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I am interested to find out how long it takes you to tune an original Aurora pancake car, whether that be a T-Jet, AFX or Magna-Traction. I am not talking about preparing it for any type of organized competition, but just getting it to run as well as feasible using the stock parts.

The reason I am curious is because I have purchased a number of used Aurora cars (mostly AFX and MTs) over the years. I have cleaned each one of them and gotten some to run really well, and others pretty good. No real dogs in the litter. Afterwards I may take a car that doesn't run (what I consider to be) at its best, work on it for hours and usually end up with a much better car than when I started (without really replacing any parts, but maybe swapping out one used part for another). However, with about 150 runners, I can't do that with every car (at least not for a LONG time), nor can I dump a few bucks into each one as that starts to get expensive.

It also seems sometimes that if a pancake cars lays around too long, it losses that "edge" it had after you put in all that work.

For me, my usual process is as follows and takes 30-45 minutes:

1. Dismantle the chassis (leave the axles and rims on). Brush the Noxon on the chassis electricals and let sit for a few minutes. Get some into the brush holes and on top of the brush springs. Then wipe down with a Q-Tip. The electricals will shine. You may have to scrap the top of the brush springs a little.

2.. Put Simple Green on a toothbrush and scrub down the (somewhat) bare chassis. Rinse off in water and dry (using an air compressor). Not only clean, but a fresh pine scent!

3. Take a very, very small bit of Noxon on a Q-Tip and spread on the comm. Use the dry side of the Q-Tip to wipe off the Noxon and it will remove all the gunk from the bottom of the comm. The comm will look new

4. Clean the brushes. I did this by wiping them on a cloth and then taking a very small screwdriver and scraping the top and bottom.

5. Clean the pickup shoes, especially the hook. I used a woman's nail file (again, a dollar store purchase).

6. Reassemble, oil and test.

After all that is done, a more intense tuning can be done to match magnets and set brush tension. Then further tuning may be needed to correct for problems like pulling to one side, too much friction (heat buildup), bouncing, slow speed, etc. This tuning, for me, could take hours just to get the car running as well as feasible, especially if you find some of the parts need replacing (like axles and/or rims).

So, as I asked originally, how long does it take you to tune your basement runners to the point where you think you got just about all the car has to give?

Thanks...Joe
 

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I boil the chassis lap the gears and polish them including axels relief and all th holes. I usually do 5 at a time. Boil onr day 1&1/2 hr. [only 1 jig] Lap and polish the next day and put in ultra sonic cleaner. About 2hrs for that. back together 1 a nite 1hr. after that and then seperate if any to the better runner field. I do this so all the basics are done, and then look at my empty wallet to see what if any parts i may need to make any better.
 

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totally posted this in the wrong thread!
ultra sonic cleaner to clean the metal, then treat with 1 of the anti oxidizing chems.
check that nothing binds, match mags, test out arms
check level adjust with tires. (I no longer boil)
 

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I work on them and get them really fast then continue until they slow down, then I Know I have done my best. Joe, I think your about right on with a basement build, cars that I think have potential get tweaked a bit longer, or if I want to try a new theory on what causes or hinders speed.

The last spec class cars I helped the local kids build (JL Chassis, Fray style, with nascar type bodies, & full mods) we spent about 8 hours on, in a couple of sessions, and then about an hour tuning. The boys got some very fast cars out of those.

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Joe
Your process is pretty close to what I do...30-45 min to get them in good basic shape. The rest, as King said, can take a lifetime!
 

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Tools tools tools

Joe
Your process is pretty close to what I do...30-45 min to get them in good basic shape. The rest, as King said, can take a lifetime!
I agree with beast, takes a half an hour or an hour give er take. Sorta depends on what your starting with...ya know? Is it a complete vintage chassis thats been unmolested? Is it a hodge podge POS assembled by some clown on E-bay? Is it painstakingly scratch built from your carefully selected spares?

Like most everyone, I've developed a system that was refined over some time; and because I still work on 1:1 cars, there's a natural fall out/cross over from the garage/shop that's advantageous.

Above and beyond, I've also tooled up. Yeah slotcar tools cost money...get over it! Chronic peewhining about cost and expending time and effort trying to circumvent or avoid the spanking makes me giggle. Having the right stuff only improves ....EVERYTHING! fit, accuracy, consistency, time, attitude, and of course...the finished product! It provides a much needed fluidity to the process.

This is not to say that there arent those who can bang it together with stone knives and bearskins. I did it that way for years. Now I dont have to. Get the basic stuff you need and learn how to use it; so when the situation does arise you can move right through it and keep building.
 
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