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Tamiya Fire Dragon - #58078 (Radio Controlled Model Review)

1/10 Scale Electric Buggy - TS1/TS2 Chassis:

  Released by Tamiya on April 27, 1989, based on the Thunder Shot Chassis, the Fire Dragon was easier to build than most other cars that were around at the time, which made it ideal for the beginner. It was easy to drive and handling held few surprises.

Tamiya Fire Dragon - #58078
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  Negatively, the C-spacer clips that were used to stiffen the springs, would often simply fall off during races, particularly on the fast tarmac circuits, this was easily remedied though with a strip of plastic sticky tape. Speed wise the car accelerated well, but had a limited top-end speed with the basic 540 motor provided in the kit.

  The car could be easily be modified as the drivers experience grew and many racers did use "hop-ups" to prevent being bored with the predictability of the machine. These additions improved and individualised the cars, allowing improving drivers to advance to the next level.

  The kit comes with Nylon/plastic and sintered brass bush type bearings, that after a short while actually wear into the metal cup drive shafts. If you are building this kit to race seriously these should be replaced by a full set of steel shielded ball bearings.

  Always a collector's favourite, the Fire Dragon was re-released in 2008 (#58403).


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

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Tamiya Fire Dragon #58078 - Chassis
Tamiya Fire Dragon #58078 Chassis
Tamiya Fire Dragon #58078
Tamiya Fire Dragon #58078 Body Shell

Buying a Used Tamiya Fire Dragon
Buggy (and What to look for)


   Buying a used Tamiya Fire Dragon 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 Fire Dragon 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 Fire Dragon 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 Fire Dragon 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 Fire Dragon 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 Fire Dragon 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 Fire Dragon model and good racing.


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Hints and Tips

Radio Gear

How to avoid Interference.


1/  The first consideration when installing your Receiver into your Electrically Powered Model is to make sure it is well away from the Negative Battery terminal and the Motor. The Magnetic field can cause stuttering type interference at times of high current draw (i.e., Fast Acceleration)

2/  Make sure the Ariel tube is long enough for the Ariel wire. The tip of this wire is highly sensitive and should be as high and as far away from the Motor as possible (yup, its that magnetic field prob again)

3/  If all else fails, a simple tip that often works for all RC Model enthusiasts is to wrap the receiver in Aluminium Foil, to shield against any magnetic and external radio interference.

4/  As a last resort, to protect against servo twitch, try ferrite beads. (available at Radio Shack or Maplins) These are threaded over the red, white (or yellow) and black wires of each servo.

5/  If you are using a FET Servo, the installation of a choke (a small electrical component) in the positive feed wire will smooth out any current spikes and reduce the possibility of "servo twitch".

6/  Another thing you might try is a "glitch buster" or "stutter stopper". Basically, this is a capacitor that simply plugs into your Radio Receiver and attempts to keep a level voltage supply to the Radio system.

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


Hints and Tips

Tires for RC Models

Rubber Tires:

   Rubber Tires ALWAYS should have either soft sponge or rubber inserts. They will not function as they should without them. And if you are totally serious about your racing they should be glued to the rims.

   You should also have at least three different compounds (Soft, Medium and Hard) for varying track temperatures in On Road tarmac racing Touring cars and varying pin sizes for carpet and Off Road racing Buggys and Trucks.


How to Mount Rubber Tires onto Wheels/Rims.

   Before mounting your Tires, I would recommend talking to the more experienced racers at your local club, as to what inserts they use. Even the top level racers rely on a bit of local knowledge on tracks they have never raced before.

1/   Once you have decided what inserts to use, position them inside the Tires ready to go onto the rims.

2/   You will need strong fingers to pull and maneuver the Tires over the rims, so you may need the help of an adult. I would recommend NOT using metal Tire levers or a spoon as they can not only damage the fragile plastic rims but can also put small tears in the rubber, that could cause problems later.
   The technique I recommend, is to first of all hook the Tire on one side of the rim, then using the thumb and forefinger, grip the Tire and pull it upwards and over into position around the middle of the wheel, then over to its final position on the far side so that the beading is seated in the spigot. then position the near side beading in the opposite spigot making sure the sponge (or rubber) insert is not trapped and positioned centrally.

3/   You have the option of either gluing or not gluing your tires in position. If the track you race at is not too grippy you can get away with it, but on high grip tracks there is the possibility the tire might pull away from the rim and ruin your race.
My recommendation is to glue them.
   Superglue is the thing to use. To do this, carefully pull the beading out of its seating, put on a spot of glue, then quickly push it back down. repeat this at least 6 times around each side of the wheel.
Superglue can be dangerous, so this is best done by an adult.

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









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