SCX VOLVO S60R

SCX VOLVO S60R

Postby wixwacing » Mon 14 Jul, 2008 11:54 pm

SCX VOLVO S60R


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By Phil Wicks


I spent many years as a Volvo technician in the eighties and nineties and it was inevitable that something would rub off! Their product has long been the epitome of reliability and safety even though they may not have appealed to a section of society. They were amongst the first to fit ground breaking technology to their production line models, such things as three point seat belts, side intrusion bars and high level brake lights being a few items now universally adopted . Today they make a modest range of vehicles and the fact that people still want to race them is proof enough they can still cut it.


From an Australian perspective, the 444’s and Amazons (120’s) appeared successfully in the Rally scene of the 50’s and sixties. During the seventies, Volvo Australia imported a small number of their forward control ‘all terrain’ vehicles (4WD’s) for evaluation by the Army. Also in the seventies, Volvo production started at the Nissan complex in Melbourne. The cars were assembled from CKD (complete knock down) kits that came from Sweden. This was to increase the local content of the model and reduce some of the punitive taxes accrued by full imports. Most Volvos were available in Nissan colours and it was only the top of the range models like the 260’s and the GLE’s that came fully assembled. The last ‘Round Australia’ trial in the late seventies across 22,000 kilometres of some of the most rugged terrain in the world saw Volvo take second place overall and first, second and fourth in their class.



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The eighties saw Australian Touring car racing enter a new phase with some of the finest cars in the world taking to the track. Memorable occasions were the titanic struggles involving the black Jim Richards BMW, the George Fury Nissan turbo, The Peter Brock Commodore, the Dickie Johnson Mustang and..................... You’ve guessed it, the phenomenal Robbie Francevic Volvo 240 Turbo. Man and car proved that nobody, but nobody was going to push them around on the track and after an exciting season, the Volvo took out the 1986 Australian Touring Car championship by a mere 5 points. Brock and Johnson were gobsmacked and Volvo Australia dealer team, a main sponsor, was elated.

The nineties were the turbo years and Australian motor sport was dominated by the Sierras, If you were driving anything else you were almost an ‘also ran' but in the back ground Volvo were keeping their end up. The previous years European touring cars appeared in the ATCC series and firstly the 850 and latterly the S40 both had success in the hands of their Aussie drivers. Even Bathurst saw the International Teaming strategy take Volvos to victory.

The Ford motor company eventually became major shareholder in Volvo Cars AB and at their insistence, motorsport participation at a factory level came to a halt. It has been left to privateers and the faithful few to carry on the Volvo tradition. Dealer teams have been the mainstay of support but technical development has been left to the private sector. In spite of this, Volvo can still turn a good wheel and their five cylinder engine is used in several sporting applications. The most notable one being a variation of the Rally Ford Focus’.



So, back to the model, two stigmas in one, SCX, not the first choice of the hardened campaigner, except me, maybe!! I have taken great delight in the past from tuning SCX cars to their peak and then beating Fly and Scaley owners, to their chagrin!! And Volvo!! Also not the first choice of many who can afford them. But the two together!’ what immoral and unpalatable havoc could I reek by tuning and winning with one of these??? The challenge is ON!!!

I was hanging out for another model when this on appeared in SCALEXWORLD (Adelaide) website. They were already holding my Xmas present for me and so I decided to combine the postage and get the model. A nicely presented model of the Volvo S60R 2006 Swedish Touring car entry

The model looked OK from the box and the blue and white livery was pleasant enough. A quick look round showed this to be a typical SCX model from the outside and the rear wing and door mirrors looked as if they would last about five minutes!! Again, another SCX wobbly guide. Come on guys, when are you going to fix this. It isn’t a big deal when magnet racing but it’s not so hot for board tracks. This amount of side slop can contribute to premature and unexpected understeer deslotting when hitting corners hard. We’ve been putting up with this for too long now Mr SCX!


Other than that, the tyres and wheels are good and true. The tyres are SCX slicks and I rate these highly over several types of track surfaces. I had to check the motor/axle tray movement as in the past, the rear tyres on certain models have fouled the rear wheel arches with detrimental consequences, but no! All ok here, but the tolerance is mighty fine! Inside the car I checked out the usual SCX assemblies. The front axle is rigid and fixed, the days of the floating front axle look to be over and I don’t have a problem with this. The guide is the standard fare, with return spring and flexible conductor strips. When I first encountered this idea a few years back I was a bit apprehensive but it doesn’t seem to hinder the cars progress. Some racers hot wire the lead wires to the braid and dispense with the copper strips but as already mentioned I haven’t had problems. The braids, on the other hand, can have a habit of sliding sideways out of the guide and loosing contact. The tip here is to ensure the braid is dead flat were it passes over the guide in the contact area. Failing this, a small spot of superglue under the braid and a grip with some small pliers sees the braid fixed securely to the guide.



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The motor ‘pod’ idea is a couple of years old now but closer inspection reveals that the Volvo pod differs from earlier models. SCX have updated it from the front and rear swivel idea to a fully floating pod!! The old pod basically had a moulded pin front and rear on the pod on which the pod swivelled axially side to side. The new idea incorporates two pins front and two pins rear on the pod. These locate in elongated holes on the chassis proper and allow the pod to float a little more. Testing and racing showed that it had no bad habits and indeed, it felt more tractable in the corners with the weight of the body being decoupled from the chassis whilst cornering, allowing the chassis to get on with the job of hanging on without the interference of minor track undulations on the total model weight.


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Well done Mr SCX, we ARE taking notice!

I am happy with the pod layout too, the RX42 motor is firmly held in place and there are no immediate thoughts of plugging the glue gun in! The ball mount axle journals are a snug fit and everything is straight. Unlike my experience with the Alfa 156!! I will observe though, that the screw heads for the traction magnet are very small and inaccessible, and soft!! Unless you use the finest of Phillips bits you run the risk of turning out the head of the two screws, these are quite stiff in the mounting which is good but a blunt screwdriver could see it all end in tears!

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There are five screws holding the chassis to the body and once upon a time I would have considered this excessive but with the new motor pod, I really can’t see any reason to run the chassis loose? Inside the body, the drivers tray is quite firm, no rattles here! And the new style lighting boards are fixed securely. This model has great lights, again, as with their other new releases, the lights are the forward facing 3mm led type. They throw heaps of forward light and my main criticism would be that there is a noticeable amount of light bleed through the body behind the headlights. It looks like a few minutes with a paint brush, silver paint and grey primer will be called for here. As with other current models, if you use this model in a ‘No brakes’ situation, the reverse emf generated by the motor on overrun has been diverted back into the lighting system and as a consequence, you can have full lights all the time the motor is spinning.


Well, that’s about it from the ergonomic point and all that is left is to put it on the blackstuff and evaluate its current and potential usefulness. The first track outing was a local enthusiast and neighbour’s Scalextric plexitrac layout. A two lane layout with twist and turn aplenty and the undoing of many a gun racer!! The first impression was the quietness of this SCX car, not the norm?? Not dead quiet either but noticeably quieter than many an SCX car before it! So that was pleasing. Next I started to up the pace a bit and in its SOOB condition it was going to hang on. Getting faster and faster on the familiar track, I was soon lapping at race speeds and the model hadn’t sprung any surprises on me yet. Eventually the first deslot came in the Goodwood chicane, the car was ‘shaken’ from the slot by the rapid right left, left, right of this piece of vintage Scalextric track. The next deslot came a little while later at the end of the main straight. This was an under steer deslot possibly partly attributable to the sloppy guide. Other than that, the model behaved respectably and I was pleasantly surprised by the turn of speed from the motor.


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Its next outing was at the local slot shop, a six lane Carrera track which favours no make! The low magnetic properties of the stainless steel conductor rails calls for absolute attention to tyres and magnets. With the magnet set to barely skim the track, the model sailed around in the high sixes. A good performance by any standard. Also, as the drive wore on, the motor gained more and more speed until eventually, with its higher corner exit speed, it was only marginally slower on the main straight than the Scalextric cars.

Final testing was to be on the unbiased red lane of the Red Team’s home track. 21.7 metres of flowing board and some tricky drivers sections making it a well balanced track. All that is needed is a bit of speed, and a bit of skill!
So, during a lull in racing I took the opportunity of putting the model on red lane and setting it off on its first board track outing. Having been racing for a couple of hours it was only a couple of laps before the model was flat chat. The audible fastest lap caller was telling me of each successive hot lap until about a further ten laps had passed and I could go no faster. Not bad, but not earth shattering. A quickest lap of 7.893 told me that on board, this model needed to show a leg, or two. But, not having altered anything from the box despite two outings I was still optimistic that it would come good.


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The tyres took a light sanding and vital oil was supplied to the bearings. A smidgen of Tamiya fine cutting paste was applied to the contrate and I set about doing some steady lapping. The paste was topped up a couple of times in the next few minutes and eventually the contrate was cleaned and relubed. This time I gave the rear tyres the CRC (WD40) treatment and back on to red lane it was. Lap counters reset I pushed off and got into stride immediately. Once again the fastest lap indicator called out almost lap after lap until once again I was at max and another ten laps or so passed without a call. Looking up, the race manager showed a fastest lap of 7.481 secs. This puts it in the thick of the overall lap time chart and almost at the front of the SCX group. So, not so dusty. It’s forte will definitely be as a plastic track car and it may well shine on the more tortuous tracks and home circuits. I think it’s worth persevering with it if only to put the wind up the Fly and Scaley drivers!


Statistics



Wheelbase........................ 84.5 mm
Front axle width................. 57.0 mm
Rear axle width.................. 57.3 mm
Overall weight................... 86.0 grams
Front axle load.................. 33.0 grams
Rear axle load................... 53.0 grams
Weight distribution............. 38% / 62%
Pinion................................. 9z
Contrate............................. 27z
Final drive ratio.................. 3 : 1
Rear wheel diameter......... 20.0 mm
Motor................................. RX42



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I quite like this model but then, on this rare occasion, I am biased towards the depicted model because of my previous connections. But I will admit this is the first SCX model in a while that hasn’t been too handicapped. I still consider the motor is an issue with these and having a quicker motor as an upgrade isn’t good enough. The model should be coming with an 18.000 rpm rated motor from the factory. The guide, what can we say!!!!!! I can improve the original by simply reducing the slack in the self centring mechanism, but I’m a modeller and have the tools and techniques at my fingertips. Others may not find it so easy. So, keep the ball rolling Mr SCX. We’ve got this far..... lets take one extra step! Hmmm!
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