Hop-ups for the Nitro 4-TEC
This article is all about the hop-ups you can get for the 4-tec. Everything ranging from aluminum and graphite parts, to re-chargeable reciever battery packs. This will help you if you are looking to fix up your 4-tec to get it handle better, make it faster, or just make it look better.
THE DIFFERENT KIND OF PARTS:
Graphite is a type of part that is available for the 4-TEC, that is mainly used for racing. It is lighter, stronger, and stiffer than plastic. Graphite isn't only good because it saves weight and it's stiff, parts like aluminum and plastic tend to bend more as you keep driving because of the heat increasing throughout the car, so it will cause chassis flex and an un-consistent ride. Graphite keeps it's stiffness through all types of weather and temperature. If you are racing or you just want greater handling out of your car in bashing or racing, graphite is for you. To buy graphite for the 4-tec http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...te&FVPROFIL=++ .Only Traxxas makes the rear shock tower, front tie bar, upper deck, rear brace, and graphite brake disc in graphite. But they haven't had the upper deck in stock for quite a long time now, so you must wait for that part.
Aluminum is a very strong metal, the strongest one next to titanium. Aluminum is often used to make vulnerable parts that would break stronger, such as the rear stub axle carriers or front knuckles. You should only use aluminum if you are having a major problem with a single type of part breaking, or if you just want to make your car shiny. But remember this, if you are to buy say an aluminum rear stub axle carrier, since that part is much stronger now, it can make other parts around it such as the turnbuckle or a-arm more vulnerable to breaking. A plus of the aluminum is that they stiffen the car more for a more consistent ride and the threads that hold the screw will never strip since it's aluminum. Powerline racing and Megatech sells aluminum parts for the 4-tec. I would advise you to go with the powerline, they are more popular plus are easier to find. http://powerlineracing.com/index.asp...S&Category=214 those are all the parts for hte 4-tec. Pretty much every part.
The other parts are plastic and titanium. I will not talk about plastic because they come with the car plus i talked about them in my other article "The Nitro 4-TEC Made Simple." No one sells titanium, but i have seen people make they're own parts out of titanium(i think it was oblivion). Plastic parts can be bought at towerhobbies or your lhs, you can buy titanium in sheets and cut them out to make your own (flat) parts.ie rear shock tower, upper deck etc. etc.
We have covered what you need to know about the parts of your 4-tec. Now to move on to the "other", often overlooked electronics.
Servo's play a vital role in your car. It turns the wheels and moves the throttle. For steering, your servo should have at LEAST 70oz of torque and .16 speed if you want your servo's to actually turn the wheels all the way on the ground at a stop. :-P Stock servo's have a problem, between the gears there is play that cannot be controlled, getting a high-performance servo will take this play away and make the car MUCH more predictable. For throttle, you should at least have around 60-70oz of torque, not just for moving, but for the brakes, more torque increases your brake power dramatically, and again .16 speed. If you blip the throttle during turns, you want a fast servo, a servo that can keep up with your finger. Servo's overall made a huge difference in the handling of the car. Probably the best thing i've ever done for my racing experience. Some servo's are coreless, this means that the servo will create more power and take LESS power from the reciever at the same time. Many people make many different servo's, but www.servocity.com has all the servo's for every manufacter at very reasonable prices. I would recommend hitec or airtonics servo's. When buying servo's, make sure that you get the right connector for the reciever.
The battery pack is what juices up the servo's and reciever. Any stock battery pack has a simple, 4.8v, 4 AA(double A) battery pack. If you want to upgrade your battery pack, you want to get a 6v, 1100mah, rechargable battery pack. This is also a GREAT upgrade, because first of all, it increases your servo power from 4.8v to 6v(remember, the MAX a reciever can handle is 6v), so it will add around 20-30oz of torque and .2-.5 speed more. Which is GREAT! Plus, it is nimh, nimh battery packs will give full power until the end, power will just drop. Let me explain this clearer, for AA batteries, the power gradually goes down slowly,nimh battery packs wil give the same power until the end of the battery pack, so if you see a power decrease, it's going to happen suddenly and the battery will be completely dead. Plus it's rechargable, so no more buying batteries. If you are going to buy a pack, you must get the hump pack, this pack has 3 cells on the bottom and 2 on the top, this is the only type of setup that will fit the 4-tec. Trinity sells a great one, i got it and it's great. http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXVG17&P=7 If you want to get a charger for it, i just got a cheap airtronics overnight charger for 6 bucks at my lhs, im sure your lhs has some type of overnight charger for it.
There are two types of transmitters, digital and non-digital. Non-digital's have knobs for adjusting things like trim. The most features i've seen a non-digital radio have is dual-rate and the normal steering and throttle trim. So if your going to upgrade your radio, forget about non-digital. Digital is the good stuff, it has many things like arc, dual-rate,epa,sub-trim,2 or more model memory,battery display and alot more. If you want to know what those mean or any other electronics term, look here http://www.futaba-rc.com/glossary.html . Futaba,hitec,airtronics, and many other companies make radio systems. What I find to be the best radio for almost anyone who wants to upgrade they're radio is the airtronics mx-3. This is for the average club racer, it provides everything you need for a great price. I have it and i LOVE it. http://www.airtronics.net/airtronics_new_mx3.htm You can also buy rechargable battery packs for your radio, just check with the company to see if they have it.
I am not talking about the reciever because you cannot really upgrade it. Just make sure you know what connector your reciever takes, and prevent it with any contact of water at all times.
OooOo, my favorite part :-D, i will be talking about thinks like differentials, shocks, swaybars,and much more.
There are 2 types of diffs(differentials), gear and limited slip differentials, your car comes with gear diffs, if you want to find out how they work, check out my other article "The Nitro 4-tec Made Simple". If you want to upgrade your diffs, you will get the traxxas ball diffs, these are basically limited slip differentials. These are probably the hop-up that will increase traction and handling the most. Lsd's will help alot with slalom's(going left and right like an S), and basic traction. You can also get some different kind of steering out of it. Since they are adjustable, you can tighten and loosen them without dissassembling anything.If you want to adjust them, look for a hole on the diff(the blue part), after you have found the hole, hold the tire that is on the holes side, then turn the other wheel and you will see that there is a point where there is a complete hole through the diff, stick a 1.5mm hex wrench into it, and turn the right wheel(NOTE:If you have put the diff the right way, you turn the right wheel, so make sure you make the gear aligned with the pulley so the belt will be straight when connected to the diff and pulley) clockwise to tighten, counter-clockwise to loosen. If you want a punchy and twitchy car, tighten it, you usually want the front to be tighter than the rear so the front end pulls the car out of a turn. If you loosen it, it will be more smooth during the turns and predictable. Usually everyone like's it tighter. Plus less dirt will get in the diff if it's tighter. Maintenance on these things is alot. Anytime you feel the diff isn't smooth, you must take the diff apart and re-grease and clean them with the grease that came with your pro ball diff. Pro ball diffs cost 50 each, pricey, but worth it if your racing, http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXLR58&P=7 .
No one makes a one-way differential for the 4-tec, so don't look for it.
Two companies make aftermarket aluminum shocks for the 4-tec, powerlineracing and traxxas. Let's start with traxxas.
Traxxas big bore shocks are much smoother than stock shocks because the bore of the shock is bigger(hence the name "big bore") so more shock oil can be put in it, plus the aluminum bodies are smoother against the shock shaft. Great hop-up if your racing. These is a non-threaded, grey aluminum shocks. 27 for a pair, http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXLR95&P=7 use those for front and rear.
Powerline shocks. These are blue ALL aluminum threaded shocks. Pretty much the same thing as the big bore's except made by powerline, there are threaded so you don't need to use spacers,plus they have aluminum shock ends. I would recommend this for racing over the big bores only because you don't need spacers, the threaded shocks are just so much more convenient. They are pretty much the same price, http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXMW97&P=7 .
Traxxas makes the only swaybars for the 4-tec. Swaybars are bars that connect the a-arms together for more lateral traction and less body roll. Swaybars don't work too well in the rear of the 4-tec because the force that makes the lateral traction becomes too great which just causes the rear end to slide. I would only recommend to use the front swaybar, as you will find putting the rear one on just loses traction. These are adustable from 5 holes in the a-arms. Very cheap hop-up, give'em a try and see how your car handles with them, only 5 bucks http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXLR49&P=7 .
Two basic types of tires, rubber and foam.
Rubber is used for mostly bashing. Threaded rubbers will work best for parking lot's and just plain bashing. There are many different kinds of tires, there are ones with aggressive threads for rough grounds, and "semi-slicks" for nearly clean surfaces. Slicks are for non-dusty surfaces, usually for the track. There are also temperature tires, i would only recommend temperature tires for racing with slicks. If you want to buy threaded tires, hpi has a great selection of threaded tires, they also have slicks, but if you want some good slicks, Sorex makes the best slicks, they grip GREAT and last very long.
Foams are meant for pure racing. Foams will only grip in clean, non-dusty surfaces, if they are used in rocky or dusty surfaces, they will chunk or they just won't grip. Foams are rated with "shores" or colors. The lower the shore, the softer the foam, vice versa. You usually want to start out with something like 37 in the rear and 42 in the front. There are foams meant specifically for the front and rear, and there are ones that can be used for both front and rear. Many companies make foams, TRC(what i use), JACO,and many many others, they aren't too different from eachother, just use what everyone uses at the track.
Springs play a vital role in handling. A springs stiffness is mostly reffered to pounds, ie 14lbs, the spring can hold 14lb's before fully compressing. If you want to change your springs, it matters what your car is in need for. If it is flipping, stiffer springs can help, if it has too much traction causing it to traction roll, stiffer springs will help. If you lack traction, use softer springs. Softer springs will usually cause more oversteer than understeer, vice versa with stiff springs, but if front and rear springs are set correctly for your car, you shouldn't have any of either. Team Associated tc3 springs fit great on the big bores or powerlines, and they pretty much have every spring rating you need.
You cannot really hop-up your shock oil, only change it around. Shock oil also plays a vital role in your car. Say your making a turn, if you have light shock oil, then your car will lean quickly then re-center quickly, if you run thick shock oil, then your car will be smoother and less twitchy. Usually most people like lighter shock oil for the responsiveness and the ability for it to re-bound quickly. You should start out with around 50wt shock oil. Any brand of shock oil will work, just don't use different brands of shock oil in each shock, because some shock oils aren't 100% silicon and are mixed with other compounds or elements. Team Associated, Trinity, and many other brands carry shock oil.
Handling hop-ups are done. Now for some speed hop-ups.