Sunday, 6 April 2014

HOW-TO: Sponge Wheel Upgrade

HOW-TO: Scaleauto Sponge Wheels
SC2009 - 20.5x11mm and SC2018 - 20.5x9mm ProComp3 Wheels

Ok, for something a little different I recently purchased a few sets of Scaleauto sponge Procomp3 wheels for my home track, yep you heard me correctly, sponge wheels.  If you're like me you might have thought that foam wheels were ideally suited to big commercial tracks with painted surfaces but you'd be wrong, sponge wheels are equally at home running on a plastic track.

Wikipedia; 'The Ferrari 575M Maranello is a two-seat, two-door, grand tourer built by Ferrari. Launched in 2002, it is essentially an updated 550 Maranello featuring minor styling changes from Pininfarina. The 575M was replaced by the 599 GTB in the first half of 2006.'

I wanted to breathe a little life into one of my Carrera models and I thought the orange detail and tuff look of the Scaleauto wheels really suited my black Ferrari 575.  As with all models that come standard with plastic wheels, the biggest improvement in terms of smoothness and handling characteristics is to upgrade the wheels - if you haven't tried this before you'll be amazed but how much a new set of boots can improve your from-the-box runner.

Typically my favourite replacement wheel is Ninco's Pro Race EVO magnesium, they seem to look good on cars from different periods but this time I wanted to try something a little different and I'm glad I did.

Carrera models come with you standard type plastic running gearing and steel axles that have excoriate ends to allow the plastic wheels to grip to the axle.  These axels needed to be replaced and while I was at it I decided to update the 27 tooth crown gear, the standard pinion looked ok so this was left on the motor.  I also removed the large bar magnet which is screwed to the underneath of the 575 chassis and moved the small height adjustable magnet to the very front position for minimal down-force.

Of course the sky is the limit when it comes to possible upgrades; guide, braids, motor, axles and crown gear (all good performance improvements I sure) but I stuck with just the wheels, axels and crown gear with my 575.

As you can see from the above and below photos, the inside of my 575 is pretty busy with wiring for lighting and the reverse directional switch (something I love about Carrera models).  You can however make out the new axels and the black crown gear, I also needed to add a few spacers to the front and rear axels to get the wheels sitting flush with the body work.

With the upgrade to the sponge wheels, not only did the 575 run super smoothly on the track, but those old rather dull looking plastic wheels (which ruined the look of the Ferrari) had been replaced with an impressive looking wheel that really suits the look of the black 575 in my opinion.  Another observation of the sponge wheels is the reduced levels of noise they give off, definitely much quieter than your average rubber of silicon tyres. 

IMPORTANT: Something worth noting is that Scaleauto use a larger 1.5mm grub screw on these Procomp wheels.  Personally I like the larger grubs as not only can I see them, (yes I'm getting older) but I can hold them in my fingers and fit them to the wheels very quickly.  I ended up purchasing a new set of grub screw drivers from Scaleauto, they are very nice in your hand  and high-end engineered.

For more information about Scaleauto wheels, head over to the Scaleauto website by clicking the below link.
Scaleauto Slot Cars
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