I’ve been an advocate for the purchase of 2nd hand cars for some time, although I don’t know a single RC driver that doesn’t love opening the box on a brand new RC car.
However for some of us that is simply financially impossible. I’ve purchased 2nd hand race cars for some time and been very pleased with what I got. However before Christmas I purchased another rally car, this time a 2nd hand HPI WR8 Flux and it reminded me of the bubble that I have been living in. You see I race at an indoor carpet off road track, and the cars that race here, well they stay pretty clean. Blow out the fluff and astro turf between races and you are good to go. Cars that operate in dirtier conditions however don’t fare so well!
So in the advertisment the car looked ok for the price, although well used for sure. And as it’s a relatively uncommon car to find, I had a hankering for a rally car that could cope with a wider variety of terrain. I mean I love my Tamiya XV01, but it has to be a fairly level surface and small rocks to operate at it’s best. So the WR8 appealed to me. Parts seemed reasonable as it shares a platform with the HPI Bullet, Vorza and Trophy series vehicles. So many parts are common. So through a friend I made the purchase and had him do the pickup, and eventually got the car myself about 2 weeks later when I was in that town on a work trip.
Now here is where reality but a little, there was rust in a number of places and a little more wear and mismatched parts than I had bargained for. Not helped by me seeing other WR8’s for sale just one state over for a similar price, but better condition. On driving the car, it drove awfully and wow was there some noise from the mechanical components of the car. One arm on the rear was broken and the body was rougher in the flesh. Breathing deep I started to tear down the car, re grease and clean parts, and see what needed to be replaced. I ordered some ebay special alloy rear arms, as well as wheel hexes. In the defence of the rust, it seems the vehicle was cleaned for the for sale photos and boxed slightly damp still, it all cleaned up off the rusted parts.
The more I tore down the car, and cleaned it up the happier I was with it. I found that the platform inherently has a noisy drivetrain, although it seemed from my investigations that 80% of the wheel and differential carrier bearings were either very rough, or completely collapsed. It turns out that my stash of bearings for my old HPI Blitz had the right number of the right size bearings to do the job, thankyou HPI Racing!!!
Then another setback, the WR8 hexes that I ordered for the ebay special price of about $6, whilst the right size, were about twice as tall as they needed to be, leaving the one wheel that needed a new hex looking somewhat odd poking further out of the bodywork, and the wheel nut barely going on. But until I get the single hex I need, it keeps the car going for now!
Some adjustment of the mismatch of turnbuckles fitted to a better geometry, combined with the replacement bearings and a few greased, cleaned and adjusted parts meant I was ready for a proper test of the vehicle in earnest.
And then all of my apprehension evaporated. The car is fantastic fun to drive, copes with rough gravel roads and areas with aplomb and despite the mismatched bits and additions, it was well worth the asking price. The drivetrain is bloody strong and exhibited only minor wear outside of the bearings. I’ll continue to fix some small bits and pieces, but for now, it proves the point that regardless of the price, the smiles per mile factor is incredibly high no matter what your RC car is worth.