How to: Make Your 17.5-turn Short Course Truck Faster

Even if you have the right attitude and race “just for fun,” odds are you want to win. Here’s the deal: if you have enough of a competitive nature to want to race, you have enough competitiveness built into you that you will strive for victory. Now, if you want to win, you need every advantage you can get. Here are some useful tips on how to make your 17.5-turn short course truck a little faster.

Gear Mesh
It’s super important to have the proper gear mesh. If you have it too tight you will be robbing power from the motor and take the chance of overheating your electronics. If you have it too loose you are taking the risk of stripping out a spur gear. When adjusting your gear mesh it is important to check it in several spots around the spur gear. Due to imperfections in the plastic or manufacturing process the spur gear may not be perfectly round causing a tight or loose spot in the mesh. Be sure to take your time and get this right. Also be sure that after you get the proper mesh that the motor screws are tight to ensure the the motor will not move during racing. It’s common for hard, tail slapping landings to move motors that aren’t tightened down properly.

Think of a high C rating as a large pipe that allows a large amount of water to flow very quickly. A higher “C” rated battery will give your 17.5-turn more power and speed because it can deliver current when needed. You will really notice this when accelerating, and on the track, your truck is accelerating almost constantly. I like to use a minimum of a 60c 5000mAh pack. This will give you a lot of punch and the power you need to run an 8-minute main with no power drop off.

It’s always important to make sure that all areas that have bearings are moving as free as possible. Keeping the bearings cleaned and lubed with as light as possible oil is a must. If you want to take it one step further, invest in a set of high quality ceramic bearings. Although they are a bit pricey, they are said to offer as much as 50% less friction and can handle a greater load than standard bearings.

One trick you should try with your tire setup is to run a harder foam or molded insert. The firmer insert will reduce rolling resistance and tire roll over. This will result in a little more speed and a more predictable handling truck.

Camber and Toe Adjustments
Ok, this section may not work for everyone and may have to be varied a bit due to track conditions or driving styles. For camber adjustments, try to use as little camber as possible. From experience, I recommend running 0 to -.5 degrees of camber in the front. For front toe, start with 0 degrees of toe. This will reduce any tire scrub on the straights. For rear camber, again try to stick with the 0 to -.5 degree. As for the rear toe, most trucks have 2 to 3 degrees built into the chassis, this is done to improve forward traction and straight line stability. Again, we are going to try to run as little as possible. Running toe increases stability and makes a truck easy to drive, but the tire scrub it causes does come at the cost of slightly reduced speed. Too much rear toe also makes it hard for a truck to rotate.

All of these adjustments combined will reduce the rolling resistance and increase the efficiency of your truck. Again, I must stress that these adjustments may not work for everyone and certain track conditions. but they are a good baseline to get that 17.5-turn powered short course truck up to speed with the front runners.

Photo by Patricia M. Strickland

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  1. Very informative. Cant you put extra timing on the motor, with proper gearing? Then add boost at mid range speed? With a 60c battery im sure you can still run it with out power loss. Though ive only been in the hobby for 2 yrs. Not long at all and im still learning.

    1. With the timming, most manufactures set the timming at a number that would be best for most conditions. Yes you can increase it and gear fo more overall speed at the risk of running higher temps on the motor and speed control. As far as boost goes, almost every track that runs 17.5 SC has taken on the “no boost/timming” at the speed control to make for much closer racing.

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