Quick tip for TT-01 owners…

Drivetrain feeling rough on your TT-01/TT-01E?

Try loosening the upper screws on the gearbox covers. A quarter-turn at a time.

It’s a bit of a hack to loosen the bevel gear mesh, but it seems to work!

Got a hunch it may be related to the black gears that come up a bit larger than the old white gears.

 

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Tamiya #42313 Large Shim Set for Gear Differentials

But first, a little background…

Effectively, I haven’t been racing for the past 3 years. Personal circumstances and choices meant I could’t attend club races regularly, and because I wasn’t racing regularly, I felt less inclined to attend the bigger events.

Last year, I tried to race in the Iconic Cup, and for whatever reason I had lots of problems, and didn’t achieve what I felt I should have done.

This winter, I tried again with the CWIC XRS (run by the Chippenham club). Again, lots of problems with the car, combined with being well off the pace.

I would be intrigued to know what is the root cause of the problems – lack of practice, my increasing age, outdated equipment, or simply a lack of motivation. Sadly, I don’t know the answer.

What I do know (and this is what leads me on the the real topic of this post), is that if you under-perform, you end up in races that you shouldn’t be in, where driving etiquette appears optional. And you get battered.

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I am still running my Tamiya/Samix TRF418 with the 419 rear diff. It is a car I have struggled with on many occasions. As the winter progressed, I managed to get a degree of consistency out of it on the new-to-me Hudy tyres and ETS carpet. Unfortunately, consistency doesn’t count for much when you get punted repeatedly by lapped traffic.

The rear diff broke – breaking an input gear and coning the shims.

While searching for some replacement parts, I spotted these:

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The set includes 2x 0.3mm shims to go behind the input gears, 2x finer 0.1mm shims for the same location, and 4x 0.1mm shims to go behind the spider gears. As these shims are the same size as the gears themselves, loading should be much more even, reducing the tendency for the shims to cone. Also, the large size should make it harder for oil to find it’s way through the seals, reducing leaks. We’ll see if this works out in practice.

In terms of re-assembling the diff, I always shim the input gear so that it rotates smoothly with minimal backlash. Just one 0.3mm shim was enough for this on both sides. I will reappraise the shimming next time I have the diff apart.

I also put a 0.1mm shim behind each of the spider gears, and assembled the diff dry to make sure everything worked smoothly, again with minimal backlash. It did, so I filled the diff with oil (#2000 for now) and put it back in the car.

I have to say that I don’t buy in to any of the diff-building “voodoo” that you may read about elsewhere. Tamiya’s parts are fundamentally good quality. I don’t sand down the gears, I don’t weigh the oil, I don’t use special slime on the seals. I just lube the seals with the normal silicone oil, make sure there is no flash on the gears, and fill the diff until the fluid sits just above the cross shafts.

Plan is to get this on the track again this week and see if it runs properly again. Will be glad to put this winter’s racing behind me!

 

Reflections on the Iconic Cup

Sometimes life challenges you at work.

Sometimes life challenges you in your relationships.

And sometimes, life challenges you in your hobbies…

 

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As the car came off the track at West London

I’ll start with the positives from the 2017 Iconic Cup. I was racing with a great bunch of clubmates; it was great to see so many “scale” RC cars going around the track; and we were blessed with some unseasonably good weather.

But I had SO many problems!

Many years ago, I was (trying) to race a Kyosho Lazer ZX-5 in the North East regional series. I was well out of practice off-road, and the Lazer was not an easy car for the conditions. After getting thoroughly soaked at Batley, I gave up. It wasn’t fun.

I was moments away from giving up on the Iconic Cup on several occasions.

The biggest problem I had was with the drivetrain of my TT-01E. Many years ago I had a normal TT-01 and it caused me no problems whatsoever. This car was different.

It ran perfectly indoors with the 58T spur gear, but when I put the 55T spur gear on for outdoors, the problems began.

First race of the series was at Stafford – a track I have never been to. My first run was good enough for about 6th overall, but the car was slowing towards the end of the run. I spent the rest of the day trying to find some pace again, and realised that I had not located the pin into the 55T spur gear properly which had caused it to melt onto the spacer that is supposed to stop it from sliding off the pin. I repaired it as best I could, but didn’t solve my problems as I had cooked the Sport Tuned motor at the same time. Fortunately a racing buddy had a spare Sport Tuned, and I fitted that to have a bit of power for the final (having slipped down to 11th in the order). It was a fun race with a couple of late challenges making the win from pole feel all the sweeter.

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Torque Tuned is the only motor I have left

Second round was at my “local” track of Cotswold. This is a power track for any class. Naturally, I melted the replacement spur gear and blew another Sport Tuned but chose not to replace it as I was already getting a bit fed up. I ended up last in the A.

For round 3 at Broxtowe, I rebuild the car with a new chassis, a new propellor shaft and input axles, a new spur cover and, naturally, a new spur gear. I tested the car indoors and it passed with flying colours. I even went to the track for Saturday practice as it is a long way from home and I decided to stay overnight.

I melted the spur gear in the first run.

I was about to go home, when another racer offered me his spare car. The generosity of his offer made me reconsider. Instead of taking him up on his offer, I kept running my own, damaged, car. After all, if it had melted and still runs, it isn’t going to get any worse. I had fitted a new motor for the meeting and surprisingly it had more or less survived, and I kept running for the rest of the meeting, ending up with my best result of the season with 6th. It’s a great track for the low-powered cars of the Iconic Cup.

With pretty low morale I turned up at West London with no intention of doing anything to the car. Before the day was out, my third Sport Tuned of the season had died, so I fitted the Torque Tuned that had come with the kit. A chat with a local suggested that the difference between the two motors was not so great, and he was right – I managed to finish 9th.

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The melted spur spacer (2nd time around)

That was the main frustration. I have an idea for a part that my Dad could turn on his lathe that should cure the spur gear issue for good. Of course, that would be outside of the rules as they are written.

I also struggled with tyres and the body – my ancient Sorex 32s just weren’t hooking up consistently; and the Diebels Alt 190E shell (which received many compliments) simply doesn’t handle. I ended up running my tatty HPI Lexus GS (which I bought as a practice shell for my kids).

I haven’t ruled out running the series again next year, but I will have to think carefully about whether I can keep the costs (and the frustrations) to a minimum next time around.

“Scale” racing revisited

Some of the best racing I have done has been with “scale” RC cars, and in particular with the Tamiya Mini.

Unfortunately, the opportunities to do this can be pretty limited. My local club (Bristol Model Car Club) usually has a heat of Minis, but a lot of clubs don’t, and it is rare to find a regional or national series that supports scale racing.

So the Iconic Cup was something I just had to get involved in…

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The series is effectively a time capsule dedicated to the Tamiya Eurocup which last ran circa 2005*. This means that only Tamiya on-road cars from this period are allowed to race.

Unfortunately I don’t own any cars from that era any more. Rather than buy an out-of-production car (and all the spare part issues that could cause), I went for the only car on the permitted list that is still in production – that Tamiya TT-01E.

The TT-02 replaced the TT-01 a few years ago, but for some reason Tamiya have revived the older chassis for their MAN racing trucks, and for this “Diebels Alt” Mercedes 190E which is quite easy to buy on eBay from Germany – mine arrived within a week.

The hop-ups that are permitted are limited in scope, but the rules are not as strict as the old Eurocup. I have all of them! The new purchases are pictured, and I will be choosing some oil dampers from my spares box. I’ll update the blog once the build is completed.

I have owned a TT-01 before, and they are a surprisingly good to drive. Considering the limited power from the Sport Tuned motor, I’m confident that my car will keep pace with the more adjustable chassis in the class. We’ll just have to see whether my driving is up to scratch…

*An honourable mention needs to be made for the Super Production Cup which continued the spirit of the Eurocup for a number of years, and which I entered in 2011 and 2012.

You ain’t no G…

My latest acquisition as a “garden” RC car is the HG P402 (rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it!). Basically, it’s a ready to run “scaler” that is extremely good value for a “real” RC car (cost me about £90 posted from China/HK).

There are lots and lots of reviews on this car already so I won’t spend too long on it. My first impressions are as follows:

  • Looks the part – passes for a G-wagen as long as you don’t look at the stickers.
  • Body is mounted too low for full articulation out of the box (although if you raise it it won’t line up with the bumpers), and they have left the protective film on it so you will need to remove that if you don’t want the stickers to peel off unexpectedly.
  • Standard steering servo is far too weak to give full lock. The servo horn and linkage looks like it won’t give full lock anyway so some mods may be worthwhile.
  • A few screws were loose out of the box so worth giving it the once over (as with any RTR car).
  • The drivetrain is very tight. I will be stripping the gearboxes to see if it as case of bad assembly or bad tolerances.

Here are some pics:

(images resized using this brilliant little utility – https://imageresizer.codeplex.com/)

Dave