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PS 4002FK - why? (serious question)


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#1 JimF

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 02:46 PM

OK... I have no dog in this fight a-tall, and this is not intended as a troll.

 

However, as a Retro program director, I have a question. Why would anyone adopt the 4002 FK with its endemic problems? I've seen threads that devolved into arguments, gripes, defense, and offense on this subject. Many statements are made that it's an easy fix, just align the hoods (sealed motor) or cut the brushes.

 

OK fine but is that the spirit of the current SOTA Retro world? IOW... "Retro is about driving, car prep and chassis building and not about working on motors." Except in this case, ya prolly gotsta' work on the motor. As a counterpoint, with the HR or H7, not only do you not have to work on the motor... FTMP, you can't.

 

Out here on the weirdo left coast, (north and south) we find no need for these motors. Both North and South have a class for PS motors that we run occasionally. These are basically motor builders classes and the problems of the FK 4002 do not apply. Aside from that, we are happy with the HR and in NorCal anyway the HMB. Between us in North and South, we run more classes on more different styles of tracks than any other single region. We've never felt any need whatsoever to adopt the 4002 FK.

 

So... why do some regions feel the need to adopt it and then agonize/fight about the shortcomings when the HR or H7 or even the HMB do not have these issues?

 

  • Is there some attribute of these motors that make them somehow better for some types of cars?
  • Does that attribute override the necessity of "motor work" on at least some in order to make them functional?

-----------------or-----------------

 

  • Was this a strategy adopted to favor a particular manufacturer who would be getting little play in RETRO otherwise???

 

Not looking to fight, just wondering... ???


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Jim Fowler




#2 Zippity

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 02:51 PM

In our case (read New Zealand here) the decision was made to adopt the PS4002FK motor as the motor of choice for our lower end class cars i.e. F1 and LMP.

 

Regardless of the inherent problems with these motors on our high-powered club tracks, the "powers-that-be" now find themselves entrenched so deep that they cannot back out of what has proven to be the wrong choice of motor. 


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Ron Thornton
 

 


#3 JimF

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 02:59 PM

Regardless of the inherent problems with these motors on our high powered club tracks, the "powers-to-be" now find themselves entrenched so deep that they cannot back out of what has proven to be, the wrong choice of motor. 

 

Thanks, Ron. That factor is certainly an issue I can understand. I made some serious mistakes myself when the original S7 Mini Brute was discontinued. Some of the "solutions" that I tried were not real good choices. You can sometimes get yourself boxed in with choices like that.


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#4 Justin A. Porter

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 03:04 PM

The 4002FK was chosen as a low-cost alternative to the C-can GTP ruleset raced by the Ohio Challenge Cup four years ago which had been badly suffering for car counts. Originally, FK-powered GTPs were categorized as "GTP Light" and raced in with the C-cans though being scored separately. After one season of this, it was noted that the FK-powered cars were scoring overall wins against the host of Super Wasps, Contenders, and S16C's that made up the C-can field. 

While certainly there are any number of reasons for this, what's important is that seeing that a $15 motor lived happily on so many tracks and had led to a growth in entries in the class led to the decision to make GTP in the Ohio Challenge Cup solely an FK-powered class. Motor failures occur, but have been quite rare - possibly owing to the sustained high RPM usage and relatively light cars in which they live - and GTP has rebounded to become the second most popular class in the Ohio Challenge Cup.

I can honestly say the motor has done nothing but good for our series. 


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#5 JimF

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 03:16 PM

Justin... thank you.

 

Does your program require the PS remain sealed vs. the Contenders, etc., which clearly are not? Also, would the 4002 FK have provided a better alternative in increasing participation that say a H7. Hawk 7 = fast, light, no motor work... vs. ...4002 FK = fast, light but need motor work to be reliable???

 

In the case of allowing opening and working on the PS 4002 FK... this would bring it into a different realm than the original question of 4002 FK vs. the various sealed FK motors.


Jim Fowler

#6 Justin A. Porter

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 03:25 PM

When introduced and up to this day, the 4002FK has remained sealed, even when it was squaring off against the open Contenders. The thought process at the time of introduction was a motor with similar enough performance that the cars could run together, but that the C-cans would still be ultimately faster. As such, the cars were scored separately. 

At the close of the season, due to the rapid growth of the FK-powered "GTP Lights" and their demonstrated ability to win overall among the GTPs, the decision was made to shelve C-can GTP. 

As I was not part of the decision-making process at the time, I honestly couldn't tell you why the Hawk 7 or Hawk 6 were not considered. Personally speaking, I likely would have evaluated an open-FK program as an alternative motor package, based around the American arms available for the Hawk 6 and PS4002 setups. 

Granted, the success of the category (20 cars competed this past Saturday at our season opener, with an average field of 18 cars last season) seems to tell me that the right decision was made. 


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#7 Jason Holmes

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 03:27 PM

Jim.

 

I love these little motors. The problem is an easy fix, brush trim if your rules allow. It's like running a Euro motor, awesome brakes, no coast. Wish we could run them in a class in SoCal Retro.

 

Here I am building them up and a problem cost me the win in GRP F at the Nats. Motor lasted till the end of the last heat when I didn't think it would. Lifted a comm segment 30 sec. into the last heat, not a normal problem. Thank goodness for a four-lap lead to start. Still got second by 1 but lost 7 laps to Roy for first. But he deserved the win; I'm glad for him. 


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#8 gotboostedvr6

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 03:53 PM

For about the same bucks as the H7, RH7, and other FK130 motors, the 4002FK is a great value.

When it gives up the ghost you can replace the arm and still have something to toy around with.

Trimming the brushes takes literally seconds and is a permanent fix. We ran a Enduro race a few years back on our 220 foot Engleman. The winning car made about 2,000 laps using cut brushes. The post-race inspection showed the brushes had plenty of life left.

<Warning thread drift ahead>

No way the 4002FK was taking Sontenders, Super Wasp, or S16C. Something must have been awry.


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#9 Justin A. Porter

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 03:59 PM

OCC race results - Apr 25, Hot Wheels Haven, Elyria, OH
 
Here's the last gasp of the C-cans in the Ohio Challenge Cup on a 145' Kingleman. It sounds ridiculous, but it's what was happening at the time. 
 
Now, does this necessarily mean that the C-cans in question were the latest/greatest and perfectly dialed in? Hard to say, but this was commonplace that season and led to the call to pull the C-cans.
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#10 JimF

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 05:15 PM

Thanks for all the replies so far. I really appreciate it. I guess my confusion lies within the following and especially as it relates to Retro racing...

  • No doubt that at least a fair number of PS FK requires some knowledge and work to be functional. Some don't but many do.
  • The HR & H7 do not require work and in fact their designs make motor work very difficult.

Given that the founding premise of Retro Racing was to eliminate motor work (as much as possible)... How does this benefit Retro racing within the context of the original concept?


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#11 MSwiss

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 05:19 PM

Hi Jim,

 

Are you on FB?


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#12 Noose

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 05:21 PM

Jim,

 

There is only one group running these motors in Retro classes. Most of the use is in flexi, hard bodies, and low cost wing racing.


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#13 Kevin Donovan

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 05:54 PM

Jim- you are a talented guy who posts many articles testing cars and setups here. Why don't you get one of these PS FK motors and form your own opinion? I think they run great with excellent reliability in my cars. Just trim the trailing edge of the brushes when the motor gets a few hundred laps on it. It's faster than a Hawk Retro or Hawk7 with better torque and brakes. Have fun.

#14 Justin A. Porter

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 05:54 PM

Thanks for all the replies so far. I really appreciate it. I guess my confusion lies within the following and especially as it relates to Retro racing...

  • No doubt that at least a fair number of PS FK requires some knowledge and work to be functional. Some don't but many do.
  • The HR & H7 do not require work and in fact their designs make motor work very difficult.

 
I don't feel that the point that the 4002FK requires knowledge and work to be functional is firmly established, Jim. Truthfully, we simply do not have this failure rate you describe in the Ohio Challenge Cup with the potential exception of the Mark's Model World round, however that track is a known killer of all motors between its high speeds and its ample power supplies. 
 
I will very clearly tell you, the 4002FK is a great little beast of a motor. No. I don't like it in Retro cars because I don't like its torque curve or braking in my Retro cars, but that's entirely different from characterizing it as an unreliable barrel of secrets.


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#15 Tim Neja

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 08:41 PM

Jim,  If as you say take the premise that "Retro racing" is about driving, chassis, and building. That's the original intent of the designers, then the sealed motors are the ONLY way to go!! The 4002FK REQUIRES tinkering on it!!! And---the concern is once you're allowed to "tinker" on it---WHERE does it stop!! Old argument--but the growth of Retro racing has born out the truth of sealed motors you don't touch. 


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#16 JimF

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 08:42 PM

Are you on FB?

 
No.
 

Jim- you are a talented guy who posts many articles testing cars and setups here. Why don't you get one of these PS FK motors and form your own opinion? I think they run great with excellent reliability in my cars. Just trim the trailing edge of the brushes when the motor gets a few hundred laps on it. It's faster than a Hawk Retro or Hawk7 with better torque and brakes. Have fun.

 
Thanks for the props. In fact, I purchased three when I messed around with a Can-Am Plus a while back. I did form my own opinion which was that the motor was somewhat problematic as to stock form reliability. I am a pretty good motor builder with decades of experience as such. The allure of Retro is that I don't have to take the time or expend the effort to exercise that skill very often. Whether it is faster than a RH or H7 is irrelevant. Faster does not make something better,
 

I don't feel that the point that the 4002FK requires knowledge and work to be functional is firmly established, Jim. Truthfully, we simply do not have this failure rate you describe in the Ohio Challenge Cup with the potential exception of the Mark's Model World round, however that track is a known killer of all motors between its high speeds and its ample power supplies. 
 
I will very clearly tell you, the 4002FK is a great little beast of a motor. No. I don't like it in Retro cars because I don't like its torque curve or braking in my Retro cars, but that's entirely different from characterizing it as an unreliable barrel of secrets.

 
Whether one track or another is a motor killer does not justify the need to work on the motor in order to get it off the line without a push start. I'm not concerned with the occasional blowup or melted endbells. (I would note that those are apparently legit concerns when considering the number of posts about those subjects) Whether it is fast, a beast, or requires only small modifications to be functional, the question remains... why bother when there are motors at the same price that have proven that they do not require those simple modifications?


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#17 Samiam

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 10:13 PM

There is an unexplained attraction for us slot heads to a motor that looks like a proper motor. Even if it has a seal that tries to keep our fingers (needlenose pliers) out of its innards. Even if it makes more sense to use a motor that looks like a miniature sardine can with a shaft coming out of it. Some racers just got to have those brush hoods and spring posts.

 

When I ran PS 4002s in my IRRA® Stock Cars, I enjoyed the tweaking I could do on it. I would remove all the endbell hardware, transfer to a dummy motor and align them with my 30-year old  Koford tools. Then move them back. Then spend some time with my 30-year old Sonic Fiddlestick. Did I need to do this? Was it more accurate than just eyeballing the hoods? I don't know. But it made me feel like I was improving my motor's performance. Other than messing with a myriad of break-in techniques, nothing else to mess with on the sealed can motors. And there's nothing wrong with that. 


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#18 Kevin Donovan

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 10:17 PM

It sounds like guys are going to great lengths to break-in the other motors (JK) so I don't think many are just racing them straight out of the package.

 

Run what you like and have fun.


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#19 crazyphysicsteacher

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 08:59 AM

And as Kevin just said, that is the allure. I can check the brushes and replace a bad set to make a bad motor better. It becomes cheaper in the mind than having to break-in multiple motors in various liquids to try to find a good one. They are also easier to identify as good without the need for track time.

 

We almost went to them as a regular class motor awhile back when the Deathstar went missing, but did not because of the necessary rule changes.


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#20 A. J. Hoyt

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 09:08 AM

They run the PS FK motor at Dallas Slot Cars in their once-a-month Retro program. I participated twice (staying over on those Saturdays from my on-site work duties in Dallas) and they are a good bunch of guys with an impressively well-disciplined racing program run personally by Shontel, the track owner.
 
They experience the same problems that were not uncommon at Downriver Raceway in MI with the PS FK motor: cars occasionally not starting at the start of the race, the start of a heat, or the start after a track call.
 
The cries of "Push, push, push!" throughout the race at Dallas caused one of the racers to comment, "Hey, it sounds like a maternity ward in here!" and I just lost it laughing well past the end of the race. Like I said, a great group of guys with a great sense of humor.

 

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#21 JimF

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 09:50 AM

Certainly a lot of defense of the motor which is understandable but no feedback at all on the "why" it was adopted in the first place which was the original question. With the endemic problems that the motor has, there would be no compelling reason to adopt it in future in place of any existing motor that does not exhibit those problems.

 

Thanks again for all the input. It is much appreciated.


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#22 Justin A. Porter

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 10:18 AM

For Ohio Challenge Cup GTP, the primary reasons for its adoption as a "GTP Light" motor were that it was a sealed motor that offered more performance, particularly in torque and braking, than other available sealed motors. Its power delivery and braking were most similar to the existing C-can GTP ruleset of the Ohio Challenge Cup at the time and so the motor was offered as a budget alternative. 
 

If at that time there had been a sub-$20 sealed Contender or Wasp that would have likely been the chosen motor for the category. There wasn't, so the FK came in. 


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#23 Kevin Donovan

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 10:20 AM

OK fine but is that the spirit of the current SOTA Retro world? IOW... "Retro is about driving, car prep and chassis building and not about working on motors." Except in this case, ya prolly gotsta' work on the motor.

As a counterpoint, with the HR or H7, not only do you not have to work on the motor... FTMP, you can't.

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#24 MSwiss

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 11:20 AM

Hi Jim,

 

Are you on FB?

 

 

Jim,

 

There is only one group running these motors in Retro classes. Most of the use is in flexi, hard bodies, and low cost wing racing.

 

 

Certainly a lot of defense of the motor which is understandable but no feedback at all on the "why" it was adopted in the first place which was the original question. With the endemic problems that the motor has, there would be no compelling reason to adopt it in future in place of any existing motor that does not exhibit those problems.

Jim,

As Joe stated , there is only one Retro group (actually 2 adjacent groups , I think that are run by the same person) that use that motor.

 

Also, the guy behind my monthly mixed genre races allows them, but those races are so casual, I don't really care one way or another.

 

Since the head of the (2?) org(s) mentioned above, doesn't have access to posting on Slotblog, if you really need some robust dialog on the subject, I suggest;

 

A) pose your question on OWH, where he may spot it, and respond.

 

B) join Facebook, where I'm sure he'll be happy to joust a bit, with you, on the subject.

 

C) skip A and B, and go with the more painless option. Drive to Sears. Find their biggest Craftsman vice. Open the jaws all the way. Stick your head in. Turn the handle clockwise until you forget what your original question was.


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#25 Uncle Fred

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 11:33 AM

Well AJ it's been great racing and laughing at... ah with you. Thanks for the good words about the Dallas series, where we have successfully been running the PS FK for a couple of years. 
 

Thanks for the props. In fact, I purchased three when I messed around with a Can-Am Plus a while back. I did form my own opinion which was that the motor was somewhat problematic as to stock form reliability. I am a pretty good motor builder with decades of experience as such. The allure of Retro is that I don't have to take the time or expend the effort to exercise that skill very often. Whether it is faster than a RH or H7 is irrelevant. Faster does not make something better,
 
Whether one track or another is a motor killer does not justify the need to work on the motor in order to get it off the line without a push start. I'm not concerned with the occasional blow-up or melted endbells. (I would note that those are apparently legit concerns when considering the number of posts about those subjects.) Whether it is fast, a beast, or requires only small modifications to be functional, the question remains... why bother when there are motors at the same price that have proven that they do not require those simple modifications?

 
Jim, I have raced both motors and like the PS FK better because of the brushes. They last longer and are replaceable meaning the motor lasts longer. The modification that we are referring to is very minor and in many cases not even necessary. 
 
That being said I must point out that at Dallas we run Retro on a relatively quick 130 ft flat track with an eight tooth pinion rule. Group F running 2.8 laps on a high speed King may be a different story.
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