(Image source: 3Racing)
So, I got a hold of a 3Racing Sakura D3 CS from a friend who hadn't been using and was asked to sell it for him. I thought to myself; as these are a popular chassis, particularly for beginners, why not tell everyone about it?
The D3 has been around for a few years now and has become a very popular chassis for 2 main reasons; it's cheap enough to get started with and there are countless amount of upgrades available not just from 3Racing but also third-party companies.
It goes without saying that this chassis had been sat up for a while and coming from a novice drifter, it needed some attention for it's full potential. It is a standard Sakura D3 with a few upgrades; carbon shock towers front and rear with aluminium ball joints, aluminium upper bumper support, aluminium wheel hexes and a front one way differential all from 3Racing. Once everything had been dismantled and cleaned, the rebuild started...
I know it says build in the title but I'm not going to go through all the steps of the building procedure as 3Racing supply a manual in the box as well as a PDF file available for download. Having experienced and worked on a few on these, I will highlight areas that I have concerns with and what I do to overcome them. some may disagree that my techniques or decisions are unorthodox or unreasonable but this is just the way I do it.
Here you'll see a minor mod or hack to get better toe angles. Instead of fitting the little toe blocks as instructed in the manual, I fit the front ones to the rear and the rear ones to the front.
The reason for this is simple; the stock rear toe on the D3 is 3° in, way too much! I prefer a lower number and this is achieved by the simple toe block swap. Instead of 3° toe in, it becomes closer to 1°, 1.5° toe in which is a far better number.
While we're here, more rear toe in is more suitable for grip racing. As the cars are usually going along straights at high speeds, more rear toe in will make the rear of the chassis more stable. As the D3 is a drift chassis, there isn't a need to rear stability unless your local track has long straights. Even with long straights, you can overcome the rear instability by manji-ing down the straight.
Another mod/hack you can do on the rear is using the bearing holders. 3Racing supply 2 bearing holders per diff and the holes are off-center; they also supply a belt tensioner. This is all so you can adjust the tension of the rear belt if you were to change one or some of the pulleys. As instructed by the diagrams, 3Racing suggest putting the A holder on the left side and the B holder on the right and tensioner in it's normal position. If you swap the holders side to side, you can get even more adjustment! Set the belt tension correctly and you can do away with the belt tensioner completely or use it some place else. I have done this one using the standard 30T pulley on the plastic solid spool, swapped the bearing holders over and have a well tensioned rear belt ready for use.
The Sakura D3 comes as a CS car, it's in the title! The stock CS ratio is 2.14 (what is CS?), this is a very high ratio and the only time you'd use this is on a very tight track. Some people run higher CS ratios but that's for different purposes and on different surfaces. I'm setting this one up with 1.86 CS by swapping out the 13T pulley on the rear of the center belt with a 15T upgrade pulley from my spares set, this is also a 3Racing component. All the other pulleys will be left standard.
Some more upgrades on this chassis are the carbon front and rear shock towers. Carbon always looks nice and it's stronger but they're not the only reasons for upgrading. These upgraded shock towers allow for further tuning options with additional holes for mounting the shocks and camber arms.
If you would like more information about adjusting the camber arm positions and why, take a look at this blog post aptly titled "Suspension Arcs". I've gone with the stock positions for now but I usually tweak when setting up and possibly even when running it so they may change.
Another upgrade on this D3 is the alloy front bumper support making the front end look loads better.
And there's also the 5mm hex adapters for the wheels.
Why upgrade the hexes? 2 reasons; the plastic ones are susceptible to damage on any chassis but you can also use the thickness of the hexes to adjust total track width. Here is a video explaining offset and how you can make pretty much any wheel fit perfectly in the arch of your selected body.
Speaking of bodies, the body that comes with this chassis is a HPI Nissan S13 Silvia. This HPI replica of the Dai Yoshihara 2012 Discount Tire/Falken Tire S13 Silvia is a very good example of bodies available on the market. HPI is of good quality, I have owned many and I will also be doing a S13 Silvia soon too.
This Silvia has been painted black and the decals set have not been applied. There are a selection of other stickers and decals applied and some light weight tuning, this body has also been drilled to fit the body posts of the D3. I should mention that when I changed the toe blocks front to rear, I also moved the plastic shims on the front lower arm hinge pins to the front, as opposed to one front one rear, to give a good fitment of the body.
The wheels supplied with this chassis is a set of black BBS replica's with chrome dish. These are 7mm offset and fitted with concrete tyres. Technically any tyre is a concrete tyre but if you're looking at drifting on carpet, a set of MST hard compound tyres are required.
(Image source: Soul RC)
Lets' talk electrics... This chassis comes with all the gear ready to get you going. At the heart of it, there is an Etronix Probe brushed electronic speed controller powering a Etronix Sport Tuned 17T brushed motor. An Acoms AS-12 servo operates the steering system, all this powered by a Voltz 4600 mAh NiMH battery with Tamiya connector and a Fusion Vector AC/DC NX86 charger. To control it all, a BSD Racing Transmitter and Receiver is also supplied.
As this is supposed to be a mini build with review so I'll finish with my final thoughts. Sakura D3s are popular and will always be found drifting around tracks across the world. Some people have even used these as a base chassis for a crazy RWD build, I know I have!. For the money you spend and with a few minor tweaks, you can have yourself a competitive drift chassis that will give the other cars on the track a run for their money. This particular example is a good foundation to build on as it's all ready to run.
Note: this car is now sold.