MonsterGT Race Setup Tips 

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TheDude, TD Racing
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OK, there's a lot of info here. The bottom line is this: YOU NEED TO HAVE YOUR TRUCK SETUP PERFECTLY. You can be the best driver in the whole galaxy, but if there's something wrong with the setup, then you ain't gonna win, simple as that. Even a mediocre driver can win if his truck is setup better than the next guy, so PAY ATTENTION TO DETAILS. Keep experimenting and learning.

The key with any changes is to watch your lap times. Make a change, then race your heat (or run a few solo laps) and look at your lap times. Don't bother with average lap times as a crash or two is probably factored in. You want to check your best 2 or 3 lap times in any given session, then make a change, and compare new best 2 or 3 lap times against other best laps. Usually best to make one change at a time, then study lap times to see if better or worse.


bullet Steering Servo - Get a great steering servo, like a 94358 Airtronics. This is one of the very best improvements you can make to your truck, so do this first! Then move the stock steering servo to the brake/throttle position.
bulletFOC - Use the FOC (forward only conversion) kit. This saves a lot of weight. Lighten things up wherever possible.
bullet Camber & Toe - Set camber at around -2. Rear toe-in around 2. In front, use a little toe-out. Experiment with these settings. Refer to the Off-Road Tuning page and the Set-Up Guide on this page.
bulletSpare Parts - Keep plenty of spare parts on hand. I bought a used MGT off eBay so I have a complete rolling chassis available to grab whatever parts I might need.
bulletTires - UPDATE 4/5/06, maybe try some of the new Crime Fighter MT, BowTie MT, Dirt Bonz or Panther Boas MS tires. I have all kinds of tires to try this season, but have not evaluated them enough to make a valid recommendation. Also, I recommend gluing the foams to the wheels to reduce side flexing. Proline Bowties 40 series tires and rims have always worked good for me, but they're big and heavy. This year (2006 season) I am trying to reduce unsprung weight, so lighter tires and wheels are a must, plus I switched to Ti pillow balls.. You will see on my MAXIMUM Steering page that the tightest turning radius comes from Wide Off-Set T-Maxx style wheels. Speaking of wheels and tires, they will loosen up on you. When that happens, you will immediately strip out the wheel. The solution (for 14mm hexes) is to use two wheel nuts. Add a small amount of blue (medium) loctite too. No more loose wheels! If you do strip a wheel, then simple epoxy the metal hex right into the wheel. Of course, best solution may be 23mm wheels.
bullet GEARING - Bowties 40 series with a Picco .26; good combo is 17t clutch bell, 52t spur. If you need more low-end I go to 16/52. If you change tires you may need to re-gear a couple teeth. 17/52 with the stock tires and a Picco .26 works good too. It's cheaper to change gearing by buying spur gears than clutch bells. So, if you're running 16/52 and you want more top speed, then buy a 49t spur.
bullet Springs/shocks - Powerstrokes versus stock......................
Powerstrokes - Early this past season (2005) I (Chevy-SS) was racing at a track with a tough whoops section. My MGT was very touchy in the whoops with the stock shocks. The suspension could not react quick enough. The next week, I put on the new Powerstrokes and I could take the whoops at full speed. It was a real noticeable difference. Initially, I used the stock setup, which was the red/yellow springs and the 30w oil. This was very soft, but man, it really just soaked up the rough stuff like I was floating on air. A softer suspension is a little harder to drive, but I kept it like that for a couple of weeks.  I eventually had to stiffen it up a bit as there was a little too much bottoming out. Now I use gray on the primary spring (small one) and yellow for the secondary (big one). I run 40w in the coilovers and 50w in the bypass shocks. So I would recommend the gray/yellow, with 40/50 oils. I mount the shocks in the outer holes on lower arms and set suspension at "bones level". That should be a good starting point.

Stock Shocks - For stock shocks, try red/gold spring combo on each corner as a starting point. Upgrade to the FT aluminum caps, especially for the front. For stock shocks, try 45w oil, don't vary too much from that. Don't set suspension too stiff on a rough track. This will make the truck bounce too much. Set initial ride height at "bones level", that is, when you drop front end (or rear) and let hit it should rebound to a point where the dogbones are level to the eye. The suspension/shocks should be set up so you can drop it from about 18 inches (with low-profile tires) and have it land and just spring back to bones level, without bottoming out.

Experiment with these shock settings. There is no such thing as a perfect setup that will work at all tracks. Refer to the Off-Road Tuning page and the Set-Up Guide on this page.

bulletGeneral suspension - I prefer softer overall suspension. This gives more traction and turning, but is a little harder to drive and jump with. I'll tell ya though, once you get it dialed in, it will just flow through the track. My rule is always to set suspension just hard enough so I can make the necessary jumps.
bulletA-Arms - (stock vs. RPM) - I prefer the stock a-arms, as they allow more droop than RPM arms. RPM arms will keep your truck lower, which would be good on smoother track, but how many smooth off-road tracks have you seen? Most are rutted and very bumpy with some good jumps too. That means you need an active suspension. You don't want the chassis bottoming out too much (a little is OK).
bulletDIFF Fluid - Here's a quote from RC Car Action magazine, Jan. '05 issue, page 46,
"This tip comes directly from Team Associated/Thunder Tiger driver Richard Saxton. You can tune the MGT's sealed differentials by using silicone diff fluid of different viscosities. To improve steering, fill the rear diff with 5,000 to 10,000WT diff fluid. Before you add the fluid, you'll need to get rid of the factory grease that's packed into the diff. Fill the clean diff with fluid and seal it. You can leave the front diff alone or fill it with 1,000WT diff fluid. Either way, your truck will have more steering."
bulletTranny Shift Point - This really needs to be adjusted for racing. Set so it shifts at high rpm with a high-revving Picco .26.  As said on other page, some guys run in second gear only. If you've got a torque monster engine, then this may work for you, but be sure you're using aluminum clutch shoes or you'll probably melt out the stock shoes. Experiment with these settings.
bulletBrakes - The stock brake setup works great. Take original steering servo and move it to the brake/throttle servo position. You can run a 15 minute main and not notice any brake fade. It's important to make sure the brake pads are aligned perfectly parallel to the rotor. Make sure there is no binding either, but the clearance between pads and rotor needs to be close so the brakes will get full power. Also, most importantly, keep the pads and rotor clean by using brake cleaner spray (from auto store). If you get the tiniest bit of oil or fuel on the brakes, then it's all over, you will have no stopping power. Spray them off and you'll be like new.


bulletBe smooth - When you drive, use just enough steering to get the truck started turning. The tendency of most beginners is to oversteer. Don't work the wheel too much. Just let the truck work itself through the corners. The best way is to turn and brake (or simply decelerate) at the same time. This will move weight to the front tires and give you tons of steering. Focus on driving a good line without crashing. As they say, "slow is fast".
bulletRace your own race, don't worry about being passed, if someone faster than you is coming up on you, let 'em by, just drive like you would want someone else to drive.
bulletWatch the fastest drivers and see what line they are driving. That's where you will need to go. You will need to be driving the best line if you want any chance of winning.
bulletLearn how to jump correctly - Best results will usually be obtained by accelerating to the proper speed and then reducing throttle just before you hit the top of the ramp. This will give you a fairly level launch, with landing attitude being easily controlled by a little throttle or brake. Your goal is to smoothly get through the jump with minimum loss of time, without breaking the truck. It is usually better to overshoot the jump a little, rather than come up short (and maybe stuff the truck!).
bulletRoll the throttle - smooth driving also means to work the throttle smoothly. Don't just grab it and stab it, roll it on smoothly (but quickly). This will help you maintain control in all situations.


bulletBall Ends - Keep plenty of ball-ends on hand. The MGT eats them fast. Check them often and replace as necessary between heats. You will need to re-check alignment after replacing one. Put a small washer between the ball-end and retaining screw. This will help prevent the ball-end from popping off in a crash or roll. I have switched to Dubro Monster Ball ends, which last a lot longer than stock, but even these super-duty ball ends wear down fairly quickly. The outer balls wear much faster than the inner ones.
bulletElectronics - It goes without saying that you need upgraded steering servo (the throttle/brake servo is OK) and radio gear. If you are trying to race with all the stock stuff, then you are just beating your head against the wall. Additionally, get a good NiMH battery pack, at least 1100 maH (I use 1400), and re-peak between heats. Don't ever bother trying to race with 4 AA alkaline batteries. UPDATE 5/2/05, I am now using LiPo RX 1200maH pack with no voltage regulator, which weighs only 2oz, as compared to about 4oz for standard NiMH pack.
bulletWheel Bearings - If loose, replace. You'll be amazed how much better the truck handles with everything tight.
bulletCheck It - Check and re-check the whole dang truck between heats. Make sure it is smooth and tight. Spin the wheels by hand. Everything should be smooth. If you hear binding or clicking, then something is wrong. Fix it. Go over all screws before and after you race and make sure they are tight, use loctite on all screws that screw into metal, you will be amazed at how many come loose. Check your suspension for droop and binding. Make sure your tuned pipe is attached good, it's crazy how many come off while racing.
bulletClutch Assembly - Religiously TUNE and MAINTAIN it. Check and/or replace the bearings every race day. If they blow out during the main, then you've just wasted the whole day (or weekend). Make sure the clutch bell and shoes are clean, use good degreaser like brake cleaner. Also, I like to lighten the clutch shoes a little for more punch. Plus I really like heavier clutch springs, like Mugen 1.1's. Once your clutch is dialed in properly, you'll think you've installed a new engine.
bulletEngine - tune it good, not too lean. Fresh glow plug is recommended. Use fresh air filters, keep spares handy. The stock engine is pretty good, but won't win you many races. I'd move up to a .26 or larger. Lots of great engines out there.
Buy a set of these off eBay.

These are a big problem on the MGT. When you bend one (or more) of these it kills your handling.

If you wreck you have a good chance of bending the upper a-arm mounts, so keep a couple spare ones on hand. When they bend, they cause binding of the a-arms, which will kill your suspension movement and make your truck bounce all over the track.


bulletPull tab - put one on the fuel tank lid and cut a hole in the body so it's easy to refuel.
bulletServo saver -  If you're using the aluminum Associated FT servo saver, keep an eye on it. It can loosen up on you. Use CA glue to hold the adjuster in place, or use a nut. It will also bind up if it gets dirty, so keep it clean or it may not save your servo at all. You may actually need to clean the damn FT saver after every race day. Mine gets bound up real fats. I am searching for a plastic replacement, similar to what is used in most high-end buggies.
bulletCheck Front end - It always pays to disconnect the servo and work the steering by hand to make sure it swings back and forth very easily. Dirt can get in your pillow balls or steering bellcranks and bind it up.
bulletCarefully Set Steering - you want to get the maximum (and equal) turning possible in order to reduce your turning radius to both sides. Please see the MAXIMUM Steering page and carefully go through the "Steering Tune-Up". You might want to consider the steering mods, which will give you tighter turning of the wheels. If you want faster, more positive steering (great for racing), do the two-servo steering mod from canadian-MGT. The 2-servo steering is what I'll be running this year. The MGT steers beautifully with 2 servos, plus the added weight helps traction.

If you want unbelievable steering, (not good for racing though) then do the 4-wheel steering mod from TG!

Notable quote from Junior, "if someone else is running a MGT look at their truck and see what they do, well unless they don't know what they are doing, heheh, then maybe they'll watch you? ya never know!"



Man, you gotta get used to cleaning your truck after every race day. The MGT is really easy to clean. Just take off engine and electronics and hose her off. This makes it real easy to check for broken, loose or binding parts.

Keep your truck clean and well-maintained and you'll be winning races just 'cause you outlasted everyone else!



Need Better Jumping

(1) If bouncing too much or bottoms out over jumps, use heavier oil and/or springs. Be careful as too stiff will cause you to lose control over rough sections.
(2) Shock Mounting - If bottoming out over jumps move lower mount towards the outside.
(3) Balance the Vehicle - Front to back weight. Balance is off.
Note: the opposite is true.

Need More Rear Traction

(1) Weight - Move weight towards the rear of the vehicle.
(2) Rear Ride Height - Lower rear ride height (lowers CGH of the vehicle)
(3) Rear Camber - Less camber (0 degree min.)
(4) Rear Shock Mounting - Move lower mount towards the outside one hole.
(5) Slipper - Loosen slipper so wheels don't spin too much.
(6) Rear Toe-in - Increase rear toe-in (2 degrees max)
Note: the opposite is true.

Need More Steering

(1) Weight - Move more weight towards the front of the vehicle.
(2) Front Shock Mounting - Move the lower shock mount towards the outside one hole.
(4) Front Ride Height - Lower the front ride height (lowers CGH)
(3) Rear Shock Mounting - Move lower mount towards inside one hole.
(5) Ackerman - Use less Ackerman for more sensitive steering (short tight turns)
(6) Rear Toe-in - Decrease rear toe-in (0 min.)
Note: the opposite is true.

Need More High Speed Steering

(1) Front Toe Adjustment - More toe-in gives you more steering coming out of the corners
(2) Rear Ride Height - Raise rear ride height for more high speed steering (raising CGH)
Note: the opposite is true.

Make Vehicle More Stable Over Rougher Tracks

(1) Rear Camber - More negative camber is more stable on bumpy tracks
(promotes straight line driving reduces steering)
(2) Front Shock Mounting - Move lower shock mount inside for bumpy tracks
(3) Check all ball-ends and wheel bearings for slop.
(4) Check pillow balls for correct adjustment and no binding
(5) Use less viscosity shock oil, which will help keep tires in contact with ground more
(6) Use lighter weight wheels & tires, reducing unsprung weight, which will help keep tires in contact with ground more

Vehicle is hard to control, especially on the straights - This is where you gotta start looking at all the small stuff. First, verify that your alignment is good for all wheels. Then move on to the other stuff. Are the ball-ends tight with no slop? Are the wheel bearings in good shape? Do you have a bent shock or a broken a-arm? Are there a few loose screws that you didn't notice? Do you have a bent wheel or a tire that has come unglued from the wheel? Is something bent or binding?

Your idea of the perfect setup is a complete neutral setup, that's enough grip so you don't slide, but enough slide so you don't bog down. And the vehicle has equal grip from the front wheels to the back wheels. Also, the vehicle should be easy to control on the straights, even on a bumpy track, and should track straight when you are on full power.

If you're still having problems, then refer to the Off-Road Tuning page and the Set-Up Guide on this page.


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Last  update on: 4/19/12.