stringing a chassis

If you do these 5 Bandolero Race car secrets – you’ll be consistently fast.

If you do these 5 Bandolero Race Car Secrets – You’ll be consistently fast


    Often, when you first get started in racing you get passed by very quickly. If you are not sure what to do, Bandolero Race Car secrets can keep you midpack. Bandolero racing especially – had many tribal secrets.  All racing has tribal secrets if you are new to the scene, but Bandolero Race Car Secrets are at the tops of the secret list. Parents search for every advantage that they can to give their child. It is hard to find and get an advantage. What I’m about to tell you will get your car up to speed. It’s not every single thing there is to know, but If you do these 5 things, your child’s car will have more consistent, predictable handling week after week. If you know these 5 Bandolero Race Car Secrets before you ever begin, you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of those who do not.

It’s hip to be Square

You can’t overemphasize the importance of a square chassis.  You need to always remember how small of a car we are dealing with when talking Bandoleros.  The first in our 5 Bandoerlo Race Car Secrets is to ensure, as part of your weekly regimen, that you begin every setup process with a square chassis.  You will notice, because of the links changing angles, if you measure accurately, bandolero’s do get some axle movement with chassis roll. We run our car’s as low asplum bob possible, to lower the center of gravity height. (more on this later in the article) Have the driver in the car, at the ride height you run, and do some checking.  We pick, symmetrical points, on the rear axle and drop plumb bobs down off the axle. Ensure that you have a pair of plumb bobs and that the strings are each off the same edge of the axle. It can be the front edge or the rear edge, that part doesn’t matter. Just that both are consistent. Be slow and precise in this measurement. Bandolero Race Car Secrets are based on your accuracy. Make sure you are holding your tape measure at a right angle to the axle. Make sure you are measuring to the square tube on the back edge of the main cage that the clip is welded to. Its the square tube that the whole car is built off from. It’s right in front of the fuel cell and extends crossways in the chassis. the engine plate will be in the way in the center, but our measurements are on each side, as close as we can get a straight shot on our tape measure.  Make sure your tape measure is big enough where the tape doesn’t sag. Your measurement should be exact on each side. Not 1/16th off, not 1/8th, but exact. If this measurement is off in either direction it will induce a handling problem.  The direction of the live axle thrust will be free in, tight off if the right side has lead. The direction of the live axle thrust will be tight in, loose off if the right side has trail. Rember when we mentioned how important it is to remember how small these cars are? Any distance off is not acceptable because it is amplified on the outside edge of the car.

“Stringing them along” is highly acceptable this time

A string is probably the most valuable piece of equipment in your toolbox. With your newly squared rear axle, you can begin with the second step in your 5 Bandolero Race Car Secrets.  In this step, you will need 4 sturdy jack stands. Sturdystringing a chassis means “heaviest you have in the garage”.  Heavy jack stands will simplify your life, by not toppling over while you are working on getting them set up. Because we now are assured of our square rear axle in relation to the chassis, we can use taut string to check other things on our chassis. The first of those things is lining up the right side of the car.  We begin that process on the left rear wheel. We want our rim spacing on the left rear, as close to the 2″ rule as possible, to build our left side weight to the highest number possible. 2″ will pass tech, and it’s an advantage, so we start with that. We always set our left side rim to frame space distance at 2 1/8th”. It allows for any distance variations due to incidental contact bending a rim a tic or a bit of play in the lock collars and other variables. We hate variables and try our hardest to ensure they are minimized, but when we are working on things mechanical, sometimes life happens. 1/8th within optimum is purely a personal decision to build safety in the tech inspection. When you get the left distance set, move to the right side of the car. Set up your first set of jack stands. One out in front of the car and one to the rear of the car. Take a look at and study our example pics. When we get our string taut, we check the distance on the right rear rim edge with a tape measure. Set this distance exact, front and back on the rim edge. Doing this will ensure that we are not touching the tire (which sidewall variations or raised letter height can change). When our distance is set on the right side, we can go up to the front and see if our right side wheel is lined up at the same distance. Our right side wheels tracking in the exact same track is critical. If we are off, we can adjust this distance with the heim ends on the back side of the front wheel hubs. Our wheel spacers inside the front wheel hub should have already been set to both on the inside of the hub on the right side (assuming we are going in circles and not road racing) Chances are we are going to have to adjust the heims out to a lengthened position. Keep safety in mind when doing this. You always have to make it a priority. Make sure you always have total thread engagement on the back edge with the nut. There is stress on this component, follow that advice. If you do not, you can have steering failure.  When you get the right side lined up, move to the left and see how it is. You may not be able to get the left side lined up perfectly, but do what you can with the front spacer position and see where it lands. What you can do, is square that left side rim, like you did the right, in relation to the left side wheel. With both the left and right strings, you can gauge how your toe is set.

Don’t let big Toe stub you…

We’ll use that above string setup just for a quick toe gauge.  To set toe, in our shop we use toe plates. This next part is important. Use toe plates that sized in relation to your car. Set the toe with the hood pulled off the chassis. We use a kit from Longacre Toe Plates The reason for that kit, in particular, is its small enough to use with bandoleros. This next part is third of those 5 Bandolero Race Car Secrets. When setting toe ensure that you are low enough on the plates to clear, the lower front frame rails. This means skip the slots in the plates. You can hook the tape edges directly to the plate edges. If you utilize any of the plates slots that we have encountered, it will draw the tape measures on an uphill angle inconsistently on each side and give you a false reading! By ensuring that the tapes are set low and you’re clearing those frame rails it will be accurate. The other reason we like this kit, is it provides identical tape measures, that are longacre toe platesdecent quality, with fractional measurements apparent on the tape. These are great for kids. It helps them understand fractions a tic more, and it makes your measurements more accurate, using identical tapes. The next secret is set that toe at 0 to 1/16″ out. Any more than this creates drag or scrub on the front end. We are dealing with a low hp vehicle. Our toe being in at any setting makes the car darty and unpredictable. Our toe being set too far out, scrubs off speed? Need proof? talk to any single kid that has ever bent a spindle in competition on the track. 95% of them did not win the race that problem occurred in. If your car is scrubbing off speed in a restricted hp spec division and your competition is not – guess what. You are not going to win. It’s imperative to guard the chassis settings at all costs while racing. Doing this one thing, will improve your race results overnight – and improve your relationship with fellow competitors. If they know they can trust you running side by side, inches apart without banging on them -You’re gonna finish better, longer and have more chances at a championship.

The secret invisible setting

The secret invisible setting is not readily apparent when you first start racing. It’s number four in the 5 Bandolero Race Car Secrets.  It’s a confusing setting called “Caster”. Caster is an overlooked important setting in Bandolero racing. caster angleCaster angle is the degrees from vertical on the steering king pin axis. It is expressed in degrees. It’s function returns the wheel to center tracking after steering input. It is important. If you have ever had a shopping cart with a funky front wheel tracking, you’ll understand the drag that caster can put on you when traveling in a straight line. This is where my personal opinion differs from Inex. The caster setting in a Bandolero is adjustable by a slot built into the A frame assembly. Its the upper heim setting. Inex recommends setting the left side in the middle of the slot, and the right side all the way back. In guessing why they recommend this, its a quick easy way to put caster split in the car. It helps the car turn in. With their advice, you don’t need a tool, just your eyeball. What I recommend is different and here is why. I recommend setting the front end with a Caster Camber Gauge. Again we turn to Longacre, because they are a decent economy gauge with decent quality that wont break the bank. We set our caster with just a little bit of split – just a degree of split. It requires caster camber gaugemore driver effort to turn into the corner, but with our settings -1/2* on the left and +1/2 degree on the right you have far less horsepower robbing drag occurring in the corner. It free’s up the power on these little engines. When you are racing spec you need to have that in the back of your mind – all the time. It produces dividends. You are in a game of inches in spec racing, and every inch you can gain on the competition in your lap times, will increase your chance of a win. You’ll need a gauge like the longacre shown and an adapter for the Bandolero spindle size. Our friends at racingpartsales.com carry these specific items because they know and understand bandolero racing and have helped parents with specific bandolero needs for a while.

Staggering revelations

Our last of the 5 secrets of Bandolero racing we are revealing here to you today, is “do not run too much stagger”. Anything more than 3/4″ is too much. – Remember our small car mindset? Our rear ax.le track is very small on this little car. In the pits when people are talking large race cars, the stagger numbers they need are staggering in bandolero size. It’s because their trackwidth base is much wider. We have a small car. If we stop and think of a red solo cup, placed on the floor and spun, it turns in a circle- the thing we need to remember in a Bandolero is – stagger in addition to helping us turn, drags down our straightaway speed. Depending on the track, we have run little to no stagger. This is in direct correlation to the amount of crossweight or wedge that you run in your car. It’s gonna change depending on your track size and turn radius, but don’t get a certain number stuck in your head. We can tell you with 100% certainty, there are many numbers that work, but certain combinations, with certain cross weights, are dramatically faster.

In conclusion

In conclusion, we sincerely hope that these 5 Bandolero race car secrets will help to get you up to speed. If you religiously add them to your weekly set up regimen, you’ll gain repeatability and consistency. You won’t be dragging down your car speed with inefficiency. If you want to learn dozens of secrets, tips and lessons that we have learned in Bandolero racing, and that produced multiple Championships – We’ll be offering a Complete Bandolero Racing Secrets book in the future. Make sure to join our email list, so that we can tell you when it becomes available! See you at the races!