Find more speed

Cymbolic Wednesday, 11/24/2021

Hey folks, new guy here.

Been modding for a little while now and am able to get some decent speed on my mods but looking to get to the next level of speed. My routine for modding is as followed:

-polishing axles and gluing them back into place

-sanding wheels

-adding weight as close to the rear axle as I can get

-applying graphite powder on the axle as well as where the chassis touches the wheel (I apply graphite quite liberally)

Is there anything else I could do to shave some time off these mods?

Is there a special type of graphite I should use or a totally different way of lubing the axles that those top tier builders use?



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SpyDude 11/24/21

Sometimes gluing the axles is not necessary.  I've found that loose axles seem to run just a tiny bit faster than secured axles.  Then again, I've also found secured axles run straighter than loose axles, so there's kind of a tossup there....

Sand down where the wheel touches the chassis.  There's a little ridge there that the wheel rides against.  If it is not smooth, the wheel will rub against it and kill speed.

Otherwise, everything else you aredoing is looking good.


  • Appreciate the advice Spy Dude. Never even thought of sanding that down. Thank you! — Cymbolic
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SpyDude 11/24/21

Here, give this thread a read. I wrote this up a while back.

  • Excellent summary. Your idea for protecting wheels during shipping is genius! — TheMakersBox
  • Great insight Spy Dude. I’ve been trying Teflon as well before applying graphite but think I’ve been putting too much on. The eye dropper is a much better idea and less messy as well, lol. Thanks! — Cymbolic
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Mattman213 11/24/21

Keep at it and keep notes of what you do and how the mod performs.  You will find a groove and be more consistent with time.


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BlueLineRacing 11/24/21

Hard work, trial and error and always glue the axels

  • Will keep at it Blueline, thanks for the info. — Cymbolic

Just don't give up, it's the only sure way to lose. Keep at it, most start out thinking "how hard can it be, it's only a Hot Wheels" . Enter every race you can get a build done for and take your licks, Wether or not you stick with it will determine your success. The quest for speed is eternal. Good luck to you Sir!

I am in a similar boat. 2021 was my rookie year and I entered races when I could, but honestly didn't put a ton of effort into my builds. I don't have a track and timing system to check my adjustments with, so it's just been a build it and see what it does routine. I do the breakdown of the cars and start with filing the chassis first. The 4 wheel areas where the wheels can hit the chassis get filed smooth first, then hit with 800, 1000 and 1500 wet sandpaper. Then use a q-tip to rub graphite onto those areas. Axles are next. I use a Dremel and a custom axle polishing block with 1 micron diamond polishing compound. It only takes about 10 seconds of polishing on each end, and the axles are as bright as they're gonna get. I use a rag and denatured alcohol to wipe off the polishing compound. I have only been using Maximum Velocity graphite and just working it in as best as I could. It seems others may spray the axles with Pledge or car wax... I am not sure, but I see it a lot on people's workbenches. I glue in axles with an axle jig overnight. Once wheels are glued, I sand the wheels. Here is where I have been having a problem. I guess I'm pressing down too hard when I sand, or I am sanding in a bad pattern. My wheels keep coming out with a larger diameter on the outer edge and smaller on the inner edge. It's like reverse-coning, and I think I've been losing speed and consistency because of that. My plan is to start sanding/cutting wheels to leave a small ring on the wheel or just find a way to get the sanding to come out more flat across the width of the wheels. Put weight in the car as close to the back axle as I can and reassemble. I guess weight placement affects how bad a car wiggles in drag racing, as one of my latest cars has been having an inconsistent wiggling problem during its races. 

I would suggest taking some time to watch YouTube videos on pinewood derby cars to learn some extra setup tips on wheel prep. There are a lot of different ideas on axles and lubricating techniques there. Good luck.

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RottenRonnie 12/7/21

Thanks spydude. Such tips from a master builder. They helped me build my first car. 

  • Thank you. I wouldn’t call myself a master builder yet - still learning, even after all this time - but I’ve been watching a LOT of videos and reading a lot (not to mention asking tons of questions), and I’m beginning to see what works and what doesn’t. Bottom line: you’re going to build a bunch of crappy cars before you start getting in the groove and building better ones. You just need to have confidence in yourself enough to keep pushing your abilities and learning new things, even if you’re learning from old things you’ve already done. Use every build as a learning experience, and build off the things you know that work. Each one of my racers has at least two to three hours in on it, from sanding the wheels to polishing the axles to cutting the interior for weight. I don’t even have a test track - I roll the cars across my desk and listen to how they roll, watch to see how fast or slow or if the car pulls to either side. Then I know what to look for and how to correct it. — SpyDude
  • You won two races so you're obviously one of the best in the business. — RottenRonnie
  • Winning isn't everything. There are many others who have won a LOT more races than me. I just happened to have a decent build on those races. — SpyDude
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