Please read the general set up guide HERE, before checking out this guide, which is specifically written for the White Edition. I will write about which options I specifically use on the WE in this guide, and in the general guide I explain the basic theory in more detail. After reading the basic guide, you will understand this one better!
And just in case you didn’t do what I just said, let’s repeat:
A car that is set-up well, and to suit the driver, will make driving and racing more enjoyable, and will lead to better results. How to set a car up, or how to become a faster driver can’t really be learned by this, or any other guide, it has to be done at the track. But guides like this one can provide guidance and give ideas as to what to try and what the expected result could be. One thing to remember, when setting up a car, is that usually everything affects everything else, meaning that if you change one thing, it may affect something else too. Sometimes shortening the rear upper link may be bad, but if you shorten the front one too, it might work. Furthermore, the effect of a set-up change can also differ depending on the driver, and his or her driving style. Depending on how the driver uses the throttle, where in the corners, or in the bumps, and how much and how aggressively, the preferred set-up will be different. Different track surfaces and conditions may also affect how a set-up change is perceived by the driver, sometimes a change may seem insignificant, and sometimes it might make a big difference. But at the end of the day, the laws of physics are the same for everyone, and for all cars and tracks, so it is possible to come up with a guide like this one, highlighting what changes can be made to the car, and what the change will do to the driveability.
Back To Basics
For a car to work well, it is extremely important that it is built and maintained right. If a car is built wrong, wrong screws or shims in the wrong places, if there are bent or worn out parts on the car, or if moving parts bind, and don’t move freely, it doesn’t matter how you set the car up, because it won’t work. So before changing set ups, make sure to check all the basic stuff, to see that it is right and everything works as it should, arms move, and the drivetrain spins freely, tyres are glued properly and the foam in them is in one piece, etc.
On the WE the main things to check, are that the front and rear arms remain free after tightening the gearbox screws, that the C-Hub remains free after tightening the grubsrews on the outerhingepin, and the hingepin nut, and finally that the rear hub hingepin moves freely in the rear arm and rear hub insert. Some arms and inserts are a bit tight, and you can either just run the car a bit so it breaks in, or use a drill to free the parts up faster. Also make sure that when you tighten the nut that secures the shock cap, the shock cap can still move freely. The steering links are a bit tight when new, but free up rather quickly after running the car, but as was noted when Atsushi Hara tested THECar, this was not good enough, and he heated up the link with a lighter, and then quickly sqweezed the link with pliers a few times to free up the ball in the link. This way no break in time is required.
Build it with care, and it will serve you well…
Electronics and Linkages
I tend to run the battery in the forward position. Any hump pack will fit. Running the battery in the front is a minor change, but it did make the car corner smoother in sweepers, and also jump flatter. The car just felt a bit more balanced this way. For the servos, I do not do anything special. Make sure everything is free on the throttle linkage, and nothing is binding. I suggest you invest in CNC servo arms if you intend to go racing. Just added safety. Remember to use threadlock on the servo arm screws. I don’t run a switch, because sometimes they break. I ziptie an extension lead to the switch mount, and plug in the battery directly to it. As for the antenna, I lay it horisontally, also ziptieing it to the switch mount. I then run a dummy antenna tube because I like how it looks! Old school!
This is how I do it, keep it simple.
I run the stock JQ clutch, with 2×1.1mm and 1×1.0mm springs. This may vary depending on what engine you run, or the track conditions. I run this setup 95% of the time though. If you want smoother power delivery, go to 2×1.0 and 1×1.1 or 3×1.0 springs. For anyone seriously racing, I suggest you put new clutchbell bearings on for each race, and preferably also the clutchshoes and springs. The clutchbell lasts longer, but keep an eye on the grooves that wear into the bell. When it is all grooved up, it’s time to change. As I mentioned, I put a new clutch and bearings on for the race, and additionally new bearings for the finals. For big races I also put new shoes and springs on for the finals.
Making Changes and Finding THE SetUp
In order to improve your car, and your results you really need to try everything for yourself. Make a plan. Don’t just drive for the sake of driving. Figure out what you want to do. Try different upper link settings, or different shock pistons, or springs, or whatever, and focus on what each change does. Make one change at a time, and write down what changes on the car in a notebook, and after every change take lap times and mark them down too. Write what the changes did to the handling, what did you feel? Do this for a couple of days, and then go and do the exact same thing on another track. Another important thing to remember is, that if you change one thing, for example the rear link, or rear shocks, and it is worse, it may actually be better than what you use to have if you also change the front link or shocks. So one change might be worse, but 2 changes could be better! So it really is a never ending challenge, with infinite combinations of set ups to try. One month of testing like this is endlessly more valuable than just going to the local track to drive, or copying a set up off the internet.
This is a blank set up sheet. Start with ours, and create your own by testing.
The shocks are an area that we have worked extremely hard on. Getting the suspension right is a key area in 1:8th offroad! It is a never ending story of testing and improving.
We have found that the stock pistons (6×1.2+2×0.6 Front, 8×1.2+4×0.6 Rear) work well on all tracks. They also tend to work in most temperatures with the same oil. I use the same oil, 350 front, 300 rear in temperatures ranging from 15-30 celcius. Anything below that may require 50cst thinner oil, and anything above, 50cst higher. On a high grip track, or a track with a lot of hard landings thicker oil may also be beneficial. Most of the time even lose or bumpy tracks, 350/300 is still best, unless it is below 15 degrees or so.
On some select tracks, with a combination of inconsistent grip and sharp bumps, the car may feel aggressive and edgy. This is when we have ended up running different pistons. The best we have found so far is 8×1.2mm pistons, with 500/300 oils in normal temps.
As for the shape of the piston, we have liked running flat pistons. Conical pistons can be good too, but flat pistons seem to be the safe bet. They will work. For conical pistons, running the flat side up, makes the car more nervous and aggressive, and can increase grip on some tracks. Running them flat side down is better most of the time, as it calms the car down, but the car will not settle as well when landing.
Finally, I always build my shocks with 0 rebound. I have just found they work the best this way!
Springs and Shock Positions
I tend to always start off with Black (hard) front and white (medium) rear. [Edit: Lately I have started liking the new grey springs front and back]. On low grip, or very bumpy tracks, running softer springs can be beneficial, either grey (medium-hard) front, gold (medium-soft) rear, or even white (medium) front, and silver (soft) rear.
On high grip tracks I don’t go any harder on springs normally, except possibly running grey (medium-hard) rear springs instead of the white (medium) ones. For the rear, the spring choice coincides with the shock position choice. I almost only use the top middle hole (3) or one out from that (4) for the rear shock on the rear tower. On a high grip track, I would either keep the same position (3) and use a one step harder spring, in order for the rear not to squat or lean too much and become out of shape, or I would keep the same spring and move the shock one hole out, which has a similar effect.
The difference, I feel, is that standing the shock up reduces steering, specially rotation in slower tighter corners a bit, where just going to a harder spring but keeping the shock position the same does not do this. The rear can still swing round in the tight corners.
I admit, I have a shock absorber fetish. That’s why the manual starts with the shocks.
If the track is super high bite or super flat and fast, I may also go out on the rear arm for the shock. If I do this, I also use the lower row on the tower for the shock. This change improves cornerspeed, but the car will feel more knife edge, and be worse in bumps, and if you lose rear grip, it happens more quickly. You may want to compensate by running one softer rear spring. It is rare that I use this set up, but for example France and Italy have big tracks where this would be beneficial.
On the front the same thing applies, but it is more common for me to use the outer hole on the arm. Stock is middle on the arm for the shock, and that is almost always used, but for high grip fast tracks, the outer hole can make the car more stable. If I am using the upper hole on the c-hub for the arm, I always use the upper row for the shock. If I am using the lower hole on the c-hub for the arm, I use the lower row on the tower for the shock, when moving to the outer hole on the arm. I only use the middle column for the shock, on the front tower.
A good starting point that will work on any track is 5-5-3. This makes the car predictable and easy to drive on any track. If the car feels like it has too much steering, but it is otherwise ok, you can try going up only on the front diff oil, 7-5-3, even 10-5-3. In hot conditions, or on high grip smooth tracks, I like to go up to 7-7-4 in the diffs. I rarely go higher than this, but 10-10-5 is also another good option. Going to thicker diffs all round makes the car carry more cornerspeed easier, and makes the arc in long sweepers rounder and smoother. So if I feel that I have to keep correcting my line in long corners or that my car is very nervous, I go up on either just my front diff oil, or three, depending on the situation. When going up on all three it will make the car accelerate more aggressively.
To make the car even easier to drive than stock, you can try very thin oils. Some drivers have used really thin oils with some success, for example 3-3-1. If the rear feels a bit loose with this setup, go to 3-3-3. This covers the different diff setups we tend to run. For a better explanation of what each diff does to the handling, please check our general guide HERE.
Most adjustments make a clear noticable difference to the cars handling, but none of them will make it amazing. To get your car handling exceptionally well, you need to find a balance where all settings are right for you, and the conditions. The only way to do this, is to test for yourself, and fine tune, making smaller and smaller changes as you close in on your perfect set up.
Toe, Antisquat and Rear Arm Height
I used to think that the front toe angle didn’t make a big difference to the handling of the car. I was wrong! Specially on high speed, high grip tracks, if your car is nervous and edgy, adding a bit more front toe out can make a big difference and really calm it down! I tend to keep my steering links around 24-25mm.
On the rear toe plate I almost always use the 0, or the 0.5 hole out for toe in. I try to run the least amount of rear toe in that I can, where the car is still comfortable to drive. If my car is really good, I like to try 0.5 less toe in to see if I can make it faster, without making it loose. The outboard toe in adjustment is very good. The 0.5 toe on the hub (remember + sign towards the inside) really increases rear traction. However, it will slow the rotation of the car down in corners. Running no toe in on the hub is often the faster setting. I tend to try both 0 and 0.5 rear hub toe in, and check laptimes and consistency and then decide what to run. It is really worth the time and effort to find the suitable toe in setting for you, it can improve the handling a lot! Remember too much toe in is also bad! It will give you a false sense of traction, where when you lose the rear end, it will be hard to get back in control.
The rear is important…
For the rear arm, I start with the stock height for the rear arm. If I feel like the rear end is a bit too soft, rolling and squatting, or if I need to unlock it a bit in the corners so the car rotates more, I try raising it 0.5 (1 hole up for antisquat, 0 for toe). I don’t really use other heights, but in theory you can gain some more rear grip by going one step lower than stock, 0 for antisquat and lowest for toe.
For antisquat I almost always run the stock 2 degrees. On smooth tracks, I may experiment with running less in an effort to gain more “invisible speed”, in more forward bite. When running less antisquat, you may have to also run a harder rear spring, stand up the shocks, or raise the rear arm in order to find the best balance.
Camber is one of the setup paramenters that can prove to be that last tiny bit that is needed, that last 0.1 or 0.2 second, the edge. The absolute best way to find the right camber for the conditions is to have your mechanic change it as you drive. Drive some laps, come in, change the camber a bit, 1-2 90 degree twists (about 0.5-1 degrees), and as you find the right area, make the changes smaller, and try finding the sweet spot, where going either way, feels worse.
Best way to keep check of· camber.
Normally this process will end up in 0.5-1.5 degrees front, and 1.5-3.5 degrees rear for me depending on the track. Camber affects how the car corners, throughout the corner. Finetuning, but it does make a noticeable difference, specially when you get it just right for you and the track. It almost feels like it is no big deal, until you hit th perfect setting for you and for the conditions.
Just a reminder of how it works. On the WE, stock setting is 14 or 16 degree on c hub (they are marked, and 10 degrees on arm.
So far we only have 16 degree castter blocks available, but we are working on optional caster blocks with less caster, for more responsive steering. In testing, we actually felt that the additional steering was not that significant, but the additional rear traction when exiting corners was. The reduced caster really make it easier to exit corners, specially on a loose track.
Kickup and Front Arm Height
The stock setting is the most common. Increasing the kickup by lowering the rear of the arm, to 1 insert hole down, max kickup, can be a good tuning aid, smoothing out the response of the car. It also handles bumps and jumps better like this. Those are really the main 2 settings we use.
One way to really fine tune the handling, is to lower the whole front arm 0.5 from the stock setting. This makes the front end slightly softer, and improves front and grip and steering a bit. On a high grip track, you can raise the arm, and reduce kickup, 1 hole up on both F-F and F-R arm holders, this will make the car easier to drive, with less steering.
Headache for the designer, easy for the racer.
Contrary to the past, I actually tend to change this quite a bit nowadays. I only use the middle hole, which I always start out with, and the front hole. The middle hole is for me the best compromise, with relatively linear and consistent steering. It feels linear and consistent to drive, but actually the car turns more initially, then develops a slight push, which creates a sense of comfort. If I feel like my car is good, but I just need more mid corner to exit of corner steering, I will go to the front hole. This would be specially noticable in tight hairpins, where the car would turn in well, but then push. In situations like this, if everything else is set up well, to where I am happy, I will just move the link forward to get that steering that I am lacking mid corner.
For the upper links, it is worth reading the instructions at the end of the WE manual. There are a lot of holes available, but only certain ones are used, depending on the other setup parameters, so please read the manual!
I tend to run the link one down from stock locations. Lowest row middle column (8) on the tower, and inner middle on hub (3) if running the arm in the top c-hub hole (1), inner lower (5) if I am running the arm in the lower c-hub hole (2). This set up works well on all tracks I feel, and it is not going to be a problem. If you car is not good, the front link is not the problem. You can try stock (5) and how I run it (8), those will be good everywhere.
However, it is possible to improve your car using the front link. Lengthening the link will make the steering less responsive and precise, which can be good for big, fast tracks, depending on your driving style of course. One good long link set up is to just lengthen the link on the hub, keeping everything else the same. Another setup to try, is to run middle row inside column (4) on the tower, and upper outer (2) on the c hub.
I always start with one hole down from the stock setting for the rear link on the tower (7). If the track is high grip, and I feel that the rear is squatting and rolling, unsettling the car, specially on power, I will shorten the link to the middle column middle row (5) on the tower, and re-adjust for camber. This really stiffens the rear end and makes it possible to drive a lot more aggressively without the car becoming out of shape. I only use the inside and middle columns on the tower, and almost only the middle and lowest row.
On the hub, I only use the shortest setting when running the rear arm short, and the medium (middle column) setting when running the arm long, but I have noticed that many others prefer to run a link that is one setting longer than mine on the hub. So middle column when running a short arm, and outer column when running a long arm. I tend to move between the top and middle rows depending on the rear hub inserts, as explained in the manual. It can be a good idea to try to lengthen the link one step on the hub, if you want more stability, and a slower reacting car.
The reason I run the links one lower on both front and rear towers compared to the box set up, is that I feel I can push the car more, and control it better. It is a bit more aggressive, but for me it is easier to drive, because I feel more in control. Please try for yourselves. In my opinion the car feels most balanced when both are changed together, so both front and rear links in middle row, or front and rear in lowest row.
Rear Hub Inserts and Arm Length
These inserts make a difference, learn to understand them, and they are not at all confusing.
The two settings I tend to run for the rear hub inserts are dot insert with dot down (stock), and dot insert with dot up. Dot down, link in the middle row, dot up, link in the top row. The stock insert has a lower max amount of traction, but the loss of grip occurs more gradually, which makes the car easier to drive. The dot up setting increases the maximum available traction, but it makes the car a bit more knife edge, where if it gets unsettled it does so more quickly. It also makes the suspension stiffer, and may make the car more edgy in bumps due to increased sidebite. I never use the highest or lowest settings for the hub height.
As for the rear arm length, I run the long arm if I need stability, or I need to make my car easier to drive. I run the short arm if I need more steering or cornerspeed, or I need to make my car more aggressive.
Rideheight is another set up parameter which is often overlooked. Normally 1:8th buggies are set to have a rideheight between 25-30mm. Generally speaking, a lower rideheight will have less traction, and will be less prone to flipping over, and a higher rideheight will have more traction, but the car may flip over easier. Generally a low car is better on smooth, fast tracks, and a higher one better on tracks with many jumps, or a bumpy track. Sometimes though, when set up correctly, a lower car will handle better on a tough bumpy track, due to the lower centre of gravity, and smaller chance of flipping over. It get’s more of the “wet rag” feel, where the car just glides over everything like a wet rag would.
Keeping this in mind, I have recently started running the car as low as I feel it is good. This tends to be 27 front 28 rear, or 28 front and rear. I would say, the window for the rideheight is 26-30 front, 27-30 rear, with either same front and back, or 1 or 2mm lower front.
I run almost max downtravel….almost always. Measuring like THIS, I tend to have 55-57mm front and 65-67mm rear downtravel. Because the shock locations I run are so standard, I measure the length of the shocks instead. Even if I move them I still measure them, and compare to the stock settings. Front middle top on tower, and middle on arm is 97mm, and rear middle top on tower and middle on arm is 122mm. Here again, it is worth investing the time and effort into finding a downtravel setup that suits you! There is really no golden rule for the right downtravel. I like to run a lot of downtravel because it makes the car more forgiving, and it jumps so much better.
However, recently I have started to find, that adding more front downtravel, and limiting rear has been beneficial on many tracks. I have started running 99mm front shocks, which means you may have to add some clearance for the c hub, and the chassis in the front arm. In the rear I have reduced the shock length to 119. This has increased cornerspeed due to less rear downtravel, and made the handling smoother due to more front downtravel. On bumpy tracks, or if the rear feels unsettled, I still revert back to 122 rear shock length.
What I Do On A High Grip Track
A high grip track for 1:8th offroad, will most likely be smooth, or just a bit bumpy. This is because most of the time if bumps form it is because the track surface breaks up, creating dust, lowering the grip. So for the most part, high grip tracks are also relatively smooth.
Starting from the basic setup 01.01.2014, the car would most likely feel easy to drive, but it would get out of shape when pushed hard, specially in fast corners. The first change I would make is:
I would change to the upper hole on the C-Hub for the front arm. I would re-set rideheight and downtravel. I would run 27 front and 28 rear rideheight. Downtravel would be stock. This change should make the car less likely to go up on two wheels due to the traction level. It would make the car stay flatter, and would make it more responsive and controllable on the high grip.
After trying to make sure the change was good, I would then most likely change the rear end. Now the front end would most likely be handling ok, but the car would still get out of shape when getting on the throttle hard, or when cornering fast. The rear end would lean and then lose traction. I would stop this by changing the rear link.
I would move the rear link from the middle row, inside column on the tower to the middle row middle column on the tower, so one step shorter. I would re-adjust the turnbuckle so I would still have the same camber.
These two changes should make the car planted on a high grip track. Other things I may try:
Move the front shock out on the front arm, for stability.
Thicker diffs, 7-7-4 for maintaining cornerspeed and for more acceleration.
Run the rear arm short, for increased rotation in corners, also remembering to shorten the link.
Running no toe in on rear hub.
Raising rear arm to middle location.
Raising front arm, 1 insert hole up, in both F-F and F-R arm holders.
Running harder rear springs, gray, or standing rear shocks up one on the tower.
What I Do On A Low Grip Track
On a low grip track, the stock set up should be good. If my car feels very good, but I am a bit off the pace, and I need to just find a way to make it faster, I would try the following:
I would change to the upper hole on the C-Hub for the front arm, for more responsive steering.
Run the rear arm short, for increased rotation in corners, also remembering to shorten the link on the hub.
Try one step or even two, softer springs.
For additional stability, try 0.5 or 1 hub toe in, if you are not running hub toe in already.
Run 14 degree C hub for better straight line stability exiting corners.
In general, I would say I run my starting setup for a loose track, but use softer springs, white front, silver rear. I would also most likely run the c-hub in the top hole, and the rear arm short, with an insert with the dot up. If I need more steering, it would most likely be in the corner, not entering, so I would move the ackermann link forward.
Please check the setups posted HERE, to get an idea what things tend to be changed, and which the normal options are for THECar. Yes there are many options available, but they do not all need to be used, unless you really want to! For me, my starting set up works everywhere, and I am sure you can find a setup that will work for you also. If there are any questions, just ask us!