Ray has a good point about tyre truers - can any SERIOUS racer manage without one? Having said that, a tyre truer isn't cheap ..... sandpaper is cheap and does quite an effective job.
For sure if the tyres are so far out of round that they make a drumming sound, truing them up will be an advantage.
Tyres that aren't far enough out make a drumming sound can still be far enough out of round so sanding improves them.
For some reason out of round tyres seem to be much less of a problem in mag racing that in non-mag. Any explanations why?
The tires only need to be a tiny bit out of round for the car to make the sound. I have an aluminum setup block that is polished so I can easily see if the tires are not square with the track. Running the tires on sandpaper works best if the tires are not square with the track, it is less effective if the tires are egg shaped. The only way to be sure that the tires will end up being round is to keep the sanding media a constant distance from the center of the wheel and that means using a lathe, a drill press or a dedicated truing machine. I use silicone tires on all of my cars and those are nearly impossible to true unless you use a machine like a Hudy. The question that I hear all the time is "Do I really need to be so fussy about round tires?" My answer is always "It depends!". If all you ever do is run by yourself or do some casual running with friends a quick pass with the sandpaper will do. If you run in formal races and hope to win at least once in a while a greater effort is required. My own situation is made more difficult because most of the guys that I race against are more serious about it than the average person in the hobby. A number of our racers have been top finishers in several proxy series for one thing and one of them built the car that held the record for the longest distance traveled in 24 hours by a non-magnet 1/32nd car. I know that one of the guys spent sixty hours tuning a proxy car, talk about dedication!
Hi 300SLR yes sand paper is cheap and effective if used correctly. This was way that I was first taught although a few tips that I was shown by an old timer:-
1 gluing the tyre on make a big difference,
2 if the tyre is/are badly out of round a fine file helps
for the first pass,
3 if truing on the chassis hold the chassis above fixed sand paper and move the chassis from side to side,
4 never put too much pressure on the motor it will burn it out,
5 do not true with high rpm as this will hollow out the centre of the tyre do to centrical force expanding the centre of the tyre,
6 some makes of tyres melt so need to be trued slowly with some lubricant such as Zippo.
We run on a ferro painted timber track which is quite abrasive an this helps to bring the tyres in perfectly round to the chassis and 50 laps or so make they tyre perfect.
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