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De-track issue on HL Panzer III and Stug III

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  • De-track issue on HL Panzer III and Stug III

    Don't know if this was done and posted before; here is how I approach the de-tracking problem on my Panzer III and Stug III. I put these 4 washers between the 2 piece idlers to widen the space for the teeth of the track to slide through better. Hope this helps :-)

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  • #2
    Normally the de-tracking issue is due to the idler wheel axis leaning in towards the front of the tank. Or when you turn hard enough that the track guide teeth start to hit on the edge of the idler wheel and climb up and out.

    Tracks always put tension on the drive sprocket and the idler, even when sitting still. The mass of the tracks and tension applied by the suspension pulls both towards each other.
    The problem usually occurs with plastic hull tanks over time. The screw holding the idler gets loose, or the idler mount at the hull cracks/flexes causing the idler to lean forwards.
    Track tension systems (Henntec, or others), replace the older idler mounts with more rigid versions and in some cases install a torque bar between the left and right sides helping to reduce flex on the hull mounts that the idler in installed on.

    For the Panzer III & Stug III, there is an aftermarket idler adjuster available that is meant for non-threaded idler mounting axles.
    Mato 1:16 Panzer III / Stug III Tank Metal Track Tensioners - Welcome to Mato Toys (

    I actually think that adding more space between the inner edges of the idler will make it worse for throwing tracks. But I would love to be proved wrong. (I have not put anything into my PZ III or my Stug III yet...)


    • #3
      The only times I've ever really had de-tracking issues on the PZ III platform was due to loose tracks (or if a road wheel came apart) Jarlath mentioned, the aftermarket tensioner from Mato or Taigen works great. I've installed quite a few of those for myself or other club members and never had any issues with de-tracking. Have had to shim plenty of other HL models with washer though to get them to run properly...some models are more finicky than others.


      • #4
        I installed the metal Mato tensioners on my HL plastic hull. There were a few places I had to grind them to fit right so they did not hit the metal track, had to grind off plastic in certain spots, and had to adjust the spacing with more grinding as they made the idler stick out too far. Once blue loctite'd the tracks have stayed tensioned pretty well. They were definitely not a drop in replacement on the early PZ3 chassis I have. I used the metal ones because the plastic adjusters did make the idler lean outward. The metal ones fixed that issue.


        • #5
          I've installed quite a few of the Taigen adjusters, have to cut off the molded in idler mounts, a little grind with the dremel and drill the plastic hull to fit, but you have to use the Taigen idlers as well, but they run perfect. The mato ones look similar but must be a little different. The taigen ones definitely take a little work to fit since the are technically deigned for their hull, but once done they work fantastic with no alignment issues (using their ball bearing idlers).