This article is part of a section of the RcTek site devoted to radio controlled model car handling. As car handling is an extremely complex subject, it will be quite some time before it is finished.
This article focusses on the equipment used in the setting of suspension droop, which was mentioned on the Forum a couple of times and prompted this article.
Information about this subject can be found in our Suspension Droop article.
A step gauge (pictured left) is, as the name suggests, a piece of equipment that has steps on it.
They are accurately made from either alloy or plastic and are normally used in conjunction with a flat bar such as that shown to the right.
A Step Gauge is used as shown in the diagram to the right and, as with almost all model car set-up operations, a flat board is required in order to adjust the settings accurately and consistently.
The car is sat on the flat bar and the step gauge pushed in to either check the height or to provide a level to adjust the wheel to.
The main benefit of using a stepped gauge is that there is only one required to set a multitude of heights. The step gauge can be used for other settings on the car as in the example shown above, the second step from the top on the gauge is level with the top of the bar and so plus or minus measurements can be set.
Some people will propose that the shock absorbers are removed for this operation and if doing so you will need to check that the dampers are of sufficient length not to alter the settings.
The use of spacers is probably the most cost effective solution to setting the droop on model cars. The spacers can be blocks of metal or plastic that have been machined to the correct sizes for your particular car.
The lightest weight and most space saving solution to this are turned lengths of reasonably thick walled tubing as they can easily be made in half millimetre increments if required. This flexibility comes at the cost of having to have at least one spacer for each measurement height required though.
If you cannot get hold of the turned spacers, flat bars will prove to be a good alternative, although you may experience difficulties in getting the correct thicknesses.
Using spacers is subject to the same advice given above about both using a set-up board given above and whether to have the shock absorbers fitted or not.
The spacer(s) are simply placed on the board and the chassis of the car is rested upon them.
The wheels are then adjusted to bring them lightly into contact with the board surface.
If you are using flat bars, they are used in the very same way.
The Step Gauges are usually supplied by either model car manufacturers or option parts manufacturers, but if you have access to the right machinery you can make your own.
The spacers and/or bars may be sold commercially, but you can produce your own or maybe have a friend make them for you.