DougJ's Trusty Rusty TF2

Small Factory

Fancy-Walkin'
One of these days i'm going to have to take a ride up there to run with you in your forest... the pics always look so wonderful.
 

new2rocks

Member
Love the truck. Love the pix. I feel the same way about my first TF2. I very rarely do anything resembling maintenance, even more rarely anything resembling a repair. It just continues to work, so I love it all the more. And glad to hear you're enjoying the skid.
::2thumbs
 

NXPRSS

New member
This truck is sick!! I didn't realize you were in ct till I notice the colors on the license plate, I zoomed in and it said connecticut !
Awesome build!! Where in CT are you located??
 

DougJ

New member
One of these days i'm going to have to take a ride up there to run with you in your forest... the pics always look so wonderful.
The photos don't accurately show the scale - it's a pretty tiny trail overall, it only takes a few minutes to drive the whole thing. :laughing: I need to add more sections, even I'm starting to get tired of the same lines.
Love the truck. Love the pix. I feel the same way about my first TF2. I very rarely do anything resembling maintenance, even more rarely anything resembling a repair. It just continues to work, so I love it all the more. And glad to hear you're enjoying the skid.
::2thumbs
Thank you! The mileage has necessitated some repairs here and there, but even so it's always ready to drive, even when it's not 100% healthy.
The skid is really great, after all the miles I've put on it so far I can safely say that it has transformed this truck. Looking forward to grabbing those shackle mounts when they're available!
Another great update! ::2thumbs
Thank you sir!
This truck is sick!! I didn't realize you were in ct till I notice the colors on the license plate, I zoomed in and it said connecticut !
Awesome build!! Where in CT are you located??
Ha, good eye. I'm in Manchester. There's a few New Englanders on this forum. There are dozens of us... dozens!



I decided to give the steering a little bit of a refresh. As you know, Yota axle knuckles have brass bushings in them. These bushings are similar hardness to the aluminum knuckles, so they both wear each other out. With high mileage trucks like mine, this results in some frankly ridiculous slop. It's hard to convey in still photos, but look how much camber there is here:

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Yikes! Both wheels wobble around like crazy, it's pretty goofy. I was originally planning on leaving them as-is until they broke, but it's so bad I decided to just replace them.

With the screw taken out you can see how bad the gap is.

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In addition to getting new knuckles I also decided to try a little "upgrade" of sorts. You can drill these out and put tiny bearings in, but I didn't want to mess with that because I have a habit of letting bearings rust to death. I'm trying a more simple solution that I read about this somewhere else on the internets, so credit to Grubbybuz and Northernerbill.

This is an Axial AX80018 parts tree, which you should have if you have an SCX10 or Wraith. The bits we're interested in are the #3 parts at the bottom.

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These are plastic flared bushings, similar in dimension to the stock brass ones, with a slightly bigger flare. Look how much metal is missing from the stock ones! I didn't know they were this bad until I looked at this photo.

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My hope is that these plastic bushings will be soft enough that they will take the brunt of the wear, and keep the knuckles from getting all wallered out. If it works, I'll only need to replace these in the future, instead of having to get new bushings and knuckles.

Here's what's getting replaced today. Unfortunately, all four of these bearings are seized (from rust - who would have guessed?) and the dogbone was just spinning in them. I'm a bit disappointed in the Fast Eddy bearings, they haven't been as tough as the stock RC4WD ones were. I can probably restore these, but for now I had enough spares to replace them.

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Look at this fitment with all the new parts! So nice. I don't remember if this is better than the stock axle was when it was new, it's pretty much perfect though.

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I did have to mount the bushings flare-out though because the flare is a little too thick and I didn't want to shave the axle housing. Will this be problematic? Who knows! I don't see how it could be, and they are MUCH easier to install this way anyways. EDIT: For those reading in the future, don't do this! It causes the knuckle to rub against the axle housing. I've corrected it in the next post.

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All done! I'll have to get it out on the trail to see if it makes any noticeable difference, but on the bench it's great. The camber-slop is GONE.

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There's still a ton of slop from the leaf springs and steering arms, but it's definitely way better now. We'll see how it works out in the long run. Hopefully this will help the knuckles last longer.
 

1BadJeepBruiser

n00bs #1 fan
Nice to another option for repairing these, love how "used" this truck is...makes me miss my original chino clone, that truck literally had miles on it and had been all over the country
 

DougJ

New member
Nice to another option for repairing these, love how "used" this truck is...makes me miss my original chino clone, that truck literally had miles on it and had been all over the country

Thanks, man! That truck was a big inspiration to me, for that reason. You have a way of tracking down old trucks, I'm sure it'll be back in your collection again someday. ;)



So after mounting the bushings flare-out, I remembered the reason they're supposed to be flare-in is to center the knuckle so it doesn't directly rub against the axle housing, so flare-out isn't going to do. Like I mentioned, the flares are a little thicker than the brass bushings, so I sanded them down a bit so they fit. They're quite thin now and I don't know if they're going to last long-term, but this is all an experiment, so we'll see!

It's hard to see here, but the knuckle is now properly centered around the housing.

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I took it out to test on the trail today. It felt a little tighter, but it's hard to say if it really made that much of a difference in terms of performance; it's more about longevity though. As I mentioned before, there's still slop in the steering from all the other worn-out parts. There was definitely less wobble and it seemed a tad more accurate (as you'd expect after seeing how bad it was before!).

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So not a massive improvement, but we'll see if my theory about these bushings preserving the knuckles is true in the long run. That's all I had planned to do to the truck in the near future (barring any other parts replacements), but I've got some other plans coming up. I'd like to make some changes to the trail soon, and it's looking like this truck will get to see the beach for the first time on Memorial Day weekend. Will this truck handle on soft sand? Will it be a complete disaster? Will the salty air rust the leaf springs in half? Stay tuned to find out!
 

delux

deCOMPosed.
A sloppy front end is taking scale to another level on a worn old Hilux. There's something so cool about putting genuine miles on a truck like this. I look forward to more updates.. ::2thumbs
 

DougJ

New member
A sloppy front end is taking scale to another level on a worn old Hilux. There's something so cool about putting genuine miles on a truck like this. I look forward to more updates.. ::2thumbs
Thanks, the slop certainly fit the character of the truck but it was getting pretty ridiculous. :laughing:



Spring is springing! Here's some photos of today's run among the sprouting plants.

In anticipation of my upcoming beach trip, I spent some time in Photoshop and made a custom oversand permit, inspired by the Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket ones. I'm pretty happy with how it looks. You always see 4WD vehicles there with rows of different colored permits along the bumpers, so I picked a spot on the tailgate with room to add more in the future. The only place I could fit the front one was on the bottom of the rad support.

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The small plants this time of year make for great scale photos.

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Today's casualty: A front marker light, plus a bunch of new scratches on the left fender. Oops! This thing's starting to look like it's old self. I've been a little more particular about adding rust this time round though, and I think it looks a lot more realistic than it used to.

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DougJ

New member
Hey guys! I've got some new tiny truck bits to show off today.

If you've ever owned a TF2 you're probably aware of how the rear leaf mount causes the shackle to "lock" in place under full compression. This is something that RC4WD should have addressed when they updated the TF2, but didn't. Luckily for us TF2 owners, our friends at BowHouse RC have this covered with improved shackle mounts 3D printed through Shapeways.

Here's the stock setup:

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And here's the new 3D printed mounts.

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Previously I stopped the shackle from locking by limiting travel with spacers inside the shocks. Here's a baseline of flex with those spacers in place.

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This is the spacer I used, it's just a plastic tube I cut. It's about 6mm long, so that's what we'll hopefully be gaining with the new mounts.

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Here's the new mount in place. Thankfully the screws on the right side mount came out with little fanfare. As you can see the BowHouse design positions the shackle up and back a bit compared to stock.

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Initial full compression tests are good! It doesn't lock up and it feels much better now.

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Unfortunately, both the left side screws stripped instantly, because of course they did. :smoke: I didn't have the right drill bits to drill them out, so I ended up grinding the heads down with a dremel and hammering the shackle mount off the chassis. The frame will need a little paint (read: I probably won't bother to paint this ever), but with a new set of screws, we're back in business.

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Here's a quick test photo with the body on. It's hard to tell, but the tire is squishing a little against the fender. I think if I grind the edge down a bit I can get an extra 2mm out of it. Nice!

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As I mentioned, it feels better on the bench. It's got a little more rebound now. These springs are old and a little flat, so it's interesting to see how much this little geometry change can affect their behavior. It's supposed to rain tomorrow, but I'll try to get some trail time soon for proper testing. I think the leafs can invert a tiny bit under full flex, so I may throw some small spacers in the shocks to keep them flat. So far I'm liking it, but I'll keep you updated!

If you want to buy these, check out BowHouse RC on Shapeways, and grab one of the high-clearance t-case mounts while you're there! ;)
 

delux

deCOMPosed.
I've just put a set of the Bowhouse mounts on my JDM TF2 too, two to too 2. Aswell...

It's a massive improvement over the stock geometry, i'm now running the full set of stock leaves in the rear (no internal shock springs) and it's driving really nicely. A bit more drive time and I think it'll only get better.
 
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DougJ

New member
The TF2 Hits the Beach!

I've just put a set of the Bowhouse mounts on my JDM TF2 too, two to too 2. Aswell...

It's a massive improvement over the stock geometry, i'm now running the full set of stock leaves in the rear (no internal shock springs) and it's driving really nicely. A bit more drive time and I think it'll only get better.
It seems SO much better so far. I'm a happy camper!
Thanks for sharing the update. Glad to hear you guys are liking the mounts and skids!
Thanks for making great products! I printed a BowHouse sticker for the tailgate, if I ever get to meet you guys in person I'll replace it with a real one. ;)




As promised, the TF2 got to play in the sand today! First though, I made some little changes.

I ground down the flat edge on the rear fenders, which gave me about 3mm of extra space for the tire. I didn't change the width of the fenders at all, just the size of the opening. The front fenders don't need to be trimmed, but I may do them anyways for visual consistency.

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With the bigger openings it's a little easier to see the ugly gap between the bed and frame, so I finally got off my butt and made some panels to hide that. They're just styrene, utilizing the two unused screw holes in the frame rails.

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Lastly, here's an update on the BowHouse skidplate, since we were discussing BowHouse parts earlier. Looks like it's wearing similarly to the aluminum skid, so I'm not too concerned about durability. Most importantly, this material remains slippery even when scratched, so it slides over rocks very well.

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Alright, now on to the fun stuff! I added a new 2018 oversand permit (they expire on March 31, gotta stay ahead of that deadline!) and hit the beach for some sandy driving. It wasn't great in the soft, dry sand, but not too bad either. It was able to make slow but steady forward progress and not dig in as long as I didn't drive straight uphill.

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Separating the dry and wet sand was this little dropoff, which was fun to slide down.

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The wet, packed sand was much better. No risk of digging in here.

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I drove up and down the beach a good ways. The truck's not fast enough for any crazy rooster tails or donuts, but I had fun bouncing through the footprints in the sand.

Don't think I didn't get any crawling in though! No rocks, but there was plenty of driftwood.

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This photo shows the new light-blockers under the bed. They work great!

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I had a great time driving it on the sand. It's definitely a different kind of challenge than the usual rocks and roots I drive over on my trail. I'm glad I was able to finally get this truck out into some really different terrain.

From the little bit of driftwood crawling I did, I can already tell that the rear suspension is working better than before. It seems like it was able to use the full range of travel. These springs are about as soft as they're going to get, and this truck is starting to feel really dialed. I'm really looking forward to testing it properly on the trail.

Thanks for reading!
 

DougJ

New member
Some great new pictures DougJ. What beach is this?

Thank you! That was at a private residential beach in Madison (I was visiting family), it's a little ways east of Hammonasset.



So, I've been away from the forums for a bit, but I've finally got something new to show. I had this old Tamiya TLU-01 sitting around for years that had a power connector problem. I never bothered fixing it because I always thought the cool blue LEDs looked super weird on this old truck, but I recently remembered that Tamiya sells warm white LEDs for this now. I dug it out of my RC parts junkyard and solved the power issue (the contacts in the plug weren't making a good connection and just needed bending), and ordered some lights.

Here's what arrived today: "Halogen" white LEDs in the 5mm variety, and some 3mm reds for the taillights. They come with sticky-backed wire clips too, which is welcome considering the ridiculous price tag.

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Next to the standard LEDs the color difference is pretty significant. Nice and yellowy, perfect for old trucks.

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After wrestling with the wiring for a bit, here's what we get:

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Nice! The warm light is very convincing, without all the hassle of wiring up grain-of-wheat-bulbs. The tails are a little bright I think, but I did a quick test outside and they look excellent in daylight. The camera makes them look a little worse. I'll need to paint the backs of them black because there's a bit of light bleed, but otherwise they add some good visual flair to the truck.

It's supposed to rain on and off here for the next couple of days. Stay tuned for more trail photos when the weather gets a little nicer!
 

Small Factory

Fancy-Walkin'
Although I have personally never done it, one can solder in a resistor in-line to cut down on the power going to the LED's. Depending on which one you use, you might be able to find that perfect brightness...
 

DougJ

New member
Although I have personally never done it, one can solder in a resistor in-line to cut down on the power going to the LED's. Depending on which one you use, you might be able to find that perfect brightness...
After some testing outside, both at night and during the day, I think the tails are actually pretty good. They look brighter on camera but they're pretty spot-on in person, so no modification necessary!



It finally stopped raining, so here's some trail photos with the new lights. I think it looks quite good!

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I painted the backs of the LEDs black to reduce light bleed, and while there's a couple spots I can't get due to the way the light buckets are designed, overall it's pretty good. The yellowy headlights look right at home on this truck.
 

delux

deCOMPosed.
I didn't know Tamiya made those, you're right they look spot on in an old rig like this! I might need to find myself some too.

Great pics as always too! ::2thumbs
 

1BadJeepBruiser

n00bs #1 fan
Never knew about those front LED lights, just hit ebay and added them to my watch list. its always made me crazy cause most people have the stock crappy head lights on their Toyotas (just like I do on my 83) so this is a great solution to cutting down on the super bright LED light look. trucks looking good
 
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