Dismiss Notice
Welcome to
Pinewood Derby Online, a forum for questions and discussions about everyone's favorite gravity powered racers!
CLICK HERE to register as a member today for full access to the forum, it's fast, simple, and absolutely free!

Awana Grand Prix Old school PWD racer. Getting back into it with Awana.

Discussion in 'Awana Grand Prix, Royal Rangers, and Royal Racers' started by Awana_dad, Mar 14, 2018.

  1. Awana_dad

    Awana_dad Lurking

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    Hello all! My oldest son is almost 23 and it's been yeeears since I've tinkered with a derby car.

    We have been going to our current church for 7-8 years now. This is the first Awana Grand Prix they've had that I know of. This might be the first and last time they do it? I have no idea? With that said, I'm not wanting to put a ton of money in this car for my youngest son. I have no idea what kind of track it's going to be besides they said it'll be 35' long. I have a feeling they're going to borrow one from a local Scout troop so I'm going to assume it'll be aluminum. You know what assume means! :D

    I have several questions for all you pro's, but first, a little background in my PWD dad days.

    Back when my oldest son raced, the fastest cars were flat, extended axles and the weight on top of the car towards back. We poured lead into our own molds. I found the best mold to be from the bottom of a soda can. I melted my lead and poured the lead in the bottom of the can. When it cools, it fits perfect from side to side on top of car between back wheels. Most of the lead weight came out being around 3.5 ounces. They were a perfect dome shape. I have taken that weight off my oldest sons car and plan to use it on my youngest sons car now. I also ordered "grooved" axles back then. They were supposed to be the fastest on the market. The #1 place for PWD supplies back then was MV. I "assumed" it still was. So, I already ordered a flat car with extended axles and drilled for Awana axles. (Local rules say 4 wheels on the ground) I also ordered the regular speed wheels (basically deburred and smooth) and the speed axles with the groove in them.

    Fast forward a week or so when I found this site! WOW! Things have sure changed! Wish I found this site first before ordering from MV. But, I'm not putting any more money in tungsten and all the other speed stuff right now. Maybe next year if the Church decides to have another Awana race and I get a feel for the competition? ;)

    Questions:

    1. The body I ordered from MV has all 4 wheels sitting flat on ground. How much faster are canted axles? (Local rules - "Looking at the car from above, the wheels must be aligned straight. Looking at the car from the front view, the wheels may be cambered if you choose so that the wheels are closer together at the bottom of the wheel than at the top. The axles can be put at any angle that gives a straight forward alignment (no toe in or toe out), and with a positive camber.")

    2. I also ordered the Max V lube (graphite) because "back in the day" the liquid lube we all tried was always slower. (Local rules - Any liquid or powdered graphite may be used on the axles. Wipe off excess lubricant to keep the track clean and dry") Should I suck it up and order the liquid lube from John (DD4H) or just go with the Max V for now? I have no idea what the competition will be like? I do know there is at least 1 dad that has a son in scouts and they raced their PWD already. He did "ok" in pack race. Got blown away at the regionals.

    3. Without knowing exactly what kind of track we will be racing on, should I keep the balance point at 1" in front of rear wheels? I don't think I'd want to move it back a lot in case the track is wood and uneven. Car is more likely to bounce off track with weight further in back. Right?

    4. After reading this forum, I did order a set of fenders from John. With the extended wheel base, I'm just going with a set of trailing fenders for front wheels and a set of fenders in front of rear wheels. This should help with speed. Right?

    5. What's faster? Awana speed axles with groove from MV or regular Awana axles from kit that have been polished and no groove? I've read a little about using Pledge on the axles. Has this been proven? How does it do with graphite vs oil?

    6. I can't find my old hub tool that coned the wheel hubs. I don't want to buy another one either. What is another DIY way of coning the inside hub on Awana wheels? How much more speed would this increase? The Awana speed axles I ordered already have the inside of the head coned.

    7. I still have one of those PineCar wheel alignment tool thingy's. I gapped my wheels with it. Is it still good? I see a lot of people are using a credit card with a groove cut out to slide over axles and between wheel and body.

    That's all the questions I can think of right now. I'll update this if I have more questions.

    Thanks in advance guys!
     
    USN likes this.
  2. Crash Enburn

    Crash Enburn PWD Royalty

    Messages:
    1,228
    Likes Received:
    77
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    There's a lot to unpack here...

    The fastest cars are still planks ("thin to win"). While the dome of lead/tungsten is still fast, it puts more air resistance on the car. Better to hollow the car and put the lead internally. Easiest method is to drill holes (no smaller than 5/16") through the side of the body. Glue a craft stick to one side of the body (see answer to Q1, below). Pour your lead into the holes, then cover the other side with a second craft stick. Your lead will be fully contained, and the body weighted. And the other parents will well marvel at how you got the car to weigh so much w/o any visible weights. :)

    Tungsten is 1.6x denser than lead, so it can concentrate the mass of your car better. But it's also expensive, so you'll want to be able to retrieve it from your car for next time. For tungsten, leave a 1/4" h x 1/2" deep x 1.5" w pocket in back of the rear axle, and a similar (but deeper) pocket in front of the axle. use double-sided tape to hold the weights to the body, and then cover the installed weights with aluminum duct tape. There are may pictures here that show this.

    [​IMG]

    When the wheel is running canted, it's only running on an edge, so less likely to be slowed by imperfections in the track. As you've seen, we'll typically run the front wheel(s) at a positive camber, and the rears at a negative camber. I suspect that running the positive camber in the rears could be made to work. I would inset the front wheels by 1/16" or so each, and then push the rear wheels out by the same by adding a craft (popsicle) stick to each side of the rear. This will give you 1/8" difference between the fronts and rears, helping keep the rears from contacting the center rail.

    You'll be just fine with graphite. Prep your wheels and axles, then apply graphite liberally to the axle/bore. You should be able to spin a wheel for over 20 seconds. Graphite is usually good for about 6-8 runs before slowing. Oil lasts a lot longer. But you're really not losing anything in speed for one event when using graphite.

    As to the scout, they likely have a different rule set. The four wheels touching, but can be on edge rule should level the playing field.

    You'll want to keep your balance point (the CoM, or Center of Mass) at >3/4". Especially not knowing what the track will be or what shape it's in.

    They will help in speed. Put a rubber band around your wheel, and then mount the fender up against that rubber band. This will give you a close tolerance and still allow the wheel (w/o rubber bands on it!) to turn freely.

    A grooved axle give you the benefit of less surface contacting the bore, thus fewer chances of an imperfection slowing you. Personally, I'd just polish the axle and call it a day. The AWANA axles are quite nice in relation to the BSA's nails.

    I've not done a lot of testing, but it had been said that, yes, Pledge is a good thing when running graphite. Polish the axles. Spray with Pledge. Let dry, and then buff. Then add the graphite.

    I've done some rather ham-fisted efforts in the past to cone the AWANA hubs. The AWANA hubs are very sharp and square. I've cut the edges, tried sanding, etc., but it is difficult to do it evenly. The last race I was in, I just got some PTFE tubing and slid it onto the axle so the wheel ran against that instead of the body. You could add plastic from a cutting board to the sides of your car to provide some slip.

    The gap tool is too wide. A gap that is one or two business card thicknesses is more what you're after. Little play in the wheels, but spins freely.

    Good luck, have fun! Keep your son involved, and let your him paint the car. It'll be fast, and it'll be his.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
    USN, Awana_dad and Rebel Racer like this.
  3. Awana_dad

    Awana_dad Lurking

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male

    Crash....Thank you so much for your input! I really appreciate it. I had one question pertaining to the axles again.

    You said "Personally, I'd just polish the axle and call it a day.". Were you referring to the axles that came with the kit or the speed axles from MV with the grooves?

    Thanks again!
     
  4. Crash Enburn

    Crash Enburn PWD Royalty

    Messages:
    1,228
    Likes Received:
    77
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    I was thinking kit axles. It looks like the MV axles are also unpolished— just had a groove added and the head machined. Bear in mind, that the AWANA axles are already pretty smooth. I think that I started at 1000 grit when I polished them last time.
     
  5. Awana_dad

    Awana_dad Lurking

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    Yes...MV recommends polishing their axles anyway. I already purchased the MV axles. So..scrap them or use them?
     
    Crash Enburn likes this.
  6. Crash Enburn

    Crash Enburn PWD Royalty

    Messages:
    1,228
    Likes Received:
    77
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    Use 'em. They've got a groove cut. Heads are coned and centered. And you've already bought 'em. :cool:
     
    Awana_dad likes this.
  7. Awana_dad

    Awana_dad Lurking

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    My son's car won today. Didn't lose a race.

    They're thinking about adding an adult class next year. Imagine that!

    Thanks for your help Crash Enburn!
     
    Crash Enburn likes this.
  8. Thinkin'Bout Racin

    Thinkin'Bout Racin National Contender

    Messages:
    565
    Likes Received:
    312
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    Congratulations! Good job! Sounds like next year maybe you get to build a car too. ;) :)
     
  9. Crash Enburn

    Crash Enburn PWD Royalty

    Messages:
    1,228
    Likes Received:
    77
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    Congratulations! :cool:
     

Share This Page