Don’t come unglued
If you race off-road, eventually you’ll have a tire start to separate from the rim. This will undoubtedly happen at the worst possible time-such as five minutes before the start of your main. Hitting the track with a tire coming unglued isn’t an option and panicking-as in you yourself becoming unglued-well, that never fixes a thing. What you need to do is get that dirty tire and rim combo to stick together and stay together for an entire race. Since we often stress how important it is to start with impeccably clean tires and rims when gluing, this whole idea of a quick trackside fix might sound unlikely, but read on and see how it’s done.
STEP 1: DE-GLUE
Use a hobby knife to scrape away glue residue stuck to the tire and rim.
Before you start adding new glue, use a sharp hobby knife to carefully scrape off any glue from the separated tire and rim. This will enable the pieces to be pressed together tightly, thus allowing for a better glue bond.
STEP 2: BRUSH
An old toothbrush will help get the dirt out of the area to be glued.
As you’d expect, a clean surface is needed for the best possible repair job. Use an old toothbrush to clean out the scraped glue pieces from step 1 and all of the large pieces of dirt. Make sure you work in a manner that pulls the debris away from the tire and rim and doesn’t force it deeper.
STEP 3: DEEP CLEAN
After the loose dirt is removed, finish the job with a cleaner such as motor spray or rubbing alcohol.
There are a number of solutions that you can use to clean out dirt from the area to be re-glued. One of the best is ordinary rubbing alcohol. Motor spray will also work. Soak a paper towel with cleaner and apply to the tire and rim, but don’t completely soak the pieces or you’ll run the risk of saturating the foam insert. Repeat this process, switching to a clean section of towel each time, until the towel stops picking up dirt.
STEP 4: ADD GLUE
Use a high-quality CA glue specifically made for RC cars.
Two things are really important in this step: using the right glue (not all CA is created equal) and applying the right amount of glue. There are a lot of good CA glues out there, but make sure you stick with glue made specifically for RC cars. AKA and Losi seem to work exceptionally well. Stay away from store-brand glues and stick with thin glue. Medium might be a little easier to work with since it pours slower, but the thin glue dries the fastest. Flexible glue is not recommended for racing. After you have the right glue, it’s important to use the right amount. Use just enough glue to wet the surfaces.
STEP 5: HOLD TIGHT
Most racers aren’t known to have a lot of patience, but you’ll need to find some if you want a strong bond. To get the bond to be as secure as possible, the tire must be firmly held in place until it sets-and the longer the better. If you can’t sit and hold the tire to the rim, use a rubber band or a few wraps of electrical tape to hold everything in place. Cable ties also work in a pinch.
Our friends on the airplane side of the RC hobby frequently use accelerators with CA. These do an exceptional job of getting the CA glue to instantly set, but they should only be used in emergencies as they can create a slightly weaker bond.
With nitro and electric systems getting more and more powerful and bigger and badder batteries coming out almost every day, the cars and trucks we race are certainly getting faster. Bonus! The only downside is that almost every component is becoming that much more taxed. Items like tires see a lot of abuse and even the most perfect glue job can come undone at the worst possible moment. Follow the steps described in this article and you’ll be prepared for when some good tires go bad.