Monday, April 18, 2011

F1 Long-term review: the fixes (part 3)

3) Steering consistency. Few things are more annoying than a wandering center. The Mini-Z F1 chassis has a great servo saver, but it could use some work. If you notice any sticking, give it a good polish and lube on the mating surfaces. The big e-clip at the end can also hang up a little on the inside of the top cover. I like to sand down the edges and the overall diameter to ensure that nothing binds. Finally, if nothing seems to be working, try a new one. Servo savers can wear out or just be bad.

If you've raced F1 for a while, you've broken a plastic tie rod. This isn't the servo saver's fault, as the wheel is actually being ripped past the travel stop. The servo saver does it's job and saves the gears, but the tie rod or knuckle often can't take the load. You've got to use aluminum tie rod and knuckles. I like the 3Racing tie rods since they have a smooth finish. The old Kyosho aluminum knuckles were the best, but they've been discontinued and replaced by the R246 versions with the brake disks. These are essentially the same as the 3Racing aluminum knuckles, so you might want to give those a try. Camber plays a role here and less tends to give you more turn in.

Now if you've ever tried to install an aluminum tie rod, chances are you've broken those little tabs on the chassis. Don't bother replacing them with an aluminum holder, none of them work particularly well. I've spent time filing and sanding, and they all stick. While I've run with the tabs broken, I like stabilizing the tie rod a little more. The trick is to just go ahead and trim the front of the tabs, so you can slip the aluminum tie rod in, but they still support the tie rod from underneath. This keeps the tie rod operating on an even plane, so that the knuckle pins have a good contact surface. Aluminum on aluminum can bind once dirty, so a little lube here keeps the steering nice and smooth.

Another random tip I learned was to "screw" the front springs into the knuckles. The knuckles on the F1 have very tight tolerances for the springs, and I have chased setup for a while with one spring not seated all the way in the knuckle, essentially preloading one corner. Speaking of preload, make sure you've got enough preload on the springs to prevent the front bumper or wing from dragging. I do a lot of work filing the bumper mounting points to bring it up to the wing, but even the wing level can drag at times as the weight transfers forward on entry. If you are getting an initial push, chances are you are dragging something in the front.

No comments: