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Some encouraging TycoPro wiper experiments (with video!).

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  • Some encouraging TycoPro wiper experiments (with video!).

    So, I decided to do something about one of my (two) early TycoPros. My friend, Greg, in Florida gifted me this little sweetie a couple years ago.
    It's an early one with the floating pickup system.
    > Replaced the wipers with copper braid.
    > Added a steel nut with a magnet to the pickup weight for additional weight. Simple!
    > Glued in a piece of rubber band to engage the upward stop sooner. The stop tip may be chipped off. I have another car the stop seems longer on.

    Encouraging results! The car now can keep a consistent speed on straights and curves and has lost almost all of the inherent lost-contact jitter. It's actually fun to run now.
    I suspected with some creativity, I could get more out of it.
    I added the braids and weight a while back and it was marginal. Restricting the upward travel of the pickup assembly did the trick.

    Rubber band section, additional weight, and new, softer wires. Could be a little longer.

    Braided pickups. They're simply looped around the wiper mountings and don't move.

    Last edited by JimDouglasJr; 05-01-2017, 01:24 PM.

  • #2
    This inspired me to work on my other early TycoPro. I'd added material to the worn wipers but it was finicky. One of the shoe pieces was really small and had a groove in it, so I took that off and added part of a wider G-Plus shoe I found that's longer. Car runs great now. They're (the VW Bug above) very evenly matched.

    For those following along, some fun history. Check out that metal lower body pan! A pro type car mass produced.
    Well, semi-mass produced. The parts came in from China and the cars were assembled and any decals applied in an office at Tyco by a team of two to four people. Even the White Boots tires weren't injection molded. Because of the nature of the material, they were hand-poured into molds in an upstairs office and left overnight to set up. It was the best material they could find and they felt it was worth the effort to give the cars an edge. Indeed, White Boots are often still good to this day.
    Tyco was a manufacturer or model trains primarily. For the first few years of the TycoPro, it was practically a cottage industry at the offices.

    Lamborghini Miura body and Mk I chassis circa 1970.
    This first version of the chassis with the floating pickups is actually a little hard to find, especially this unmarked one (later stamped with the TycoPro logo), which pegs it as early production and may date from late 1969.
    Many were broken, thrown out, or upgraded to the later fixed version.

    Anyway. I cut the pieces and made sure there was a slight upward flare at the cuts, scuffed the top of each piece a bit and laid down a thin layer of solder. I scuffed the wipers and did the same, then mated the two and mounted them. New, thinner flexible wires also installed.
    Longer, flatter, harder than the original wipers. Again, did the trick.
    This car was actually gifted to me maybe 6-8 years ago. Turns out it's worth a pretty penny. Often selling well over $50.

    Last edited by JimDouglasJr; 05-01-2017, 08:26 PM.


    • #3
      Nice color for the Lambo, too. Everybody loves those Miuras, I think the one in my collection is orange. Enjoy! -- Ernie :>)


      • #4
        I took a short video of the Bug with the car on the inside lane so the fishtailing shows.
        It's in sort of a low resolution as my connection isn't very fast.
        Last couple laps the thing really picks up. Last time on the overpass (0:17), you can briefly hear the car recover from a major slide.

        Last edited by JimDouglasJr; 05-01-2017, 01:18 PM.


        • #5

          Woooohoooo! Another convert. Cool that your penchant for shoe tuning manifested itself on the front of one of your Tycopros. It's more than just promising, it's the way.

          The TP braid swap always makes me smile when I see it, because I know from personal experience that you are really getting to enjoy your high zoop vintage pan cars Kyle. I still enjoy the heck out of mine. For me, there is nothing closer to the "wayback machine", than the shriek of a well dialed in TP. You can really hear it get on the pipe when you are silent running on braids.

          That bug of yours spanking it in the video was one of my favorites as a pup. Funny I dont have one now ...? Better make a note of that upcoming quest, LOL. There's jillion TP's out there, many with low miles simply due to being put away because of the jitters, mangled foils, or those gol darned pogo-sticks.

          My baby poop green TP Muira is still one of my favorite cars. I always insist I'm going to paint it red , or yellow! Glides like silk on ice now, with waaay more horsepower than originally delivered. If memory serves thats a G-plus pick up spring I slipped over the up limit horn. It rides on the corner of the retainer nut, between facets.

          When the stock, "quick change" motor contacts go away, I tin the end of the leads and use the flange of the brush barrels, to pin the lead to the comm-box. Venting the brushes on a hot rod never hurts my feelins' either. Note the breather notches in the comm box. The 440 armature and magnets and most all Wizzard hipo stuff for the 440 will swap right in to a huffed original Tycopro box motor, if need be. All one has to do is get the end float shimmed correctly, and trim the excess shaft length away.

          "Slotcardan" (member here) wrote down some good points, that are well worth reading if you're going to persist with the old Tycos. The "Riggen Site" is a must do if you havent already; but you'll need provisions and camping gear.
          Last edited by model murdering; 05-01-2017, 03:10 PM.


          • #6
            I love my Tycopros, wiper or button pickups, doesn't matter. I don't run them much, but they're always fun when I do break them out. I like that the guide flag only goes so far to one side or the other, sort of "spinout insurance" if you will And I love the speed and torque and especially the drifting. If I could get mine to hook up a little better they'd be so much more fun.

            That's my next challenge actually, to start adding weight somewhere for better traction, both to help with acceleration and in the corners. Mine run really well--smooth and fast--but they're pretty brutal even at 16.5V, so I want to try to settle the handling some and take the edge off. I've got MT size Jel Claws on mine right now and it seems like they're actually harder to control than with rubber HP7 tires.

            Everyone else must have had better white boots than I did. All mine were really lopsided and loose, I couldn't even keep em on the wheels. They were probably just stored improperly or something, but it kind of biased my opinion of white boots ever since. They're probably good tires, but I'll probably never run them

            I don't know why you guys like the drop arm so much, I hate that thing. Much prefer the fixed version because the handling is more predictable for me. However, I haven't tried the nut and spring trick, so who knows. Maybe I don't know what I'm missing out on?!


            • #7
              I'd think the spring might make the car ride on the pickups, so I went with weight.
              I also know the fixed pickup system was an improvement. Tyco knew this and quickly changed the pan to the fixed pickup.
              This is just what I did to make them actually function. Both cars were gifts, so I'm just a happenstance owner. No real affection for the drop arm. Before I ever touched one to track I recognized it as a flaw.
              But, I got it to work well
              I've got white Super Tires on the Lamborghini, and an unknown set of something silicone on the Bug as the .474 Super rubbed the body.

              As for can motors, I've never had one apart. I don't know how to deal with the brushes and have been afraid I'll break one. I also don't know how to get them out of these cars. I have two spare motors. The Lamborghini runs hot and I'd like to swap it out. I know there's a retainer in front but I don't have a spare and don't want to break it.
              I'll try to look up what I can, but the search feature here sort of blows.

              I don't have a fixed wiper, version 2 car. I'm sure they're better.

              I do have a button pickup car.
              Flaw on that is that the buttons need to be fully depressed for the front wheels to touch the track. NO FLOAT.
              Mine's not heavy enough in front to do that, so it rides the buttons. Still pretty fast, but this was yet another inexcusable rushed design flaw. Then they repeated it on the Curvehuggers.
              Last edited by JimDouglasJr; 05-01-2017, 08:42 PM.


              • #8
                Replacement wipers for Tyco Pro cars could be made by etching sheet phosphor bronze. I have some K&S phosphor bronze, but that is 0.008 inches thick, too thick for wipers. The wipers could also be made using a die, but if you only wanted a few hundred made etching would be cheaper.
                I have a few Tyco Pro cars hanging around, I have not run them for many years. My cars all have sponge tires, I don't know what shape those are in, but back in the early '70s they needed traction compound to get any grip. In my experience silicone tires have more grip than Jel Claws. Super Tires has new tires to fit 0.250 narrow wheels, that combination might work on these cars, if I get a chance I will try it out and report back.


                • #9
                  Back in the day, I put PVT's on my Tycopro's. The old product code eludes me at the moment. They were very similar in nature to the original Tyco boots. In those days the only available ST compound was a bit too stiff, nor can one roll the edges; which is kinda critical to keep a gravity-pan chassis from snagging as it swings across the rails.

                  Check Heister Tires for the equivalent nowadays.


                  • #10
                    The upcoming .460 for AFX should fit the Bug. The .474 fit the Lamborghini.

                    As for etching bronze, yeah, I don't have the materials, etc. for all that.
                    The claimed lifespan for the brass wiper is 12 hours. Soldering hard shoe material to the worn out wipers has already lasted longer than that and they're way less finicky.


                    • #11
                      When Ed Bianchi was developing his "Braiders" he made some at home using a photoetching process, later he had more made by some outfit that does that sort of thing. As I recall the original Tyco wipers did not last very long, I did not have any of the cars with button style wipers. Phosphor bronze lasts a lot longer than regular bronze or copper.
                      I used to use Wizzard PVT tires, which I believe were from Penn Valley, Heister took over the Penn Valley line and for the time being at least Wizzard only has left over stock.
                      Last edited by RichD; 05-04-2017, 10:36 AM.


                      • #12
                        I find this stuff to be about perfect in thickness and workable to make wipers.



                        • #13
                          Thanks for posting that, chappy. I have a couple I need to work on--now I know exactly what to use!


                          • #14
                            Now you have three options.

                            I can see a stiffer wiper working better.
                            If they're still finicky, you can solder hard shoe material to them, or braids.
                            I think the wipers probably work better on the fixed pickup system. I don't have one to compare, though.


                            • #15
                              Want to add my 2 cents to possibly help others. First off I can't believe the Geck has some TP's!
                              Say it ain't so,Joe... I would have figured that was all too old school and finicky for Nick? Although I do know of his affection for Tyco/Mattel.
                              Kyle you can easily handle TP can repairs. I never had a can apart till last year when I fixed up that box of Curbhuggers. Pop the can out and the barrels are just press fit in the plastic end piece,but do watch for them springing out with some tension. I believe from what I learned there are only 2 styles of early cans,Mabuchi,Johnson. I only saw 2 different types of brushes in all the ones I opened up. I might have used Tyco 440 brushes in the bigger ones and I know I used AFX G+ brushes in the small ones. Very simple to clean the commutator and oil the arm ends. Worked well for me like an Italian tune-up! (lol)
                              I like the braid idea as it's simple,painless,cost effective. I have the bronze to use as well but am not sure which thickness I have? Trying to move away from my mechanical mind which is saying to use a steel feeler gauge cut down,I don't use my 4 thou one that much...he,he,hee.