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As discussed during Wednesday night's free wheeling chat, here are some pictures of Aurora vibrator chassis circa 1960 (from Playcraft of England circa 1958) - there is no way to explain how it works without pictures. I will post a scan of a parts view, don't know if I can get it off my gallery or not. Been trying to find a reasonable vibe hot rod for some time - this is a nice one with the original decals applied.



I worked a train show this past weekend - ended up without my small layout ready so I set up a Classic 40 vibrator 4 lane set as an operating layout. As the contacts are not spring loaded, just tensioned, and the reed and push rod need to be in close adjustment, they take a lot of fiddling to run right. But they did run,more or less, and sound more like a door buzzer than anything else. zzzzzzztzzztzzzz. I can't remember ever running them on correct transformer before, 24v AC, and they do run better than on DC. Working the train show is another post.

45+ year old tires do not grip well, you t jet sliders would love it!
 

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Model Murdering
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Oh damn, I'm sorry I missed chat this week and the vibe discussion. Dont worry, I've already been told that my name is mud.

Your pictured HR coupe is the rarer green/ tan interior version, Very cool!

The old ratchet or escapement mechanism still wins the prize in my book for simplest pain in the ass there ever was! LOL. Like showing a picture could ever explain how they really worked....er...ah I mean didn't work. :rolleyes:

As for the Flintstone tires, bed rocked with age, I've been cleaning and massaging them with a rubber rejuvenator. After they've dried, they are sorted and the good ones are trued. I massage white silicone brake paste into them and finally smear them up thick.

They are then placed in a small plastic bag, and left on the water heater, or other moderately warm place. You'll be suprised at how silicone paste they will wick up. After they are wicked, they are wiped of with a rag and installed.

Mind you they're not like Super Tires, but there is a noticable improvment, and it's a safe bet that you've slowed the degenerative process.

Many come back to life, some are too far gone and were toast anyway.

I've got a half dozen or so, and a few more in process. I runem' once a month, or to show off to the occasionally curious visitor.

I love the little antiques. They drive the cats bonkers, and even screw up the cable TV.

As you mentioned previously Jeff, they have a wonderful and unmatched ability to slide the entire corner. Pictured below is the roadster mate to your pictured coupe. It's one of my recent restos, unfortunatly it's high quality resto chrome from Steve Boyd, but the rest is original. Another diamond in the rough from fleabay. Initial cost was 16 bucks. She was pretty rough.

For some unknown reason this ones pretty quick for a vibe, unlike their middlin' reputation. It's the only one I have that runs way above average.
This roadster hangs out through the entire turn and hooks up down the straight just like a proper dirt tracker.

Jeff, thanks for posting up on the much maligned vibe. I'm an old fart and still remember when they were the only, and therefore coolest, thing in HO cars. :thumbsup:

BH
 

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I have a couple of vibes, one runs, one sound;s like it wants to, but won't. I can't figure out how to tune them though, so they sit in my box. I would love to buy two working chassis, if anyone has them.
 

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5 or 6 years ago, when I made the yard sale find of old Atlas and Tjet stuff that got me BACK into slots, there were TWO Vibe bodies in the box--a white Corvette hardtop with a tan roof and a green Jag with a black roof. I sold the white Vette at the first show I went to (apparently it's a rare color combo not listed in Bob Beers' book... I bought an original '67 Galaxie, an original Firebird, and an original Cougar for what I got for the Corvette). I kept the Jag, but I had no chassis for it for a long time. Then a year or two ago I bought a box of junk diecast at a local estate auction, and there was ONE slot car in it--a Vibe Ford pickup with (sorta) running chassis. I put a Tjet chassis with narrowed rear wheels under the pickup, and put the Vibe chassis under the Jag... it seemed fitting that an old Jag would be cranky and temperamental... :D

--rick
 

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Vibes in a nutshell...

The Vibrator cars use a ratcheting design on the rear gear. The vibrator is a col and reed design that gives vertical movement when the coil is energized/de-energized, with the reed attached to the top of the coil. As the vibrator creates a reciprocating vertical motion, the reed has an attached vertical bar that moves up and down to create a "cycle". The bar ratchets the pinion gear downward propelling the car forward, and then returns the top position when the coil is de-energized. (The pinion gear looks more like a drum with saw-like teeth rather than an actual "gear".) The cycle repeats over and over to create movement.



You can't use DC power for vibrators. These cars only operate on AC, or Alternating Current. This is the whole principal behind the vibrator design- it uses the pulsation cycle of Alternating Current (or "hertz") to create movement and motion. Archaic but innovative and THE start of HO slot cars.
:thumbsup:
 

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Model Murdering
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I'll keep my eyes peeled VJ. Tuning may not be the right word. Lets go with minimizing the engineering short commings. :rolleyes: For the most part it's about limiting all frictions. There are three critical adjustments.

1: The relationship between the drive blade on the reed and the gear must be close. It's tight! You should feel the slightest contact between the two when you roll the rear wheels forward. If you roll the wheels backwards there should be no contact. If you have rearward contact the vibe wont have the groovy off throttle coast. It's a very fine line/angle and takes some fiddlin' to get right. If it's real clicky it's not right.

2: The relationship between the plunger rod, reed, and breaker contact is often overlooked. It needs to have max travel but not exceed the magnetic capabilities of the drive coil. I've also found that the reed travel can be compromised by a shrunken body, or the reed is bent to high; sorta like gearplate bind in a t-jet. Those cars will have tatoo rubbed on the under side, and generally produce some racous noise.

3: The pick ups are super sensitive and can rob what little performance exists. To tight and you'll have front chassis wheel hop. To much forward angle and your plowing, you'll hear that. Obviously you must solder up the pickups that have been grooved or worn through and polish them with the dremel.

Other than that there's not much else to do besides light axle lube. A check of the two electrical connections is very important. The breaker set, and the oft forgotten coil contact on the side should have their tension checked and be buffed occasionally.

I'm not sure what the resistance number for the coil should be, but a good coil is really the heart of the deal. The reed to gear adjustment and reed to plunger adjustments are directly related. In other words as you play with one angle your fudgin' the other, so it's a back and forth game until you find the sweet spot.

I'll add one more note, The chassis castings are soft. The rear axle bores can be horribly egged out. All screw holes should be approached with caution, they weren't great to start with, and can pull out in the blink of an eye if you put the boots to them.

Inspite of all that, I still dig the lil' bastages for what they are/were.

Edit: Harrrgh! LMAO! Park I missed your post. The only thing missing from the vibe jags is the Exxon Valdez sized oil slick underneath. It's kinda funny that one of the British 1:1 cars biggest problems actually served to preserve the underbody with a constant reapplication of preservative over the long run. :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
tuning sheet for vibe slot car

From what I have read in the Graham book, the return rate to the stores was terrible for the first run of vibes. The hop up kit with the booklet came out to address the problem, and these pages are present in the 1962 manual, not in the 1960 version.







Really touchy for a toy, maybe this will help you tune VJ. And you're right Bill, the chassis look to be cast in pot metal. T jets were really a step up in a lot of ways, but you have to appreciate that it had to start somewhere so there was somewhere to go!

I'm hunting for pieces and parts too, now looking for a few push rods (a slot car with a push rod!) Tiny and easily lost, or mistaken for a cluster gear shaft in a box of parts, I guess.
 

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Can you imagine trying to run and maintain these things. Well, for a first generation slot, guess you can't give it too much hassle, look what it started. :thumbsup: rr
 

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Scott, you explained the vibrator functions very well, but I disagree with you on one point: altough vibes cars were mainly designed to run under AC power, you can run them on DC current too...I just made a small video to demonstrate it... The Vibrator get obviously smoked by the Tjet but both run together.
The Jag vibe was runned at full throttle (sloooow slug), in the same hand I was holding the other controller, running the MM Mustang, my second hand devoted for filming: sorry for the so-so quality of movement and filming :)

Check the youtube video here
 

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breaume said:
Thanks for post this. It is facinating I have never seen these.

How long were these on the market before the pancakes?
Aurora sold them from 1960 to 1962. Then Tjets came out for 1963.

As an added history note, the same design was sold in England under the Playcraft name in 1959, but they never took off, supposedly because Scalextric had cornered the slot car market with larger-scale cars. Aurora liked the idea and bought the rights to it, planning to market it as a scenery accessory for a train set... but at the first toy industry trade show where they showed it off, the executives' kids had too much fun racing them and causing catastrophic train-crossing wrecks. Thus was the "race set" born...

and on another note, the Jag and Mercedes bodies came to Aurora from Playcraft, but there were two other Playcraft bodies that never made it to Aurora... a '58 Impala and a Ford flatbed truck (or lorry, as the British called it). They were apparently too complicated to manufacture easily... the Impala was a two-tone made of something like 9 separate pieces of plastic. They occasionally turn up on Fleabay. I've seen the Impala fetch $800...

--rick
 
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