This article was originally published in the RC Driver’s March 2016 issue.
Photos: Edwin Rodriguez
Tamiya has a cult type following in the radio controlled industry for several reasons. Many old school enthusiasts can thank them for getting their start in the hobby and they are always releasing cool vehicle platforms that people simply love. One such release is the CC-01 trail chassis. Similar in design to many real world vehicles, trail truck fans quickly embraced this chassis because of its scale features. Likewise, Tamiya released it with a few different body types that were equally well liked. One such body, the Tamiya FJ Cruiser, is back and now available on the CC-01 chassis in slick looking pre-painted black allowing users to get to the trail even quicker.
AT A GLANCE
WHO MAKES IT: Tamiya
WHO IT’S FOR: about anyone
PART NUMBER: 58620
HOW MUCH: $239.97
BUILD TYPE: Kit
• Phenomenal body detail
• True to scale appearance
• Comes with a brushed motor and ESC
• The esc can also run a brushless motor if you’d like to upgrade
• I like the working lights
• It takes forever to decal the body (I’m nit-picking)
• Bearings are not a standard feature
Tamiya knows that just as much as delivering a chassis that works well, people want something that looks cool and realistic. The CC-01 Toyota FJ Cruiser if all of this and more. The body is as scale and realistic as anything on the market and when photographed properly even a well-trained eye would have difficulty picking the “toy” from full sized vehicle. Coupled with a reliable chassis, this is a true winner.
TOOLS AND ACCESSORIES INCLUDED
• Classic Tamiya 4-way wrench
• L wrenches
• 2-channel radio system
• Steering servo
• Battery pack
HOP-UPS WE RECOMMEND
• Boca Bearing Full bearing set, 55-200, $17.99. Plastic bearings wear out too darn quickly. This economy set of bearings from the experts at Boca will help the drivetrain operate much more smoothly and last longer.
• Tamiya Universal driveshaft set, 54608, $35. To go along with the bearings, theses universals will help the drivetrain run smoother and more efficiently.
The well proven CC-01 chassis utilized an ABS plastic tub style chassis that incorporates cool wheel-wells that help keep dirt and debris from finding its way inside. Inside the wheel wells it where each of the four shocks are affixed. Take note that chassis is designed to be used with a 6-cell NiMH or rounded LiPo battery pack mount in from the left hand side. As such, many square type LiPo packs will not fit into the CC-01 chassis. The center front area of the chassis incorporates the transfer case where the spur gear and counter gears are located. In addition, the front gear diff also mounts in the front of the tub style chassis. The motor is mounted almost perfectly to the middle of the chassis with the steering servo to the left for great balance. The battery right behind the motor with the esc and receiver mounted right above the battery.
The front end of the CC-01 chassis utilizes upper and lower wishbones type suspension with a standard c-hub and steering knuckle. The tail end employs a solid axle that is kept in place with a relatively straight forward 4-link (2 small upper and 2 larger lower) style suspension system that allows the axle to move freely. Plastic bodied oil-filled shocks have a 13mm bore are used on all four corners to prevent the FJ Cruiser from bouncing around too much. They have adjustable collars to alter pre-load and utilize a volume compensating bladder inside for a smooth feel.
A standard dual bellcrank steering system is used on the CC-01 with a center draglink. While the turnbuckles that extend from the bellcrank to the steering knuckles don’t offer adjusting knuckles, all you need to do to adjust toe is pop one side of a turnbuckle off and turn the end in the appropriate direction.
The front end of the FJ Cruiser has a gear diff that connects to a centrally mounted transmission by way of a counter gear. This transmission/transfer case sends power to the back end of the truck by way of a long shaft with universal joints at either end. The solid rear axle can be built to use either a gear differential, like I did, or with an optional locker that just so happens to be included. When building the drive trail use grease generously to help extend the life of the drivetrain.
The FJ Cruiser comes delivered with a Tamiya standard 540 sized sealed endbell brushed motor. It will work for hours and hours and has the perfect amount of speed and power for use on the FJ Cruiser. The motor hooks up to a 60A TBLE-02s electronic speed control that provides smooth power and proportional braking. Even better, the esc is brushless compatible so you can later upgrade to a motor down to 10.5-turns. The FJ Cruiser body looks just as cool at night as it does in broad day light thanks to fully operational head and tail lights. The included TLU-01 light module is also expandable so you can add a light bar to throw more light on the trail. Besides being fully painted, the FJ Cruiser body is cut out too so you can put away your Lexan scissors. All you’ll need to do is cut out and apply the included decals from Tamiya.
ON THE TRACK
I took my nice new FJ Cruiser to the outdoor trail course at R/C Madness in Enfield, CT to see how it would perform. Right off the bat, before I drove over to the trail, I took a few passes on the dirt track and really liked how quick the truck was and how much torque it has. In fact, it was quicker than most of the other trail trucks I’ve used. It turned… ok, with a noticeable push on and off power because of the lack in physical steering throw, I’ve seen some custom mods done to this chassis by CC-01 owners online to get more steering and may do some steering customizing myself in the future.. The FJ Cruiser did have a bit of a bounce over some of the rougher areas at full speed but it was nothing out of the ordinary. On the trail, where it was slow going for the most part, the 4WD drivetrain was more than up to the task of driving through loose sand and dirt. It powered through mud thanks to the ample torque leaving a small roost in its tracks. Going up steeper obstacles was a challenge as the front end tended to loose traction (again, the addition of weight here might help or even going to a diff locking putty) and if the back end started to loose traction power would be transferred to the wheel with the lease traction. This made me wish I built the back end with the locked diff rather than the gear diff, looks like some bench time is in my future.. Going down inclines was quite easy but I had to use the brake quite often as the included electronic speed control from Tamiya does not have a strong drag brake. Jagged obstacles like large rocks could be problematic and cause the chassis to get caught up due to the limited ground clearance causing me to reach for reverse on a few occasions but this was not a habitual problem.
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SPECS AND TUNING OPTIONS
LENGTH: 18 in. (458mm)
WIDTH: 7.7 in. (195mm)
WHEELBASE: 10.6 in. (269mm)
WEIGHT: 3 lbs. 14.4 oz. (1758g)
BODY, WHEELS AND TIRES
BODY: Pre-painted Lexan Tamiya FJ Cruiser
WHEEL ADAPTER TYPE: 12mm hex
TIRES: Semi-pneumatic all-terrain rubber
TYPE: Lower H-Arm on the front, 4-link solid
axle on the rear
SHOCK POSITIONS: Fixed
RIDE HEIGHT: Adjustable collars
TYPE: Dual bellcrank
TYPE: Molded tub
MATERIAL: ABS Plastic
TRANSMISSION: Front and rear
differentials with center transfer case
BEARINGS: Plastic bushings
GEAR RATIO: Optional pinion gears
Performance – Acceleration: 8
Performance – Steering: 7
Performance – Handling: 8
Performance – Durability: 10
Feature Breakdown: 8
Overall Value: 8
When I bought myself a full scale Subaru XV Crosstrek as a daily driver a few years back I immediately had to review the Tamiya XV-01 version and was very pleased. Now that I have the CC-01 from Tamiya I want to go to my local Toyota dealership and take a FJ Cruiser for an extended test drive. No, you are not going to go out and win the 4WD a-main at your local race track with the black edition of the Tamiya CC-01 FJ Cruiser, but you will, no doubt have countless hours of fun. Ideal for cruising around on trails, up and down sidewalks and more, it is as much fun to drive as it is to look at.
Tamiya America Inc., tamiyausa.com,(800) 826-4922