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Old 06-21-2013, 06:02 PM   #1
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Default My DIY Waterproof Touring Car Project

Since I have trouble sleeping tonight, this post won't be short nor to the point, so be warned.

Are you sick and tired of watching rain clouds forming as soon as you get ready to leave work? Oh, you live somewhere sunny, you say? Well, good for you, butthole. Here in the south-eastern part of Norway, I swear it started to rain more often the day I started racing rc cars, so a while back I decided to stop complaining and actually do something about it. Or at least try.

I've heard stories of how bad things can go when racing in wet conditions, but after having waterproofed my old offroad, an ECX Circuit, I don't really understand why. My ECX even works under water, as I accidentally found out, so I'm confident I can make a touring car water resistant enough to be able to forget all about the risks of shorting something.

Yes, there will be more cleaning, and probably also repairs and broken bearings, but it will also be a lot more racing on days I'd otherwise have to spend doing something a lot more boring. Worth a try, wouldn't you say?

So, without further ado, my plan for repurposing an ols Sakura Zero S into a water resistant wet racer.


The car

Ok, so there will be a bit more ado about something, because I want to tell you my love story, the one without my wife in it.

Since I got my new Spec-R R1, a very good car out of the box, my somewhat hopped-up Sakura Zero S has just been sitting on the shelf with its many shiny bits. Pink bulkheads, steering rack, suspension mounts and shoch bodies, carbon fiber top deck, and a sweet mix of steel and titanum hex screws. Built to race, only 15 months old, and already out of commission.

It's sad. We've had so many good times together, and even more bad, going through many changes, leaving a trail of broken parts behind. I can only remember the most recent of all the A-arms, but also recall a few suspension pins, a couple of front diffs that eventually was retired in favour of a spool, and most costly of all, a fast and furious Novak combo that suddenly started smoking. After a multiple bypass operation, my girl was reborn with a slower but more reliable Speed Passion Ultra V3 13.5T/stock blinky combo.

So you can understand that I just couldn't bring myself to sell the Zero S after having had to work countless hours on her to fix everything I broke while learning. Learning that full throttle isn't always the fastes way to get around the track (well, still not sure about that), and that with the assistance of a set of capacitor balls, the Savox 1251 can eat all the current it needs without browning out my Sanwa receiver in the the long, fast corners on days with maximum grip. I almost miss the sound of my beloved Sakura breaking against the wooden panel at the exit of the turn. Almost.

So we know each other well, what works and what doesn't, which should make us a perfect match for the new challenges wet racing brings.

Oh, and did I mention that I already have spares for her, lots and lots because they are so cheap, and also that they are on sale now that the new XI Sport is out?


Waterproofing

Yeah, yeah, water resistant, not water proof, I agree, but why make a distinction when, for all intents and purposes, I will be able to race safely in the wettest of conditions? Unless I lose control in the tightest chicane and find my car swimming in that lake of a puddle in the midde, that is. Like I can ever se that happening!

Servo: Open the servo box and put marine grease around the horn mount and close it up again, then dab plastidip around all seams/screws (no need to plastidip the whole thing). Already tested on my off-road, works perfectly.

Receiver: Put a piece of tape on the back where I'll secure the RX to the chassis later. Plastidip the whole thing and let dry, then peel off the plastidipped tape. Also tested before, with better results than just dipping the electronics board.

ESC: Cover the heat sink and a part of the bottom of the esc with tape, and plug (very short) extension cords in all ports I'm going to use. Plastidip the whole thing including the on/off switch and the balls (capacitors). When dry, I'll strip away the plastidipped tape. Also tested.

Transponder: Isn't it already waterproof? A dab of Plastidip, then.

Motor: See if I can safely treat the sensor board with CorrosionX (not tested yet). Plastidip the power connectors and the connected sensor cable mount. Cover the back end bearing and the front rotor exit with marine grease. I only plan to run the car on a clean asphalt track, so I don't have to worry about dirt or mud.

Bearings: Clean all bearings thoroughly with brake cleaner, then soak them in CorrosionX.

Metal bits (kingpins etc): Treat with CorrosionX, or just clean and dry immediately after running. Depends on where in the process I decide to be lazy.

Battery: Never did anything with the soft packs in my old off-road and never had a problem, so unless I experience any issues with the hard case batteries I'll just tape the seams and forget about them.

After run cleanup: My local track has a powerful air compressor, so it'll only take seconds to get the water off. If necessary, clean and relube the motor bearings. Clean and re-treat all other bearings with CorrosionX. My motor is in a closed can, but if it wasn't I would probably clean it with brake cleaner like I do with my brushed motors.


Setup

Here both my experience and knowledge falls short, but if "they" are correct, flex and a soft suspension setup is key to wet driving. Plan on starting with 4-hole pistons, 300-350 cst oil and standard springs. No sway bars, perhaps remove a few screws from the top deck, and mounting a max sized rear wing. Increase ride height so the car doesn't float on top of each and every puddle, especially in the fastest parts of the track. Maybe also test a milder punch setting on the ESC.

Will leave the rest, including camber, droop, shock angles and toe, as is until I have valid reasons not to.

I'll try both dedicated rubber rain tires, ridiculously expensive as they are, and very soft normal rubber tires. Already got the Schumacher branded Shimizu D01J pre-glued wets, and was a bit surprised that the (very soft!) rims have water inlets, sorry, air vents in them. Anyway, the tire inserts seem to be thick and soft, so I tried replicating that that when I put together a set of cheaper Sorex 20R, unfortunately without having soft rims to go with them. Any tips on where to find them?

That's everything I had in my head so far, so please feel free to drown my planned efforts in accolades, critique or mindless babble, or ask questions.
Can't promise frequent or even infrequent progress reports, but I'll let you know how the first run went, whenever that happens, and will also try to remember taking pictures. Just wish I had cats. Everybody loves pictures with cats in them.
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Old 06-22-2013, 01:31 AM   #2
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We race in heavy rain quite often here in England. Drivers having a spare 'wet' car isn't uncommon....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8EQ...e_gdata_player

Stick all the electrics in a sealed box, protection for the sensor wire and servo and you're good to go really.
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Old 06-22-2013, 03:44 AM   #3
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There's some 2 part spray stuff I keep seeing on YouTube that looks pretty amazing. It completely repels any water and they show a cell phone being submerged and it comes out fine. it's called ultra ever dry
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Old 06-22-2013, 05:41 AM   #4
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Your article is very entertaining to read. It's something you'd read in a magazine. Update it and I'll read it.
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Old 06-22-2013, 05:52 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmy Morris View Post
There's some 2 part spray stuff I keep seeing on YouTube that looks pretty amazing. It completely repels any water and they show a cell phone being submerged and it comes out fine. it's called ultra ever dry
WOW! I just went to watch a video pf this stuff it is amazing or very cool camera effects. I can imagine this on my old 4Runner. It would never need a wash. Or better yet, some people.
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:47 AM   #6
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@Mi4cxl, racers at my local track do the same as you guys. I started with off-road and began using plastidip with good results, and since I already have everything I need, I stuck with it.

@Jimmy Morris, repellants/nano coats like Ultra Ever Dry, NeverWet and a couple of others look very promising, can't wait for the prices to come down enough to justify me getting my hands on some. Have seen mixed reviews, though, with reports of short lived tolerances for heat, flex and mechanical wear. Until they iron out the quirks, it might be prudent to combine repellants with more tangible barriers like liquid rubber/tape as well as bonding materials like CorrosionX.

@Stratus Racer, glad you liked my ramblings

Anyway, it's weekend and no work, so guess what? Yes, rain, the reason I'm building my wet racer! So here you have a little update, and even a few snapshots. Couldn't catch any cats, though, sorry.

Spent most of yesterday/night working on the Sakura and watching british tv series. Had forgotten how worn and tired it looks, the Sakura I mean, compared to my R1. Sorry for having neglected you, baby!

The Servo got the exact treatment I described earlier. No Doomsday for the receiver either, mounted the extension cords - now the cables are REALLY annoyingly long - and dabbed plastidip around and in every opening of the case, save the binding hole which I just covered with tape.

My motor is as finished as it'll ever be. Couldn't find a screw anywhere on the darn thing, seems like Speed Passion just stamped/clamped the can and endbell together on this one. Not wanting to touch that, I just pretended there wasn't a delicate sensor board inside, and went on to plastidip the connected sensor cable and power connectors. Also put some dip around the edge where the can and endbell meet, but left the front holes open.
Applying the thick, sticky dip wasn't the surgically precise exercise I visualized before starting, so after two coats I decided to cut away some of the excess. Did that, and more, ending up having to repair with a third coat, making everything even uglier than before I started cutting. If anyone complains my official answer is "safety before sensuality".

After the dip had dried, I smeared marine grease around the front rotor exit and outside the back rotor bearing.

The ESC is safer, but needs more work. Skipped the tape, just dabbed plastidip anywhere I found a crack, exposed mainboard, seam or connectors or screw. Was extremely tight behind the connectors on this ESC, so my defenses might not hold off every rogue water molecule assassin there is. Good thing I didn't plan a dunk-in-a-jar demo.

Another weak point is the on/off-switch, which flicked itself off after a while, like some evil, invisible force was haunting it. No ghosts, though, just the tensile strenght of the rubber getting the upper hand on the mechanical resistance of the switch. Also tried dipping with the switch in a forced middle position, but no luck. To be revisited; for now I just keep the switch exposed.

My DIY Waterproof Touring Car Project-sakura-1-before.jpg My DIY Waterproof Touring Car Project-sakura-2-esc.jpg My DIY Waterproof Touring Car Project-sakura-3-motor.jpg My DIY Waterproof Touring Car Project-sakura-4-servo.jpg My DIY Waterproof Touring Car Project-sakura-5-recevier.jpg

Bearings. Cleaned all wheel bearings with brake cleaner and treated them with CorrosionX. While I planned to treat the spur gear holder and differential assembly bearings, I had already cleaned and lubed them after my last run and just couldn't be bothered. It's my project, so I'm allowed to be a lazy. And I have spares, at least for the diff bearings. Just be happy I didn't make up some story about spending 3 hours syringe-feeding the bearings pixie dust infused liquid teflon, which is what I imagine they are doing to the $10 bearings.

Rear differential issues. Clean and freshly filled with 1100 cst silicone oil. Cups treated with CorrosionX. The whole thing is a bit banged up and doesn't run straight, so on next breakdown I will change gaskets and check if I can replace the plastic eaten away from the housing by the tapping screws. Maybe some threadlock or hot glue can help?

Metal bits, namely hingepins, screwheads, dogbones and CVAs are all treaded with CorrosionX.

Then, an unplanned journey, at what was supposed to be bedtime. I had finished all the work detailed above and put the whole car back together, ready for setup the next day. But when I came downstairs to rest my weary bones, I discovered that my wife had ventured out to the mailbox and found me a couple of gifts! That's what she calls the packages that steadily find their way to me from exotic destinations. If she knew what I REALLY paid for them, she'd call them something else. Probably call ME something else as well, and maybe even call her mom. But she happily accepts my claim that everything I order cost less than $10, shipping included, much the same way I believe she finds every last clothing item she craves on special discount sale. Or that she was just keeping those cigarettes for a colleague.

Sleep had to wait, because from Hong Kong I got, among other life essentials, a discounted SAK-13B narrow graphite chassis for the Sakura. I know said I wanted more flex, not less, but the (new!) idea is that a smaller chassis area translates to less aquaplaning. Flex = scissors, less aquaplaning = rock. Don't know what happened to paper. Anyway, I claim the right to assume, based on no observational data at all, that the wheels push a lot of water inwards and under the chassis, giving a narrower chassis a better chance of preventing floating than the stock one. If you don't agree, just accept that I love hop-ups and come fully prepared to invent needs to justify buying them.

So, very, very late last night, after having fought and killed half a dozen more or less rounded buttersoft hex screws using nothing but a rubber band and a spring steel hex driver, I had moved most of the bits to the new chassis. Finally our hero could collapse on to his bed, feeling sore, but accomplished.

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Old 06-23-2013, 02:15 PM   #7
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I am much too lazy for this much preparation...
I use an easy and fast method. I put my car in a plastic bag. Of course you need preparation here too, but it is fast and you can easily remove it after it dried up.
So here is the receipe:
Get yourself two little plastic bags with which your wife puts food in the freezer. These consist of 2-3 layers and are tough. The ones my wife had were to small for the whole car, so I cut off the bottom of one and taped them together. Slide this bag over your chassis (without tires and body). Now tighten the bag until it is flat with your chassis plate. Make small holes where the axles are. Put the tires on and look that they don't get stuck when steering and rotating. Here you have to adjust the form with tape. You can close the rear with tape also. On our 2 hour clubrace (foam tires and free motor choice!) I added an chassis protective layer on the outside bottom.
The car stays clean and dry inside. There is no humidity, moisture, whatever inside that can harm the electronics. The only weak point with this method are the axlebearings that can have contact with water and therefore need treatment afterwards. I used this type of protection with my TC6 several times and always have some prepared always have some prepared bags in my RC bag.

Forgot to mention the battery change: the first pack is inside the car before putting it in the bag. For the change it only needs a small cut on the battery side. This cut can be closed with tape easily and you can go on racing
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Old 06-23-2013, 02:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wtcc View Post
I am much too lazy for this much preparation...
I use an easy and fast method. I put my car in a plastic bag. Of course you need preparation here too, but it is fast and you can easily remove it after it dried up.
If I had only one car and wanted a quick fix for it on an occasional wet day, this would probably be the easiest way to do it on the cheap. Or I could see if one of the pre-made covers or shrouds made for off-roads to cover their motors, shocks or even the whole chassis would fit, like this one for the Losi XXX-SCT made by Outerwears.

For a permanent wet racer, though, I'd rather have something, well, permanent
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