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ThunderDragonCy

Thunder's Accidental TA04S

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As usual, a bit of background. As I'm sure you're all bored of hearing, I dabble in a bit of Iconic Tamiya racing. I had bought a TA02 to get into shape for that, but the continuing lack of the rere high speed gearset and just generally finding it a little frustrating led to some wine fuelled browsing of ebay for other options. I nearly sprang for a TA03 before realising (once sober) that it would be almost impossible to modify to fit my square lipos for racing. I always thought TA04's were very rare, but just out of interest I put a search and a few turned up on sale, and plenty of spares seemed to be around. @Juhunio wonderful build had also piqued my interest. So, when the seller of this sent me an offer at 20% off the advertised price, I smashed it on the credit card. Because I'm weak willed. And wine. So, here it is:

 

Tamiya TA04S

 

Tamiya TA04S Tamiya TA04S

The body is absolutely lovely, so I'm not sure whether to sell it or race it. Getting a BTCC shell off L and L will run me £50 including paint, so unless this shell is worth serious money, I might just have to smash it up at the track. Sorry.

The kit seems to be a straight TA04S, with a couple of minor upgrades. It's got 0.4mod TRF414 gearing, and alloy servo posts. Front shafts are still dog bones, but I have some universals from my TT01E that should fit. 

Tamiya TA04S Tamiya TA04S

It's also got these rather lovely alloy wheel hexes

Tamiya TA04S

All seems very smooth, with bearings throughout. The stock gear diffs are in, and the rear seems stiffer than the front so I'll have to pop that open and see what's going on there. As a little bonus it also came with this:

Tamiya TA04S

So I can put a ball diff in should I so wish. 

No idea what spec the blue springs are. It's also got a sport tuned motor in it, which is pretty nice bonus too. 

Currently plan is to get it setup at a proper ride height on some race wheels, check the cambers then give it a run. I'll rob the nice race servo out of my TA02 and I've got a spare ESC I can chuck in. Once I know what I'm dealing with I'll get tweaking. I have some M-Chassis TRF shocks, but they are 50mm not 55mm so I don't know if they'll fit. I found a rear stabilizer kit for a good price so I've ordered that. Once I know what I want to do with the handling I'll maybe get a front kit too. I'm pretty sure with some modified servo posts I could rig up something approximating the rear, top deck mounted racing front stabilizer set from parts I have spare. 

The only other point of business is a new spur gear. I wasn't expected the 04mod gears, and the supplied parts give me a pretty tall 4.98 gear. I've got a 48dp RW Racing spur on order to run with my stock of 32-38t pinions which should gear it a little higher and also give me options from my spares box. 

I'm excited!

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:wub: You got yourself a beauty here!

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TA-04 is absolutely a thing of beauty.    Now that Kyosho re-released the Optima mid, the TA-04 seems the most appropriate response from Tamiya if they were to consider a re-re.

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@ThunderDragonCy What a happy accident! When I (re)built my SS it struck me what a great value kit it must have been straight out of the box, with adjustable arms, tie rods, CVAs, metal drive shafts and full ball bearings as standard. The 04 mod spur / pinion combo is standard too. Bonus to get the servo posts thrown in, and those little hexes are a bit different, not seen them before! 

I can count the number of Japanese car body shells I like on 3 fingers, so I would sell it. I bought a TA07 off a member here a while back that came with a beautifully finished Pro Autech Motel GTR shell and rims which I was able to sell and offset against the project cost. Certainly softens the blow!

Looking forward to following what you do with this 👍

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Looks like a really nice purchase and a great vintage race car.  I've never had an 04, always regretted not buying the SS MR-S version when they were cheap.  I'm assuming the S means short wheel base?  I love that L&L are now reproducing more of the shorter touring bodies.  I know standard length makes it easier and cheaper but I still think there's something wrong when a Civic is the same length as a Mercedes.

I'm sure you'll have fun racing it :)

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24 minutes ago, Mad Ax said:

Looks like a really nice purchase and a great vintage race car.  I've never had an 04, always regretted not buying the SS MR-S version when they were cheap.  I'm assuming the S means short wheel base?  I love that L&L are now reproducing more of the shorter touring bodies.  I know standard length makes it easier and cheaper but I still think there's something wrong when a Civic is the same length as a Mercedes.

I'm sure you'll have fun racing it :)

I think the ‘S’ just stood for ‘special’ or ‘sport’ or something, with the bearings and turnbuckles an included upgrade over the standard kit. The ‘SS’ was the short wheelbase version, which in my case came with an Audi TT DTM shell 👌

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I had some little hexes like that. They get stuck in the wheels very easily :angry:.

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15 hours ago, ThunderDragonCy said:

 

 

15 hours ago, ThunderDragonCy said:

 

 

It's also got these rather lovely alloy wheel hexes

Tamiya TA04S

 

 

They are probably the 49120 hex's

Nice but a bit fiddly to take on and off.

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2 hours ago, Juhunio said:

@ThunderDragonCy What a happy accident! When I (re)built my SS it struck me what a great value kit it must have been straight out of the box, with adjustable arms, tie rods, CVAs, metal drive shafts and full ball bearings as standard. The 04 mod spur / pinion combo is standard too. Bonus to get the servo posts thrown in, and those little hexes are a bit different, not seen them before! 

I can count the number of Japanese car body shells I like on 3 fingers, so I would sell it. I bought a TA07 off a member here a while back that came with a beautifully finished Pro Autech Motel GTR shell and rims which I was able to sell and offset against the project cost. Certainly softens the blow!

Looking forward to following what you do with this 👍

Thanks. It is a great value kit. Very little to be concerned about. I will sell the GTR shell. I have popped it on the sales forum and we will see. Otherwise it'll be on the 'bay at the weekend. 

2 hours ago, Mad Ax said:

Looks like a really nice purchase and a great vintage race car.  I've never had an 04, always regretted not buying the SS MR-S version when they were cheap.  I'm assuming the S means short wheel base?  I love that L&L are now reproducing more of the shorter touring bodies.  I know standard length makes it easier and cheaper but I still think there's something wrong when a Civic is the same length as a Mercedes.

I'm sure you'll have fun racing it :)

As @Juhunio says, S is for Sport or something. It's 257 wb, so current thinking is a 406 Halleroder from the German STW Cup in the 90s. Yellow will look good with a few of my clubs red/black stickers too. 

 

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First hop up arrived.

20220106_134343

I had a look at the front and I'm pretty sure I can fit the FF03 front bars using various ball nuts and adjuster ends. First I am going to drive it without though. See how it goes.

I spent a few minutes swapping the front and rear diffs. The rear feels stiff like it's got grease in it, but the front was very free. They're both the kit gear diffs. I swapped them over as that is the more usual way to set up a car. I also found the long 14mm screw that hold the front of the top deck and blukhead to the deck were threaded because there's only about 2 threads engaged. I ran my thread forming tool through it and replaced with M3 x 20 proper screws. Much better.

I also decided that rather than run with mystery spring/damper combo I ought to at least start with something I know, so I put the long eyelets off the V parts CVA trees onto my 54000 M Chassis dampers, put the medium soft rear and medium hard front springs from the Short Spring Set 2, and installed. All feels much better. Softer and smoother, and both ends have a bit of droop at 6mm ride height. 

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Final little thing was to see if I could fit a fan, which just about goes on with the MR33 bracket

2022-01-06_02-12-58

It snowed this afternoon, so no street running to have a quick go unfortunately.

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20220108_201235.thumb.jpg.6cc8cfbd00e59b4e8d7f23b17d84181a.jpg

Raced. Managed to find a free Saturday night so went racing indoors on carpet. Indoor season for the first time since covid. I have never really got on with racing on carpet indoors. Because it's temporary in a sports hall, there is no chance to test and get the car set up. So it proved tonight. New Saxo shell on my front wheel drive FF03 looked the part, but for some reason the car was ridiculously oversteery. Tried a few things with the tyres over three races, but it never got great. For the final race I chucked down my TA04 with some new 28 tyres that needed scrubbing in. I found by drilling out the foam retainer on the bumper I could put bumper body mounts, so the mondeo shell off my TB03R fitted. No GTRs were harmed!

It was a little slidey, but balanced and much more fun, so a good end to the night.Its only running a sport tuned and a spare TBLE02S, but my 48dp spur gear arrived yesterday morning so it's running a vaguely appropriate 5.75 fdr now. The 04mod kit it arrived with is 4.98. The only other tweak was putting hard front springs and medium rear, and dropping it to 4mm ride height. It wasn't particularly fast, which helped the handling, but even with the stiff springs I could see it rolling, despite the relatively low grip from the tyres. Definitely need to add the anti roll bars. 

Still, very much looking forward to spring time and outdoors on tarmac where I can a) test a bit and b) just put a car down and run it without any of this tyre additive voodoo that seems to be required inside.

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I’ve never got on with additive, seems counterproductive to race on a surface that needs you to add a substance that crarea grip to umm, rubber tyres…which should grip.  Only then for the game to change each round as the carpet picks up additive etc….so frustrating.  
Car looks ace though. :)

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Anti roll bars. Firstly I want to say that I really hope I guessed right with the choices, because you have to half dis-assemble the car to get them off again!

Rear. Dedicated TA04 kit 53442. The bars are incredibly thin compared to what I'm used to with the TA06, FF03 and TB03 sets I have, so I went medium which measured 1.1mm thick.

Tamiya TA04

According to the manual, the dropper links are moulded plastic parts on the M parts tree. They were actually included with the car still on the sprue, but they're horribly flexy. I measured them at about 20mm centres, and build some proper dropper links out of short CVA shock eyelets, TRF open medium adjusters and M3x12 grub screws. Much better!

Tamiya TA04

On the front, it is SUCH a tight fit on the regular anti roll bar. No wonder the Racing kit went above the arms and mounted to the top deck. I don't have the TA04 kit, but the medium FF03 front bar fitted perfectly. This is 1.4mm thick FYI. The space is so tight I couldn't make droppers again so had to use the kit plastic parts, but they're so short I can't imagine any flex will be an issue with them. I used some spare flourine coated ends for the bar.

Tamiya TA04

TIGHT

Tamiya TA04

That little dropper part

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I moved the suspension through it's full travel, and despite not being the bar designed for it, amazingly it all clears and is free moving. Winner! 

Seeing as I had the entire top deck and front end off (and given that it had proven to be nice to drive so it's a keeper for now) I took the opportunity to make some mods to the tub to improve it.

Firstly running the servo wire between the top deck and belt just seemed frought with danger. There's really no good routing option, so I made one. A pilot hole and an 8mm drill bit later, and we have a lovely safe way to route wire from one side of the tub to the other.

Tamiya TA04

And whilst I was chopping bits of plastic about, I got the dremel out and whipped off the ribs in the battery compartment ready for my short lipos. My square regular packs are too long, but the shorties fit lovely right between the battery retainers. 

Tamiya TA04

 

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Weather was a little warmer today (8 deg so not hot!) and a little damp, but it was quiet and I wanted to run my car to see how the anti roll bars felt. I popped my old Ride cut slicks on and ran it with a shorty lipo which fitted perfectly in the centre of the battery tray with the ribs removed. Just needed a couple of small chunks of battery foam to hold it snug. 

I raised the ride height to 6mm and stuck with the Mondeo shell. Running was uneventful. It was slippery, but balance was good and there was enough grip for it to be fun and not frustrating. Pleasingly the anti roll bars don't seem to have drastically changed anything with how the cad feels, and it was nice just to run a car. There has been very little of that recently. I checked it over and despite the super close clearances, the roll bars were unmarked so they work and don't catch. Winner! 

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On 1/10/2022 at 5:28 PM, ThunderDragonCy said:

Firstly running the servo wire between the top deck and belt just seemed frought with danger. There's really no good routing option, so I made one. A pilot hole and an 8mm drill bit later, and we have a lovely safe way to route wire from one side of the tub to the other.

Tamiya TA04

 

Nice! I’m ‘borrowing’ that 👍

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First little hop up. After @Juhunio awesome part number nerding on his excellent build thread, I spotted these TB EVO III toe in hard rear uprights on ebay and I knew they would fit. Although the chassis has some toe in, according to the TA04 group on FB these 2 deg uprights add a little more. Should help keep the rear end calm.

20220201_175829

I took the opportunity to add some shims to the axles to remove some play whilst they were out. Although broadly the same shape, the upper arm ball mount is taller and slightly more inboard. This means a shorter camber link with high mounting which both raise the roll centre for less roll. Here is the new one on the left, original right

20220201_193926

However, even set to shortest the upper link barely gave any camber on the wheel. So, I whipped off the shock tower and moved the inner ball inboard one hole. This brought the camber links back to about the length they were before with plenty of adjustment. 

20220201_200354

Who knows when I'll get to run it, but they look trick and it can't be worse! 

 

 

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2 hours ago, ThunderDragonCy said:

First little hop up. After @Juhunio awesome part number nerding on his excellent build thread, I spotted these TB EVO III toe in hard rear uprights on ebay and I knew they would fit. Although the chassis has some toe in, according to the TA04 group on FB these 2 deg uprights add a little more. Should help keep the rear end calm.

See, I KNEW the geekery would be worth it 🤓

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On 1/4/2022 at 7:12 PM, ThunderDragonCy said:


@Juhunio wonderful build had also piqued my interest.

@Juhunio build was also my trigger to look indirectly for a TA04 chassis. Especially all these alloy parts :wub:

When I bought my Dyna Blaster four weeks ago, the same seller offers also a TRF414M which shares many parts with the TA04. And there are also a lot of hop up parts for the TA04 included. So I made a cheeky offer and now I have the chassis…

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I am blaming this on @wtcc5, but I really like the quirky look of the double camber link option on these. I picked up some TRF414 c hubs, and had a quick check of the TA04R manual and got some basic 32mm turnbuckles to match the rest of the spec.

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Luckily had a pair of 9mm thread ball screws which are perfect for replacing the screws through the upper deck to the steering posts

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Unfortunately I didn't study the TA04R manual closely enough, because the only spare adjusters I have are these medium length TRF reinforced versions, which are 4mm per end shorter than the kit parts. I had this 42mm turnbuckle leftover from my TA06, but the other one got bent when racing, so I don't have a pair. I also didn't notice these need the ball stud kingpin. The TA04 uprights have a separate kingpin and ballstud. So, ordered some of those (51104 number nerds). So, I had a proper look at the manual and also had to move the inner ball stud for the regular camber links and open them out by 5mm too.

20220212_173231

I had another 42mm turnbuckle in blue so I put it together for now and will wait on the kingpins. I have a think whether to get new adjusters or another 42mm turnbuckle. 

Always read the manual! 

Anyway, noticed the TA04R has the upgrade rear uprights too, just like I got the other week, so that should be nice and balanced. Hopefully. 

 

 

 

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Everything arrived, but it's not ended up quite matchy matchy. The low friction adjusters turned out to be grey, but that's not the end of the world. Because the camber links are much longer (11mm between adjusters rather than 6.5mm on the kit), I was bit concerned about how many threads would be left in the adjusters with the 18mm turnbuckle. I had these 21mm yeah racing turnbuckles in the spares so they went on. 

The ball ended kingpins were binding when fully tight, so guess they aren't exactly the same as the TRF414. Still, half a turn out got it all free moving. 

The TA04R kit settings are 11mm gap on the main camber links and 21mm on the angled ones, but this gives almost no camber. I have done them up to 10mm/20mm, and the camber is around - 1 deg, and still moves freely without the dampers attached. Calling that a win. I might get some matching bits at some point, but this is fine and it looks cool. 

20220215_200324.jpg

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Day off today, so had a bit of a tinker with the TA04. I got into the Eagle Racing Lightweight Ball Diff set that came with the car, but once I got into the instructions I realised it required the original ball diff to use parts from. The diff plates in particular proved very hard to find. However a bit of part number nerding found that the TA04 ball diff parts formed the basis of all onroad ball diffs for years after. I have a spare ball diff out of my TB03, so I stripped it and what do you know? All the part fit! 

Tamiya TA04S with Eagle Racing ball diff

I reused everything from the TB03 diff except the balls. They looked fine, but the Eagle Racing kit came with some news ones so I used those to make sure they were the right size.

Tamiya TA04S with Eagle Racing ball diff

Add the 1510 bearings and the plastic collars stop the driveshafts plunging in too far. 

Tamiya TA04S with Eagle Racing ball diff

Minimal. And a very loose fit in the tub bearing housings, but oddly all the play went once the top was fitted. Odd. 

Tamiya TA04S with Eagle Racing ball diff

So minimalist. And so light. It's less than 1/3 the weight of the kit gear diff! 

And the other end in an unusual fit of colour annoyance on my part, I pulled apart two other cars to get some of the reinforced TRF black adjusters the same length as the grey ones. I swapped the grey ones onto the other cars and now have at least both camber links with black bits

20220217_152922

Hoping to race on Saturday. Should be fun seeing if all this tinkering works! 

 

 

 

 

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Day off during a storm. Not a lot to do but muck about on CAD. After much measuring and testing against paper prints, I have modelled up a TA04 heat sink motor plate. 

1299168539_TA04HeatSinkMotorPlateV2.thumb.JPG.b7a5cfc8491227113debbba5d7f657e2.JPG

I've sent the model to Custom RC Parts on Facebook to see if he's interested in making a short run of them. They're almost impossible to find these days, so I reckon there's probably a small market for some.

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More hop ups! My Shapeways shop commission came through so I immediately blew it all on hop ups. 

20220219_132627

Carbon top deck is fairly obvious. The TRF418 reinforced knuckles are a guess, but since I put the TRF414 c hubs on the TA04 knuckles seem a little tight and bind a little unless the kingpin isn't quite tightened down. The stabilizer bits are to see if I can tidy up the dropper links, and the 28mm turnbuckles are to finally make the front links match! 

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I had to trim the end of the bar slightly and put a 3mm spacer on a slightly longer screw on the arm but it all fits and it all looks much better IMO. 

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It is a little hard to see but the TA04 knuckles are handed and asymmetrical. The boss is a little taller on the left knuckle by 1mm. So, the TRF418 will fit with same axle height with a 1mm spacer under it in the C hub. 

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This is all back together, with the new camber link with matching adjusters.

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The TRF418 knuckles are 1-2mm narrower than the TA04 versions so I fitted 7mm wide hexss to maintain track width. 

The top deck requires a few of the kit plastic parts (K and M trees) which I don't have, so I improvised. Some shims and 850 bronze bushings

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And all fitted

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I have left the tensioner off because the belt seems good and I don't have the mounting. I mounted the aerial tube with a bolt

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Off racing. More tomorrow 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Raced. Decided (correctly as it turned out) that I would run my battered race shell the better to bounce off boards

20220219_181602

Track was set unbelievably tight, which made it tricky for a 10th scale. 

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I used some other additive I have which did work better but I definitely didn't have a lot of grip. Unfortunately I was also in with some fast 17.5TCs because there were only 5 of us. The balance was OK but I was Co stantly having to jump out the way of very fast cads, which resulted in a wall whack that put me out

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Sub-optimal! 

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Old plastic steering arms cracked. Shame, but that's how it goes. I ran my TB03R for another couple of rounds but even that was frustrating, and I couldn't dial in enough steering lock for the tight track I baled early. 

As for plans, the aluminium steering arms are available nowhere, so my options are model up some chunkier plastic arms (which I have done on my FF01) and 3D print, or see if something might work. I asked @wtcc5 to measure the TT02 long arm steering parts as I think with a different arrangement of the parts it could work if they are the right lengths. We'll see, but for now this is being tucked up until outdoor season starts. 

 

 

 

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