How to Put Hydraulics on Model Cars


Model cars are a longstanding hobby for millions of people around the world. Unlike in the past, however, model cars don't just have to be static, lifeless miniatures that can't be played with. Today, remote controlled cars are as popular as ever. More importantly, new innovations are making things like hydraulics possible on models. You can put hydraulics on model cars if you have the right kit and some know-how.

Things You'll Need

  • Model cars
  • Hydraulics
  • Tools
  • Build your model according to the instructions provided. During construction, however, it's important to stop at the point prior to attaching the body to the chassis. This will make it easier to put the hydraulics on the chassis. Also, be aware some hydraulics comprise whole additions to the chassis, so you may have no choice but to start there.

  • Align the chassis to the hydraulics frame. If they do not line up exactly, use a hobby knife or a file to trim away those areas that are hindering a proper fit. Flash (bits of material left over from molding) is usually the culprit.

  • Secure the hydraulics to the chassis. This is typically done in one of two ways: with screws (provided by the hydraulics manufacturer) or by adhesive/epoxy. If it's secured with epoxy, ensure that you give it plenty of time to set before retesting the hydraulics.

  • Connect the wiring that completes the circuit to the hydraulics control box. Many hydraulics kits use standard wires too, so it's usually all right to swap out shorter wires for longer ones if you want to make the car roll and bounce.

  • Complete the model, placing the body on the chassis and securing it in place. Again, if it doesn't fit properly or there is some flash, be sure to remove it with a hobby knife or a file. Also, feel free to run the wires from the hydraulics to the control box through the body itself. Many modelers pull the wires through a wheel well, but you can drill a small hole into the back bumper to make space for the wires if you choose.

  • Check out videos of model hydraulics at (see Resources below). Many expert modelers show off their work there.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be sure to test your hydraulics before you install them. If you put the hydraulics in your car before testing and find there is a problem, it is far harder to remove them once fully installed.
  • Be sure that the hydraulics kit you buy is rated for the amount of voltage the batteries of the car produces. If you exceed the voltage for the hydraulics you not only run the risk of burning them out, but it's also possible to cause the car to jump excessively, leading to yet more damage.
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