Ready For The Trails
RC4WD started years ago simply making parts for the RC rock crawling community, fast forward to 2012 and they make some of the coolest parts on the planet! Not only do they make parts, but they also have some amazing kits and RTR vehicles. The Trail Finder 2 is no exception to the standard we have seen coming from RC4WD. In fact the TF2 is the most scale crawler I have seen from any company. The TF2 pushes the scale envelop when it comes to scale appearance and driving. The truck will make even the most scale savvy person double take when they see the details RC4WD has included. While the looks of the TF2 are the first thing to set it apart, the two speed transmission adds to this making it possible to do some low speed crawling, then the next minute racing around, splashing through mud and often times causing some giggling in full grown men.
AT A GLANCE
MADE BY: RC4WD
MADE FOR: RC rock crawling enthusiasts
WHAT’S IT COST: $399
+ True scale Toyota axles
+ 2-speed transmission
+ Scale transfer case
+ On the chassis steering
+ Super scale hard body
+ Functional metal bead-locks
+ 90% of this crawler is metal
– Right hand steering
– Plastic bumpers
The Trail Finder 2 came to the crawler world at the perfect time; scale crawling has been steadily picking up steam and becoming the dominant aspect in the RC crawling world. For years guys have been modifying existing kits to get something that looks this good, often times spending over $1,000 to get this type of look. Well no longer, those 1k Toyota builds are a thing of the past, RC4WD has included everything the Toyota lover could ever want. Not only does this kit fulfill the look that many of us have longed for, but it works as well.
• The Trail Finder 2 offers incredible scale appearance. The ABS plastic body has fine details such as detachable door handles and grill inserts behind the cab. The details extend to the bed of the body. The tailgate has latches shown on earlier model Toyota truck, and the bed is dropped to give a functional bed area for all those scale accessories needed on the trail.
• The two-speed transmission of the TF2 has smooth shifting on the fly or from a standstill. While shifting on the fly can be hazardous to the gears, the TF2 is plenty capable of handling the abuse. From first to second gear is a large difference. While second gear is similar to a standard transmission gear ratio, first gear is an ultra slow gear. This type of gearing allows for faster motors to be more affective during crawling.
• The new RC4WD Trail Finder 2 body is composed of ABS plastic and is modeled after a 1983 Toyota pickup truck, the first of this year made with such detail. The square headlights and later model grill set this body apart from similar models of the Toyota pickup.
• The instructions of the TF2 are very detailed. They give step by step instructions and even offer optional steps such as trimming the bottom of the grill and fenders to give a more aggressive look and better approach angle. The instructions offer very little in the way of words, they are simple and tell exactly which screws goes in which location. The screw bags are individually labeled based on the size of the metric hardware.
• The new Hammer transfer case is a metal 3-geared case with the option to flip the output shaft…this allows for many customization options. The transmission is also metal geared, allowing for a long
• RC4WD has already reported a long list of option parts coming out including a 4-link suspension system for those who are after the more modified 4X4 look. As well as the option parts RC4WD has a large list of tires that will fit the 1.55 bead lock wheels supplied with the kit. Tire options can go down in size or all the way up to 4.5 inches in height and everything in between.
• Brushed or brushless motor
• 2nd gear servo
• Steering servo
• Brushed or brushless ESC
• Novak Rock Star 45-turn brushed motor
• Savox SC-1256TG servo
• Hitec HS-7966HB servo
• Holmes Hobbies BRXL ESC
• Holmes Hobbies 1300mAh 3-cell Lipo
• Futaba 2106GF 2.4GHz receiver
• Futaba 4PL Transmitter
STEERING Understeer NEUTRAL Oversteer
The Trail Finder 2 has a fair amount of steering and while it doesn’t turn on a dime it does turn rather well without modification. The knuckles bottoming out on the axle housing limit the steering. The tie rod holding the knuckles together is aluminum with plastic rod ends. This system keeps the steering rigid enough to keep both wheels facing forward in those torquey situations. The steering servo is mounted in the chassis and is attached to the knuckle using a drag link. The tie rod and drag link can both be mounted on top of the leaf spring suspension to give the look of a high steer steering system. If you’re following the directions to a “T”, the tie rod will mount below the leaf springs, in either configuration the steering performs flawlessly and very smoothly. The steering servo is tucked high up in the chassis, making it completely hidden from view to add to the scale appearance. The torque of the Savox SC-1256TG servo turned the wheels with ease. The 277 ounces of torque allowed for proper alignment for the next tough rock section, even a slight miscalculation in tire placement was no problem with the torque the servo provided. The steering could help negotiate the truck up the perfect line and still look great doing it.
ACCELERATION Poor Fair Good Very Good EXCELLENT
In first gear, because of the low gearing, the goal isn’t how fast is goes, but rather how much torque the Trail Finder 2 has. In first gear there is more than enough torque for any situation, the Novak 45-turn motor was slow in first gear, but never once struggled when it came to pushing into a tough crawling position. In second gear it was a whole new ball game, flooring the accelerator led to some all out bouncing and jumping across the rocks. Shifting gears came with ease, allowing for fine crawling one minute and all out back woods “yee-haw” driving the next. Shifting came smoothly through a Hitec HS-7966HB servo pushing a collar on the shift linkage. With the proper end point adjustment on the shift servo the servo shifted smoothly and stopped in the right position to minimalize stress on the servo. The collar that attaches the transmission to the transfer case is a solid piece of aluminum and keeps any unnecessary play out of the system.
BRAKING Poor Fair Good Very Good EXCELLENT
A Holmes Hobbies BRXL ESC controls the braking of the Trail Finder 2. The ESC uses Castle Creations software to be fully programmable using a PC computer. The drag brake can be set on the ESC from 10% all the way to a full crawler drag brake which will stop the TF2 dead in its tracks. Because second gear is so low in the TF2 it almost acts as a brake in itself. The transfer case also adds to the feel of the brake creating more rolling resistance in the drivetrain to keep the truck planted where you want it. When on the throttle the drivetrain is very smooth, but when your ready to stop the Trail Finder 2 will stop on a dime.
SUSPENSION Poor Fair GOOD Very Good Excellent
The suspension of the TF2 uses a traditional leaf spring suspension. The axles are bolted to the bottom of the leaf springs. To cut down on bounce and stress on the leaf springs there are scale shocks, which have internal springs. The shocks do not come with oil so you can add shock oil to them to help with dampening even more. The suspension is a little stiff freshly built, but leaf springs take time to break in. Over their life they get softer, and weight also helps to get the leaf springs flexing even better. Even so the amount of suspension travel is scale, of course it could always flex more, but the amount of flex the Trail Finder 2 has looks great in photos and wheeling down the trail. Leaf springs have their strengths and weaknesses. They are not designed for raw performance, but nonetheless they perform pretty well and they look great.
JUMPING/CRAWLING Poor Fair Good VERY GOOD Excellent
While the TF2 wasn’t made to jump, it can handle the odd low altitude maneuver, the taller ride height isn’t the most stable when trying to jump the little truck, but that didn’t stop me from putting it through its paces. In second gear bouncing through small rock sections was a blast. The truck looked like its full sized counter part bouncing across the ground, only now there wasn’t a nervous driver sitting in the seat. Crawling the TF2 could hang with the best of them, while I must admit I was skeptical at first, the tires hooked and pulled on the slick rock test grounds. Snaking up the technical rock sections the Trail Finder never flinched, occasionally floating a tire as it crested over small rock climbs. Descending in the rocks was a bit nerve wracking, the TF2 felt light as it went down, but as you learn the driving characteristics of the truck you quickly learn that it is more stable than first thought. The crawling capabilities of the Trail Finder 2 are quite spectacular for such a scale truck. The TF2 was hanging with custom trucks, built for a more performance oriented driving, but the TF2 never once struggled following the other vehicles down the trail.
DURABILITY Poor Fair Good VERY GOOD Excellent
90% of the Trail Finder 2 is metal; this leads to a great durability and incredible scale realism. The ABS plastic body can take some abuse as well, while not as tough as a clear Lexan body, it can still handle some mild rolls and tumbles. The aluminum ladder frame chassis is rigid enough to keep the chassis in place while the entire drivetrain aside from the drive shafts is either cast or machined metal. Plastic bumpers and rock sliders protect the ABS body, the plastic bumpers absorb the odd impact well and their scale appearance adds to the realism of the truck. The plastic bumpers flex in most impacts, they are fully adjustable to move in or out from the body. The braces that hold the bumpers in place are a similar plastic to the bumpers, they flex under mild impacts, but if hit to hard they could break. Besides the bumper cross members this truck is near bulletproof. The axles are a two-piece metal design with a locker attached to the ring gear, slotted axle shafts engage straight into the locker. This type of axle engagement is tried and true and works flawlessly in the Trail Finder 2.
The Trail Finder 2 isn’t like most scale trucks, it was built to look great and to crawl. The TF2 is the closest replica of a real truck that I have seen released from any company. RC4WD did their homework when it came to designing a true to scale truck. While some may find a few things that are different from the 1:1 counterpart, I would challenge them to find something else this good out of the box. It’s hard to get past the great looks of the TF2. To me its not one thing that makes this truck beautiful but the entire package, the ladder frame chassis, on the chassis steering, amazing looking axles and the beautiful scale body. But it’s not just the looks, this truck performs as well. The weight of the truck played well getting the leaf springs to flex and strain to keep all four tires in contact with the ground, pushing up the roughest rock terrain. The 2-speed transmission was also a thought of genius, while multispeed transmissions for crawlers have always seemed to be flawed this one has fixed the previous issues. To say I like this truck is an understatement, I love it! But coming from a crawling background there is always something to change, not because it doesn’t work, but because it’s fun to tinker and modify. The Trail Finder 2 was built for just such modification. Keep your eyes peeled on RC Driver for my Trail Finder 2.1.
RC4WD, RC4WD.com, firstname.lastname@example.org