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Xmod steering precision mod toe consistency and assembly control Rate Topic: -----

#1 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 06:58 PM

This is a tutorial on a cheap and easy way to reduce the amount of play in the steering on Gen1's. Did you ever notice the amount of play between the tierod and the knuckle? This tutorial will help you fix that problem, keeping your toe angle more consistent, therefore making your steering more precise. Just like my R20/LED mod, the photos supplied in this thread are clickable, and the full versions have variable Y-res and 600px X-res. Contact me if you want to see the full nonedited digicam pics.

Materials needed:
  • Soldering iron (15W is fine, lower wattage is better cause you won't be soldering)
  • Philips screwdriver (for disassembling/reassembling Xmod)
  • Heatshrink tubing (the ones that came over your Xmod axles will not work)
  • Wire cutters, clippers, anything that can make a clean cut in the heatshrink and you know how to use
I didn't bother taking pics of the tools, but you should know what they are. If not, then you probably shouldn't be persuing micro r/c as a hobby.

Skills needed:
  • Hand-eye coordination: for manipulating tools properly, etc.
  • Common sense: to prevent burn injuries
  • Dexterity: this procedure requires some fine motor control, so if you're all thumbs then maybe you should ask someone to help you out
  • Reading: to read this procedure before you start so you know what you're up against, and so you don't sue me when you mess it up.
You do not need soldering skills for this mod. You only need the soldering iron to heat up heatshrink tubing, so if you don't have one then a hairdryer may work. Or just stick it in the oven or something. Improvise. Please note that 'common sense' is a required skill for this mod, however... anyway, let's get started.

Step 1
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Look at the amount of steering play in the assembly (only the important pieces are there to simplify the photo). See how the tierod may sit nicely on the right side (left knuckle), but it slides around sometimes as in the left side (right knuckle)? I find it irritating, and in reality it does mess up your toe angle when cornering.

Step 2
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Okay, obviously you'll need the knuckles for this mod (and, inherently, you'll need to remove them from your Xmod chassis). Please note that this tutorial is geared more towards owners of GPM knuckles, although I suppose you could do them for the stock knuckles as well. You just need to be very careful. Anyway, you need to get your GPM (or stock, or any permutation thereof) knuckles out of the chassis. If you don't know how to do that, I suggest not doing this mod (or any other one, for that matter).

Step 3
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Regardless of what type of knuckle you're using, please take the universal joints out of the knuckle. This will simplify the procedure a lot, and, especially if you have the stock parts, will eliminate the possibility of something melting and fusing them, rendering that part of the transmission immobile.

Step 4
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Get your piece of heatshrink tubing. The smallest tubing I'd use is rated at 22AWG. This barely fits over the knuckle, thus giving the highest amount of friction (which allows it to resist movement, which is unwanted). If you don't have 22AWG, use a lower-rated AWG heatshrink (bigger) but don't stray too far. If the heatshrink is too big to begin with, it won't grip properly and will slide around. You can also plug in your soldering iron, you'll need it soon.

Step 5
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Line up the heatshrink tubing with the arm of the knuckle. You want to measure from the point it meets the body to the point where the peg on the tierod goes. Cut it a little longer than you need (ie. looks like there's not enough space for the tierod pin to go in) because it will shrink when you heat it up anyway. If you measure it too exact, it'll shrink and there will still be play in the assembly.

Step 6
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Clip the heatshrink to the length you measured in the earlier step. You'll be left with two small, hopefully identical pieces of heatshrink.

Step 7
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Slide the tubing onto the knuckle arms all the way, and then apply heat to shrink the tubing around the arm of the knuckle. Apply heat thoroughly and evenly to avoid having the tubing slide around later.

Step 8
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This is what it should look like after you're done. See how the middle shrunk too, leaving a slightly gibbous shape in the arm? That's what you want.

Step 9
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You're finished. See how the pin on the tierod has nowhere else to slide? This will keep your toe angle more consistent through turns, and prevent the tierod from sliding too much in the wrong direction. Also, for those of you with the GPM tierod and/or front towers like me, this will help space the tierod far enough away from the differential/AWD cone gear so it doesn't bind/grind. This mod will prevent damage from grinding/binding to your gears because in metal vs plastic, metal always wins. You can reassemble your Xmod now.

The nice thing about this too is that the heatshrink doesn't bind with the metal. The only contact patch it will ever have is the thickness of the heatshrink x2, once on top and once on the bottom. This is negligible friction, and will not distort steering response in any way. The only problems this mod will cause is that it's gonna be very hard/impossible to install/remove the knuckles without removing the shocks so the arms on top can move all the way up.
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