How to clean & maintain your brushless motor
11 steps for best performance

Words & Photos: George M. Gonzalez

One of the benefits of brushless motors is that they require very little maintenance, but they should be inspected regularly and cleaned to provide optimum performance. This article details the steps you should take to keep your motor in tiptop shape. I also provide tips on how to make your motor run cooler. A Novak Super Sport speed control and SS4300 motor are shown here, but the information also applies to most of the rebuildable brushless motors on the market.

1.Clean the chassis & speed control

Use an air compressor to blow off the dust and dirt that has accumulated on the chassis and speed control. Itís best to work with a clean car and work space to prevent crud from getting into the motor. If necessary, use an old toothbrush to remove stubborn dirt deposits.

After youíve finished cleaning the chassis, make sure that the speed control isnít loose. If you can wiggle it easily, remove it and the double-sided tape itís attached with, and reinstall it with fresh tape.

2. Inspect the wiring

Check the speed control for frayed wires and damaged insulation; these can lead to radio interference and, worse, short- circuiting, which can burn up the motor and speed control. Repair damaged wires with heat-shrink tubing or liquid electrical tape

Use heat-shrink tubing or liquid electrical tape to repair damaged wire insulation.

3. Remove the motor

You do not need to unsolder the motorís power leads or unplug the sensor harness, but doing so will give you more freedom to work. After removing the motor, wipe it with a rag to remove dust and dirt.

Wipe the motor thoroughly with a rag. Use a toothbrush to clean the ball bearings.

Keep it cool

With todayís high-capacity NiMH and LiPo cells, run times longer than 30 minutes are not unusual. But running a vehicle that long can lead to overheating that will cause your speed controlís thermal-shutdown feature to kick in. Fortunately, Novak sells a couple of products that will keep your Novak brushless motor system running cool during extended run times. Check with your motorís manufacturer because they probably have optional motor-cooling products as well.
Attach Novakís 25x25x10mm cooling fan to your Super Sport brushless speed control, and it will pass a constant flow of cool air over the motor heat sinks. The fan can be attached to the heat sink with 440 screws. Simply thread the screws between the fins on the heat sink and plug the fanís connector into you receiverís battery slot; it can also be wired to the speed control. The fan uses very little power, so it will not decrease your run times.
Novakís Velociti motor sleeve replaces the stock center sleeve in your Velociti or Super Sport brushless motor, and it has tall cooling fins to dissipate heat. This motor sleeve will not fit most 1⁄10-scale off-road buggies and trucks in which the transmission wraps around the motor. Itís best for on-road vehicles and monster trucks with a lot of room above the motor. The fins are designed to have a fan mounted directly to the heat sink as well.
Installing both of these items will significantly lower the running temperature of your motor and speed control. If you use batteries with a capacity of 4800mAh or more, these items are must-haves.

25x25x10mm cooling fanóitem no. 5647; $13.79
Velociti motor sleeveó5413 (black), 5414 (purple), 5415 (blue); $18.39

4. Disassemble the motor

Brushless motors have very few parts, so itís easy to take them apart for cleaning. Most are held together by a few screws on the front, back, or sides of the motor case. Remove the screws, disassemble the motor and lay the parts on a clean rag. Be sure you donít lose any spacers or washers that are used to properly align the motor shaft (and magnets) inside the motor. Also note the order in which the spacers or washers are installed.

It is a good idea to put the rotor into a plastic bag to keep it clean. Any metallic bits that the rotor attracts will be removed with the bag.

5. Clean the motor

Just as with regular brushed motors, dirt can accumulate inside a brushless motor. We do not recommend the use of motor spray to clean the windings inside the motor can (stator). Racers who use motor spray simply make any problems worse. Instead, use a small brush and light air pressure to clean inside the motor.

Use a small brush and compressed air to clean the inside of the motor.

6. Clean the bearings

Remove the rear bearing from the motor for cleaning. The front bearing on Novak brushless motors is glued to the front endbell and cannot be removed; leave the front bearing in place, and give it a good dousing with motor spray.

Douse the bearings with motor spray, and then put them aside to dry.

7. Inspect the motor

Check the clean disassembled motor pieces for signs of wear. Make sure that the windings in the can arenít loose, chafed, or shiny. Check the magnets for rub marks, and make sure they arenít chipped or loose.

Inspect the major components for signs of wear. A loose winding or a damaged magnet means that your motor needs factory service.

8. Lubricate the bearings

The motor spray washed away the factory-applied lubricant, so youíll need to relubricate the bearings.

When the cleaned bearings have dried, apply a light bearing lubricant.

9. Inspect the bearings

Before you rebuild the motor, check the front and rear ball bearings to ensure that they spin freely. Insert the tip of a pencil into the bearing and use it to rotate the inner race. If the bearing feels gritty, replace it. Check your motorís instructions, or consult its manufacturer to make sure that you get a replacement of the proper size.

Insert a pencil point into the bearing, and spin the inner race. It should spin smoothly. Replace damaged bearings before you rebuild the motor.

10. Rebuild the motor

You have cleaned and inspected the motorís major components and lubed the bearings, and itís now time to rebuild it.

Tighten the screws evenly.

11. Reinstall the motor

Make sure that the gear mesh is set correctly, and use zip-ties to secure the power leads and the sensor wires and to keep them away from spinning parts. Your brushless system is now ready for action.

Bolt the motor back onto its mount, and secure the wires with zip-ties to prevent them from touching any moving parts.









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