RCU Review: Selective RC 4 Wheel Drive Touring Car Prototype

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    Contributed by: Eric Hege | Published: November 2005 | Views: 27895 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    Selective RC Four Wheel Drive Touring Car Prototype

    Selective RC, Inc.

    600 S. Jefferson Street, #H
    Placentia, CA 92870 USA

    Phone: (714) 993-3149
    Fax: (714) 993-3573
    Website: www.selectiverc.com

    Good Chassis Design
    Loads of Adjustibility Options
    Handles Well
    Solicitation of Public Input

    Cast Aluminum Motor Mount

    It's always nice to see another manufacturer enter the market with a new vehicle. It's even better when they allow the public to catch a previewed glimpse of what they are planning on releasing. Then, if they want to go all out, they even take solicitations from the public for the body styles and names they'd like to see used in conjunction with the new platform. Such is the case with Selective RC, and their new electric touring car platform.

    While this article is more of a preview than a review, it showcases what to expect when this vehicle is released in the early part of 2006. Most of the car's components are set in stone, as to what's included and how it will look. However, there are some things the manufacturer wants your input on. I'll get into details regarding that a little later however.

    The chassis itself shows the thought that has been put into its development. Selective RC has definitely been studying some of the better designs out there, when it comes to entry-level and intermediate touring cars. Then they took what they learned and applied it to their release. It won't be long before this prototype heads into full production, and once it does, Selective RC has promised that RC Universe will receive a production model to perform some testing on. Once that happens, you'll get a complete review of the model exactly like you'll have, should you decide to purchase it. So let's see what we have to look forward to!

    Model Name: To Be Determined
    Type: 1/10 Nitro 4WD Touring Car
    Length: 14.5" (368mm)
    Width: 7.6" (194mm)
    Height (Top of Chassis): 3.0" (76mm)
    Wheelbase: 10.2" (259mm)
    Drivetrain: Shaft-Driven
    Shocks: Plastic With Preload Spacers and Aluminum Outer Caps
    Wheels: Split Five-Spoke
    Tires: V-Style Tread"
    Chassis: Plastic With Aluminum Upper Brace
    Motor: To Be Determined
    Radio: To Be Determined


    The prototype chassis for the upcoming touring car that will be released by Selective RC shows that substantial amounts of research has been performed and utilized in the design of the platform. There are several styling cues that reflect some of the best features of other touring cars on the market, with good reason. Items such as aluminum caps, dual-rate springs, and an aluminum upper chassis, have all shown themselves to work extremely well. Selective RC took some of these well established items, put them together, and are trying to provide what they feel is their vision of the best touring car platform for a beginner or intermediate driver.

    Shaft-driven touring cars have become very popular in the past few years. Shaft-driven cars have a few distinct advantages as a touring car platform. Obviously the fact that the main shaft does not wear out as frequently as a belt would is a big benefit, so the need for maintenance is lessened. There's also no need to worry about belt tensioners, and they generally use standard oil-filled differentials as well. Ball differentials can often be intimidating to many, and tough to properly set for others.

    The driveshaft for the Selective RC's chassis consists of a hollow aluminum tube, which is capped off on either end via a dogbone-style end which mates with the output yokes on the differentials. The shaft itself considers weight as a primary factor, and therefore the lightweight aluminum tubing allows it to be as light as possible.

    Front View
    Bumper Removed

    The front of the Selective RC prototype chassis sports a large foam bumper that serves a dual purpose. First and foremost is the fact that it protects the car in a collision. Secondly, when a body is installed, the foam helps the front of the body retain its shape as the speeds of the car increase. The foam bumper itself has a thickness of 21mm, and it's density will withstand all but the hardest frontal impacts. The front body posts are attached directly to the plastic frame that holds the foam bumper in place.

    From the front of the chassis you can get a good look at some of the hardware that Selective RC has outfitted this chassis with. Adjustable turnbuckles allow for the adjustment of camber settings, while their ballcup ends facilitate roll-center adjustments. The dual-rate shocks use ballcup-style ends at the top and bottom of the shocks. The shocks are given three locations for their upper ends, and two for the lower ends on the suspension arms.

    The suspension arms themselves have built in droop screws, to allow you to alter how low the suspension arms are allowed to travel. The prototype I received used Phillips head screws for this adjustment, whereas more often 1.5mm grubs screws are used. I would like to see the grub screws used for this, as they provide a much cleaner look. A 2.5mm anodized aluminum tie bar reinforces the suspension arms and the pins that connect them to the car's chassis. Directly behind this you'll see the differential assembly itself. We'll be covering this item in more detail a little later.

    Front Suspension
    Steering Hub

    The shocks for the Selective RC chassis show the inspiration gained from studying other touring car platforms. The shocks have plastic bodies, and feature aluminum outer caps. The inner portion of the cap that presses onto the ball stud is made of plastic. So it's easily and cheaply replaced should it become damaged or worn.

    The shocks feature a hex-shaped lower end, making them easy to hold with an open-end or adjustable wrench when tightening the cap. A 3mm stainless steel shock shaft handles the shock's range of motion, while a dual-rate spring controls the movement of the shock.

    The front suspension relies on some very well-established hardware from the touring car genre to get its job accomplished. 3mm thick dogbone-style axles connect the axle stub to the differential, and pass through an opening in the c-hub. The c-hub supports the steering blocks, and offers several positions for altering the roll-center of the vehicle. You are also provided a droop adjustment, to control the suspension arm's downward range of motion. Hopefully these will be replaced with grub screws on the production model however.

    The steering hubs themselves turn smoothly as they sit in the c-hub, thanks to a set of metal inserts pushed into the top and bottom of the c-hub. A 12mm plastic hex adapter transfers the axle's motion to the wheel, while a 3mm suspension pin connects the whole c-hub and steering block assembly to the suspension arm.

    Suspension Arms
    Steering Assembly
    Axle Assembly

    The suspension arms themselves are designed to be a strong as possible while trying to maintain a low overall weight as well. The inner stress points of the arms utilize a series of triangular designs, which help to maintain a great deal of strength. The suspension pins themselves are braced at the front of the car by a 2.5mm aluminum brace, and are also attached to a bulkhead brace by the suspension pins. So should the front bumper fail to do its job, or the wheel smack a barrier, the vehicle stands an excellent chance of avoiding any real damage.

    The c-hubs of the front suspension not only allow facilitate the ability to steer the car, but they also provide some positive caster angle as well. This helps with the ability to turn while maintaining your speed through a corner. To make sure the drivetrain spins smoothly, Selective RC equips the steering block with a pair of bearings instead of bushings. The outer bearing is a 10x15x4mm bearing, while the inner bearing measures 5x10x4mm.

    The driveline components themselves consist mainly of hardened steel items. The 3mm thick dogbone and its axle stub transfer the power from the differential to the wheel via 12mm plastic hex adapters. A 2mm stainless steel axle pin holds the axle stub in place, while the hex adapter presses over the pin. The 5mm axle stub meets very little resistance as it passes through the pair of bearings housed in the steering block.

    Bellcrank Steering
    Inside the Differential

    The steering duties of the prototype chassis are handled by a bellcrank-style setup which rides on brass bushings at its pivot points. The steering linkage has a built-in servo saver that's adjustable by an aluminum thumbwheel beside the location where the steering servo will reside. The steering linkage is fully adjustable along each facet of its span, giving you total control over its actions.

    The differential itself is contained within a plastic housing that splits in half from front to back. The differential itself rides on a pair of bearings, while the differential's output yokes have rubber o-rings pressed in them to keep driveline chatter to a minimum. The differential's cup itself houses four inner gears, which controls the transfer of power from one side of the car to the other. My prototype came with oil-filled differentials, but most of the oil had already leaked out. The differential itself is set up for the use of differential oil instead of grease, it just lacked any true rubber seal to contain the oil inside of it. I've been told by Selective RC that this issue will be corrected by the time the chassis is released.

    Rear View
    Rear Suspension
    Wheels and Tires

    The rear shock tower of the chassis also supports a plate, that in turn supports the rear body posts. These body posts offer a series of holes to allow the body's height to be easily altered, in relation to the chassis. Overall, the construction of the rear suspension is similar to the front. Standard bearing carriers are used instead of c-hubs however, as the rear of the car doesn't have the need to provide any steering. The upper turnbuckles are given multiple adjustment points to alter the roll-center and camber of the rear suspension, while the turnbuckles themselves allow further adjustability as well. The rear shocks are given two upper mounting points and two lower mounting points to facilitate handling adjustments. A plastic bumper, at the bottom of the chassis, protects the car from rearward hits while it's being raced.

    Selective RC has packaged their chassis with a set of bright yellow rims that use a split five-spoke design. Pre-glued onto the rims is a medium compound rubber tire that provides a good compromise between both grip and longevity. The tires themselves sport a v-style tread pattern that reminds me of tires found on many full-size performance automobiles. This design will help maximize the looks of whatever body that may be found residing on the chassis of this prototype once it's released to the public. The tires are pre-glued to the wheels, and utilize fairly soft foam inserts. I think that a set of firmer foam inserts would be a better match for the tires, but will reserve final judgment for when I drive the car.

    Even though the prototype chassis I received wasn't complete in regards to electronics, I still wanted to take it out for a spin to see how well it would perform. So I grabbed a few components to assist me with getting the chassis running, and quickly installed them onto the chassis so I could get a feel for what the platform would offer.

    For the radio and receiver, I used a spare JR XS3 I had lying around. The vehicle's power source would be a FMA Direct 1P2S 3200 mAh Scorpion pack, and I found a Novak Super Rooster ESC that wasn't being used to control the power being sent to the motor. The motor I chose was a Trinity Monster Horsepower stock motor. I felt that this would be a good motor for a quick test, seeing that many beginners would likely opt to race in a stock motor class. Once the chassis is released to the public, RC Universe will be doing a follow-up review. At that time, I'll provide some video along with the review, as the car will be in full production trim.

    You'll notice, from the accompanying pictures, that I ran the chassis without a body. This was also part of the reason I decided to stick with a stock motor, as there wouldn't be much in the way of downforce to help keep the chassis planted. The final body designs for this platform have not been set yet, so I received a bare chassis. I should point out that Selective RC is taking suggestions from the general public regarding bodies they'd like to see with the vehicle. While it isn't guaranteed your choice will be picked, they are planning to take the most popular suggestions seriously. In fact, the name of the chassis itself is another part of the vehicle that is up in the air as of this writing. Selective RC would love to hear from potential customers regarding their suggestions for this as well. So, this is your chance to have some creative input with a manufacturer. Send them your suggestions at support@selectiverc.com, and make your thoughts and ideas heard. It isn't often than the public gets this sort of opportunity, so you should take advantage of it when you get the chance!

    Once I had the chassis loaded up with the requisite electronics, I headed out to a local elementary school parking lot along with some cones to provide myself with a makeshift course to carve corners through. While the 27-turn stock motor isn't the most powerful powerplant available, it was a good match for the chassis in its current form. The prototype chassis held tight to the pavement as it sped away and approached the first cone. I backed off of the throttle slightly and rounded around the cone with the car as I backed off the throttle. Turning was plenty sharp, even with the dual-rate of the XS3 backed up to 75%. As throttle was applied exiting the corner, the chassis exhibited a slight push. However, this is normal for a four-wheel drive vehicle that is powering out of a corner. Even though a car can be loosened up, a slight on-power push is much easier to drive than if an oversteer (or loose condition) existed. Some firmer inserts would help free this up some, although it may make the car a little too twitchy for a beginner though.

    The tires themselves held well to the pavement as I weaved through the course, as they were suited very well for the environment which I now had the car in. Obviously, this will vary with the situation, but Selective RC seemed to have provided a good tire that will suit most people well to start off with. The tire's lifespan would showcase itself to be more than adequate as well. The compound that Selective RC has chosen provided a good balance of grip and a reasonable lifespan when compared to many other touring cars. Once my day was finished, the tires themselves would only show moderate wear.

    I was also impressed with how smooth the suspension seemed to feel as I made my way through the cones. The dual-rate springs seemed to provide a good balance of responsiveness both on and off-power, as well as at low and high speeds. The shocks themselves felt smooth, although I'd like to see Selective RC offer some aluminum bodies as a possible upgrade option for those looking to enhance their car's performance. Teflon-coated bodies would be even a bigger plus, and give their users the ability to customize their vehicles. I can't complain with the performance of the stock shocks though, as they performed very well when it came to keeping the tires properly planted on the pavement.

    Since this is more of a preview, instead of a vehicle review, I'll also mention one other thing I'd like to see Selective RC offer as an additional upgrade part. That would be a machined motor mount, instead of the stock cast mount. I did notice a little flexing with the cast mount when I installed the motor, and a machined mount would eliminate this as well as provide a step up in regards to the visual appeal of the platform.

    There are several areas of the car where the attention to detail by Selective RC shown through tremendously well. The use of bearings throughout the vehicle is one example of this, while the very light tubular driveshaft is another. The 2.5mm aluminum upper brace is a huge plus as well, maintaining much more rigidity than a plastic plate would. The battery mounts are designed to hold a standard NiMH or NiCad pack, while removal of the outer pegs allowed me to fit my Scorpion Li-Po pack in very easily.

    The area directly in front of the motor should be able to house both an ESC and a receiver, provided they both have a small footprint. This wasn't the case with my electronics configuration, as the Super Rooster is rather large. However, as Selective RC is working on the actual specifics of the on-board electronics, they should be trying to keep all of the components on the lower chassis plate. This will keep all of the weight as low as possible, enhancing the vehicle's handling.

    I was informed that not only is Selective RC still working out the electronics, they are strongly leaning towards providing a FM radio setup with it as well. While serious racers will probably still opt to use their own high-end radios, a good FM option would give most beginners and intermediate drivers all they'll need for club-level racing. To accommodate anyone looking to use their high-end radios, I would like to see Selective RC offer an ARR (Almost Ready to Run) version of this car as well if possible. This would mean potential buyers don't have to pay for a radio if they plan on using one they already have. While the platform is targeted towards the beginner and intermediate driver, the option of an ARR kit will widen the appeal of the platform, making it a more viable choice for anyone interested.

    Selective RC has what appears to be a hit on their hands, once they release it. While the prototype I received still has a few things that need to be ironed out on it, these will be addressed with the final release of the product. Also, don't forget that if you want to provide your input regarding the vehicles name and possible body style for this vehicle, you can send your suggestions to support@selectiverc.com. Selective RC is planning on using whatever feedback they receive to help them arrive at decisions on these two areas, and maybe your suggestion will be one of the one that graces the packaging once it's released.

    Electric touring car lovers should rejoice with this upcoming product from Selective RC. Not only does it offer another choice in this genre of the hobby, but it looks to be a very well-rounded platform that will serve both the beginner and intermediate driver very well. There's a lot of adjustably built into the chassis, allowing it to grow as your experience does. It certainly looks like 2006 is shaping up to be a good year!

    Selective RC, Inc.
    600 S. Jefferson Street, #H
    Placentia, CA 92870 USA
    Phone: (714) 993-3149
    Fax: (714) 993-3573
    Website: www.selectiverc.com

    FMA Direct
    5716A Industry Lane
    Frederick, MD 21704 USA
    Phone: (800) 343-2934
    Fax: (301) 668-7619
    Website: www.fmadirect.com
    Products used: Scorpion Li-Po 3200MaH Pack, Scorpion Li-Po Charger

    Hitec RCD
    12115 Paine St.
    Poway CA, 92064 USA
    Phone: (858) 748-6948
    Fax: (858) 748-1767
    Website: www.hitecrcd.com
    Products used: 5645MG Servo

    JR Radios
    Distributed Exclusively By
    Horizon Hobby, Inc.
    4105 Fieldstone Road
    Champaign, IL 61822 USA
    Phone: (877) 504-0233
    Fax: (217) 352-6799
    Website: http://www.jrradios.com/
    Products used: Radio, Receiver, Z590M Servo, Z270 Servo

    Maxx Products International
    815 Oakwood Road, Unit D
    Lake Zurich, IL 60047 USA
    Phone: (847) 438-2233
    Fax: (847) 438-2898
    Website: www.maxxprod.com
    Products used: JR Transmitter Pack and Charger

    Novak Electronics, Inc.
    17032 Armstrong Avenue
    Irvine, California 92614 USA
    Phone: (949) 833-8873
    Fax: (949) 833-1631
    Website: www.teamnovak.com
    Products used: Super Rooster ESC

    Trinity Products, Inc.
    36 Meridian Road
    Edison, NJ 08820 USA
    Phone: (800) 848-9411
    Fax: (732) 635-1640
    Website: www.teamtrinity.com
    Products used: Trinity Monster Horsepower Stock Motor

    W.S. Deans
    10875 Portal Drive
    Los Alamitos, CA 90720 USA
    Phone: (714) 828-6494
    Website: www.wsdeans.com
    Products used: Two-Pin Ultra Plugs

    Comments on RCU Review: Selective RC 4 Wheel Drive Touring Car Prototype

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    The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.

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