One thing that is often overlooked in RC vehicles is the height at which the suspension rides at, which is the distance measured from the bottom of the chassis to the ground. In this guide to learning how to set the ride height for your RC car, we go over ride height adjustment and adjusting the spring tension on your shocks.
Benefits Of Adjusting The Ride Height
Some of the benefits of adjusting the height include giving your RC vehicle an optimized suspension. This means that you will be sitting perfectly into the suspension of your vehicle, where you are optimizing the down trail and the up trail on every bump.
Adjusting the height will also lower your center of gravity and offer better stability, especially if you end up lowering your vehicle. Having a lower center of gravity will in turn help with the turns and corners, which is particularly noticeable in chicanes, or S-turns where changing directions is crucial.
While a small change of just 1mm may not seem like a significant change, it actually makes a big difference on something like a touring car.
How To Set The Ride Height
Adjusting your ride height is easy – you simply adjust the tension of the spring on the shocks. Each RC vehicle comes with 4 shocks, 2 in the front and 2 in the rear.
Some cars have ‘pre-load clips’ on the shocks, while others come with threaded shocks.
Each shock has a little “clip” that determines the amount of spring tension on your shock by either adding or removing the spring clips. The spring clips determine the amount of spring tension and thus either raise or lower your ride height.
Check if your RC vehicle already come installed with the small clips on the shocks.
Another type of shocks on the market are the threaded body shocks. The springs can be easily adjusted on these by turning the knob to dial in or dial out the spring tension on the shocks.
You will need to find the appropriate balance between going low to be quicker in the corners and still having enough roll to maintain enough traction, yet still having the vehicle high enough to avoid having the chassis or body scraping all over the place and causing unwanted issues.
The ideal ride height is usually when the front arms are level.
How To Measure Ride Height Accurately
In order to accurately measure the ride height accurately, you will need the following tools:
In order to measure the ride height accurately, you should have everything installed in your RC vehicle like you are ready to run it. You should have all electronics that will weigh down your car installed, such as your battery, motor and body.
Next, ensure that the vehicle is placed on a hard, flat, even surface.
Once you do that, carry and lift the vehicle 4 to 6 inches and drop it squarely back onto the ground. Proceed to then take the measurements.
Take your ride height gauge and go underneath the center, rear and the front of the vehicle, checking for current ride height.
To lower the ride height, proceed to remove the clips on the shocks and replace with a smaller clip to see what ride height it will ride at that point. For example, if you are currently using a 4mm clip, replace it with a 2mm clip.
Once you have changed the clips, proceed to do the same measuring test as before to measure the new height. Lift and drop the vehicle squarely onto the ground, use the ride height gauge and measure the center, rear and front of the vehicle.
Besides changing the clips, you can also replace the vehicle’s springs. Stiffer springs are more resistant to compression, which results in higher ride height.
You can also change the shock mounting location as it leverages on the shocks and how the car sits at rest.
High or Low?
For high grip tracks, you would want to lower to reduce the chassis roll and the chance of traction rolling during fast cornering. Raise the car higher slightly for low traction surfaces to allow the car to roll more, thus allowing for more traction.
The condition of the track will also determine the ride height. You can run a lower chassis while on a flat surface, while bumpy tracks make it necessary to raise the ride height or your chassis plate might bottom out over the big bumps.
You can also adjust your vehicle to be lower on one end of the car or higher on the other end to give the vehicle a little more grip at the lowest end when cornering. However, you would want to avoid big differences between the two ends in order to avoid unusual side effects.