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H22A4

My vintage Thunder Shot

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The other day I decided to unearth my Thunder Shot.  It was stored at my parents house since the early ‘90’s.  I think it was last on the road in 1992 or ‘93 at the latest.  It was my second real R/C car as I had a Hornet which I passed down to my brother when the Thunder Shot was my Xmas present in 1990.  

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I’ve got a family with my oldest being 10 so by bringing my R/C car out I’ll use to gauge his interest. If he’s interested I’ll then probably consider a RTR car like a Traxxas for him.  

Ive ordered a new battery and charger which should arrive in a day or two.  There was my old 1200mah nicd battery that was in the box but I doubt it works so many years later. 

I’m going to tear the car down to clean and grease the gearboxes in the mean time.  I don’t recall putting any hop-up parts on it and looking at it now looks like it’s a completely stock first release Thunder Shot with no visible broken parts.  

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A couple of the tires have a flat spots with one being quite bad; I’m hoping it will come out with a little heat and persuasion.

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Clearly I didn’t realise that batteries can leak over time so the transmitter was stored with the AA’s in it for ~30 years.  A couple of them leaked but not as badly as I expected when I first lifted the transmitter out of the box and realized there were batteries in there.  I was expecting a lot worse.  After cleaning the transmitter terminals with vinegar and putting in new batteries, it powers up.  The real test will be seeing if the servos work when I get the 7.2v battery soon.  Here are early 1990 vintage AA batteries with a “best if installed by date of Jan ‘97”

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I’m not sure how crazy I want to go with the upgrades yet but welcome your suggestions on what I could do.  My plan is to just take it to the kids school yard (gravel and grass) and bash it around there.  To start with, I might need new tires if the flat spots remain.  Further down the road I’ll probably consider ballbearings to replace the plastic bushings in the gearbox and wheels.  I’m not sure if I want to upgrade to ESC but might have to if the existing receiver doesn’t work.  For now I’m hoping it does which means sticking with the MSC.  Perhaps replacing the stock 540 with something a little more exotic?  Looking through the vintage literature in the box, the technigold and dynatech motors were the upgrades to consider back then.  I imagine there are modern equivalents now?  

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BAD IDEA, I did what your thinking off with my vintage Midnight Pumpkin, Busted in about 5 minutes. 

Vintage plastics are NOT up to the hurting a child will inflict as they learn. My son ran it into the corner of my garage and broke the steering.

I also FULLY restored my own Thundershot and after a massive roll, had to do it all again as I did some serious harm.

If you want to bash (or get a child to learn) then get a re-re or a newer model (even 2nd hand) as this will have modern plastics that are not as easy to break. Also get a buggy that the parts are easily available.

All the vintage stuff is great for nostalgia, looking at and GENTLE running.Otherwise you risk breaking it and having to get parts that are NOT easy to find.

I find the newer buggies have no soul BUT they are much more robust. I tried a TT02-B in place of my Thundershot and WOW but BLAGH.....so now run a Traxxas Stampede as its hard to beat some massive air at a BMX track and wheelies all over the place.

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To run my original oldies from my childhood these are must-haves...

1, full ballbearings - they're dirt cheap today, don't wear out old shafts anymore than you already have

2, change MSC to an ESC - plenty of cheap good ESCs today eg Quikrun 1060

3, driving skills... yeah not good idea to throw a total beginner the controls of any 540 powered beast, it's like giving a Learner driver a Ferrari. If child is already learnt hand-eye-RC-coordination from something else then a cautious "maybe". 

I usully test them first with a crawler then a CC01 :) heck even a stock CC01 with 540 can do some crazy damage in the hands of a kiddynoob.

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Thanks for the advice.  I’ve already ordered the full bearing kit since I’m going to open both gear boxes to see what condition they are in.  

Yeah, letting my 10 year old test drive probably won’t be the best idea as it will likely lead to a crash.  Will likely lead to disappointment on my side.

I figure I’m a week or two away from getting it on the road again so I’ve got time to figure out a plan.

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Im rebuilding a vintage ThunderShot right now as well.  I recomend a full set of ball bearings, and Top Force uiversals.  I disagree about not running vintage RC. Espescially ones like these where you can still buy parts from when it was rere'd. Also boil the suspension arms etc itll soften the plastics.  Just dont due the tub, itll deform. 

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@WillyChang has a good list there. When I restomodded a Thundershot for myself, I also restored one for a mate to the spec he had as a kid, including MSC, and one of the first things he said when he ran it for the first time was that he regretted not asking me to fit an ESC.

 

In addition to the items on Mr Chang's list, I would also strongly recommend a steel A5 brace. Damage to the A5 part is virtually inevitable if running a 'Shot with vintage plastics, unless you brace it. It doesn't harm the vintage looks though - the black steel blends into the background and you'll only notice it if you look for it. You can see what I mean in the thread below.

 

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Great tip on that A5, I forgot to add that! It's a required part for back yard bashing or occasional track work

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Yes yes yes to the steel A5 brace. It's a complete necessity!

 

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5 hours ago, GTodd said:

Im rebuilding a vintage ThunderShot right now as well.  I recomend a full set of ball bearings, and Top Force uiversals.  I disagree about not running vintage RC. Espescially ones like these where you can still buy parts from when it was rere'd. Also boil the suspension arms etc itll soften the plastics.  Just dont due the tub, itll deform. 

What’s the part number for the Top Force universals that fit the Thundershot? In tearing mine down the dog bones are in ok (but it’s not an ideal design especially for the front) shape but I’ve looked at the Df02 universal shafts (53791) and they are not cheap. The thought of spending $50 for four measly universal shafts (2 packs) is a bit steep (IMO) when they are not actual universal shafts like the fronts on the Terra Scorcher.  I suspect the Terra Scorcher ones are hard to come by and probably cost a lot more when they do pop up.

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I'm pretty sure the top force Universal's and The TS are one in the same. I'm about to do some regular maintenance in a bit, I'll let you know!!

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Front differential opened up for the first time in ~29 years. Just waiting for the ball bearing set to arrive before putting it back together now.

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Based on your advice, what ESC do you guys suggest?  If I upgrade the motor in the future, it would likely be a Super Stock BZ or TZ.  I’m running stock wheels/tires/pinion (15) and, from what I’ve read, I might change the pinion to a 13 or 14T.  Which ESC would work with that and not break the bank?

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10 hours ago, H22A4 said:

Based on your advice, what ESC do you guys suggest?  If I upgrade the motor in the future, it would likely be a Super Stock BZ or TZ.  I’m running stock wheels/tires/pinion (15) and, from what I’ve read, I might change the pinion to a 13 or 14T.  Which ESC would work with that and not break the bank?

Hobbywing Quikrun 1060 any day of the week. Best value bargain out there by far, buy them by the carton if you've got plans for an RC fleet.

 

Although for cars that might only see a 540 or Sporttuned, I might cheapen out and go for its ugly cousin the 1040. It works, I've never felt it get hot in my installations, it's sometimes found for half the price of Hobbywing... money talks! 

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13 hours ago, H22A4 said:

What’s the part number for the Top Force universals that fit the Thundershot? In tearing mine down the dog bones are in ok (but it’s not an ideal design especially for the front) shape but I’ve looked at the Df02 universal shafts (53791) and they are not cheap. The thought of spending $50 for four measly universal shafts (2 packs) is a bit steep (IMO) when they are not actual universal shafts like the fronts on the Terra Scorcher.  I suspect the Terra Scorcher ones are hard to come by and probably cost a lot more when they do pop up.

Anything thundershot onwards fits. You don't really need universals for the rear. It helps smooth things out at the front. You also don't need tamiya. If you are willing to wait a couple of weeks for a far east vendor to post, Yeah Racing do some that work well so long as you pull the grub screws out and threadlock them before refitting. Any universals for the TT02B, DF03, DF02, DF01, Top Force, DT02, DT03 will fit. They're all the same. 

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The battery arrived so I tested the receiver and servos and they work after being asleep for 28 years.  One less item I don’t need to focus on.

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It’s reassembled after after installing the full bearing kit (even the 3 E1 bushings are bearings now). One of the tires still has a flat spot so I’ll either wait for the new tires I ordered to arrive or try some heat on the flat spot.

Its first drive in 28 years is a lot closer now!

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I took it out for a spin in my backyard and got a 10 minute spin in before the A5 part broke.  I grazed the bottom of the kids slide which broke it.  I can’t say I was shocked given it’s the weak point on the car and many said it was bound to happen.  

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The good news is I ordered a Shapeways A5 (and B8 part) part the other day figuring the 30 year old part wouldn’t last long.  The bad news is it won’t be here for a few days.  

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In addition to getting a new Shapeways A5 piece, I also ordered a quicrun 1060 ESC to replace my MSC.  Not surprisingly, the quicrun ESC instructions don’t provide much guidance on connections for a 30 year old setup.  So, should the ESC lead to the receiver plug into the Ch2 or Batt plug on my receiver?  My guess would be Ch2 since the ESC is replacing my MSC servo.  Also, for the motor leads, I presume yellow goes to yellow and blue goes to green for my stock 540?

 

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Installed the Shapeways A5 and B8 parts along with the 53301 shaft set so there’s less stress on both A5 and B8 pieces.  Also installed the ESC which shed 71 grams from the car.  Drove it around the house to test and it will get a top speed run outside tomorrow.  With these upgrades, my stock 1988 Thundershot isn’t so stock anymore.  I think I’ve got the upgrade disease.....

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Took it out to the track this afternoon and had a full run without breaking anything.   It tracks straight without needing to adjust the trim tabs too.  Thinking I might need to upgrade the stock 540 with something a little more exciting now....

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4 hours ago, H22A4 said:

Took it out to the track this afternoon and had a full run without breaking anything.   It tracks straight without needing to adjust the trim tabs too.  Thinking I might need to upgrade the stock 540 with something a little more exciting now....

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Fantastic! With that 1060 esc you can put something quite a lot quicker there. May i suggest one of the 17 turn black and gold motors? They are all the same but with a bunch of different brands stickers on them. Under a tenner on ebay. I ran a 21t version in a Boomerang and it was easily within itself. Just get a hardened or steel pinion if you haven't already. The  Tamiya pinions are made of aluminium coloured cheese. 

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6 hours ago, ThunderDragonCy said:

Fantastic! With that 1060 esc you can put something quite a lot quicker there. May i suggest one of the 17 turn black and gold motors? They are all the same but with a bunch of different brands stickers on them. Under a tenner on ebay. I ran a 21t version in a Boomerang and it was easily within itself. Just get a hardened or steel pinion if you haven't already. The  Tamiya pinions are made of aluminium coloured cheese. 

Thanks for the tips and advice as I got this car rolling again.

What are the major differences between the 17 turn black and gold motors you refer to compared to a 23 turn super stock bz/tz?

When I upgrade the pinion with a steel one should I stick with a 15t or go with a 13t or 14t?

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1 hour ago, H22A4 said:

Thanks for the tips and advice as I got this car rolling again.

What are the major differences between the 17 turn black and gold motors you refer to compared to a 23 turn super stock bz/tz?

When I upgrade the pinion with a steel one should I stick with a 15t or go with a 13t or 14t?

No idea. Never run tamiya motors as they seem super pricey to me. I would stick with 15t. 32dp pinions work if you can't find 0.8mod in that size

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