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JLZ78

JLZ78's TRF 502X build

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Ok, it's been a while since I started any new builds. The 30th Anniversary Porsche 934 build on this forum was my main build last year. Now we have moved and I have set up my RC hub, it's time to break into a kit or two.

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My purchase is over 18 months old. I spent a long time sourcing the kit and eventually found one from Banzai. As with some other TRF buggies, the kit has no body or wing, so the box is surprisingly small.

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At the time, I gleaned a lot of great info on this forum and on Oople about key upgrades to his car. I must have spent about 6 months sourcing the most recommended.

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I picked up big bore dampers (F&R), a wide range of pinions, 502X chassis upgrade kit, and more. I plan on completing the buggy as standard then gradually add the upgrades to see if I can spot the benefit. This buggy will be used mostly on my back/front garden bashing area - a mix of gravel/Tarmac/grass and jumps. I don't have the time or location to easily reach an RC club near me.

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As I'm experimenting with low turn brushless for the first time in a buggy, I purchased all of the variations of pinion I could find. This way I can experiment and see how the gearing changes affect the buggy and electrics. I have a hand held infrared thermometer to monitor temps.

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I have various motor/esc combos available from my 'stores'. This XeRun 90a ESC and 5.5 turn hackmoto is one of the combos I have considered. However I'm probably keeping this for my TRF 201 XMW.

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This Yeah Racing Falsonic combo is a 5.5 turn brushless with bundled ESC. the concern is the relatively low amp rating of the ESC - only 60A, so it may fry early in its life. It's my oldest motor purchase from HKG nearly two years ago and is still to find a home. It is possibly my top pick for this project, seeing as I will be experimenting with setup.

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This Speed Passion combo is probably my 'poshest' bit of motor. It's too slow for this buggy, so will probably keep this for my re re Egress.

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This Turnigy Trackstar stuff was recommended on this forum. The ESC is pretty good at 100a and the 5.5 turn motor is definitely hot enough. This will go in if the Yeah Racing kit fries. If it doesn't, this is earmarked for my TRF 503.

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So, Yeah racing brushless it is. It may not do this kit justice long term, but for my experimental purposes it will do nicely!

Hope you enjoy the thread!

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Ooooo its all so shiny....'opens popcorn and sits to wait for rest of the show'....

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So time to open the box! This is always a favourite but for me.

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It's surprising that, on first look the pictures of the buggy already look slightly dated. I think this is down to the fact the buggy was released in Japan in 2011 and the 'normal dampers look relatively weedy compared to the Big Bore upgrades. These big bores are now standard on TRF 503 and 201 XMW, so perhaps it isn't surprising that the original picture looks dated. The kits is really efficiently packed. There are none of the Re-re or Vibtage presentation niceties. The kit is purely functional. This really appeals to me. I want this buggy to be capable of trouncing most things it comes across.

The instructions are really compact compared to the Porsche and Avante BS instructions. Kind of like A5 instead of A4. As you would expect, they are really clear and will be a joy to use. There is also a setup sheet which I will PDF and make a digital iPad copy of for setup.

Time to sort out the parts.

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Again, efficient. The plastic trees are in individual bags and the main bearing/carbon/aluminium bits are gathered together in one big bag of bits. There are bags of shims everywhere (more on that later) and because there aren't as many pre organised bags as per re-re kits, I will decant the A/B/C etc parts into my parts organiser behind my build mat.

A quick comparison with the manual confirms all bits present and correct.

I had looked for an official Titanium screw set for this kit (there isn't one) so will use the kit standard screws. I will be upgrading the bearings and diff balls to ceramic though, to keep the drive train robust with the low turn motor and general abuse this buggy will have to take.

This will the top of the range shaft driven 4WD buggy in my collection. I doubt I will buy another - the TRF 503 will be my top belt driven 4WD and the XMW my top 2WD. Together these kits will form the benchmark for my collection and when I get round to building my Dynastorm, Egress and Thundershot, I will be able to really appreciate how far this hobby has come since I first fell for it as a kid of the 80's.

More to come soon.

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Great build thread. Nice to see that you are all in on this. I love the look of the 502, and would really like one of these beauties in my collection. Only thing I would consider, is getting a Tekin brushless system, as I really think a buggy like this, especially with all the hopups you have, deserves more.

Anyway I am looking forward to follow this build.

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Thanks guys. Hope you enjoy the thread. I'd be really interested in the best motor ESC combos for a buggy of this calibre. I reckon a decent Speed Passion combo with a 140a ESC and 5.5 turn motor would be good. I'm not familiar with the Tekin stuff; how good is it? Other than that I had thought about Castle possibly. Again, suggestions welcome.

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I like Castle products as well. I have 2 of these combos in my Clod. Anyway for a 1/10 buggy I would go for a sensored combo, and imo Tekin comes in first here. It is by far the smoothest combos I have had, and they run really cool, compared to the other combos I have had.

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Tekin stuff is solid. No better than any of the other upper end brands though. Speed passion just as good.

If you are bashing, not racing, I would replace the kit bearings with something rubber sealed.

The stock TRF bearings are quite fragile (fast though!) and need regular replacement when racing - so would be a pain in terms of maintenance as a yard basher. Ceramic bearings are more hardy, but need cleaning and re-oiling after ever run to get the best from them really.

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On reflection, after my run through the manual, parts and Hop Ups, I decided to install some Hop Ups from the start. The aluminium spur gear plate set weighs SO much less than the standard kit items that I'm going to use them from the outset. The rear suspension mount from the chassis upgrade kit will also go in as it is marked as 2.5deg - the kit standard has no angle reference at all. The upgrade also includes a 3 deg option.

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First, I marked on the main manual where the chassis upgrade kit steps are available. This will help me to manage the upgrades as I go. As I have a TRF 503 for future comparison, and considering my limited time for this hobby, I will go full Hop Up from the start and let this buggy be in the best possible state from the beginning.

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Note the different geometry and set up of the rear suspension with the upgrade kit. The inboard turn buckles are inverted and the carbon suspension plate is a different shape and thickness.

Here is another comparison. The screws for the upgrade piece are countersunk as well.

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Step 1 - Chassis seal and motor mount

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After sealing the edges of the carbon with superglue, it is time to start mounting parts. The kit gives the option to use kit plastic here (A10) but I definitely prefer the TRF blue aluminium. I am using a very small amount of Tamiya Gel type threadlock for this build. I find that the kit standard hex heads are quite shallow, so care is needed not to accidentally strip the screws. The kit plastic will definitely require tapping before screwing later in the build.

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Step 2 - Slipper Clutch assembly

This is the first slipper clutch I have built and it can be a bit fiddly. Care needs to be taken to ensure the grub screw that holds in the slipper shaft cup (BA33 or in this case the aluminium equivalent) needs careful placement on a small flat area of the slipper clutch shaft.

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The parts required. The kit suggests 2 x 0.1mm shims.

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Kit standard setting for the slipper clutch is 5mm. I imagine this will need modifying when the buggy is setup post build.

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I have used ceramic bearings in this build other than the kit standard bearings.

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Step 3 - Mounting the slipper clutch

This step requires a bit of shimming to ensure there is no play.

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The initial mount with the kit standard 0.2mm shims had quite a bit of movement. It took 0.5mm more in order to ensure the slipper had no longitudinal movement in the aluminium mounts. The fit with 0.7mm is perfect, with zero play.

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Slipper clutch cover installed.

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Next step!

Differential time. My experience from the 934 30th Anniversary should serve me well here. However, time spent getting diffs right is rarely wasted, so I will take these ones slowly.

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Step 4 - Time for some diff building.

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I use ceramic balls in place of the kit standard. I have a great tool from Yeah Racing to help match the diff tightness, and I polish the diff rings with the magnet block and 1200 grit wet n' dry to remove any roughness in the surface. I also use Team Associated diff lube and Black grease in place of the Tamiya AW grease and diff lube. The Black grease is packed into the thrust bearings and the tiny 1/16th ceramic ball bearings

Diffs built and shims in place. The diffs are very smooth and free of any notichness. The fit of the ball bearings and diff parts was much tighter than the TA-05 based ball diffs on the Porsche RSR 30th Anniversary.

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Step 5 - Swing shaft upgrade.

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Hop Up time. The kit standard swing shaft is very heavy compared to the blue aluminium shafts from the chassis upgrade kit.

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This is a no-brainier (reduction of rotational mass etc). Time to build the universal joints. The upgrade set also has a different universal joint construction with a axel ring instead of a grub screw. I used kit AW grease here and the joints are buttery smooth.

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Then come the ceramic bearings (pre-oiled as with all bearings on this build) and the 5 shims per shaft. A 2mm e-clip secures the bevel pinion gear in place.

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Step 6 - Rear Gearbox build.

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Carbon reinforced plastic is used for the gearbox assembly. Experience here tells me to ensure I pre-tap the parts that are going to be screwed. Interestingly, the carbon reinforced plastic transfers heat very easily as I could feel the heat on the surface from the friction of the tapping.

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Bevel pinion and shaft mounted. The clearances look to be good with no play or slip. Ceramic grease on the diff and pinion, then the box is sealed with upgrade kits screws on which the upgrade blue upper arm mounts are fitted. This gives the rear suspension geometry change with the upgrade kit and is much better looking (and performing hopefully) than the kit plastic standard.

Rear gearbox built and ready for mounting.

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Are the stock shafts steel? If yes aren't they more durable than the aluminum ones? I can see the aluminum ones are more beafy and definately looks better. I only have experience with this from my E-maxx builds, and here steel is prefered over titanium and especially aluminum, as the brushless power of today motors are twisting them in no time.

I really enjoy following this build. Great to see a build with no expenses spared.

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Thanks Klausen. I can't say how the aluminium shafts will hold up against the steel kit standards. I haven't read of anybody racing who has had an issue with the upgrade set. I imagine Tamiya did their homework and the shaft is strong enough to take the torque. I think the slipper clutch takes out most of the shock.

Glad you are enjoying the build. I can't say how much satisfaction I get out of building these things to a high standard with the best possible parts.

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Step 7 Rear suspension stay

Chassis upgrade part here. The countersunk carbon suspension stay is mounted in place of the kit standard.

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It's important to tap the carbon reinforced plastic, as the heads of the screws would definitely strip if you tried to 'self tap' the button heads.

Rear gearbox mounted and ready to attach to chassis.

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Step 8 - attaching rear gearbox.

Only 4 screws attach the gearbox to the chassis. Further reinforcement comes later with suspension arms and other carbon bits

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AW grease at each end and it's done!

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Rear gearbox fitted.

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Step 9 - attaching rear upper deck

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Chassis upgrade. The decks are very different. The thicker deck is from the upgrade kit. Both fit perfectly, so can easily be interchanged.

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Deck fitted.

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Step 10 - Front gearbox build

As per the rear box, this features chassis upgrade parts the affect suspension geometry.

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As with the back, the bearing fit is excellent.

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Step 11 - build front suspension mount

Standard kit carbon stay.

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It bolts to the front of the front gearbox in the same manner as the back.

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Step 12 - Steering hop up

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This is another hop up and not included in the chassis upgrade set. There are two main steering hop ups for the 502x. The first is a aluminium steering bridge that is a straight swap for the plastic kit part, or you can go for this.

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This steering kit changes the geometry slightly and improves response.

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Tapping the carbon plastic needs care here as the screws on the upgrade go in from the opposite direction to the kit standard.

Standard kit parts and upgrades. Parts from both are required.

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Aluminium bridge built with ceramic bearings all round.

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Angled steering mount with threaded screws for mounting steering posts.

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Steering and gearbox mounts attached.

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Steering mechanism mounted.

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The carbon brace comes after the front gearbox and deck are mounted.

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