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Jeep Rubicon


I saw the TLT-based projects on sites like and I always wanted one. However, I never knew how to start on customising the chassis (i.e. making it longer). Then one day I was surfing the web and came across Junfac. They had a promotion on their 'Tracer' conversion kit, so I ordered that.

I also threw in some cool skidplates:

And added these beadlock wheels. You can get aluminium wheels for around 100 USD per pair, or you can go cheapo and get these plastic ones at almost a seventh of the price. I, ofcourse, went cheapo.

The tyres to go onto these wheels are Proline Moab's. These look cool, have a nice and big diameter, and are very soft and squishy: ideal for gripping those rocks.

Combination of tyres and wheels. It's quite hard to get these mounted correctly as they tend to get squashed together leaving you with excess rubber when tightening the final screws. Still wondering what's so special about these wheels? Check this out. Basically, the wheel is squashed between the rim and a ring, which is tightened using bolts. This way, the tyre can withstand enormous pressure without coming off the rim, as would happen with a glued tyre. This goes for RC as well as 1:1 offroad tyres.

As dampers I went for a set of TGM dampers and springs. These are hi-cap dampers, and look cool. They're very big in diameter, making me wonder if they won't look 'oversized' when mounted. Then again - that's not necessarily a bad thing. I originally bought 2 of these sets to use on my Clod Buster, but by now I have other plans for the clod, which probably won't need dampers anymore.

The body is an HPI product: a Jeep Rubicon. I like this one very much, and it will fit nicely on the chassis when it's finished. Colour-wise I'm thinking blue and white, but as most of my cars are blue and white (or silver)already, I might go for something completely different.

The tracer kit is a conversion kit for TLT-1 chassis based cars. Which means I also need a TLT-1 chassis. I already have 2 of these, which I combined into an 8x8x8 truck. I'm not sure if I'm going to take apart this truck and salvage a chassis, or leave it intact and buy a new one. Only time will tell what I'll do... (in other words, I need to sleep on it a bit)

This car will probably be built new as a start, then analysed and improved. Diffs will be locked from day one, and I'm going to see about fitting a giant spur and tiny pinion. Might even add an LRP Truck Puller motor. Who knows...

This car will have front wheel steering only, so a normal transmitter (receiver) will suffice. As I'm going to use my Juggernaut as a shelf queen only, I will de recuperating a Futaba S9402 servo from it.


Today, I started the build of this car. I'm still waiting for a lot of parts to arrive (aluminium spur-mount, high torque servo, aluminium servo arm, high torque motor, ... ) so it's not quite finished yet. I also ordered some new ball bearings, but I didn't wat to wait for them to start buidling, so I used metal shield bearings instead of the (ordered) rubber shielded ones.

New TLT arrived: another Max Climber: Now I have 3!

The front diff is standard right now, but the rear diff is locked, using those nifty Pajero (CC01) difflocking parts. Perfect for this car, as you don't have to glue your diffparts together...

The completed inner of the diff... Nice and neat!

Centre diff. This was a bit harder to lock. I drilled the holes that take the diffballs and just screwed all parts together. This is about as effective a difflock as I can imagine!

The rear uprights were fixed in place. I also reversed the steering rods, so they're not at the rear of the car (vulnerable!) but inside the car, over the diveshaft.

Another view of the locked rear steering...

An overall view, as it is right now. As I said, it's not nearly finished because I'm missing a bunch of parts.


I finally got the missing parts in (well - most of them) so I got crackin' again ;)

First, I bought 4 packets of balance weights by Much More Racing. These will be used to weighten the front wheels. I already did this with my Juggernaut with terrific results, but back then, I used lead straps. The problem with those is that you don't know the exact weight per wheel, and you can't balance the weights perfectly.

The front wheels with the tyre turned inside out. Because of the thicker bits for the screws, I had to add the 5 gramme weights first, and put the 10 gramme weights on top of those.

All wrapped up: added sturdy tape to keep everything in place.

Another enhancement: star-shaped inserts. I read up on rock crawling, and took some advice from the pro's - these should increase grip. I also learned something about shock setup - but that will be put into practice when the car is ready to roll.

Finished! Original front wheel: 166 grammes.

Enhanced front wheel: 282 grammes.

Oh no! An out-of-focus picture! What will we do now? Anyway, this is an aluminium servo horn. In rock crawling, you don't need a servo saver because you need the precision to steer without one. So Here it is. Unfortunately, I bought a wrong one, so I'm using the standard horn for now...

An aluminium gear hub. All in the interest of toughening up this truck.

Yes! The motor is here too! A team atlas 50T - designed for rock crawling... Hope this works well ;)

A Hitec servo (I usually go Futaba, but this was listed as 'ultra-torque' so I had to give it a go).

Combination: the servo, servo horn, dampers, chassis links - and even a bit of the skidplate...

Initially I wanted to use this 14T pinion (I believe i came with my group-C car) but it wouldn't fit: the motor holes didn't go far enough.

So I added the smallest pinion Tamiya sells at the moment: a 16T. This fits like a glove, and it's the smallest gear ratio you can get...

The battery I use for now: 6 2/3 cells: 1200 mAh, 7.2V. The advantage (beside 'I had these laying around') is that these are really small, and can easily be taped to the chassis. And look - Sponsors!

Also temporary: the receiver ans ESC. The receiver will be a Spektrum SR3500 (due to it being really small and no need for an antenna) and the ESC will probably be a GM SX6R or something like that. Still need to buy these - but I need to span my budget for this car over multiple months...

7 - 04 - 2008

Not done quite yet - but getting there...

Body's finished.

5 - 05 - 2008

I got these tread wideners from Junfac. These make the wheels fit perfectly, and widen total tread by 26mm.

I also got my new Pajero today, which has those nifty difflocking parts. So I will be using those, but I'm going to wait to install em until I get another delivery, a powerful servo for the rear wheels and some more aluminium bits...

22 - 05 - 2008

More modifications!

Finally got the right servo horns ;)

And the servo mounts needed to be alloy, too...

22 - 05 - 2008

First run!

I took the car to my parents' backyard to give it a spin. It's a really fun car, and doesn't have too much trouble with the obstacles in the garden. Due to the 35T motor, the battery lasts a really long time.

Also was my first chance to test the FlycamOne² - the new version of flycamone I got. Too bad it was too light out, and the image is over-exposed.

With camera...

... and without camera

Things to notice in this picture: LiPo battery, final speedo, final receiver, BEC unit, and just global finishedness....

Same thing, other point of view...

Ultra torque servo, right servo horn, and some dust...

Had a first decent run with the car, it handkes great! I just had to take it out into the mud but there wasn't a lot around. Still had fun, though!




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