Tires and wheels what's the deals

LiveFast_DieCast Monday, 2/20/2023

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Okay I've watched a few build videos on YouTube and happen to notice that some of the wheels are sanded and some of the wheels are cut so that there's just a little sliver of the wheel on the inside and the rest of the wheel is smaller what's the deal?


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SpyDude 2/20/23

Start here:

And my own thread on prep:

  • Thanks — LiveFast_DieCast
  • So, reading the followup on coned wheels, why not a slightly curved tire, low in the center, for mt tracks, as it should move over the track ribs easier — dr_dodge
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Uncle_Elvis 2/21/23

Friction bad. Speed good.

  • wheels down good, wheels up, not so much — dr_dodge

Smaller footprint without sacrificing mass. 

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redlinederby 2/21/23
Site manager

Just for future reference, the Archive here has all the big forums and tags listed out so you can do some browsing based on what you're trying to research:

I know a lot of stuff is buried and that's the curse of a forum but those tags and lists should help somewhat in narrowing stuff down. A site search never hurts's Google but just looks at the RLD site.

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dr_dodge 2/21/23

I have cruiz'd the archieves a lot

so much good stuff, how to's, videos, the works

Cheers to all who helped to build the library of info we have

happy to explain the wheel sanding:

sanded wheels are used to make the plastic molded wheels smoother, by sanding out the "Nub Marks" where the wheel was injection molded. Small nub marks on their own may not cause an issue, but big ones can cause a loss of control, vibration, or loss of speed.

after sanding, polishing is done with very fine grits of sandpaper, to smooth the wheel as a whole, and a good job can yield wheels sometimes smoother than from factory, which means less friction, much more speed.

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dr_dodge 2/23/23

I have found while sorting wheels and axles, (inspecting w/ a jewelry loupe)

some axles are distorted right below the head

They must be friction/pressure flaired and some axles get a bit squashed

they look like this below.good one is straight, and head is square to the axle

I toss the distorted ones

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redlinederby 2/23/23
Site manager

Here's an old video from D64 showing how he made a wheel sanding station. Pretty spiffy, IMO. I never made one myself but if you're a frequent modder then I'd say it's worth it.

That's a great question Jim and I'm glad you posted the question! This site should always be a welcoming place for newcomers to ask questions and get helpful answers from experienced builders. 

I had the same questions regarding cut wheels the first time a saw them in a drag race competition. They look like the wagon wheels from the Back to The Future 3 DeLorean casting.

Reducing the size of the footprint of the wheel reduces contact and friction. The same concept as wheel coning. There are some guys in this hobby that can take a stock wheel and cut it down like this. Either with a drill and blade, or a lathe machine. I tried it myself once without much success.

Welcome to the hobby and best of luck Jim! Please message me if you have more questions! I'd love to help you out!

  • maybe I should try some plastic HO wheels off of rolling — dr_dodge
  • Thank you so much G4DiecastRacing I'm sure I will be asking you more questions — LiveFast_DieCast
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redlinederby 2/23/23
Site manager

Now that we've had a few more years of the open road style racing, I'd be interested to hear if anyone has any sort of unscientific thoughts on if the shaping of wheels makes a difference in that format...?

Drag racing in a straight line, sure, wheel shape and sanding can make a big impact. But in road tracks where there's so much banging & clanging and just so many track randomness, my gut says that wheel shape is less important than weight and wheelbase. 

  • …data we’ve acquired kinda states the opposite. Thinner wheels means the COG has less to lean on during cornering, which, coupled with thinner tires, can…cause a roll over. In fact on cars that use anything from standard to lower-than-standard wheels…unless your wheelbase itself is wide, the odds of causing a rollover increases dramatically. Having standard to above average width wheels may have a positive impact on that…as for speed? Totally unsure what diameter wheel is best. — 0utsiders_Street_Racing
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SpyDude 2/23/23

I would say on the open track, you kinda need more rubber on the road. Skinny tires just seem to slide around a lot, whereas standard tires seem to hold the line better. The random fender-banging shakes up the race, so it's anyone's guess. I agree on the weight and wheelbase.

  • I don't know, but I would think a slight rolled edge (vs sharp/square) would help the passing, as the car would get over the fat track ribs easier — dr_dodge
  • Slight rolled edge may only really help with any MB brand wheels. That “ridge” on the edge will kill your speed if you don’t somehow deal with it. — 0utsiders_Street_Racing
  • I see cars slowed already going into ridged curves, and many get stuck/flip/stall because the wheels to the bottom of the curve hold the car up there, makes the car stall, instead for using its gravity and momentum it has, rom being high & slow in the corner to exiting low and faster. The wheels seem to hang cars with low speed/momentum. — dr_dodge
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Crazy_Canuck 2/23/23

Here's a different take on the sanded wheel debate...the straighter you can make the car the faster it'll be...keep the car off the walls and obtain speed for the corners...the cut wheels (straight walled sanded) should hold a straight line therefore achieving more get the weight and wheelbase right and away ya go...

  • CC, you took the words right outta my mouth......I don't know how many time I've seen super fast cars biff on my tracks because they couldn't drive in a straight line! — IndianaDiecastRacing
  • a car must be reactively dynamic. it's not a static single weight bias, as opposed to a reactive chassis. Good wheel setup is a must, but I think, that all cars have some "give' not totally rigid, thats the hard part — dr_dodge
  • a biff in the track should not disrupt a well balanced reactive car — dr_dodge

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