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Team RC4WD's Comprehensive Guide to the TF2

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  • Team RC4WD's Comprehensive Guide to the TF2

    The Trail Finder 2 has quickly become one of the most popular scale off road RC vehicles due to its incredible scale realism, detail, versatility and durability. The RC4WD team has put together this guide to the TF2 to help both newcomers and veterans gain a better understanding of this terrific platform. This guide will provide a general overview of the TF2 in its multiple variations, followed by detailed guidance on motor/ESC selection, transmission and drivetrain, suspension tuning, steering & servo, wheels & tires, and last but not least, body & interior options (because after all, if it were just another lexan Jeep, would any of us be reading this?). Our goal is to provide insight and options for a wide range of skills and budgets, and we encourage your questions and feedback. In the interests of space, we're not going to try to provide step-by-step instructions for each mod. But we will give you enough info to make searching for additional specifics easy enough.

    So what's it like to drive? The TF2 responds best to patience, finesse, carefully chosen lines and well-modulated throttle inputs. It's a very different experience from driving many other scale rigs such as the Axial SCX-10, Axial Wraith and Vaterra Ascender, whose raw capabilities are much more forgiving. But once you've dialed in your setup and learned how to drive one, the TF2 can get to just about any of the places those other rigs can with a scale driving experience that feels far more rewarding.

    We've broken down our guide into the following sections:
    1. Overview of the Platform
    2. Standard and Long Wheelbase Kit vs. RTR
    3. Short Wheelbase Kit
    4. General Tips and Must-Do Modifications
    5. Motor, ESC and Gearing
    6. Transmission and Drivetrain
    7. Suspension
    8. Axles, Steering and Servo
    9. Wheels and Tires
    10. Body & Chassis
    11. Interior

    Let's get started...

    1. Overview of the Platform
    The TF2 platform is offered in multiple versions:
    1. TF2 with Mojave 2 Bodyset (Standard Wheelbase) - The most popular version of the TF2 comes with an updated Mojave 2 bodyset based on a 1983 Toyota pickup riding on a leaf-sprung chassis with an 11.3" wheelbase. The TF2 with Mojave 2 bodyset is available in both kit and RTR versions. If you were familiar with the original Mojave bodyset and haven't taken a close look at the updated version, you must. Click below for a detailed run-down of the enhancements made to the Mojave 2 bodyset:
    2. TF2 Short Wheelbase (SWB) - This version has a 9.9" wheelbase and is available as a kit only and does not come with a body. It was designed specifically to fit the Tamiya CC-01 hard bodies (Jeep Wrangler and Mitsubishi Pajero) but can accommodate other short wheelbase bodies, as well.
    3. TF2 Long Wheelbase (LWB) with Mojave 2 Four Door Bodyset - The LWB version has a 12.36" wheelbase and comes with a four-door version of the Mojave 2 bodyset. To achieve the longer wheelbase, RC4WD lengthened the center section of the chassis and added a fixed coupler from the transfer case's rear output shaft to a bracket where the rear driveshaft connects (similar to the one used in the Gelande 2 D110). The four-door bodyset comes pre-primed out of the box.
    4. Chevrolet K-5 Blazer bodyset - In 2016, RC4WD introduced a licensed K-5 Blazer bodyset for the TF2, available at the time of release as a bodyset only (without chassis, axles, etc.).
    5. TF2 kit with no body - In 2016, RC4WD released a version of the long-wheelbase TF2 kit without a body.

    All three wheelbase versions of the TF2 come standard with a very rigid, completely boxed aluminum chassis with aluminum cross members and a forward-mounted motor and transmission with center-mounted transfer case, leaving plenty of room for a highly detailed interior. If you're used to a stock SCX-10 chassis, you'll immediately notice how much stiffer and stronger this chassis is, and you will appreciate the interior flexibility created by the forward engine/transmission placement. In all variations, the TF2 comes standard with a leaf sprung suspension front and rear. This provides an added element of scale realism, as well as some unique challenges for getting maximum performance out of the suspension. All versions come standard with beadlock wheels and Mud Thrasher tires (1.55" on the standard and LWB versions, 1.9" on the SWB version).

    Compared to some of the other popular scale platforms (SCX-10, Wraith, Ascender), the stock suspension on the TF2 starts out very stiff, with very little articulation. Although it softens up a fair bit after a few hours of running, suspension travel in stock form remains limited. For general trail running, some people like this setup, as it makes relatively easier terrain more challenging and fun. If you want to get more out of your TF2, the good news is that suspension flex and overall performance can be improved significantly, whether you prefer to stay with the leafs or switch over to a linked setup, and you don’t need to spend a fortune to do it. With a little bit of work, TF2’s can keep up with even some of the most capable SCX-10s out there. Check out our suspension section for much more info on this.

    2. Kit vs. RTR (Standard WB and LWB)
    There are three primary differences between the kit and RTR versions:
    1. Transmission - The kit versions of the Standard and LWB TF2s come standard with the R3 2-speed transmission, compared to the RTR's R3 single-speed transmission. Apart from being a cool party trick, the 2-speed transmission provides greater flexibility by allowing you to choose shorter gearing for situations that call for maximum torque and precise wheel speed control or taller gearing for situations that call for added wheel speed. The biggest downside of the 2-speed transmission is that there is some play in the gears before the transmission fully engages from a stop or when changing direction. A half turn of the transmission output shaft before engaging from a stop is not unusual. The 2-speed transmission also requires a 3-channel radio and additional shift servo. Both transmissions have all hardened gears in their stock form and are thus very durable. If you happen to have the 2-speed transmission but only a 2-channel radio, you can lock the transmission into one gear by either zip-tying the shifter to the tranny housing or using spacers to keep it fully extended.
    2. Body - The TF2 Mojave 2 RTR version comes with a red plastic hard body. The TF2 Mojave 2 kit comes with a gray plastic hard body. Note that the original Mojave bodyset was sold primarily in yellow plastic. For a brief time, RC4WD also offered versions in white plastic, as well as matte black and primer gray painted over white plastic.
    3. Electronics – The RTR version comes with RC4WD’s XR3b 3-channel radio, the RC4WD 45 Turn Crawler Motor, Outcry Brushed ESC, separate 5 amp Turbo BEC, and 153-oz Twister servo. If you buy one of the kits, you’ll need to supply your own.

    If you've built other kits in the past (or if you've never built a kit and are thinking of giving it a try), you'll appreciate that the axles, transmission and transfer case all come pre-assembled, which speeds up the build process quite a bit. Just don't forget to add grease and thread lock (see below for more on this)!

    3. Short Wheelbase Kit
    The short-wheelbase TF2 is designed to work with shorter wheelbase bodies such as the Tamiya Jeep Wrangler body from the CC-01 kit. The SWB kit does NOT include a body, so you will need to supply your own. Here are the other differences:
    1. Transmission – The SWB kit comes with the R3 single-speed transmission, not the 2-speed transmission found in the standard and LWB kits. Due to the shorter wheelbase, the 2-speed would not fit without modification.
    2. Yota 2 axles – The SWB kit comes with the same Yota 2 axles found in the Gelande 2 kits, not the original Yota axles found in the standard and LWB TF2 variants.
    3. Rear shock mounts – The rear shocks mount on traditional hoops as compared to the chassis cross-member mount on the standard and LWB versions.

    4. General Tips and Must-Do Modifications
    Whether you purchase a kit or an RTR, there are a few things to know about your TF2 before you take it out of the box and run it:
    1. The axles and transmission are preassembled and greased at the factory even in the kits, but they usually can benefit from more grease. Whether you’ve purchased kit or RTR, be sure to open them up and add a good quality automotive or marine grease before running.
    2. The RC4WD screws can be easy to strip, so be careful not to overtighten. You might find that imperial hex drivers work a bit better than metric ones.
    3. There’s very little plastic in the TF2 kits, so you’ll need lots of thread lock. A good rule of thumb is to use thread lock anytime metal screws into metal (but NOT when metal screws into plastic). If you purchased an RTR version, check all of the metal-into-metal screws and add thread lock to any that loosen easily. Because the screws can be easy to strip, be sure to use moderate strength thread lock, not the heavy duty types.
    4. The stock leafs start out VERY stiff, but don’t panic. They soften up after a few hours of use. If you’re undecided about the leafs, give them some time before you make a decision.
    5. The kits don’t come with a servo horn, so you’ll need to supply your own.
    6. In the stock location, the receiver box sits at the back of the truck and may require a servo extension depending on the length of your servo cable.

    The best news about the TF2 is that, unlike some of the other scaler platforms, it is very durable right out of the box and has a very, very short list of must-do modifications to be up and running. That will leave you much more time and money to tweak and modify it to fit your personality and driving style. Here’s the list:
    1. Check the input shaft shims on the front axle for proper shimming. The thicker shim should be inside the axle housing behind the pinion (for tighter mesh) and the thinner shim should be outside the housing next to the c-clip. If yours are the other way around, switch them.
    2. If you purchase a kit, have an aluminum servo horn on hand for whichever servo you've chosen. The kits don't come with a servo horn.
    3. The stock nylon punisher shafts included with all versions except the SWB are a common failure point. If you don't want to start with upgrades right away, your best bet to make the stock shafts last is to glue the retainer rings in place using a bit of CA or Shoe Goo. If that doesn't work, be prepared to replace them. Good upgrade options include RC4WD steel punishers, MIPs, Junfacs, and Traxxas driveshafts. (The SWB kit includes steel Punisher shafts that are very durable.)
    4. Occasionally, the two halves of the Yota axle housing may have a small gap because they don't come together all the way. If you see this, it's caused by some excess powder coating built up along the adjoining edges of the axle housing. The fix is simple - take the axle housing apart and lightly sand the adjoining edges anywhere there is excess powder coating (you don't need to go to bare metal), and then reassemble.

    Here's the link to the RC4WD servo horns and steel punishers:

    There you have it. That’s the must-do upgrade/modification list. Now on to the fun stuff…
    Last edited by new2rocks; 07-26-2017, 07:36 PM.
    BowHouse RC
    GCM #tinytruck Team
    Team Helios RC

    "Sometimes nothin' can be a pretty cool hand..."
    - Cool Hand Luke

  • #2
    5. Motor, ESC and gearing
    TF2s aren’t meant for rock racing or U4 competitions, so moderation is the name of the game when choosing motor, ESC and gearing. Most of us like our TF2s brushed somewhere in the neighborhood of 27-35T, plus or minus. Some of our favorites include the Holmes Hobbies Crawlmaster and Torquemaster, and Tekin T Pro Hand Wound Motors. The RC4WD Boost Rebuildable Motors also provide very good performance and represent excellent value. Although you can run 3S, there’s really no need, particularly if you have the 2-speed transmission. Most of us run 2S and are quite pleased with it. The stock gearing (14/64) is a good starting point for most setups.

    For ESCs, any good brushed ESC will do the trick. The Outcry ESC in the RTR versions, combined with the external 6V 5A Turbo BEC, has proven to be very dependable and more than enough for an all-purpose trail rig. If you're planning to get into more serious crawling, it's worth investing in an ESC that offers a wider range of programming options such as adjustable drag brake settings and programmable throttle curves. The Castle ESCs (MMP or Sidewinder), Holmes Hobbies BRXL, and Tekin FX-R are all excellent choices. Across the pond, the M'Tronics RockC ESC is a popular choice (3S capable and waterproof). Depending on your ESC and servo choices, you may need an external BEC. It certainly never hurts, particularly if you are going to run a higher-powered servo and a winch.

    If you aren't going to be running the Outcry ESC with external Turbo BEC, we also recommend investing in a good external BEC to go with your ESC. Most internal BECs struggle to keep up with the power demands of a reasonably strong steering servo, and this issue is magnified if you are running a shift servo and/or winch. Too much strain on the ESC's internal BEC can result in brownouts and damage to your accessories. A good external BEC will help provide ample power to these accessories so that you can get the most out of them. One of our favorite external BECs is the Castle Creations BEC, which can put out from 4.8 to 9V at up to 10A. It's also programmable with the same Castle Link interface used to program Castle ESCs.

    Here are the links to the RC4WD Boost 35T motor and Outcry ESC:

    6. Transmission and drivetrain
    The headliner in the TF2 lineup is the R3 2-speed transmission, which comes standard on the standard and long wheelbase kits and can be added to the RTR versions. (Because of space limitations, it won’t fit the SWB model without modifications.) The 2-speed provides great flexibility and is loads of fun. It’s also very durable, so no need to worry about upgrading any of the mechanicals.

    Here’s what you need if you’re going to run the 2-speed transmission:
    1. 3-channel (or more) radio/receiver combo with a 2-position switch on one of the spare channels. If your radio has only 2 channels or doesn’t have a 2-position switch, get a radio that does. Radios that we like include the FlySky GT3C (hacked or unhacked), Futaba 3PL and 4PLS, and Spektrum DX3C and DX4C.
    2. Shift servo - You don’t need anything fancy. Anything with 30 oz of torque or more should be plenty. There’s no sense putting in a servo with monster torque.

    Here are the three things you must be sure to do when setting up the 2-speed transmission:
    1. Before installing the transmission, be sure to open up the case and grease it thoroughly. It comes from the factory with some grease, but it’s not enough. Use a good quality automotive grease such as Lucas Red n Tacky or Mobil 1, or a good quality marine grease. But don't pack too much in. There should be enough to coat all of the toothed gear surfaces, while still leaving room for air inside the transmission case.
    2. When installing the transmission, do not tighten any of the mounting screws or the set screws on the transfer shaft between the tranny and transfer case until you have everything lined up. Then tighten slowly and carefully, checking to be sure that everything spins freely as you go.
    3. When installing the shift servo, be sure to set your endpoints properly. Endpoints should be set so the servo doesn’t make any noise when it’s in either end position.
    4. There are two versions of the block at the end of the shifter arm. The newer version is threaded and screws on. If you have this version, you will need to add thread lock. The older version uses e clips to hold the block in place. Those e clips can loosen up over time, eventually allowing the block to slide off of the shifter. If you have the older version, make sure you check the clips regularly and tighten them (using pliers) as needed.

    If you purchased one of the RTR versions or the SWB kit, don’t worry. The R3 single-speed transmission is also excellent and will work well with the same motor options we recommend for the 2-speed tranny.
    Last edited by new2rocks; 02-05-2017, 01:45 PM.
    BowHouse RC
    GCM #tinytruck Team
    Team Helios RC

    "Sometimes nothin' can be a pretty cool hand..."
    - Cool Hand Luke


    • #3
      7. Suspension
      The suspension is by far the most interesting of the mechanical bits of the TF2. Straight out of the box, the TF2’s leaf spring suspension is, shall we say, a bit challenged. The springs themselves start off very stiff and require some run time (2-3 hours of use) to loosen up. The initial stiffness is compounded by short shocks (particularly the 70mm shocks in front) that severely limit travel. There’s no sense trying to measure flex from a stock TF2 in whole inches, because it stays in the fractions.

      The good news is that, whether you choose to keep the leaf springs or switch to a linked suspension, there are a lot of options for customizing your suspension and turning your TF2 into a highly capable trail runner and rock crawler.

      Leaf Spring Tips
      If you choose to keep the leaf springs, there are a variety of modifications that will dramatically improve the performance of your suspension while retaining a highly scale look. Here are some of our favorites:
      1. Lengthen front shocks - Installing Gelande front shock hoops raises the front shock mounting point by 7 or 12mm over the stock TF2 hoops depending on which mounting hole you choose, allowing you to lengthen the front shocks by 10mm with minimal effect on ride height.
      2. Switch to oil-filled, unsprung shocks – Since the leaf springs are capable of providing your spring force, you really only need the shocks to act as dampers. Removing the internal springs from the stock Ultimate Scalers or, better yet, swapping out the stock shocks for a set of scale-looking shocks that hold oil better than the stockers (King scalers, Emulsions, or similar) will allow the leafs to do their work without interference from coil springs.
      3. Bruiser shackle mod - This is a favorite bang-for-the-buck mod that both increases scale realism and improves suspension travel. In front, this mod uses a Bruiser hanger ahead of the front axle and Bruiser shackles behind the front axle, replacing the stock hanger behind the axle and stock shackle ahead of the axle. Reversing the hanger and shackle stays true to the 1:1s, while the longer Bruiser shackle allows more suspension travel. In the rear, Bruiser shackles replace the stock shackles behind the axle, with the stock hangers remaining in place. Here is Mike's original thread detailing the mod:
      4. Z-Boxes and Revolver Shackles – The RC4WD Teraflex Revolver Z-Boxes (licensed versions that replaced the former T-Boxes) and Teraflex Revolver Shackles (licensed versions that replaced the former Shooter shackles) add a significant amount of down travel (provided that you’re running shocks long enough to take advantage). Most prefer to run the Z-Boxes at the inner-most ends of the leafs and the Revolvers at the outer ends of the leafs.
      5. Chino mod – This mod works on the TF2 and most other leaf-sprung trucks. The Chino mod consists of using a Dremel or grinder to taper the top of the eyelet at either end of each leaf, giving the leaf springs the ability to pivot left/right slightly at the shackles to follow the arc of the axle through compression and extension. It’s a fairly simple modification, although we recommend taking your time to avoid tapering too much. We also recommend having a backup set of long leafs on hand just in case. The thread below has some good pictures:
      6. Cr00zah mod - This mod uses a combination of the red super soft leaf springs, modified stock black leafs, and stock helpers. Start by removing the full-length black leafs and replacing them with the red leafs. Then cut the eyes off the ends of the full-length black leafs and add them immediately under the red leads. Finish it off with either the small or medium helper under the modified, full-length black leafs. The modified full-length black leafs in this setup help prevent the super soft red leafs from warping, allowing the suspension to benefit from the added compliance of the red leafs on more challenging terrain. The Cr00zah mod can be used in combination with any of the other mods described above.

      As far as leaf configurations are concerned, most of us prefer the stock black leafs with one or both helpers after a break-in period. If you're planning to leave the pickup bed empty, you may not need helpers in the back at all. If you add weight to the back in the form of accessories, spare tire, topper, etc., you'll definitely need leave helpers in the rear. As far as the red leafs are concerned, they start out softer than the blacks, the blacks soften up nicely after breaking in and don't warp as easily as the reds do. Unless you're planning on using the Cr00zah mod, you're better off sticking with the black leafs.

      Recommended parts links:

      Linked Suspension
      The other option to improve suspension performance is to switch from leafs to a linked suspension. This can be done for both front and rear, or for one or the other. The front axle converts to a 3-link with Panhard, and the rear axle converts to a 4-link setup. Here are some pointers and recommendations if you are considering running links:

      • Shock lengths. Running the stock-length shocks with a linked setup and no further modifications will maintain the stock ride height. If you plan to make changes (such as Gelande hoops, lift kits, etc.), plan to adjust your shock lengths accordingly. If you decide to run longer shocks without making corresponding adjustments to the upper shock mounting points (particularly in the front axle), you may have some binding issues in your suspension and drivetrain.
      • Coil-over shocks. The stock Ultimate Scale shocks work better with leaf springs (particularly when the internal springs are removed), because the leaves support the weight of the truck. In that setup, the shocks are really only needed to provide damping. The Ultimate Scale shocks don't work as well with links, where the shocks must sprung and support the weight of the truck. Switching to a good set of coil-over shocks like the King Off-Road shocks will improve performance noticeably.
      • Gelande 2 hoops and longer front shocks. Since the purpose of switching to links is to improve suspension performance, we definitely recommend switching to Gelande 2 front hoops and longer front shocks to increase suspension travel and articulation. The Gelande hoops offer 2 mounting points, one of which is 7mm higher than stock and the other of which is 12mm higher than stock. An 80mm in front will maintain stock ride height with Gelande hoops.

      Recommended parts links:
      Last edited by new2rocks; 03-27-2016, 06:54 PM.
      BowHouse RC
      GCM #tinytruck Team
      Team Helios RC

      "Sometimes nothin' can be a pretty cool hand..."
      - Cool Hand Luke


      • #4
        8. Axles, Steering and Servo
        Out of the box, the stock Yota axles are held back a bit by a couple of issues. Fortunately, they are relatively easy (and inexpensive) to fix, allowing you to turn them into very good and durable performers while maintaining their highly scale appearance.

        Front pinion shim
        Before you run your standard or LWB TF2 (whether RTR or kit), there is one absolute must-do inspection. Take apart the front axle and check the pinion shims on the input shaft. The larger shim should sit inside the axle and the smaller shim should sit outside the axle. If yours are the other way around, switch them. After you do that, reassemble the axle and test to see if there is any slop or gear-skipping. The easiest way to test is to hold the front drive shaft with one hand and try turning the front wheels, one at a time, with the other hand. If you can get the wheel to turn enough to skip a gear, you’ll need to add some more shims on either side of the ring gear until there’s no more slop or skipping when you retest. If the wheels don’t turn freely, you’ve shimmed too much and need to take some out. If you don’t have shims handy, invest in a couple of sets (Losi, HPI, Fast Eddy) with assorted sizes. They don’t cost much and they’ll come in handy at some point on most of your rigs.

        After you’ve taken care of properly shimming the front pinion, there are a variety of modifications that will help you get the most out of your TF2. Fortunately, except for the CVDs, most of these can be done at no or little cost.

        Improving steering
        1. XVDs – Regardless of whether you stick with the leafs or switch to links, the biggest thing you can do to improve steering is switch from the stock dog bones to RC4WD CVDs.
        2. Relocate front shock mounts and steering link. This one is a favorite of NorthernBill’s and helps you get the most out of the CVDs when you’re running leafs. Start by relocating the lower front shock mounts to the rear of the axle. You’ll need to add 5mm spacers for proper clearance between the shocks and axle. Then move the steering link above the knuckle arm, with the drag link above the steering link, so that the steering link will completely clear the leafs.

        Adjust front pinion angle with leafs
        In stock form, the front pinion angle isn’t great. Rotating the axle to lift the pinion slightly will help reduce wear on the driveshaft and avoid binding. The Superlift Driveshaft Alignment Degree Shim kit comes with several different sizes to help you fine-tune the pinion angle. The shorter wedges in the Trail Stomper leaf helper kit also work very. If you’re up for fabbing parts, you can create your own wedges from Delrin or metal. Make sure that the leaf is supported all the way across both mounting screws (don’t just add spacers to the leafs at the forward-most mounting screw). Also be careful not to adjust the pinion angle too much, because the stock Yota axles don’t allow you to compensate by adjusting caster angle. If you over-rotate the axle, you’ll end up with too much negative caster, which will reduce your steering.

        Overdrive/Underdrive Mod
        There are currently no overdrive/underdrive ring and pinion gearsets available for the Yota axles, but it is possible to achieve the same effect by re-routing the transmission-transfer case coupler and front driveshaft. Because the transfer case has gear reduction, the transfer case input shaft spins at a faster RPM than the two output shafts. By connecting the transmission coupler to the front transfer case output shaft and connecting the transfer case input shaft to the front axle via the front driveshaft, the front axle is driven with taller gearing than the rear axle, producing the overdrive/underdrive effect. Note that the this mod raises the overall gearing, because the transfer case is no longer reducing gear from the transmission to the axles. You may therefore find it necessary to reduce your pinion size to offset the new gearing. Dready's build thread was one of the first to show how to do this mod:

        Other axle mods that we like
        • Helical gears. Upgrading to helical gears in the front axle will help with durability and provide smoother mesh between the ring and pinion gear.
        • Leaf spring helpers. These help increase stability of your leaf pack by minimizing any shifting of the leafs at the axle.
        • Axle U-Bolt Kit. For the ultimate in scale leaf suspension appearance, try mounting the leafs to the axles with U-bolts using this kit. An added benefit is the make small adjustments to your wheelbase by sliding the axles slightly in either direction. This isn’t a performance mod, but it looks great.

        Links to recommended parts:

        Because of relatively narrow axles and shorter wheel/tire combinations that most people run, there is no need for a torque-monster servo in your TF2, and running too strong a servo could end up doing more harm than good. The stock steering servo on the RTRs works fine for trail running and light-duty crawling. If you're looking to upgrade, a quality 200-300 oz servo with metal gears will more than do the trick, and there are plenty of good choices out there.

        9. Wheels and Tires
        Although you’d never guess by looking at them, the Mud Thrashers that come on all TF2s actually perform quite well, even with stock foams. Their biggest limiting factor is their short stature (3.67” OD for the 1.55" size included with standard and LWB versions, 3.85" for the 1.9" size included in the SWB kit), which provides a nice scale appearance but doesn’t help with ground clearance. Since most people end up swapping them out, here are some recommendations.

        Most of us agree that 1.55s are the wheel size of choice for Yota-bodied TF2s. 1.55s represent approx. 14” wheels in 1:1, which is period-correct for an early 1980s Toyota pickup. Although 1.9s can work, we just think they look too big. Back in the ‘80s, even most high performance cars weren’t yet running 17” wheels, and little Yota pickups certainly weren’t. 1.7s are an option, representing approx. 15” wheels in 1:1, but 1.7 tire choices are much more limited. If you choose 1.7s, you might end up wanting to stretch 1.55 tires onto the 1.7 rims to give yourself more tire choices.

        Tire Recommendations
        The stock Mud Thrashers (1.55" on the standard and LWB models, 1.9" on the SWB model) with stock foams work very well for all around trailing and moderate crawling. But we know how it goes...who wants to stay stock? If you are looking for pure performance, Pit Bull Growlers are one of our favorite options at the taller end of the spectrum (4.19” outer diameter, corresponding to 38” tires in 1:1). Crawler Innovations makes a Lil’ Nova 1.55” 2-stage foam designed specifically for the Growler, and it works very well. The 1.9" Pit Bull PBX A/T Hardcore (4.0" OD) is another excellent choice, and it works very well with stock foams. If you’re looking for a lower-key, more scale appearance, we also like the 1.55" RC4WD Dick Cepek Fun Country (3.74” OD).

        One thing to keep in mind is that, depending on your ride height, you may need to trim the body, particularly at the front of the front wheel arch, to provide clearance for your tires. If you’re running at stock ride height, anything over 4” OD is likely to require trimming. If you run a body lift kit, you can get away with a slightly taller tire before you have to trim the body.
        Last edited by new2rocks; 02-09-2017, 05:31 AM.
        BowHouse RC
        GCM #tinytruck Team
        Team Helios RC

        "Sometimes nothin' can be a pretty cool hand..."
        - Cool Hand Luke


        • #5
          10. Body & Chassis
          Ahhh…those bodes. What to say about those bodies? Both the Toyota pickup and Chevy Blazer are absolutely timeless, instantly recognizable, and full of terrific scale detail. There’s no way to cover all of the great ways to personalize your TF2, so we’ve picked a few of our favorites to go along with some basic prep and assembly tips. Look at this as a starting point.

          There are lots of online resources with tips and instructions for prepping and painting a hard plastic body for painting, so we won’t go into all of the details here. The basics are fairly simple: light sand with a high-grit (2000 or higher) sandpaper, wash with mild soap (e.g., dish detergent) and water, putty and sand minor surface imperfections as needed, prime with a plastic-safe primer, apply multiple finish coats in thin layers (wet sanding in between) until achieving full coverage and a smooth finish, and apply clear coat if desired.

          The one notable weak point in the body is the stock plastic mirrors. They have a tendency to fall out easily once you're up and running. The RC4WD rubber mirrors that tend to hold up a bit better. Beyond the basics, there is no end to the ways you can customize your TF2 body. Here are some of our favorites, starting with the easy bolt-ons:
          1. BowHouse RC low profile, high clearance skid (formerly the Helios RC skid). So I may be a bit biased on this one, but plenty of folks agree after trying it. The stock LWB skid has a tendency to grab rocks and roots. The BowHouse RC skid tucks the tranny case up by 4+ mm and almost eliminates high centering. The skid works with both the single-speed and 2-speed trannies on the TF2. The skid is offered in 2 versions - the original designed to fit leafed rigs and a version designed to fit with the the 3-link setup. If you have the original version and plan to run links up front, you can modify it by notching one corner of the skid to make room for the links. A Dremel will make quick work of that. (Note that this skid is not designed for the SWB model)
          2. Round Hilux headlights. Lots of people prefer the look of the round headlights (available until 1981) over the square headlights (1982-83 models). The conversion is very simple and requires only the Tamiya Hi Lift Hilux W Parts bag (Tamiya stock number 9225105) and RC4WD lenses (part VVV-C0035).
          3. Metal sliders. The stock plastic sliders could use an upgrade if you plan to do any moderate to serious crawling. RC4WD has several different options to choose from, or you can make your own. Either way, a good set of metal sliders will improve both performance and scale looks.
          4. Front and rear bumpers. The stock plastic front and rear bumpers also merit an upgrade if you’re planning to crawl. As with the sliders, there are multiple options here. Keep in mind that many of the front bumpers will require you to trim the front grill and possibly remove the stock chrome plastic bumper. Also, if you choose the Tough Armour rear bumper with tow hitch, be forewarned that the hitch receptacle gets caught on obstructions such as rocks and roots very easily.
          5. Lights. Every good scale truck needs lights, and there are lots of options. RC4WD has two good ones. The RC4WD Basic Lighting System is designed to light up your Mojave body front and rear. The Scale Lighting System takes it to another level by connecting to your servo and ESC to synchronize turn signals and brake lights to your inputs.
          6. Bed topper. Not much needs to be said here. Bed toppers are a great addition to any scale pickup.

          If you’re ready to start cutting and modifying the body, here are some of our favorites:
          1. Bobbing the bed. Shortening the bed by cutting out a portion of it behind the rear wheel arches helps the departure angle significantly, which is why off-roaders like to do it on their 1:1 trucks. It’s a great look on a TF2.

          2. Pinching the hood and/or bed. This takes bobbing to the next level, and the results look amazing.

          3. Truggy cages. Nothing says hard-core off-roading quite like a truggy cage instead of a bed behind a pickup cab.

          (Badmuthatrucker’s build was based off of an SCX-10 chassis with a Hilux cab, but truggy cages can just as easily be built on the TF2 chassis.)

          Recommended parts:

          11. Mojave/Mojave 2 Interior
          The Mojave and Mojave 2 kits come with a dashboard and steering wheel, but nothing else. For some, that we’ll be enough. But we don’t like leaving well enough alone. Without question, the best off-the-shelf interior upgrade is the CC Hand Highly Detailed Interior Set, combined with their Interior Panels and the RC4WD bench seat. From the beautifully sculpted dash, to the center console with A/C vents and 2 shifters, to the door panels with window cranks, the details are all there. If you’re going to go this route, here are a few tips:
          • Although the floor looks full-depth, it’s actually about ¾ depth to ensure there’s room for the shift servo on the passenger side and the ESC on the driver side. Depending on the size of your driver, you may need to trim the legs to get a proper fit under the steering wheel.
          • You can make the floor full-depth by relocating the ESC and shift servo. If you’re running one of the smaller ESCs (e.g., Holmes BRXL or Tekin FX-R), you can relocate it relatively easily to between the frame rails under the bed just in front of the receiver box with minimal fab work required. To relocate the shift servo, you’ll need to switch to a micro or sub-micro servo. The most common place to relocate the servo is behind the battery plate. To do this, you’ll need to fab mounting brackets for the servo and you’ll need to create a bent link to go under the battery tray and come back up to the shifter in the tranny.
          • The dash can be lit up by drilling down through the two primary gauges and out the lower front of the dash. After you drill, add your LEDs and then install the instrument panel sticker to cover the dash. One neat little trick is to place the instrument panel sticker on a piece of clear scrap lexan or plastic, cut it to size, and then cut another piece of lexan or plastic to size to fit in front of the instrument panel to mimic the look of a real 1:1 dash.
          • To paint the interior, start with a good spray primer intended for plastic. Black primer works nicely because it’s easier to see your progress with paint coverage after each coat. After priming, brush on multiple coats of acrylic modeling paint (Citadel makes very good paint for their role-playing game pieces) in the base color(s) of your choosing. After you have your base color, dry brush a much lighter version of your base color family in the areas where the interior is most likely to fade or weather on a 1:1, and apply a dark wash (black or dark brown) to dirty up the seams in the door panels. Finish it off by spraying a light coat of satin or semi-gloss clear lacquer to seal everything and keep it from rubbing off.
          • Use fabrics for the floors and seats to add texture to your interior. Felt works very well for carpets and floor mats. For your seats, you can use the RC4WD leather bench seat cover or you can pick your own fabric to make your own customer upholstery.

          If you’re a styrene wiz or want to become one, you can certainly create your own interior. But it’s hard to beat the scale detail of the CC Hand kit.

          Recommended parts:

          We hope you've found this overview of the TF2 platform to be helpful. As you can see, this incredibly versatile platform offers beginners and advanced builders alike a wealth of opportunities for customizing and personalizing their rigs. We hope you enjoy your TF2 and encourage you to share your experiences here on the RC4WD Forum!

          Thanks for looking and let us know what you think!
          Last edited by new2rocks; 08-16-2016, 11:21 PM.
          BowHouse RC
          GCM #tinytruck Team
          Team Helios RC

          "Sometimes nothin' can be a pretty cool hand..."
          - Cool Hand Luke


          • #6
            Team RC4WD's Comprehensive Guide to the TF2

            2/17/15: Added tips for helping the stock nylon punishers last longer and eliminating gap between axle housing halves
            2/27/15: Added paragraph describing OD/UD mod
            3/27/16: Updated with info about Mojave 2 and K-5 Blazer bodysets, added Bruiser shackle mod to suspension section, and fixed several broken links
            Last edited by new2rocks; 03-27-2016, 07:17 PM.
            BowHouse RC
            GCM #tinytruck Team
            Team Helios RC

            "Sometimes nothin' can be a pretty cool hand..."
            - Cool Hand Luke