SCX Renault 5 Turbo

SCX Renault 5 Turbo

Postby wixwacing » Mon 14 Jul, 2008 10:36 pm

SCX RENAULT 5 TURBO

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By Phil Wicks

I have been having a bit of a soul search with SCX cars just recently simply because they were once a force to be reckoned with on the average home track but of late several other manufacturers have overtaken them in quality AND performance! If nothing else, SCX could once show a clean pair of heels to most makes on the twisty and tortuous circuits of the average family home.

Now, with other manufacturers improving the quality of their finish and the performance of their traction magnets, there is little left for them to do, now it’s SCX’s turn to upgrade and first item for the chop should be the motor. I don’t have a problem with the RX series of motors. They are very torquey, long arm motors which run well, although they do have a quality problem with this series of motors, especially in the commutator area!



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The main problem, though, is they don’t have the top end! They are short of a couple of thousand revs to be competitive against Scaleys and Nincos etc. On board tracks the simple solution is to put a Ninco 10z pinion on the motor and Bob is almost your uncle but on plastic this is just a little too much of a measure and acceleration becomes the first victim when trying to haul a model and magnet along the rails. The Pro Turbo range of motors fall short too. They just manage to scrape into the Scalextric ‘S’ can league but are still outside when it comes to the Ninco NC5 motors. There is no other solution, in able to race these models well against their peers, they need a new motor. The purchase of a replacement is possible but this would put the price of the model up by another $20.00 or so and make the whole operation more costly. To keep their place amongst the top manufacturers, their models should come with a competitive motor, end of story!

Having said all that, because of the inconsistency of their RX series of motors, it is quite possible to buy a model with an RX41 which absolutely flies!! I have a blue CLK Mercedes DTM which is phenomenal on plastic and also a Citroen Xsara. Both these models will outrun a standard Scalextric ‘S’ can but they are few and far between. I had an SCX Ferrari 575 which wouldn’t pull a greasy stick from the proverbial and no amount of treatment including com truing and brush sanding would coax it to go any faster! That ended up on ebay.



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Well, an opportunity arose to obtain the recently released Renault 5 Turbo and with the aid of a couple of good friends and bush telegraph I recently became the owner of this cute little model. Last Friday at the Red Team’s clubhouse saw them duly unpacked after an 11.00 pm dash. The delay was caused by new Red Team member John’s late return after an interstate visit, and presumably, after carrying out husbandly formalities, he made his way ‘hot foot’ to the Red Team HQ with the Renaults and other goodies in tow. Well done John, a true ‘Red Team’ gesture!

So at a lot of minutes past eleven P.M. a couple of Renault Five Turbos were on the track and running and after the initial thrill of the novelty I made a few mental notes of its drivability.

The five took to board immediately, its wide rear axle width certainly contributes to its very sturdy cornering ability and the SCX ribbed tyres imparted a fair degree of grip although they didn’t stick the model down as some tyres, especially slicks, do. But mostly, I couldn’t help noticing that my model may well have one of the freak motors in it as described above. The model snaps out of corners and is away at top speed very quickly. Corner exit and straight line speed being barely discernibly different from a Scalextric model (I suspect the 19 mm wheels contributed to this). Lap times showed the model was really travelling as fast as it appeared. 7.8’s were the average and this was a model straight from the box. I was looking forward to stage two and three tuning but this was going to be next week as midnight had come and gone by now, and so had John!



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Over the weekend at home I decided to take off the top and give the beast the once over. Firstly, a quick look round the outside and a few faults not expected of SCX were noted. In general the model is finished well. The body base colour is white and the black and beige have almost certainly been tampo’d on. The front wheel arches though have some very uneven ripply paintwork to the front top edges and there are what appear to be dust specs in the very thick lacquer coat. The tampo text and logos are good though and are up to what are acceptable standards. The inside is only sparsely detailed as it is a half driver tray but we do get a roll cage and minimum driver detail. Once again, the smothers Brothers appear to be driving!

Further exterior detail includes some well modelled wipers front and rear, a vulnerable door mirror on the left side and the obligatory roof aerial. This, no doubt, will be short lived. It already has an ominous kink in it! The tampo depicts the livery of the Renault DIAC finance company team car as raced in the ‘Rallye de France’ in 1984 by Francois Chatriot and co-piloted by Michel Perin.



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Lastly, on its original late night test drive, both I and my colleagues couldn’t help observing how well the lights worked. These are almost on a par with the Scalextric Mk 1 Escort! The LED’s have been well placed in the front of the model and they literally throw a beam down the track in front of the model! The front spotlights, too, illuminate brightly and I only hope they continue to do so for many laps to come! The rear lights also are very bright and when run without brakes, the model displays almost continual lighting, much like the Escort. With the track parity controls we have, I’m sure we will successfully set the Escorts up to run with these models in low light / track lighting situations. SCX have come on board with their lighting modules and this model has a neat little board fixed under the bonnet area and another at the rear. Light bleed through the body is minimal and barely noticeable when the model is running.



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Moving inside the model via four body screws we can see a tried and tested layout. An RX 41 motor in ‘in-line’ position. The front axle clips straight into the body and is fixed, no up/down movement. The guide is the now standard self centring guide system which appears to be trouble free on my other models, although, it does still have an excessive side to side movement in my opinion. The motor is mounted in the standard brackets. In most SCX models this is sufficient to hold the motor tight but on this model the motor is actually loose and will need gluing!? Finally, a standard rear axle and contrate firmly fixed in brass bearings. No problems here, or is there?



The gears were particularly noisy on initial test (what’s new!) so I decided to run them in when the body came off. I applied a liberal coat of Tamiya Fine polish compound to the contrate and set the power supply to low to reduce the amount of polish being thrown about. When the motor ran, it was clearly visible that the rear axle was bent, unmistakably. As it wasn’t too severe and it wasn’t causing the wheels to wobbly much, I decided to leave it in for now and complete all the other tests first before replacing it. The motor was run slowly for several minutes and light pressure was applied to the rear wheels to load the gear. The polish was refreshed a couple of times and in a short while the mesh was sounding sweeter and eventually the gear was washed off and re lubed with vaseline. Even without load, the noise generated was a great deal less than before bedding the gears in.


The drivers tray was checked out for looseness and bad heat welds but these seemed fine and no further action was taken. The body was refixed to the chassis and screwed down ready for its next sortie out on the track.


Its first outing was at a friends Classic Scalextric track. This is a very tortuous track and requires a lot of down force. In anticipation I screwed the magnet holder out until it touched the conductor rails, then, a quarter of a turn at a time I track tested the model and readjusted the magnet upwards. Finally I reached a spot where the model clung on for dear life but its forward progress was not impeded. The model is ultra quick on short circuit plastic tracks and must be a match for most all else. Bigger tracks with lengthy straights may well reveal its Achilles heel. The model worked well with the deeply grooved tyres and deslots were semi rollovers i.e. the model would start to tip over but once the guide was clear of the slot, it would straighten up on its way through the landscaping, a classic example of a good magnet ‘letting go’


Next outing was to my favourite medium, the local 21 metre board track. Still in ‘straight out of the box’ condition (with the exception of the bedded contrate), I placed it on an already well used track and set off on some exploratory laps. The model was very ‘taily’ but was total predictable. After a dozen laps or so it was evident that the tyres were bedding in too. Best lap time dropped from 8.8’s down to an eventually hard to better 8.437. Next was stage two. The tyres took a light sanding and the chassis was loosened a little to allow a bit more body movement and to de-stress the chassis. This is not 100% achievable as the contacts for the lights are fixed to the body and are in permanent contact with the models internal conductor rails. Any one familiar with SCX will no the only alternative is to bent the contacts upward to detach them from the chassis. In this case I left them in situ and carried on the testing.


The best time dropped to 8.268 and that was were it stuck. I’ve head better SCX times than this and was a bit puzzled. The model was making great straight line progress and I could only surmise that the corners were coming unstuck, so it was on to stage three!


Stage three saw the model have the tyres quickly sanded and some CRC (WD40) applied and dried. Immediately the corners came good and the model was travelling at a better rate. Several fast laps later the best lap dropped to 7.964 and levelled out at that. Still not as fast as it looked to be travelling, but not too bad. This time puts it well down the ladder in my comparison chart and I was hoping for better. A further lengthy run allowed me to study it a bit closer. Even with cleaned tyres the model had a slightly tail out attitude in the corners. I came to the conclusion that the deeply grooved tyres were not helping the situation and the model may well benefit from slicks on the rear. These tyres are not regular SCX fare and replacements may well take a bit of searching for!



Statistics


Wheelbase 76.0 mm
Front Axle width 51.5 mm
Rear axle width 55.0 mm
Weight 81.0 grams
Front axle/guide load 33.0 grams
Rear axle load 48.0 grams
Front/Rear weight dist 41% / 59%
Pinion 9z
Contrate 27z
Final drive ratio 3 : 1
Rear wheel diameter 19 mm



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What can be said! A nice model, but still the same old faults of yesteryear. The guides are still sloppy, the gears are still noisy and the motors are still inconsistent and slow. A word of warning Mr SCX!!

Mr. TEAMSLOT IS CATCHING YOU UP!!
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When I'm not racing slotcars,
I'm out in the back yard, burning food!!

When I win, it's because of my talent, not my car or my controller!
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