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Tamiya Volkswagen Beetle - #58173 (Radio Controlled Model Review)

1/10 Scale Electric M-Chassis Model Car - M-02L Chassis:

  Released by Tamiya on March 27, 1996, this self assembly radio controlled model, based on the slightly longer wheelbase version of the M02 chassis, the M02L, is of the iconic Volkswagen Beetle.

Tamiya Volkswagen-Beetle - #58173 M-02L
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  The first M-Chassis model had been released in 1994 designated the M01, specifically for the Rover Mini Cooper (#58149) as a Front mounted motor, Front Wheel Drive model. The M02L is exactly the opposite. Rear mounted motor, Rear Wheel Drive.

  The design is not without its problems however. The curious steering set-up isn't the best and the horizontally mounted friction mono shocks are next to useless for fine tuning. Changing these for oil filled versions and softer springs, improves the cars handling considerably.

  Like the majority of the radio controlled models produced by Tamiya around 80s and 90s, the car disappointingly came with the plastic/nylon and sintered brass bush type bearings. If installed, the grease on these bearings collect dust and grit that actually abrades the shafts spinning in them, so if you do fit ball bearings at a later time they are sloppy on the shafts not good To avoid this problem, a full set of steel ball bearings should be installed on first build.

  Because the Volkswagen Beetle is so well loved the world over, this model will long remain a Tamiya classic.


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

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Tamiya Volkswagen Beetle #58173 M-02L - Chassis
Tamiya Volkswagen Beetle #58173 M-02L Chassis
Tamiya Volkswagen Beetle #58173 M-02L
Tamiya Volkswagen Beetle #58173 M-02L Body Shell

Buying a Used Tamiya Volkswagen Beetle
Touring Car (and What to look for)


   Buying a used Tamiya Volkswagen Beetle Electric Touring 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 Touring Car you may discover can easily be fixed.

Dampers
   When you receive your used Tamiya Touring 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 Volkswagen Beetle 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 Volkswagen Beetle 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 Volkswagen Beetle Touring 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 Touring 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 Touring 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 Touring 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 Touring 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 Volkswagen Beetle 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 Volkswagen Beetle 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 Touring 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 Volkswagen Beetle model and good racing.




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Tamiya Volkswagen-Beetle


Hints and Tips

Emergency Plastic Part Repairs

   It always happens when you least expect it. You are racing hard; and suddenly some idiot decides to side swipe you' and break your front wishbone. Even though you may carry spare parts for just about everything on your car, it always seems to be the same part that breaks and although you made a mental note the last time it happened to get a replacement you soon realise those mental notes were not worth the paper they are written on.

   So there you are, in the middle of nowhere with no spares. You ask around and no one has anything like your car, least of all parts for it and the closest model shop is 100 miles away. What are you supposed to do now?

   Some kind of repair is your only option.

   The one thing quite a few people think of first is superglue, but that kind of repair won't even get you around the first corner.

   What you need is something much stronger and the only way you can do that requires a good quality soldering iron, the plastic sprue (the bit left over when you remove all the parts for your car) or another broken part made from the same plastic.

   Using the largest tip you have, set the temperature so that it melts the plastic, but does not vaporise it. Place your broken part on a flat surface that will not be affected by the heat from the iron. I use the glass plate I have for setting the wheel camber of my model. Next, cut a piece of scrap plastic long enough for you to be able to hold on one end, as you work with it and place it over the break. At the point directly over the break, carefully melt the scrap plastic until it is around one millimetre above the break.

   Gently slide the iron sideways, depositing the scrap plastic about five millimetres either side and around the break. At each end of the fix, try to meld the scrap and broken part plastic. Picking up the broken part, continue the melding around each side of the break, then place it down the flat surface and repeat the process on the other side.

   When satisfied, switch off the iron and allow the plastic to cool. Using a modelling knife, carefully, cut away any excess plastic, but not too much.

   With a little practice a fix like this can be almost as strong as a new part and can save you a whole lot of anguish.

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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