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Basic mechanics for slot cars

Personally, when I buy a slot car I am guided by purely aesthetic criteria, the quality of the reproduction, the decoration, that their dimensions would be as true to scale as possible... But sometimes when we put on the track that car so much liked, without magnet is not able to do a complete turn to the circuit. Sometimes is noisy when runs, sometimes get out of the track in the corners with no apparent cause, or run the straights jumping like a kangaroo .. And end up gathering dust on the shelf or changed by another car. Well, it´s true that many cars straight out of the box does not go well on the track, but that does not mean they are bad or unable to be relatively competitive. With a few adjustments we can improve the behaviour on track of that lovely but undriveable car to the point of enjoying it. Of course there are cars that are not competitive from the standards of the clubs (How many Scalextric Skoda Fabia are in the paddock of a rallyslot race?) But they are perfect to enjoy in our home or with our friends, simply give a few minor repairs.

In this section I´m going to show you little tricks to make slot cars move with dignity along the track without end tired of placing the car in the slot due to its numerous off-track, even make a car more competitive without pretending to be a top car for participate in competitions. This is not the purpose of this section, nor even pretend neither I have the knowledge nor experience to discuss preparations for competition, and for that there are forums and web pages more appropriate. Also I will not fit the modifications to any regulation used in slot clubs so in case of taking a car to compete with these preparations maybe it will not be approved.

Except for specific cases, the changes I´m going to show you can be applyed to all cars with similar features, chassis, mechanical arrangement or type of car. So a basic preparation for a SCX Seat 1430 can also be valid for a Seat 124 from the same manufacturer, for example. And whenever I can I´ll use all the components that come standard in cars, to make the preparations cheaper, but often a change of tires for a new ones is inevitable.

I hope you´ll find the points in this section interesting and useful.

HOW TO STRAIGHTEN A SLOT CAR CHASSIS

Sometimes our recently bought new slot car does not leave the box in perfect condition. They can be aesthetic defects, little scratches, some defects in the tampography... Or sometimes may be defects in the mechanics of the car, which does not allow a proper development on the track. Unfortunately, is not surprising that our new car comes with the chassis twisted by defects in manufacturing or assembly. Fortunately, straighten a slot car chassis is very easy in most cases, for this we need:

  • A flat iron plate
  • Magnets
  • A container where the iron plate would fit

The chassis straightening process is very simple. I will describe it straightening the Audi R8 Scalextric Pro chassis. When was introduced the Audi R8 Scalextric Pro it was a competition-oriented car, it had some interesting features but practically was not seen in the slot club races. For my unit, and although I did not buy it to compete, I proceeded to check the chassis condition, basic aspect in the overhaul of the slot car for competition. After remove completely the mechanics and place the chassis on a flat surface I realized that in its rear right side did not touch the test plate. In the next picture I draw with an arrow the point where the chassis was twisted.

How to straighten a slot car chassis

This test helps us to determine if the chassis is perfectly flat or not. If it is flat, we could continue with the installation of the resto of the mechanical parts. In my case the chassis was twisted so I had to straighten it. To do this I set the chassis on a flat iron plate, thick enough to not bend easily. I have an 8 mm. thick iron plate, so I´m sure it´s enough flat and sturdy. I fasten the chassis to the plate using the magnets I get from my other slot cars, trying to place them so that all the flat surfaces of the chassis touch on the iron plate. In the next picture you can see how I fastened the chassis.

How to straighten a slot car chassis

Once well fastened, I introduced the plate with the chassis attached in a bowl and covered it with hot water. Needless it is boiling but hot enough to soften the plastic chassis and overcome internal tensions of plastic.

How to straighten a slot car chassis

We let the water to get cool, it take approximately 15-20 minutes and extract the chassis from the bowl. We must remove the magnets and proceed to check over the test surface or on the same iron plate if the chassis is sufficiently flat. In the next picture you can see how mine was after the process:

How to straighten a slot car chassis

As can be seen, now the chassis lays flat over the surface, indicating that it was completely flat. Now if we can start to assemble the mechanics knowing that the state of the chassis will not affect (negatively) to the performance of the car on the slot track.

Usually, at the first time we proceed we get a flat enough chassis, but if not we would repeat the same process again.

Finally, two issues to comment. Can we do this process with all the slot chassis? The answer is no, some chassis are not completely flat, with relief or bonded parts that impede the straightening process. This leads to another question, do I have to do this with all my slot cars? Again the answer is no. Just felt good in cases of very obvious defect of the chassis or as a first step in overhauling the car for slot racing. In fact the latter would be the only one case where the process is a must... but we can also go to the store to buy a new chassis, obviously flat.

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SLOT.IT CHASSIS FOR A SRC PORSCHE 907

A few months ago I got some Slot Racing Company Porsche 907 1/32 bodyshells in case to do something with them one day. After few months kept in a box, like so many things that are bought "just in case", I thought the best way of use one of them was fitting it a chassis. At first I thought to find an original chassis to rebuild the car as new, but then I had another idea. As I competed in rallyslot I have a box full of competition spare parts, many of them with limited use and other ones brand new, such as aluminum wheels, engines, engine pods, axles, ball bearing rollers, etc, and decided to use the body to build a racing version of the Porsche 907 taking advantage of those pieces.

As I like the rallyslot I thought to use the body that best fit into the category, and the chosen one was the Porsche 907 K in the livery with Hans Dieter Dechent and Gerhard Koch took part in the 1969 Targa Florio race (reference 00201 Slot Racing Company ), who is this:

Racing chassis for a Porsche 907 Racing chassis for a Porsche 907

This is a picture of the original car in that race. The picture is taken from racelounge.com website. Is a very intersting webpage with a lot of photographs of the races in the 50, 60 and 70´s.

Porsche 907 1969 Targa Florio taken from racelounge.com

I don´t wanted to get complicated with the chassis, so I looked for a commercial chassis with the appropiate wheelbase. Fortunately, the market is full of chassis, some better than others, and I found the Slot.it Alfa Romeo 33/3 chassis (reference CS11t-60b) which fit the dimensions perfectly. That chassis was a lucky find for two reasons:

  • It allowed me the same mechanical arrangement that the scalemodel (rear transverse engine) so I could keept the detailed interior.
  • I could use a Slot.it motor and pod almost new, and other axles and bearings without use from the same manufacturer.
Racing chassis for a Porsche 907

Comparing the Slot.it chassis (right) with the original SRC (left) saw that the wheelbase was virtually the same.

Racing chassis for a Porsche 907

As you can see in the following photos with the new chassis superimposed can be seen that the distance between axles is the ideal and fits perfectly in the wheel archs of the car.

Racing chassis for a Porsche 907 Racing chassis for a Porsche 907

I did not want to touch the body at all, so that any changes would be made on the chassis. The first thing I did was take all necessary measures of the original chassis, wheel axis, position of the fastening holes to the body and transferred to a graph paper template,

Racing chassis for a Porsche 907

...who cut later...

Racing chassis for a Porsche 907

and placed on the chassis to change holding it with clamps to make sure I made the holes for the screws in the right place.

Racing chassis for a Porsche 907

As I said earlier, I did not want to change anything to the body, so I cut the sides of the chassis and supplement the holes where the screws must be to the proper height to fit them to touch with the lugs of the body. In the picture, the arrows point to the studs to which I refer.

Racing chassis for a Porsche 907

Once positioned the chassis near to the body, one can see that the wheelbase was correct, but not the height of the rear axle, and that was too high relative to the inner plane of the chassis so that the rear wheels are too embedded in the body as seen in the picture.

Racing chassis for a Porsche 907

To solve the problem, lower more than a millimeter the engine pod supports to scroll down the engine and rear axle,

Racing chassis for a Porsche 907

with this result:

Racing chassis for a Porsche 907

Thus, the wheels were at a suitable distance from the body. In addition, I put high profile Fly Racing tires that fit perfectly into the aesthetics of the original car.

When I checked the fit of the chassis mounted inside the car, I noticed that the bottom hit in the engine pod and prevented the correct fitting of chassis and body. To fix this, I sand a bit the nerves of the pod and the bottom of the engine, and got a proper fit.

Racing chassis for a Porsche 907 Racing chassis for a Porsche 907

For the wheel rims, I used a 5-spoke wheels resin insert that I have pulled out of a Fly Car Model Porsche 917, adjusted to place inside aluminum wheels.

Racing chassis for a Porsche 907

To give a better look at the wheels, I painted the inside of aluminum wheels with black enamel, the same enamel which had previously painted resin inserts.

Racing chassis for a Porsche 907

Thus, the tires looked much better, with no gray color shown in the interior aluminum wheel through the spokes of the inserts.

Racing chassis for a Porsche 907

And with a coat of black enamel spray and the mechanical components mounted I left finished the chassis.

Racing chassis for a Porsche 907

Some of the mechanical components used were of Slot.it, a small can motor, silicon cover cables, the guides, bearings and axles. Aluminum wheels and gear crown were from MB Slot. The rear tyres are from a Fly Car Model Porsche 911, the choice of these tires is purely aesthetic, since the ideal is to fit a lower profile tires for a better behavior on the track.

The driver of the car was completely decorated but curiously the paint was sticky and stained with dust, so took the paint off completely and decorate it againg:

Racing chassis for a Porsche 907

And to finish decorating the interior, move the extinguisher, in the first time it was stuck to the interior, but when placed within the body, hitted with the chassis and not allow a proper fit, so I removed it and I fastened to the chassis with one of the screws that hold the motor pod.

Racing chassis for a Porsche 907

And the last detail of the chassis was putting on an exhaust pipe as the 907 had, attached to the chassis.

Racing chassis for a Porsche 907

Thus the body and chassis with the interior set was right so the car was completely finished.

Racing chassis for a Porsche 907 Racing chassis for a Porsche 907 Racing chassis for a Porsche 907 Racing chassis for a Porsche 907 Racing chassis for a Porsche 907 Racing chassis for a Porsche 907

As always, the work has been more difficult than expected, but the result has been quite satisfactory. Really, the main complication was leaving the complete interior as it was, because in case of having built a flat tray the chassis fitting would have been perfect from the beginning, with the advantage of being able to change the mechanical layout of the model using the different Slot.it pods has in its catalog, but wanted to leave the tray pilot as it was in the body and I had to make some small modifications, like all the little details are what more work involved.

The behavior of the car on the track in much better than it did with its original chassis. Logically, the dynamic behavior of the Slot.it chassis is very good, and offer lots of regulations, and mechanical possibilities thanks to its interchangeable pods.

I hope you liked the work and above all it has given you ideas for motorize cars that are very nice but they do not behave well on track. In this sense, the potential for improvement is enormous thanks to the number of manufacturers of chassis and competition components that currently exist in the slot world. It could be said that the only limit is the policy of the club where we want to run, because as you can see, the possibilities are enormous. And in this case we did not want to touch the body, because we could have done a job faster by changing the body clamps and changing the interior, but nothing prevents us to, at last, after all, are our cars.

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AVANT SLOT CHASSIS FOR A SLOTER LOLA T290

A few years ago I bought some cars to a friend to make my inventions. One of them was a Sloter Lola T290 that he had tried to strip without much success by dipping the body completely into alcohol, at least I suspect. In some places the painting had taken off the surface but in others it remained strongly attached. In addition, the body elements like aleron, rearview lights, headlights ... were still in place but also had the paint raised in some places, so I say that I suspect that he tried to remove the paint of the slot car completely without disassembling it. Maybe one day I´ll ask him.
This is an image of the car as I bought it:

Avant Slot chassis for a Sloter Lola T290

The car was complete, including mechanics. It included its simple chassis with sidewinder small can motor and pretty double six spoke wheels. In addition, it had to be a racing version, since the interior of the car was a simple lexan blade to which the driver´s helmet was attached, instead of the complete interior mounted by other Lola T290 from the same manufacturer, which included a whole body driver, although the mechanics were of a stantard slot car.

I bought the car without knowing very well what to do with it, but since it was included in a lot of cars that interested me I kept it and I saved it, without more. The time passed, and Avant Slot took out its new chassis for rally cars with independent motor pod, like the ones mounted in the Peugeot 207 or the Renault Alpine A310. In the following image you can see the Alpine A310 chassis I talk about.

Avant Slot chassis for a Sloter Lola T290

I like the slot cars and the Avant Slot mechanical solutions, I think I´ve said it before, and I like to adapt the chassis from one car to another, always looking for decent performance on the track. Sometimes I get it and sometimes I do not. The fact is that looking at the Sloter Lola and the Avant Alpine A310 I realized that the wheelbase of both slot cars was the same, and I quickly came up with an idea "why not adapt the Avant chassis to the Sloter body?". The wheelbase is the same, the chassis of the Alpine is a very good chassis and the body is small and light, so the result could be good.

The following image shows how the wheelbase is the same in both chassis and the original mechanics of Sloter Lola T290.

Avant Slot chassis for a Sloter Lola T290

The first thing I did was cut off the body supports with which it anchored to its original chassis.

Avant Slot chassis for a Sloter Lola T290

The brackets were bolted to the Alpine chassis and carefully re-attached to the body in its new location using Araldit epoxy glue. I also cut the guide support because the Lola´s body is shorter than the Alpine´s and had to delay its position by an inch. In the following image you can see the body supports bolted to the new chassis and the support of the guide separate of the chassis.

Avant Slot chassis for a Sloter Lola T290

To reattach the guide bracket I had to make a hole in the front of the chassis to be able to delay it the centimeter I needed. In order to achieve a strong bond, I attached a carbon fiber triangular reinforcement to its back and hit it again with the same epoxy glue with which I had attached the lugs of the body. In the following image you can also see that the front brackets of the chassis are modified, since I had to make them a little shorter so that the body would not stand up in the front. Because I can´t cut anything of the supports of the body since they were very short, so that I had to lower the height modifying the chassis. They are the disadvantages of working with such small models, the space is very small.

Avant Slot chassis for a Sloter Lola T290

After cutting and delaying the support of the guide another problem arose again, and that is that the guide had been left practically without lateral run, with which the angle of rotation of the car was minimum. So I marked with a pencil the part that I had to modify...

Avant Slot chassis for a Sloter Lola T290

...and with a file cut the part of the chassis that needed so that the guide returned to work properly.

Avant Slot chassis for a Sloter Lola T290

Finally, and taking advantage of the fact that the chassis of Avant has an independent motor pod and suspensions can be fitted, I made in a handmade suspensions, similar to those that there are in the market. From a Din 84 screw of 2 x 12 metric, file about 7 millimeters of thread from the base, leaving in the tip 5 millimeters with thread to be able to place the nuts. In order to do this, I used a lathe-type drill, first using the file and then a 220 grit sandpaper to finish off the piece. Logically they are not perfectly centered since they should be mechanized from a piece, but if they are quite similar to the commercial suspension screws. The next image shows a screw like the one I used and to the right the result after the machining process.

Avant Slot chassis for a Sloter Lola T290

With the work finished on the chassis, I mounted the rest of the mechanical components:

  • Avant Slot inline long can motor pod
  • Slot.it Flat 6 20.500 rpm. long can motor
  • 0132 10 z brass pinion with a 27 z inline crown
  • Avant Slot short guide
  • Scaleauto Monza rims
  • Avant Slot teflon bearings
  • Stainless steel M-2 screws
  • Avant Slot front tires, rear Slot.it F22
  • Homemade manufacture rear suspension

The engine is a Slot.it Flat 6 since a normal long box engine practically touched the inside of the bodywork and the suspension stopped working. Just as it happened when I had to modify the front brackets of the chassis, working with such small cars sometimes makes us have to adopt these types of solutions. Anyway the Flat 6 is a good engine, and also lowers the center of gravity of the car so that if it affects something in the performance of the slot car is probably for good.

Regarding the other components, I preferred to use aluminum wheels instead of the original model, which I like quite a bit, but I preferred to use calibrated material instead of the stock mechanical components. And specifically these Monza Scaleauto rims do not feel bad... The transmission gear 10/27 could be something longer, to increase slightly the top speed of the car but in circuits with short straights is not so usable.

Avant Slot chassis for a Sloter Lola T290

In the following image you can see how the suspensions were mounted. The springs are Slot.it of medium hardness and the red piece is a piece of silicone cable insulation, to make it stop the suspension because it has too much lenght. Also, because it is a silicone sleeve. It is very soft and acts as a shock absorber, instead of being a rigid part.

Avant Slot chassis for a Sloter Lola T290

With the mechanics assembled I coupled the chassis to the body completely disassembled and with the first coat of primer, and the slot car looked like this:

Avant Slot chassis for a Sloter Lola T290

And so I put the car on the track to see if the invention worked. And hey, it works. The times on the new Ministry of Hobby Ninco speed track are somewhat better than those of an stock NSR 917. The guide works very well in conjunction with the pod and the suspensions and is very sure in the changes of direction. The engine has pleasantly surprised me with a very good acceleration, which also influences the 10/27 transmission gear, as I mentioned above with a somewhat longer relationship, 10/26 for example, the car would have slightly more top speed and sure that the times improved in a circuit with straights as long as that of Ministry, but I really like how the car reacts with that transmission. The suspension works very well, I have tried them with "shock absorber" and without it, and the travel stop that makes the sheath of the cable improves the behavior of the chassis. Surely with a more pointy material its performance would be better, but as it is the car performance is fantastic.

You may think that this kind of works does not make much sense at a time when 3DP chassis are the order of the day. There is even a 3DP chassis for this particular model, but I like to do this kind of transformations, it really has not taken much work for me and the result has been very good, much better than I expected. Of course it is much faster to buy a 3DP chassis and assemble the mechanics we choose, but a chassis of this type is not a guarantee of good performance on the track, but Avant Slot chassis guarantee it, even modifying the distance from the guide to the rear axle, as has been in this case.

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