3Racing F109 build and Review

The 3Racing F109 is the first kit that has been manufactured by 3Racing. Long time hop-up specialists the 3Racing brand is known globally...

The 3Racing F109 is the first kit that has been manufactured by 3Racing. Long time hop-up specialists the 3Racing brand is known globally for their high quality racing accessories at a competitive price.

With the renaissance of F1 as a sport it is inevitable that the RC scene has also had a resurgence of people interested in these cars. Tamiya has released the F104 chassis, HPI has released the Formula 10 and 3Racing has released their F109. Here are the chassis details

  • Precision cut FRP 2.5mm main chassis and 2.0mm upper deck.
  • King pin coil spring independently front suspension.
  • Rear suspension uses friction dampers and floating mono shock.
  • Aluminum mono shock.Aluminum ball differential.
  • Full ball bearings.
  • Longitudinally placed servo (Isometric steering load applied).
  • Lightweight differential joint.
  • Height adjustable alloy gear case.
  • Rear suspension ball mount.
  • Realistic detailed lexan polycarbonate body
  • Front and rear wings.
  • Front and rear foam tires and rims

The specification of the F109 was always very exciting from a racers perspective. 3 Racing have been manufacturing some very high quality parts for Tamiya’s F103 cars. Many of which improved upon the original cars driving characteristics, so it would be great to see how a full car that was designed and manufactured by them would handle on the Track.

On opening the box, all of the contents are nicely packaged. The Instruction manual was a very pleasant surprise, full colour with lots of clear rendered illustrations.

I quickly set about getting clearing a workspace to prepare the car.

The first thing I did was to seal the edges of the chassis with superglue. The chassis isn’t carbon, but instead FRP however even though its more resilient it still will benefit from this process as it can still split on a high speed collision.  

The best way to do this is to just dip a cotton bud in superglue and gently move over the edges. It doesn’t take long to do, and just hang the FRP parts on the end of a screwdriver to dry.

First up to build was the Ball differential. First you need to trim the inner sleeve, the one supplied in the kit is quite long so it will bind when you tighten the diff. I trimmed a few mm to make it about 1mm either side of the spur gear.  Then take care to fit on the gear ring for the 0.64 pitch diff gear on the carbon axle. It’s a tight fit but just take your time and fit it on gently, but firmly. The rest of the diff is really easy to build as per the instructions in the manual.

The thrust bearing is next, this is like the classic F103 style, and whilst its not as convenient as the all in one types that are available, it is easy to fit together. You could look in the future to get the Tamiya Hop-up all in one F103 bearing (Tamiya part no 51396) although I don’t think you will gain any performance with it.
You need to check that the diff springs are pushing against each other. You then just fit the rear wheel and tighten the Wheel nut to tighten the diff.

The final result is nice and smooth.

Motor Mount installation is next. The motor plates are aluminium which is great as these are one of the essential hop-ups for any F1 car. When making the motor mount you should just ensure that you build it on a flat surface to avoid any tweak.

Just fit the screws at opposing diagonal sides and gently screw them in, don’t over tighten them at first. Just wait until one screw bites and then move onto another screw. Do this until all 4 of the base plate are screwed in and then gently tighten them all up in small increments whilst keeping the pod on the flat surface. You only do the bottom plate at this stage, don’t try to get ahead of yourself and put the top plate on yet, as you will need to take it off later.

You can now attach the rear axle; you are able to choose the ride height of the rear by choosing the appropriate spacers. I went with a 0mm offset to start off with. With these spacers you can go to +2mm to -2mm by just turning them upside down.

Front suspension is next. There is an issue with the manual that front upper castor mount in the diagram is the wrong way around. You need to make up the front suspension with the long nose at the front. I’ve included a picture to show you the right way. Also take care to check that the front down castor mount is correctly fitted, the number -2 should be at the front of the suspension.

The rest of the suspension is easy to follow. Again the front end is more advanced than the one you would get on an F103, you can adjust the front camber with the car thanks to the inclusion of some turnbuckles holding the tops of the front knuckles.

Next up is the rolling damper. The F109 is a link style chassis like some top of the range pan cars as opposed to the T-Bar style suspension that the F103 and F104 cars have.  

I used the kit oil and used one hole on the damper to make the damping quite heavy. The whole unit fits together well. It’s partly assembled in the box but I took mine to bits to check everything was as it should be and then built is as per the instructions. 

Next up was the main damper, again many f1 kits come with a friction damper as std, although this is not the case with the f109. The kit comes with a nice alloy oil damper that goes together really well and looks very similar to the TRF dampers on my Touring cars.  

An oil main damper is another essential F1 upgrade when racing and having one of such high quality in the box is a fantastic move from 3 racing.

The Centre ball mount is next, quick and easy although the battery arms will keep falling out until you get to fit the upper chassis plate, so keep them safe until you attach the plate.

The servo saver is next, being a racer I am very wary of any servo saver other than the classic Kimbrough ones. However I built it up and after eventually getting the springs on the servo saver the unit was finished.  It is a nice quality servo saver, very similar to the Tamiya High torque hop-up ones.

Obviously now I need to fit it onto a servo, for the F109 you can fit either a normal or a low profile servo. As I wanted to review the car I decided to get a low profile servo as it will allow me to flip the top deck of the chassis up and down when changing the battery.

You then need to attach the servo to the servo mounts with double sided tape. And then promptly screw it onto the chassis, along with the centre ball mount.

Now its time to make up the front and rear wings. These are really nice and definitely made for high downforce.

The front wing is a high nose type, it will also act as a bumper and the plastic feels strong and flexible.
The rear wing is adjustable in height, as you can move it up and down on the rear of the motor pod. You can also adjust the angle of the actual wing for high downforce.

Front suspension onto the chassis now. Just gently screw in the screws to the bolts in the suspension castor mount. Not too tight however as you will need to set your castor.  I set mine to 4 degrees to start off with.    
Then its time to attach the rear pod to the chassis, you need to fit the small side springs here. It’s a nice simple job, and 3 racing offer a cheap tune up kit of 3 differing strengths of spring that you can choose for different handling characteristics.

Now its time to fit the top deck onto the chassis. I used a hex driver to fit on the blue bling battery box holders. There is no way on earth you will be able to use your fingers! Which does make me question why you don’t just use screws.. but the blue bling looks better at least J

Now fit the top plate of the motor mount nice and gently as I described before.

You now need to make up the turnbuckles.
One set are extra hard and for the rear pod turnbuckles.

Make sure you have a ruler at hand to check you have the right measurements. When making the turnbuckles for the rear pod I noticed a slight amount of slop under chassis load so I changed the distance between the turnbuckles to XX to eliminate this slop. It’s a minor thing, but these cars are all about being exact.

Now the chassis is complete, and looking great.. I cant get over the quality of the kit at this stage. Next up is to fit the electrics.

At my club we have started an f1 class and we all run the same motors to ensure a level playing field. We run 13t Sensorless motor and esc combos. We race on high grip carpet on a very small and tight track.
Fitting the electronics is easy as there is a lot of space on the chassis for modern electronics. Here is one criticism though. The aerial mounts in the centre of the top plate. Which is a pain as you will need to rethread it every time you change the battery. I decided to mount mine inside the car, although I may drill an extra hole in the bottom plate to fit it to one of the sides of the car in the future if interference becomes an issue.

The Bodyshell is next. The 3 Racing bodyshell looks great and has lots of plastic details for extra aerodynamic wings, and the centre pod camera. I wanted to race in a Jaguar F1 racing scheme, partly because it was the last ‘Ford’ F1 team and also because I hadn’t ever seen a scale Jag F1 1/10 rc car.
The decals came from cosmos abrasives and they look great J I then painted it up and fitted the decals to the car.

There are no actual car decals included in the kit, although there are some stickers. It’s a shame that there are no Visor or air intake decals included in the box as it will make it easier for people to paint the car. In the next week or so I will post up some files on here that you can download and print out for the Visor / air intakes and other shell details.

The final result looks great J even though I love racing RC cars, I’m a sucker for cars that look scale it’s more satisfying.

Next up was to get it on the track.

The car was very fast out of the box, I used a 24t pinion to start off with. The car was blisteringly fast on the straight and thanks to the grip of the tyres the car held a lot of speed into the corner. I couldn’t believe how hooked up this car was straight out of the box!

With a slight adjustment to the front castor to 8 degrees, I managed to hold even more speed in the corners. 
The car had 3 packs of batteries ran through it and I got back into the smoother groove of racing 2wd (although racing Mardaves for years helped). This year as well as racign touring cars I intend to race the F1 series and I can’t wait until the 2nd Jan to get to Tamworth to start racing.

The 3Racing f109 is a fantastic kit. The performance of the car is staggering out of the box and the price is just amazing. The real F1 racing scene has recently become a lot more popular again, and I hope this type of RC racing will also.  The F109 is up at the front of the grid with its peers and I cant stress how good a kit this is. Its a Gold cup kit 

If 3Racing keep this form up with all of their other kits in the future, there will be some seriously worried competitors.I will post on my progress and any tuning tips over the next few weeks and months.

review 5584447754948965347

Post a Comment

  1. where can I buy one of these in the UK?

  2. Is this car better than the f104 pro?

  3. I think the f109 seems to be getting good results at the moment. It seems to be more stable out of the box than the F104.

    As to where to get them in the UK, there are several uk suppliers such as http://www.abe-racing.com/ or http://www.brockmodels.com/

  4. Good job Craig, very thorough, the only thing you missed was having to shorten the spur gear inner sleeve to 4mm wide to be able to adjust the diff properly, or was your kit supplied with the proper white Delrin one? My black kit item was way too long!
    RRCi Magazine

  5. yup, good spot. I'll ammend the build thread. I did build mine at first without trimming it. However the diff didn't feel right so I trimmed it a little to make it feel smooth as it was binding with the wheel mount.

  6. Can the F109 take 7.2V Ni-Mh (6x Side by Side Cells) which i use in my RDX or do you have to use proper tamiya style stick packs?

  7. i use them in mine with no problem



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