Monthly Archives: January 2015
Now, a look at the newly released Samix aluminium and carbon fibre chassis’ for the TRF419.
Since no aluminium chassis is so far available for the TRF419 from Tamiya, with the factory drivers having run early prototypes of one so far, the demand for an aluminium chassis for the carpet racing season has been there right from the release of the TRF419. Now available, this version from Samix looks rather good.
As you can see from the picture below, where the alu chassis, the Samix carbon chassis and an original TRF419 chassis is placed alongside each other, they are all fairly similar in shape. The outer edges of all are as close to identical as it gets.
Here are the weights for the three different chassis:
– Stock TRF419 carbon: 70.9g
– Samix TRF419 carbon: 70.2g
– Samix TRF419 aluminium: 102.7g
– Samix TRF419 aluminium with battery and fan mounts: 118.2g
The alu chassis is 84mm wide, 2.0mm thick and anodized in a good looking consistent quality black colour. The openings under the front and rear axles are obviously different as is the pinion access hole.
The alu chassis is not as solid as I had expected so there is still some flex in it, which is obviously a good thing.
This picture highlights the beautiful finish of the product, with nice chamfered edges, machined pockets and Samix logo.
At the back you’ll find similar machined pockets. Another feature is that the right side has the same cutdown as the left side where the motor goes, this done to make the chassis as close to symmetrical as possible. The thickness in these areas is 1.0mm.
You can also see that extra holes are added around where the motor mount goes, giving you the opportunity to use an “old” style motor mount.
Another option from Samix are these new battery holders and adjusters. Again, beautifully machined from aluminium, they will securely hold your battery in place while giving further possibilities to adjust the positioning of your battery left/right and forwards/backwards, and therefore the weight balance of your TRF419. At the same time these alu parts add some weight to the right side of the chassis which can be a good thing depending on what electronic equipment you use on your car.
The stoppers position is locked by a set screw.
A further option from Samix is this rather good looking fan mount made out of aluminium, made for 40mm fans.
The carbon TRF419 chassis from Samix is again made from the same material as the Samix chassis for the TRF418, reviewed last summer. This means a 2.25mm thick carbon material with a dull, or matte finish to it. A material which worked very well on the 418 version.
This TRF419 chassis is 84mm wide, just like the aluminium one, and therefore slightly narrower than the kit chassis. It has the same internal cutouts as the aluminium one, except obviously the pockets in the alu version. Also the carbon chassis has the same extra holes around the motor mount area.
In stiffness the Samix carbon chassis is very similar to the kit TRF419 one.
I will return to these later when I get a chance to track test them both.
If you want to find out more about Samix, best follow them on Facebook.
Big news this morning with Tamiya signing multiple World Champion to the TRF team.
Tamiya is delighted to announce the addition of World Champion driver Naoto Matsukura to the stable of TRF (Tamiya Racing Factory) R/C drivers as of the 2015 season.
Matsukura, 21, is the reigning IFMAR Electric Touring Car World Champion and will bring his talents to bear for the famed TRF team.
Tamiya Japan English:
Tamiya Japan Japanese:
This is a special car to me, as loyal readers will know. 🙂
It’s special because first, it’s an FF chassis and I love this class, by far my favourite. Secondly, this Tamiya production FF-04 EVO chassis reminds a lot of the TRF417FF project car we made 2013 and which I have been running since then, until now, with great performance on track.
It has taken a while for me to get this car, as it was released late November already. But it seems this time everything that could go wrong and delay my car did so. Maybe I should start to think of some conspiracy theory…seriously 🙂
Anyway, the car arrived after christmas, so follow me as I build the Tamiya FF-04 EVO Chassis Kit.
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This is the lower deck for the FF-04 EVO. The carbon fibre is 2.5mm thick, 82mm wide and quite stiff.
New FF-04 specific alu axles for the XV-01 gearbox.
The gear diff included is the normal TA06 diff used already on the FF-03R and FF-03 EVO, with plastic gears and steel outdrive joints. 100.000 oil is included but I used 1 million diff oil as that’s what I have been running on the FF cars lately. As you can see I used the newly released TA06 Aluminium Gear Diff Unit Cover (#54602). Not really needed as the TA06 diff has always worked well but it looks nice! TRF fluorine shielded bearings are included.
This is what the XV-01 gearbox looks like. As you can see, there’s one bottom piece while the top is naturally split into two halves to allow you to fit all the gears. As is also seen in the picture, the XV-01 gearbox is tall and short, this allowing the motor to be as close to the front axle as possible, for a shorter front overhang. The XV-01 gearbox also uses larger internal gears and when completed it runs very free and quiet, something I noticed already the first time I run the TRF417FF project car, some 16 months ago.
This is the major part I had wished I would have had for the 417FF project. Called the front bulkhead by Tamiya in the manual, this part allows you to properly mount the upper deck and front upper arms to a solid aluminium piece. It fits a bit loose in the gearbox, so it might be a good idea to use some shims where it goes into the slot of the gearbox, but this I will investigate further later.
Fully assembled gearbox unit with the FF-04 EVO specific damper stay. The motor plate is straight from the XV-01 while the left hand carbon piece is again FF-04 EVO specific. The spur gear mount is the normal FF-03 version. A good tip here is to use the included Tamiya AW grease on the pin to avoid it falling out as soon as you remove the spur gear.
Another view of the complete gearbox.
The steering is the XV-01’s aluminium steering set and nothing to complain about here. It feels fairly play-free and solid while very smooth. I would have wished for a centrally mounted floating servo mount together with TRF417/418/419 steering like on the 417FF, but that brings some challenges in fitting a full size battery, so I can understand this choice.
TRF418 suspension is included, but unfortunately plastic suspension mounts. As you can see I used alu mounts and that’s something I recommend everyone do. The shape of the TRF418 front arms is not really ideal for FF cars as they don’t place the front wheels as forward as you would like. It would be much better if they were turned backwards, but as they are not reversible like the older TRF suspension you cannot do this.
The plastic blocks included are 1XD. I used 1XB for a slightly wider car.
Another option part seen here are the TRF damper ball connectors (#42231). Normal ball connectors are obviously included in the kit.
Another view, now with the XV-01 front bumper added. Plastic spacers are used under the bumper to raise it so the bottom of it is level with the carbon lower deck. A good idea here to ease assembly/disassembly is to glue these spacers to the bumper.
Here I really wish Tamiya had made the effort to make a new FF-04 specific bumper. This would then have allowed the motor to be mounted much lower (with an FF-04 specific motor plate). But more of that sometime later.
The front gearbox finally added to the chassis.
Again, the TRF418 suspension is used at the back of the chassis. The arms are however turned around so the droop screw is at the back and a very strange hole for the damper mounting is used. Much further in on the arm than the normal damper mounting hole (now facing forwards and acting as a roll bar mounting position) it will obviously make the rear end a lot softer. To me this choice seems strange, but as I have never tested it on the 417FF, perhaps I will learn something new when track testing this car…
1XD and 1A are the included plastic suspension mounts used at the rear. I used alu 1XD and 1C blocks, for a total of 3.5 deg of toe-in, which has usually worked well. As can be seen I used spearate block in front of the rear arms, just like behind the front arms.
The rear bulkheads are good looking, light aluminium parts which I wouldn’t have said no to when making the 417FF. The upper arm mounts are also aluminium and screwed to the rear bulkheads from the side, allowing endless position adjustments for the upper arm mounting.
There are two holes in the center of the bulheads, which would allow you to fit cross braces if you want to connect the left and right bulkhead.
The rear damper stay is again an FF-04 EVO specific part, with 7 damper mounting positions. These are arced from the arm position used, so they will not be ideal if you turn the rear arms around and use the normal 418/419 damper mounting poosition on them.
XV-01 body mounts are used, hence the different looking mounting holes on the rear damper stay. The damper stay is 3.5mm carbon fibre, just like the front one.
Rear (418) uprights added together with the Tamiya M05 option freewheel rear axles, which are included with this kit. 5mm wide wheel hubs are used both front and rear.
Also seen in this picture is the aluminium center post used in front of the rear bulkheads to connect the lower and upper deck. A similar post is used in front between the steering posts.
Finally the upper deck is added and you begin to see what the completed FF-04 EVO will look like. The upper deck is 2.0mm CF, and while it may look exactly the same front and rear, there are small differences in the width etc.
The dampers are standard TRF dampers with black coated cylinders, ti coated shafts, standard clear o-rings and 3-hole pistons. However, included are the (now standard) new one-piece rod guide parts. Springs included are normal TRF (old) type (#53440), but now black colored instead of white. Blue (hard) front, and yellow (medium) rear.
However, for the pictures I used asphalt springs from the TRF spring set (#42278), together with alu large spring retainers (#42192).
Seen here are the servo mounts for a low-profile servo, which is the intended configuration for this chassis. You can also fit a standard size servo, and all required parts for that configuration are included, including a CF servo plate.
Also seen, behind the servo mounts, are the battery stoppers or locators. Actually, they are servo mounts too, just performing a different job here.
The body mounts are, as previously mentioned, straight from the XV-01.
No front roll-bar is included with the chassis, although instructions how to fit them are in the manual. An XV-01 roll-bar set (#54514) is recommeneded, but since I had a TRF418 roll-bar set (#42281) lying around, I chose to use that. A couple of reasons for that choice; First, I like the 418 style because they are easy to adjust. Another reason was that the bars included in the XV-01 set are all quite soft, so I found the 418 bars more suitable. To get it working right I had to shorten the front bars by 3-4mm though. The front roll bar is mounted to the front alu bulkhead from the underside, with access holes in the lower deck.
I used a 1.3mm roll-bar up front to start with. Anyway, a front roll-bar is something I highly recommend on any FF car.
New carbon fibre bumper braces for the front bumper.
Rear body mounts and rear roll-bar.
Two rear bars (1.0mm white & 1.2mm red) are included together with 418 style mounting hardware. To start with I fitted the softer white roll-bar.
The finished FF-04 EVO chassis kit.
A very good looking kit it must be said, which I’m fairly sure will work very well.
All built, the car is not as stiff as I first expected, so it seems it has about the right amount of flex.
Aside from the option parts mentioned you can see I used Tamiya alu screws in some places for that perfect Tamiya blue look. 🙂
There are a few things I would like to have seen different on this production car, some of which I already mentioned. But more of that in later posts. Hope this helped you get a better understanding of the FF-04 EVO.
Oh, and I almost forgot, but my best friend during this build deserves a mention.
This is a Tamiya M3x0.5mm Thread Forming Tap (#54232) which I used together with the handle from a 5.5mm TRF box wrench (#42148). They fit together perfect and made the build so much better. I usually hate threading screws into hard plastic parts, like on the FF-04 EVO gearbox for example, so this home-made tool was very useful.