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«The Bando has been carefully designed with safety in mind. Some areas of the car are designed to “crush” and absorb energy in an impact. This ...»

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Bandolero Byers Guide

A Guide to Bando Basics and Inspection

The Cars

The Bando has been carefully designed with safety in mind. Some

areas of the car are designed to “crush” and absorb energy in an

impact. This “crush” also makes the cars somewhat fragile. Be

prepared to repair/replace body panels, bumpers, frame horns and

occasionally a front or rear clip. If necessary the entire rear frame

behind the drivers compartment can be replaced. The front frame

area, aprox 2 feet forward of the front bumper can also be replaced.

These repairs are not nearly as scary as they sound.

The cars are so low it makes them a knee doctor’s best friend. Some sort of jack, stand, table or cart makes will save your back and knees while working on the car. In the tools section several options are described.


The heart of the car is a sturdy tubular roll cage fully enclosing the driver. The driver is secured in the car by a 5 point shoulder harness.

SEAT Older cars were fitted with an aluminum seat with cloth padding. Newer cars are factory fitted with a Richardson aluminum seat. The Richardson seat offers more support. A helmet support can be added to the seat.

Seats come in dirrerent sizes and can be mounted to accommodate any size driver.

Many racers opt for added support offered by a custom seat. The most popular custom fitted seat is made by Randy Lajoie’s company, “The Joie of Seating”. Lajoie has an excellent seat trade up program to insure a properly fitting seat as your youngster grows. Details are available on Randy’s web site, www.joieofseating.com.


A NEX approved 5 point shoulder harness and lap belt assembly is required. Belts and harnesses have a sewn in patch indicating the manufacture date. It is recommended but not required that the manufacture date be within two years. The replacement cost is about $90.00. Be certain to follow manufacturers mounting instructions and that secure mounting tabs are utilized.


The steering box is a rack and pinion supplied by 600 Racing. It is engraved “600” and may not be altered. No ratio changing devices are allowed. The tie rods are aluminum tubing and 3/8” heim joints for toe in adjustments. The heims are to be those supplied by 600 only. I suspect they want to keep “soft” heim joints on the cars so they will break before something upstream gets damaged.

The accelerator and brake pedals are mounted on chassis tubing allowing for adjustment for a drivers size. An extended pedal is also available from 600 racing.


Again only wheels and tires supplied by 600 are allowed. The wheels are 10” diameter and 6” wide. The tires are 7” wide and 17” diameter.

Tires are all the same compound and size. “Treating,” “doping,” or “prepping” tires with chemicals is prohibited. Tires must be 58 or harder (larger number) when tested with a durometer.

Cutting tires is the process of reducing the amount of tread on the tire.

Tires may also be cut to a custom shape or angle across the tread.

The word is that cutting tires actually increases tire life. Non cut tires develop more heat than cut tires and the rubber hardens. It seems the tire hardens before the tread wears out if they are not cut. One set of tires lasts the average racer a season or more.


Actually there is no suspension but the castor, camber, toe in and king pin inclination are adjustable. Invest in a caster/camber gage for accurately making and documenting changes. Toe in and chassis squaring and toe in are important adjustments that can be measured many ways.

One quick and accurate way is the squaring tool available from www.BandoStuff.com. Much of the cars handling charistics are dependent on the castor, camber and toe in settings. Each track will have it’s own character to dictate the most advantages “setup.” Most racers will share information for a starting point at your local track.

Don’t be surprised to find everyone helpful and usually honest until you become competitive. Not to worry, as your cars performance improves you usually have the basics figured out, need less advice and are on your way to sharing basic information to newcomers yourself.


The Business End! The rear axle is a solid piece of 1 1/4” tubing notched with keyways for the wheel hubs, brake rotor and Sprocket gear hub.

The shocks are non adjustable Bilstein coilovers. There is only one model available, no valving choices or changes.

Older cars came with Carreras but by rule only the Bilsteins are allowed now.

The springs are available in different spring rates to facilitate chassis tuning for track formats and conditions.

Radius Arms connect to bearing carriers that house the axle. The wheelbase and axle lead (one side of the axle ahead of the other) may be adjusted by changing the length of the radius rods. Keep a spare axle on hand as they tend to get bent occasionally.


–  –  –

CLUTCH The Bando uses a centrificial clutch. A centrificial clutch is disengaged at idle and engages with increased engine speed. The weight of the rotating parts and spring tension controls the engine speed required to engage the clutch. If the clutch engages at to low of an RPM the engine will”bog”. Engagement at to high RPM may cause the clutch to slip during corning overheating the clutch and sacrificing acceleration.

Different tension springs are available from 600 racing. Spring tension is identified by color.


This fuel system is incredibly simple. The cars run on normal gasoline stored in a plastic fuel cell. Gas flows to an inline filter and to a fuel pump driven by vacuum pulses from the crankcase (valve cover fitting) or from the intake manifold. Then it is off to the carburetor and into the engine. The capacity is 1.5 gallons.


Bandos use an electric starter. A 12v battery, the type commonly used in garden tractors and small implements is used. The engine does have a charging system although it has limited charging capacity.

Be sure to keep a fresh battery in the car and charge it fully before each race. There is nothing worse than a fast car that won’t start for the main event.

The ignition system is simple and self contained. A “Rev Limiter” is installed and mandatory. It will limit the engine to 5600 RPM. If optional gauges are installed, they are electrically powered.

BRAKES Simple again. There is a reservoir, master cylinder, plastic tubing and a two piston caliper. Older cars have a rectangular reservoir and newer cars have a very small round reservoir. Updating to the small reservoir will save some space and eliminate some supply hose. Brake pads are easily replaced.


–  –  –

New cars are only sold through a network of INEX dealers. Prices are very similar between dealers. There is no t a large markup in these cars so don’t expect a “deep discount”.

Always compare the cost of a new car against the purchase price, plus repairs/upgrades of a used car.

Used Cars Make a thorough inspection when buying a used Bando. Plan to spend several hours on a complete inspection. After a complete inspection calculate the cost of repairing or replacing suspect items to bring the car to “new condition” Now you can review your squawk list to see which items are major and which items you can overlook. You can’t judge a Bando by it’s body! Body parts are inexpensive compared to getting a car home and finding you have bent chassis and/or bent or damaged suspension pieces. Make sure the updates are completed or calculated into your final cost. Use the “Bando Buying Checklist” included to help you on the inspection, comparison, and negation stages of your purchase.

Used cars will often have spare parts included. Analyze these parts carefully and attach a value to them. Often the extra bumpers and body panels aren’t worth much, if anything at all. By the time you repair a body part and prepare it for paint, it you could have bought a new one and saved yourself time and trouble. Engines, clutches and suspension parts are another story. These parts can be handy to have on hand and when new, or in good condition, will always have value.

The following photos and explanations should help you to compare used Bandos against each other, and against a new car. You may be surprised how close the prices can be.

Required Updates Over the years there have been several updates to these cars. Some are mandatory, others are optional. For someone who can do light fabricating and welding these updates are not expensive or complicated. If you don’t know such a person you should find someone. Repairs and parts replacement will be necessary from time to time.

–  –  –

First let’s take an overall look at the body. Don’t be concerned if it is not pretty or has cracks. The cracks can usually be repaired or the panels replaced easily. Cracks do however lead you to areas that may require a more intense inspection of the body and chassis.

Nose and tail body sections are mounted with quarter turn “Dzus Fasteners”. The holes for these fasteners and spring retainers take a beating. The nose and tail will commonly be removed several times each race. Any contact with other cars or the wall will often tear the fiberglass around the fasteners. If the fiberglass is torn the area can be repaired or reinforced with aluminum plate.

Some racers will mount their nose and tail sections with hood pins. Check with your track technical inspector to see if this is allowed. Some tracks interoperate rules differently. While your talking with them check on their view of roof hinges.

Some technical inspectors allow most any hinges and some require original hinges.

Roof Retention Some use Bungy cords or snap locks rather than the original snap latches.

Bungy Cords may sound cheap or corney, but it works well. If a car spins the air gets under the roof. Often the roof opens not only creating a visibility problem but may damage the roof and/or the windshield.

Next remove all the body panels. Be sure to remove the doors so you can see behind them clearly. Many cars have been T-Boned and unless you look behind the doors you probably wouldn’t find out until you get home…….. don’t ask me how I now.

If a car has been T-Boned, it doesn’t automatically make it a bad car, but it may be a negotiating point for getting that best price!

Front & Rear Bumper Check for straightness and mounting. These take a beating and plan on replacing several.

Chassis Now we are getting to the good stuff! Take an overall walk around the car looking for obvious misalignment and repairs. Repairs aren’t necessarily bad if done correctly. If there is a sub-standard repair consider the time and cost to redo it properly.

Look for tubes to be straight and symmetrical.

Bumper Horns Front & Rear

–  –  –

Rear Frame & Bumper Horns The bumper horns take a beating. Straightening or replacing them is usually not a big job or cause for concern. At some point all bumper horns will have been straightened or replaced.....nature of the beast!

I know they look flimsy but that is not a bad thing. The bumper horns absorb a lot of energy in an impact and will often save worse damage upstream.

When it comes to bumper horns, you can see the good, the bad and the ugly! Sooner or later all Bandos will have these replaced. The

only questions are:

Can you tell?

Straightened or replaced?

Good Welding or bad?

Are they properly placed?

This Bumper Horn is not pretty! The good news here is that the vertical tubing appears to be straight and sound. Replacing the bumper horns on this car would not be a big problem.

Chassis Front Inspect the front of the Chassis. Look for things to be straight, true and symmeltrical.

–  –  –

Roll Cage:

Straight? Is the top of the roll cage parallel to the bottom of the frame? Are the sides of the cage symmetrical?

Halo Bars:

Are there two bars front to rear under the roof flap? There is also a smaller diagonal brace that aligns with each bar and attaches to the windshield cage pillar. If these bars are not present, they must be added.

Cameron Bars:

Check for two diagonal bars in the foot area of the drivers compartment. They are called Cameron bars. If These are not present, they must be added. They are easy to add.

Steering box support:

If the steering support is not there it is easily fabricated and installed.

A short piece of ¾ square tubing and a welder and your in business!

Brake & Gas Pedals INEX makes a standard and an extended brake and gas pedal.

Floor Check the entire floor for buckling, security and corrosion.

Buckling will be caused by a hard impact.

A little light rust is OK, but some floors can be rusted through. If the floor is badly rusted other chassis structure will most likely be weakened also. If the floor is rusted, look carefully!


–  –  –

Many racers opt for added support offered by a custom seat. The most popular custom fitted seat is made by Randy Lajoie’s company, “The Joie of Seating.” The Lajoe seat coats around $750.00 and is a huge upgrade in terms of safety. The LaJoie seat contains the driver by supporting the shoulders and head. Check with Lajoie on seat sizing and seat re-fit programs.

www.thejoieofseating.com Shoulder Harness

–  –  –

Shock Mounting Spuds-Upper These can be bent or cracked at the attach point.

Older cars have the spuds butt welded onto the tubing while newer cars have spuds that are fit through the tubing and welded on both sides.

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