RCScrapyard ► Iconic Vintage Radio Controlled (RC) Model Car Archive ► Smartech Thunderbolt. # 053420.
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1/5 Scale Nitro Buggy:

Smartech Thunderbolt - # 053420 (Radio Controlled Model Review)


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History, Info (and How To Set-up Tips) for the Smartech Thunderbolt:


  Introduced by Smartech Racing circa 2003, the 4WD Thunderbolt Buggy - # 053420 - came with a 28cc engine.

  The model is shaft driven on an alloy plate chassis, with gear type differentials, coil spring over oil filled dampers, dogbone drive-shafts and ball bearings.

Smartech Thunderbolt
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  To race the Smartech Thunderbolt, 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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★ Smartech Thunderbolt ★
Smartech Thunderbolt

★ Smartech Thunderbolt Chassis ★
Smartech Thunderbolt Chassis

★ Smartech Thunderbolt Chassis ★
Smartech Thunderbolt Chassis

★ Smartech Thunderbolt Chassis ★
Smartech Thunderbolt Chassis


Buying a Used Smartech Thunderbolt Buggy (and What to look for)


   Buying a used Smartech Thunderbolt Nitro Buggy, 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 back yard.

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

Dampers
   When you receive your used Smartech Buggy, 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 Smartech 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 Smartech Thunderbolt 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 Thunderbolt 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 Thunderbolt Buggy model at a competitive level, I would also recommend you obtain and fit titanium pivot shafts, turnbuckles, tie rods and steering rods.

   The gearbox of your used Buggy should be opened up to check for gear wear and lubrication. A thin coat of grease is often used on internal gears and although this is fine for basic running around on the back yard, if you intend to race your Buggy at a higher level, this should be removed and replaced with racing oil (ZX1 or Teflon Oil). Of course, this should be reapplied after each race meeting.

Spur Gears
   Gears are a weakness on all Buggy 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 Buggy 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 Thunderbolt 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 Smartech Thunderbolt 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 Smartech Buggy 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 Thunderbolt 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

Driving On Road

   The basic driving style most commonly used for all forms of on road, tarmac and carpet racing, involves using the full width of the road available and cutting each apex as tight as possible, whilst keeping complete control of the car on the track. The style, often referred to as "Rounding" looks quite simple to those watching, but to get it right needs good hand eye coordination and lots of practice.

   Consider a 180 degree turn. Start with the car positioned towards the outside of the track, then as you approach the corner brake hard and as smooth as you can, guide the car across the point of the apex, gently sweeping round until you are approximately 75% around the corner. At this point, gradually increase the throttle out of the corner, maintaining control and guiding the car to the opposite outside line. By the time the car is straight on the track, you should be at almost full throttle, before you brake hard again for the next corner.

   Developing this driving style comes in stages. Don't try to run before you can walk, install a low powered motor and practice, practice, practice until it becomes second nature. Then, as your skills improve, try something with a little more power.

   Initially set your transmitter to aggressive breaking and gradually reduce this as you get the feel of the car around the corner. Remember, the faster you enter a corner, the faster you exit it.

   When you first try out this style in a race, be patient, keep the car smooth and controlled. Remember the story about the hare and the tortoise? Well, believe me, when you first start in RC, it works.

   To make this driving style work, the car needs to have the right tires, inserts and a low centre of gravity, low body-roll set-up. Grip is the keyword in this instance, without that, your car will slide out of control and you will loose the race.

   If the style you are looking for is to drift slide your car around the corners, I would recommend you perfect the rounding style first, then check out my other hints and tips to learn how.

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







Hints and Tips

Gas / Nitro Engines

1/   New RC Gas Engines need running or "breaking" in before being used competitively. 2 or 3 tanks of fuel are usually enough, but don't over rev the engine and try to keep it cool, below 160 degrees F (71 degrees C)

2/   To maximise your RC Gas engines power, reduce air leaks as much as possible by using silicone sealant or high temperature gaskets where the carburettor and the exhaust manifold joins the engine block.

3/   As a rule, try to keep your engine temperature at around 210 F (99 C) and no higher than 225 degrees F (107 degrees C). If your engine temperature is higher than 225 F (107 C) try tweaking the mixture a little richer. If too cool (below 200 degrees F (93 degrees C)) tweak the mixture a little leaner.


Tell Tale Signs of a Lean burning engine.


1/   The engine dies at full throttle, or while simply idling.

2/   The Glow Plug element is white.

3/   The engine overheats (above 225 degrees F (107 degrees C))


Tell Tale Signs of a Rich burning engine.


1/   Blue smoke from the exhaust (tail) pipe.

2/   The smell of fuel from the exhaust (tail) pipe.

3/   Engine temperature below 200 degrees F (93 degrees C)


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









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