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1/10 Scale Nitro Rally/Touring Car:

Traxxas Nitro 4-Tec 3.3 (Radio Controlled Model Review)


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History, Info (and How To Set-up Tips) for the Traxxas Nitro 4-Tec 3.3:


  Introduced by Traxxas in 2006, the 4WD Nitro 4-Tec 3.3 Sedan Car - # 4809 - came RTR, with a TRX-3.3 Racing engine and TQ radio system.

  In 2010, the Nitro 4-Tec 3.3 - # 4807 - was upgraded with a TQ 2.4Ghz radio system.

  A revised version of the Nitro 4-Tec 3.3 - # 48077 - was produced in 2014.

  The Traxxas model is belt driven, on a gray anodised alloy chassis, with 2-speed transmission, gear type differentials, coil spring over oil filled dampers, universal joint drive-shafts and a full set of ball bearings.

Traxxas 4-Tec 3.3
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  To race the Traxxas Nitro 4-Tec 3.3, it has to have the best settings for your driving style and provide you with excellent handling and stability. The smallest changes can make a huge difference in the way your car performs on the track and our comprehensive instructions will help you to find the best Set-up to get you where you want to be.

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★ Traxxas 4-Tec 3.3 Chassis ★
Traxxas 4-Tec 3.3 Chassis

★ Traxxas 4-Tec 3.3 Chassis ★
Traxxas 4-Tec 3.3 Chassis


Buying a Used Traxxas 4-Tec 3.3
Touring Car (and What to look for)


   Buying a used Traxxas 4-Tec 3.3 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 Traxxas 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 Traxxas 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 Traxxas 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 Traxxas 4-Tec 3.3 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 4-Tec 3.3 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 4-Tec 3.3 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 4-Tec 3.3 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 Traxxas 4-Tec 3.3 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 Traxxas 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 4-Tec 3.3 model and good racing.


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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

Look after your Gears

   In RC there are a number of different gear teeth sizes we tend to use, based on two systems. Imperial and metric. The imperial system has sizes 24dp, 32dp, 48dp and 64dp. DP stands for Diametral Pitch and the number refers to the number of teeth per inch. The metric system has sizes 0.4m, 0.5m, 0.6m, 0.7m, 0.8m and 1m. M stands for Module and is the ratio of the reference diameter of the gear divided by the number of teeth.

   The different sizes are used basically for strength. 32dp gears larger than 64dp gears, therefore it stands to reason that the 32dp gears are by design stronger and for this reason are more commonly used on a number of entry level buggys and nitro models because of the higher torque levels involved. Also, the bigger the scale of the model, the stronger the teeth need to be.

   64dp and its metric equivalents are generally the choice of 1:10 electric on-road racers, because of its higher range of ratio options and smoother action in comparison to other sizes. On-road models are not as hard on the gears as off-road, so the weaker, small tooth size is not a problem.

   48dp and its metric equivalents tend to be preferred by 1:10 off-road racers, mainly because of their strength in comparison to the 64dp and smoother operation than 32dp. Off-road models need gears that can handle all the knocks and bangs, as well as heavy landings off high jumps.

   Setting your gears is the most important part of looking after your gears.

   Backlash is basically the gap between the teeth in mesh. The perfect gear setting must have a small amount of backlash. To achieve the best setting use a very thin sheet of plastic between the pinion and spur gear teeth as you press them into mesh. After tightening the motor mount screws, use your fingers to spin the spur gear and roll out the plastic sheet. If the setting is correct, there will be a small amount of movement (backlash) between the gear teeth before they catch. If the mesh is too deep, there will be no movement between the teeth, this will create friction and if you run them like this, they will grind together, wear and break. If the mesh is not deep enough and only the tips of the teeth are touching, the excessive backlash will soon damage and strip the tops off the teeth rendering the gears useless.

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







Hints and Tips


Rechargeable Batteries
for RC Models


   At the time this article was written, there are four types of Rechargeable Batteries that are commonly in use for Radio Controlled Models.
Ni-Cad (Nickel Cadmium) Batteries have been around the longest. My first stick battery, purchased way back in 1987 was rated at 1200Mah (Mili Amp Hours) and with a silver can 27 Turn motor my Tamiya Boomerang would run around in the back yard for a good seven minutes before slowly coming to a stop. Ni-Cad development continued until around 1998 to a maximum rating of around 2000Mah and matchers pack builders and battery technicians were able to put together six cell packs with voltages approaching 7.4 Volts, to give those that could afford them, an edge over the rest.

   Ni-Mh (Nickel Metal Hydride) Batteries came along in the late 1990s and by the year 2000 were available at ratings up to 3000Mah. Again, matchers and pack builders worked hard to provide the ardent racer with packs to provide that little bit of extra power and ESC manufacturers also chipped in with improved controllers to take full advantage of this new technology.
   Now the problem wasn't gearing the car to get to the end of the race using the available battery power, but to find the brushed motor that could handle gear setting that provided the speed and acceleration without the motor overheating and wearing the commutator too much so it needed a skim after every 2 runs. My favourite at that time was the 9 Double.

   More recently, Li-Po (Lithium-Polymer) Batteries have appeared on the scene, providing are a huge step forward in performance when compared with Ni-Cad and Ni-Mh batteries. However, Li-Po Batteries are much more expensive than previous battery types, have a shorter effective life of between 200 and 400 charge cycles, compared to well over 1000 charge cycles for Ni-Cad and Ni-Mh and a high degree of care has to be taken when charging Li-Po batteries. They have been known to burst into flames or even explode, for this reason I do not recommend Li-Po batteries for RC beginners.
   Another problem with Li-Po packs is they are physically bigger in size, so for those with older "Vintage" models, they may not fit into the provided space for the battery on the chassis.

   The latest development in battery technology for RC are Li-Ion. Originally produced for Laptops, Ipods, Tablets and the like, they are now available for RC models. Much like Li-Po for price and charge cycle life, the power and capacity is a moderate improvement, but for me, at the moment, not worth the expense.

   One final word of warning. NEVER leave your charging Li-Po or Li-Ion battery unattended when being charged and NEVER above the recommended charge rate. After use, store each battery with about 60% charge remaining and always in a fireproof bag.


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









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