Hey guys, I am trying to get into buggy racing with my 15 year old Bandit. Hereís the plan, Iím interested in what you guys think Particularly seasoned racers, and serial modders.

One thing worth noting is that I donít plan to rush into this, Iíll do a change do a few races learn and then move to the next stage. It might take me a long time to get through the lot

Stage 0: Where I was, bash spec Bandit

This was my old Bandit, the key modification was the fitment of non-Traxxas wheels in order to fit normal 2.2 tyres up front. Long ago I used to force the tires to fit the undersized Traxxas wheels but you could never get them to sit on the wheels quite correctly.

Sadly, I also fitted longer spindles which makes it have a rather wide front track, not to mention a greater scrub radius. It seems to drive OK, but I would rather have it close to the original once more.

Stage 1: Race wheels and tyres.

Fitted Schumacher mini-spikes front and rear as recommended by my local club. I learned long ago that the right tyres are key, I used to go and practise fine astro-turf track when I lived in Hampshire and the Bandit was hopeless with the stock Traxxas tyres, but pretty controllable with mini-pins.

This was the spec for my first race:

* Ball races all round.
* Front 2WD wheels from an Ansmann Mad Rat. Had to drill these bigger myself so they would fit.
* Rustler front axels to be able to screw on the non-stop wheels. This was a mistake to be honest, should have tried to stick with the Bandit ones. (Iíll be honest, I canít remember for sure if thet are Rustler spindles, the key thing is that they are longer than stock)
* Non-Traxxas springs cannot remember what, but much softer. (I found the stock ones absolutely useless on bumpy tracks).
* Turnbuckles all round.
* Steel Drive Yoke Set.
* Coralliy Street Touring Motor, 16 turn Double.

Stage 2: Brushless and more negative camber.

After my first race I learned two things, one that Bandit was too slow and it under-steered like a boat. I took some rough improvised measurements and realized that I had pretty much zero camber, I added some negative camber and I purchased a brushless ESC plus motor combo. I got a 3300kv motor as I donít want to be too quick and hamper my learning. After a solid 2 hours of soldering I also switched everything I have from Tamiya to Deans connectors.

Lastly I lowered it a bit, I noticed that most all the buggies on the track sat a fair bit lower than mine and still took the jumps just fine.

This is where I am at, now for speculative further stages:

Stage 4: Back to legal width and suspension tuning.

Get it back to as close to 250mm width up front as I can, I will put the original spindles back on and modify a couple of hex nuts to be as thin as they can be without compromising their structural integrity (this should be easy given than these are not driven wheels). And get a full set of springs to decide what setup I like. Iíve had the same set of springs for years, it is softer than stock, and works much much better than stock did on bumpy tracks. Iíll also try a variety of shock oil weights, once again Iíve used the same oil weight for years.

I should buy Losi springs, right? Do they do a set with various spring rates? If you guys have part numbers for front and back that would be great!!!

Stage 5: Transmission changes.

This stage is about transmission improvements, Iíd like to achieve two things:

1) Some diff tunability in terms of achieving a little bit of a "Posi-Traction" effect that can be dialled up and down depending on track conditions.
2) Anti-squat.

I still donít know exactly how I am going to approach this, it could be the PL tranny, or the FLM tranny with a sealed diff or the Traxxas ball diff. Choices choices... I quite like the ease of maintenance of a sealed geared differential as opposed to a ball diff. I have no experience with ball diffs at all! To be honest, I don't even know how they work.

I know every 1/10 electric race buggy has a ball diff. How much worse is a sealed oil filled diff compared to the Traxxas ball diff?

I also have questions about the overall weight of a new tranny, the Bandit is already very back heavy. I wouldnít want to make this worse!

Stage 6: More power and weight balance.

I hope that by this stage I will have the skills to let me handle more power, so I want to do three things. Firstly go lipo, secondly get the ability to tweak the weight balance as well as get the car as closer to 1.5kg with the lighter batter (right now it is just over 1.6kg), lastly perhaps a more powerful brushless motor. So the shopping list includes:

* Shorty lipo, these weigh a fair bit less than my current NiMHs and are so small I can move them up and down the chassis.

* More powerful brushless motor.

Stage 7: More race oriented suspension

This is about further suspension tunability, it will involve replacing the shock towers with ones that have more shock positions than stock. I will avoid heavy aluminum in favour of carbon fibre, fibreglass, or plastic. There should be enough choice in the market for me to be able to buy some towers, I donít think Iíd have to make my own. The only thing will be that the wing mount will have to be modified as the new tower probably wonít have the little holes for it. This should be simple.

Stage 8: SWB chassis.

This is the hardcore stage, which involves more than just buying things and bolting them. This may involve chopping original chassis down to size, or creating a whole new chassis. At this stage it will be a very different buggy indeed which hopefully can keep up with modern buggies and Iíll be the proud owner owner of something quite unique.

So? What do you think of the order of these stages? Bare in mind I have exactly one race of experience in terms of RC racing I used to play around with 1:1 cars a fair bit, but I never raced one of those either...