Scalextric Trans-Am Tuning!

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Scalextric Trans-Am Tuning!

Postby dreinecke » Sun Sep 29, 2013 10:54 pm

When Scalextric first released their Trans-Am Camaros and Mustangs in 2002 they had a major hit on their hands. Thousands of these cars were sold and became a staple in many clubs and basements. The 1969 Penske Camaro made me jump from HO to 1:32 in a heartbeat.

While excellent on plastic track, they do require a few minutes of tuning to run really well on wood - at least on my track. Chatter in corners is common as is sliding if you keep the stock tires.

This quick write up is simply how I do my cars to make them run the way I like: smooth and quiet. I will warn you that I'm a stock-parts kind of person, so the only non-stock parts you'll see are Paul Gage tires - PGT-21104 to be exact. These are for all Scalextric USA Classics- Trans Am Mustang/Camaro/Corvette L88/Ford GT40, Ferrari 330 P4 series cars and all GT wheels with 4mm ridge on center of wheel - 21x10x4 if you like measurements.

I must also warn you that my method DOES require some semi-serious trimming of the chassis - particularly cutting off valances, etc. So, if that is not an option for you, simply move along - nothing here to see!

With the disclaimers out of the way, lets get started!

I start by disassembling the car as normal. I remove the interior as well since we'll be doing a little work on that in a few minutes. Remove the rear axle, front axle, and motor.

Once bare, I cut off the rear valance portion. Why? Float - plain and simple. Scalextric cars are bound up worse than a non-acclimated visitor to an HRW BBQ:
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I glue the valance to the rear of the car in the correct location:
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I then hot glue the motor in place and trim the chassis sides all around except the front valance. I have a disk sander that lets me get nice, straight sanding lines.
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I then ream the chassis screw holes out just enough as I want the chassis to float when I back the screws off later. I usually use a 3/32 drill bit in a pin-vise to do this. A round rat-tail file works just as well.

I then true the wheels and tires on my tire truing machine. I glue the PPG tires on with clear nail polish and let them sit for an hour to dry first. I then reinstall the axle with the now-sanded tires and work to get the slop out of the rear bushings using the oil and glue trick. I always make sure I get oil inside the bushing before doing this step. I use a setup block to run the car for a few minutes while this sets up. I also check for side-to-side play in the axle and add a spacer if needed. I use craft glue like Modge-Podge to glue the bushings into the chassis. This allows me to remove them later if I need to without breaking the chassis. Hot water will help them release if needed at that time.

I use a toothpick with white paint to simulate the white tire letters and test the chassis on the track. Weight can be added if needed, but I find I usually don't need much if any on my track. I like to check for chatter and overall smooth driving at this point with just the chassis on the track. Any adjustments can be easily made.

Once done, I shave the bottom of the interior as it tends to attach to the chassis by screws (1970 Camaro) or by design (1969 Mustang). This helps with the float and any possible binding. In the case of the Mustang, I shave the interior flat on my disk sander - don't worry, it may look ugly underneath, but you'll never see it from inside:
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I then lubricate and reassemble the car and back the screws off about 1 - 1 and a 1/2 turns. Once satisfied with the amount of float, I use some tape to cover the screw holes - nothing sucks worse than loosing a screw during a race!

Here's the Camaro finished:
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Even with the front valance in place, I get plenty of float and the car is smooth and quick now.

The 1969/1970 Mustangs are similar, but there are two differences: the rear valance is a bit bigger, and the front bumper needs to be glued to the body in order for this to work. I trim the sides of the chassis just like the Camaro:
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Tape up the holes:
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Done!
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I also treat my older cars that I'm tuning to a nice washing and coat of wax. After all this work, I relax at the track and enjoy a nice, quiet, fast drive with my favorite cars.
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Re: Scalextric Trans-Am Tuning!

Postby TuscoTodd » Mon Sep 30, 2013 6:37 am

Thank you for the detailed tutorial!
:D
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Re: Scalextric Trans-Am Tuning!

Postby HomeRacingWorld » Mon Sep 30, 2013 7:08 am

Nice work indeed.

Thanks for posting.
-Harry

"They didn't say you couldn't" - Smokey

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Re: Scalextric Trans-Am Tuning!

Postby dreinecke » Mon Sep 30, 2013 9:43 am

Hope it helps someone.
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Re: Scalextric Trans-Am Tuning!

Postby Dangermouse » Tue Oct 15, 2013 5:55 am

thanks David most helpful

"nothing sucks worse than loosing a screw during a race!"

well actually hitting said screw drop by another driver does :)
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Re: Scalextric Trans-Am Tuning!

Postby indidragracer » Tue Oct 15, 2013 7:54 am

Instead of the oil and glue trick on the rear bearings, try to get hold of the sport version rear axle assy. This has black bearings, not so sloppy as the plastic ones.
The sweetness of low E.T. is long forgotten before the bitterness of bad R.T.
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Re: Scalextric Trans-Am Tuning!

Postby Nor Cal Mike » Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:41 am

indidragracer wrote:Instead of the oil and glue trick on the rear bearings, try to get hold of the sport version rear axle assy. This has black bearings, not so sloppy as the plastic ones.


Do they make a Sport axle assembly with matching Panasport wheels? I have never seen them.
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Re: Scalextric Trans-Am Tuning!

Postby dreinecke » Thu Oct 17, 2013 5:37 pm

Good idea on the Sport rear end assembly. I was simply trying to show what can be done with stock parts but that is a good option as well.
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Re: Scalextric Trans-Am Tuning!

Postby Williams1153 » Fri Oct 18, 2013 5:27 am

Hey guys, great forum! I have the same Camero and cut the rear valance off. What a difference it made. I have a question. I've read several times about gluing the Scaley motors. Is there more than meets the eye or is it that simple? I thought I read something about angling the motor but no detail was given. Any help would greatly be appreciated.Tks...Bob
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Re: Scalextric Trans-Am Tuning!

Postby Nor Cal Mike » Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:10 am

People sometimes shift the motor slightly to regain proper gear mesh when they don't get the proper gear diameters when changes are made but I see no other advantage or reason to angle the motor. If you use stock parts as David uses here, gear mesh should not be an issue. Gluing the motor simply secures it so it cannot rock or lift in its mounting flanges.
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Re: Scalextric Trans-Am Tuning!

Postby dreinecke » Sat Oct 19, 2013 7:52 am

Williams1153 wrote:Hey guys, great forum! I have the same Camero and cut the rear valance off. What a difference it made. I have a question. I've read several times about gluing the Scaley motors. Is there more than meets the eye or is it that simple? I thought I read something about angling the motor but no detail was given. Any help would greatly be appreciated.Tks...Bob


I hot glue the motors in just to get them to stop "rocking" in their cradle. I use a simple line of hot glue to do it and I really don't mess with angling it. If the mesh is really bad you can, but I actually have never had to.

I've now done this process to three SCX Cudas with the same excellent results. A few minor differences, but love the way these things run!
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Re: Scalextric Trans-Am Tuning!

Postby TuscoTodd » Sat Oct 19, 2013 8:36 am

I have been applying some of the great tips here and seeing marked improvements in how my car handles through the corners! This is great stuff!
Thanks again guys! :D
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Re: Scalextric Trans-Am Tuning!

Postby dreinecke » Sat Oct 19, 2013 4:34 pm

RM - good tips there. Also remember to clip the plastic off the bottom of the interior when getting float. These hit the bushings on the rear axle and will limit float.

The shimming trick is good too and that's pretty much how I do it. Interesting that you've gone back to Scalextric tires...is this on wood? My PG tires smoke the Scaley ones on my track.
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Re: Scalextric Trans-Am Tuning!

Postby TuscoTodd » Sat Oct 19, 2013 5:54 pm

RM & David,
Thank you for all of the pictures and added tips - Lot's of great stuff here guys!!!
I am going to have my '70 hanging with the '69's yet! :D
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Re: Scalextric Trans-Am Tuning!

Postby dreinecke » Sat Oct 19, 2013 6:52 pm

That's what we're here for!
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