Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Five Key Tamiya Hop-Ups You Should Exploit

Tamiya XB


Modifying an RC car to make it faster, stronger and look better is just one of the fun things you can do in this hobby. Pretty much every RC car has factory and/or aftermarket option parts available for it. Tamiya is one of those companies that if you buy one of their cars, you know that there are upgrades available for it and there can be quite a few choices. If you need some guidance on where to start, this article is for you. Here are five key Tamiya Hop-Ups you should exploit on your Tamiya vehicle.

Five Key Tamiya Hop-Ups You Should Exploit


A surefire way to boost handling performance is with a quality set of oil-filled shocks. Some of Tamiya’s vehicles come with friction shocks and they can only do a somewhat adequate job of keeping your on- or off-road vehicle in control. Oil-filled shocks can better absorb rough terrain thus keeping the chassis stable and planted. This translates into being able to increase speed with less worry of losing control and will knock down lap times.

Tamiya offers affordable options where the shocks are molded from high quality plastic like their CVA plastic shock units. They are available in different sizes and are ideal upgrade if your Tamiya car came with friction shocks because of the low price tag and the instant change in handling once you get them assembled and attached onto the chassis. If you want to take it a step further, Tamiya offers aluminum bodied oil-filled shocks in a range of sizes and features. You will find ones with or without threaded shock bodies, titanium coated shafts, precision aluminum cylinders with slick internal coating, aluminum spring retainers…just to name a few differences. And not only will your RC ride benefit from better handling, aluminum oil-filled shocks can make it look more realistic like on one of Tamiya’s off-road trucks.

When you are selecting oil-filled shocks for your Tamiya car or truck, make sure you take note of the sizes of the shocks, how they attach to the chassis and if they come as a complete set of four or just as a pair.


Five Key Tamiya Hop-Ups You Should Exploit
Tamiya slipper clutch.

There is always a trade off when modifying your RC car or truck. An example of this is if you decide to boost the power with a hotter motor which can then cause issues with drivetrain failures. Transmissions gears, shafts and bushings can prematurely wear and/or break with a more powerful motor. A great way to protect the drivetrain in your vehicle is with a Tamiya slipper clutch hop-up option part. Once installed, it will help protect the drivetrain from sudden surges like hard acceleration as well as help compensate when there is poor traction on the surface you are driving or racing on. A slipper clutch will also come into play for landings off of jumps and aggressive braking. Even if you are running a stock motor, a slipper clutch is a wise upgrade choice for the aforementioned reasons.

Five Key Tamiya Hop-Ups You Should Exploit
Tamiya XV-01 Slipper (#54378)

Inherent in the design of a slipper clutch, it can be finely adjusted to suit specific driving conditions or chassis setups. Vehicles like the new XM-01 Pro which can be built with different tooth count differential gears for adjusting front and rear drive balance. When the front and rear diffs are different from each other, it can stress the spur gear. One of the remedies is with Tamiya optional slipper clutch set.


Five Key Tamiya Hop-Ups You Should Exploit
Example of Tamiya rubber sealed bearings.

Ball bearings can make a big difference in how your Tamiya car performs and even lasts over time. Many Tamiya vehicles come stock with either plastic and/or metal bushings with the minority equipped with metal ball bearings. The plastic and metal bushings are a cheaper option for a manufacturer to include in a kit yet will wear faster than a ball bearing and not offer equal precision in the drivetrain. Upgrading to quality Tamiya ball bearings will allow the moving parts to be move more smoothly and operate more efficiently so the car or truck can take full advantage of the power on hand and even produce longer run times. Plus there will be less wear and tear on the vehicle.

Tamiya 8×4 Truck Bearing Set (#56561) meant for Tamiya semi trucks.

When we build our personal cars here at RC Driver, we will start off adding a full set of ball bearings and not even use the stock plastic and metal bushings. Swapping out the bushings after the car is build is a hassles, so just jump right up to a metal ball bearing upgrade. You will find that some of the Tamiya cars have complete bearing kits that you can buy and they will replace all the bushings in a kit. If not you can buy the bearings you need individually. Tamiya bearings will come metal shielded and rubber sealed where the later will do a great job at keeping debris from entering the bearing.


Tamiya universal axle shafts.

Power is delivered from the gearbox out to the wheels with either a dogbone or universal shaft. Dogbones are the most common since they are very affordable, easy to install and require nearly zero maintenance. The downside is that dogbones are not efficient with handling the power due to the friction inherent in their design and they can pop out during a crash. The solution for those issues is by swapping out the dogbones and replacing them with universal axle shafts like what is shown here. You will have to make sure you select the correct ones for your specific vehicle and chances are Tamiya offer this hop-up option for your RC ride. They are sold in pairs and typically they are not the same for the front and rear if you have a 4WD vehicle.

Tamiya Double Cardan Joint Shafts (#42216). It features two joint sections to minimize rotational vibrations for better suspension feel and the shafts are made from high-strength steel for serious durability.

A universal axle shaft will require you to assemble them and Tamiya is the master at their instructions so you will have a trouble-free experience with getting them installed in your car or truck. When a universal shafts spin, it can freely without binding even when lock-to-lock steering is input. The transfer of power will be better utilized and these units can last as long as they are maintained. If you plan to pick up a set of universal axle shafts, it makes sense to also upgrade your car to ball bearings since you will need to disassemble some of the drivetrain to install these parts.


Tamiya optional steering parts.

The last of the five key Tamiya Hop-Ups you should exploit for your Tamiya vehicle are steering upgrades. The components that handle steering duties have a very important job and are faced with a lot of stresses when the vehicle is out tearing around, especially if it is an off-road vehicle. You will find that most on- and off-road Tamiya vehicles come stock with molded plastic parts which can be a weak link in the steering system and can be a source of steering slop thus a lack of complete control and optimal handling. Depending on the vehicle you have, Tamiya will most likely offer product-specific hop-up option steering parts which will improve the steering performance not to mention durability.

Five Key Tamiya Hop-Ups You Should Exploit
Tamiya GF-01 Steering Arm (#54588).

For example, the Tamiya GF-01 and G6-01 trucks can be equipped with the Aluminum Steering Arm (#54588). This one part is where the link coming from the steering servo attaches as well as the two steering links that connect out to the steering knuckles which makes this a critical part in the steering setup. Tamiya makes this machined aluminum part to offer more precise steering input and improved durability.

Tamiya TT-02 Steering Set (#54752).

If you own one of the many touring cars that Tamiya produces like the TT-02, there is a complete hop-up TT-02 Steering Upgrade Parts Set (#54752) that you can purchase. It includes a bunch of option parts to replace the stock plastic steering parts found on the chassis. The aluminum parts are precisely machined with the steering arms and bridge equipped with ball bearings. Once installed you will discover that the slop in the steering system is not eliminated and your car will have better steering response.

For more information about Tamiya products, visit: TAMIYA

Tamiya XB