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MF-01X Mercedes-Benz G 320 Cabrio Item #58629

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This isn't going to be as detailed of a build thread as I typically do.  Partly because there already are a lot of MF-01X Jimny build threads which have tons of detail.  This build is very similar in which I would be just rehashing well covered ground.  Mostly though because my wife is going away for a teachers conference this week which gives me all of 4 days to complete this build before she returns.  Why the rush?  Because this is her surprise birthday present!  Last year after I, my daughter and my son all got R/C buggies for our birthdays my wife made it VERY clear that if she got an R/C for her birthday she would not be a happy camper.  Fast-forward a year and she's dropped a couple of hints that she's not impressed that she has to use the "loaner" SCT when the family goes to the park for bashing or goes to the track to play.  This summer my son used his own money to buy a TT-02 and it was Grandma's birthday check that put him over the top.  This past weekend when I asked my wife if she wanted to join us in a bit of parking garage bashing she said, "No, I don't have an R/C.  I guess I'm not in that club."  She turned her nose up to using the loaner truck so I think this gift is going to be well received.

I chose this exact model because it's a bit of a Jack-of-all-trades.  It will be able to bash at the play park or in parking garage, turn laps at the track, or run the trails with my CC-01.  She likes luxury brands so Mercedes > Suzuki but I also like that it's on a longer wheel base chassis than the Jimny.  My hope is that it will be a bit more stable than its shorter chassis cousin, especially when running off-road.  Since this is destined to be a Jack-of-all-trades rig I made specific choices to enhance its overall reliability and capability.

The kit and primary components:  

Paint:

  • PS-53 Lame flake.  I want it to have a metal flake finish so I'm going to use this first, followed by...
  • PS-46 Iridescent purple/green.  Her favorite colors are purple and green so why choose when you don't have to?
  • PS-5 Black.  For the soft top and to back the PS-46.
  • PS-55 Flat clear.  I'll cut the over-spray film away from the soft-top and lay down a coat or two of the flat on the outside of the body to give it more of a fabric look.
  • PS-31 Smoke.  I went gang busters on my sons TT-02 windows so I don't know how much of this I have left and I didn't buy more. :(  I'm thinking of just leaving the windows clear because it's more realistic that way, but is an iridescent purple/green Mercedes realistic to begin with? 

My cunning plan to have a completely finished truck for my wife before she returned home from a week at an out-of-town conference ended with a trimmed and fitted clear body.  This turned out to be a good thing because she was really happy to choose the color herself.  To that end, new paint has been ordered.

  • Duratrax polycarbonate teal spray paint
  • Duratrax polycarbonate basic black spray paint
  • Duratrax polycarbonate black base cover spray paint
  • Tamiya TS-17 aluminum silver (for side mirrors)

Hop-ups and mods:

  • CVA Super Mini Shock Unit (ITEM# 50746) X2.  There's no way I could build my wife an R/C that ran on friction dampers!
  • MF-01X Alum Motor Mount (ITEM# 54660).  Certainly the Dirt Tuned motor doesn't require the extra rigidity or heat dissipation of the aluminum mount but I have a thing for blue, Tamiya motor mounts. ;) 
  • Fast Eddy rubber shielded bearing kit for the MF-01X which includes:
    • (20)  5x11x4

    • (2)    5x8x2.5

    • (2)    5x8x2.5   Flanged

  • Body Mount Crossmember - M-Chassis Carbon (ITEM# 54530).  There are a few after-market options out there but I think this one is the most elegant solution.
  • Stainless Steel Sus Shaft - M-05 Ver.II (ITEM# 54613).  I'm not a fan of the screw pins so will be replacing them with steel shafts.
  • Some no-name 6.0 mm clamping 12 mm gray aluminum wheel hexes from eBay.
  • 5mm Ball Connector: 57714 - Long (ITEM# 9805825).  I'm going to use these on the rear suspension to allow for equal droop left to right.
  • I've been kicking around the idea of getting the MF-01X Alum Servo Mount (ITEM# 54658) as well.  It's out of stock in the states and certainly won't make it in time for her birthday but I'd say there's a 90% chance I'll add that down the line.

I'm going to start on the build tonight and plan on opening the build with the body.  I want to give a shout out to all the posters who put up build threads of their own MF-01X's for the inspiration.  I also want to give Nobbi1977 and XVPilot special shout outs for guiding me with hop-up choices via PMs.  Peace.

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I opened up the transmitter box to get an idea of how big it was and discovered the first snag in the build.  Being a 4-channel transmitter the left side stick doesn't auto center on the vertical axis.  Naturally this is fine for aircraft but likely won't due for a surface vehicle.  I took it apart (technically voiding the warranty withing minutes of opening the box) and there is no way to add a spring or rubber band to create an auto-centering stick.  I'll let my wife decide but I suspect she'll opt for a wheel transmitter instead.

I got the body out of the box.  It's stamped 2016 so it's a brand new design!  Untrimmed:

07.05.2016-21.34.png

Fully trimmed:

07.05.2016-21.36.png

Just as I would expect the mold is intricately detailed.  The Lexan in the front wheel arches was thicker than the rest of the body.  Needless to say, I was able to easily trim the whole body with just my straight and curved Lexan scissors.  I plan to mask it off and paint it tomorrow.

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You could always use the right-hand stick for throttle and the left for steering.  Many aircraft transmitters come in Mode 1 (right throttle) and Mode 2 (left throttle) versions.  There's no fixed rule where the throttle is located.  Just connect the servo leads to the appropriate channels on the receiver.

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5 hours ago, speedy_w_beans said:

You could always use the right-hand stick for throttle and the left for steering.  Many aircraft transmitters come in Mode 1 (right throttle) and Mode 2 (left throttle) versions.  There's no fixed rule where the throttle is located.  Just connect the servo leads to the appropriate channels on the receiver.

Too right.  Just because I'm so used to throttle on the left stick doesn't mean it has to be that way! :D  I'll bind it so that throttle is on the right stick and steering is on the left.  I'll give my wife her options on which controller she prefers.

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After I picked up from trimming the body, and throwing the scraps into the recycling I dug out the body instructions and decals.  I wanted to know what decals were available to guide my masking.  Turns out with this body you need to keep a couple pieces of the scrap to build the side mirrors.  :blink:  

07.06.2016-09.22.png

So at 11pm I was digging through the recycle bin hunting down the bits indicated here:

07.06.2016-09.21.png

Needless to say, those little bits eluded me but I did find the scrap from the wheel arches.  I'm sure the bits from the front arches are thick enough to get the job done.

 

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Advise time:

Question 1) I've been mulling over how to build the diffs.  If this was going to be a dedicated trail runner / light crawler like my CC-01, I'd lock the rear diff and use a lot of AW grease in the front.  If it were going to be an on-road car I'd use a lot of AW in the front and a bit in the rear.  If it were going to be an off-road car I'd use a lot in the rear and a bit in the front.  I'm at a loss.  My instinct is to just use a bit both front and rear to provide the most neutral drive characteristics possible.  What do you all think?

Question 2) Building the super mini CVA shocks.  The instructions call for single hole piston and 900 CST (clear) oil.  To me that seems a bit hard for an all-purpose rig.  I'm inclined to build them with 2 hole pistons and 400 CST (yellow) oil.  Any suggestions?  Also, which lower eye mount should I use for this rig?  Short or long?

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I'd put more AW in the front and less AW in the rear; that's a more stable setup as the front end wants to pull the car through turns vs. the rear end trying to kick out.  This car will probably see a lot of action in the parking lot, street, driveway, etc. as it doesn't have the ground clearance to go through grass.  It might see a little dirt.  Making the front diff tighter is a safer bet.

As for the CVAs, the stock pistons have really large holes compared to TRF dampers.  Also, the chassis is narrow and the CVAs are mounted in-board quite a bit compared to a true off-road buggy, so they don't develop very high piston speeds.  Try Tamiya's kit suggestion first; I found 400 cst in CVAs to be underdamped for on-road chassis in the past.

My $0.02.

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So set it up like it's going to be an on-road car because that's basically what it is?  An on-road car with a bit more ground clearance so it can do some dirt driving but nothing extreme.  Sounds like a plan to me.  Thanks!

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I ran out of time to mask and paint up the body tonight  but I did manage to build the shocks.

07.06.2016-21.11.png

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I also discovered that I am out of AW grease but I have a new tube of AE black grease so I'm going to use that instead when I build the differentials.  Hopefully that'll happen tomorrow.  I'm pretty sure the hour or so I'm getting to work on this each night isn't going to be enough to finish this build by Friday.  :(

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Take a look at Lucas' Red 'n' Tacky the next time you're by an auto parts store; that stuff has some properties similar to AW grease...

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I have often found the self centre bit from the right stick can be moved to the left stick. I then use a glue gun to lock the right stick moving.

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OK, so speed build time.  I had about 7 hours before my wife got home from her conference.  I had to get the kids to karate day camp and eat lunch.  So I dug in hoping I could get it done in time.

Building the rear diff and gear box.

07.08.2016-17.47.png

I used a little bit of AE black grease in the rear differential.  Just a couple of dabs on the bevel gears and a thin coat on the washers.  I used 2 or 3 lines of Cera grease on each of the nylon gear box gears.  As it runs the movement will spread the grease over the entire gear.  Rubber shielded bearings because that's what the kit came with.  I would prefer metal shielded in the gear boxes but c’est la vie.

07.08.2016-17.51.png

Gearbox assembled.  Those little foam pieces are a curiosity, aren't they.  Are they supposed to help seal some cracks in the gear box or something?  I would expect better engineering from Tamiya if that's the case.

07.08.2016-17.53.png

 

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Setting up the servo.  I centered it using my LRP battery charger.  I really dig that feature!  Did up the servo saver and turn buckles.  I wish they were adjustable.  I might have to get a hop-up for that later on.

07.08.2016-17.56.png

What a cluster it was to get the servo centered.  Spacers here, spacers there, screw down, check, unscrew and try new spacers.  Blech!  Once it's setup, it's not an issue but what a pain to initially setup.

07.08.2016-17.58.png

Building the front differential.  I used A LOT of AE black grease in the front.  I completely covered the bevel gears.

07.08.2016-17.59.png

I completely covered the small bevel gears too.

07.08.2016-18.00.png

Then, I filled all the nooks and crannies with more black grease.  All told, rear and front diff combined, I used about 2/3 of the new 2 oz tube of grease.

07.08.2016-18.01.png

Top on and labeled with an F

07.08.2016-18.07.png

 

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Just like the rear gear box, I used 2 -3 lines of Cera grease on the gears and used more rubber shielded bearings.

07.08.2016-18.12.png

Front gear case and front bit of the chassis is now complete

07.08.2016-18.13.png

It seems like I have the servo centered in the chassis...

07.08.2016-18.14.png

 

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The big spacer goes in.

07.08.2016-19.19.png

Ta Da!  The chassis is together.

07.08.2016-19.19.png

Building the prop shaft.  The alternative instructions for using bearings is on a page near the back of the manual.  Flanged bearing with flange toward the bevel gear.  Plastic spacer with smaller ridge toward the bearing flange, pin and bevel gear.

07.08.2016-19.21.png

Then another spacer with the smaller ridge toward the 850 bearing, and finally the bearing.  Repeat on the other end of the prop shaft.

07.08.2016-19.23.png

And this is about the moment I realized in my haste to build this I had made a mistake.  I had built the chassis in SHORT wheel base length!  It was easy enough to rectify.  I simply had to build up the proper spacer and add it to the chassis extending its length to the proper dimension.

The prop shaft and the bevel gears neatly drop into place with each bit cradled in it's own little slot.

07.08.2016-19.24.png

Here's the proper long wheel base chassis with prop shaft installed

07.08.2016-19.26.png

 

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I really wasn't happy with how the shocks were pressing up against the prop shaft cover.  I even used the 5mm ball stud as per XVPilot's build example.  I'm sure his didn't look like this. 

07.08.2016-19.31.png

Determined to get this built before my wife got home, I shrugged it off and pressed forward.

Taking another page out of XVPilot's build guide I sourced a pair of 10mm long 3mm threaded shafts from my Arrma Fury spare screw kit.  Or are these head-less screws?  Whatever they're called, I got 2 of 'em!

07.08.2016-19.33.png

They go into the rear uprights like so.

07.08.2016-19.34.png

The rear suspension is now on but I really don't like the way the upper suspension link ball cup is hitting the damper upper mounting eye.  :(

07.08.2016-19.36.png

 

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Putting the rear behind me, (unintended funny!) I'm moving onto the front.  Lower suspension arms are on (but backwards), upper plastic suspension links (but in the shock mount hole location) and uprights are built.

07.08.2016-19.39.png

It didn't take me long to suss out that I had those lower arms on backwards and the suspension links in the wrong hole!  Once I got them oriented correctly the front suspension went together quite easily.

07.08.2016-19.40.png.

Front dampers and bumper on.

07.08.2016-19.42.png

And I finally figure out why the rear shocks and upper suspension links didn't look like the ones in XVPilot's build.  I had the upper shock mount bar on backwards!  :blink:  Doh!  So a I quickly removed a couple of screws and popped the ball caps off, reassembled and finally and we have a correct rear suspension set-up.  Now that looks a lot better!

07.08.2016-19.46.png

07.08.2016-19.46.png

 

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Time to install the motor.  I'm using a new Dirt Tuned motor I had in my tool box and a Robinson Racing 16T steel pinion.

07.08.2016-19.49.png

I tried to get a shot of the mesh between the pinion and the spur but the pinion is too dark to show up.  :(

07.08.2016-19.51.png

The motor is now in.  Up next: electronics!

07.08.2016-19.52.png

 

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As it turns out the stock motor wires on the Dirt Tuned weren't quite long enough to reach so I had to desolder them and attach some longer ones.  I went ahead and replaced the green wire with a blue while I was at it so the colors matched the ESC.  I also had to clip the Tamiya plug off the ESC and solder on a Dean's compatible Star plug.  I used to love these Star plugs but racing has shown me that the plastic shield on the plug likes to pull off when disconnecting a snug battery.  I also have one which is cracked and had to be taped on with electrical tape.  :wacko:  I sure do dig the antennaless Tactic receiver!

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I got some el cheapo no name clamping hex hubs off eBay from a Chinese vendor.  I couldn't get them to clamp tightly enough to stay on the axle.  In attempting to do so I snapped the locking screw on one of the hubs.  Needless to say I'll be ordering up some genuine Tamiya clamping hex hubs in the future.

07.08.2016-19.58.png

I'll be using a Duratrax Onyx 3000 mAh NiMh battery in this rig.  The battery fitment is very sloppy.  I ended up using 3 layers of foam tape on the end of the battery just to keep it secure and in place.

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I also installed the carbon fiber rear body mount brace.

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And we have a rolling chassis!

07.08.2016-20.05.png

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The body is test fitted and fits nicely.

07.08.2016-20.08.png

That's as far as I got before my wife got home.  I really wanted it to be 100% done but I elected to spin it as a positive.  This way, she gets to pick what color it's painted.  Yeah, that's it.  That exactly how I planned it.  :D  As it turns out, it's a good thing too because she's not too keen on my planned chameleon purple/blue paint scheme.  :o Nope, no sir.  She wants teal.  So she gets a teal Mercedes-Benz.  Luckily Duratrax actually makes a teal for Lexan bodies.  Who knew?  So I need to order up some teal paint.  I also need to glue the tires onto the wheels still but I'd like to put in some foam inserts first.  The M-series tire foams I bought are too small.  I thought they might be and I was right.  Does anyone know what size tire foam I need to get?  A part number would be awesome!

I'll update the thread once I finish up the custom paint job.  :)

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I may have answered my own question about tire foams for this rig.  During the return process at Tower Hobbies for my return of the Tactic stick transmitter and the too small m-chassis tire foams I saw Tamiya M-Chassis 60D Inner Spring  Item # 53255.  Since I was also ordering some teal paint I added those "inner springs" to the order.  Hopefully they're the right ones!

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Time to install the steel shaft kit.  Even with an e-clip tool, that's a lot of e-clips to install!

07.10.2016-15.54.png

I needed to use a 1 mm spacer on the shaft which replaced the 32 mm screw pin on the outside-rear suspension arm.

07.10.2016-15.59.png

The inside shaft didn't require any spacers to keep the shaft from sliding back and forth.

07.10.2016-16.00.png

I do think a pair of .25 mm or .5 mm spacers inserted here and here would snug up the suspension arm a bit.  The arm slides about more than I'd like.  

07.10.2016-16.06.png

The front outer shafts also needed shimming.  Just like on the rear, I needed a 1 mm spacer.  Sadly I was all out so I ended up using two .5 mm spacers, one on each end.

07.10.2016-16.09.png

I don't know what Tamiya was thinking, or if the M-05 version II steel shaft kit I bought isn't exactly perfect for the MF-01X kit but the remaining 2 shafts I have to replace the front-inner screw pins is a bit long.  I'm not sure there are enough spacers in my bits box to take up that amount of slack!

07.10.2016-16.12.png

So I reinstalled the 46 mm screw pin and called it a day.

07.10.2016-16.14.png

I need to replenish my spacer and steel shaft stock.  

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Yea you just wanted a regular M-chassis shaft kit, the pins on the M05 version II have an extra allowance for the version II lower arms which incorporate a rebound limiter (if that's the correct term!).

The MF01X is far from an accurate low-tolerance race kit :-p it has plenty of "issues" which are rather frustrating depending on how OCD you are. Judging by your build and other TCers, I think it's infuriated most of us! Fortunately the reward is in the pudding - they're a fun runner. Recommend gluing the tyres - I've detached mine many times using just a 35T crawler motor... 

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I've been experimenting with Tamiya M-class foam tire inserts (sometimes called "inner spring") with no luck.  I even called Tamiya USA and while I have confirmation that #53156 Hard Inner Sponge Set will work on the Jimny, I can guarantee that it will NOT work on the Mercedes:

07.21.2016-19.24.png

So I thought, what about some of the tire foams I have on hand?  I grabbed a pair of JConcepts AND-1 1/10th Scale Buggy Tire Inserts part # 3203 and sized them up.  Other than being obviously too wide, they appeared to be a near perfect fit diameter-wise. 

07.22.2016-11.04.png

So I took a gamble and cut them in half.

07.22.2016-11.07.png

While cutting with scissors did result in a slightly ragged edge they seem to fit perfectly.

07.22.2016-11.09.png

Now I can finally glue up the tires to the wheels!

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I started on the body yesterday afternoon.  This is my least favorite part of any build.  It's quite tedious.  Stage 1 of masking up the body took about 3 hours in total.  Then I laid down about 3 coats of the black for the soft top, bumpers and sills.

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Then it took me all of 5 minutes to peel it all off and another 30 minutes to cut out and apply the remaining window masks.

07.23.2016-07.55.png

Then I laid down 2 coats of teal, followed up with two coats of white backer, and followed that up with two coats of black backer.  I've found that I don't care for R/C bodies with clear windows that are completely white on the inside.  Then I carefully cut the overspray protective film off the soft top leaving it intact on the teal and windows and laid down two coats of clear matte which gives the soft top a very effective cloth appearance!

07.23.2016-08.01.png

All that's left is to cut and apply the 79 decals and the hardware which includes the side mirrors (which I painted with TS-17 Aluminum Silver) and the grill emblem.  That'll most likely take me a few days because I can't do marathon decaling sessions.  :blink:  My fingers and eyes get sore after an hour or so.

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