For Bashers, By Bashers!

Drift Itch – Body fit and Wheel offset – let’s take it up a notch

Hey gang, Evol here for my latest bit of rambling related to the RC Drift scene. This edition of the Itch is going to be part rant and part public service announcement. Now don’t take me wrong here, I know RC is all about fun, I haven’t lost sight of that, but I’m also a scaler. I like scale crawlers, scale airplanes, drifters, you name it. If it looks scale I’m going to stop and look. And it’s that scaler part of me screams in agony when I see poorly fitted bodies and bad offset choices on drift cars. Of course I make allowances for the kid who throws a basher body on his car with 2 body clips because he can’t wait to take it out and drift it through the nearest mud puddle, and then take a picture of his handy-work of it sitting on a desk dripping wet. No what drives me batty is when someone clearly tries to set up a quality shot of a drifter, paying attention to lighting, aperture, focus, but paying no mind what-so-ever to the scale factor of the drift car. Case in point, exhibit A.


This is an actual product photo.

So many things wrong here; wheel gap, wheel base, wheel offset, oh where to begin. I can’t really justify complaining about these things without at least trying to show people how to fix these problems. I’ll try to tackle these things one by one and hopefully at least make a couple of people pay attention to these details before the next time they snap a picture or pick out their next body.

Let’s start with wheel gap. This is the easy one. I think I can safely say that 100% of RC cars that come with removable lexan bodies have some sort of adjustable body posts…..I know crazy right? These posts usually have a way to adjust the perch up and down to raise or lower the body. This can be used to help combat that unsightly wheel gap. Lower the perch until the body is as close to the tire as it can be without actually touching it. Obviously flex the suspension and turn the wheels to make sure you have clearance. You don’t want the body interfering with the performance of the car.


There that’s better. A free painless mod that drastically improves the look of your ride. After you find the perfect height you can use some cutters to snip off the uppermost part of the post so you don’t have a giant body post protruding 2 inches over your hood. (Another pet peeve of my discriminating scaler side.) If you want to ditch the body clips all together you can move over to what’s called a stealth body mount system. This is an adjustable body post system that does not extend above the body in any way. It usually keeps the body on with Velcro or magnets. This isn’t the ideal setup for someone who is bouncing off of curbs constantly, but if you find most of your driving to be crash free this is a much better looking setup.


Next let’s look at wheelbase. (facepalm)


For your body to look right your wheel needs to be centered in the wheelwell horizontally. Now depending on the chassis you can’t always help this. Some chassis have adjustable wheel base so you can try to get the wheel more in the zip code it needs to be to look good. If you’re using the stealth body mount mentioned above sometimes you can cheat the body forward or back minimizing the amount that your wheelbase may be off. Pay close attention to wheelbase when picking your out new body shells, it’s important to the appearance of the final product. Now I know some of you racers out there are shaking your heads because it sounds silly to adjust the wheelbase to fit a body, but when scale appearance is your goal, not high speed stability you can make some tradeoffs in the name of fashion.


Now the big one. Nothing kills the look of a drifter more than a bad wheel offset. Most bodies come in anywhere from 190 to 200mm wide for 1/10th scale, and depending on the width of your chassis you will need to pick an wheel to fit the particular body you’re using. A proper fit should have the top of the wheel/tire completely flush with the top of the wheelwell. An adjustable offset wheel like the one I’m using here from Tetsujin will make this job much easier as one set of these wheels can accommodate almost any offset need. The most common wheel offsets tend to be negative 3, 6, and 9mm. This offset measurement refers to the distance from the center line of the wheel to the location where the wheel meets the hub. Getting this match wrong will have your car looking silly and take away from the scale appearance as a whole. There are of course also handling tradeoffs here like differences in scrub radius etc., but I don’t want to wade too far into those waters. The goal we are going for here is a clean looking body that looks like it was made for your car. If your car is adjustable enough you can cheat a little bit on this one too. You’ll see A LOT of people running extreme negative camber. (Wheels tilting inward) Sometimes to tuck that wide track width under a body that doesn’t quite fit, and sometimes just because they like the look. I myself am running a modest 10 degrees (just 10?) negative in the front of my Yokomo DIB just because I think it looks mean. Whatever your reasons remember it’s all in fun, and in the end the look of your car is your own personal expression, but if you are posting pictures online of your sick looking ride, let’s pay as much attention to how well the body fits as we do to how shiny the wheels are.

That’s it for now guys, keep it sideways!


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Posted by in Featured Posts, RC Drifting on Sunday, March 8th, 2015 at 12:31 pm