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Tamiya Ford Focus RS WRC 03 - #58308 (Radio Controlled Model Review)

1/10 Scale Electric Rally Car - TT-01 Chassis:

  Released by Tamiya on October 22, 2003, this TT-01 Chassis based electric RC model, is of the re-designed Ford Focus RS that raced in the 2003 WRC season, driven by Markko Martin, from round four onwards.

  The lightweight Lexan polycarbonate body shell realistically depicts the Ford Focus RS WRC cars aggressive racing lines.

Tamiya Ford Focus RS WRC 03 - #58308 TT-01
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  The budget priced TT-01 Chassis was introduced by Tamiya in 2003 to replace the highly successful TL-01 that had been used for over thirty RC models since its introduction in 1997.

  A silver can 540 motor, coil spring over friction shock absorbers and plastic bush type bearings come as standard in this low budget model.

  The Differentials are orbital gear type and should be greased at regular intervals to avoid excessive wear. My recommendation is to use molybdenum grease.

  The bathtub chassis has battery cut-outs for ladder type packs, but will accommodate stick (shotgun) packs also. A low centre of gravity and good balance provide much improved handling over the TL-01.

  A number of hop-ups are available for the TT-01 to improve performance, but there is one I would recommend before you first assemble the kit. As mentioned before, the kit comes with plastic/nylon and sintered brass bush type bearings, that after a short while, when dust and grit get into them, will abrade the metal drive shafts that spin in them - if you are building this kit to race seriously, these should be replaced by steel shielded ball bearings.


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

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Tamiya Ford Focus RS WRC 03 #58308 TT-01 - Chassis
Tamiya Ford Focus RS WRC 03 #58308 TT-01 Chassis
Tamiya Ford Focus RS WRC 03 #58308 TT-01
Tamiya Ford-Focus-RS-WRC-03

Buying a Used Tamiya Ford Focus RS WRC
Rally Car (and What to look for)


   Buying a used Tamiya Ford Focus RS WRC 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 Ford Focus RS WRC 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 Ford Focus RS WRC 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 Ford Focus RS WRC 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 Ford Focus RS WRC 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 Ford Focus RS WRC 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 Ford Focus RS WRC model and good racing.




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Hints and Tips

Gearing to Win

   Just because you have the latest model, the best available batteries, the most powerful electric motor or nitro engine, doesn't mean you will go out and win everything in sight. The fastest car on the track is rarely the one that wins, it's the one that can accelerate out of corners under control and remains consistent and efficient from the start to the end of a race.

   In days gone bye, all you had to consider was the number of mili amp hours (Mah) in your battery and the current draw of your high powered motor. Gearing for a five minute race was a balancing act. But with the development of the new high capacity batteries, brushless motors and smart ESC, all that changed. Now, gearing is more of a matter of what suits your driving style and how quick your reflexes are on the sticks, the trigger and steer wheel of your transmitter. So, where do you start?

   At your local club track, you quickly find the right combination and set-up for your car by talking to the more experienced members. After a while, as your knowledge grows, tweaking a few things here and there can give you that small edge to keep you competitive. So, it follows that on tracks you don't know, you should talk to the locals there, who may be racing a similar model to your own and adjust your set-up to suit.

   Gearing correctly for any given track is absolutely crucial if your car is to be competitive.

   Too high a gearing may get you in front at the start of a race, but as your motor begins to overheat and lose efficiency, that initial advantage will soon be lost.

   Too low a gearing and although it may get you past your opposition accelerating out of the corners, you will loose that place again on the fast straights. Gearing low will always get you to the end of the race, but it will hardly ever get you on the winner's rostrum.

   Having said that, on tracks you don't know, initially it's always best to err on the side of low gearing. For your first practice laps on a new track, choose a motor that has a reasonable current draw and with a fully charged battery, try a race length run, learn the corners Ö what line to enter and exit, where you can accelerate to overtake and how fast you need to be on the straights to keep up (not overtake) the opposition. After your practice race, check the remaining capacity in your batteries and the temperature of your motor, (keep records of each motor and discover at what temperature a specific motor loses efficiency Ö all this helps when selecting the right gearing.)

   Armed with this knowledge you can then consider how to alter your gearing.

   If the motor is cool (in comparison) and your battery has ample remaining charge, try a larger pinion Ö perhaps one or two teeth more. Don't overdo it.

   An overly hot motor and low remaining capacity battery speaks for itself. The race timed practice run should have given you an insight to this problem. Obviously, in this instance you must use a smaller, less teeth pinion, or start again with a milder, less powerful motor.

   If the motor is hot, but not too hot, the battery has ample remaining charge and you did not notice any drop in efficiency towards the end of your practice run, then you are close to the optimum set up for that particular motor.

   Depending on how competitive that set-up is, you can stick with it, maybe tweak a tooth up or down, or repeat the process with a different motor to get you where you want to be.

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



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.









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