The use of weighing scales in assisting in the handling set-up a model racing car is not a new one, many different types of weighing equipment have been utilized with varying rates of success for many years and is only in the last few years that the market has seen ‘proper’ purpose designed pieces of equipment that offer the speed and convenience that is required for top level competition use.
Weighing scales are used to measure the corner weights of the car to assist you in balancing your car up. For your car to perform its best, everything needs to be adjusted properly and, although there are other products on the market, most of them do not cover the measuring of corner weights.
The image to the right depicts a top level set of weighing scales that were sold by Large Scale Online.
They were intended for the large scale cars and trucks and when the wheels of the car were placed on the areas marked in green and the inbuilt digital displays gave an instant readout of the weight distribution of the car/truck.
Sadly, they were only produced for a short while when the Large Scale Online website ceased trading after being taken over by the Modelracer Magazine (now also no longer in existence).
Measuring corner weights is important because without there being equal weight between wheels on a particular axle, the car will behave unexpectedly on acceleration, braking and cornering.
If there is more weight on one side than there is the other then there will be more grip generated by that side and conversely less grip on the other side. When any driving or braking force is applied to that wheel, it will transfer more of the power to that side and the car will not run in a straight line. In a cornering situation the weight transfer will be affected and the car may either understeer or oversteer due to the increased/decreased load on the wheels.
The use of weighing scales is a good one as there is no complicated assembly to consider, you simply place the car on the scales and get an instant reading of the balance between the wheels.
There are other checks (as you must do with other setup jigs, etc.) that you must follow before doing this though, as using them to set the corner weights equal using the spring adjusters could mask problems with the car. A systematic approach to checking that everything on the car is as it should be is advisable, as binding suspension components or damaged shock absorbers, etc. will not make the car handle, although the corner weights are correct.