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Juls’s DB01 vs DB02 dual build thread

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I originally wanted a DB01RR not for racing, but just so I had one, will drive it a bit, but prob spend most its life as a shelfer. Of course once the DB01RR arrived, I decided I needed a DB02 as well, but you cant get a RR, soooo... I’ve gotta make one!

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So here they are, my plan is to build several steps of one car, then post that, then build the same steps of the next car and post that, and so on till we are done. 

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The DB01RR doesn’t come with a body, since the DB02 will be a Leonis I decided to make the DB01 into a baldre. A few extra hopups to top up on what’s already included.

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The DB02 needs a lot of parts to be up to RR spec, including reinforced plastics and chassis, slipper clutch, universal driveshafts among a few of the bits. I couldn’t quite stretch to the big bore shocks, so I’m fitting the standard aeration dampers that come standard on the TRF502X. 

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Workspace is tidied ready to go. We will start on the DB02. Steps 1-3. 

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Very nice, don't see too many of either. Its a shame since they look to be very capable and an interesting chassis. Will be watching the builds! 

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DB02 step 1-3

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lots of parts. So many packets, I’ve done this before, it’s a build of a 100 manuals as you have to cross reference the main manual against the hopup manuals as you go. 70% of the original DB02 parts are being replaced with hopup parts. 

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first up step one calls for three hopups, 54350 carbon reinforced lower deck, 54403 Alloy gearbox/engine mount and 54040 engine heat sink. Stock that heatsink plate is just plastic. 

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fitted up nicely step one done. 

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Step two we come across a few more hopup requirements, 54336 DB02 slipper clutch and 54404 DB02 universal prop shafts.

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slipper clutch assembled.

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centre gearbox done, took a fair bit of fiddling to get it shimmed right, since all the parts where not stock the manuals recommended shims did not work. 0.1mm shim makes or breaks this setup. 

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and steps 1-3 done. Will start the DB01 tomorrow. 

 

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DB01RR steps 1-3

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getting started you can see the included hopup engine heatsink and alloy hinge pin mounts fitted up. 

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Tamiya didn’t stretch to the 54079 hopup engine mount on the DB01RR, it’s probably not necessary to have the blue one, but I put a blue one on the DB02 so....

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engine mount fitted up, the other hopup here included with the DB01RR is the alloy steering posts. Step 1 complete.

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next up is the Diffs, on the DB01 and DB01R  you normally got some fairly unreliable and cheapish ball diffs, the DB01RR comes with sealed oil filled gear diff. The gears themselves are made from a very hard version of  Tamiyas carbon reinforced plastic, and are common to XV01/TA06 and others. It possible the gears could be swapped out for TA06 option steel gears. 

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interestingly Tamiya included these steel cross pins to use instead of the plastic one. They are also coated in the same stuff they coat the TRF shock body’s. 

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I decided to just go with the factory oil, the oil included is clear which suggests it’s 90wt, however it’s a lot heavier than that. 

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diffs done, the tiny screws where 1.5mm hex which seemed like a better idea than a ph1 Phillips screw but the hex was shallow and extremely tight fit which actually made the screws hard to use and easy to damage. The diffs feel a little firmer than a regular diff full of anti wear grease. Step 2 done. 

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next up we make up the shock towers to the diff/belt covers. The DB01RR includes towers made from a very hard version of their carbon reinforced plastic. They are extremely stiff, maybe not as nice as a carbon plate tower but easily as strong and stiff if not more. 

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Towers screwed onto covers, the diff covers are not made from carbon reinforced plastic (they are available separate) as you can see from the color difference to the shock towers. However they are made from a very stiff material and not the rubbery stuff we are used to on cheaper Tamiya kits. 

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DB01 left and DB02 Right 

interestingly when Tamiya made the DB01 they made many specific parts for it including cheaper diffs and driveline. Come the DB02 they built it to basically bolt mostly trf502x bits front and rear, they even kept the 502 diffs unchanged, just redesigned the chassis to take a normal battery pack and built that strange centre gearbox. 

Note the forward motor position on the DB02 compared to the DB01. And the difference in battery placement. 

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Absolutely love the look of Tamiya carbon reinforced plastic. Looks so much better to my eyes than the standard ABS. :) 

Great build thread thus far, carry on good sir! 

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DB02 steps 4-6 

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Step 4 and the diffs, yep that’s right ball diffs, pulled directly from the TRF502X, no cheapening out here, identical. Solid steel drives, with carbon reinforced plastic gears. The gears feel extremely solid and exceptionally well made. 

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Friction discs and main balls fitted, ball bearings included as standard. 

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the thrust bearings went together easily, quality of parts is exceptional. 

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For whatever reason these ball diffs are probably the easiest diffs I’ve ever built, I have had a lot of experience with ball diffs which helps knowing the tricks but these where such a joy to build and so quick, half the time it took me to stuff about with the oil filled gear diffs on the db01rr. 

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step 4 done, love these diffs. They feel smooth but very very solid with just the right amount of resistance. Rarely when I finish building a ball diff do I feel this confident that they are going to work properly. 

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step 5 we assemble the diff pinion gears onto the main drive line, a lot of shims are used in this kit to eliminate any slop. In this case I’ve used the option cv joints as mentioned in step 3.

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step 6 we assemble the rear gear case, again I’ve optioned for carbon reinforced parts. The rear gear case is in fact different to the TRF502 because the drive line needs to go up and over the battery. Tamiya made a separate sprue just for this and a few other DB02 parts. The front gearbox case is taken directly off the TRF502.

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with the case assembled you can see the upward sweep of the gear case. The fit and finish here is exceptional, 0 slop anywhere. Note the upper arm mount which unlike the DB01 is completely separate from the shock towers. 

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Shock tower fitted, again I’ve opted for carbon reinforced parts. Step 6 complete. 

 

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Good thing you installed the CVD for the rear gearbox.  When the DB02 first came out there were reports of the kit stock parts failing.  I'm only guessing it might be because of the angle needed to clear the battery.

As far as the DB01 diffs go, TRF501x diff joints and some tungsten carbide diff balls took care of most of the concerns.  If you really wanted to you could also source center pulleys and diff pulleys from the 501x too.  Starting with the 'R' reinforced drive belts were automatically included.

Special request:  When you finish both chassis builds, but before you install electronics, bodies, wheels, or tires, can you weigh both chassis?  There was some chatter about the DB02 being "heavy," but I don't have one to compare against my DB01Rs.

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1 hour ago, speedy_w_beans said:

Special request:  When you finish both chassis builds, but before you install electronics, bodies, wheels, or tires, can you weigh both chassis?  There was some chatter about the DB02 being "heavy," but I don't have one to compare against my DB01Rs.

Don’t worry that was always the plan! I too have heard this. (Rctech forum?)

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DB01 steps 5-6.

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In step 5 we assemble the concentric ball diff holders/belt tensioning system. For those that have not built a belt driven diff chassis concentric adjusters are fairly common. Note the hole is not in the centre so rotating the pieces can move the diff closer or further away from the drive pulley therefore tensioning the belt. I’ve gone with the instructions setup for now. 

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Adjusters/bearing carriers installed on diff

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dropped into the chassis, these few parts as simple as they are, they are also frustrating as left to right must be “opposite” “not identical” or the diff won’t run straight, on top of that the whole lot is all trying to fall apart as well as jump back out of the chassis.

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6 screws hold down the diff and it’s carriers, the screws are very difficult to put together in the reinforced chassis parts, this is good because it’ll never pull out or flex/shift. Downside is somehow I got one side of the concentric carriers wrong, undo the 6 screws, stuff about get it right. Screw it back on and... still no good, one if the stupid carriers had jumped and rotated slightly during reassembly.. undo screws again double, triple check everything perfect, runs true, screw it up. Perfect! 

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except I forgot to put this thing in that closes up the gearbox/belts from the outside world.(if you look in above pic you can see it missing) Undo those 6 screws again, diff pops out on the bench, go back through all the alignment again...  step 6 complete

 

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DB02 Steps 7 - 17

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Next up we install the rear gearbox on the chassis, First I need to fit the rear front suspension mount, I've opted for the option 54435 2.5 Degree alloy mount. 

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Rear gearbox bolted up, Step 7 Complete

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Step 8 is quick and simple, the upper chassis brace is fitted, I've opted for carbon reinforced parts here (actually I'm using carbon reinforced on this build wherever it was available) 

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With the upper brace installed, you can see how the upsweep on the gearbox was used to be able to clear the battery. Step 9 Complete.

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Step 9 the front gearbox is assembled, this is a unit directly off the TRF502X. I opted for carbon reinforced parts again, most of the parts on the sprue are for the TRF and not used on the DB02. 822CEA08-640D-4019-905D-61EE75D6BF05.jpg

Up front I have fitted the optional 54437 Aluminium Upper arm mount, I also purchased this for the rear, but it cannot be used with the stock shape shock tower, only works with the carbon plate version annoyingly. 

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with the front gearbox assembled step 9 is complete. I opted to use Carbon reinforced towers instead of the carbon fibre sheet type towers, as I felt these would fair better skidding down the road upside down at 50+km/h, also they are just as strong and stiff as the others but 1/4 the price.

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Step 10 has us assemble and install the steering rack and front gearbox mount. I've opted for 54402 DB02 Aluminium Steering Bridge, Sadly I could not find the TRF502X Alloy steering bellcranks, and have opted for the carbon reinforced part instead (which are probably lighter and just as stiff and precision anyway)

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Steering rack installed and Carbon reinforced gearbox mount screwed on. Step 10 complete. 

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Step 11  install the front gearbox to the chassis. All looking really good. 

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Step 12 the front chassis brace is installed. 

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Step 13 assembling the rear suspension, I've opted for the yeah racing alloy rear knuckle, it's colors a bit off, I might later option for the TRF Part just it's 5x the price. I'm also installing the 54016 DB01 rear universal shafts. 

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The outer stainless steel hinge pins are captured by the suspension arm and a small screw, no C Clips to mess about with, I prefer this system. 

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I've also optioned to use 54142 DB01 High Traction arms as they are the same fitted to the DB01RR (Carbon reinforced again), Rear Suspension assembled Step 13 Complete. 

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Installing the arms to the chassis I've chosen to use the 54441 Aluminium Rear suspension Mount. 

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The standard DB02 Manual suggests using Black O rings in the diff outdrives, I've optioned to use 53577 TRF Urethane bushing instead. 

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Step 14 Completed. 

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Step 15 we move onto building the front suspension, I have optioned to use 54141 DB01 High-Traction Lower Arm front, 54034 DB01 Carbon reinforced Caster block and 54118 Wide angle universal shaft front which includes a carbon reinforced hub to suit. 

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Top is the Standard DB01/02 Knuckle arm in normal plastic, note it has 10 Written on it. The lower is the knuckle included with the Wide angle universal shaft (note it has 9 written on it) . There is only 2 main differences, the option part is made from Carbon reinforced plastic, and the inside bearing is changed to a smaller 9x5 bearing (the outer remaining 10x5). 

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Top is the Wide angle universal shaft, the bottom is the standard DB01 universal included with the DB01RR Kit. They are noticeably different, initially it seems there is very little difference in the angle they can operate at, However the standard universal cannot operate at its maximum angle, it would jump and chatter. The Wide angle can operate perfectly smooth at it's maximum angle. How this compares to a more modern double cardon unit I'm not sure, one would think (hope) a double cardon unit would be better. 

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With the Front suspension installed Steps 15 and 16 are complete.

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Step 17 is a quick one, front and rear bumpers installed. The front bumper captures the front hinge pins, as there is no C Clip fitted to the rear of the arm.  Shocks coming up next. 

 

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This is great! I am loving seeing the DB02 come together with such lovely parts. One option you might consider for rear uprights is the XV01 carbon reinforced uprights. They are the kit option in the TRF211XM and the TRF503. I have them on my TRF201 and TRF211 and they are really nice and not expensive at all. Lots more options for roll centre adjustment and they have a really big 1350 (13 x 5) outer bearing which lasts ages. 

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That’s a good idea, I actually knew that but had totally forgotten, I’ll look into that now. There is more I want to do with the DB02... just cause... but the remaining bits are not so easy to find. Considering building a stock DB02 up from all the parts I’ve not used/replaced. But I will need to buy quite a few expensive parts. It’ll be fairly close to buying another kit (at a reasonable price) except there isn’t any about at the moment. Tamiya still have body’s etc in stock I kinda wonder if they are still doing a Leonis kit run every 2-3 years in the background. There’s a lot of kits they do another manufacturer run that isn’t publicly announced. I’ve enjoyed building the DB02, the 01RR has not been so smooth and easy, just try’s to be a pain all the time. The belts should be less complicated but in reality it’s more complicated and fiddly. 

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DB02 got such a bad reputation so it will be interesting to see how it goes when you weigh it and run it. I had a DB01R and it was super smooth and fast but you are right, they are a pain to work on. Only thing that really puts me off the DB02 is the ball diffs. I just don't seem to be able to not melt them. I destroyed the diffs in my TRF201 and DB01R in short order. All were replaced with gear diffs or one ways! 

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Great write up, having never seen either in the wild, makes me want to hunt one of them out... Looking forward to the end results 👍

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7 hours ago, ThunderDragonCy said:

Only thing that really puts me off the DB02 is the ball diffs. I just don't seem to be able to not melt them.

I don’t think you’d melt the DB02 diffs, probably the best designed ball diffs I’ve ever built. All the parts are very solid. Probably could do with some fancier balls I think they’d be fairly reliable. The gear is made out of decent reinforced plastic, unlike the db01 where the pulley is made out of cheese. 

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heres the electrics planned for both kits, they will run off my spektrum dx5r. Servos are feetech FT5478M low profile digital servo (0.07s @ 9kg) motors and esc hobbywing quicrun 120a and since these are 4wd buggy’s I’ve gone with 5750kv 6.5T motors. Now these are not diff destroying race motors, they are fixed timing budget sensored motors while still relatively fast they are not stupidly powerful. (Albeit one I’ve pulled from my dn01 cause it was a bit silly). 

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Motor fitted up in the DB02. 

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@Juls1

This randomly popped up on TRF Off Road today. TB04 gear diffs in a TRF502. Apparently the gear cases and diffs need some dremmel work

Mac... here are the part #'s needed (y) 51549 x2 / 51554 x2 / 51553 / 54540 x2 / 54533 x2 / 51255 x2 / 42259.. You will also need 16 total 2x6mm screws to hold the diffs together F&R and four 850 bearings vice bushings if you want them for the diff outdrives ... Now for the fun part... you will need to mill 1.5mm off of the Bevel gear side and 1mm off of the other side so that you can make the TB04 gear diffs work in the TRF502x cases... the upper gearbox case has less clearance than the lower so you might need to become a little handy with dermel ;).. but once they are milled and fitted properly.. they are every free ;)

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Well it’s certainly an option I might build a basic kit and do it in that. Could be easiest to wait for a second hand tb04 to come up. 

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@Juls1 holy mother of a build thread....! Wow. Great job. Great idea, great concept, great car comparison. Great parts, hops ups, write up process and pics.   Following with interest. :)

 

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any update on this mate, I have a RRR ready to be built and am keen to see the build and results of the RR.

good work on both builds so far

cheers 

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Yes, sorry will be shortly I’ve been away and get home tonight. The 01RR is up to the same stage as the DB02, just need to upload the pics and post, soon! 

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Just starting to catch up with this thread again...  Lots of great photos and descriptions.

One thing I don't get is the remarks about DB01 ball diffs or ball diffs in general.  I built a base-spec Durga years ago and ran a good 20-25 packs through it before rebuilding the diffs.  This was on tarmac, slipper clutch, 4200kV motor, kit tires and wheels.  I've never melted a DB01 pulley.  I know some people have from running their diffs too loose, and there's no denying ball diffs require more care in construction and maintenance, but they tend to be lighter than gear diffs and have a little bit of natural give/slip protecting the drivetrain overall.  In fact, people who have run gear diffs in their DB01s have found it useful to run the double slipper to isolate the front and rear drivetrains from each other preventing shock loads from damaging center pulleys.

I just saw a gear diff for a pan car recently and had to shake my head a little.  Why add extra rotating mass to such a light and simple car?

The build thread is great and I'm enjoying seeing both cars, especially the DB02, in detail.  I just wanted to voice an opinion that ball diffs are quite good in general, and that I don't fully agree the DB01 ball diffs are all that bad.

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@speedy_w_beans From a personal point of view I am just calling it as I have experienced it. I have followed the instructions, read lots of tips and still knackered 3 ball diffs in different buggies in succession. I just got bored with it and as I mainly run on fairly high grip surfaces gear diffs are the obvious solution. That said, I have a wreck of a diff in my TRF201 spare and I am going to have another go. It's got the full steel outdrives and I have got some carbide balls, fresh rings and a new brand of diff grease. I am giving it one more go, but if this melts I am done with ball diffs! 

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Great build, why I haven't noticed this before?

Watching this build, I keep asking, why Tamiya made DB02 so complicated and expensive. They should make new version with TB04 differentials and longitudinaly mounted gearboxes.. But I agree, that TRF502 diffs are great, I used them to upgrade my TB03. Stock diffs were never that smooth.

I noticed, that Tamiya still cannot make their universals right... Thicker pin in cross joint should face same direction as dogbone pin on other side to cancel vibration. Tamiya makes universals rotated, so they instead amplify vibrations. That might be issue with DB02s front center shaft, stock one might be smoother.

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