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Tamiya The Grasshopper II - #58074 (Radio Controlled Model Review)

1/10 Scale Electric Buggy - GH Chassis

  Released by Tamiya on August 9, 1988, the Grasshopper II was released four years after the original "The Grasshopper".

  Many features of the original Grasshopper remained, but there was some improvement to the battery cage so that it did not eject when landing from a jump.

Tamiya Grasshopper II - #58074
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  Although there were concerns regarding the rear body post shock towers breaking when rolling the car, beginners once again loved the car and with a little practise learned how not to roll their buggies. The slower motor helping, as in the original model, to prevent the chance of reckless driving by those racers not used to handling a radio-controlled racing buggy speeds.

  The kit comes with Nylon/plastic 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.

  Every owner agreed that this was a fun car to drive, was sturdy in construction as well as being easy to assemble and once again Tamiya had success with this beginners model. Many examples of the Grasshopper II now proudly sit on collectors shelves.


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

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Tamiya The Grasshopper II #58074 - Chassis
Tamiya Grasshopper II #58074 Chassis
Tamiya The Grasshopper II #58074
Tamiya Grasshopper II #58074 Body Shell

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


   Buying a used Tamiya The Grasshopper II 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 Grasshopper II 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 Grasshopper II 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 Grasshopper II 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 Grasshopper II 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 Grasshopper II 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 Grasshopper II model and good racing.


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Hints and Tips


Electric Motors for RC Models

Winds and Turns

Q/  What does 15x2 or 17x3 mean?
A/  The first number relates to the number of times the wires are wound round each of the 3 armature segments, the second number relates to the number of wires side by side. So a 15x2 would have 2 wires laid side by side and wrapped around each segment 15 times.

Q/  What is the difference in performance between a Low Turn motor (eg 11x1) and a High Turn motor (eg 27x1)?
A/  A Motor with Less Turns like an 11x1 means high current draw from the batteries which corresponds to less runtime, but More Power (Torque or Punch) Best for tracks with lots of corners and short straights where fast acceleration is needed. (use a small pinion)
Motors with More Turns like a 27x1 give you More runtime, but Less Power. So you get a smoother response and are therefore easier to drive. Better for less experienced drivers and Long straight, sweeping corner tracks. (with a large pinion) This is correct for Brushed, Modified and Stock Motors as well as Brushless Motors.

Q/  How do the number of winds effect a motor?
A/  A Motor with More Winds (number of wires eg 13x5) is less demanding on the battery and smoother in acceleration. Best for low grip, slippery tracks.
A Low Wind Motor (eg 11x1) is more punchy and can be difficult to handle. Best on high grip, hot weather Tarmac, or indoor carpet, high acceleration, low speed tracks.

Advance and Retard

Q/  What is Advance and Retard?
A/  On the Endbell of a Modified Motor (where the brushes fit) you will find two screws that hold the Endbell to the Can. If these screws are slackened off slightly the Endbell can then be twisted either Clockwise (Advance) or Anticlockwise (Retard). On Sensorless Brushless Motors this adjustment can generally be made in a similar way (although there are some Brushless Motors that have fixed timing for Spec level racing). Sensored Motors can be adjusted via the ESC.

Q/  What does "Advancing" the Endbell position do?
A/  Advancing the Endbell Reduces runtime, increases Punch (acceleration) and RPM to give a higher top speed.
On the down side, for Brushed Motors, the brushes wear faster and the increased current draw creates more arcing thus increased heat and Commutator (Comm) wear. Brushless Motors can lose some efficiency at the end of a race because of overheating due to increased current draw.

Q/  What does "Retarding" the Endbell position do?
A/  On both Brushed and Brushless Motors, Retarding the Endbell Increases runtime, decreases Punch (acceleration) and RPM to give a lower top speed and for Brushed Motors, brush wear and Commutator (Comm) wear is reduced.

Brushed Motor Basics

Q/  What is the effect of hard and soft Brushes?
A/  Basically, Hard brushes give a lower current draw, so consequently give longer run times and lower torque so less punch (acceleration)
Soft Brushes on the other hand increase current draw thus give higher torque and increased acceleration. Of course the down side of this is that Soft brushes wear much faster and must be changed more often. (I change mine when they get to around 5mm)

Q/  How does changing the brush spring change the motor?
A/  If you fit Stiffer Brush Springs your motor will have More power at low revs and also a lower top speed. I only ever fit stiff springs on bumpy tracks to reduce brush bounce.
Weaker springs reduce power but increase RPM so give less acceleration but a higher top speed. Good for long, sweeping, smooth tracks, where you can carry good speed through the corners.

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



Hints and Tips


Bearings

   If you are serious about your racing, looking after your bearings is essential if you are to remain competitive.
   My own experience is in both Off and On Road, National and International Car racing, but most of these tips could be useful to all forms of RC.

   Shields: The main problem with Ball Bearing Shields is they create friction and obviously the more you can reduce friction, the more efficient your bearings will be, so here's a tip that does just that.
   Wheel Bearings always come in pairs, positioned side by side. If you think about it, the two inside shields on each bearing are not required, so ... you can remove them using a small jewelers screwdriver ... simple. And in one fell swoop you have halved your wheel bearing friction.

   Cleaning: All Bearings need to be cleaned from time to time. Depending on how focused and competitive you are, this can be as often as after each race meeting, or just once or twice a year ... For Club Meetings once or twice a year might be all you need if you are easily beating your competition, but for the BIG meets you need that extra 5% or 10% just to be up with the rest.
What you need is a small glass jar, a jewelers screwdriver, an old tooth brush and some Isopropanol.
Remove the shields, then drop the bearings in the jar, add some Isopropanol, pop on the lid and shake well. Empty them out, give them a good brushing and make sure they spin free then repeat the process. Clean the shields separately. Once you are satisfied, lay them on a piece of kitchen roll and allow to dry.

   Lubrication: The arguments I have had about what lubrication to use you wouldn't believe. Some of the top racers of my day swore they didn't use any at all, but cleaned out the original lubrication and ran them dry ... they also admitted to fitting a new set after each meeting ... well, they were getting them for free.
My tip is, yes even with a new set of bearings, clean out the original lubrication (as described above) and with one shield in place use the thinnest oil you can find ... I recommend ZX1 (Zed Ex One) or sewing machine oil.

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







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