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TL01 fun with portals

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Tamiya should really offer these as a stand alone purchase...they can work with so many kits! I had to buy a Monster Beetle TR to get a set. I'll eventually build that too just for fun, but what I really wanted was the portals. 

I was torn about what to put them on - I was originally thinking an MF01 Jimny - the portals would solve a lot of the ground clearance issues. Eventually I settled on my trusty TL01 platform as it's tough as nails, fits a lot of bodies, and I have a lot of parts stashed for it. 

First thing to do, other than open the kit and breathe in some of that new kit smell, was to build the portals.. I left the bushings in for now though I may invest in some bearings later (3x6, 16 needed) These are pretty stout little units - dual counter gears and a nice smooth rotation. My only wish is that they came with black ABS ilo the red. 

Test fitting on a spare TL01 chassis...(I've got a front camber link on the right - whoops!) - there's quite a bit of travel available before the dogbones begin to chatter.  I have some shock towers to mess with as well, though depending on the body I may or may not use them. 

I didn't have a spare running chassis since I stole some bits for my MF01 Porsche, so I had to sacrifice my other one. This was my Supra long arm conversion... Great chassis, but sometimes sacrifices must be made. :) 

Removed the LA kit and bolted back on stock arms with the portals in all the right places. It's a perfect fit! I did use the upper adjustable camber links I had on the Supra and they worked out pretty good. 

The YR shocks seemed to give the best amount of travel out of all that I had, so they stayed on. I did add longer rod ends to give me some ride height. It works out perfect as the shock bottoms out just before the dogbones do. Longer end on the left. 

....and both swapped. Should be plenty of height for offroad fun. 

And some mock up pics... A McAllister body fits right on, with plenty of clearance for larger tires. I mocked up some 1.9's for now, though wheels and tires are still very much TBD. 

Absolutely love this stance!! 

Decent amount of flex, should be able to tackle some trails with this setup no problem. There's more to be had I think, I need to look into some more shocks. 

Looks almost done, but there's a lot of work to do yet. I was just mucking around with parts until I figured out something I liked - and I like a lot!! More to come. 

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Very cool. Agree these should be a standalone hop-up or at least easy to obtain the parts-trees. 

I'd be concerned with the TL-01 though, the weak spot is the damper tower tops, prone to splitting when the suspension travel max's out before the chassis bottoms out. That's definitely going to happen here! I'm worried for your damper towers!

At least on the MF-01X the damper towers are separate from the main chassis.

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Thanks ChrisRx718, I know the shock towers will take a pounding, especially since the shocks bottom out way before the chassis does. I have a solution in mind, just not sure if I want to do mild or wild. :)

I think this thing has some potential...and I don't have much else to work on. Thanks to the lockdown, almost all of my current projects are good to go! A lone SMT10 kit is waiting for a build, but I'll get there eventually. And a ton of bodies to paint...TA03, MF01, CC01 and my CMX.. I've been slacking. So anyway, I ordered some goodies. A Hobbywing 1080 ESC, SSD slots and some longer suspension arms via the comical buggies which have a few more lower mounting points for the shocks than the old TL01 arms, and are a bit wider too. 

So while I'm waiting, I did some number crunching. Biggest issue with turning a touring car into something that can do well on the trail is the gearing. A stock TL chassis has gear ratios from 7.96-6.57 with the stock gears, and 5.95-4.92 with the speed tuned gears. Not going to work, especially with 4.19 tires. Adding the portals changes if from anywhere from 16.49 to 10.18. Not quite low enough. I'll be using a 3:1 reduction at the motor so now I'm looking at a FDR between 49.47-30.55 depending on what gears I have in it. Much better!! 

Decided to go with the stock gears and a 19t pinion to start for 49.47:1 and I'll adjust from there. I think it'll be a quite high, but it's the only pinion I had at the moment. - 21 and 23t are on order.. I cracked open the chassis to see what was in there - turns out I had ball diffs and the speed tuned gears. Normally, NICE! But for this project, they had to go!

Found some lockers meant for drift cars - they'll do for now. (Thankfully I had the D shaped outdrives in my stash of parts.) I'm not sure they'll be strong enough, I may have to mod up a set of the 3 gear diffs eventually. 


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Special delivery from TamiyaUSA - L/N parts trees from the comical buggy series...paid a pretty dear price to get them, the price you pay for being an RC addict. 

And the suspension arms trimmed from the trees and assembled. New arms on the bottom, old TL01 arms up top. Quite a bit of width difference, and multiple mounting points per arm for the shocks compared to a single mount point for the TL01 arms. Plastic is a different material than the old arms too, feels stronger to me. 

Installed on the chassis...I dug out some longer TA05 dogbones to match the arms, and made a few tweaks to the camber links but otherwise they bolted up just fine. In the back, I only had 1 turnbuckle that fit, so one side is a turnbuckle and the other is a threaded rod. I won't tell if you don't!  

I found some older Integy shocks that had a bit more travel than the YR touring shocks...not to mention that the red/gray color looks much better with the portals than the blue did. since I'm somewhat OCD, I also removed the blue pivot balls and added brass to match the rest. 

I only found 2 red shocks, the other two are here somewhere. Probably on a CC01 chassis - I'll find them eventually. I also for some reason had a set in gray - I mounted those out back for now. Same shocks, just a different color. I used the outer mounting points up front and the middle in the rear to lower the ride height a bit, it looked a bit jacked up to my eyes previously. 

Wheels showed up too - SSD slots and brass rings for a bit of weight down low. OK, maybe a lot of weight down low :) I do like a heavier rig out on the trail. Light ones just bounce all over. Mounted to some broken in and ready to go 4.19 Hyrax tires. 

And installed... Slots were the way to go, they match the body perfectly in my eyes. I would have loved some 1.55's as they would have looked better, but they don't clear the portals without adding a ton of offset. 

Next - electronics time!

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Nice build 👍

Noticed the M-chassis motor! Unusual choice. 

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I have a few of them, they work fantastic with a gear reduction and their compact size fits a lot of chassis. I run the same combo in my trail CC01 as well as my 2.2 CC01 and they provide a decent amount of tractable power and stay surprisingly cool. 


Decided to paint the body since I was in a painting mood. I've never tried a patina or rusty look - most of my paint jobs are shiny and new, and I prefer to let them age naturally. Feeling my oats, I gathered some paints and had a go at it.

First thing I did was cut out the window masks and re-traced them onto another masking sheet so I could have 2 sets. Then I found 2 colors of brown in my paint pile and used a sponge to layer them on.  

Backed with silver, then black. I really like this look, I was tempted to leave it this way! But, no going back now... 

Put on the outer masks and then sprayed with 3 coats of red to match the chassis. After it cures, I'll sand down the red so the patina shows through and then give it a nice dullcoat. No idea what I'm doing, but it seems to be going well so far. :)


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Electronics time! From its previous life as a touring car, the chassis still had a Futaba S3003...good servo for what it is, but pretty weak sauce for a trail vehicle with locked diffs and heavy wheels. A cheap 25kg servo off Ebay was supposed to take its place... 

I found out pretty quick that the spline height from the mounts was much higher than the Futaba, and it would not fit in the chassis as it pushed the steering horn into the chassis. Both servos are lined up together and the height difference is pretty obvious.  

Well then...dug around until I found an older Hobbyking servo that had pretty good specs. It fit perfectly so in it went! 

Spent some time with my trusty soldering iron and get everything stuffed into the chassis. Neat wiring jobs are not really my forte. :)

The receiver and HW1080 ESC are tucked in at the bottom of the chassis. Great spot for them - low and accessible though they'll have to be remounted if I ever have to take the chassis apart since they straddle the chassis halves. 

I cut off 8mm on each side of the battery wings to narrow them up to fit my 2200mah packs. I remember stuffing 1500mah nicads in here back in the day...and marvelling at the run time!  It's amazing how far we've come over the past 10 years - brushless and lipo have completely changed the game (in a good way)

I took the body outside and sanded it down. I had no idea what I was doing, but I had fun doing it. I also colored the table, my hands, and the chair a nice shade of red from the wet sanded paint. The wife was not amused. 

And body on the chassis. Once I had all the electronics and the body on, the springs were hurting - especially in the rear. Some CC01 barrel springs did the trick - red up front and yellow out back. It's a bit on the stiff side, but it feels in the ballpark so we'll run with it. 

Once the body was sanded, I sprayed it with a bit of dullcote here and there. Pulled the masks, lowered the body in the rear to reduce the rake, and admired the result. I think it looks pretty decent! I wish I had added some decals before painting as it looks a bit plain to my eyes, but that all part of the learning curve I guess. 

Almost there... this has been a very fun project so far! Definitely different, and I like different. I still have a few things to do - front body mount, some kind of battery tray to secure the battery and add some protection (it flops around in there quite a bit) and some shock tower bracing most likely. Is that light I see at the end of the tunnel??

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Looks great. Red body helps take the focus off the bright red portals!!

CC01 barrel springs too? 


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