Jump to content
Why me?

Gravel hound upgrades

Recommended Posts

Hi all, first post so go easy on me!

I used to race many years ago, 1/10 off road (Kyosho Optima, Optima mid, Lazers etc) and 1/12 mini stocks on a carpet oval.

Haven't had a car for well over 20 years but just decided to buy something for a bit of a play to see if I still enjoyed it. A quick browse on eBay found me buying a gravelhound. I’d never heard of it before, but it’s quite a nice looking thing imho.

Anyway, ramble over, I wasn’t exactly blown away by it’s performance- it’s definitely lived a bit and is understandably a little sloppy, but I was just wondering if there are any ‘must do’ mods to do on these? There are various aluminium suspension parts, hubs, steering arms etc on eBay but I don’t want to sling money at it if it’s not going to improve it. 
Any advice welcomed!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Shares lots of parts with the TT02B which is basically the modern equivalent. In many ways it's better.

The front suspension tower (where the front dampers mount) is a weak point and the hubs front and rear have a habit of going brittle with age and breaking where they attach to the upper link rods.

Chassis can take a lot of power but the ground clearance isn't great, best environment for them is rough car parks and coarse, compacted gravel, or dirt. Grass is a bit of a problem unless it looks like your local golf course fairway...

I have an upper suspension mount for sale on the forum due to a mix-up with my order.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Gravel Hound is based on the DF-02 chassis. I have one of those in my fleet too, although mine is wearing a Rising Storm bodyset. I found the following hop-ups useful:

Bearings - obviously

Alloy motor mount - aids cooling and benefits motor stability

Alloy propshaft - able to handle more than a silver can without warping

Ballraced alloy steering rack - reduces slop

Turnbuckle set - allows more setup options. (The stock geometry is fine for beginners, but as an ex racer, you might want to make it a bit more responsive.)

Alloy hexes - the stock plastic ones crack easily

Modern 2.2 buggy wheels - a bit more ground clearance and more tyre options 

Proper shocks - if yours started life as an XB model, the shocks are stripped down CVAs with no oil or seals, that act like pogo sticks.

Epoxy filled lower arm mounts - the mounts can rip free of the chassis tub in a severe crash. Filling the voids in their undersides with a strong epoxy glue helps to reinforce them.

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As you have discovered, DF02 isn't the top of the line buggy.  Neither is TT02B, but they are both capable enough, I like my DF02.  

[1] Upgrading to full bearings is often the first recommendation. For 40-50 cents a piece (USD), you can make it run 15% faster, accelerate quicker, and the battery lasts longer too.  It's the cheapest and most effective upgrade.  DF02 comes with some. Replacing all the plastic bushings to bearings would help.  If you have CVA shocks, those are fine. (Tamiya instruction almost always gives you a very stiff setting. I recommend reading the instruction with some suspicion; you should find the sweet spot for yourself)  After that, it's up to you. 

DF02 is one of those strangely neutral chassis; it doesn't have a glaring fault, nor does it have anything spectacular.  I would consider that as a sign of a decent chassis design.  

[2]  Turn buckles allow you to adjust toe-out, toe-in.  I find it useful in any car. (shame on Tamiya for not including it)  

[3]  I also add differential clay, so it could run on 1 wheel if it has to. (It prevents diff-unloading--it's like locking the diffs. If you are looking to improve off-road performance, differential clay will certainly help.  Tamiya sells it, there are other brands too)  

[4]  I'd upgrade the motor.  If you have TBLE02S ESC, you could either get a 13.5t brushless or Sport Tuned.  If you have raced before why not 13.5t?  It will not blow you away, but it's fun enough.  

[5]  I mount a heatsink on every motor. It's probably not necessary since I don't like to run it with tall gearing in the first place.  If there is heat, motor dies slowly.  Also Gravel Hound isn't known for good airflow over the motor, so it's just an insurance for me.  

I have an aluminum propeller shaft but didn't mount it (I mostly run Sport Tuned).  Unless it's expensive 6000 or 7000 grade aluminum, I suspect lower grade aluminum are weaker than reinforced plastic (that the drive cups are made out of).  But if the stock prop fails, I've got a replacement.  So far, I have not heard of it failing, but it might fail if you have a very strong motor, and the surface grip is strong.  

Steering linkage upgrades are available too.  They'd remove a lot of slop, but not all.  Unless you are in love with DF02, I would recommend reserving that money for a better chassis like XV01 rally, or DN02, etc, etc.  While TT02B and DF02 are considered entry-level chassis, there are better ones.  DN02 is 2WD. Out of 3 dozen bashers I have built, DN02 has the least slop.  I wonder if DF03 (4WD) is tight also, but I don't have it to compare.  

Take it with a grain of salt, I'm only one person with a limited view on things.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks all for taking the time to reply. The car has been ballraced by a previous owner so that’s one box ticked. I have an old 12 triple motor and my old race esc if I can find them. 
The steering is going to be my first job, the servo in it seems very slow so I’ll swap that and add some ballraced aluminium bits while I’m there.

I've seen aluminium dog bones on eBay, are these any good? 
 

A decent set of 2.2s is on my list as well, and I’d like to upgrade the shocks.

I understand it’s not a high end chassis but I’m not planning on racing it, just messing around with a few mates.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DF02 should have chunky steel dogbones on all 4 corners which are actually decent (considering the car is based on the TT01 which is plastic fantastic) the only worthy upgrade is Steel universal/ CVD but that's a can of worms because it means changing diff our drive cups too, probably not worth it IMO.

Or do you mean the dogbone propshaft which runs back to front? The stock plastic item is again stronger than the TT01 equivalent piece but an aluminium prop is recommended if you're upgrading the motor speed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Chris, it has steel dog bones each corner, but one was very bent. I’ve straightened it out but spotted aluminium ones on eBay and just wondered if they were up to the job, I liked the idea of the weight saving but obviously don’t want to create a weakness. I did consider the U/J’s too but didn’t realise I’d have to swap the diff cups.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Dweeb said:

Hello Why me?

Looks like I need to do a few upgrades, the race is on B)

First one round the swings and back is the winner 😄

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...