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ThunderDragonCy

TB-03 - Project Can I Get a 4WD Touring Car Working For Me?

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If any of you have followed my thread on my TA06 you will know I have struggled to get it handling in a way that I find enjoyable to drive/race. After my FF03 G4R became my go to fun driving racecar a few weeks back, I decided I would ditch 4wd and sell the TA06. But, RC being what it is, I hadn't even sold the 06 when this rather lovely TB03 popped up for sale at a great price

Tamiya TB03R

Reasoning that it shares a lot of bits with my FF03 and I like the IFS on that, and with it being slightly more conventional drivetrain compared to the TA06, I thought I would give it a go. So, ebay auctions were cancelled and I have a nice new thing to learn about, plus a very hopped up TA06 to pillage parts from if I need to. 

Couple of observations from receiving it and getting into the manual.

1) It has ball diffs. I have a bad relationship with ball diffs in buggies. I simply cannot make them last. However, these seem really nice and smooth, and general consensus on these diffs is that they are good. @ruebiracer has advised me on some blocks for the front that can have a spool like effect, but one of the things I found with the TA06 was when I really stiffened the front diff it got really loose and oversteery off throttle into corners, which I found really hard to drive. It's great on throttle though. So, some work to do there to see if it's the TA06, me, setup or all three at fault with that. I can also drop in TB04/5 gear diffs if needs be (these would have to be purchased).

2) The stock spur gear attachment and prop shaft cups are plastic and held in place by some parts of dubious potential reliability. The prop shaft and outdrives themselves are metal and very solid, but some work to be done there. I have some 2mm grubs screws and 8mm o rings on there way to replace the awful plastic pin/clip part that holds the prop shaft cups on, and I found an aluminium spur gear holder at a reasonable price, but it will take weeks to arrive. The hope up universal prop shaft and rear drive cup are still around at a couple of the far east vendors, but they're hella expensive for what they are, so if I can make a couple of improvements to the kit parts I think this will be fundamentally sound.

3) Plastic servo mounts. I have some alloy RM01 mounts on the TA06, but they're a little deeper than the TB03 kit part, and the inboard one wouldn't fit under the prop shaft anyway. Got the left hand TB03 alloy mount on order to see if I can make it play with one of the RM01 parts. The servo a little further forward wouldn't bother the steering I don't think.

4) Lots of kit screws. I'm not completely obsessive about getting rid of these, but as a lot of the car will get removed to fiddle with at some point, anything crosshead will get replaced with allen key stainless as I go along. 

5) Plastic suspension blocks. I have alloy ones on the TA06, but they're different widths and I'm going to hold off until I have driven it. 

Actually this last point is pretty key. Before doing anything (much), I want to get the electronics in it and just drive it, both here in the street and at the track. See what I'm dealing with before making any changes. It's proving quite hard to not tinker when I have some tasty stuff like the alloy blocks and TRF419 arms, ti turnbuckles on the TA06, but I want to see how it is inherently out of the box. It's getting the Surpass Rocket V3S 17.5 brushless motor and Trackstar D99X low profile servo out of my TA06, and a new Justock XR10 60A ESC. Waiting on some more Deans plugs to come before breaking out the soldering iron. Gearing will be 48dp, around 4.5 FDR, using a 66t spur and 36t pinion from the spares box. 

Other than that, there's a lot to like and it's very tidy indeed. Rear body mounts just needed spacing out using FF03 parts (SEE!) to get my Protoform race body fitting. 

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That's a beaut!

I've been following your TA06 thread as I had similar issues tuning mine in. Sad to see you're giving up on it, but I completely understand. It's a very cool design, but it does have it's quirks. I've quasi raced against a TB03 and it was fast, quiet, and on rails.   I think you'll be very pleased! 

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1 hour ago, OldSchoolRC1 said:

That's a beaut!

I've been following your TA06 thread as I had similar issues tuning mine in. Sad to see you're giving up on it, but I completely understand. It's a very cool design, but it does have it's quirks. I've quasi raced against a TB03 and it was fast, quiet, and on rails.   I think you'll be very pleased! 

Yeah, I thought it was just me and my lack of experience, but the FF03 dialed in really quickly. Hope my TB03 is like that one you saw!

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Postie was quicker with the stainless screws and o-ring delivery than I expected, so got my first bit of irritation sorted:

20200703_133821

That offensively awful, bendy plastic clip/pin for the rear prop shaft outdrive had to go. 

20200703_134212

EEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW. It's in that state from a single removal and fitting. Clearly the previous owner has very much more careful hands than me! Blurry foreground shows M2x8 grub screw halfway in. I used this to replace the drive pin. 

20200703_134249

And fixed. Grub screw held in place by an 8mm inner diameter, 2mm cross section o ring. I shall do the front whenever that gets pulled apart. Happy with this now.

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Those plastic propshaft pin things didn't inspire me with confidence either when I built my TB-03, so I decided to get the necessary bits to change them, and fit these when they broke. Only thing is, they haven't. :)

Something you might consider though is the alloy K9 part. The stock plastic one is easy to strip, and even with careful use the plastic thread wears out quickly when changing pinions frequently.

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42 minutes ago, ThunderDragonCy said:

@TurnipJF Already ordered an alloy K9 😉 

Good move!

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Found my last Deans plug, so after a weekend of other jobs and activities, i fired up the soldering iron after tea and installed the electronics. This is as neat as my installs get. 

Tamiya TB03R by CTE RC Tamiya TB03R by CTE RC

Also installed the rm01 servo mount and tb03 alloy with a spacer. Made me realise i should have saved my money and chopped the top off the other rm01 mount! 

Tamiya TB03R by CTE RC

Still, all works and steering turnbuckle is straight so i am happy. 

Ran my setup gauge over it and got the ride height to 6mm all round for street running, and all the cambers were either zero or positive. I tightened up the turnbuckles to give 1 deg front, 2 deg rear, but they are on the limits of their tightness, especially at the front, where i can't get toe out, only a bit of toe in. I suspect its the narrow 1A front blocks to blame. My TA06 has 1F blocks which are 3.75mm wider track so i think i will fit them to get a bit more scope on setup. 

Set up the ESC and could only get the wheels running backwards no matter what i did, so i pulled apart both diff cases, swapped sides in both, and got the rotating direction sorted. Unplanned cracking open of the front meant they all got stainless fasteners. 

So, car ready to run I put a bit of juice in my core rc stick lipo and took it for a spin. 

Tamiya TB03R by CTE RC

Running on very used sorex28 on damp tarmac, it had plenty of grip, and was just really nice to handle. Seemed inherently nice to drive in a way my TA06 just never was. Props to @Mark3gti for a nice base setup. No idea if it's quick, but if it's nice to drive at least i might stay on the track! Really pleased.

The thing i am wondering now is whether i can bring myself to dremmel off the stick battery mouldings in the battery tray so i can put my square lipos in. 

 

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23 hours ago, ThunderDragonCy said:

The thing i am wondering now is whether i can bring myself to dremmel off the stick battery mouldings in the battery tray so i can put my square lipos in. 

I don't see why not. It looks like something has already had a nibble out of the tub edge, so no need to worry about keeping it pristine. You could see how it goes with a Dremel on this tub, and if successful, get another and remove the bits on a mill for a better finish. 

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Decided to do the alloy blocks switch on the front. One quirk of the TB03 is that it doesn't use split blocks, it uses solid blocks upside down with 3mm spacers underneath. I stripped two 1F blocks off my TA06, and shimmed the arms. Replaced more screws with nice stainless, and did the grub screw/o ring mod on the front prop shaft outdrive whilst it was accessible. 

20200706_193545

I put 4.5mm thick hexes on the compensate for the wider arms. Swapped the steel turnbuckles on the IFS with the ti ones from the TA06 and opened them out 1mm from kit setting for the wider set arms. Had to reset the camber and toe and wind out the turnbuckles on both, but that's good as they were both bottomed out with no adjustment left. 

Nice thing is that the alloy blocks use the steel pillow balls too. The plastic ones have the shafts running directly in holes. The alloy blocks are a much better job. Free moving with no slop. 

Put it all back together and gave it a run with a fully charged battery. Goes like a scalded cat! Running faster (or possibly front end changes, although these are minor) the rear was a bit slidey now, but still easy to drive. 

Had lots of time and a sunny evening so did some tweaking. Now being able to run a bit toe out at the front i wondered if this was making the rear loose, with faster turn in. Put a little toe in back on and it definitely calmed down. Interesting. Added a degree of rear camber (up to 3) and this helped plant the rear a little more as well. I added blue hard front springs which was another positive change, and finally i added 2mm spacers under inboard rear ball studs to lower the roll centre. All helped settle the car down and feel really good. Even the ball diffs seem smooth and reliable! I am running the front as stiff as i can and rear loose as i could. Really keen to run at the track now. 

Next steps is alloy blocks on the rear, and try some different c hubs. The car has 2 deg at the moment, but i have 4 and 6 deg as spares. Be interesting to see the difference. Maybe try the 419 arms off the TA06 too. 

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Alloy blocks on the reae time. The 1D from the TA06 went on the back, but split blocks don't fit the TB03, so i needed to buy new.

Tamiya TB03R hy CTE RC

Wasn't sure i want to stick with the kit 2.5 deg toe in, so coming up blank from asking, i took a punt on the new adjustable blocks in XB size. Part is 54880. These have inserts that allow you to go two settings each way (so the XB set i have can do XD, XC, XB, XA, and X just by swapping or flipping inserts). Because of the way the TB03 works, the block has to go in upside down. It fits perfectly. You can't get spacers between the block and the tub like on the fixed blocks, but they mount solidly becase of the flat top. 

Tamiya TB03R hy CTE RC

This upside down fitting doesn't give the correct height, it's too low. I measured best i could, and used the N2 inserts pointing up to give me XB setting (3 deg toe in) and lift the pin 1 step from the centre point. I think it might still be a little low, but not much and if it is it will be giving me a bit of pro-squat. We'll see what that does when i get to run it. 

The arms that came on the car (TRF416 reversible) have been filed and aren't straight faces near the spacers, so seeing as i had the TA06 apart anyway i decided to fit the TRF419 rear arms off that so i could get all the shims straight and matched up. 

Tamiya TB03R hy CTE RC

And putting it back together meant i could replace some of the last crosshead screws with stainless. Nice and neat. 

Tamiya TB03R hy CTE RC

All moves freely with no slop, and i can tweak the settings or the rear really easily. 

Next thing i am wondering is whether to switch the yeah racing shocks on. The Tamiya alloy shocks on the car are really nice and smooth, but the collars don't have a slot on them so it makes added even preload difficult. The yeah racing also have ti nitride body and shafts, with tamiya seals, so they are pretty nice spec. 

 

 

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I use my dremel to make notches on the preload rings if they don't have them. As neat as possible of course... :)  It's a must have for tuning imo.

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1F:1F for the front? that seems overly wide ??? 

 

 

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2 hours ago, TenzoR said:

1F:1F for the front? that seems overly wide ??? 

 

 

Works great. It's actually not as wide as the latest TRFs, they are 05G/05G at the front. I run 4.5mm wide hexes and the track width is within a couple of tenths of a millimetre of the kit 1A/1A with 6mm hexes. Getting the wheels closer to the steering axis improves the steering apparently. Mainly I did it because these Yeah Racing 1F blocks were a couple of bucks each on rcmart, so it seemed like a good idea. 

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59 minutes ago, TwistedxSlayer said:

How are you finding shaft drive compared to belt?

I think its hard for me to make a valid judgement, because mainly the TB03 is much easier to handle and more responsive to changes than the TA06, and the TA06 isn't a typical belt drive chassis. The TB03 also has ball diffs vs oil filled gear diffs on the TA06 so there are some fairly glaring differences in specification.

I do much prefer the TB03 simply because i have it handling in an easy manner that feels like i could race it for 5 minutes and know what it will do. I think that's much more do with the TA06 being a quirky layout than anything intrinsic in shaft drive, although i did have to start from scratch with the a basic TA06, and the TB03 came to me nicely sorted. I don't know how close to kit setting it was. 

The TA06 was always quite soft on the throttle compared to my FF03, and the TB03 is very quick accelerating too, which is nice. That could also be the weight though. The TB03 is over 100 grams lighter than the TA06.

The other thing that reinforces that it's not shaft drive but simply that the TB03 is a lovely chassis is that i really just couldn't get my TT02 Type S I built to handle at all, and despite being ostensibly identical, the TB03 is just lovely, and very quiet too. The TT02 was so noisy! 

I would really like to have a go with a decent belt chassis. I imagine I would be quite happy with one of those too. Maybe i need to add a TA05 V2 to the collection to complete the Tamiya IFS trinity 😉

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Put the Sorex32 race wheels/tyres on and the car is just nailed down! I think the used 28s i was using for street running are completely done. Went for blue hard rear and super hard white front springs and it feels really good. Only thing was it was super touchy steering around the straight ahead. It came with 2 deg caster uprights which is less than i have seen before, so i decided to swap in the 6 deg spares i have. First thing i find is that the fittings on the 2 deg c hubs are different, with a kind of all in one bush/ball pin on top. 

20200711_194102

I guess it's some kind of old spec version. Never seen it before and the fittings are the wrong size for the modern c hubs i have. I swiped the fittings off the TA06 and got the 6 deg hubs on

20200711_194110

More caster in theory calms the steering sown at the expense of turn in speed. And that's exactly what happened! Much less twitchy around the straight ahead, so high speed direction changes are easier. Slower turn in makes it a little more friendly too, but there is a little more understeer. Maybe i can dial that out, but for now i think i have a great base setup to run at the track. I am going to try and get down one evening next week. 

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30 minutes ago, ruebiracer said:

In case there is still the kit compromise of 4°.:)

I have the 4 deg too. I will leave these for the moment though. 

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Postie was kind today. A couple of bits of blue bling, which were quire hard to track down given that they are unique to the TB03 and its 10 years old now. 

2020-07-14_02-02-24

Despite looking lovely, i feel these are must haves for this chassis for durability. 

20200714_192120 20200714_192429

I am not a fan of plastic spur gear holders, so on went the alloy version. Also came with four of tamiyas flat head screws for securing the spur gear, rather than the two that were on the kit part. You might also notice ib the top picture that i have taken a dremel to the battery tray to remove the rounded mouldings so square lipos sit on the deck. It wasn't massively hard, but it does leave a pretty messy finish. 

This is the K9 part hiding at the bottom. 

20200714_210348

It's a sliding boss the screws solidly to the bottom motor hole and has a coressponding slot in the bottom of the motor plate part. It allow you to set the gear mesh without horrendous access issues. This photo also demostrates one of the really classy things about this chassis compared to the ostensibly similar TT02 Type S : a great big solid one piece aluminium motor plate/prop bearing housing/heat sink/bulkhead. Really solid, definitely sucks heat out of the motor and everything always aligned. Lovely. 

20200714_210916

 

And here it all is back together. Used the opportunity of having covers off to check my prop pin mod, gear mesh/shimming and ball diff and all seem good. I do have the gear diff parts now, but the handling is really good in the street with the ball diffs so there are staying in for now. 

Hoping to get an evening running at the track later in the week, and i am really excited to run this. 

 

 

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You really cover all aspects of the TB03!:) I have another TB03 R lying around, which I bought used some years ago. Definetely you inspired me to rebuild it again for street racing. I wanted to convert it to Rally spec. We´ll see.

But I still find it quite funny, how Tamiya brings everyone to spend loads of money in the TT02 with various upgrades, that still look qquite clumsy in the end. The TB03 had everything in a better designed way, with better materials and Performance for less money than the TT02.:lol:

That´s marketing success, I guess.

Also the IFS is really great. Won a stock race back in the day with mine, and yes it´s a Little more adjusting work. At least you have to think more about it. But you can have also some more adjustability Parameters like push rod link length, which gives you even more progressivity Options than a stock shock tower.

I have some option parts from Eagle Racing, and they do make top class stuff for incredible prices:

http://www.broadtech.hk/eagleshop/shop/ShopProductDetail.aspx?id=3747

(it´s lighter than the die cast motor mount, and has bigger surface for cooling)

Just search for TB03 in their shop, I´m quite sure you find something for you.

Keen on your next track outing, will follow for sure your very detailed and informative threads on the TB03 and FF03,

Matthias

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@ruebiracer @Seanster43 Thanks for the kind words. It's interesting how subtle changes make big differences. It's entirely possible i just didn't get on top of the setup on my TT02 Type S, as lots of people like them, but as you say, the TB03 seems superior in several key ways, even compared to a Type SR, and I guess a TB05 must be another step again given its compatibility with the TRF419 suspension parts and SSBB shocks. I am keeping an eye on the TC01. 

The IFS is what attracted me really, as my FF03 sets up great. Even though the TA06 has it too, i was warned off it by experienced other members as being hard work and flawed geometry compared to the TA05 style here. And as you say, it gives options. I shortened the pushrods this week actually because the spring collars were almost topped out to get 6mm ride height, which meant now way of going lower for carpet later in the year, and i guess a more linear shock feel. Shortened the pushrods 1mm each side and everything is much more "in the middle". 

Thanks for the Eagle racing pointer. I shall have a look.

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@ruebiracer You are a bad man. There are now a heat sink motor mount, aluminium prop shaft drives, aluminium IFS rockets and aluminium rear shock towrr mount on their way from Eagle 😂

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