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How To Install Brass Bushings In Tyco Cars:

A Mad Scientist Tip: Creating and installing your own Brass Bushings

You can buy bulkheads with brass bushings already installed in them and for the Tyco's they can run up to about $10 a pair. They seem to be a little hard to find at times too. Now the unmodified bulkheads can be had for few bucks per pair. Brass tubing runs under a buck and that will create enough bushings for quite a few cars. Lets do a very cost effective thing here and create and install our own bushings.

What you need:
1) A pin vice is nice - many slot racers already have one of these. Make sure it will take a 1/32nd drill bit. Most pin vices come with multiple chucks and one will usually fit this drill bit.

2) 1/32nd drill bit

3) Brass tube 1/32nd Outside diameter, 1/16th inside diameter - available at most hobby shops. Usually come in 1 foot lengths. I paid about $.60 each. I bought a few just to have on hand. Take an arm with a washer installed at the com end, take the tube and set the arm (com end)in one end and give it a spin. Should spin like a top if the fit is right. Then check for play. Should be a little loose but not to the point of slop or side to side movement. Remember the arm will want to float in the magnetic fields of the motor magnets thus a close but a little loose fit would be best. Make sure its not binding either. Too tight could stop the arm from rotating which could cause it to fail. The stuff that I bought was actually 1/16th on the inside and 1/32nd on the outside thus those dimensions should work for you too.

4) I made a tool out of an old tyco axil and its gear spacer to press the bushings into place, fits in pin vice. You can get innovative here if you'ld like.

5) Exacto saw. Tube cutters only sqeeze the soft metal thus reducing the inside diameter.

6) Sandpaper - 320,600,1000,2000 grits. Get the wet/dry stuff that is used for autobody work. Usually the black stuff.

7) Exacto knife with #11 blade - for cleanup if needed.

What to do:
Carefully drill out holes (to 1/32nd of an inch) in both bulkheads where the arm shaft goes. Keep these as perfectly centered as possible. Maybe practice on a few old beatup bulkheads first? Take your time here.

Cut tube to a length that will completely sleave the holes in the bulkheads but not much more than that. Its Ok to go a little over as long as you set the bushing flush on the insides of the bulkheads. Sand both ends of the bushings using the 320 grit sand paper at first and work your way down to about 2000 grit. You want these to be flat and smooth where the arm washers may ride up against them. Use the homemade tool (or your own innovation) and the pin vice to press the bushings into place in the bulkheads. Add some lube to the bushings, put the arm back in and you're ready to go. Takes about 10 minutes to install a set of these once you get the hang of it.

How about using the same technics for axil bushings?
Use 1/32nd drill to drill out the axil holes in the chassis where the rear axils go. Take your time and keep these on center. Takes some practice so use an old chassis first. It helps to remove a little at a time. May also want to clean up with an Exacto knife if needed.

Cut a pair of bushings that will fit the width as perfectly as possible. Do the sanding thing here too. Now we do the rest a little differently than the arm bushings. Place the axil (without the tires) to where it used to go but now the hole is too big. Thats a good thing so hang in there. Cut about a three inch piece of the 1/32 tubing (another home made tool here) and put that into your pin vice. Slide the bushing over the axil and then slide the tube thats in the pin vice over the axil and carefully press/work the bushing into place. Sort of acts both like a keeper and a bushing. Once the bushing is in place, the axil will stay in place. I've even crashed tested these and the axils (without bushings) would sometimes pop out in a bad one. Not with these guys. You can also put a drop of glue for added security during a big race. Once you have both bushings in place, add some lube and put the tires back on and your ready to go. To remove the axils, just pop out like you used to do with before the bushings. If you change gears alot, this may not be the way to go. If you are setting up before a race and want to reduce friction, its worth it.

You can also do this to the front axils. Only difference here is that you don't have gears to worry about thus you can install the bushings first, remove one tire, slide axil into place and put the wheel back on. Now this will be a little loose but I've found that to be a really good thing. Handles much better than before the bushings. I've done these on both stock cars and on some extremely hot ones. The stock cars don't show great performance gains but handling is dramatically increased. Extremely hot cars show amazing performance gains especially with top end revs. The plastic seemed to have slowed these guys down a bit. I have one hot arm that was doing 1.38 seconds on the acceleration tests that dropped to 1.19 seconds with the bushings. Stock cars only gained a few hundredths of a second but like I said really smoothed out the handling. Had one stock car that was too jumpy to keep on track, now glides effortlessly.

Since Super G+s (and some others) already have oilite (or some other types of) bushings, the bulkhead mod may not be the way to go. Definitely worth it for tycos though.

I'm open to discussing anything above with anyone that wants to know or has advice to offer. Yup I take advice too. I'm the Mad Scientist and you can contact me at

Mad Scientist

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