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Saito2

4WD to stand the test of time

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This was mainly just a thought experiment in my head while I was bored at work. Given one chassis out of each group of the 1st three generations of Tamiya 4WDs (aside from exotic Avante series), say a Boomerang/Super Sabre or a Thundershot or a Manta Ray, which would be the most long lived, devoid of breakages?

My personal best luck has been with the 1st generation. I don't know if I've suffered any major breakages, aside from a front knuckle on these cars. I know the arms can let go over time. Seeing @kontemax's long lived Boomerang is a thing of inspiration

The Thundershot cars are usually renowned for their durabiltiy. Despite appearing to have flimsier gearbox suspension arm attachment points on the gearcases than their older brethren, it seems only the A5, historically, is an issue. Of late on current rereleases, I've being worried about the blue suspension arms splitting and pulling free of their inner pins though. Other members are experiencing this as well.

The Manta Ray platform, while probably the best performing, has a slew of smaller issues. The plastic motor mount is a given, but others have had issues with the rear gearbox top cover lifting, breaking chassis at the front, snapping shock towers and, in my case, experiencing cracks in the front gearbox casing. On the other hand, I see @Ferruz's example in action with many enjoyable miles under its belt.

So, of the three, which would bear the slings and arrows over time the best?

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I've enjoyed seeing dozens and dozens of action shots of @Ferruz Manta from all kinds of angles with slow shutter speed to emphasize the speed (A+ for photo skills as well as RC skills).  Because of that, I have a mental image of his Manta Ray running into the next century... lol.  Sorry, I got no real answer from to draw on (my Manta hasn't seen much running. My Boomerang hasn't even been restored.)  

 

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My experience is based on the Boomerang, Fire Dragon/St Dragon and Top Force, so close enough.

All got bearings from day one. The Shots got a metal A5, and the Top Force got the metal motor mount, but also a bu ch of other things like hicaps, turnbuckles, plastic gears etc and of course being a Top Force already had the drive shaft.

In many years of running the Boomerang has been amazing. It lost a front dogbone and thats it, and this is about 6 years of running.

The Shots have the dodgy arms and have been replaced a number of times with minimal running

The Top Force has been fine, but had the most upgrades during the build.

Top Force handles the best, its night and day difference 

Boomerang is indestructible.

 

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2 hours ago, Jonathon Gillham said:

 Boomerang is indestructible.

With one to build that puts a smile on my face. I'll try not to see it as a challenge! 😉

Do you not feel the need to brace the front inboard suspension pivots left to right like on some of the others (think it's TShot cars but maybe also Hotshots as well?)? I was thinking I'd do something in that regard, kind of figuring I might as well. It looks like there's even cheap aftermarket parts available. Like these:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005006177527779.html

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005006177527779.html

I quite fancy the second one partly because it also includes the shafts. 

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5 hours ago, Juggular said:

Because of that, I have a mental image of his Manta Ray running into the next century... lol. 

I know! Right?

1 hour ago, BuggyDad said:

Do you not feel the need to brace the front inboard suspension pivots left to right like on some of the others (think it's TShot cars but maybe also Hotshots as well?)?

The Hotshots and Boomerangs use the same gearboxes/suspension mounting points. The mount points seem much more robust than the Thundershot vehicles. I have only seen one Hotshot gearcase destroyed and that was from a full speed offset collision with a very solid object.  What normally happens in the Hotshot/Boomer is premature wear in the upper inner pivots that leads to suspension slop. Tying the front of the upper pivot points together with a brace like the one linked above cuts down on that slop. The rigid suspension arms cracking (often started from cold screw pin insertion during assembly) around the inner pivot holes on these cars is far more common than gearbox damage in a wreck. Other than that, the front end's more antiquated ball-jointed suspension/steering is more wear prone (the re-res are slightly improved here) than more modern designs. Overall the first gen 4WDs have proven very tough for me personally.

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1 hour ago, Saito2 said:

I have only seen one Hotshot gearcase destroyed and that was from a full speed offset collision with a very solid object.

This is a thing that can happen with me driving, I'm afraid! 🤣

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Out of curiosity, what happens to the A5 part? (Is this what you are talking about?)

gWKS5gv.jpg

 

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5 minutes ago, Juggular said:

Out of curiosity, what happens to the A5 part? (Is this what you are talking about?)

gWKS5gv.jpg

 

The Boomerang has nothing there in front of the arms but it looks to me like it would be easy to make something to fit and unobtrusive. When I build mine I'll probably give it a go, especially since I can lose some shock mounting parts there (two front shock build) to free up space. Similar possibilities on the top arms also. 

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9 hours ago, BuggyDad said:

With one to build that puts a smile on my face. I'll try not to see it as a challenge! 😉

Do you not feel the need to brace the front inboard suspension pivots left to right like on some of the others (think it's TShot cars but maybe also Hotshots as well?)? I was thinking I'd do something in that regard, kind of figuring I might as well. It looks like there's even cheap aftermarket parts available. Like these:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005006177527779.html

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005006177527779.html

I quite fancy the second one partly because it also includes the shafts. 

I didn't do anything, not even heat the screwpins when building. This car has seen a few motors over the years but most running has been on a silvercan in the backyard.

I have 2 more put away to build later, ideally another weekend build with my son

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Glad to see that my little Manta is still hip and active enough to bear the DF-01 flagship :lol:

I have no experience whatsoever with the Hot Shot/Boomerang chassis, but I'll be happy to share my impression on the other two.

I should start by pointing out that I use them in very different ways, almost as different as the platforms are from each other.

The Manta Ray, while being my most hopped up car, also gets the roughest treatment of all, no doubt. Only the Hornet can rival her on that. I took the Manta to BMX tracks and repeatedly jumped her as high as 5-6 feet (with mixed results when it comes to landing, ahah). On snow, I'm pretty sure I flew her even higher than that. Don't worry, nothing silly or destructive à la Kevin Talbot, but all in good fun and full respect of the car. If I had to hit an off road track for modern buggies with my tame old vintage oriented fleet, it's the Manta that I would pick. You get the idea. 

Given the intense use, the car held up pretty well so far hence why not, I do see her running into the next century :D

That being said, in time I did experience almost all of the issues brough up by @Saito2, except for the front gearbox cracking. Especially since I switched to a 13.5 brushless, I had to reinforce the rear gearbox in many different ways, and same goes for the front. I now use screws twice as long as the stock ones and also devised a metal skid plate which doubles up as a structural reinforcement because yes, the front tends to just split away with intense use. I also literally lost count of how many pinions and plastic gearbox sets I went through, also for some reason the servos seem to be put to the test by this platform, as I went through a few while never needing to replace one on any other car.

Guess I can summarize the above blah blah with this: 

Manta Ray -> intense and frequent use -> lots of maintenance required, but still all within reasonable expectations.

My Terra Scorcher, on the other hand, gets treated a little better. I only jump her high when on snow or grass, and I tend to be a little more careful with her overall. This car is my go to weapon for the Postal Racing activities, and that's the environment in which she sees most of her action. I went through many many sets of tires, but that's perfectly normal while running fast on tarmac. Other than that, I only had to replace the wheel hubs with metal ones, but that's my fault cause I dropped the car, so nothing that can be blaimed on the platform itself. Now that I think about it, I literally don't have any spares for my TS as she never needed any! 

That chassis feels fantastic to me: capable enough, well engineered and thought out, and relatively tough. The only sheer limitation I see there is for high jumps, something it was probably never meant to deal with anyway.

Terra Scorcher -> frequent, albeit way less intense use -> zero issues ever.

You can draw your own conclusions on this. I personally find both platforms very good, and very different from each other.

If I ever get a HS chassis to do the comparison, I hope it will be a Super Sabre. I find the looks of that car to be nothing short of lovely.

20211128-200147.jpg

20211128-141457.jpg

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4 hours ago, Juggular said:

Out of curiosity, what happens to the A5 part? (Is this what you are talking about?)

 

Yes, that's the part. On the Thundershot family cars the lower arm mounts are small and positioned on the outer ends of the front arms vs the Hotshot family cars which have a large robust looking mount positioned inside the the inner ends of the arms, if that makes sense. 

On Hotshot series cars, the screw pins are screwed into the arms and pivot with them. On T-shot series cars, the screw pins are screwed into the mounts and remain stationary. The arms pivot around the screw pins in this case.

At any rate, the front-most mounting point on a T-shot style cars is a detachable part that also helps anchor the front bumper known as the "A5" part. Its a fairly spindly, rock hard, ABS piece. The screw pins can commonly fracture this part (very very small cracks, mind you) on initial insertion as there isn't enough material in the part. ABS typically gains strength through mass. Even if someone gets away with not starting the damage during assembly (by using the "hot screw" method for example), the A5 is small and weak enough, that one whack in an offset collision snaps it like a twig.

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I'm going to give the Thundershot chassis one more go for a durable runner to take some abuse (mild). If it fails again, I might try the upcoming Manta Ray. I think if the flow of spare parts continues for the DF01s, it could be maintained like @Ferruz's example. Running back through older forum post however, continually show the Thundershot as being pretty tough and long lived. Its not until the recent issue of the arms pulling out of their inner hinge pins started that I began to have my doubts. Thus, I did this today...

TS4

While I know adding this brass tubing may transfer load to the other mounting tab during impacts, I'm hoping the blue nylon arm's resiliency absorbs some of that shock. I'm also hoping the having the "ear" of the arm trapped between the mount tab and brass tubing makes it harder to squirm out and pull free, splitting the arm. The arms (being nylon) were also boiled in an attempt to add resilience. Fingers crossed. 

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I've almost finished building a boomerang and it seems to be built like a tank (except for the battery door joining the bottom of the chassis and gearbox) the gearbox attachment points for the arms are much more reassuring than the little tabs on the Thundershot/Dragons.

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8 hours ago, Pizza Frog said:

the gearbox attachment points for the arms are much more reassuring than the little tabs on the Thundershot/Dragons.

Totally agree. I can definitely see a busted knuckle or even suspension arm long before cracking or breaking the the gearbox/mount.

I had my newly repaired Thundershot and Supershot (shared gearboxes with the Boomerang) out for a back-to-back run. The T-shot got knocked around a bit, but no breakage with he brass tubes in place. It was noticeably quicker (same Torque Tuned motors in both) but with its lighter weight and more efficient gearboxes, that was to be expected. It also grip-rolled everywhere. I got tired of walking over to flip it back on its wheels. The Supershot just chugged along and never rolled once. 

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On 4/7/2024 at 2:58 PM, Saito2 said:

It also grip-rolled everywhere. I got tired of walking over to flip it back on its wheels.

I'd just like to add for future reference that I finally cured the grip rolling issue. In a last-ditch effort, I stiffened up the front damper even more and swapped out the 2.2 DF03 wheels and dual block tires for trusty Hotshot oval blocks and ta-da! problem solved!:D

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17 hours ago, Saito2 said:

I'd just like to add for future reference that I finally cured the grip rolling issue. In a last-ditch effort, I stiffened up the front damper even more and swapped out the 2.2 DF03 wheels and dual block tires for trusty Hotshot oval blocks and ta-da! problem solved!:D

Good to see problem solved. Spacers in the shocks are also good in my book, as long as you don't need all the travel. My Thunder Dragon never griprolls and it's on 2,2 Schumacher full spikes. 

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On 4/4/2024 at 10:45 PM, Ferruz said:

Glad to see that my little Manta is still hip and active enough to bear the DF-01 flagship :lol:

I have no experience whatsoever with the Hot Shot/Boomerang chassis, but I'll be happy to share my impression on the other two.

I should start by pointing out that I use them in very different ways, almost as different as the platforms are from each other.

The Manta Ray, while being my most hopped up car, also gets the roughest treatment of all, no doubt. Only the Hornet can rival her on that. I took the Manta to BMX tracks and repeatedly jumped her as high as 5-6 feet (with mixed results when it comes to landing, ahah). On snow, I'm pretty sure I flew her even higher than that. Don't worry, nothing silly or destructive à la Kevin Talbot, but all in good fun and full respect of the car. If I had to hit an off road track for modern buggies with my tame old vintage oriented fleet, it's the Manta that I would pick. You get the idea. 

Given the intense use, the car held up pretty well so far hence why not, I do see her running into the next century :D

That being said, in time I did experience almost all of the issues brough up by @Saito2, except for the front gearbox cracking. Especially since I switched to a 13.5 brushless, I had to reinforce the rear gearbox in many different ways, and same goes for the front. I now use screws twice as long as the stock ones and also devised a metal skid plate which doubles up as a structural reinforcement because yes, the front tends to just split away with intense use. I also literally lost count of how many pinions and plastic gearbox sets I went through, also for some reason the servos seem to be put to the test by this platform, as I went through a few while never needing to replace one on any other car.

Guess I can summarize the above blah blah with this: 

Manta Ray -> intense and frequent use -> lots of maintenance required, but still all within reasonable expectations.

My Terra Scorcher, on the other hand, gets treated a little better. I only jump her high when on snow or grass, and I tend to be a little more careful with her overall. This car is my go to weapon for the Postal Racing activities, and that's the environment in which she sees most of her action. I went through many many sets of tires, but that's perfectly normal while running fast on tarmac. Other than that, I only had to replace the wheel hubs with metal ones, but that's my fault cause I dropped the car, so nothing that can be blaimed on the platform itself. Now that I think about it, I literally don't have any spares for my TS as she never needed any! 

That chassis feels fantastic to me: capable enough, well engineered and thought out, and relatively tough. The only sheer limitation I see there is for high jumps, something it was probably never meant to deal with anyway.

Terra Scorcher -> frequent, albeit way less intense use -> zero issues ever.

You can draw your own conclusions on this. I personally find both platforms very good, and very different from each other.

If I ever get a HS chassis to do the comparison, I hope it will be a Super Sabre. I find the looks of that car to be nothing short of lovely.

 

I'm also just beginning to set up a Terra Scorcher for racing (on an indoor astroturf track) and I have a problem with it nose-diving over jumps. Often, the TS will take off and dip forwards, landing on the front bumper. Have you had any such issues? I'm not much of a driver, so it might entirely be me :)

 

 

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9 hours ago, MixMasterMax said:

I'm also just beginning to set up a Terra Scorcher for racing (on an indoor astroturf track) and I have a problem with it nose-diving over jumps. Often, the TS will take off and dip forwards, landing on the front bumper. Have you had any such issues? I'm not much of a driver, so it might entirely be me :)

 

 

In my experience, the TS does fairly well on small to medium jumps, and doesn't nose-dive. That being said, I don't think it is able to handle huge jumps due to the limited front suspension travel and overall feel of the car. 

The nose diving of your TS could depend on many factors like driving style, speed, car/suspension setup, and the angle of the jump. If on a random playground, I would have guessed maybe it's hitting a bump with the rear wheels right before take off, but since you are on a proper astro track I doubt it's the case. 

Maybe try playing around with the suspensions. Are you using the original CVAs as shocks?

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6 hours ago, Ferruz said:

In my experience, the TS does fairly well on small to medium jumps, and doesn't nose-dive. That being said, I don't think it is able to handle huge jumps due to the limited front suspension travel and overall feel of the car. 

The nose diving of your TS could depend on many factors like driving style, speed, car/suspension setup, and the angle of the jump. If on a random playground, I would have guessed maybe it's hitting a bump with the rear wheels right before take off, but since you are on a proper astro track I doubt it's the case. 

Maybe try playing around with the suspensions. Are you using the original CVAs as shocks?

Thanks! That confirms my suspicion that it is more my driving. Starting off, it's hard to figure out if it is you or the car :) However, the jump I am having the most difficulty with is one where I'm just coming down a steep slope and then going right onto a small steep jump - I have also guessed that I may be having an issue where the back end bottoms out and the car gets a "kick" in the back. Anyway, I have now went out and splurged on the HiCap dampers and I'm stiffening up the front with 600cst front/500cst back following some of the threads on here - I'll see how it goes.

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Never had a 4WD Tamiya, but my Kyosho reres have proven tough as nails. LiPos and big brushless driven by a nine year old and never a hint of drive train trouble. 

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14 hours ago, Mrowka said:

Never had a 4WD Tamiya, but my Kyosho reres have proven tough as nails. LiPos and big brushless driven by a nine year old and never a hint of drive train trouble. 

My vote for a lasting 4WD to keep around is for the regular Optima Mid. I’m not brand loyal but if you’re going for an older design to keep around the ‘22 Mid is fantastic. I’d say probably the only critical modification that it needs for rough running is one of the various undertrays in order to help it plane over grass clumps and keep the crap out of the chassis, but they are great runners and fun to build. Maybe a HotShot II would be my second pick as long as I was allowed to put enough power into it to make up for the drag in the drive train. I like the way that Hot Shots drive on smooth surfaces but they kinda suck in the rough without making the suspension work better. The tires are also a great mixed terrain pattern. 
 

PS—you should build a fancy Tamiya kit when you are presented with thst opportunity. They’re a different kit style entirely compared to most Kyoshos and that adds to the novelty. 

On 4/17/2024 at 4:59 AM, MixMasterMax said:

I'm also just beginning to set up a Terra Scorcher for racing (on an indoor astroturf track) and I have a problem with it nose-diving over jumps. Often, the TS will take off and dip forwards, landing on the front bumper. Have you had any such issues? I'm not much of a driver, so it might entirely be me :)

 

 

I don’t want to state the obvious though perhaps this isn’t talked about often in vintage forums, but you can control the pitch of your car “in flight” with the throttle. Punch it forward and the acceleration of the tires will lift the nose up, and similarly, if you’re banking to one side in the air, try steering the wheel while the tires are still spinning and you can level the car out for a smoother landing on all fours which is basically the same gyro effects that motorbikes use to do wild tricks. 

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