It came from the 80’s- Nitro conversion

So I started this project by attempting to clean out the garage (an attempt still in progress). In one particularly exciting corner, I rediscovered a boxxed nitro car & parts that my friend and former coworker at Enventys had gifted me. I didn’t really get a full story at the time, I guess he was just getting out of the hobby, but he walked into my office with a box of transmitters, parts, and this circa ’89 Kyosho Nitro RC car. I never thought it would take me this long to appreciate it, but I hope I can make up for lost time with this quickie conversion. I briefly considered at least trying out the nitro engine 1st, but I know how temperamental those can be- I have a scar to remind me of this. Also I’m just eager to drive so electric it is!

As it happens, I also have an assortment of parts readily available for this. The only thing I actually bought (and I did this out of convenience after trying to weld up an uber-tiny D socket/gear adapter) was a set of 3 hardened 1mod 5mm shaft gears. Figuring that out was the hardest part- I guess Kyosho used both metric & imperial specs.

Anyway, I also had this giant 4 pole brushless motor and a few brushless controllers. I forgot why I even have this but (storytime!) the only thing I did was bench test it one time- I had attached a plastic dummy “prop” to test with. Upon spinning it up to half throttle or so- said prop snapped in half from the torque, half shot downward, and half shot upward through a blade of my ceiling fan and into the ceiling… so I knew it was a pretty good motor.

Anyway, so D & I spent an hour or so pulling off parts of this car, leaving structural elements and removing all the unnecessary nitro parts. The aluminum frame is actually pretty good and the suspension seems to work fine. The wheels are a little dry rotted and worn, but they’re hanging in there. I decided to leave them alone and let nature take its course- this rubber might shed itself naturally in this application.

Another bit of kismet is the recent retiring of a drone prototype which includes 3 2S battery packs that fit right in there (I started with just the one- under voltage but a good starting test point). As I understand it this motor is good for up to 45v! I think the ESC will do 6s.

So we packed this together. Designed & printed these mounts in this fancy polycarbonate+carbon fiber I’ve been using lately, and added a GoPro knockoff for fun. The 1st test at 2s was impressive- I was surprised at how well behaved everything was. Fun, effective, even reliable! To me this seems really fast already. Anyway, so now I’m feeling pretty confident with things. I shoehorned in another pack so we’re running 14.4v now.

I could drift this car before, but now I can fully drift and smoke the tiny tires doing donuts! Whee! It even leaves burnout marks. I actually am shocked these tires are still holding up. Full disclosure- I tried to kick off 4s time with a standing burnout/wheelie and it melted the back of the drive gear and shot the pin out. So I went down and fabricated a bushing and made a few mechanical updates.

So that’s where we are 2/3’s of the potential rating of this motor/esc combo. Normally I would have some other channels/features doing something chaotic here- but for now it’s just a classic nitro car driving fast on electric. I’ll update this when I think of more shenanigans to add- or when one of you fine internet folks makes a particularly exciting suggestion.

Also, I confess this one is a bit more self-indulgent than most projects- but it’s too dangerous for D to pilot yet, and long overdue for me. But after the kittymask, saul’s bike, and the rocket I think I’ve earned a dad project.