We are not easy to find, and parking is a challenge, but well worth the effort
El Cajon Raceway
1235 Pierre Way
El Cajon, Ca. 92021
Hint: Turn South off of Greenfield Dr (across from the school), into the alley, that is Pierre Way (which is a Dead End).
Between Conchita’s Mexican Restaurant and “Powder1″, the Powdercoating & Metal Refinishing business.
Go .1 of a mile, and turn left at “Day and Night Power Sweeping”
Double parking is sometimes necessary.
We are 8 doors down. If it’s hot outside, the double garage doors will be open. Otherwise, follow the Slot Car Track signs, through the building’s hallway, to the track’s entrance door (to the left), on the South side of the building.
Inside, you will find bench spaces, tables & chairs, and AC power, at each station.
Oh, and a “Barrel of Fun”!!!! 😉
Mar 07 2015
Hi Slot Car Fans,
you have found the home of the best local San Diego area HO Slot Car Racing, West of the Laguna Mountains!! 😉
Here at El Cajon Raceway, you’ll find a club like atmosphere, with modest dues fees to race, and the focus on fun racing. Adults 18 and over welcome. Please folks, this is a club, not a business. You are asked to not bring children or animals.
Also, this is a “Racing Club”, not a drinking club, so drinking is discouraged until after the racing is finished. Cummon Guys, it’ s GOOD, ” CLEAN FUN”. Even the wife can’t gripe!
Southern California is in a slot car revival these days, and owner Tim Jacob’s has spared no expense to set up the coolest HO tracks you will ever race on, right here in San Diego County.
The 2 HO tracks are a Brad Bowman Built, 63′ “Flat Out Champion”, and a 41′ TKO built (East Coast) “Road Master”.
The computers use Track Mate Racing Programs. Power Supply is set at 18 volts. Typical 3 wire, Red, White, Black for most modern controllers.
Both tracks are Pro Quality, and Pro Built, 4 lane, flat tracks.
Hours Of Operation;
On Wednesday, the track is open from 11am to 5pm for Test & Tune. $15 for “any or all tracks, any and all scales welcome”. If it’s a slot car, Tim has a track you can run on!!!
On Thursday, the track is open from 1pm to 10pm. 1/24 scale, 4″ GTP and/or 4″/16D NASCAR. Racing starts at 7pm. $20. Please see; http://elcajonslotcartrack.com/ for more specific 1/24 scale racing information.
On Friday, the track is open from 1pm to 10pm, and HO race(s) start at 7pm. $15
First up is usually the HO Short Track, with either NASCAR, Sportscar or Indy/F1 Plastic/Hardbody cars (TYCO, AFX, LIFE LIKE, etc).
Then, there is a short break, to set up for the big track, with Pro Lexan cars (Wizzard, BSRT, Viper, TYCO, AFX SG+, Mega G, Mega G+, etc)
Frequently, there are Box Plaques and/or Trophies given out for 1st through 3rd place finishes.
Both tracks are setup, for “Breakout Racing”, where competitive lap times for each class are set. It’s “Run Whatcha Brung”, as long as you can drive within the Breakout time set (otherwise, if you go quicker, you loose that lap, but keep on racing).
It’s all Very FAST, and Very Challenging.
You can race about any HO ever built, from T-Jet’s, to the latest magnet cars. We also race what we call IROC, with 4 equal cars, or all different cars.
Tim has showcases full of parts, painted lexan bodies and complete cars, available for both HO, 1/32 and 1/24 scales. You can be up and running, “Fast and Furious”, for a very small dent in your wallet.
Feel free to call with any questions.
Hope to see you soon!
Boots (I’m just the cook) Langley
PS; Left Click any photo, for the High Rez version.
Web Site Disclaimer 3/2015;
This Website has no affiliation with Tyco, AFX, Wizzard, any other company that produced slot cars over the years
The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only.
The information is provided by a hobbyist, and TYCO fan, and while I strive to keep the information up to date and correct, I make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability, with respect to the website.
OR the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.
Mar 06 2015
This Q&A Info below, is from Slot Car Illustrated 2-2014
I’ve corrected some spelling and grammar errors.
The top x2 photos are of a stock WIZZARD STORM Extreme. The bottom x2, are the same chassis, set up for HOPRA Super Stock Racing.Storm Chassis, Matched ceramic motor and traction magnets. balanced and trued Super Stock arm and silver Bigfoot brush setup, Independent front end, BSRT crown gear, sponge rear tires.
Wizzard Storm Info (from Slot Car Illustrated 2-2014)
Run Guide Pin under front axle.
Lets hope your replacement works for you/ How much was a stock Storm?
The wheels and tires are stock. The front tires also have that same iner ridge. It helps to put a small amount of silicone or nail polish on the inside tire surface.
The rear I’m suprised no traction. Helps all tires to scuff them with a nail file.
Maybe when the gear mesh is where it should be the car will work also as it should.
The front is not independent. That would be a good up grade. Yes with this car you must run a narrow rim tire.
This type tire of design gives less rolling friction, but not less traction, the traction magnets are large.
After you run the car in for a while, the brushs will need a adjustment. The bush will wear and you turn in the adjustable tension. while the car is running you will turn in each side 1/4 turns equal till you hear the motor at its highest RPM, then back it out till just before you hear it slow.
Not hard to do.
The stock axle is .060. Tyco axle are .059 and work well. The car likes a 7 20 to 23 gear or the eight 22 to 24. These are gear combos that work well on the car. If choice of two sets 7/23 & 8/22
The woman you spoke to Cheryl, the owner of Wizzard. She knows her product and is a great help to her customers and the racing comunity.
You can always ask for help but become a member on the tech board. Wizzard has spent the time to place technical information in tunning tips for the Storm and most other slot cars that are popular they sell parts for. Plus we all help in sharing tips to turn the Storm into G killers.
The Wizzard P2E has polymer traction magnets, so it has more magnetic downforce than an equivalent car with ceramic traction magnets. It sounds like your new Storm car is the base model with rubber tires. Slip-on silicone tires would be an upgrade, I don’t know if there are any available for the narrow rims that Storms use.
With any magnet car you get maximum downforce if the bottom of the car is just short of touching the rails, so using the right tire diameter is important. The ultimate tire for these cars is the silicone on sponge type, they are made in incremental sizes. The downside to silicone on sponge tires is that they are expensive and do not last forever. With the same type of tires I would expect a Storm to be just a bit faster than a P2E.
The Storm can be turned in to a serious race car, that can and still does compete for wins all over the country.
You probably can run something on the order of .438″ tires in the rear, maybe a tad lower for Tomy. I don’t recall what I’m running on the fronts of mine.
You basically want to vary front and rear tires to get the magnets down flat, and just barely grazing the rails. You’ll wear small grooves into them.
Just watch the temperature of the armature, as you don’t want to be dragging too much, you’ll burn that baby up….true for ANY brand of in-line.
Properly set up, you should be able to run very hard, and have only moderate heat in the armature!
To expand on tire height and grooves.
The best way to set ride height is to mark the bottom with a silver sharpie. What your looking for is a even mark from the front of the motor mag to the very rear of the traction.
When viewed from the side with the car on a test track, the chassis should look level to the track.
The sharpie confrims this. Tuning for speed starts from this point.
What tire size is needed may vary to make this happen.
When you have grooves in the magnet,
If the tractions get removed from the chassis, place them back the same side same direction, so that the grooves line back over the rail. place a mark on top of the magnet so this can be an easy glance. Same way back in the every time.
If you have an Infrared heat gauge, you will see 110 to 140 degrees on temp.
Try the car with ceramic traction magnets. I’ll bet that it would not be as fast as a stock Storm. If the problem is not electrical then there has to be extra friction someplace and that woud show up as extra heat in the motor. I have a non-contact IR thermometer that I use when I set a car up. You might compare a car that is running properly with a slow one. I take readings on the armature windings, rather than the stacks.
Well, I received my axle/crown gear and rear wheel/tire upgrades today from Wizzard, and it was worth it. The crown gear was much more robust than the stock crown that came with the car (reinforcing ribs on the offside), and the spacer on the gear side allowed for no “slop” at all (again, totally different design than what was in the car purchased). The wheels fitted were deep dish, mounting a slightly wider tire of silicone coated black sponge. Very much improved performance over the thinner stock rubber tires ( got a spare pair of these as well).
PU Shoe Spring Tension Adjustment;
As mentioned before, messing with the springs takes practice, here’s the method that I use in particular if I need to go that route.
Take a pair of needle nose pliers and grab one bar, for lack of a better term, of the top of the spring. That would be the part that rests against the chassis and pull up on it ever so gently. Do the same with the other bar/same spring. Do the drivers side first and feel the difference between the shoes tension and then run the car on the track.
If the speed difference is noticeable, leave it alone and concentrate on your amp draw and tire height. If its not noticeable, tweak the passenger side but not as stiff as the drivers side.
Mar 05 2015
AFX Super G+ Tuning
The chassis in the photo has been nicely modified;
It features a BSRT Scale Auto Pro Guide Pin, BSRT Scale Auto Independent Front End, BSRT Scale Auto Body Posts, stronger motor and traction magnets combined with a balanced armature, and flanged rear hubs with slip on silicone rear tires
I don’t know the author of these tips below. Feel free to let me know, and I will be glad to give credit, where credit is due.
The following are directions for a complete teardown and rebuilding of a Super G+ chassis. There is not much difference for a BSRT/Scale Auto G3 chassis. Most modifications described here are legal for most HO clubs and are recommended to get your cars competitive. Please note that these tips do not includ any parts upgrades. See parts pages for a parts list.
Teardown and clean all parts
-Remove pickup shoes and springs
-Remove rear axle
-Remove traction magnet clip
-Remove traction magnets
-Remove armature/endbell and motor plate assembly
-Remove Endbell from Armature (Special tool needed)
-Remove shoe busses from chassis
-Leave front wheels and guide pin in chassis unless replacing these
Reshape shoe busses
When running O-ring and independent front ends, the chassis sits considerably lower on the track. This usually results in the bottom part of the busses to scrape the power rails. File or bend these “squealer tabs” so they don’t contact the track. CAUTION: do not bend these tabs back or the pickup shoes will fall out constantly and you’ll lose your springs.
– Fold window section over backward to allow shoes to float
– Bend window frame (squealer tab) forward
Busses serve 3 purposes in the car. They: a) hold the back ends of the pickup shoes, b) act as top caps for the shoe springs and c) transfer power from the shoe springs to the end bell. The stock busses don’t do any of these tasks well due to their sloppy fit in the chassis. Reshape the busses so they stay in one position. An added bonus to this is that you can adjust pickup spring pressure by lifting the tips of the busses up slightly.
– Straighten top side of busses (flat pointing forward)
– Re-bend top side so that it follows the contour of the chassis
Bend Endbell Tabs
Bend end bell tabs to improve the electrical connection to the busses. When pickup shoes snag kinks in the rack, they will slam the busses against the end bell tabs. This sloppy area causes the end bell tabs to squish up and break contact to the busses.
– Bend just the tips of the end bell tabs forward
– Bend the bottom corners back in to make reinstalling the motor easier
Flatten Pickup Shoes
Increase the contact surface of the pickup shoes by flattening them out. Stock shoes offer the greatest length but getting them flat can be tricky.
– Flatten shoes from tip to toe for maximum contact with track rails
– Bend tops of shoes back to increase retention
Shim Rear Axle
Install shims between crown gear and the chassis to remove lateral movement of the axle. This procedure eliminates the need for a gear spacer and doesn’t cause any drag on the armature.
– Remove wheels from axle
– Remove gear spacer
– Trim plastic around axle holes in chassis
– Install shims until axle has only .005” lateral movement
Shorten Guide Pin For Tyco Track
Tyco track has a much shallower slot than AFX track. If you run a BSRT guide pin and O-ring front end, chances are the guide pin is bottoming out in the slot.
– File approx 1/32” off the end of the guide pin
– Round the front edge slightly to reduce snagging in joints
Install shims on the commutator end of the armature to reduce the endplay in the motor. This helps keep the armature in the center of the magnetic field as well as keeps the pinion gear in the same position on the crown gear.
– Remove clear plastic shim (leave the red one)
– Install .010″ steel shim
– Reassemble endbell and motor plate
– Reinstall armature assembly in chassis without the motor magnets
– Check armature end play and add shims until there’s only .005″ clearance
The Super G+ chassis have a rear bushing cap built into the traction magnet clip. This bushing cap does not secure the rear bushing properly and will allow it to spin along with the armature. Adding a small shim on top of the bushing will usually keep it secure and stop it from chewing up your chassis. (Not needed on G3 chassis)
– Cut a small 1/16” x ¼” shim out of .015” brass plate
– Bend the ends of the shim down
– Install shim on top of rear bushing
Expand Timing Adjustment
To get maximum range of adjustment in timing, make sure the end bell moves through 4 clicks (5 positions) on the motor plate. Trim the stops on the motor plate to obtain full adjustment.
– Rotate end bell on motor plate and inspect casting flaw restrictions
– Trim the limiting areas of the motor plate
Bend the arms inside the end bell to adjust the timing of the motor. Shorter arms advance timing thus lowering torque and increasing rpm and operating temperature. Rather than advancing timing, it’s highly recommended to just “hook” the ends of the brush holders so that they grab the commutator better. CAUTION: advancing timing and hooking the arms will shorten the life of your armature and commutator. Bending the arms is usually a ‘one time’ operation. They don’t bend back well and retain proper tension.
– Remove end bell from armature
– Bend brush arms with tweezers until you feel lucky
True and Polish Commutator
Remove grooves and pits in the commutator to stop brushes from bouncing and arcing.
– Remove shims from armature
– Install commutator end in rotary tool
– Cut 1/8” wide strips of emery cloth
– Use 400, 600 and 800 grit to smooth and polish the commutator
** Note: Break-in armature with 3V battery with no axle installed
Shim Traction Magnets
Some Super G+ chassis castings are terrible. #2’s especially have traction magnet areas crooked or higher on one side. In order to level the magnets with the bottom of the chassis, trim the excess casting in the magnet area and add a shim to keep the magnet secure. (Not needed on G3 chassis)
– Trim magnet area with sharp knife
– Cut shims from .015” brass plate
– Install shims under traction magnets
– Check that magnets are level with chassis bottom
Rear Axle Retainer
Hard crashes may pop the rear axle out of the car. If this goes unnoticed and the car is placed back on the track, the crown gear is sure to be mangled. To prevent this, drill and install keeper pins in the chassis just below the axle.
– Carefully drill a .030” hole just beneath the axle holes
– Bend wire into a staple that fits into both holes
– Trim excess so that the center section fits up against the back of the chassis
Mar 05 2015
Here’s more great TYCO 440X2 build info. I don’t know who wrote this. If anyone does, I’ll be glad to give credit to the author. I’ve also made a few changes to the text myself, to bring it more up to date.
Also note; the “Check Mark” front bulkheads mentioned, are just about impossible to find now in 2015. The next best are the 4 Dot front and rear bulkheads. Often found on the Mattel HPX2 chassis.
If you add x2 Wizzard brass armature bushings, then you can use almost any of the TYCO bulkheads to good effect.
The High Performance HPX2 (commonly known as the “Wide” chassis) in the photos, is a nicely done chassis offered by Terry Flynn of HCslots. You can find him on eBay.
You can tell the difference between the 440X2 Wide Chassis and the HPX2, by those angled rear pads, next the the traction magnets. 440X2 chassis has square pads, like in the front.
The info below is very good, although there are many ways to build these cars, and a wide variety of magnets and arms available.
Building a Tyco 440 Slot Car Chassis
Suggested parts list for building a Tyco 440 slot car
“Malaysia” “Tyco 2 or 3″ Pan Chassis
“Check mark” front bulkhead
“4 dot” rear bulkhead
Stock Tyco 440X2 6 ohm or HPX2 3.5 ohm Armature
Matched motor magnets
Polymer or Neo Dot traction magnets
Protech or Wizzard Silver brush barrels (match depth)
Wizzard or ScaleAuto Silver brushes
Slottech .006 Brush springs Part #2010
Stock Tyco or Wizzard Double pickup shoe springs
Protech 236 pickup shoes
Wizzard independent front end set
Front tires: 380 outside and 370 inside front tires
Stock tyco rear axle
Tomy Super G+ 25t crown gear
Super G+ 7t pinion – Grey not Black
Rear tires: Wizzard Procut LLT whites .446
Tyco Pro guide pin
Assortment of plastic and metal spacers
Step-by-Step Build Plan
Clean chassis with tooth brush and Denatured alcohol
Clean bulkheads with same denatured alcohol
Polish/reem/deburr the armature holes in both bulkheads with SimiChrome and a pipe cleaner
Select Armature. The arm is completely stock (no balancing, no truing etc.) Check arm for balance with level razor blades in clay block or Tradeship Armature Balancer from Futuretronics.
Check OHM readings across commutator plates. You want the same reading across all 3 plates. Look for 6.5 or less across each commutator plate gap.
Clean com plates with 2000 grit sandpaper or polish with Simichrome.
Polish armature shaft front and rear with Simichrome.
Inspect the entire arm for small fibers or hairs and clean with electronic parts cleaner. Make sure the gaps between the com plates are clean.
Install bulkheads and arm. No Mags. Spin the arm to make sure it rotates freely. If not try different combinations of bulkheads. What you are doing here is testing the alignment of the holes in the front and rear bulkheads. Two things have an effect on good alignment: the bulkheads themselves and how they sit in your chassis.
Clean all magnets with electrical parts cleaner
Install bulkheads, motor magnets (white mag on driver’s side), and armature. Make sure to remove all spacers from armature before installing.
Spin armature several times until it centers itself in the magnetic field. Improper spacing forces the arm to run outside the center of your motor mags natural field, which adds resistance.
Check gap between the front of the com and front bulkhead. Disassemble and install the appropriate number of spacers to fill that gap. As a rule of thumb for the front I will not go more than .015s. The last spacer next to the bulkhead is a .005 metal spacer. Reassemble check gap.
Add spacers to the rear of the arm leaving about .003 to .005 of play. Again having the plastic spacers next to the arm and .005 metal spacers at both ends next to the bulkheads.
Clean brush barrels inside and outside with denatured alcohol and a pipe cleaner. Repeat until pipe cleaner comes out clean. Shoot inside the barrel with electronic parts cleaner. A clean barrel will give the springs good travel.
Test: Insert brush springs in the barrels and then tip the barrel upside down. The spring should slide out quickly and smoothly.
Clean brush springs with denatured alcohol
Assemble brush barrels with springs and brushes
Assemble entire motor unit (Arm, magnets, brush barrels, and pickup shoe springs)
Install reverse zapped traction magnets in Midwest configuration (like poles on diagonal from each other in relation to the motor magnets)
Install motor unit and a set of pickup shoes
Apply oil front and rear and break in at 6 volts for 15 minutes. Breaking in the brushes at low speed is very important. Listen to the motor as it breaks in. You should hear it pick up speed as the brushes get seated. Listen for the sweet high pitched whine. If you break your car in on a stand (which means you are not holding it in your hand) you will want to do so with a battery so you can feel the car for vibrations. Any vibration or extra noise is bad.
If you want to lap your gears, these optional steps will help, but may limit the life of your racer.
Lapping in the gears. Build a junk motor and install the pinion and crown (crown on axle properly spaced, no tires) in the chassis. Make sure you set it up exactly as you will in the race car. For example if you run your crown deep on the pinion make sure that’s how you set it up for break in.
Note: The different bulkheads and chassis in the junk motor can give you different armature shaft to rear axle alignment, which will affect gear mesh. If you want to go to the nth degree with this process you should use your race bulkheads and chassis during lapping. This will assure you of no alignment changes.
Run the set up for about 4 minutes absolutely dry at 9 volts
Apply valve grinding compound to the pinion and the crown. Run at 9 volts for 5 minutes. Stop, reapply valve grinding compound and run again for 10 minutes. You should be able to hear the mesh improve.
Remove axle and pinion from chassis and thoroughly clean both. This is very important because if you leave this compound in place it will destroy the crown and the pinion.
Reinstall the axle in the junk motor set up and coat the pinion and crown with Simichrome and run again for 5 minutes. Listen for excess gear noise. If needed repeat step 23 for another 5 minutes.
Remove axle and pinion from chassis and thoroughly clean both.
With gearing in junk motor, mount tires on the axle and role the axle by hand. It should role smoothly. If not inspect your crown and pinion carefully for bad teeth.
Note: Optional 3rd step here is to use toothpaste as a final polish.
Remove axle and pinion from chassis and thoroughly clean both one last time.
Apply a small amount of white grease (Duralube) in the axle seats and install lapped pinion and rear axle/crown in race car with rear tires mounted. Make sure the pinion and crown are set up exactly as they were during break in. Try to run the mesh on the last third of the pinion.
Gear Boss: Proper spacing on the axle between the crown and the chassis is very important. .003 to .005 works well. Too much play and you can wreck your pinion and your crown.
Mount front tires on independent front end set. Mark outside hub. Install in chassis with the larger diameter tire on the outside. Wizzard front hubs need to be shaved to fit a Pan Chassis.
Take 2 laps to check shoe profile.
Take laps at 50% and check rail clearance. On this track the best tire diameter for my chassis is between .446″ and .452″.
Increase shoe spring tension if needed by bending the top of the spring back towards the bulkhead. For oval setups, go with more tension on the outside spring. Test at speed with body on to check handling. Increased tension will give you better speed due to better shoe contact with the track rail but will also decrease handling.
To prepare for a Heat: Oil all key points. Run on battery to remove excess oil.
Between Heats: Clean tires, oil, clean shoes, coat shoes with denatured alcohol.
Mar 04 2015
Hi Slot Car Fans,
I will attempt to add different HO Slot Car building tips and info, on a regular basis. I will also include the Author and where I got the info, whenever possible.
Here’s is the first installment, about the coolest, IMHO, and most fun, for little money, HO slot cars ever made;
The TYCO 440X2
Building The Tyco 440 X2 – In laymen’s terms
HO-Formula One – Mattel’s new offerings (Below)
By Milt “Raceaslot” Surratt
So….., you’ve decided that you want to try your hand at racing an HO car with the guys, but you have A) a limited budget and no experience.You could have someone else build the car for you, but it wouldn’t feel right if you ever did well, because it was just someone else’s car.
What if I told you that you could build a car yourself, a competent, competitive Super Stock car without spending a lot of money, and that it would be fairly easy? I will show how, in easy, simple to follow step by step instructions, you can build your own car, and be competitive (as long as you can drive…I can’t help you with that).
Based on generally accepted rules and regulations – SCHOR – HOPRA (yours may be different), along with some “expert” advice on what to look for to get the most from off-the-shelf parts, we will build a legal Tyco (err..um..uh.. Mattel) 440X2 super stock race car.
Step one is, of course, to get a car or a chassis. You can do this a number of ways, any one of which is acceptable, but some may be better than others.
• 1) You could just go buy a brand new, complete 440X2 with a pretty body. This will get you mixed results. First, you might not get the “right” chassis, which I will explain later. Second, a lot of the parts on a shelf car will not be used in a super stocker (such as that pretty body), and you may find this to end up being an additional expense not needed.
• 2) You could buy a “roller” – a chassis only with an arm, magnets, stock axles and tires and such. Again, this is extra money spent on parts not used, but at least you can pick the “right” chassis.
• 3) Or you could buy a “prepped” chassis from one of the many “builders” out there. This type of chassis comes without a motor or magnets or axles. It is just a chassis, but it will have the front shoe hangers pinned (to guard against breakage) and will have pin tubes properly mounted for attaching a Lexan body. This will also allow you to acquire the “proper” front and rear bulkheads.
OK, what is this guy talking about, the “right” chassis and the “proper” bulkheads? Over the years, Tyco has produced many variants of the typical 440-X2 slot car. The chassis all look similar, but there have been slight differences in the molds, which creates subtle changes to the handling and speed characteristics of the car. The most common type out there now is a “pan” chassis, which you DO NOT want. (Unless you plan on racing at Shaunadega) These “pan” chassis are most of the NASCAR type bodies, and are easily spotted by the dark black color, and the wide, black pans spread out on each side underneath the car.
The more common chassis for racing purposes is the narrow type, gray chassis. These are mounted under most of the late model Corvette bodies (you know, the blue one) and the Lamborghini bodies, to name but a few.
Here is where it gets real interesting! Among the narrow chassis made over the years, you will find different series that you need to look for! The Malaysia chassis is out there, with 1 or 2 dots imprinted on the bottom back edge. Some also have no dots. (1)
The other type of chassis, which is used by most racers, is the Hong Kong chassis. These are numbered Tyco HK 3 and Tyco HK 4, and you will find this printed directly behind and in front of the right front wheel, on the right side of the chassis. If it just has Hong Kong printed up high on the side of the chassis, it’s not the same.
**Since I originally wrote this article for HOUSA in 1998, there have been some changes to the Tyco narrow chassis. There are now a couple new variants that say “Mattel” or “China” on the side of the chassis instead of Hong Kong. No reasearchhas been done as far as I know on what this means to racers, or my theories. And there’s more – read on!!**
Confused? Wait, there’s more! The bulkheads are even MORE important than the chassis! First, the front bulkhead. Look on the front of the bulkhead, directly above the endbell portion where the armature comes through. Up there you will see one of the following: nothing (toss it), 3 little dots (toss it), 4 little dots (if you must use this go ahead), or……. a large check mark. (2)
This is the one, the bomb, the big cahuna, you get the picture. This is so important, because this is the one that is more properly aligned to allow the arm to turn freely, and this bulkhead also allows you to run lower front tires, not to mention the fact that it allows the motor magnets to sit slightly lower in the chassis!
**Again, since the time of my original article, there is a new rear bulkhead out there, without the wide bottom portion that has traditionally held the magnet in place. This is completely new territory, as Rick Burneson wrote in HO World.**
Second, the rear bulkhead. Same scenario, different spot. Look at the very bottom on the back end of the rear bulkhead for the following: 3 dots (use this with a HK 4 chassis), 4 dots (a HK 3 chassis or Malaysia 2 dot) or nothing (use this with a Malaysia 2 dot as an alternative). (3)
You can experiment with other combinations, but I find that these combos typically pay off. What you are looking for, again, is proper alignment and getting the magnets as low as possible (in this case the traction magnets). This is serious stuff, boys and girls! The proper choice of bulkhead and chassis can make or break a good race car from the start.
Next step is to “pin” the pickups on the car, if you bought a bare chassis. This is tedious and time consuming, but if you don’t do it, you could wind up losing a race because of an off, by breaking one of the tabs that hold the pick-up shoe on the car (read: no-go).
You should practice this next step on a pile chassis before you go drilling holes in your prized possession. Get yourself a pin vise and number drill bits. (4) These are found at just about any hardware or hobby store for less than $10. Also, get some .020 piano wire (.25 cents) and, using a #76 bit (or thereabouts), carefully align the drill to the end of one shoe hanger. Find the very center, and begin to drill slowly into the tip of the hanger.
It’s very important that you turn the chassis different (5) angles, so that you maintain a straight attack into the hanger! Do not go too fast, as consistency and alignment is what you are looking for. Continue to drill into the hanger till you are actually drilling into the chassis, about 1/4 inch.
After smoothing one end of the piano wire, dab a little super glue on the end of the wire and stick this end into the drilled hole until it bottoms out into the chassis. At this point, break the remaining wire off with dikes, and use a Dremel or similar tool to bring the edge smooth and flush with the end of the hanger. Do the other side the same way and you now have a “bulletproof” front end.
Next, you will want to attach the pin tubes for mounting (6) your Lexan body. If you plan on racing multiple cars, and you don’t want to have a separate body for each car, you might want to find someone that has a chassis “jig” for drilling these holes in the same spot on each chassis. Otherwise, proceed on, maestro.
Pick your spot. The tubes on this chassis are about as far apart as you can put them on a Tyco, this helps to keep the body from rocking. Using a #62 (.038) bit, drill carefully and slowly into the points you have picked for the tubes. (7) Pay close attention to the mounting of the front, so it will not be in conflict with the brush tubes or pick-up shoes on the inside of the chassis!
Buy, beg, borrow (but don’t steal) a set of THREADED aluminum body tubes. Don’t use the flanged kind, as they just will not stay in the hole, no matter what kind of gorilla snot glue you try. Thread these in by using your pin vise (not too tight around the aluminum, as it will bend) until they seat nicely and flush with the inside of the chassis. If you did it correctly it should look kinda like the picture to the right.
Now on to the “Go” stuff! We must have POWWERRR (har, har). Many guys out there sell “hand picked” armatures. Some of these are really good, and some are not. So what I do is to buy a bunch of cheap arms and go through them until I find one that is balanced (naturally, of course – anything else would be cheating).
HO-Formula One – Mattel’s new offerings
Once again F-1 “HO” slot racing enthusiasts have been blessed by the “Gods” at Mattel (why do my fingers still want to type “Tyco?”), with updated 2000 liveries for the Ferrari of Michael Schumacher and the Jordan of Heinz-Harald Frentzen. The good news is that these cars are both offered in carded blister pack, so you aren’t required to buy a set to get them! You really didn’t need any more Tyco 9” one quarter radius curves, did you? I thought not . . .
The Ferrari is number three, of course, as Schumacher was #3 in 2000, and ’98-‘99 as well, but this year’s season (2001) his car will be wearing the proud #1 of the World Driver’s Champion. In this example, it is also the placing of Ferrari in the Constructor’s Championship, yet the number really does belong to Michael, as the number on the car is “earned” by the driver, and not the manufacturer. The last time we saw the number one on a Ferrari was ’96, when Michael brought it to Ferrari, after having earned it driving a Benetton-Renault. The last time before that was when Alain Prost brought it over, after having won it driving a McLaren-Honda! The last time a Ferrari driver sported the number one as a result of actually driving a Ferrari to the World Championship was back in ’79, courtesy of Jody Scheckter. That was so long ago that Jody’s son is now a test driver for the Jaguar F-1 team, and his team-mate’s son (one Jacques Villeneuve) has won the World Driver’s Championship himself! My, my, how time flies!!
Back to Our Subject
F-1 numbering digressions aside, The Mattel “generic F-1” body is the same as the ’99 car, as expected, and aside from not getting it all that right in the first place, the good news is that it’s certainly no worse! In addition to the updates of sponsor names, and the addition of the “Schumacher” tag on the air box, all the names and logos are much more sharp and clear than my ’99 example. The tires are correctly updated to Bridgestone, and the (new for ’00) FedEx and TicTac markings are applied. This time Mattel has also included the Shell markings on the side pods (should have been there last time too!), and put the Ferrari prancing horse team markings much closer to the correct position on the body. The Aspreys are gone (correctly), and the FIAT, Magnetti Marelli (ignition bits), Brembo (brakes), SKF, etc. are retained. The “E” for the fire extinguisher button on the air box has been added, but so has an “N” marking above the front left suspension arm. None of my photos of! the real cars are showing this, and I have no idea what it might mean! Perhaps one of our readers could enlighten me!
Overall, Then . . .
Overall, I would give this Ferrari high marks, certainly a step up from last year, and its always good to see another one of Michael’s cars in our “scale.” It comes as no surprise that the “Marlboro” logos are left off the air box and the rear wing, but is it too much to ask to have the blank “white area” on the air box, as used in “non-smoking” races in Europe? Guess so, and I certainly know that lots of kids would take up smoking as a result of playing with cigarette logo’d slot cars! Leaving the worst complaint for last, Mattel has once again gotten the driver’s suit and helmet all wrong (see photos). For some reason (same reason as before?) they are all black, looking rather like the Arrows suits of two years ago, or the black Lotus suits from their JPS days. Next time guys, just leave the helmet and fire suit red! Okay?
Over at Jordan
In third place overall, and hence sporting numbers 5 and 6 for 2000 is the Jordan Team, coming off a fine year which included a couple of wins for Heinz-Harald Frentzen in the EJ-09 Jordan Mugan-Honda with major sponsorship from Benson and Hedges cigarettes. Unfortunately 2000 didn’t treat them nearly as well, slipping behind Williams and BAR in the Constructor’s Championship. Could this mean that Mattel will treat us to the first British American Racing (Reynard) Honda in our scale? One can hope! As popular as Mr. Villeneuve is, you would think it might help sell sets (and cars) in Canada and the U.S. anyway. Regardless, Mattel has been faithful in bringing us examples of the Jordan F-1 cars over the past three years, and this is yet another fine example. The Buzzin Hornets “logo” is used in races where tobacco advertising isn’t allowed; a kind of tongue in cheek way of saying B & H without really saying it. As if every F-1 fan doesn’t really know who’s paying the bills (at least a hefty part of them) on any given team. Said hornet is also nicely emblazoned on each side of the nose cone. All that aside, this Jordan too is Bridgestone shod, with engine called out “Mugen-Honda” Deutsche Post, PlayStation, the team’s web site (www.f1jordan.com), Brother, MasterCard, Keinin, Anglian Water, Hewlett Packard, Lucent and Intercond, at the appropriate place (or close to it) on the body panels, nose, air box and wings.
There’s getting to be nearly as many sponsor names on an F-1 car as a proper NASCAR, aye! Eddie Jordan maybe of worst of them all (or is that the best?) at collecting sponsors for his team. Whether Jordan is a little big team or a big little team, there always seems to be room for yet another small sponsor logo! It helps pay all the bills for keeping the racing cars on the track, and I’m sure his famous pit babes aren’t inexpensive either! They sure look expensive! Pit Babes? Yes, well, Jordan is famous for his huge parties and his decorative pit babes, but we’re here to discuss a much smaller size race car (supplied w/o scale pit babes!).
On the downside is the usual complaint, i.e. the drivers suits are turned out in black, not yellow as is proper for a Jordan driver of this most recent era. And the wheels should be black in the center, with only a yellow rim around the outside. Yes, I suppose, I should be happy with the detail we’ve got and not nit pick all the little things that could have been done better. And any modeler worth his small bottle of Testor’s paint can paint the centers black, then rub the rims clean before the paint dries! And there you have it. If you can fabricate little O.Z. decals for the yellow rim part, I’ll really be impressed! In conclusion, another fine job from the folks at Mattel, and a worthy addition to any “HO” Formula One collection.
But Wait, There’s More!
Not about the bodies, but about the chassis, and the rear bulkhead in particular. My friend Rick Jocham pointed out that there is a new rear bulkhead afoot at Mattel (so to speak) and should you happen to turn one of these most recent F-1 cars over, you’ll see what I mean. As you look at the rear bulkhead from the bottom, you will see that there isn’t as much of it as there used to be. One half of the traction magnet retaining section is cut away, and yes, it’s a four-dot bulkhead, for those of you who count such things. I haven’t had a chance to track test this new bulkhead, much less substitute it for a well grooved bulk head from one of my Super Stock legal Tycos. It is notable, and those of you who race stock-based Tyco-Mattel motor/chassis should at least be aware that it exists. Finally, and this may not be new, I see that it now says “Mattel” molded right into the chassis. Not that it used to say Tyco! Since I haven’t had my nose stuck into such racing cars for awhile, I have no idea what the current urban myth says about chassis with “Mattel” on the side. Once again, perhaps you racers could enlighten me! In the meantime, and bulkhead foolishness aside, I must again thank Mattel for the efforts in the direction of “HO” Formula One slot cars, and encourage them to continue into the future