RC Setup Guide PT 1 (vids 1 through 10) by Squirrel

Squirrel’s RC Set=up Guide PT 1

I have seen a lot of questions about set up or things that could be answered through proper setup. When you build a Pro level kit you will be introduced with a lot of tuning options. The astute builder will notice them and wonder why they are telling you to build the kit this way.

In order to answer these questions I went through a few Pro level manuals that I own. They do not explain all but I have written notes about the adjustments of each through my own research to know what it is exactly I am doing and adjusting. Then, as the years past, I have gained first hand knowledge and also other sources that have popped up that have helped out tremendously. Hopefully these collages of notes will you out as well. This is not complete by any means at all. The 21 subjects that are covered are a tip of the ice berg. However, the ones that I have chosen are either directly related to another or are the meat and potatoes of a good basis of understanding.

The key to a good basher, or a good racer, is a good setup. Racing is 90% skill. And that is very true. However, if your kit is miss-aligned then it will require 110% skill to overcompensate for the lack of setup and tuning. I do believe that the heart of the 90% skill comment is over the trends of buying the biggest and best engines, pipes, and electronics. However, I feel that there is so much you can do for arguably nothing that will make you look better than you could be… and that is set up.

[b[In this series[/b]

Vid 1- Camber- http://www.youtube.com/v/tUQ1xWaNf9g
Vid 2- Caster- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LRNZH3-YV8
Vid 3 Ackerman- http://www.youtube.com/v/i5sY7Q1Hso0
Vid 4 clutchs- http://www.youtube.com/v/tLS1WshkpKI
Vid 5 downstops- http://www.youtube.com/v/Brz8O90v9Sc
Vid 6 Ride Height- http://www.youtube.com/v/W9ZuLn_gNOI
Vid 7 Shocks- http://www.youtube.com/v/wJnGA6Qup8s
Vid 8 Steering servo setup- http://www.youtube.com/v/hz6nTW3llFY
Vid 9 Toe- http://www.youtube.com/v/KyENiQnXpv8
Vid 10 Wings- http://www.youtube.com/v/83j9zluzEU0

Vid 11 through 21 will appear on another guide.


Camber is something that I get asked a lot and is commonly confused with caster. Camber is the angle to how the wheel sits to the ground when viewed from the front. The wheel will lean or tilt towards the body of the kit or away from the kit.

There are several degrees to camber to be measured upon. When the tire is flat against the ground it is said to have O degrees of camber as the kit has the entire tire surface to run on. This is not ideal for racing or anything with turns in a course. This is ideal, however, for drag racing when the kit will only be traveling in a straight line. Positive camber is when the top of the wheel points out away from the kit itself. This is not entirely desirable as a race option. Negative camber is when the top of the wheel points toward the body of the kit. This is a desirable setup to have 1 to 2 degrees in the front and close to 0 in the rear on the negative side. The reason for this is so that when a car turns on a track, the kit will start to lean, and will have a flat surface of the track for the tire to ride on.

How camber gets confused with caster is that they both go hand in hand. The more positive caster angle you have (caster combined with kick up) then the less camber that is required. It is hard to visualize all of the adjustments going on at once. But, caster will pivot the steering block in a degree where camber will tilt the wheel in and out.

Uses of camber:
Front Camber:
More Negative- more steering
Less negative- less steering

Rear Camber:
More negative- decreases traction in corners
Less negative- increases rear traction


Adjusting camber is easiest seen on a setup board. This will tell you the angle in degrees. It will also allow you to see the amount that you have altered and how to setup both sides equally. The adjustments are made to the camber rod or turnbuckle. By increasing the length of the rod you will push the camber to be more positive and by shortening the rod you will make the camber more negative.


People get camber and caster confused quite a bit. Again, Camber is the in and outward of the wheel itself to the chassis and is all about wheel contact to the ground. It is related to caster in the sense that the more caster that you have then the less camber you will need.

Caster is the angle of the steering block to the parallel of the chassis. Caster allows you to lean the tire into the corner via the angle. Caster effects camber in the sense that the more caster angle that you have then the more control of the steering you will acquire by having more contact surface of the bottom flat part of the tire as you lean in.

Caster is also affected by the kick up plate. The kick up plate also angles the kit’s nose upwards. This angle is added to the caster angle to give you the total caster angle. For example, if you have a 10 degree kick up and a 10 degree caster then you will have a 20 degree total caster. ree plus 10 degrees = 20 degrees

Below is a kit being measured on the stands. It is not showing caster but it is showing total caster.

Uses of caster:
Less caster- more vericle:
Increases off power steering
Better suspension efficiency
Less stability in a straight line
More caster angle:
Car is more stable on rough tracks
Decreases off power steeting
Increase straight line (ie: flatter surface of tire with less camber

Adjusting caster:

The only way to adjust the caster is to swap out C-hubs. It is a fixed adjustment.

Ackerman and Steering upgrades


Ackerman controls the throw of the steering curve of the insider and outside wheels. Since the inside corner wheel has the most grip, then the amount of grip that the wheel has in relation to the steering radius and speed which means more slip angle.

Effects of Ackerman:
Sharper angles
Better for speed and gradual turns
Better steering response
Rear hole
Less steering angle
Faster turning ability
Better for tight turns


To adjust the Ackerman you will want to move the linkage to any hole in the Ackerman be it forward, middle, or rear. Kits may vary on amount of Ackerman holes offered.

Bump steer:

Bump steer corrects the wheel’s angle as the car moves (up or down) which affects how the wheels are situated to each other. The more bump steer the more parallel the wheels are under compression.

Effects of bump steer:
More bump
More control on smooth tracks and in corners
Car is not as easy to control
Less bump
Better steering response
Better on rougher tracks.

This adjustment will vary per kit. Typically it is accomplished by adding more, or taking away, shims or spacers.

Typically, steering rod more angled means more bump steer while if the steering rod is more horizontal than you have less bump steer.

Servo saver load:

An adjustable spring that alters the responsiveness and steering of kits.


Tight spring:
Better for MG servos with quicker and more steering

Loose spring:
Less steering


The adjustment for this is simply a matter of tightening the spring or lessening the tension of it.


Control the “snap” off of the line by terms of weight of the shoe and also the wt of the spring.

Light- easily snap due to less weight/ less durable
Engages at low rpm
Medium- moderate snap and moderate durability
Heavy- hard to snap (more RPM and power) but the most durable

Springs- also affects the shoe responsiveness.
Light springs move easier to the shoes
Typically thinner
Engages at low rpm
Better on low rough and less grip tracks
Gradual increase in speed
Heavy springs resist snap
Typically thicker
Heavier acceleration/ more aggressive
Better for higher grip


Downstop is the ability of the kit to limit arm travel downward. It effects key components of how the kit runs (jumping, braking, handling, and more)

The more an arm can go down (lower down stop) the less stable it can become:
Turning is more difficult
Need a track with smoother corners (high speed)
Can handle rougher terrain
Results in more weight transfer on brake or acceleration

The higher downstop (less travel) the more stable the car is weight is evenly distributed and not traveling as far to either end due to less travel.
Better turning
Tighter corner handling
Better control

To measure this adjustment you will need a droop gauge that is setup to measure the end of the arm below the hex of the wheel.


To adjust the downstop you will want to move the screw in and out. The hex screw will push against the chassis (ie: the more it is pushed out of the arm and onto the chassis) then the more it will restrict downward movement. You will want to use a droop gauge to ensure that both sides of the kit are adjusted the same way.

Ride height

Ride height is the how the chassis sits parallel to the surface. It affects the center of gravity, how the car jumps, how it lands, how it turns, traction, etc. Adjustments and made methodically and not too varied.


Decrease ride height
Lower CG increases stability
Better on smooth tracks like onroad cars

Increase ride height
Best on rough tracks
Less stability
Higher COG

Front lower than rear
Better steering
Potential to nose dive on jumps
Less traction in the rear

Front above rear of kit:
More weight on rear for better traction
Less steering as front arms are on the ground less but increased stability.

Some kits default to level A arms or dog bones. This can be a quick tuning guide if you know how to adjust the shocks so that the arms or dog bones are level.

To check:
1. Drop kit on to a flat surface
2. Check with droop gauge on either end to see how it sits parallel compared to the chassis. If the chassis is 30mm above the surface then the measurement will tell you if the kit is above or below the chassis. For example: 30 minus droop gauge equals ____


Springs are there to adjust ride height; not dampening!

To adjust you can increase shock preload or decrease BOTH SIDES EQUALLY. Increasing ride height is to increase preload or compress the spring more by pushing the spring downward.

Shock Theory

Shocks control the car as it moves at each corner by dampening all four shocks to ensure that wheels have as much contact to the surface as possible.Three things control the effect of them: springs, oil, and dampening characteristics


Springs typically set ride height by how much they are loaded and how quickly the kit recovers. Springs are classified by weights and how much they resist compression; ie: softer less wt and harder equals more weight

Stiffer shocks:
Helps prevent bottoming out
Reduces traction but also decreases chassis roll
Best on smooth tracks
Softer shocks
Increases traction
Can bottom out when jumping
Better traction

Shock oil and pistons

Oil restricts the shock piston’s flow. The higher the thickness of the oil (viscosity) the harder it will be for the shock to compress. Shock pistons have different sized holes which restrict the flow of oil through the piston.

Installed on the shock shaft and flows through the oil
Bigger or more holes increase dampening (allows more oil through)
Best for bumpy tracks
Smaller or fewer holes restrict dampening
Best for flatter tracks


Manages the restrictive components of the shock of above. It enhances grip of the tires.

Soft dampening
Shock oil- thinner
Shock pistons- large holes
Slows steering
Best for low grip
Increases grip
Hard dampening
Shock oil- thick
Shock pistons- small holes
Better steering
Better for high grip tracks and cornering
Decreases grip

Toe is the angle of the wheels as they point in or out; usually viewed and measured from above. In other words, if the wheel was flat against the ground then it would be called zero toe as it had maximum contact with the surface. If the top of the tie was pointed towards the body then that would be called positive toe or toe in. If the top of the tire pointed away from the kit then that would be known as negative toe or toe out.

Buggies and truggies typically have:
– front toe and + rear toe
Can have front + or – but always have negative rear

Toe in- car is easier to drive
Toe out-
Increases steering at corner
Less stable with more speed
Harder to drive
Faster steering response

Toe in
Increases under steer
More stable exiting corners
Increased rear traction
Decreases top speed
Toe out
Less stable at corner and braking
Decreased rear traction
Increases top speed


Adjustments to the toe should be made equally on both sides of the kit. The longer you make the turnbuckle the more toe in you will have. The shorter then the more toe out you will have. It is always best to view and adjust toe from looking above.


Wings help the car when jumping in terms of control, give increased rear traction, and increase stability at higher rates of speed.

For jumping
Flat angle – gives a flat jump or nose dive
Steeper angle- less nose diving & increases traction at high speeds

Rear Traction
Wing forward decreases
Wing rearward increases

Control at speed:
Higher wing increases stability
Lower wing decreases stability


Vid 1- Camber- http://www.youtube.com/v/tUQ1xWaNf9g
Vid 2- Caster- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LRNZH3-YV8
Vid 3 Ackerman- http://www.youtube.com/v/i5sY7Q1Hso0
Vid 4 clutchs- http://www.youtube.com/v/tLS1WshkpKI
Vid 5 downstops- http://www.youtube.com/v/Brz8O90v9Sc
Vid 6 Ride Height- http://www.youtube.com/v/W9ZuLn_gNOI
Vid 7 Shocks- http://www.youtube.com/v/wJnGA6Qup8s
Vid 8 Steering servo setup- http://www.youtube.com/v/hz6nTW3llFY
Vid 9 Toe- http://www.youtube.com/v/KyENiQnXpv8
Vid 10 Wings- http://www.youtube.com/v/83j9zluzEU0

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