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Even easier race day weight adjustment

January 1st, 2007 · 7 Comments

It’s important to make sure your car is exactly 5 ounces on race day. But I’d suggest keeping it slightly underweight until you get to the race. It’s always easier to add weight than it is to remove it.

Last year our Scout District race was held outside on a car lot in April. Almost every car that showed up was weighing in at 5.1 ounces — a tenth of an ounce too heavy. One disgruntled father set out to prove that our scale was wrong and produced a 5 ounce brass tare weight. We put the weight on the scale and it came in at exactly 5 ounces. The scale was right, all the cars were too heavy.

Every one of these cars had raced previously in their Pack races. Were the scales at all the other races wrong? Had everyone added weight between races? Why were they coming in so heavy?

Most pack races were held in the winter and early spring when the air was drier. The combination of the more humid air in April and the race being held outdoors caused the cars to absorb just enough moisture to tip the scales. Racers and their parents were scrambing to remove weights with drills, by breaking off car parts, and other extreme measures. If only they had an easy adjustment method.

Previously I suggested drilling a few holes and plugging them with screws. Put a tenth of an ounce of your weight in these holes. Then on race day, you can add and remove weight easily by simply dropping weighted beads into those holes. That method works and has served me for years, but I’ve got another method I’m using this year.

Hardware stores carry lead tape for use in balancing fans and other applications. This year our cars will be built to weight 4.8 ounces and we’ll have plenty of lead tape on hand. A few strips on the bottom of the car will push the weight to the limit. And if we end up too heavy, we can simply trim a little of the tape off.


7 comments so far ↓

  • Jim Otto // Jan 17, 2008 at 8:05 am

    I solv the same problem by weighing my car ahead of time to 4.9 oz. I then add modeling clay to the bottom of the car andtry to bring it up to 5.1 oz. Then at the weigh in I remove just enough clay to drop it below 5.1 oz and the scale reads 5.0 oz. This has never won me any races, but the theory is good

  • Hypertech Pine // Jan 26, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Its better to use very small titanium washer bit weights glued with a hot glue gun to the underside of the car. run up the last 1/10th gram or so of weight with 5 or so of these little pieces. Then if the car is over on race day you can make the minor adjustment by easily popping them off a couple at a time with a pen knife. Done in a few moments and legal and it doesn’t screw up the hard work put into the looks of the car.

  • Michael Blue // Jan 28, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Another easy way is to use tungsten putty for a small portion of your weight. It doesn’t contain lead, and is heavier than lead, to boot. The single easiest way to add or remove weight, period.

  • Greg // Mar 22, 2010 at 11:29 am

    Is there any way to avoid Amazon when ordering from the Pinewood Store? I was about to submit a $60 order, but the S&H was going to be over $20. Outrageous.

  • Bill Klingler // Feb 11, 2012 at 4:19 am

    Tungsten is not heavier than lead but it is more dense and it is easy to use. I would recommend you buy a good scale that reads in grams to two decimal places. 5 ounces is 141.75 grams. For BSA use a 2.5 gram derby wheel to illustrate grams to the scouts.

  • Bill Klingler // Feb 11, 2012 at 4:24 am

    The way to avoid Amazon is to make your purchases from Hodges Hobby House or Maximum Velocity. Sign up for the FREE Newsletter with Maximum Velocity and enjoy time with your scout reading it.

  • Bill Klingler // Feb 11, 2012 at 4:37 am

    The Pinewood Store sells cut out cars. The Delux Body Kit, Stock Car, $6.50 and Pick-up truck, $5.21 both used the wrong end for the front. Those cars are both at a disadvantage before they start because they a losing both the advantage of the Front End Extention effect and also will have a lower velocity going into the horizontal run on a Circular Arc track.

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