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RC Glossary


New to the RC Hobbies? What does buggy, bulkhead, nitro mean in radio control car hobbies? Check out the glossary for remote control cars below.

Ackerman --

Rudolf Ackerman is a man who worked out a steering system for horse-drawn carts, and we use his name today to describe the angle of the inside tire in relation to the outside tire when the wheels are turned to full ""lock""--the farthest the wheels go to the left or right. Normally, when the front wheels are turned all the way left or right, the inside wheel is at a sharper angle than the outside wheel. If you extend the center line of each front tire to a point where the intersect and measure that angle, that is the Ackerman angle. Ideally, for perfect steering, the Ackerman angle will cross at the center line of the rear axle.
In a wide turn, the front tires are not turned very far to the right or left, the inside wheel is not steering at a sharper angle than the outside wheel, and the Ackerman angle is not very wide. In a tight turn, the inside wheel is steering at a steeper angle than the outside wheel, and this is what is called the ""Ackerman effect"". A bellcrank steering system approximates a way to copy the Ackerman effect, and is adequate for RC cars because of tire slip, tire sidewall folding and other factors.
Adjusting the Ackerman angle can be done by changing the length of the center link, also called the Ackerman link that connects the bellcrank steering arms, or changing the mounting location on the steering arms without changing the link length. Most racers won't need to change the Ackerman angle, and actually it is best left to experienced racers who wish to try something new.
If you wish to learn what changing the Ackerman angle will do, see below:
The Nitro Racer 2, Pro 2 and Pro 3 use bellcrank steering arms that have two sets of mounting holes (inner and outer) for the Ackerman link. The Pro 2 and Nitro Racer 2 kits use the outer holes, while the Pro 3 uses the inner holes on its new bellcranks. Mounting the Ackerman link to the outer holes will result in a small Ackerman angle. Using the inner holes will increase the Ackerman angle.
A smaller Ackerman angle (done by lengthening the Ackerman link or using the outer link holes) will give you more aggressive steering into a corner with a possibility of oversteer at the middle of turn, when the most weight is on the outside tires. The RS4 Pro 2 and Nitro RS4 Racer 2 kits use the outer Ackerman link holes in stock form, so they has more aggressive steering than other cars, everything else (damping, tires, suspension) being equal.
A larger Ackerman angle (achieved by shortening the Ackerman link or using the inner link holes) will give the car more predictable and smoother steering. The new RS4 Pro 3 uses the inner Ackerman link holes, so its steering will be more predictable than the Pro 2.
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