- Serpent S411 2.0 - Gary Lanzer - Build Tips -

I received my Serpent S411 2.0 recently, and it occurred to me that in spite of a pretty decent set of instructions, there isnít much text on some of the build processes, as well as some of tips and tricks and what to watch out for. So since I was building the kit anyways I thought I would pass on the things I do in the build.

First off, there are a couple of items I use to make the build easier for me. I always use Associated Green Slime, Associated Black Grease for lubes and blue locktite. I also prefer MuchMore shock oil, in this case I used 400 over the supplied 500 from Serpent.

The last thing I like to use during the assembly is a 3mm tap, which in this kits case, comes in handy as the plastic seems harder than the old ďHĒ plastic parts. Since Iím talking about the suspension parts, the additional webbing on the arms and the reduced openings definitely make the arms stiffer than previous versions.
So on to the build, my thoughts are to follow the actual instruction manual, and to mention the points of attention.

No real surprises for the first 9 pages. Page 10 A6 begins with the assembly of the rear suspension arms, one thing to note here is there is no mention of any lube on the 401024 ball that sits in the suspension bridges. Here, I always give a little black grease. One thing to take note of is the pins fit into the arms rather tight, donít ream the arms, the idea here is for the pins to actually float thru the balls and not the arms themselves. If youíre in doubt of this, as I was, I used to ream the arms as well, but when watching arms move up and down, even on the best reamed arm, the pin still rotates, so the reaming is just not required. This applies to the front suspension as well. Also, donít bother putting the shock balls onto the arms yet, as youíll just be taking them off again when you get around to building the shocks.

Page 11 , is the diff assembly, this is where I use the green slime on the o-rings, as well as a light coat on the outdrive shaft that passes thru the diff case. With the new diff, I use all the shims, and the supplied 1200 oil as a start point. The new diff is quite an improvement over the previous metal geared versions. After a couple of shake down runs, it makes one very smooth unit, with no cog feel at all like the older diffs.

Page 14 A13, watch out for the tip about the big ring on the gear, if put on incorrectly the lip of the ring actually slopes into the gear instead of out to capture the belt easier.

I like to run the gear on the spool assembly so the big gear washer is on the long side of the spool. I do this so that if you need to pull the belt off to clean the gear, you don't have to pull the belt over the gear edge, just pop the washer off the gear and slip the belt off. This becomes more apparent because the lock collar for the torsion bar gets in the way when you try to get over the gear edge.

Speaking of the spool, another thing I do especially when I run the DJC in the car, is to run a small o-ring inside the spool cup, this just give a slight cushion when the axles are shifting back and forth, it probably does nothing, but the small chatter I see in older units seems cushioned a bit. Still run the grease in the cups though, and if your outside, I would run shrink wrap on the cups just to keep the grease in better and the car cleaner in general.

Page 17, the front arms, uses the same assembly as the rears. One thing to note, because they are a new version of the arms, I suspect the mold is a little tight, so the sway bar mount, the small plastic pieces will fit tight to the arm, so tight that it can cause a sticking of the ball stud, which will bind the suspension. I filed the plastics to fit the arm better, which freed up the assembly.

Page 19 A22, all the bearings in the kit seems to be pre-lubed, but I always give the layshaft bearings a extra shot of oil just to be sure.

Page 21 A25, the given measurement of 21mm is not correct, since the car has to be put on a setup station anyway, I would use something like 24mm to start with and then adjust from there (refined value at bottom of page).

Page 22 A28, here is where you have to watch out a couple of things. If you follow the instructions and use the 1mm spacers between the servo and the mount, when you use the supplied servo horn as you rotate the servo, watch out for the clearance of the screw head to the carbon fiber support. This will be dependant of what brand of servo you use, but if you donít adjust for the clearance it will rub thru the sweep of the horn. I ended up using a 1mm spacer inside the horn to get a little clearance, but also managed to strip the horn on a harder crash. Now if you use a servo saver, youíll also have to trim it down so itís a little narrower as at full sweep of the servo the saver will hit the extreme right side of the aluminum mount, and full lock will not be possible.

Page 23 A29, when I put the bearings into the steering levers, I will use one of the plastic bags between the bearings and the levers, when the bearing is inserted it pretty much cuts the plastic inside and outside the steering lever. This takes out the little bit of play that seems to be in this assembly. I used to try to glue the bearings, but ended up with a lot of expensive bushings, so the plastic bag trick works spot on.

Page 23, A30, the measurement of 24mm is out as well, start at 26mm and adjust from there (refined value at bottom of page).

Page 24 A32, I take the axle apart to put some blue locktite on the M3 setscrew, it was nice to see that the pins where now notched so less chance of them slipping out. The bad part is further down the assembly the front axles didnít have the notched pins, not sure why, but notching these is a must. I also run just a small amount of black grease on the pin cushions and the pin of the axles as they ride into the front and rear outdrives. I like to trial fit the axles to the bearings to make sure there arenít any fit problems. I had one axle that I had to knock some of the anodizing down ever so slightly to fit a inner bearing, but only the one, and it was like a couple of rotations with some 1500 wet dry sandpaper and it was fixed.

Page 24 A33, the rear upright, I always rum a 3mm setscrew in the unused screw hole, it just beefs up that area a little more, so the ballstud is less likely to strip out.

Page 26 A36 & A37, use some blue locktite on the 3mm set screws, not a lot though. The same thing applies for the front sway bar assemblies.

Page 27 A38, again the 9mm is incorrect, start at 12mm and adjust from there (refined value at bottom of page).

Page 28 A40, see above about the pin notches, not there.

Page 30 A47, 11mm incorrect, start at 14mm and adjust from there (refined value at bottom of page).

Page 30 A48, use some blue locktite on the 411253 ball because as the steering rotates the long set screw stud it can actually spin the ball off the stud.

Page 31 A51, a small dab of blue locktite on the shock shaft to keep the nut in place. I once had a shock that had the weirdest feel on the stroke of the shock, turned out to be a loose nut rocking the piston, so now I do this to avoid it.

Page 31 A55, of the 4 shocks 2 of them had looser fitting adjustment collars, not enough to slip under pressure, but still much more loose than before. ( its in process being updated already)

Page 32 A57 and page 33 A59, when you insert the shock balls into the shock plastics, be careful as the wall thickness of 3mm hex in the ball is really thin and can crack easily.

Page 36 A64, take note of the 1mm spacers between the layshaft holders and the top deck, if you use them.

Page 37 A63, the inner part of the 401413 tape holder may require some trimming in order to get full lock of the steering, this could depend on how you run these, but battery forward does require the trimming.

All the plastics in the kit seem to be harder even the ball joints, so the are harder to get on and off the car, so much so that the car almost needs a couple of runs just to get things loosened up. After a shakedown run, go over the car to find any excessive bind points and fix from there. In my case thatís all it took the get the car freed up. I did over insert one of the servo mount ball studs which split the ball cup right down the seam mold, but that was the only issue I ran into as far as the plastics are concerned. The rest of the car had absolutely no assembly, alignment or fit issues, one very smooth kit to assemble. There were no missing parts, although there also were no 2 or 6 degree c-hubs.

I purposely left the link measurements long as I always find that from the book they seem so short that you can collapse the inner portion of the ball cup and just cause unneeded bind problems. In any matter the final link lengths are as follows:
- Page 21, A25 - 22.85mm
- Page 23, A30 - 24.80mm
- Page 27, A38 - 10.00mm
- Page 30, A47 - 12.45mm

I ran the stock supplied setup and only changed the shock oil from 500 to 400 and the shock locations front and back, the car shows great performance potential and once I can spend a little more time on setup I believe this will be a very good car. It is quite a departure from my usual setups with thick top deck, most of the cars now seem to really go for the more flex top decks, softer springs and lighter oils, so some learning about the short shocks will be required.

Once I get some more time on the car I will post setups, but the base is pretty good start for carpet.

Gary Lanzer
Serpent America