SWORKz S35-3 1:8 Pro Racing Nitro Buggy

First of all, this is my maiden time when I’m writing this kind of stuff in English, so give me excuse if something is not in place :P. It is also very long time from my last writing and also very long time from new 1:8 Nitro buggy. So, i’m bit of exited! My plan is to participate as many races as possible in here cold Finland and Scandinavia. Maybe some 1:5 TC races as well with my old RS5 T14 model (which desperately needs maintenance, Finnish champ 2015) . There is plenty of pictures at the end of this article.

S35-3 has so called pivot front suspension, while other popular construction is C-Hub. Losi is still using bit different front which was very popular few years ago. First Xrays had c-hub, then Losi front and now their cars hold pivot suspension. Kyosho has been always with c-hub and mugen seiki have been using pivot since MBX4 (their first 1:8 scaler was c-hub “Super Athlete”). Which one is better then? According to my sources pivot ball front is better on open high speed tracks where is not that smooth surface. C Hub construction is better on technical tracks where is more tight and sharp turns. Pivot ball suspension is giving bit more active tuning options due pivot system, that’s why it is the only suspension type on nitro on-road classes. At the end, it is more or less what you prefer more.

Unboxing

Package is about moderate size and full of stuff. It contains all the parts for rolling chassis. You need electronics, engine with pipe and set of tires to make working racing machine. We used Power HD B2 and B3 servos, Sanwa radio, Vapex RX battery and Picco V1 DLC Ceramic engine alongside suitable Picco pipe to make this real bad ass racing gear! In the end, S35-3 was very fun and easy to build. However, like every kit, it has some minor things to sort out, but I explain everything on this blog, have fun.

SWORKz S35 Package, nothing special. Neat dark box with some detailing!

SWORKz Package, details on the side. Racing weight is bit optimistic, I think most of the situations are 100 grams more.

Content and markings

All the parts are packed in a smaller plastic bags together with identification sticker. My first thought was that BAG A is missing, but that was sneaky trap. There is a manual and sticker sheets in BAG A. Building starts from BAG B, that’s weird. Building manual is bottom of the box and in the same bag you find antenna tube, body clips, window masks and very nice sticker sheets to make your model nice touch after finish. Plastic parts are very nice looking and the hardness of the plastic depends on usage. Arms are bit softer material than example diff boxes are. All the parts, metal and plastic, meets the same quality what you may expect on the other high quality kits on the market.

Big identification sticker on the bags. BAG A is bag where manual lies in, start building from BAG B.

Manual and nice sticker sheet together antenna tube and body clips.

Manual itself has nice building pictures and process was quite straight forward. Some confusion with screw lenghts and bag letteres!

Body and wing

Body is completely new and made for S35-3 series cars, named as Falcon 3. It have very nice F1 style side shape and probably gives nice downforce at least at the end of the car. Plastic is not too thick but thick enough to hold more than one racing evening. Stock wing is black plastic and it is quite heavy, but might be very rigid. It looks very same wing than GS Racing CL-1 had past years. White and fluoricent yellow wing are available as option, as well as black wing as a spare. S35 wing fits any buggy, there is no holes for fitting, so you can drill them where you want. This is also a tuning option, you can make holes to the different place and gain some tuning option for rear grip and jumping ability.

Body is quite regular size, but looks bit smaller compared to the fellow race cars

Maybe the best part of the body, side ponttoons with rear flip.

Wing comes with a nice sticker sheet to make your wing shine!

Diffs

Building starts quite common way – from differentials. Front and rear diffs are similar but center diff has high volume casing. High volume case holds its character better, especially in a long run times on finals. Satellite gears needed some touch up with 3,5 mm drill bit. However, in any other way fitting was superb and diffs worked very nicely from the box. I used oils for diffs what came with the kit. There was 7k and 3k diff oils, 400 cps oil for shocks and one small button shaped jar of green slime type grease (which was nice).

Center diff case at right, slightly bigger than front/rear casing.

Crown gear and spur gear, lightened directly from box!

Now surprises from internals, everything is steel, no aluminium, no short maintenance period.

Some touch up with the 3,5 mm drill bit to the satellite gears. More cosmetic than mandatory.

Diffs ready, 7k in the front and center, 3k to the rear diff. Because center diff has bigger volume than his smaller brothers, 7k diff oil feels slightly softer on center than front diff.

Gear boxes and suspension

Gear boxes are revised from earlier versions of S350. Now pinion gear bearing bores are ready made, no extra parts to suit it up. (Earlier versions had pinion hybrid construction and it’s weakness was oversize bearings, like Xray XB8 had some time ago). Box are quite small and much hours spend when designing it. Box halfs fitted together very nicely and moving parts moves very freely when using shims as explained in manual. No extra work, just putting together, I think this is rare. Kit contains two sets of roll bars. 2.2 and 2.3 mm for front, and 2.6 and 2.8 mm for rear. I think you never need other bars than these. Arms are completely new. Now with possibility to use different kind of inserts on them, mainly different thickness of carbon fiber plates. Kit contains 1 mm plates for front upper arms. However, lower arms need extra shopping. You may ca glue plates on or just use screws, with ca glue arm will be more rigid than with plain screws. Steering rack and servo saver assembly is very traditional compared to the other brands. However, there is one point to make note. Ackermanplate is double ball bearing raced to the spindles, while usually it is fitted with screws. Therefore, there is one place less to give unwanted play to the steering system.

Boxes came with molding frames and needed some cleaning before use.

Pinion gear is positioned slightly upwards for better linearity and lower friction to the drive shaft.

Boxes ready to catch arms.

Two sets of roll bars included.

Roll bar holder have some nice ball hinges, hassle free roll bar change.

All the arm pins have inserts on arm rests for fine tuning. No need for extra parts.

Steering rack, note servo saver foam filter.

Drive line and hubs

S35-3 is equipped with universal drive axles. Difference to the CVD type axles are that universals have less friction and therefore you get more tank time and also more power and speed. Axles itself are very lightweight and have same length both ends of car, so you might need only one spare axle in your pit box. Aluminium rear hubs are stock and bearings have plastic liners to make looseless fitting to the hub. Actually there is many liner options, it is rare that you may use different size of bearing on your driveline. On the axles, take care you have 6 mm inner diameter on for tire bearings. (Yes 6, not 8, due smaller diameter of the axle shaft).

Front knuckles looks similar than every other pivot system has. Aluminium nuts for pivot balls was not that pleasure to but on. Upper nut was hard to get on right threads, but lower was like eating ice cream. There is optional brass nuts as well to fine tune front axle weights.

Length of the universal drive axles are same.

Aluminium rear hubs.

Kunckles, see lightened wheel hubs as standard.

Center drive line is quite straight and drive shaft are dog bone type. Standard shafts are steel, but there is also aluminium option shafts available. Brakes are real deal. Automotive style brake pads with CNC brake discs provides good brake feeling even in long mains. Also good old carbon fiber parts are used as stock in front top deck and top of the center diff. Everything is not plastic what you may except now days, so nice!

Finally, real brakes with real pads.

Drive line is quite straight and uses dog bone type drive shafts.

Electronics

We equipped our S35-3 with Power HD B-series servos. These are new models, so what is the best way to give a test? Servo tray contains two separate compartment. One for receiver and other one for RX-battery. Both compartments are quite low on height, so GC will be as low as possible. Therefore, biggest batteries or receivers does not fit. We used Vapex 2200mAh RX-battery which gives dimensions of 88x23x13 millimeters. Sanwa RX-472 receiver is quite small, but attached wires raises the height over the lid. Therefore, rx should be installed sideways (i think, RX don’t mind that 🙂 ). Some downsides, battery compartment have huge holes for wires on the same side than servos are, but servos in some scenarios will stuck them completely. Therefore, we drilled extra holes for wires to prevent rubbing. We also redesigned switch holder area to accommodate different electronic switch. Normally, there is no need for that if you use sWorkz (SP70606) or KoPropo electronic switch. However, at between this building process we sold out all switches, so we needed to sort out this with different switch.

Power HD B-series HV Brushless servos with steel gears. Black wires, nice touch!

Replaced stock plastic servo horn with Power HD 7075-aluminium clamp type horn.

RX-battery compartment has huge footprint, you may fit any stick type RX-battery on it. I fitted some velcro to the bottom of the box, to keep battery safe.

Made custom switch plate from carbon fiber to accommodate other brand electronic switch.

Battery box lid, loads of room for sponsor stickers 🙂

Engine, clutch and fuel system

S35-3 accepts any SG shaft nitro engine. However, for best experience we definitely recommended to use some top brand engine, like Novarossi, Picco or OS based engines. All of these original manufactures makes also other brand engines. Like SWORKz S-Power engines are OS made or REDS are made by PICCO. We equipped this racer with Picco V1 series engine, which is the newest line of PICCO off-road engines on the market. Kit comes with aluminium clutch shoes and construction is very similar what all three shoe clutches are, no surprises. All the clutch parts fitted nicely and it was quite easy to pull together. Clutch bell have 13T teeth and together with 46T spurgear and 13/43 box gearing final drive ratio is 11,7 (3,3 internal) which is definitely most common ratio in any 1/8 buggy. Engine mount contains two huge aluminium blocks and final position of the engine is slightly tilted to the center line of the car. There is no split type engine mount available at moment, but we hope we get one, it is so much easier to change clutch bearings with it.

Fuel tank has clunk type fuel line and filling lid has pull handle as standard, no zip-tie working needed. Inside tank there is lot of splash guards to hold fuel always available to the line. Tank posts has vibration free design, so your fuel does not generate much foam while driving. However, I don’t understand what they have in mind in factory. Fuel tube what used on clunk was so stiff that clunk didn’t even hit to bottom of the tank and the out diameter was that much that it scraped on the splash guard walls. That way tank is not working as nice as it should. Design is correct but used materials not. So, I removed red aluminium joint from the tank and changed whole line to more flexible line completely. I used fuel line which came with the kit. Also, I used some knife work on those splash guards to make bit more room for clunk. I suggest this operation for all S35-3 owners. However, fuel tank have very nice fuel line holders on the side of the tank. Therefore, your fuel line setup will look very professional after installation and you can be sure you don’t get any trouble with the lines while racing. Air filter is huge two stage foam filter and is fitted to the fuel thank splash guard with very long big bore inlet rubber neck. Inner and outer filters are made separately. That way outer filter can be made with slightly smaller inner diameter than inner filter outer diameter is. This gives definitely leak less outer filter action.

Engine and clutch preparations.

Clutch ready for racing.

Engine is slightly tilted to the center.

Removed red fuel joint and replaced whole line with the softer fuel line which came with the kit.

No hassle with the fuel lines, nice and tidy.

Air filter is huge two stage filter with long big bore rubber neck. Remember to apply air filter oil and let them breath over night before use!

Last but not least, SHOCKS!

SWORKz shocks had lots of evolving in past years. I tried to count how many different versions there are but lost in some point. However, the longest and newest evolution of the shocks are on S35-3/E cars as stock. Few years ago everyone used bladder volume compensation on the shocks. But now emulsion shocks are coming more popular (what are mainly used on 1/10). So, S35 have emulsion shocks as stock and bladders are sold as options. (I’d like to see this option in a package as stock). This means, there is bleeder hole on shock cap. Shock parts are very fine work and have true hard coat anodizing over the parts making them very smooth from bottom to top. Even the shock pistons are CNC-machined (not molded) from nylon or similar plastic. However manual does not say any word about them, but it seems that in a front, there is 6 x 1.3 mm pistons and rear are equipped with 6 x 1.4 mm pistons. All kind of pistons are available as a option, like oblique hole pistons. Shock shafts are TiN-coated as stock for better wear resistant and also making them very smooth. At the end shocks might look similar to comparing to the other brand shocks. But, secret of the goodness of the shocks lies on used coating methods. As I know, all the best practices are used on these nice piece of art of sworkz shocks.

Bleeder screws are very small, don’t loose L hex wrench what came with the kit. However it might be clever to buy one real 1mm hex tool to your pit box.

One of the nicest set of shocks what I have build ever.

Final thoughts

I have build many different brand in my hobby career. At least these fine brands; Serpent, Xray, Team C, LRP, Kyosho, Hot Bodies, HPI, Mugen Seiki and also have experience driving all those brands on racing situations. I have to say, I have been always impressed most highest quality of the Xray models. However, now I have also experience about SWORKz and now I’m impressed again. Mainly, all the parts have high quality and all the parts fitted together so nice that it was pleasure to build up. There was only one thing what have some room for improvement, fuel tank. However, that is sorted out with correct materials and maybe angled version of the fuel line joint. This issue is still just minor detail and if you can build your car by yourself, then you can make this little fix to the fuel tank also. I’m not saying these kits are as good quality than Xray, but it is very near of that. I really like that SWORKz is still using carbon fiber and special aluminium parts like old days. It used to be mandatory thing in PRO level racing cars.

While i’m finishing this article about my S35-3, there is still some snow on the ground in here Nordic. No driving experiences to share yet, but feels promising. I hope I can hit the tracks as soon as possible. At least I have one world class driver at my local club (Tomi Salonen) who can give me some reference about the performance of the SWORKz S35-3 nitro racing buggy. There will be another article when I have something to say about how this new baby is doing on the track. I hope your local re-seller is carrying SWORKz products to get yours. If not, check at www.proracershop.net.