Grand Prix Racing - How To Make A Fast Pinewood Car

Screw the Wheels On

Wheel alignment and spacing makes a difference.

In order to screw an axle into an axle groove:

  1. Hold an axle by the hub with a pair of pliers.
  2. Place a wheel on the axle.
  3. Make sure you put the axle in a groove on the side of the car it was ground and polished for. Holding the axle next to the side of the car, begin to push it into the axle groove until it stops. When it stops, give it a twist and push at the same time. It should continue to twist in.
  4. Don't twist it in all the way. Leave a little room for the wheel to move back and forth. If the wheel is plastered against the hub and body, it will defeat the polished axles and lubrication.
  5. If a wheel vibrates when you spin it with your fingers, you need to relubricate that wheel.
  6. Be sure to check the median clearance. You need at least 3/8ths of an inch on an AWANA Grand Prix track.

Canting Wheels

Your wheels are slotted into your car. If you want to cant your wheels up or down, do so now. Canting may reduce wheel/track friction if you are not allowed to cut your wheels. Canting is simply angling your axle up or down so only the outer or inner edge of the wheel touches the track.

Canting wheels up (the axles actually point up a bit) may help if your wheels have little "beads" on the outer edge (as all three types of Scout kit wheels do). It is best to remove the beads and smooth the wheels, but if that's not allowed, canting may help. Some experiments indicate canting all axles up that way may actually detract from speed.

The wheel bore/body interface should be lubricated, or painted with a Teflon coating when canting wheels down since body friction is substantially increased. Bushings between the wheel and body are usually not allowed.

Lifting Wheels

For the serious competitor
Lifting a front wheel a fraction of an inch is an advantage if you can make your car roll straight without bobbing. If it bobs, it will be worse than if it was not lifted. Bobbing will likely happen if your weight is not back far enough and there are bumps where your club's track sections join. With a long wheel base and weight near the rear axle, bobbing is virtually impossible.

A Simple Wheel Alignment Check

Before gluing your axles in place, follow this procedure to make sure your car rolls straight. You will roll your car gently on a glass or polished surface.

  1. Draw a straight line on a flat surface or large piece of paper on a flat surface.
  2. Roll your car forward, gently along this line and note the amount of deviation.
  3. If it wobbles while rolling, either the surface is too rough for this test or not all the wheels are touching the surface.
  4. If the car rolls away from you to the left, see if a wheel on the right is loosing contact with the surface. If so, push its axle down a bit for better contact. If it rolls to the right, check the left side wheels for contact.
  5. If the car is still not rolling straight, either the surface is unevenly smooth or oily, or an axle groove may not be straight.
  6. If the car has a lifted wheel and rolls away from that wheel to the other side, tow the axle of the opposite wheel to the front slightly with a sliver of wood (or while the hot glue is cooling) in the groove. Tow it out a bit otherwise.
  7. When your axle/wheel configuration is set, burn it in with a glue gun. Don't over do the glue! If it runs over, it can glue your wheel hub to the car body. Just a few well-placed drops near the middle and end of the axle in the groove does fine. Using a glue gun is the best way to secure your axles because it:
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Grand Prix Racing - How To Make A Fast Pinewood Car
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