Review kit supplied by Modelsport.co.uk
Now for the next step in our review of the Associated RC10 Classic kit build, and this time we’re building the shocks! In the previous step, we did the mind-numbing job of assembling the turnbuckles, and with Bags G and GG we’re going to show you how the shocks go together. ‘ere we go!
There’s several steps to building the shocks, and (again) at the risk of sounding repetitive (again!) you’ll probably look at the installation steps in a bit of bemusement if you’re used to what I can only call ‘modern’ RC shock technology.
There’s many steps and yes FOUR shocks that need to be built, but I like to approach shocks in an assembly-line sort of mentality, doing one step on every shock so each step is finished for all the shocks and then move on to the next step. Luckily, that’s how the manual tells you to do the assembly, so score!
Here’s all the parts needed for the shocks, Bags G and GG. Bag G held the shock oil (silicone, posh!), white plastic bits and shock pistons, with G1 through G3 containing the shock shafts, internals and external hardware. Bag GG had the springs, shock bodies and caps.
First, the shock pistons are installed on the shafts using the e-clips. Again, you only get exactly the number of spring clips you need, so don’t lose any! Trust me, it sucks to have to stop building a kit so you can drive to the shop to get something you’ve lost – or worse, in this day and age, order online and have to wait several days to get your part!
Ah, the old familiar Associated shock building tool. Make sure to coat this with a couple of drops of shock oil before installing them into the shock bodies. And if you don’t hear a loud SNAP! it’s not installed properly, so really press down hard!
There’s a properly installed o-ring set.
The manual doesn’t tell you to do this, but this is a tip I picked up a long time ago – to prevent the threads of the shock shaft from damaging the o-rings, put a drop of shock oil on the threads so you can push them through easily.
Once the shock shafts are in place, you fill up the shock body with oil. The picture above shows how to add the shock oil without getting a gigantic mess of air bubbles in your shocks – use the piston as a spout for the oil, and it will draw the oil underneath and onto the shaft. When the body is nearly full, pull the shock piston down from the bottom and most of the air will escape through the dry piston holes before the piston gets covered in oil.
Here you can see the half-wet, half-dry piston just before it’s completely covered in oil – most of the air that would have gotten trapped under the piston (if you’d pushed it all the way down and then added oil) is gone and you can carry on with your life without pulling all your hair out trying to get rid of every single bubble of air in the shocks!
I like to rest the shocks in the springs in a shock building stand, or failing that, the wheels or tires that come in the kit. Push the shock shafts so the pistons are near the top (therefore any air bubbles are near the top) and let them rest for a few minutes after giving them a couple of taps with your fingernails to dislodge any pesky air bubbles that might be resting near the bottom. After letting the bubbles rise for a bit, pull the shock shafts down sharply to get the air bubbles on top of the piston and let the shocks rest again.
When you’re ready to put the cap on and you’re happy with either no bubbles or just a couple left here and here, pull the shafts all the way down and put the black sealing o-ring on the shock body. Put a drop of shock oil on the threads of the shock cap and then top off the oil in the shock body – I mean really fill it up so it’s a nice fat bubble over the threads! Remember there’s no bladder or piece of foam to help bleed the shocks or compensate for the reduction in oil volume when the shocks shafts are pushed all the way out – this is old-school shock building here!
Use the tools helpfully provided to tighten the shock cap on all the way. There shouldn’t be any threads showing on the body above hexagonal section. At this point, you can rejoice in the fact that Associated even provide the tools for tightening the shock cap – they certainly weren’t in the kit I got way back when! I still have my old RPM shock building tools…
If you’re just building this to play around with or for display, you’re done. You actually didn’t even need to be that worried about air bubbles – or if it’s just for display you probably didn’t even need to put in oil!
But me, I decided to do this ‘properly’ – and that means I needed to listen to every single shock and if there was the tiniest squeak that meant AIR BUBBLES and the shock needed to be opened up, filled and bled again. And when it was properly bled with no air bubbles, I had to make sure the rebound (see below) was equal on each pair of shocks. Oh yeah, this was a massive pain and turned a simple night of assembly into an hour or so of agony. But hey this is for science! errr, not really, it’s just for fun!
So here’s the shocks after I’m completely happy with them. The rebound (that is, the amount the shock shaft ‘bounces’ back out of the body after being fully compressed) is almost exactly the same with each pair of shocks and the plastic parts are ready to be installed now.
Shock ends and pivot balls, oh my!
And the fully assembled, butter-smooth shocks read for installation. Strangely, the distance the front shock spring collars are meant to be from the hex on the shock body is listed as 6mm – I don’t know what the original instruction manual said but considering every piece of hardware in this kit is in SAE/Imperial measurements, seeing metric in there was a bit of a shock!
The front shocks install on what is basically a hinge pin that goes through the front arms. I’m pointing at the funky set screw that holds the hinge pin in place.
The front shocks fully installed!
And the rears as well.
We are almost, but not quite, at the ‘rolling chassis’ stage. I assume the instructions follow the original manual very closely but I’m used to seeing a nearly-complete car at this stage – and for whatever reason Associated had you put in the electronics after installing the shocks, instead of building the tires next, which would at least give you something you can push around and go ‘vroom vroom’ with. But no matter! The car’s getting built!
Here’s the video showing how this set of assembly steps went:
In the next step, we install the nose braces and put in the electronics, which gives us a nice break from assembling stuff. Plus we get to play with more new stuff!