NEW RC SETUP
So, you just got a new RC car - how do you know what sort of a setup to run?
Simple answer: you don’t. You haven’t driven it yet.
Every car is different, and every driver is different. So what works for one driver most likely doesn’t work for another.
So what you really want for a new ride is a neutral setup. It’s easier to drive, and will be more forgiving while you get a feel for the car itself. Most of the time, the suggested setup in the manual is in fact the most neutral setting. Don’t get crazy about the hot setup you found online, because it may set you back in the opposite direction that you want to go. But that’s a tricky thing too. Setup out of the box isn’t necessarily neutral either. Put in YOUR batteries, YOUR electronics, YOUR tires on it, and then it’s time to check your car to see whether it’s neutral and how to fix it.
Nine times out ten, your ride height will be off once your gear is installed. Check all of your angles to see that they match what the recommended settings are. Make notes! Write everything down, so that when you do make a change, you have a frame of reference to go back to. There’s nothing worse than changing a camber angle and having it make your car drive worse, and not remembering where you started.
Jerad’s initial setup idea is awesome. Take a piece of plywood (or similar surface with a little grip that allows the tires to slide) and set your car on it. Pick up the plywood and tilt it slowly to the side. If the front of the car slides first, your car will drive tight, meaning it has less front traction, If the rear of the car slides first, your car will drive loose, meaning it has less rear traction. If both tires slide the same - congratulations - you car is balanced! Repeat this process several times, as you may end up with a false result because you’re human and that’s just how things go. The closer you get to a balanced state, the harder that gets.
The basic rule of thumb in this is to add weight to the end that slides first. If your front slides first, move the battery forward. If it still slides, then raise the rear ride height. For the rear, it’s the same thing.
So once your car is balanced, it’s time to drive. Get a feel for how the car reacts. Start slow, and strive for consistency. It makes no difference how a car is setup if you aren’t doing the same thing every lap. So once you have the feel of the car, start to experiment with the car. Punch the throttle, and see how it reacts. Do the same with the brakes. Try approaching a corner fast, then try the same corner with a slower approach and faster exit.
The single best tool you can have at this point is a way to time your laps. Get a feel for what makes the car faster or slower. Just because you think you want more steering, it might actually make you slower!
When it’s time to start making changes, the easiest thing to adjust is your weight bias, and the easiest way to accomplish that is to move your battery. It is the single heaviest component in your car, and moving it creates the most change. Try it full forward, full rear, centered. Make notes of how it affects your lap times. Once you've found you sweet spot, leave it there!