Tag Archives: setup

Down travel re-visited

I wanted to write a bit more about droop, as this track has an excellent example of a section where reducing droop from the maximum we run really helped the car a lot. You can read the original, now also updated down travel story here.

So starting off with 102/123 shock lengths, the car was really good, but I couldn’t make it round the long on power sweepers, the section starting at 8 seconds and ending at 12 seconds. The car would not “stick” if I simply went full throttle and turned the wheel. It would rise up over the single jump and want to flip over, or I just could not get a round arc. Same goes for the next long on power right hander, it didn’t stay as flat and low.

By simply reducing the down travel, only 2mm in shock length, this made a significant difference to the car’s handling in this section. It remained as good everywhere else, no really big difference, as the track was smooth, and the jumps well built, but in these sections I could now just go full throttle and turn the wheel, and it would remain stable and lower to the ground, allowing me to without changing my driving, maintain a lot more speed and do so consistently.

This is why I say, start off with the most droop we run, and keep reducing because it will be faster. Going too far would make it bad also, with the rear end breaking loose suddenly in the off cambers, and it not jumping or landing well. Also in the long sweepers, the car would begin flipping over without warning. Droop makes this happen slower, and when you reach the sweet spot it won’t even begin to happen until you make a mistake.

I ended up running 100mm front and 121 rear. The setup sheet from this track can be found here.

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Emulsion Shocks

As THECar is now performing very well, we have began experimenting with other setup features that have been popular over the last few years. One such thing is the bladders. What we have found is that cutting the stock bladder so it is basically an O-ring, and building the shocks as emulsion shocks, the car feels more plush, and holds it’s line better in long corners, indicating that it has more grip, it’s slightly more locked in. However, the biggest difference is how it pops off jumps and lands. It pops less, and doesn’t want to ”double-bounce” on landing. It just lands and soaks it up nicely. It’s easier to drive the car specially in situations where you land a jump into a corner and have to immediately accelerate into the next section. The car settles faster and just goes.

If you look at the video above, the step on step off is one area where you notice a difference. The car lands and settles better when jumpin on, which makes jumping off easier, even though you do lose a bit of “pop” on the jump. When jumping off it is also easier to carry speed through the corner and into the next section.

Another area where the emulsion shocks were clearly better, was flat landing at 34 seconds, and maybe most evidently negotiating the following double double and accelerating onto the front straight. Where before you had to be careful, land well, and then accelerate, now it was a lot easier and did not require the same precision.

So for now we are running emulsion. I can see emulsion being worse on very high traction, or when you need more snappy response and “pop” over jumps. Again, both bladders and emulsion works, but emulsion is easier to drive.

Just cut the stock bladder...

Just cut the stock bladder…



…so it looks like this…


...and just insert it as normal into the cap.

…and just insert it as normal into the cap.


To build the emulsion shocks, you follow the exact same steps as with a regular shock with a bladder. I put a bit of oil in the cap too. I screw the cap on a turn or two, hold the shock at an angle with the bleed hole facing up, push the shaft in so 3mm remains visible, and turn the shock body slowly, letting the excess air and oil out. If you can feel the damping get harder as you move the shock shaft in when you are done, open the cap 3/4 of the way, with the shaft extended, and repeat the process. I build the shocks so they are dead. After working the shock for a few seconds the shaft remains where I leave it with 3mm visible.

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Smooth or Even Smoother Gearing


The difference between the Smooth Gearing 43/13, 46-48/13, 43/13, and the Even Smoother 45/14, 47-49/13, 45/14 is noticeable, but quite tricky to explain, because it’s not quite straight forward. In general, the 43/13 gearing is ”punchier”, you need less run up to jumps in order to clear them, as the car accelerates harder, it’s better for small tight tracks. The even smoother, 45/14 gearing maintains momentum better, but doesn’t accelerate as fast from a low speed to clear a jump for example. So you could say, smooth gearing, 43/13 for tight technical tracks, and even smoother 45/14 for large, fast, sweeping ”euro style” tracks, but you would be mistaken, and here is why.

With the smooth gearing, 43/13, the car accelerates more, but not initially. Say you let off the throttle for a corner, the car slows more, so it is easier to control. Then you add just a little of throttle, and the car won’t do much, at first, you need to pull the trigger or push the stick more, you need to get deeper into the throttle before the car really starts accelerating, so you don’t need to be so careful and precise. Basically you can stay in control, and drive around the track with more throttle applied.

If you look at the video above, the sections where this was really evident was the right hand corners at 9 seconds and at 16 seconds, where after changing to this gearing I actually stopped because I wasn’t pulling the throttle enough. Also at 13 seconds, accelerating up to the jump I needed to apply more throttle, however, let’s say I made a mistake in the corner and lost all my speed, I could now easily clear the jump, where before I had to maintain my speed. Finally, the whole section starting at 25 seconds all the way to the back of the track, I had to use more throttle, so it felt like I was driving more punched to go fast.

43/13 Smooth Gearing: Basically you can stay in control, and drive around the track with more throttle applied.

With the even smoother 45/14 gearing, the car naturally carries more corner speed, so you have to make sure to brake enough to slow down. Also, when you then just barely touch the throttle, the car will go a lot more, so you can’t pull the trigger too much, you have to ”baby” it around corners more. You also need to maintain your momentum and flow around the track. It’s not as good if you point and shoot, then you are better off with the smooth gearing, 43/13. However, it has been our experience, that average racers prefer the even smoother gearing, and that is why we include it as stock with the LV kits. It takes less effort, and less throttle to go fast, and traction is very consistent.

If you look at the video above, it’s the opposite to before, the sections where the gearing was really evident was the right hand corners at 9 seconds and at 16 seconds, where with the even smoother gearing the car will maintain it’s speed, and you just barely touch the throttle. Also at 13 seconds, accelerating up to the jump I needed to make sure to maintain my speed to easily clear the jump. Finally, the whole section starting at 25 seconds all the way to the back of the track, I was barely using the throttle while cornering, and it was easier to flow around this section and maintain corner speed.

45/14 Even Smoother Gearing: It takes less effort, and less throttle to go fast, and traction is very consistent.

The gearing isn’t really a setup change that is used from track to track. Both produce the same lap times, it comes down to driver preference. It’s hard for me to even decide on which one I prefer. The past couple of years I have been racing with the even smoother gearing, now I am giving the smooth gearing a try.

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Mexico Nationals Rd1 – Finals

1. JQ 2. Felipe Martinez 3. Diego Marroquin

Ok so the Mexican Nationals are done, and I am now back in America. Tomorrow I leave to go to Silver State. Catching up with work now, but first, here is my report. I have to say, now that the Mexican government has sent all murderers and rapists across the border to America (this is what I have heard), Mexico has become a very laid back and friendly place! It’s all about RC Racing, beers at the track, and tacos! I mean the race was sponsored by Bud Light! So good. Anyway, let’s look at the setup.

The track was really good, and the dirt grooved up and formed a medium traction bluegroove surface. It stayed smooth, and was a little dusty offline. The temperature was about 30 degrees, and I ended up running soft grid irons and impacts, and long wear soft impacts in the main. Both tyres felt good, impacts just lasted longer.

I ran thicker oil than before, as the weather was hot, and there were a lot of heavy landings on the track, I ended up with 550/450 (Losi 35/32.5). I ran grey springs all round and the stock pistons. The suspension was really good. I ran emulsion shocks, basically cutting the bladder into an o-ring. I will make a post about that one day.

I have been running lower rideheight recently which has been very good, 26/27 now, and also reduced downtravel, it kept the car stable on power in the long sweepers. Just reducing 2mm shock length makes a significant difference. I will post about the downtravel also in a separate post, and update my original downtravel post for clarity.

The setup sheet from the race is posted here. As I mentioned, over the coming days I will post separate articles about what I learned at the race. That makes it easier to find in the future.

Monterrey Setup

I ran the 34mm flywheel REDS clutch, 34mm works best in THECar


I told you it's all about the tacos, Paco agrees!

I told you it’s all about the tacos, Paco agrees!


Thank you to Luis Gudino and the crew at the Pepita RC Track for the hospitality and the race!

You can find more pictures here.


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Preparing for your main – THINK!


Today I attended the Spring Classic at Dialed In Raceway. For once in life, I made all the right decisions going into the main, and my car was AWESOME! I managed to win the race after a good battle. I figured it would be a good idea to highlight the things I think about and change for main events.

In America, for me the main event has always been very difficult, because the temperature drops a lot, the track is wet/damp, and it’s dark. Driving under the lights makes everything seem to happen a lot faster, and I just can’t adjust. But this time it was different.

The first thing to think about is temperature. If the temp drops a lot at night, you have to change to thinner shock oils. I don’t change the diff oils, only the shock oils. Today I went from 450/350 (30/27.5) to 400/300 (27.5/25). This resulted in the same feel as in the day time. I also went to Super Soft Grid Irons from AKA, instead of Soft Impacts or Grid Irons in the daytime. The track is clay, and it was damp with no dust on the line, so grid irons I figured would be the best. They were dialed (in).

The next thing to think about is set up. For the main, you need to have an easy car to drive. My car was good, but it could be easier to drive, so I went to 1 deg anti squat from 2. I did this because there were a few ruts on the track, and also, I wanted my car to be more forgiving, and smoother. As I mentioned before, I struggle at night, and I wanted a safe car.

I thought about camber, and swaybars, but did not change anything. The car was too good. I made sure the engine tune was good as it changes, normally leans out at night, and I just decided to try and not make any mistakes, even if I was a few tenths slower per lap. It worked perfectly and I won.

I did not need to change airfilter, clutch, or clutchbell bearings for the main because I only ran one qualifier due to a short rain shower, so that stuff was ready to go.

So there you have it. Think what will be best for you, look at the track, and try and make the right decisions. It’s all about YOU, not other people. You have to practice, and test, so you know what you need. All drivers are different, and the biggest mistake can sometimes be following someone that is very talented. They adjust their driving, I can’t do that, I have to adjust my equipment.


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Down travel, or Droop

Today I went to Revelation Raceway for some testing. That track really is terrible in the day time. Sorry Dana. It’s dusty as hell, and loose, but then a high grip groove starts forming. So in one section, you can go from loose to high grip to loose again. In other words, very good for testing, and for improving driving, but definitely not the most fun. At night they water so then it’s a lot more fun too.

I wanted to see about testing different droop settings. I have actually written an article on the subject for VRC Magazine that you can read here. Now I would just like to clarify further, and give you the settings specifically used on the White Edition LV. I basically ran the setup I had a few days ago at Dialed in, which you can find here. The only change from that was that I raised the front and rear links back up on the hubs, which I preferred. I will write another story about that later.

Right now we always run the same shock positions in the arms, and either outer, or one in from outer on the towers, so measuring the shock length works well. People always think they can compare shock lengths to determine droop between different car brands. Forget about that, it doesn’t work. Watch the video below to see a way you can compare brands, or any shock position setup. Just do that with wheels on. I always check both ways, so I know where I am at, shock length and actual droop with wheels.

Basically, it’s always best to start off with max droop, and then reduce it, until the car starts getting worse. The reason is that reducing droop will always be faster, up to the point the car becomes erratic due to sudden loss of traction or twitchy handling. More droop will always be the safest and easiest place to start, so start there. Kind of how you tune an engine by starting off on the rich side.




Front Shock Length on LV: 99mm-102.5mm

Rear Shock Length on LV: 120mm-123mm

For the front, in order to achieve the right droop, you need to dremel the front arm as shown here. You also need to leave about 1.5mm of threads showing on the shock shaft.

What it Does

I mentioned less droop is faster, and here is why. Watching the video of a lap above, note the corners, coming onto the straight, and end of the straight somewhat, but specially the two long left handers at 20 seconds and 25 seconds. In sections like that the car will naturally carry more corner speed, and maintain a round arc with less effort by the driver. You can go from really focusing on maintaining speed in a corner to the car just doing it “by itself”. The tricky thing is, that if you reduce droop too much, it will again start being hard to maintain speed and flow.

With too much droop the car rolls a lot, and doesn’t stay as flat. You may have more on power steering, but it’s not as precise, and you need to correct your line choice. When the droop is correct, you just turn the wheel and gas it, and the car does a smooth arc. When you have too little droop, the car will feel erratic and stiff, and won’t hold it’s line either.

If you look at the left hander at 20 seconds, do you notice how I have to correct before the 2nd apex? In this video I had reduced the front droop too much, and it made the front end twitchy, and I just don’t have the talent to adapt my driving that quick, so I wasn’t able to do a smooth corner. Adding some more front droop would make the car easier to drive there with no change from the driver. But again, remember, having too much droop will make it hard to make a round corner in the same section, the difference is, that instead of being nervous, the car will feel unresponsive, and it will be hard to keep the arc correct.

If you look at 16 seconds, you can see it’s starting to get bumpy in that section. If you reduce the droop too much, the car won’t handle these bumps very well. Adding droop will make it just go through there like they aren’t there.

Reducing droop increases corner speed as I mentioned, but it doesn’t jump, and specially land as well. If you look at 8 seconds in the video, you can see that tricky double single jump. That’s the kind of section that will cause crashes and sketchy situations if you don’t have enough droop. Sometimes without changing anything in your driving, just adding droop, you will find that you stop crashing there. And basically every single jump on this track, if you have more droop, they will be easier.

And in case you are curious, after all that testing, going back and forth, I ended up running 100.5mm front, 123mm rear, still thinking on the way home that 122mm rear would have been faster. There is no right answer!

If you like these sorts of articles, breaking down one set up feature by using a lap of a track, let me know in the comments below, and share this story. Thank you. Otherwise I can’t be bothered to do these, and would rather have a beer or watch some Supercross, or actually both those.

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JQ Blog is Back


I will start posting frequent updates here, mostly to do with car setup, and driving. I will of course have to post some other stuff too hehe:-), but mainly it will be setup and driving info. THECar White Edition LV has proven to be really really good, which is a good thing of course. I will be mainly focusing on two things in my stories, setup, what the changes do to the handling, as well as driving technique. I have been working on this shit for 8 years now, and finally I am at the point where I feel that THECar is clearly better than me. By that I mean that where before the car was not handling the situations I put it in well enough, leading to mistakes or loss of speed and time, now it is handling everything, and I am the one making mistakes, or losing speed. THECar is now able to provide more than my skill level is able to deliver. A truly great situation to be in, and that means that it is time to try and perfect the set up, learn to drive better, and attempt to reach the top of the world, even if it is only for one race, one day, one time in my life.

I will be documenting my journey, so that all of you can learn what I learn, and improve your driving, and setup, and enjoy yourselves more too. Whatever happens, at least I will know that I gave it my all.

The more “diary” type entries and smaller ideas and tests will be posted here on this page (Advice Section), and the most important and helpful stuff will be gathered on the JQRacing website here.

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Short Arm EURO Setup


This setups has worked well now on a few different tracks, but I ran it first at the Bittydesign Contest in Italy. The track is quite spectacular, a mix of European and American track features. High grip , high speed corners, but also technical jumps, off cambers, and hairpins. This is a good EU setup with a short rear arm, which makes it work well on jumps and tight sections. Give it a try.

Barco Setup

Video of track

Under the hood

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White Edition Setup 3.0



Been doing some more testing over the past few weeks, and discovered some new ideas and setups. THECar has improved immensely! I definitely recommend you do these modifications. We have already started developing parts so you don’t need to modify anything, but for now, if you want the best out of your car, please check this out and do the work! Here are the changes, and reasons for making them:

1. FRONT AND REAR TOWERS: We added more link holes by drilling holes above the existing ones, two more high rows on the middle column on the front, and, and two more rows above the inside column on the rear. I drilled some on the middle column too but have not used them yet. NOTE: It’s easier if you drill the hole furthest away first, and then add the hole in the middle. You need a sharp drillbit and not too much pressure, so you get the “inbetween hole”.

Use another shock tower as a template. You can use the front and rear together, but it is a lot better if you use two fronts or two rears as the holes on both sides match.

This is how bad I sucked on mine. I’m sure you can do better!

I improved a bit when I did the front!

The favoured setup has been to run the front link 1 up from the stock top middle hole, and the rear link two up from the stock inside top hole. Raising the links this way works wonders on the car. The balance of the car is good, and the big difference is that now getting on the gas stabilises the car. In the past, if you got in trouble, you had to be careful not to flip over. Now, one almost has to re-learn how to drive, and when in trouble, get on the gas harder to save it from getting out of shape or flipping over. The car stays lower to the ground is a lot less likely to flip over on high grip, or due to bumps.

Front preferred setup

Rear preferred setup

Please note, that you will have to re-adjust your camber. You will need to add at least 1 degree compared to what you ran before, maybe more.

2. UPPER LINK LENGTH: With the raised links, lengthening them front and back, so top outside on front, and top middle on rear, made the car easier to drive, specially in long sweepers, and on power. But testing back to back proved, that the short links were faster. It’s your choice! The car works the best when both links are short, or both links are long, not mixed.

3. FRONT SHOCK POSITION: One of the problems we wanted to get rid of, was how the front end tended to dive a lot in bumps and corners, off power, and how when attacking the track the front end was aggressive and overpowering. The initial steering unsettled the car. To solve this, we raised the front shocks up, which doesn’t help on it’s own, but combining this with using a bigger hole piston, and thicker oil, it worked great, making it possible to drive more aggressively, with the car remaining stable and predictable.

Front shocks stood up, bigger 1.3 pistons, and 101 downtravel!

The key to this is changing the piston, and making sure you get 101mm shock length for droop. The downtravel is the challenging part, as you need to grind the arm to add clearance, and also possibly the steering links as it is more travel than they offer as new. Trust me, it is worth the effort!

4. FRONT ARM POSITION: To combat the same front end issues, we tested all different arm positions, and concluded that running both front arm inserts in the highest position works best. This reduces steering a bit, but most importantly, helps keep the front end level, it doesn’t rise up so much when on power, and doesn’t dive so much when entering corners. The car is a lot better on power, and in sweepers.

5. STEERING LINKS, BUMPSTEER: We tend to run the link in the middle hole on the ackermann plate. Toe out is about 2 degrees, with the link set at 26.5mm with hard arms, and 25.5 with stock arms. As you are raising the link on the tower, you need to adjust the steering link too. The steering links have a longer flat side, please note the direction you install them. Inside is flat side down, outside is flat side up! In addition we run a 2mm shim between the ball and the ackermann plate to lower it.

6. REAR ANTISQUAT AND TOE IN: We run either 3 or 2.5 degrees of toe in, depending on the track conditions. Less if it is bumpy, or we need more steering. More if we need more rear grip, or less steering. We always use the top row now.

Top row, 3 degrees toe in.

For antisquat, the bumpier it is, the less we run. Running the toe insert all the way up, only allows for 1 degree of antisquat. If it is bumpy, like Vegas was, we reduce that to 0.5 deg, like in this sheet, .5 insert with hole up.

7. REAR HUB POSITION: Normally we like to run just 1 spacer in front of the hub, and 3 behind. In Vegas the track was bumpy, so we moved the hub back, so that it wouldn’t catch bumps so much. Moving the rear hub back reduces the bind in the suspension when on power, which makes the car better in bumps, and it also reduces rear grip which also helps.

8. +1 HEXES: The wider hexes add grip to the car. With the changes to the front end, we were now able to run the +1 hexes on the front for more steering. +1 hexes on the rear added rear grip and stability, so we run +1 all around unless we need more steering, and then we run them only on the front.

9. WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION: Part of the team run the arrows back, engine forward, which is 2mm from all the way forward. Personally in America at least, I prefer arrows forward, engine forward, which is the furthest forward you can get. Running it this way makes the car jump and land better, and I can push the car more without having the rear and get unsettled, by squatting on one corner and losing traction. The car has a bit of a push to it when entering a corner fast, and it feels safe to drive.

Mesh with engine all the way forward.

Running the engine 2mm back, puts more weight on the rear, and more grip, less steering in hairpins, unless you enter aggressively and the rear swings round. More pendulum effect. For Euro style tracks with more flowing layouts, the engine back is often more comfortable as it makes the car feel a bit heavier and calmer, which is good, but for USA, it’s all the way forward for me.

Whichever position we run, we keep the centre diff mount in the same position, 1-2mm from fully forward.

10. DIFF OILS: With the geometry of the car the way it is, it tends to like thick oils. Thicker oils add cornerspeed, and improve acceleration. Try thicker oils front and centre. For some reason, the rear seems to work best with 3000, but front, 10k – 20k, centre 7k – 10k. Don’t be afraid to run thick oils.

11. Pistons: We drilled the 7×1.3 pistons with a 1.3mm drillbit, there was a slight difference, so the holes are just a fraction larger. Barely anything, but it made a difference. Suspension is super plush! 500/300 oils have worked in temperatures ranging from 15-25C. Fahrenheit fools can figure it out. The suspension works well when it feels soft. Eventhough it feels very soft on the bench, it doesn’t feel that way on the track. Test for yourselves, but don’t be afraid of running oils that feel thin!

Why do I have to do all the work and then just hand over the information free to everyone? Then everyone wants the cars for free too. *sigh* :-p Get out there, get testing, let’s start winning!

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White Edition at Palm Desert Raceway – Setup Changes

Palm Desert Raceway in Palm Desert CA! Very high grip, and high tyrewear when dry, after the dust clears, medium grip with low tyrewear when run wet. Normally they always run it wet I hear.

On our way to Phoenix for the Nitro Challenge 2014 warm up race, Peter Martin and I stopped at Chris Marrale’s home track for some testing. The conditions were tough, and perfect for testing. The track had high grip sections, but due to dust, also low grip sections, and there were some rocks poking through the surface. We ran it dry in order to find a good setup in this challenging condition.

When getting to the track, the car felt edgy, and the rear would just lose traction suddenly due to the dust. I made a few setup changes which really improved the car. I ran AKA soft Impacts which were good.

I moved the front shock out on the arm, which helped with calming down the steering. Another option would have been to increase the front swaybar thickness to 2.5, from 2.3. Sometimes the car doesnt jump as well, or handle bumps as well when moving the shock out, that is when the swaybar change would be a better option. One thing that I did not try, but that could have been good, was to lengthen the front link on the C-hub, in order to smooth out the steering response.

I also moved the rear shock one hole out on the shock tower. This really helped to increase the stability of the car. The rear did not squat as much, and it didn’t get as unsettled going from low grip to high grip or vice versa. Another thing to try on the rear would be one step harder spring, or shortening the link to the middle column on the tower. I didn’t shorten the link, because of the low grip sections of the track.

Below you can see the setup I ran, larger version, and more setups HERE.

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