Whats up gang, Evol here with my latest musings on RC Drift on the Big Squid of RC.
So I know a lot of you look at RC drift and go, “man it looks cool, but I don’t wanna drop the cash to get into it”, or maybe its “My wife will kill me if I buy ANOTHER RC car” I swear that is not my personal one. Ahem, So just because RC drift has grown and there are tons of turn-key RTR rigs on the market there is no reason that the guy just trying it out can’t use a converted touring car. This is bar none the cheapest way to get sideways. If you want to check out my write up on my favorite RTR drifters you can read it here. But if that is not in your budget there should be an abundance of used 4WD touring chassis for sale on the internets. Heck I bet a lot of you already have an old touring chassis in your collection. If that’s the case guess what? That’s all you need to drift!
But what about all the cool bodies, scale accessories, and fancy wheels you say? That stuff can come later. You can take the most outdated rode-hard and put away wet used up old drifter and slap some wheels and body on it and it will look every bit as cool on the track as this high dollar stuff i’m usually blathering about. All we are focusing on here is getting the ball rolling, and some key modifications that you can do to make your first drifter a pleasure to drive.
Lets get to the good stuff. What do I need to do to get my 10 yr old dusty 4tec/HPI/TC3 or whatever to handle like you see in the videos? Good question! So the first myth about drift. YOU DON’T NEED A TON OF HORSEPOWER. You don’t have traction, why do you need a bunch of horsepower? Nope my first drifter had a 27 single brushed power plant in it. That is about as low buck as you can get. I do recommend something with reverse as you’re going to get it wrong A LOT at first and reverse will save you from having to marshall the car all the time. So you can use that old Novak Cyclone sitting in your closet, but it’s not ideal.
The next Myth? “I need brushless” No you don’t. Yes brushless has better thermal characteristics and you will get longer run times, but with todays batteries you’re gong to get tired long before you run out of juice on a reasonable sized motor. Brushed motors do heat up easier so limit your runs and mind your gearing or you’ll cook that comm. Don’t forget motor maintenance! Brushed power is cheaper, not easier. There are always trade offs in that regard.
Cheap mods to setup your car for drift:
Differentials – Most of your common racer type tourers will have ball diffs or gear diffs. Neither of which is ideal for drifting. The ideal setup is a spool in the rear (or a locked diff) and a one way bearing in the front. Some higher end race cars might already have a one-way for the front and if it does you’re in good shape. The one-way allows you to hit the brakes and still have the front end of the car to steer. This reduces understeer and makes the car a lot more prone to stepping out. If you can’t find a oneway for your car just loosen the front diff as much as you can. A rear spool makes the left and right wheels in the rear spin without any differential action at all which makes the car a lot more rear end happy. You can buy a purpose built spool for your ride or use some JB weld to lock that puppy into a solid rear axle. These 2 key elements will transform any tourer into a very fun drift machine.
Tires: Probably the most important thing you’re going to need. There are lots of drift specific tires on the market right now that will fit right on your standard touring rim. Look for brands like MST, Raikou or Speedline. They all put out a quality product. If you are really on a budget you can go the old school route and cut them from 2inch ABS plastic from the local hardware store. This is how we did it early on and a single 2 foot section will make plenty of tires for you and your buddies. The internet has plenty of how-to’s on getting that done. Simple easy and cheap.
ESC/Radio setup: Drifting is 80% throttle control 20% steering. If you can (depending on your radio) you want to set your throttle curves as linear as possible. You don’t want throttle expo, boost or anything else that can give you unexpected throttle input. You need your throttle application to be as predictable as possible. Any delay can throw off your timing and really make drifting frustrating.
So assuming you’ve got your low buck drift machine in running order with that discarded Traxxas RTR radio, that old ESC and motor you thought you would never use again and that dusty 2nd hand touring rig, its time to hit the track…..wait track? Heck yes, you cant jut go slide around the basement in circles. That’s not drifting. You need something to challenge yourself. Good impromptu tracks can consist of some soccer cones, water hose, or even some safety tape form the local Home Depot (I seem to go there a lot for drifting stuff). Lay out a simple coarse on some paper and when you’re happy go to work. Don’t get too crazy right off the bat but design some flowing corners with a few clipping points to aim for. You don’t have to hit them right away, but they will give you a goal to work towards and that is how you gage improvement. When that layout becomes too easy its time to up the complexity a bit. Have fun with it and challenge yourself but don’t over do it. This “basement sesh” is great fun if you can invite a couple of friends over who are getting into it too. Chasing another car is a great way to learn control as someone else is controlling the pace. Before you know it you’ll be hosting drift battles and your neighbors will wonder why you don’t park your cars in the garage anymore.
That’s it for this time guys,
Thank you for reading, now go out there and get drifting!
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