Customizing and TuningBuilding my 57 Chevy for the Pro Series

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Hey Guys,

With Bian's Pro Series coming up, I thought I'd do a build-up on the car I'll be running. If you haven't already guessed, I'm a 'Chevy Guy'...with a love of '67-'72 pick-ups and Tri-5's. And, I also like my cars to be a little on the "well played with", this car seemed perfect...

There will be a lot of stuff done to this old girl...she will get axle tubes and I will be using (and explaining) my new approach to wheels. And, of course, I'll be weighting her up and getting her ready to go. All while leaving her very "well played with"

So, be sure to check in on this thread...I haven't done a build-up lately...should be fun

And to go along with the build pics, I'll be having a little fun with the photography. Here's the "the day we got the '57 home" pic...

And the the "first time we put her up on the lift" pic...

Lots more to follow :)

 Well, here we go...this is the last time she will look like this...

First off, the rivets need to be drilled. GO slowly here. This old plastic can be a little brittle and you want to preserve it...

This is what it should look like when you drill the rivets...

And these are the elements...body, interior and chassis...

I just bend the axles up and pull them out...they come out pretty easy...

good nite irene ...

And, now it's on to the wheels! I have plenty of unused FTE wheels to choose from...

I just pulled out 4 at random...

I press the wheel into the end of my wheel tool...

And, it's off to the lathe! First, I use a center drill to start the hole...a center drill ensures that the hole is started straight...

Then, I can use a standard 1/16" bit to drill the centers...

As you can see, the wheels all have new 1/16" holes drilled...

That's all for right now. Tomorrow, I will use the other side of the wheel tool and I will true up the wheels in the lathe...and maybe narrow them a little

Stay tuned for more tomorrow! 

i'm watching this close...
This is really great! Out of the box, searching for more speed!!

This is how the wheel fits in the tool...

The second pin goes through the spokes so the wheel won't spin on the tool when I'm turning it

could you turn down the center pin and not enlarge the wheel's center hole... labor...
By drilling a new center hole, it gives me a good starting point

It's tempting to try to fix up these redlines...

I could do this same process to them, but holding them to turn them would be a little challenging. Maybe for the next race!

We need a Super Stock  series for us who do not have the tech to be competitive in the Pro Stock ranks. Kudo's to those who do and have truly become the Big Dogs. I, for one, am willing to stay off the porch for I must admit I cannot run with them or have the access to the technology to run with them. Please do not take me wrong, I feel you guys are all friends. But the pond is getting bigger and I am but a small fish. I will try from time to time to compete cuz lets face it. it's fun, and everybody can't win. Ask most of the 40 something NASCAR drivers who may never win, but there they are every race. So, I gonna have to stay outta the Pro ranks and flounder "see what I did  there" around in the "hint" no wheel mods classes. Just sayin'. ........Da Stalker.

Fear not, a Pro Stock series is in the works too - I love stock racing
big block and small block classes ?
I am actually now inspired... to change my name to " Crazy Guppy Dude"!!!

Well said, Stalker! I have access to a lot of cool stuff that let's me take these cars pretty far. 

The trouble is going to be where to draw the 'line in the sand'. I'm planning on rubbing in the 'Pro' series, the LJLRC races and DCR this year...and maybe an occasional monthly race. 

I'd love to see 'super stock' (modded, but not heavily...maybe weighted and using untouched wheels) class. Put one together and have an event. 

That's what is nice about RLD...your race, your rules! 

So what does giving wheels a 1/16" hole get you...using the 1/16" tubing as the axle without the need to insert the original? Not sure I'm following the advantage here...

The 1/16" hole will have a bush inserted into it...the next step will be turning the wheels off of that center hole
interferance fit, warm wheel and "frozen" insert ?
When you drill plastic, like this the plastic heats up and when it cools, the hole is a little small, so it's a pretty tight fit
I will probably put a tiny bit of JB Quick around the bushing, it I have to

I'll be returning to this next week...busy morning! I did turn the wheels, but they had a little wobble after I pressed in the hub. I think I was just in too much of a hurry!

I think the way to go will be to press in a solid piece of brass or copper after they are trued up. And then drill the center hole on the lathe. It's pretty fiddly stuff to get it right!

The new wheels and the bushings...

Now, to see if ai can press these in and not screw them up.

Two out of the four that I am happy with. The other front wheel isn't too bad, but I'll try to get one that is right.

These wheels are so fragile...thibgs have to go just right for then to come out right. But, just seeing how wonky a stock fte is when I turn them makes me think that I am on the right track.

I'll continue to sort out the process until I have all the bugs worked out. The wheels that are right seem very encouraging 

I'm continuing to learn with this build...


Broke two spokes while turning the wheels this morning. These wheels are so fragile to work with...butI'm getting there! 

maybe a solid wheel will work better, 5sp? since I think we all agree the nickle plated axle is what we need from the fte wheels?
Yeah, I think the next set will be something a little more solid :)
i'm thinking gov'ner's fat whites

Okay, enough fiddling with the wheels.I have four wheels that I like, and I think I've ironed out the process so that I can make more in the future (and, to be honest, I really want to see how they work!). So, now, it's on to the chassis.

For those of you that have seen my other builds, you know that I will usually mill grooves in the chassis to put the axle tubes in. But, with these old, rather rigid, Hong Kong plastic cars, I don't think it is necessary. And, with the side pipes and wide bumpers, a '57 is a little tricky to get set up well in the mill. So, I keep it pretty simple...

I use a pin vice with a 1/16" bit and open it up so I can get an axle tube in there.

Next, to make the axle tube

Before I set the length other the axle tubed, I file off the little tabs that sit behind the wheels on these older cars..

Then, I mark the length and I mark where I'll grind away the tubes to expose the axles to the JB Quick. ..

A test fit to make sure the length is correct...

It's getting's up on the lift! All four wheels are in position...

After applying the JB Quick, and letting it sit for a few minutes, I check the end spacing on the wheels. Once that it okay,  I flip it over and let it sit on my jig until it is cured...

A shot of the chassis, with the axles in place...I use a generous amount of JB Quick...

And a quick test fit of the body to see if I have to clearance the wheel wells...

And that's all for tonight...I'll get some weight in it next and maybe play around with that "we'll played with" body

so.... how's she roll...butter smooth?
yup smooth... like 90 weight...

Verrry Interesting.

Ah ha...I get what you were doing with the wheel drilling now. You're using the tiny bits of tubing almost like a bearing so it spins better, yes? Seeing it all together with the axle made it more clear. Interesting. I wouldn't expect metal-against-metal to be smoother than metal-against-plastic. But I guess if the plastic hole is more "imperfect" than the metal one, that would make a big difference. great to see how it does.

the main reason for my doing it is because the wheels had bad wobbles,,,the idea was to get rid of that, whatever the bushing is made from

As I have mentioned in the past, shaping weight to fit in these little cars requires a delicate hand and the use of finesse...

...meaning, you get to beat lead flat with a big hammer! And, once you are done, it should look something like this...

Another reason I like these older cars is that there is usually a fair amount of room for weight. With one half inch lead ball and one weight from an old HO train, I'm right in the ballpark...

I was able to retain most of the interior and fit the weight I need in there...

Several test fittings later and the weight and the interior are JB Quick glued in place...

I'll be adding a little detail to the body...maybe give it a different color fender or door, and some stickers, and then I'll glue the body on! But, for now, I'm happy to have the weight installed and the body fitting as it should...

That sure looks great!!!  

Thanks Richard!

Hey Guys,

Well, I made a few test passes down the track, and I'm really happy with the results (considering this has been a total experiment). The car is quick...but, it's not quick enough!! Since this race is supposed to be our best effort, you won't be seeing this one in the race (it's about a half car off the Heavy Chevy that I ran in TE's race...which is a fairly quick car).

So, it just so happens that I have another '57 on my desk, and I still have a bunch of fte's to play with! 4 of them are already drilled, and the experimenting will continue. :)

the heavy Chevy was a tube car? or stock axle car?
Heavy Chevy is a tube car
Verrrry Interesting.

are you using a drill bit or a reamer ?

Drill bit...1/16" bit

Not as much character as the first one, but still a pretty cool '57...

I haven't forgotten about this one! Here are a new set of trued wheels...

I'm going to try to take some more material off and just leave a small lip on the inside for them to ride on. 

I'm still trying to make speed! :)

Building a car during the Toy Fair rush is tough, but I made a little progress today...

Took a little more material to leave a lip on the inside. Like the old Redlines

That looks promising..
sure does!
I can see ET's dropping soon, very nice!!
Thanks Guys...I hope to have the time to get the next car together
Nice work, interested in results of how it tracks with the ridges....
Yeah, you and me both, TE :)

It would be amazing if someone produced custom bearing and cap wheels for Redlines...

Already working on it :)
i have some short delrin shafts if they help...

So what does the lip on the wheel get you? Just less rubber hitting the road so less friction, etc...?

i think it also centers gravity's affect between your JB Quik and the axle end [flare]
Yup, less friction...hopefully

Less friction equals more speed, next thing will be the best place for the raised tread.  That will effect the pressure which is place on the hub.  It is all about testing, testing, testing,and more testing!!!

part of my brain says it should be in the center. but then, HW had mad wizards back in the day
and they put it on the inside... hmmmm, but I agree, less on the orange, more in the checkers!!
Anyone ever thought about turning the wheels inside out? just wondering...
The raised section is over the hub, where I have it. I know the pinewood guys run negative camber to make the wheels run against the head
Of the axle. But, personally, I think negative camber just looks silly ;)
It is called cant and takes some mods to run it.

Okay, I think I'm getting this process sorted out...

I'm not sure if it is going to equal speed, but, at least I'm using wheels that normally would gotten tossed

So playing devil's advocate here...being that less plastic hitting the road *should* mean more speed, why don't the skinny wheels do better in racing?

Seems like your whittling down a fat wheel to be a skinny wheel, when those things already exist. 

I mean, we've all seen how poor the skinny wheels do so I know the proof is in the pudding already but just wondering why that is? 

you still have the hub contact area... that has not changed, maybe got a bit larger?
So add the tube spacer to the skinny wheel hub and problem solved?

It's no secret that FTE's are pretty consistently the best way to go for speed...but, about half (if not more) come from the factory with pretty bad case of the wobbles. The whole idea of doing this is to try to use wheels that otherwise would have been just thrown away...and possibly make them even faster than a good factory wheel.

Also if, I can make this work...and make wheels that are as fast as a good set of FTEs, or will apply to ANY Hot Wheels wheels...and we won't have to shell out the money for FTEs....make sense?

Well, I was able to do some work on the cars for this race last night...and I'm really happy with what I've learned. But are the cars fast enough to enter in this race...well, no, they aren't.

So, I fell back on my tried and true methods and put this '55 together...

And, I'm pretty sure it's got a little speed.

I'll get back to working on the wheels soon. I know what I'll be trying next. I'll keep you posted...I''m pretty sure I'm going in the right direction...the cars were pretty quick, just not quick enough. 

So, the '55 will be on it's way to Ohio soon.

You are out there trying new things, thats how you find speed... solid effort here! like what I see from the "Innovator"
Thanks TE...I'll get the wheels figured out...eventually!

New guy here, first post. Sorry to bump an old thread, but to eliminate bushing to axle contact, wouldn't it make more sense to press a two short bushings in from the front and back of the wheel? Have the axle ride on two 1mm bushings vs having it ride on one 5mm bushing? 

Also, would it be beneficial to make one solid "floating" axle? An axle that rotates freely and independently of both the bushing wheel hubs and chassis?

Too bad we don't have a pro series this year.  Things have really dropped off lately...

Thanks to 72_chevy for being willing to show his insider racing knowledge.  It is hard to "up my game" without some ideas from pros like this.   Even 1 tip a year is handy...

Things will hopefully pick up this summer...hopefully...

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