Imagine that you just finished laying down a cool paint job or you just received a custom painted shell from a pro painter; with either scenario you’ve spent a lot of time or money on a new look for your ride. All seems to be going well, until you go to drop the body on the naked chassis for the first time and realize you’ve put the body-post holes in the wrong location. Now what?
Nothing can ruin a new body faster than mounting it wrong, and what might seem like a simple task can often give even experienced RC’ers fits. Most bodies these days have small dimples in them to show you were to put the holes, but those dimple marks are usually meant for a specific vehicle. What if you want to mount the body on some other type of chassis? Read on, and learn the secrets of mounting a body that doesn’t have the exact spots molded into it for you.
1. THE NO. 1 RULE
Mounting bodies is like fine carpentry, where the number-one rule is to measure twice and cut once. Go slow, and double- and even triple-check your work. After you mark the spots for the body-post holes, place the body over the body mounts, and look at the body from the sides, front, back and top. Before making the first hole, make sure the body is sitting exactly where it should be.
- Body reamer
- A light that will fit under the body
- Felt-tip marker
- Rotary tool w/cone-shaped grinding bit or small sanding drum
Trinity (now Team EPIC) once offered “No Brainer Body Post Markers,” sharply pointed tips that slipped over the posts to create dimples in the body by positioning the body over the posts and pressing down. IMEX offers a similar but higher-tech version of the concept with their Body Post Hole Marker Set . The LED markers slip over the body posts and shine through the shell to show the correct locations for the body posts. We’ve simulated the effect with Photoshop on the Tamiya CR-Z below.
2. THE LIGHT METHOD
First, find a bright light that will fit between the body and chassis. Thankfully, many small LED lights available will work. Place the body over the chassis, making sure it is centered and that the tires line up perfectly in the wheel wells. Place the light under the body and view it from above. If the light is bright enough, you should be able to see where the body posts contact the body. Mark these spots with a felt-tip marker. (Parma’s Dual Tip Detailing Marker works perfectly for this also.)
3. THE TURTLE TRICK
Sometimes the light method won’t work because the paint is too dark to get an accurate read on where the posts hit the body. In that case, the turtle trick might be the best way to go. Place the body on its roof and support the hood with a rolled-up towel to keep it from rocking and moving around. Place the chassis upside down in the body and check that it is properly positioned. It is essential that you double- and triple-check that the body is properly lined up. After you’re sure the body alignment is perfect, carefully mark around the body posts with a marker.
4. WHITE OUT, RIGHT ON
If you can’t reach the areas where the posts reach the body to mark their locations, try this: put a dab of White-Out, Liquid Paper, or any other correction fluid on each body post, then lower the shell onto the posts. The White-Out will leave a dot exactly where you need to drill. Practice placing the body onto the chassis without scooching it around before you try it with White-Out on the posts. If you do goof it up, just wipe the posts and body off and try again.
5. ROCK CRAWLERS
Crawlers can be tricky because many use horizontal body posts that come out of the side of the chassis, and very few bodies have pre-marked holes. Having short body-mount posts will greatly help here. The best method for mounting is to place the crawler down and position the trimmed body over the chassis. Prop up the body with anything you have handy until you have it at the desired height. Make sure the tires won’t excessively rub the body when the suspension articulates. You can then use a light such as a flashlight to allow you to see the body posts through the body.
6. BACK TO FRONT
This technique of body mounting works especially well on bodies that are difficult to line up perfectly. Ffind the rear body-mount locations. Drill the rear holes and test-fit the body on the chassis. If the rear wheels are not perfectly centered in the wheel wells, use a rotary tool such as one from Dremel and turn the round holes into ovals. Use a cone-shape grinding bit at a relatively slow speed at first. This will allow you to properly position the rear before marking and drilling the front holes. As an added benefit, the oval holes allow the chassis to properly flex without being restricted by a tight-fitting body.
Mounting a body without pre-marked holes for your vehicle can be intimidating, but following these tips will help you get the shell on like a pro.
- Go slow, take your time.
- Make small holes just big enough to see through, see if they line up, and then enlarge the holes.
- Trim the body before mounting.
- The body should fit slightly loose to allow chassis flex.
- Make short body-mount posts to allow the body to fit at the proper height when it is being positioned.
- Wait until after you’ve mounted the body to remove the protective overspray film.
Having the coolest painted body won’t score you any style if it’s mounted crooked on your ride. In addition to looking hack, a body that’s incorrectly mounted can actually hamper performance if it’s off so much that the tires rub when turning or landing from jumps. To avoid ruining your latest body, follow the tips and tricks in this article, and you’ll be sure to get it right.