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Tamiya Dirt Thrasher - #58160 (Radio Controlled Model Review)

1/10 Scale Electric Buggy - DF-01 Chassis:

  Released by Tamiya on September 26, 1995, the Dirt Thrasher chassis is a rework of the original DF-01 Manta Ray design and it is the basic simplicity of the original kit form that makes this car an excellent choice for beginners.

Tamiya Dirt Thrasher - #58160 DF01
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  The car has a wide range of possible modifications that can be added as the drivers skills increase.

  As an economic car to purchase the Dirt Thrasher was always a favourite at club meetings. Its flexibility to respond well to either indoor or outdoor circuit conditions has made this a reliable Tamiya model and is now a well sought after collectors model.

  The DF-01 was first seen on the Manta Ray in 1990 and has been one of the more successful Tamiya Chassis Designs.

  The Chassis, with shorter wishbones and a few other small alterations is also the basis of the equally successful TA-01 touring car chassis.

  One problem with this Chassis are the plastic/nylon bush type bearings. If the car runs these for a few weeks the dust and grit in the bearings actually wears away the metal shafts so that if Ball Bearings are fitted later they are a sloppy fit. My tip, get a set of Ball bearings with the new kit.


      Rating: 44 Stars out of 5 Reviewed by: RCScrapyard     Manual.

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Tamiya Dirt Thrasher #58160 DF01 - Chassis
Tamiya Dirt Thrasher #58160 DF01 Chassis
Tamiya Dirt Thrasher #58160 DF01
Tamiya Dirt Thrasher #58160 DF01 Body Shell

Buying a Used Tamiya Dirt Thrasher
Buggy (and What to look for)


   Buying a used Tamiya Dirt Thrasher Electric Buggy, 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 Buggy you may discover can easily be fixed.

Dampers
   When you receive your used Tamiya Buggy, 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 Dirt Thrasher 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 Dirt Thrasher 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 Dirt Thrasher Buggy 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 Buggy 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 Buggy 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 Buggy 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 Buggy 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 Dirt Thrasher 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 Dirt Thrasher 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 Buggy 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 Dirt Thrasher model and good racing.




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Tamiya Dirt Thrasher


Information and Advice

Electronic Speed Controllers

History:

   ESC were originally developed to be used in conjunction with brushed 27T stock and modified motors in the late 1970s, early 1980s. Compared to modern day Controllers, they were Bulky and heavy, constructed using basic resistors, rheostats, capacitors and transistors, crammed together on a simple circuit board, to provide stepped but smooth acceleration when compared to the old mechanical, servo operated sweeper Speed Controllers. An Electronic Switch to change the direction of current flow was used on some of these early ESC to give reverse operation. Although they were a vast improvement on the old mechanical speedos of the time, they were expensive, jerky to control and prone to burn out if not carefully looked after.

   As new technology became available, improvements were slowly made and with the introduction of the new FET (Field Effect Transistors) and some basic mass produced silicon chips, ESC were made smaller and their reliability gradually improved.

   By the mid 1990s, "regenerative breaking" was developed. This meant that energy that would have been lost slowing down the car by effectively turning the motor into a generator, was harvested and put back into the battery. This of course was long before F1 had KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) and adjustable anti lock breaking was introduced.

   Brushless Motors came to RC in the late 1990s early 2000s, which required a new breed of ESC to be developed to fully utilise the new technology. Ni-Cad Rechargeable Batteries were superseded by Ni-Mh and more recently Li-Po Batteries which provided higher Current output for the ESC to regulate. The latest ESC now use sensors to manage the motor and can be adjusted remotely to suit varying conditions.


Brushed Motor ESC.

   The "Silver Can" Stock Motors that come in a wide number of RC model kits are often accompanied by a 5 Amps to 20 Amps ESC. However, if you want to upgrade to a more powerful Modified Brushed Motor, 20 Amps may not be enough, so you will have to buy a something well over 20 Amps depending on the number of turns of your motor. As a rough guide, a 9 Single has a much higher current requirement than 20 Single.

Brushless Motor ESC.

   ESC for Brushless Motors are in no way compatible with brushed motors. The DC (Direct Current) input from the battery, on brushless ESC is transformed into three phase AC (Alternating Current). Each "phase" connecting three wires on the Brushless motor. By changing the frequency of the output wave the motor will spin faster for acceleration or slower for breaking. Reverse is simply achieved by changing over any two of the three "phases".
   At the time this article was written, Brushless ESC range from 3 Amps to around 300 Amps.
   For beginners I recommended you buy an ESC and Motor Combo, that way you can be sure the ESC Current rating is correct for the Motor.


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



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.









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