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Ford F350 High-Lift

I always wanted a 3-speed, but was never able to afford one. Now Tamiya has made a new version: The Ford F350 High-Lift. It uses the gearbox from 3-speed trailer trucks, has the juggernaut body, and some new cool features. More info can be found on the Tamiya USA website.

I have this car on pre-order, and am gathering parts for it while I wait for it to arrive. These are the bits I plan to use, list is non-exclusive, ofcourse.

General part description Type Owned? Comment
Car Kit Tamiya kit 58372
Ball bearings Various sizes, rubber sealed Yes  
Titanium screws Various sizes Yes  
Steering servo Futaba S30031 Yes  
Transmitter Spektrum DX6 Yes Transmitter, receiver, and 4 servo's. Short antenna will keep antenna out of sight.
ESC ? Not needed Will use TEU101 for now, I will later be using the one in the MFU...
Motor LRP Truck Puller No ...Or something else with high torque and low RPM...
Gear shift servo Futaba S3003 Yes The ones that came with the DX6 weren't powerful enough...
Servo Saver Tamiya 51000 Yes  
Wheels Tamiya Pajero wheels Yes I like these better than the supplied wheels - especially on this truck
LED Lights Bright white and red 5mm LEDs Yes For headlights, taillights, and rooflights.
Multi Functional Unit Tamiya optional MFU No Incompatible with digital triming transmitter
Aluminum clamp type wheel adapters Tamiya 53823 Yes Took these from my TB02 spares

So far, these are all the options available (or at least all options I can think of). I suppose many 3rd party manufacturers will offer many different alloy options, I intend to buy lots of them. But only those that I think suit the truck / are useful.

More info will be published as this project progresses.

All the necessary bearings. (35x 1150, 4x 1260, 2x 850)

Building it.

As I expected, this is a very professional kit. All parts fit well, everything is very sturdy, and all parts you could lose someday (special suspension parts etc) are provided in spare. I'm very impressed with the gearbox, which has definately been improved when compared to that of the trailertrucks.

The transmission is not really what I had expected it to be: transmission shafts are different, gearboxes with lockable diffs are unlike any other, etc... I had expected a combination of parts from various cars (TLT axles, trailertruck gearbox, juggernaut body and juggernaut-like leafspring setup, etc... ) but it is not - this is truly a new car.

I plan to use my future transmitter's mixing functions for steering: switch in one position means frontwheel steering. Switch in the next one means four wheel steering. Switch in third position means diagonal driving, ie. wheels pointing in the same direction. As I don't have the transmitter yet, I'll have to wait and see what the possibilities are. It'll take a lot of testing using various servos.

I also don't know what speedo to use. For now, I'll mount a tamiya standard one, but I will upgrade it later. I was thinking along the lines of a tamiya 302, but I haven't been able to find one - yet.

As for the titanium screw set from Stellamodels: it's fantastic! There are some screws missing (2x5mm for steering posts, for example) but overall it's a great addition to the truck, because they're more durable, won't rust, and have hex-heads, making it a lot easier to screw them in.

Let's add some pictures for now...

The titanium screw set from Stella, all sorted in boxes. This makes it a lot easier to find the right screw. Also pictured are the bearings, which I won't be using: I have rubber sealed ones, which will work better when running through the wet...

Titanium screws look so cool! As I first looked at the aluminium chassis frames, I was amazed of the number of holes in them. After the build most of the holes were filled up... LOTS of screws!

The gearbox before closing it. When you start it, it's not really clear how it works. But after you've assembled and tested it, it's all pretty logical ;)

The build-table. I did this on the kitchen table to have enough room to keep al the parts in view. I didn't use any of the supplied lubricants, replaced them with better materials. (Loctite thread lock, robbe ceramic grease, team associated stealth lube, ... )

The (nearly) finished chassis..; prrrrrrrettyyyyyy ....

I thought I wouldn't, but I really like the shocks. Yes, they're friction damers, but they're the best quality friction dampers I've ever seen! Plus they look cool and work perfectly! Also notice the clamp type wheel adapters - another plastic part replaced by an aluminium one!

Now I need to add a steering servo (which I don't have yet), and a rear servo (ditto), for which I need to make a mounting gizmo. The truck is supplied with a ballraced steering solution, but that doesn't allow independent steering servos - which I want!

So... I designed some carbon parts to make this possible. The parts have been ordered, just waiting to have them delivered.


I don't agree with Tamiya on some issues, so I made some basic modifications from the start.

First, I hate the steering system with the bent steering rods. I started looking for an alternative way to mount the servos and this is what I came up with:

The shifting servo is mounted on the opposite side of where the steering servo should be, according to the manual. I used a stabiliser connection rod from a thundershot to connect the servo horn to the shifting lever. need to file down a ball connector to make it a neat fit, but that'll come later on in the build...

Next, to use my independent steering servo for the rear wheels, I added some carbon parts. (pics to follow)

The steering servo in the front was mounted where the shifting servo used to be, so I have a more direct connection for the wheels and, even though I still have to use a bended steering rod, I feel much better about this setup.

Turns out the S9402 servos don't work with the Spektrum park flier system. It seems like the transmitter won't work with the MFU either - which is a shame. I'll still keep the DX6, I just won't add the MFU.

I also decided I would keep the shifting and steering configuration standard for now. It became clear to me that the steering config I wanted from the DX6 is not possible (switch to 4WS by flipping a switch). But I soon figured out another - and much easier way to change the steering... More info to come!

The color will be light gun metal, with silver sides (as per the original picture). I've filled the antenna-hole with putty, so the roof is flat. Don't need the antenna hole anyway.

I have driven the car around the living room - and it's fun. It's actually more fun to drive it very very slowly, than to drive it fast. The first gear is the one I will be using the most. There will definitly be a movie when the body's done ;)

I've finished spraying the body. I'm not too happy with it, some things went horribly wrong, all in all it's still acceptable. More pics to come when lights are installed - some teasers for now.

Another update (20 - 11 - 2006):

First of all: a global view of my car. I still need to add lights, and do something with the rearview mirrors, so they become less vulnerable. I also ordered a spare set of tyres, so I will be adding 1 or 2 'spare' tyres o,n the bed.

Steering setup. The standard F350 comes with equipment to use front wheel or 4 wheel steering. Since I have a transmitter with digital dials I probably won't be able to use the MFU anyway, so I might as well use that spare channel for something else...

I designed some carbon plates to fit the chassis, and mounted a spare servo to control rear wheel steering. Now I have the power to choose 4 wheel or other types of steering at my fingertips...

Another picture of the carbon mounts. It's designed to hold one or two servos, mounted in the center or ex-center.

Here's how it works...

I painted the bed silver - same colour as the lower part of the sides.

LEDs have been added to the rooflights, haven't had time to put them into the front / rear lights yet. I will be using white LEDs for headlights, reversing lights and rooflights, orange for blinkers, and red for taillights. Pretty obvious... I chose not to add decals of the lights - looks cooler this way.

First set of after-action pics: glorious mud ;)

I did an offroad testrun on the damp parking of the on-road circuit. There were some nice mud-patches, which weren't too wet so I wouldn't have too much work cleaning the car. The type of mud is also very sticky, so very photognetic.

Fixing the mirrors

This car is very realistic, and the mirrors only add to the realism. But they're very vulnerable. The first twig I passed snapped off one of my mirrors. So this had to be fixed.

There was a tip on Tamiyaclub one day to attach the mirrors to the base using tubing. There was not a lot of info on how to do it, so I decided to make a tutorial about it. Here it is!

Here's what I'm going for:

First, the materials you will need:

  • 2 mirrors
  • A piece of black wire, 2,5mm²
  • Superglue
  • A plastic cutter
  • A knife
  • A ruler

First thing you need to do: cut the smallest bit out of the mirror. Make the cut nice and clean, you might even want to clean the cut with a knife.

Now you need to cut the rubber tube. I used a 2,5mm² black wire, and used the insulation. I have no clue what else you can use, but this works really well. A picture of the wire I used: I got this at the Dortmund Intermodellbau fair.

Strip the insulation, and cut 2 pieces to different lengths: 12mm and 13mm

Now all you need to do is pop them onto the mirror-parts you just created: the longer one goes in the top spot, the shorter one in the bottom spot. Add a small drop of instantglue before pushing them on. Your mirror should be dry and usable in a few seconds! On my example, I just need to paint some details (i.e. paint over the glue) and it's done! I will fit this to the car using TEC7.

I have integrated my winch into the front end of the body, so here are some pictures of that...

More to come - obviously...




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