OldSchoolRC1

Rock Lobster - TL01 Trail buggy

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So here's something different.... I think it's fun to take something, build it for a purpose it was never designed for, mod the heck out of it, and see how it does. I've wanted to build a Tamiya rock buggy for scale trail runs and crawl sessions for a while but never really found the right platform. Picked up a Hotshot a while ago to convert as I love the look, but the drivetrain seemed too fragile. TT02B was also about to get the nod, but liked building it up into a speed machine and decided to keep it. For whatever reason I was randomly thinking of a few mods to my TL01 drift car the other day and a light bulb went off. TL01? Multiple suspension setups? Narrow chassis? Lots of big, wide gears? Diffs that can easily be locked? Hmmm..... 

So went off and digging into my parts stash. Found a TL01 core chassis that's been here for years. This thing has to be nearly 20 years old. Dusty and neglected, it was time for a new life! 
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Biggest headache for trail duty is the battery sit crossways in the chassis, which can catch on everything. But, I was thinking with a bit of dremel work, I could get the battery down in the chassis lengthwise and protect it from harm.  This chassis works out great since the prop shaft is up high, leaving a huge open space underneath where all the heavy stuff can go...   Hmmm....
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An hour of semi-careful cutting later...
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Looks like a green light to me. So stripped and cleaned the chassis and gears. Amazing that after nearly 20 years, this thing was in mint condition. I remember running it hard as a rally car back in the day, but it's still solid, crack free, and the gears still look new. I locked the diffs front and rear, greased it up with some ceramic grease and bolted it back together. 
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65t motor is just for testing....after building or tearing down a car, I usually run it for a few minutes on 3v just to set the gears and spread the grease. Also to make sure everything spins free - rather find out on my workbench than have an old, long out of production gear get chewed up. Thankfully this one is still as smooth as the day I built it. 
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Since it's a TL, I had the choice of wide or narrow suspension (options are good!) The narrow suspension was touring car width and looked a bit narrow to me. Went with a longer suspension which looks a bit wide to me...but can't argue with the increased suspension travel and ground clearance. Hex face to face is about 235mm so a bit wider than the usual scale truck. 
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Not only did I manage to find all the leftover Wild Dagger suspension bits (a miracle) I also found some steel front CVD's that fit. WIN!
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Kept it all in the family with some XV01 CVA's for now. Need some tuning, but fit fine and the spring rates feel in the ballpark.
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Some Gmade wheels help narrow up the track width a bit, and found this old Baja King body. Looks the part to me and always loved this look! It's red, and for whatever reason the Rock Lobster song popped in my head. And of course, it's been in there the rest of the day....So the project gets a name. 
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Lots to do yet, but it's coming together well. Plus lots more ideas bouncing around.... I'm definitely having fun with this one. 

Anyway, more to come...

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Nice! The TL-01 chassis has to be one of the strongest [Tamiya] designs out there (other than the shock top mounting locations perhaps), and the way you've mounted the smaller battery lengthways inside is inspired!

Personally I'd see if you could get a bit more travel/ground clearance out of those longer wishbones with some longer shocks, but I can see this being a great trail-runner already!

Can't wait to see more!

Jx

 

ps. Everyone had, matching towels... ;o)

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reminds of peter griffin every time  I see ``rock lobster``......:lol:.......sweet build...;)

  • Haha 1

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Very cool. Looking forward to seeing where this one is going and how it does in action. 

50 minutes ago, evssv69 said:

reminds of peter griffin every time  I see ``rock lobster``......:lol:.......sweet build...;)

Thanks. I'll be going around saying that all day now. :lol:

  • Haha 1

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4 hours ago, OldSchoolRC1 said:

So went off and digging into my parts stash. Found a TL01 core chassis that's been here for years. This thing has to be nearly 20 years old. Dusty and neglected, it was time for a new life! 
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... Did you find this one under a dock? :D

I dig The B-52s, and dig this build, especially with the decision to mount the battery inside the chassis instead of as stock. It looks great!

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Love the TL01 chassis (just check out my showroom for proof), and as others have said, great idea on mounting the battery! I'll have to look into something similar for my latest TL01B build. Can't wait to see this one continue to progress. All of your projects are so cool and creative.

Steve

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Thank you for the responses!  Having fun with this one for sure.  Can't believe I've found all these old parts to boot. Guess it pays to never throw anything away.... (And I have Peter Griffin singing stuck in my head too :))

Made some progress:

Moved the shocks to the inner mount on the arms and got a higher stance. Don't want to go too high, but like the way it sits much better. 
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Yup, that's much better!
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How old is this body? AM frequency clearly marked in the inside... :)
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Looks good, but those wide side pods are no longer needed to cover the battery. Let's get chopping! CAREFULLY of course since the chances of finding this body again are slim and none...
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Much better! 
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Steering sorted out with some steel turnbuckles and 5mm pivots stolen from my CR01 box. 
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Battery tucked in its new home. Motor and battery are just above the wheel center line - if nothing else, I've got a heck of a low COG.
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Tech wise, with all the electronics and battery on board, as well as the heavy Gmade wheels the Lobster weighs in at a very svelte 1943g (4.3lbs) with a surprising weight balance of 48/52. I'll be adding some weight up front to get it closer to 50/50 and the whole buggy should be less than 5lbs. Heavy for a buggy, but will make a light weight crawling rig for sure.  :) 

 

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Tucked some weight in the front arms to get the weight balance a little better..
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Robbed the swaybars off my onroad TL. Rear fit perfectly! Really helps keep the Lobster from over-flexing.  
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Front...not so much. the wire is a bit too short. Took it off for now, though keeping my eye out for one that fits. 
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Made a small battery holder/electronics tray. Just mounts over the battery opening with velcro. Holds the battery in place and gets the electronics as low in the chassis as I can get them. 
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Motor combo is my trusty Xacto motor and 3:1 reduction. The whole assembly is only a bit longer than a standard 540 can. 
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Wired up and ready to go! Not too messy... most of the wiring hides in the chassis. :)
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Made a temporary body mount in the rear just to hold the body on and decided to go for a test run...figured I'd go see how it did before investing any time on bodywork and other stuff. 
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SOOOOO....

Inbetween monsoons, got the Rock Lobster out for a test run. Pay no attention to the 1/2 mounted body... :)

All in all, it's a way fun little beast. Kinda like a mini rock bouncer. I'd bet  it drives just like a B2B, just smaller. The shocks felt soft all around on the bench, but really felt decent out in the yard. Had just the right amount of flex. Rally need a front swaybar of some kind, but otherwise it's pretty good right off the bench.  
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Did quite a bit of three wheeling in my test area, but was never out of control - just had to let the suspension settle and it dug right out. My TRX-4 fails over this block all the time - no problems here (as long as I hit it right). 
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Against my better judgement, I took it out on the rocks. Was thinking more of a trail rig, so this terrain is a wee bit more hardcore than I had in mind. Slowly moving my test area to another part of the yeard, so it's a little rough right now. Did ok actually - drove just like any other low slung crawler - use tire placement and throttle where you have to. 
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Got right up my 2 hardest spots, even with the new tires that hadn't even broken in/massaged yet. Very stable when climbing and descending. 
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Got bound up later and shattered a CVD. Knew that was going to happen eventually..the smallish driveshafts are going to be the limiting factor for this rig. Still, think it's worthy of some more tinkering. Mostly cause it looked so cool out there flexing over the rocks! 

Got a few body and chassis mods in mind, hope to have it done before out next trail run. Definitely need to do something with the rear of the body.   

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