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Tamiya The Fox - #58051 (Radio Controlled Model Review)

1/10 Scale Electric RC Buggy - FOX Chassis:

  Released by Tamiya on October 29, 1985, the 2WD The Fox was one of the most successful buggies of its time. The design of this buggy is similar to the "Hotshot" and was a very attractive model, sporting golden wheels.

Tamiya Fox - #58051
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  To build, the car was a little awkward and even worse to maintain. After the Fox a regular model builder would find assembling other models quite easy.

  The sealed gearbox mechanism was always a problem. This was meant to protect against moisture but to simply change the crystals or adjust the speed controller involved having to dismantle the buggy into 2 halves and it turned out the box wasn't as waterproof as it should have been.

  The Fox handling was heavy with a lot of understeer. This was remedied with the addition of the front stabilising bar, which really should have been part of the original kit. Once fitted this gave much improved handling and steering. The cars acceleration and speed was not a problem.

  Collectors all agree The Fox is one of the Tamiya Classic Buggies and will long remain much sought after.


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

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Tamiya The Fox Chassis
Tamiya The Fox Chassis
Tamiya The Fox
Tamiya The Fox

Buying a Used Tamiya The Fox
Buggy (and What to look for)


   Buying a used Tamiya The Fox 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 The Fox 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 The Fox 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 The Fox 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 The Fox 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 The Fox 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 The Fox model and good racing.




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Hints and Tips


How to Charge Rechargeable Batteries
for Radio Controlled Models

Ni-Cad (Nickel Cadmium) Batteries


1/  All Ni-Cad Batteries have to be Discharged soon after use. This is to avoid the dreaded "Memory" effect that on subsequent re-charges can cause a momentary drop in performance during a race. A simple discharger can be made from a car 12v bulb.

2/  Try to time your charge to complete just before a race. This will ensure maximum punch and duration. If a Ni-Cad is left to cool after a charge this advantage dissipates.

3/  The higher the charge current the more Punch the Ni-Cad battery will have (up to around 8 amps), however, the downside to this is a reduction in duration and effective battery life.

4/  Ni-Cad Batteries should be left to cool for about an hour after use before recharging. This will increase the effective life of the battery.


Ni-Mh (Nickel Metal Hydride) Batteries


1/  Never charge Ni-Mh batteries at a current higher than 4.5 amps. Although these batteries can give a higher voltage than Ni-Cad Batteries, they are much more sensitive and easy to damage if charged too quickly.

2/  Charging methods for Ni-Mh batteries can also be detrimental. The best I found was the "Slope" method. Avoid "Pulse" charging as this tends to effect crystal formation detrimentally and (it seems to kill them off) thus reduces duration over time.

3/  If using a temperature cut off charger on Ni-Mh batteries set to no more than 40 Degrees Centigrade. Any higher than this can damage the crystals.

4/  It is not necessary to discharge Ni-Mh Batteries. Unlike Ni-Cad batteries they do not develop a memory. Also, if they are totally discharged they sometimes will not charge straight after and need to be coaxed with a 10 minute trickle charge.

5/  Ni Mh Batteries can be recharged shortly after use without any discernable detrimental effects.


Li-Po (Lithium-Polymer) Batteries


1/  Li-Po batteries are a huge step forward in performance compared with Ni-Cad and Ni-Mh batteries. However, care has to be taken when charging. If certain procedures are not followed they could burst into flames or even explode, therefore I do not recommend Li-Po batteries for RC beginners.

2/  Li-Po batteries are more expensive and have a shorter effective life. Generally considered to be between 200 to 400 charge cycles compared to 1000+ for Ni-Cad and Ni-Mh.

3/  Consider a Battery pack listed as "2S 5000Mah 40c 2C".
"2S" is the number of cells in the pack, in this case 2 cells. Each cell provides around 3.7 Volts, so a 2S pack is around 7.4 Volts.
"5000Mah" (Mili-Amp-Hours) is the capacity. The amount of charge the pack can hold.
"40c" is the maximum Discharge rate. Which in our example would be calculated as 5000 (Mah) x 40 = 200000Ma (200 Amps).
"2C" is the maximum Charge rate. 1C being 5 Amps, so in our example 2 x 5 = 10 Amps.

4/  To safely charge your Li-Po Battery I would recommend a good Computerised charger, preferably one that can handle a Charge current of around 25A and always place the charging battery on a fireproof surface.

5/  Finally. NEVER leave your charging Li-Po battery unattended and NEVER EVER charge it above the recommended rate. When not in use, store with around 60% charge remaining in a fireproof box.


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

General Information and Advice

   For those starting in Radio Controlled Racing, here are a few Hints and Tips: Firstly, buy a Kit not an RTR. That way, if something breaks you will have some idea how to fix it.

   Radio Controlled Model Cars are very fragile and easily broken. The main parts to protect are the Front Wishbones, Suspension Shock Towers, Dampers, Hub Carriers, Kingpins, Uprights and Toe in Blocks, so make sure you have a good strong front bumper and Lexan or Hard Plastic Body Shell and if available for your model, a protective under tray, to prevent grit and dust getting into any moving parts.

   The Steering Servo is also a weakness in high speed crash situations, so get yourself some good strong Servo Mount and Servo Saver. Also I would recommend Titanium Shafts, Turnbuckles, Tie Rods and pivot/steering shafts and if available for your model, lightweight Titanium Drive shafts, dog bones and CVD (Constant Velocity Drives). The standard steel types are far too easily bent.

   Gearing is another problem area on RC model cars. Head on collisions can easily break off gear teeth on Nylon/Plastic Spur Gears and even Bevel Gears inside the Gearbox. Heavy impacts can also loosen nuts and self taping screws that hold the Motor in Position, allowing the Pinion Gear to pull out of mesh slightly and rip the tops of the teeth on your Spur Gear. To avoid this to some degree, fit locking nuts and a new motor mount from time to time, so the self taping screws that hold the motor in position have less chance to come loose.

   Ball joints always cause problems. For top level Radio Controlled model 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 breaking free could easily end your race, so better safe than sorry.

   Many New car kits come with Nylon and Sintered Brass Ring type bearings. My advice is to discard these before initial installation and buy a good Hop-up set of Shielded Steel Ball Bearings. Or if you are serious about your racing, Teflon or Ceramic Bearings.

   One final piece of advice about the Setup of your Car. Keep the Centre of Gravity as low as possible. Ride Height is all important. For On Road Drift/Touring cars the Ride Height should be no more than 5mm, for Buggys, Trucks, Truggys and Monster Trucks, as low as possible depending on the track conditions. If Body Roll is a problem, handling can be improved with the use of Stabilizers, Anti roll or Sway Bars, stiffer Tuning Springs and, or thicker Silicon Oil in the Dampers. Also find somewhere to mount the Transponder as low in the Chassis as possible.

For Car Setup Information check out our Hints and Tips page.







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