How to fix a DX4C Spectrum radio steering spring
It happened twice. The first time my steering return spring broke in my radio, I lost control of my nitro buggy and clipped a post. Practically folded my tune pipe in half but was able to hammer out the crease pretty well. I was driving and felt a little click in my steering and the return spring was gone, very difficult to drive without the return functionality.
The second time it happened, I took my truck to work to show it off one day. All went well till I went to drive it home. I got it to the sidewalk and…Click! The spring popped again. Both times it happened on the factory bend in the spring.
That being said, I really do love this radio. I have several cars programmed into it with more on the way no doubt. This is a well made, great product and the only hiccup it has given me is this spring issue. I would buy another one, in fact it will most likely be the DX4S. Spectrum can’t be blamed for the spring braking, they probably didn’t fabricate it. My radio is now way beyond warrantee so I dove in there and made the fix myself instead of shipping it out.
I opened ‘er up, gutted it and bent some fresh ends and hooked the spring back up. Now it is feeling like a champ and I am confident it won’t be an issue. I was careful not to bend the spring on a hard angle like the factory that makes them did. These little springs are obviously quite material sensitive. I lowered the tension adjustment screw as low as it goes and now it feels great. Hopefully it lasts.
Here is how I went about fixing it.
First, take out the batteries.
Next take off the cover on the centre of the steering wheel and undo the screw to remove it; it pulls of with minimal force.
Then peel off the rubber grip pieces.
You will have to cut and expose 2 screws hidden behind 2 of the stickers. if you aren’t comfortable with doing this, I recommend sending your radio to Horizon Hobbies Service Centre, I am sure they would be happy to fix it for you, they provide excellent service but they will have to cut the stickers too. It is really not a big deal and I have saved you the trouble of hunting them down, scratching up and ruining the sticker. I used a pen knife to cut the perimeter nicely. This is your best chance to keep it looking good when done.
Once that’s done, undo all 10 screws, this should allow the body case to come apart. There are quite a few screws. Put them aside. It is a good idea to put them into a container for safe keeping.
Once apart, locate the broken spring. It is probably loose inside there somewhere. Put it aside for the moment. If it is gone you really should send it in for service or track down an prorate spring from Springs ‘R’ Us…they don’t exist but someone to there makes these little guys.
There are 2 screws that need to be undone to free the trigger mechanism. Keep them separate from the others as they are countersink screws, not the same as the ones used to hold the radio halves together. Once undone, it can be hung over the top of the radio out of the way. You do not need to cut any wires…yes you with the snips! Put them down.
There are 3 screws that need removing to get at the steering mechanism. Have a close look at the image they are hard to see. There is one at the bottom right and another in between the blue and green wires. The third is located at the upper right of the mechanism. It is partially hidden in this image but it is there. Again once removed keep them separate.
Once undone, the steering mechanism should just slide out of the bearing. Be careful not to rip out the wires or you will need to solder them back on. You shouldn’t need to force this part out; it is a beautifully snug fit.
Now take the spring and carefully bend two coil wraps of the broken end on a 90-ish degree angle. You could cut the other factory bent end off and re-bend your own new loop. It may save you from having to do this again like I had to.
Once you have the spring looking like this (see above image) you can hook it back on both ends of the steering mechanism. Remember, it is a spring. It wants to fly across the room and never be seen again. It is how they operate. I recommend turning the tension block to the minimum position for installation purposes. After installing the spring, adjust the block so there is just a hair of tension when the steering is in the neutral position. This will allow for the now shorter spring to feel right.
Time to do it all in reverse.
Reinstall the steering mechanism into the bearing and body housing with the three screws removed earlier. remember, you don’t have to force it in.
Now reinstall the throttle trigger with the two countersunk screws removed earlier.
Put the case back on and do up the myriad of screws.
Replace the rubber grip parts
Insert the batteries and fire it up!
It wasn’t difficult and you have just completed one of the most invasive repairs you would ever have to do on one of these radios and now you have more confidence to do other repairs like this.
Remember, someone once made this awesome radio. You can do it too!! Fix it, learn something and save your money!!