Even the best racers in the world don’t stay shiny-side-up 100% of the time. Experimenting with different lines, jump approaches or rhythms is bound to land even the smoothest drivers on their lids once in a while. If you’re stunting and jumping, then your RC machine’s body is bound to take a beating. Here are a few things you can do to extend its life and keep it looking its best.
Double-Up On the Front End
Some pro racers, especially in the touring car realm, double up on the front end of their bodies. Basically, they take the grille and part of the hood area from another body of the same type, and adhere it inside the prepared race body. If you have a used version of the same body, that will do just fine, since no one will see it anyway. Use servo tape or RTV to affix the reinforcing piece. If you use a foam bumper, you might need to shave it a bit to accommodate the extra thickness of the front end.
One thing I always keep in my toolbox is a roll of 2-inch-wide clear packing tape. Nothing bears it for quick trackside repairs to torn Lexan. It’s cheap, it’s light, it’s easy to use, and if you’re going fast enough, no one will even notice the repair. Just clean off the area you are going to repair with a plastic-safe degreaser (no motor spray on bodies, please), and apply tape on the inside and outside and of the body. The tape will help keep the tear from growing or snagging on track boards and pipes or other cars.
Tire Scuff Stopper
Most covered-wheel cars are susceptible to paint scuffs in the wheel well area, especially short course trucks and touring cars. Prevent these from happening by applying vinyl tape or decals to the wheel well where the tire rubs it.
Enlarge Wheel Wells
Wheels wells that hug the circumference of the tire look cool, but if you don’t have enough clearance for steering and suspension travel, you’ll put unnecessary wear on the body (and the tires, for that matter). Check for tire contact at full suspension compression and through the steering travel range, and trim the wheel wells as needed for proper clearance—better to have a little more than you need than too little.
Remove Track Rash
All it takes is one enthusiastic qualifier to get a brand-new body covered in yellow, red, or white
rash marks from being banged up against the boards or pipes by the other drivers. I keep a can of Testors Easy Lift Off (ELO) in my pit bag to remove any scuffs. It’s also the only product on the market today that will remove lacquer paint from Lexan without so much as fogging it up—it’s 100% polycarbonate safe. In fact, you could use it to strip off a completely cured paint job. ELO leaves an oily residue, though, so use a cleaner on your body afterwards. You can also use Whipz RC Gloss to shine up that body.
Reinforce Crack-Prone Areas
There are times when you need to reinforce a stressed area, such as around body mounts, or just beef up an area that might be a bit weak. Zap GOO, or an equivalent RTV compound is the tool for this job. Apply a dollop of RTV, then spread it with your finger to form a reinforcing layer over the lexan. Wet your finger before spreading the RTV so it won’t stick to your skin.
Open Up the Post Holes
Rigid body mounts can tear body holes over the course of a run. To help prevent this, enlarge the body post holes to allow a bit of body movement on the posts.
Pad the Body Posts
To help quiet body rattles, prevent scuffing around post holes, and reduce stress on the body, place pads cut fron foam between the body and the post’s flange or the clip that supports the body. A scrapped tire insert, electronics packaging, or craft foam all work fine. Or, for a more finished look, Traxxas and Dan’s RC Stuff offer stick-on foam pads that work great and look factory.