Loose screws

Squeezing out those last few tenths

Loose screws

Postby wixwacing » Sat 19 Jul, 2008 12:10 am

It is the trend to slacken off the body screws on a lot of slotcars to help with handling. This is achieved by decoupling unsprung body weight from the chassis/pick up guide so that during cornering the body is allowed to move a little independently of the chassis, therefore reducing the disturbance between guide and rails and wheels and tracks. Another plus is that with chassis screws loose it distresses the driveline and allows a bit more give between components and reduces binding incidents. A third advantage is to allow the chassis of cars using traction magnets to bow a little more, therefore allowing the magnet closer to the rails and increasing magnetic traction. A forth plus is that with the majority of cars it will quieten them noticeably.

But to every plus there is usually a minus and the biggest one is the loss of loosened screws!! More than once on plastic track I have had cars loose velocity in a race for no apparent reason until removed from the track. There fore sure is somebody else’s body screw stuck to the magnet and shorting the rails or jacking it out of the slot. Other times screws wedge in the track and after deslotting five times on the same section of track a hapless marshall points out there is a screw in the slot! Good on yer.

Some people recommend blue tack in the holes, not a good idea as this becomes messy and can also counter the reason for loosening the screws in the first place. Some clubs insist on some kind of tape over the screw holes. This works fine but it doesn't always stop a screw coming out completely behind the tape leaving a body rattling in the breeze. One of the remedies I prefer is when at home tuning cars I dip the screws into clear acrylic lacquer and then thread them into position. After the paint has dried the body needs to be moved to free off the paint in the chassis hole. This allows the screws to be painlessly removed at a later date with no adverse affect.

Also it is fairly essential that the body does float freely. This is hard to achieve sometimes as the sides of the screws catch on the body holes. This can be achieved with the aid of a small drill set in 1/64th or 0.5mm increments. The chassis hole can be taken out to the next drill size giving the screw unimpeded movement.

Finally, in the eventuality you drop loose a screw, the solution is also fairly simple. Most busy tracks have a pot with all the bits that have fallen off at a meeting in them. There's sure to be five or six screws in there. The final solution is to dig out some of those old audio cassettes from the seventies and eighties. A lot of the better brands will have four or five 2 gauge screws holding them together. Trim to size and Bob's your uncle!
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