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1/8 Scale Nitro Rally/Touring Car:

Serpent Vector NT 2002 - # 909020 (Radio Controlled Model Review)


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History, Info (and How To Set-up Tips) for the Serpent Vector NT 2002:


  Introduced by Serpent in 2002, the 4WD Vector NT 2002 Racing Car - # 909020 - is belt driven, on an alloy plate chassis, with conventionally positioned coil spring over oil filled dampers, rear sway bar, dogbone drive-shafts and ball bearings.

  A pushrod conversion kit - # 909185 - was available, to reposition the front dampers inboard.

Serpent Vector
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  To race the Serpent Vector, it requires time and patience, to tune and adjust for improvements in handling and steering ability and to get the grip you need to stay on course when manoeuvring around tight, slippery corners. A little can be a lot when it comes to changing your cars settings and our easy methodical directions will guide you to the best Set-up to help you win and keep you winning.

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★ Serpent Vector NT 2002 ★
Serpent Vector NT 2002

★ Serpent Vector NT 2002 ★
Serpent Vector NT 2002

★ Serpent Vector NT 2002 ★
Serpent Vector NT 2002

★ Serpent Vector NT 2002 Chassis ★
Serpent Vector NT 2002 Chassis

★ Serpent Vector NT 2002 Chassis Conversion ★
Serpent Vector NT 2002 Chassis Conversion

★ Serpent Vector NT 2002 Chassis Conversion ★
Serpent Vector NT 2002 Chassis Conversion


Buying a Used Serpent Vector
Touring Car (and What to look for)


   Buying a used Serpent Vector Nitro Touring Car, or any used RC Model, has a number of advantages. It is generally cheaper than new, ready built and may come with a variety of expensive hop-ups already installed. Cheap, pre-loved bargains are always becoming available. However, depending on the age of your purchase, it may need a little tender loving care before you can take it out on the road.

   The one thing you will always need is an instruction manual. If not supplied with your purchase, they can often be downloaded from the Serpent website, or purchased separately on eBay. With an instruction manual, any problems with your model Touring Car you may discover can easily be fixed.

Dampers
   When you receive your used Serpent Touring Car, make a general visual inspection of the chassis, front and rear wishbones, suspension shock towers etc, for any broken parts that may need to be replaced. Then, take a screwdriver and box spanner and check each self tapping screw and nut for security, taking care not to over tighten.

   Next, for those Serpent models with oil filled shock absorbers, remove them from the chassis and dismantle the coil springs. The damper shafts should push in and pull out with a smooth action. If you feel a jolt as you change direction, this means the oil has leaked out and must be topped up. At the same time, change the O-Ring seals to prevent more leakage. Also check the damper shafts for damage. If they are scratched, change them as soon as possible.

   If the body shell of your Serpent Vector is broken, ripped or damaged in any way, this can be easily repaired with rubber solution glue. Also, for added protection and if available for your Vector model, fit an under guard to stop dirt and gravel entering the chassis.

Titanium Turnbuckles
   Examine the drive shafts for wear and replace as required. If possible, change them for titanium. The steel shafts wear and bend too easily.

   If you intend to race your Vector Touring Car model at a competitive level, I would also recommend you obtain and fit titanium pivot shafts, turnbuckles, tie rods and steering rods.

   Drive Belts need checking at regular intervals for wear, tension and damage. If deemed necessary, adjust the tensioning pulley until the belt can be depressed in the centre by no more than around 5mm. If the belt was slack, also examine the drive pulleys for wear. The teeth should provide a well seated fit for the belt teeth and not be rounded on the corners. If the belt teeth do not fit snugly, change the pulleys as soon as possible. For top level racing it may be prudent to replace all belts and pulleys after each race meeting.

Spur Gears
   Gears are a weakness on all Touring Car RC models. Head on collisions can easily damage the gear teeth on nylon and plastic spur gears. Heavy impacts can also loosen the nuts or self tapping screws that hold the Nitro Engine in Position, allowing the pinion gear to pull out of mesh slightly and rip the tops off the teeth on your spur gear. To minimise this possibility, fit bolts with locking nuts to the Nitro Engine mount and remember to check them for security after every two or three runs.

   Ball joints always cause problems. For top level Nitro Touring Car racing, the plastic ball connectors should be checked and if deemed necessary changed after every meeting. A simple thing like a loose fitting connector popping off could easily end your race, so better safe than sorry.

Servo Gears
   The Vector steering servo is also prone to damage. In high speed crash situations, the fragile gear teeth of the servo can be broken off, rendering your expensive servo useless, so be sure to obtain a good quality "Servo Saver". Check out my Servo Information article.

   If body roll on your Serpent Vector is a problem, handling can be improved with the use of stabilizers, anti roll or sway bars, stiffer tuning springs and, or, thicker silicone oil in the dampers.

Ball Bearings
   If your used Serpent Touring Car comes with plastic and sintered brass bushings (ring type bearings), check the shafts that run in them for wear. Dust and grit can get into these bearings and abrade the shafts. Therefore, you should replace them all with shielded ball bearings. If the model has been run with ring type bearings, you may have to change all the axles and driveshafts. For more information, take a look at my article, How to get the best from your Bearings.

   Finally, good luck with your Vector model and good racing.


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Or, check out our RC Model Car Setup Guide


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Manufacturers and Brands Catalogued and Listed by RC-Scrapyard.


   At present, the RC Model Manufacturers, Brands and Distributors covered by us are: ABC Hobby, Academy, Acme Racing, Agama Racing, Amewi, Ansmann Racing, ARRMA, Team Associated, Atomic RC, Axial, AYK, Bolink, BSD Racing, Capricorn, Carisma, Carson, Caster Racing, Cen, Corally, Custom Works, Durango, Duratrax, ECX - Electrix, Exceed RC, FG Modellsport, FS-Racing, FTX, Fujimi, Gmade, GS-Racing, Harm, HBX, Helion, Heng Long, Himoto Racing, Hirobo, Hitari, Hobao, Hong-Nor, Hot Bodies, HPI, HSP, Intech, Integy, Jamara, JQ Products, Kawada, Kyosho, Losi, LRP, Maisto, Mardave, Marui, Maverick, MCD Racing, Megatech, Mugen, New Bright, Nichimo, Nikko, Nkok, Ofna, Pro-Pulse, Protech, PTI, RC4WD, Redcat Racing, RJ-Speed, Robitronic, Schumacher, Seben, Serpent, Smartech, Sportwerks, Step-Up, Tamiya, Team-C Racing, Team Magic, Thunder Tiger, Tomy, Top Racing, Traxxas, Trinity, Tyco, Vaterra RC, Venom, VRX Racing, WLToys, X-Factory, Xmods, Xpress, Xray, XTM, Yankee RC, Yokomo, ZD Racing and Zipzaps.

   This is an ongoing project, with new and "lost in time" RC Model Brands being added as they are found and although most of those listed above have been covered in relative detail, some are still being researched and will be completed in the near future.


















Hints and Tips

Roll Center

   One of the least understood settings on RC model cars is concept of roll center. The simple definition of roll center is a point in space that the chassis rolls from side to side as the car maneuvers around a corner.

   To calculate roll center you have to consider things like the height of the axles, the inside and outside camber link positioning, the length of the suspension arms and the location of their inside pivot point. Sounds complicated doesn't it and in truth it is.

   On all RC model cars, most of the cars weight is above the chassis and the center of gravity of the car is not only from front to rear, but also from top to bottom. This point is called the "true" center of gravity and is the point around which the weight of the car will want to roll from side to side, but it is the roll center of the chassis that the chassis will actually roll around, not the center of gravity.

   Once you have determined the positions of roll center and center of gravity, you can calculate the "roll moment". It is this that determines how easily the chassis will roll from side to side.

   But what does all this mean? I hear you ask. Well, it gives you some insight to what changing the position of your camber links can do to the way your car handles.

   Lowering the outside camber links, lowers the roll center, so conversely, raising the outside link position raises the roll center.

   Lowering the inside camber link position raises roll center and raising the inside camber link position, lowers the roll center.

   Any of these adjustments will affect the "roll moment" and therefore you have some control of body roll.

   The length of the camber link bars affects the speed of roll center change as the car driver around corners. Longer links increase the rate of change. Shorter links decreases the rate of change.

   Adjustments to the roll center will change the way the car reacts in a number of ways.

   Lowering the front roll center gives more steering under acceleration, but the car is less responsive. Ideal for smooth high grip tracks, with long sweeping corners.

   Raising the front roll center provides less steering when accelerating out of the corner, but the car feels more responsive and is less prone to traction roll. Best for high grip twisty tracks.

   Lower rear roll center improves grip under acceleration, but reduced grip when breaking. Helpful to avoid traction roll as you enter the corner and tracks with low grip to increase traction.

   Higher rear roll center gives you less under acceleration, but the car is more responsive. Works for high grip twisty tracks to reduce traction roll.

For More Setup Information check out my Hints and Tips page.







Hints and Tips

Keeping Notes

   If all you will ever do is go racing at your local track every week, then this article is not for you. However, if you ever look towards travelling around to different tracks around the country, or even the world, the value of keeping notes is all too obvious.

   Every time I raced in a regional or national competition meeting, I would make detailed notes, aided by a little local knowledge initially and later fine tuned to suit my own driving style.

   My experience now means there are few, if any outdoor tarmac tracks within a 300 mile radius I haven been to and my notes on motor, gearing, camber angles, shock settings, tire choice and what inserts work best for that particular track, amongst others, allow me to save valuable time on the finer points of car setup, that can be done in the warmth of my own home on the kitchen table days before the meeting, instead of the often crippling heat, or the arduous conditions inside a wind blown tent.

   There are lots of methods for making notes on setup. The easiest perhaps is to download the blank pages often supplied by your cars manufacturer with a line drawing of your car and spaces for you to fill in as to the setting you prefer. Great if each time you go to a particular track the conditions are always constant. Notes made on a cold windy day will be little use on a hot sunny days racing on the same track.

   Manufacturers setup pages for their top drivers can also be useful as a starting point, but you should never take that setup as being the best there could ever be.

   So, the first note you should make is of the weather conditions. The wind and its direction isn't really what I am talking about, although it can have an effect on your cars handling, it is not something you can change your setup to handle. Track temperature and humidity are the main things to note. Not the average for the day, but for each round of racing. And note what tires you used and how the car handled in each race. Detail everything that might be useful in the future, no matter how trivial.

   Note the motor used and the gearing. Check the temperature of the motor after the race, how much charge is left in the batteries. You may have won the race, but there is always room for improvement your competitors will be doing just that.

   Every bit of information you compile will be useful for the next time you visit that particular venue. Weather forecasts these days are far more accurate than they used to be, so the adage "fore warned is fore armed" fits the bill. Simply search through your notes and find a day you raced with similar conditions to those forecast and set up your car to suit. But don't stop there.

   The conditions may be the same as they were when you made your notes, but that doesn't mean you can't improve your setup. Your practice laps will soon prove if your previous setup was correct, or give you a basis for more fine tuning.

   If you want to be the best, you have to work at it. Success doesn't come easy. You can be the best driver around, but if your setup isn't perfect you will never step up onto the winners rostrum. My motto if you never try anything, you never do anything. And if you never do anything wrong, you aren't trying hard enough.

For More Setup Information check out my Hints and Tips page.










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