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Tamiya Datsun 240Z Rally Version - #58459 (Radio Controlled Model Review)

1/10 Scale Electric Rally Car - DF-03Ra Chassis:

  Released by Tamiya on February 24, 2010, this DF-03Ra Chassis based, Radio Controlled self assembly model is of the Datsun 240Z that won the East African Safari Rally in 1971.

  The Lexan body shell is a detailed representation of the 240Z Classic racing lines. Decals of the cars livery are included in the kit.

Tamiya Datsun 240Z Rally Version - #58459 DF-03Ra
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  Based on the DF-03 Buggy Chassis, the DF-03Ra touring car Chassis simply uses the basic DF-03 tub structure design and adds shortened wishbones and dampers.

  Designed specifically for off road driving, body-roll can be a problem, but the comparatively high ground clearance allows the DF-03Ra to handle moderately rough terrain and small jumps with ease.

  The shaft driven 4WD Chassis design employs two pressure plate ball differentials, coil spring over oil filled shock absorbers and comes with a full set of steel ball bearings.

  I have two pet hates with this cars configuration. The position of the steering servo is at the back of the tub Chassis requiring a long rod to connect it to the steering mechanism. Also the shotgun type stick battery has to be loaded from the underside of the chassis and is held in position by a plastic peg and split pin. Not the best designed Tamiya Chassis.

  Having said all that, driving the car on an undulating off road track was great fun and after tweaking the front and rear springs and changing the rear shock oil for something a little more viscose the car handled well but with slightly more body-roll than I prefer.

  To get the best from the Tamiya DF-03Ra Chassis, it needs to be fine tuned to drift around corners at high speed, without slipping off the track. Small adjustments can make a Big difference and our simple to understand, step by step procedure, will guide you to the best Set-up for your driving style.


      Rating: 3.53.5 Stars out of 5 Reviewed by: RCScrapyard     Manual.

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Tamiya Datsun 240Z Rally Version #58459 DF-03Ra - Chassis
Tamiya Datsun 240Z Rally Version #58459 DF-03Ra Chassis
DF-03Ra - Chassis
Tamiya DF-03Ra Chassis

Buying a Used Tamiya Datsun 240Z
Rally Car (and What to look for)


   Buying a used Tamiya Datsun 240Z Electric Rally Car, or any used RC Model, has a number of advantages. It is generally cheaper than new, ready built and may come with a variety of expensive hop-ups already installed. Cheap, pre-loved bargains are always becoming available. However, depending on the age of your purchase, it may need a little tender loving care before you can take it out on the back yard.

   The one thing you will always need is an instruction manual. If not supplied with your purchase, they can often be downloaded from the Tamiya website, or purchased separately on eBay. With an instruction manual, any problems with your model Rally Car you may discover, can easily be fixed.

Dampers
   When you receive your used Tamiya Rally Car, make a general visual inspection of the chassis, front and rear wishbones, suspension shock towers etc, for any broken parts that may need to be replaced. Then, take a screwdriver and box spanner and check each self tapping screw and nut for security, taking care not to over tighten.

   Next, for those Tamiya models with oil filled shock absorbers, remove them from the chassis and dismantle the coil springs. The damper shafts should push in and pull out with a smooth action. If you feel a jolt as you change direction, this means the oil has leaked out and must be topped up. At the same time, change the O-Ring seals to prevent more leakage. Also check the damper shafts for damage. If they are scratched, change them as soon as possible.

   If the body shell of your Tamiya Datsun 240Z is broken, ripped or damaged in any way, this can be easily repaired with rubber solution glue. Also, for added protection and if available for your Datsun 240Z model, fit an under guard to stop dirt and gravel entering the chassis.

Titanium Turnbuckles
   Examine the drive shafts for wear and replace as required. If possible, change them for titanium. The steel shafts wear and bend too easily.

   If you intend to race your Datsun 240Z Rally Car model at a competitive level, I would also recommend you obtain and fit titanium pivot shafts, turnbuckles, tie rods and steering rods.

   On Belt driven models, the Drive Belts need checking at regular intervals for wear, tension and damage. If deemed necessary, adjust the tensioning pulley until the belt can be depressed in the centre by no more than around 5mm. If the belt was slack, also examine the drive pulleys for wear. The teeth should provide a well seated fit for the belt teeth and not be rounded on the corners. If the belt teeth do not fit snugly, change the pulleys as soon as possible. For top level racing it may be prudent to replace all belts and pulleys after each race meeting.

   For Gear driven models, the gearbox of your used Rally Car should be opened up to check for gear wear and lubrication. A thin coat of grease is often used on internal gears and although this is fine for basic running around on the back yard, if you intend to race your Rally Car at a higher level, this should be removed and replaced with racing oil (ZX1 or Teflon Oil). Of course, this should be reapplied after each race meeting.

Spur Gears
   Gears are a weakness on all Rally Car RC models. Head on collisions can easily damage the gear teeth on nylon and plastic spur gears. Heavy impacts can also loosen the nuts or self tapping screws that hold the Electric Motor in Position, allowing the pinion gear to pull out of mesh slightly and rip the tops off the teeth on your spur gear. To minimise this possibility, fit bolts with locking nuts to the Electric Motor mount and remember to check them for security after every two or three runs.

   Ball joints always cause problems. For top level Electric Rally Car racing, the plastic ball connectors should be checked and if deemed necessary, changed after every meeting. A simple thing like a loose fitting connector popping off, could easily end your race, so better safe than sorry.

Servo Gears
   The Datsun 240Z steering servo is also prone to damage. In high speed crash situations, the fragile gear teeth of the servo can be broken off, rendering your expensive servo useless, so be sure to obtain a good quality "Servo Saver". Check out my Servo Information article.

   If body roll on your Tamiya Datsun 240Z is a problem, handling can be improved with the use of stabilizers, anti roll or sway bars, stiffer tuning springs and, or, thicker silicone oil in the dampers.

Ball Bearings
   If your used Tamiya Rally Car comes with plastic and sintered brass bushings (ring type bearings), check the shafts that run in them for wear. Dust and grit can get into these bearings and abrade the shafts. Therefore, you should replace them all with shielded ball bearings. If the model has been run with ring type bearings, you may have to change all the axles and driveshafts. For more information, take a look at my article, How to get the best from your Bearings.

   Finally, good luck with your Datsun 240Z model and good racing.


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Tamiya Datsun 240Z Rally


Hints and Tips

Emergency Plastic Part Repairs

   It always happens when you least expect it. You are racing hard; and suddenly some idiot decides to side swipe you' and break your front wishbone. Even though you may carry spare parts for just about everything on your car, it always seems to be the same part that breaks and although you made a mental note the last time it happened to get a replacement you soon realise those mental notes were not worth the paper they are written on.

   So there you are, in the middle of nowhere with no spares. You ask around and no one has anything like your car, least of all parts for it and the closest model shop is 100 miles away. What are you supposed to do now?

   Some kind of repair is your only option.

   The one thing quite a few people think of first is superglue, but that kind of repair won't even get you around the first corner.

   What you need is something much stronger and the only way you can do that requires a good quality soldering iron, the plastic sprue (the bit left over when you remove all the parts for your car) or another broken part made from the same plastic.

   Using the largest tip you have, set the temperature so that it melts the plastic, but does not vaporise it. Place your broken part on a flat surface that will not be affected by the heat from the iron. I use the glass plate I have for setting the wheel camber of my model. Next, cut a piece of scrap plastic long enough for you to be able to hold on one end, as you work with it and place it over the break. At the point directly over the break, carefully melt the scrap plastic until it is around one millimetre above the break.

   Gently slide the iron sideways, depositing the scrap plastic about five millimetres either side and around the break. At each end of the fix, try to meld the scrap and broken part plastic. Picking up the broken part, continue the melding around each side of the break, then place it down the flat surface and repeat the process on the other side.

   When satisfied, switch off the iron and allow the plastic to cool. Using a modelling knife, carefully, cut away any excess plastic, but not too much.

   With a little practice a fix like this can be almost as strong as a new part and can save you a whole lot of anguish.

For More Setup Information check out my Hints and Tips page.


Ball Differentials


   Ball differentials were developed in the late 1980s to replace the high friction Gear differentials. Mainly used on Tamiya Touring Cars, Le-Mans and Formula One Cars, Ball Differentials are designed to be totally frictionless and smooth in action to provide effortless drive to the wheels on cornering, where the inside wheels must rotate slower than the outside wheels for controlled stability.

   Basically, the configuration of the Ball Differential is a number of small case hardened steel balls, spaced in a plastic cage that is in effect the drive gear for the axle. On each side of the gear are two hardened and tempered pressure plates that clamp over the steel balls, held in position by a screw through the centre of the assembly, incorporating a small thrust bearing and coil spring. The adjustment of this screw is crucial to the effectiveness of the differentials action. Too tight and the free movement of the diff is restricted. Too loose and the balls will slip on the plates when accelerating out of the corner, not only reducing drive, but damaging the balls and pressure plates not good. The optimum setting is obviously somewhere in between and is where the small coil spring is important. It must be compressed, but not fully, to provide the desired exact pressure required. With a little practise setting up the diff become second nature. Patience is the word for this procedure.

   Lubrication of Ball Differentials is essential for that smooth operation and special greases have been developed that allow the balls to roll freely in the cage and push aside as they roll over the pressure plates.

For More Setup Information check out my Hints and Tips page.








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