This lesson is all about shocks. There are a lot possibilities to setup your shocks and some mistakes on shock setups can cause an almost uncontrollable car. You have to understand what springs can do but also the oil, droop and shock position has massive effects on the driving characteristics of your RC car. Let us start with the lesson below and getting a truck where you are confident in driving!
1. Estimate the track
If you want to go faster, it is important to estimate the track situation. Most of the tracks are changing during the day when there is so much action. Starting on a flat track and ending on a bumpy track means a lot of mechanic skills between the races. Take your time to adjust the car, but no worries with the steps we will describe below it's much easier!
2. Shock positions
The shock towers on the Losi have the ability to change the position of your shocks. A more vertical shock (outer position on the tower) is able to work easier and results in a much more responsive truck. On a bumpy and technical track, this position is the best.
Changing the position to the inside of the tower creates a more forgiving and less responsive truck. Driving on a large and wide track you can choose this configuration.
Droop is the amount of travel of your shocks. In other words, it is the length from the top shock mount to the center of the bottom shock screw. You can adjust the droop with the 8mm screw that holds the suspension arms from the chassis plate, known as the droop screw.
A longer travel on the front, more droop, means you get more response on the steering when you are on throttle. Your wheels have more grip and response on bumpy tracks. Longer front travel, more droop, also affects the rear of your truck as it has more roll when you apply the throttle. A longer travel on the rear, more droop, increases the off power steering and is useful on tight tracks. This is because the front of your car is able to roll more when you are releasing the throttle. Generally longer droop is very useful on bumpy tracks, it gives you more traction. On large and flat tracks it is better to choose less droop because this is gives you more steering when you are on throttle.
In common longer droop is very useful on bumpy tracks, it is given you much more traction. But on large and flat tracks it's better to choose less droop because this is given you more steering when you are on throttle.
4. Shock Oil
You have different thicknesses of shock fluids to choose from. Lighter oil (lower number) allows the shocks to respond much quicker and creates more chassis roll. This can be helpful on bumpy tracks where the car needs to catch itself when it gets into a deep hole.
Heavier oil (higher number) reacts slower and creates less chassis roll. On smooth tracks, it is a better to choose heavier oil because your truck is easier to drive.
Your Losi comes standard with blue springs. These springs are soft and gives the truck more traction, the challenge is that the truck is able to roll over quick when the suspension is heavily loaded. You can change the springs with the upgrades from Losi. The thickness of the springs is related to the color. Red is a thicker than the blue springs and the orange is thicker than the red springs.
When you apply thicker springs on the front it gives you more steering but it reacts slower. Stiffer front springs makes the vehicle more responsive. A thicker spring on smooth tracks and thinner on technical tracks is the way to go for the front.
Softer rear springs can be very helpful on rough tracks but the negative is that the chassis will bottom out easier. Softer springs will hamper the ability of jumping. Therefore, on smooth tracks with jumps it is better to choose firmer springs on the rear of your car.
6. Ride height
It is important to keep your chassis level. Place the truck on a flat surface and turn the threaded collars on the shocks evenly so both the front and rear of the car are leveled evenly. You can judge this with your eyes, the pro's are using a ride height gauge (picture below) to get the car fully straight.
This tutorial is part of the five 'Back 2 the Basics' lessons written by:
Todd Hodge (Surface Category Development Manager Team Losi Racing / TLR)
Ralf van Hattum (TLR Team Driver and founder Planet Losi Racing)
All Back 2 the Basics lessons can be found here.