The WL Toys 284131 (which I reviewed here) and the K989 that precedes is described as a micro drift car but the lack of gyro (such as appears standard in the SG1603 drifter) makes this difficult. In this article I've installed a gyro, added a low friction aluminium wheel and tyre set and have improved steering lock which vastly improves the drifting experience.
Drift wheels and tyres
The 284131 and of course the K989/969 which is it is based on have and excellent weight balance and handle well which makes them great grip/track driving micro rc cars but no so good for drifting. First of all let's address the wheels - the stock tyres have too much traction so we need to swap these out for a set that have much less. Rather than messing about with trying to put PVC piping over the stock wheels you can change them out for a set of bold on aluminium drift wheels cheaply and easily with this part: Metal PO Fitting Wheels Hub Rims Tires with Drift Tire For Wltoys 1/28.
These are a direct bolt on replacement with the stock wheels and look to be a good fit and finish. They machined alumnium wheel looks great and diameter and offset look perfect but I'll let you be the judge:
Installing the gyro
The WL TOys 284131 is a small car with an understandably short wheelbase and so it is very twitchy which makes it very difficult to hold a drift. The easiest fix here is to fit a gryo which assists you in counter steering, making it easier to hold a smooth and accurate drift. Typically we find these with aftermarket radio gear like the FS-GT5 and Dumbo RC X6 but since I wanted to keep the stock electronics in this car I opted for a piggyback system that intercepts the steering signal from receiver to servo and adds a tunable level of counter steer. For this job I chose the very small and well made AFRC GYS-2 V3 Upgraded Drift RC Car DIY Gyro For Mini Z as there is very little space available, particularly with the 284131 body. Note, if this is not available, this alternative gyro from WPL looks compact and well priced.
Unlike many other installs I have seen on top of the rear tray of the body, I managed to fit mine neatly on top of the rear bumper/diffuser as you can see below. I chose to make my own cables by splicing in the connectors that came with the gyro and the surprisingly long servo cable that was coiled up in the car.
Improving the steering lock
Now we have the ability to sustain traction loss with drift wheels and some help with corrective contersteer from the gyro, we need more steering lock for tighter and more responsive drifting. At first this looks like an easy fix - simply move the screw holding the steering bar to the servo horn to the outer most position for more throw as the steering geometry has plently of allowance for more lock. Easy right? No. Infuriatingly, the outer hole is too big for the stock screw.
In order to solve this issue I removed the metal ball from the steering bar at the servo end and drilled it out to 2mm using a 2mm drill bit very carefully in a vice. Then I took a 6mm long m2 screw and screwed it into the outer-most hold of the stock servo horn after reaming out the hole slightly to allow the new m2 screw to take. Instantly we have more steering.
Please note that there is more lock available but to take advantage of this you would need an aftermarket radio ideally with end point adjustment for steering although you could get away with steering dual rate. You may also need a replacement servo that has a longer throw.
Review of the drift 284131
The stock 284131 is a really well balanced little car that is very predictable to drive. These mods that I have made here has made turned the good "grip" car into a good "drift" car. Handling is really predictable with the gyro and extra lock in place which makes it a great learner. Furthermore the cars is very durable meaning bumps and knocks are easily managed with little to no damage to show. As your skills improve you can wind the gyro gain up or down to change the feel and give yourself more control.
One of the most overlooked factors when you set up a drift car that is based on a grip car is the appearance and thankfully the low-slung hoonitruck/infraction looks manages this perfectly, right down to the big, flush arches that show off these solid aluminium wheels.
Ken Block's 1/1 Hoonitruck
I'll admit adding $40 worth of parts to a $60 car seems odd but it does really help turn this cool little car into something quite different and remember, this gyro can be move to any car that uses a 3 wire servo. I do consider this a really useful little mod and if I had my chance again I would do this or a more expensive radio gyro upgrade every time.
Parts used in this build
If you are looking for a discount on this car, I will post any coupon codes or flash sales for it over here on my coupons and discounts page. Remember buying from any of these links supports my page without any cost to you and is appreciated especially since I don't ask for money via patreon and the like. If you want to get involved in this discussion, feel free to join the QuadifyRC Facebook Group Here or like my page below.