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4wd a performance advantage for slot cars?

3789 Views 18 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Tropi
I recently picked up a couple of Ninco belt drive transmissions, primarily to install one into an SCX rally car which is no longer 4wd because I installed a standard motor with no forward drive shaft. I didn't really expect to return any advantage to the car, it just seemed like it should be 4wd.

Well, it wouldn't fit easily because the rear magnet mount was in the way. I didn't feel like cutting the car up just to make it 4wd again, so I installed it into a Ninco Seat that I had. I figured it should work since they make the same model with 4wd. Pretty easy install, just had to remove a couple plastic nubs from the chassis and press on the pulleys. Being an NC-1 car, I really didn't expect any improvement in lap times, in fact I kind of expected the opposite due to increased drag. It dropped .2 seconds!?! Hmmmmm??? It also seemed easier to drive, not as likely to fishtail badly.

I had to explore this further. I looked at some of my other Nincos to see if the wheelbases were right for the belt length. The older Porsche 911 GT1 was just slightly longer than the Seat. Install was no problem. This car has an NC-2 motor now and had always seemed a little looser than the McLaren GTR or Mercedes. I assumed this was due to older, harder tires and shorter wheelbase. Result, .2 seconds quicker than before. And once again, seemingly easier to drive, less likely to get loose. By the way, all of these are with no magnets on a fairly twisty Sport layout. At this point, I have to assume the 4wd helps hook up acceleration just a bit. The belt drive doesn't transfer very much torque, it slips easily, but maybe just enough to help? Anybody else ever try this?
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Purely psycological, I'm sure.

Gear driven 4wd however, is an advantage on twisty tracks.

But Ninco pullys and bands are so bad, they slip when up against the most minor of friction.

Interesting, I was just looking at the Ninco Subaru "Imola" liveried car yesterday. The 4x setup seemed tight to the front end. Even if it slips, wouldn't it be of help? Seems even a bit of help would at least lessen the drag of the front end. (All this assuming the front tires are in decent contact with the track
.) The other aspect I was looking at was that the torque is transmitted to the front via soft, stretchy bands, so I wonder if it allows a small variance through the turns, Like a slingshot effect? (TWAAAAANG!) Two tenths, even if they ARE purely psychological are definitely worth it. All in fun!!
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I agree with McLaren. I personally think the Ninco rubber band setup is a bit of a gimmick. I have a Golf with an NC-2 motor and I've driven it both with and without the rubber band and I couldn't see any difference in lap time or driving characteristic. Having said that, the Ninco setup might have a small advantage on less powerful cars, something like an NC-1. It's just that I think the NC-2 (or anything above it, 5, 7, etc) has a pretty fierce power delivery and I don't think the rubber band is strong enough to handle the power.

SCX 4wds (well, gear driven) on the other hand, for me, definitely have an advantage over 2wd cars (non mag), especially on a twisty circuit. The power could be laid down earlier without the car fishtailing too much, so better acceleration out of bends. In a way, it's also more forgiving to drive. Mind you though, it's no good if the front wheels aren't in contact of the track or worse the front and rear wheels are of different size!

Hey, Mr Porsche!!! Just want to let you know the controller had arrived (again). I've yet to try it out but it's race night tonight!!! So I'll give it a good beating later and let you know how it goes. I now understand why you said there were a lot of little resistors....... Just really don't know how to thank you with all the hard work!
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I suspect on a racing circuit setup there is little advantage and maybe some cons for a 4x4 setup, but get a 4x4 that works (and they don't all) on a Rally style track with uneven road and narrow curves with kerbs and you will see the difference and advantage immediately.

Horses for courses I guess I don't like to run 4x4 on a race track either.
If you compare a Ninco 4WD to a Scalex on a twisty 'rally' track then the Ninco does put in slightly lower speeds as the belt pulls the front axle and therefore adds drag. However - and this is where the Ninco beats the pants off the Scalex - the Ninco is always more stable, has greater slide, is less likely to tip out. Most important on a rally setup is that as all four wheels are driving it's incredibly difficult to be knocked off on a chicane or hairpin when racing a 2WD. Conversely, a standard 2WD gets shoved out almost every time...even with a slight knock.

If your bands rub on the motor (none of my three did from the box) then you need to adjust the band pullies.

The Ninco 4WD and the SCX propshaft 4WD are by far and away the best rally cars to buy and the most fun to race...but only if you have a real rally-style twisty set up.

If you remove the magnets (as many rally fans do for more accurate racing) then the Ninco 4WD is unbeatable in comparison to Scalex 2WD cars.
The lap record for Rally cars at our club is held by a 4WD SCX Citroen Xsara. My one.

I have smaller (than standard) wheels on the front with small tyres, and bigger (than standard) wheels on the back with similar sized tyres. It's got a Pro-Turbo 4WD motor in it and SCX racing braid on the front.

Apart from trueing and glueing everything, I have kept only the two side screws, and done no other modification at all.

And yet it is faster than any other rally car on our track. Believe me, sometimes, even if the laws of physics say it shouldn't be good, it IS.

2WD cars don't even come close.

Interesting comments guys, you may be right about the lap times being in my mind, but it's fun to tinker anyway. I have another pair of cars which have often made me ponder this same question. I have an SCX F40 and an SCX Audi 90 Quatro, both from the American IMSA GTO series. The Ferrari is a standard 2wd and the Audi has the rally 4wd dual shaft system, but with large slicks on all four corners. The F40 seems to have a little more snap out of the turns and maybe a bit more top end, but the Audi runs virtually identical lap times (one of my favorite pairs!). I had previously thought that the advantage of the 4wd seemed to be mostly under braking, the Audi can go very deep into the end of the straight before braking. But now I think that maybe there is a bit of acceleration traction assist as well? I have a couple more Ninco belt systems on the way, so I will report back my findings on future 4wd project.....Hmmmmm.....I wonder if I can put one on that Fly truck?......
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Customer's delusions greatly help Ninco sales.

Film at Eleven.

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Oh, and when we run the Ninco rally cars, we remove the band, because they handle better without it.... (IOO)

Where do I start? This is an interesting read but there are too many variables mixed up in all of this. We're comparing apples, ornages, grapes, frogs, trees... etc.

First the Ninco belt drive system is very ineffiecient, so it either uses a lot of power which reduces the top speed of the car or it slips and does not transfer enough power to make a difference. Can this be overcome by the extra traction provided by all wheel drive? It depends on the track, power supply and probably a few other things.

The only good test is an "A" to "B" to "A" comparison. I have seen too many cars get faster with some change and when changed back it is faster yet again even though it is in the identical condition as at the beginning. Much of this is because of the condition of the track and the driver.

Is all wheel drive an advantage? It can be if traction is limited. With no traction magnet it is probably better assuming some other area of perfromance doesn't suffer because of it. With strong magnetic enhanced traction the advantage will be greatly diminished. I'm sure there is also some effect from the layout of the track such as how long the straights are and how tight the curves are.
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QUOTE (TSRF @ 28 Sep 2004, 16:41)Customer's delusions greatly help Ninco sales.

Film at Eleven.

Well at least my delusions are helping someone, for once!?!

RMM, I know the belt doesn't transfer much power, but I haven't really noticed much loss. Are you saying it would create more drag if tight enough to traqnfer more power to the front? The Lambo Diablo and Murcies transfer only small amounts of power, about 10% I believe, but it seems to be enough to give a control advantage. I agree that with a magnet, it is probably not. I will do some back to back to back tests and see what I find.
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The SCX latest 4WD Impreza makes a lot of noise but is fun to drive. No real match for the recent 2WD Scalextric Sidewinders, Fly Long driveshaft 2WD cars. 4WD is good fun but the real competitiveness is in 2WD rear.
Max, you're running magnets, right? It could only be an advantage when you can spin the tires well out of the turns.
It really has been long accepted that 4-wheel drive saps power while adding nothing to effectively compensate.

But if the driver feels comfortable with this then he might well actually DRIVE better. Sometimes, removing a tiny bit of top end viciousness from any car can so improve its drivability that lap times really do improve, thus supporting the view that power ain't necessarily the key to winning races, certainly not the ONLY key.
If McLaren is running smaller front wheels on the xsara wo`nt they be running more revs per minute than the rears and if the rears have a bigger diameter wo`nt they cover more ground per rev thus causing the fronts to scuff or
create more resistance? I`m confused - please can someone explain it all!
Cheers -Phil B.
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It certainly can be quite confusing!
There is a theory that smaller fronts (effectively lower geared) can enable the fronts to give just a touch more grippy 'grunt' out of slow bends.
I thought of this independently, years ago but never actually tried it, as I have no faith, overall, in 4-wheel drive for slots. Generally, there is so much invisible wheel spin going on, both longitudinally and laterally that no one REALLY know what the heck is happening at track surface anyway! It's all theory and anyone's is as good as anyone else's. (Hmmm . . . maybe not quite ANYone, but I'll mention no names!

Stay unconfused and stick with 2-wheel drive, just like all the top drivers do!
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We only really use four wheel drive on our small twisty rallytracks not on the Aberstone big circuit but I`ve tried soft compounds on the front wheels and harder on the rears to get the back end out and it seems to help pull the car into the corners, however ninco rally tyres cope quite well with the sawdust in the logged area until the tread wears down! (tyre changes between stages??)
The Ninco Renault Clio (2wd) is quick but twitchy and not so forgiving, then again thats probably my driving!!
Now what about smaller tyres on opposite corners? (Only joking)
Cheers - Phil.
QUOTE Now what about smaller tyres on opposite corners? (Only joking)
A perfect hands-on demo of the advantage of truing tyres (and I'm not!)
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