute for smooth driving; however, once you get that nailed down you need to start making your car a little tougher to drive.
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Old 07-01-2009, 09:03 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by wiscnitro View Post
One of the adjustment's I was told to make were one of the hardest things to do and that's work on how you drive the car. a car will be faster if your smother through the corners and smother with the throttle on and off. I was teached by turning the wheel easy instead of snaping the steering hard left/right and with the trigger controle ease off and on the throttle instead of snaping off and hard on. a well adjusted car will drive like crap if you dont have experience VS a bad tuned car and a good driver. Hope this helps you get to were you want to be. sounds like you got a good handle on seting up your ride
I agree with this.... I have been practicing my turns and and have learned that snatching my car through the turns only slows me down (time wise). It looks faster and seems faster, but in reality To slow down is to go fast. Roll the turns. smooth cornering and smooth trigger play is the key.
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Old 07-01-2009, 09:11 PM   #7
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I felt the same way. I looked fast as hell and when a ran a front spool I looked even faster but my lap times told a diffrent story so one of the first adjustments I made were my steering % I was 90* lock to lock but im now down to 60% and im not "draging" the tires and my lap times instantly improved, one of the weird things is I havent gone racing in 3 weeks now and when I do go its gonna drive like I never drove a day in my life. amazing how fast you lose the ability but I understand what he is looking for too
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Old 07-01-2009, 09:50 PM   #8
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I'm somewhat aggresive on the wheel so one of the things i did was i went to my radio and i turned the steering speed down to 70% and this helped me a ton. Now I'm trying to work on being smooth with the throttle.
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Old 07-01-2009, 10:05 PM   #9
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I've only just started on-road racing, but have spent a fair bit of time off-road. The thing I found easiest to help dial my car was getting ride-height guage, camber guage, set-up wheels, and all the springs and oil I could get.
Gettign the car balanced to your racing style is key from what I have seen. Some of the guys copy others set-ups but drive like crap because it doesn't suit the way they drive.
The other thing I did was cut through pack after pack on the track without allowing myself to use the brakes. It was hard as hell, but eventually made my driving 100% better after just a few practice sesions! I only use a 13.5 turn though, so not too fast
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Old 07-01-2009, 10:14 PM   #10
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I've been racing for years. Next to some of the fastest guys around. To dail your throttle in....Try moving your finger out of the cradle and on the tip of the throttle trigger. That's one of the things that help me dial my "feel" in.

Hope this helps.
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Old 07-01-2009, 10:17 PM   #11
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the years Ive been doing this (since about 94) the best thing you can do is practice practice practice - I know it seems redundant but it is what the pros do over and over both in r/c and with full size cars...youll start finding more of what the finer adjustments will do to the handling of the car ...since you said you undertand the basics, its time to start messing with shock angle's, tie rod locations, different tires on different surfaces, the list goes on.

It does come down to a bit of trial and error if you are racing on the same track each week that doesnt change then finding the right set up for your driving style will be a bit easier than say traveling to a different track layout every week.

Another is take notes and make set up sheets so you can go back and look at your initial set up that worked before and dont change too much at once. Idealy if you make too many adjustments at once and it screws up your set up you can have something to refer back to....

I have found the easiest way to start is to set up a car as neutral as possible and work from there keeping things as simple as possible will have less headaches in the long run...assuming you probably already have a good base setup for what ever you are racing with ....work from there and make adjustments as you go ....make a change run a few laps ....make a change run a few laps ...helps to have someone with a stop watch to see how your changes are effecting (i probably spelled that wrong) your lap times as you go
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Old 07-01-2009, 10:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adamge View Post
I'm quite certain that no one who is really, really fast has ever written out the knowledge that the really, really fast guys have that allows them to get extra corner speed out of their car.

It's unfortunate, and I'd like someone to prove me wrong.
i'm not sure if i qualify as what you described, but i have no secrets. from time to time i'll write a blurb here about whatever i know (or think i know) relevant to a particular topic. there aren't any secret parts or tuning aids. the car is a system. one of the best things to have at your side is someone who's doing it right. often, your car will feel great until you drive theirs. other times it will actually be great.

i've been fortunate to have great racers locally, and a club that draws top talent from the region at least twice a year. and we're not shy. before big races, the regional 'guns' come in and run with us and we trade up our cars etc. i think every year after our halloween race, somebody/team stays an extra day and makes chicky call off work to jump start the testing for cleveland. why? because the track is grooved, and we can roll on it as good as anyone. that's when the testing yields good data.

i don't know how to prove it w/o spending time with you. (i have a queen sized bed, by the way). but look at all the different setups that xray has for their cars. drew ellis, robbie dodge, jim herrmann all run massively different setups on their cars and are, essentially, the same speed most of the time. speaking even broader, it's done with different cars in different people's hands, and on different surfaces. (of course you could make an argument here that whatever these 'secrets' are, are so profound that they transcend surfaces, models, and even actual driver input).

i do notice some commonalities among these racers. for one, these guys have a 'memorized' feel for how to drive the car. they are so repeatable that they know exactly what it's NOT doing that it should be. jim herrmann astounds me with his acute ability to be off the track for months and instantly tell me what his car is doing wrong, 5 laps into the first pack. what??? (he also astounds me when we make it better, and yet it's in the wall 5 laps into the second pack!)

a cynic will be a cynic until valid proof is delivered. and you'll always have your few guys who think the latest 'secret' is going to bring victory. and again, there's no substitute for a tutor in this case. for a few years, now, i've been extending an open invitation for people to come out to our facility (The Gate) each fall (historically foam racers) and spend the weekend with us. imagine the progress you can make, when you stop looking for secrets and start looking for weaknesses (especially when someone will kindly point them out for you - we are quite blunt at times ). but too often i find that people are so afraid to admit/exploit what they need to work on that they'd rather pass on the opportunity in favor of pretending the odds are just stacked against them.

give it a chance. i used the think the same way about these stock guys and their pile of brushed motors. only to find out my car was a bag of human excrement and NO motor would help me. once i sorted that out (using the above methods), i never ran a stock motor less than 3-4 times before cutting it. even at a national. and even for a tq run. (ah, well, i guess i did have a secret ).
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Old 07-01-2009, 10:54 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcterp View Post
It's a little cliche but "loose is fast".

If you're able to drive your car lock to lock (wheel turned all the way) through every corner and not get loose then you're scrubbing speed.

Once I got the big stuff figured out (sway bays, springs, toe, camber) I could make the car easy to drive. I didn't start getting faster until I started playing with roll center, wheelbase, camber gain, shock oil, and track width. I'm still not even close to understanding these yet, but I can tell you they make a huge difference in corner speed.

There is definitely no substitute for smooth driving; however, once you get that nailed down you need to start making your car a little tougher to drive.
I totally agree with what you are saying.

Once I get a good base setup I start trying to make changes that free the car up even more in the turns. Its a fine balance between having a car too loose and too planted. When you work on your setup, set your d/r at 80-90 or so and make it work. That way your not turning the wheel as much. It also gives you the ability to get a little more or less steering from your radio if traction changes during the day without even touching your car.

A important setting that often gets forgotten about is equal turning radius. A lot of people even experienced drivers sometimes forget to check this. If your car doesn't turn the exact same amount in both directions, you may blame another part of your chassis setup for inconsistent handling that can slow you down and start making adjustments else where that are not needed.In case anyone here doesn't know a easy way to check this, what I do is set my car right against a track barrier or any straight surface and turn the wheel full lock away from the barrier. Then I slowly drive the car until it is parallel with the barrier and then stop. So basically drive in the shape of a U. Put a quarter down next to the front outside wheel or use a piece of chalk to make a mark. Turn the wheel the other direction, drive slowly and when you stop your car should square up with your marker. If not adjust your end points. Can be done in less time than it took for me to try and explain how I do it I know what I have been saying may be mostly a mistake made be beginners, but I have seen it happen a lot where people who have raced for years just over look this setting so I thought it was worth mentioning. Attention to details is everything.

As far as what you are saying about trial and error that is what it takes to find out what works best for you. One of my best friends that I race with taught me recently to not be afraid to think outside of the box when it comes to setup. And he was right. Try everything, that is how you learn. But what I have found that works with the adjustments most don't mess with are...keep your roll centers pretty close front and back. If its really high on one end and really low on the other the car usually will act goofy. But do experiment with them because it is pretty noticeable. Ackerman adjustments can help too. Depending on what kind of car you have, play with diff height. Sometimes I even tighten or loosen my rear ball diff a little to change how my car feels.

Hope this helps have fun!
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Old 07-01-2009, 11:00 PM   #14
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imagine the progress you can make, when you stop looking for secrets and start looking for weaknesses (especially when someone will kindly point them out for you - we are quite blunt at times ). but too often i find that people are so afraid to admit/exploit what they need to work on that they'd rather pass on the opportunity in favor of pretending the odds are just stacked against them.
Where do i get this framed?
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Old 07-02-2009, 12:25 AM   #15
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Chris, yeah, you're one of the guys who has achieved that level of performance.

Is there a new la Gate? Last I heard, you hadn't found a new place.

Your post affirms my point. The thread starter wanted the knowledge that could take him (or at least his car) to that level to be published here on rctech. My point is that it has never been. I dare say your point is that it never will be, because the only way to acquire that knowledge is to be involved in a tuning session with those already there. This is the tragedy of rctech.
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