RCScrapyard ► Iconic Vintage Radio Controlled (RC) Model Car Archive ► Tamiya Sonic Fighter. ITEM: #58071
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Tamiya Sonic Fighter - #58071 (Radio Controlled Model)

1/10 Scale Electric Buggy - STR Chassis:

  Released by Tamiya on February 29, 1988, the 2WD Sonic Fighter was based on the same chassis as the Striker (#58061). The only real difference between the two, besides the body shell and rear wing, being the addition of oil filled shock absorbers, that improved the cornering ability of the chassis.

Tamiya Sonic Fighter - #58071

  The hard plastic body shell was like many of the parts in this kit, fragile and easily broken.

  Although an improvement over its predecessor the Sonic Fighter still came with plastic bush type bearings, common in many Tamiya Models. The grease used to lubricate them catches dust and grit that actually abrades the shafts and axles spinning in them. For those wanting to race this model, my advice is to replace the plastic bearings with steel ball bearings.

  New in box and cabinet kept examples of the Sonic Fighter are occasionally available.


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





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Tamiya Sonic Fighter #58071 - Chassis
Tamiya Sonic Fighter #58071 Chassis
Tamiya Sonic Fighter #58071
Tamiya Sonic Fighter #58071 Body Shell

Buying a Used Tamiya Sonic Fighter
Buggy (and What to look for)


   Buying a used Tamiya Sonic Fighter 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 Sonic Fighter 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 Sonic Fighter 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 Sonic Fighter 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 Sonic Fighter 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 Sonic Fighter 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 Sonic Fighter model and good racing.


For More on how to Setup your Buggy, check out my Hints and Tips page.














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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.

Hints and Tips

Soldering Battery Packs

   Nicad and Nimh batteries sometimes come as six separate matched 1.2 volt cells. These of course have to be soldered to each other in series to produce either a side by side stick pack, or a two times three cell saddle pack.

   Special copper, or silver plated straps must be used to make up these packs and each strap must be prepared before attempting to solder it to the battery cell, by placing a blob of solder at each end of all the straps needed.

   A jig to hold the cells vertical and side by side is advisable. Using electrical solder, with a flux core (flux aids the flow and adhesion of the solder) heat your soldering iron to as hot as it will go. Then with the stick of solder touching on the end of the cell, touch it with the iron. What you want it to spread evenly on the central part of the pole of the cell. Count to 3 seconds. If it doesn't melt the solder in that time, your iron is not hot enough. Battery cells are notoriously very fragile and susceptible to the very high temperatures soldering requires. Anything longer than four or five seconds direct contact with the iron can cause damage to the crystal structure in the cell, so be wary.

   When you have solder on each end of each cell, line them up in the jig, positive to negative and dab a spot of flux on the soldered cells, then position your straps, with the solder coated side faced down, touching the solder on the end of the cell. Now place your hot iron on the strap. Heat will transfer through the strap and melt the solder on the two faces. Again, count to 3 and you should feel the strap drop slightly as the solder fuses with the solder on the cell. Repeat this for each cell on both sides to produce your desired configuration. Finally solder your two wires, previously prepared with connectors, to the pack. Do not solder wires with bare ends to your pack. If these wires were to touch and short out, you could effectively kill your expensive battery pack I use Red for positive and Black for negative, but so long as you know which is which electrical equipment does not like the battery to be connected the wrong way.

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









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