CRASH COURSE

CRASH COURSE

PHOTOS JOEL NAVARRO

UNDERSTANDING SHOCK ABSORBERS

Whether or not you have bought an on-road automotive or an off-road machine, its shock absorbers are integral to its efficiency. With out shocks, off-road RC can be just about unimaginable, and on-road vehicles would not be capable to grip the monitor. They’re essential elements that work exhausting, however they are not exhausting to grasp. And when you know the way they work and what they do, adjusting your shocks’ settings will will let you tune your machine’s journey to fit your terrain and driving model. This is what you’ll want to know.

SHOCK ANATOMY

RC shocks are a “coil over” design: a coil spring is positioned over a damper.

WHAT SHOCK ABSORBERS DO

That is simple. Shock absorbers soak up shocks, proper? Effectively, it is actually the springs that “soak up” the vitality generated by hitting a bump or touchdown off a soar. Springs are additionally very environment friendly at releasing that vitality, as you have found when you’ve ever bounced on a trampoline or pogo stick. What we consider because the “shock absorber” is correctly known as a damper, and its job is to damp the oscillation of the springs that assist the automotive. With out dampers, your automotive (full dimension or RC) would continually bounce and jitter like a bobblehead determine. A shock absorber’s damping motion comes from the resistance of a piston transferring by fluid. Within the case of RC shocks, that fluid is silicone oil. When the damping drive and the spring’s fee are correctly matched, the spring compresses to accommodate jolts, and the damper shortly settles the spring so the automotive does not rebound like a pogo stick.

PISTONS AND SHOCK OIL

Oil-filled shocks permit damping drive to be adjusted in two methods: by altering the scale of the holes within the pistons, and by altering the viscosity (or “thickness” ) of the shock oil. Each strategies alter how a lot drive is required to maneuver the piston by the shock oil. The larger the drive, the larger the damping impact.

PISTONS

The piston with two holes would require extra drive to maneuver by the shock oil than the 3- or 4-hole pistons.

Almost all kits and lots of RTRs embody additional shock pistons for suspension tuning. If you happen to look intently on the pistons, you will discover that they’ve completely different numbers of holes, completely different sizes of holes, or each. The smaller or fewer the holes, the extra drive will likely be required to maneuver the piston by the oil. Typically talking, smaller or fewer holes are higher for touchdown huge jumps, as a result of they may forestall the automobile from bottoming out. Conversely, bigger or extra piston holes improve dealing with response and permit the automobile to soak-up small bumps extra simply. This assumes, nevertheless, that the springs are usually not too agency or too tender for the quantity of damping the shocks present—extra on that later.

SHOCK OIL VISCOSITY

The upper the quantity, the “thicker” the oil.

The best technique to alter damping is by altering the shock fluid. The upper the “weight” variety of the shock oil, the “thicker” it’s and the extra damping it would present. Most vehicles and vehicles arrive with 30-weight oil within the shocks, and you’ll sometimes go as excessive as 40-weight or as little as 20- weight and nonetheless be throughout the damping vary appropriate to your mannequin’s springs. For fantastic tuning, you may mix piston and shock fluid adjustments. As with all suspension tuning, experimentation is essential. However for play driving, all that is is important is that the shocks work!

FOR GENERAL FUN DRIVING, ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS MAKE SURE YOUR SHOCKS ARE FULL OF OIL AND FUNCTIONING PROPERLY. THE MANUFACTURER-SPEC’D SETTINGS ARE NEVER FAR OFF.

PRELOAD AND RIDE HEIGHT

Clip-on spacers (left), threaded collars (heart) and clamping collars are the 3 ways preload could be set. Most RTRs use clip-on spacers, that are goof proof.

Shocks will let you modify the quantity of static stress or “preload” on the spring. This lets you compensate for the quantity the spring compresses underneath the automotive’s weight, and likewise results the automotive’s journey peak (the peak of the chassis over the bottom). Relying on the design of your shocks, preload could also be set by clipping spacers onto the shock physique above the spring, or by threading a collar alongside the shock physique. Much less frequent are collars that clamp across the shock physique tightened by a screw, however some fashions nonetheless use them. When experimenting with preload, make certain to set the left and proper facet shocks equally, or else your automotive will not deal with correctly (on the very least, it would flip extra tightly in a single route than the opposite). Clip-on spacers make it simple to set preload equally—simply put the identical dimension and variety of spacers on every shock. For threaded and clamping collars, measure the gap from the shock cap to the collar to make sure the left- and right-side preload settings are similar.

UNDERSTANDING SPRINGS

The highest coils of those springs are color-coded to point their charges.

What’s there to grasp? It is a spring! True sufficient, however what we’re speaking about is spring fee, or “stiffness.” Spring fee is measured by the quantity of weight required to compress the spring one inch. For instance, a “2 pound” spring would compress one inch when you positioned a 2-pound weight on it. A “3- pound” spring can be stiffer, because it requires extra weight to compress it the identical quantity. Some manufacturers state precise spring charges, different merely label them “tender,” “medium,” and “exhausting” or one thing comparable. For extreme terrain and bigair motion, putting in stiffer springs can assist your automotive or truck higher address these huge hits. Verify the equipment part of your mannequin’s guide for non-compulsory spring units.

LEAKY SHOCKS? REBUILD!

Irrespective of how thrashed out your shocks are, a rebuild equipment could make them carry out like new.

The shocks are arguably the hardest-working elements on any RC automotive. Even on clean terrain, the shocks are continually compressing and rebounding, which ultimately wears out the O-ring seals that forestall oil from leaking previous the shock shaft. Working in soiled, dusty situations quickens this course of. If you happen to discover your shocks are coated with a movie of dust and oil (or worse, they’re moist with oil), it is positively time for brand spanking new seals. All manufacturers supply substitute shock seals, and lots of supply handy rebuild kits that embody the seals in addition to shaft guides, rod ends, pistons, and different elements. You will discover the half numbers for seals and rebuild kits in your guide. Misplaced it? You need to be capable to obtain a replica on-line.

WRAP-UP

Racers spend a whole lot of time getting the shocks and comes good for the situations of the day, however for normal enjoyable driving, all you’ll want to do is make sure that your shocks are stuffed with oil and functioning correctly. The manufacturer-spec’d settings are by no means far off for fun-running, however if you wish to arrange for greater jumps, rougher (or smoother) terrain, or alter dealing with, adjustments to damping, spring fee, and preload/journey peak can dramatically have an effect on your journey. Experiment!

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