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TA02SS Porsche 959 (Re)Build

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I built this car a long time ago for a drift build-off. Being time sensitive and having a 1 year old at the time, it ended up functional if a bit dodgy in spots to make the deadline. Here's a quick poorly shot video of it whipping around. :) I definitely need more driving practice. 


I put a few battery packs through circling around the driveway and then put it on the shelf for a few years.  Well, 8 years to be exact. I decided to rebuild to get it back up and running as well as do some modifications to the dodgy parts. 

Here's the car in it's former state. It's a Nikko 959 body on top of a shortened widened TA02 chassis. A Tamiya 959 is on my want list, though it's WAY out of my price range. Plus, I'd be scared to death to drive it. I thought this was the next best thing. I don't feel too bad about sliding this one all around, spares are all over and cheap, and while it's not super detailed, it looks pretty good cruising around.  I've robbed some parts off it over the years, but it's mostly intact though in rough shape.

Enough story, let's get to the pics! I'm not much for flashy paint schemes. Not sure what, if anything I want to do to the body. Love the color. No wheels, no shocks, and I cleaned off 8 years worth of dust for the pics. :) 

Chassis is custom 6061 that I painted "carbon" ...Seemed like a good idea at the time. It's about 30cm shorter than a standard short tub to fit the WB of the Nikko body. Let's cal it a TA02 SS, or Super Short

I've got serious stress cracks all over the chassis. The front gearbox was actually breaking in two. The rear was in good shape, though I had painted it silver and it's not aging well color-wise. Wondering if the paint helped it survive? No cracks anywhere on it. Interesting... Anyway, these bits have led a hard life in many vehicles, I can retire them with honor. 

Some new silver gear cases just showed up! Time to get wrenching...

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Thank you fellas, I hope I do not disappoint! 

Front gearbox is swapped over. Has a one way ilo the gear diff and a custom output for the center shaft. I cut up a TL01 center shaft and modded it to use a TLT outdrive. 

I gotta say I love the pearl effect on these silver gearboxes. They are absolutely gorgeous! Not sure if it's intentional or not, but they look great!

Suspension bits back on. Nothing fancy here, just standard TA parts. I did use FF01 lower arms, not sure if they are shared with TA01/02's or not. I gave up trying to keep track of the variations a long time go. I just mix and match whatever is in my parts bin until I get something that fits. :)These gave me a nice width up front that sets the tire in the fenders perfectly.

Added a few tricks to the front shock tower to help prevent future cracking. I drilled out the body mount holes and shock mounts with a 3mm bit. I'll attach parts with through bolts ilo threading them into the plastic which should take some of the stress off..... In theory anyway!  Drilled out the camber link holes with a 4mm bit and put in some brass inserts. They now take the brunt of the stress. I've done these little tricks with various TA chassis along the way and it seems to help quite a bit with the stress cracks. 

Mounted to the front gearbox. It's hard to tell, but I shaved down the upper  shock mounts as well and use a through bolt with an aluminum spacer. Those shock standoffs are usually the first part to start cracking. Not here! 

Some 3Racing shocks found their way on any the front is good to go!

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Time to move on to the rear. This gearbox was in pretty good shape. I originally painted it with a metallic silver and it's help up well. But I wanted to swap it out to match the front. The shock mount was badly cracked and had to go in any case. 

I had the aluminum/nylon spur in here apparently, I swapped it over to the full nylon setup. Plenty strong enough imo, I'm not sure what that aluminum gear's purpose is. More strength for buggies? I don't know. In any case, I'm sticking with the buggy spur for now to give plenty of torque, though I have a speed tuned spur here should I ever need more wheelspeed. 

Bolted back together...Rear diff is locked with a second set of spider gears and has a custom output to match the front. Can really see that pearl marbling effect on this one. I'd love to have an entire chassis made of this plastic!

Same anti-cracking mods done here, and shaved off the body mounts since I use a custom setup for the 959 body. All links are adjustable ilo fixed.

And ready to go with the body mount and shocks installed!

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And onto the chassis.. This is where a lot of the quick and dirty fab work came into play. It drove, it was square and solid, but not quite as functional as I'd like. Very little room for electronics too.  Note the "carbon" paint...it came out pretty decent actually! (As long as you aren't looking too closely at it.) 

I spent a ton of time removing the paint and refinishing the aluminum.. 

Even made a battery tray of sorts to match

...Then I ended up tossing it in the bin. Figured I could do better than that, so I baked on it for a while and eventually had an idea. 

Enter the Super TA. Carbon long chassis with a TB02 suspension grafted on. Great project, handled incredibly well, but the wheelbase was stuck at 267mm. I'd have to cut a new chassis for it to fit proper touring bodies. Fun project, but I have plenty of other std. wheelbase TA's to play with. So I started tearing it down. I'll move that cool suspension somewhere else eventually. 

The donor car being carefully stripped down.  

Ah...that's what I needed! 

Designed a new lower deck using the carbon chassis as a template. Can see how much shorter it is compared to the long chassis. This will be wider than the previous effort and use all the standard mount points..should be a much better chassis overall. Really, this is what I should have done in the first place. 

From rough cut to finished chassis. No fancy CAD or machine work here, just a man on a mission with a jigsaw, drill press and a few rusty files. :) I added a few holes out back for motor cooling. Sanded it down to 800 grit in a swirl pattern and called it good. May spray it black eventually once everything is test fitted.  

Just hope it fits!! Spent a ton of time keeping everything square

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That is a very inovated chassis and body pairing. I didn't realize that the Niko 959 body was that detailed.


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30 minutes ago, GTodd said:

That is a very inovated chassis and body pairing. I didn't realize that the Niko 959 body was that detailed.


Right? Makes me want to search for a spare Nikko Porsche 959 body!

This is a very cool project, also like your chassis rethinking of bolting older gearboxes to create what you need.
Cheers, Thompson

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It's a nice body! Mine was a bit beat up when I got it - the mirrors are long gone and it definitely had some rally action in the past. I did a lot of filling and sanding in spots, but it came out pretty nice. 

Got all the bits transferred over to the new chassis. This is much more solid than the rubbish I had originally - glad I made the swap. Found an aluminum bearing steering set in my stash as well - much less slop then the usual bent linkage setup. 

Cut an upper plate to match, again using the original carbon piece as a template.  The propshaft was a dogbone I had in my spares box that I cut in half, then press fit into a piece of steel tubing. The press fit was pretty solid  (gently used a BFH) but I brazed the ends in anyway just to be safe. It's very solid, it doesn't get taxed much on drift duty, but I'm sure it will hold up for street running too should I ever go that route.  Very happy with it. 

I moved the battery posts off to one side to offset the motor weight on the opposite side. I can run a shorty pack now, and leaves a lot of room to mount electronics. I did drill the holes for a standard size pack as well just in case. :) It's good to have options!

Really starting to come together now!

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