In the fall of 2003 the Team Losi Mini T took the radio controlled world by storm. This 1/18 scale stadium truck cost just $150 and looked just like the 1/10 XXX-T Stadium truck that is was based on. Soon Team Losi and other manufacturers were releasing a plethora of aftermarket goodies to make this little truck race worthy. The Mini T almost singlehandedly started 1/18 Mini Nationals, and event that at its peak had nearly 500 entries! I still have a few of these trucks, from a box stock truck with friction shocks to an all-out racer with carbon fiber chassis, brushless motor/esc and everything else you can think of. After nearly a decade the mini craze died down but many, myself included, were hoping for a revival.
Then, in late 2019, Losi released the truck mini enthusiasts had been wishing for, the Mini T 2.0! Like the original, the Mini T 2.0 was based off of a larger 1/10 stadium truck, this time the 22T. Available for just $140, it was a steal as it came with features that the original lacked, like a 2S LiPo battery, USB charger, aluminum chassis, oil filled shocks and a 2.4GHz radio. The original batch of these trucks sold out lighting fast, but that did not stop me from grabbing 2 so I cold once again deck one (or 2) out and make an all-out Mini T 2.0 race truck
Aluminum Front Pivot (LOS311001) https://snp.link/79867017
Aluminum Bellcranks and Drag Link (LOS311002) https://snp.link/dee4072a
Aluminum Front Caster Blocks ( LOS311003) https://snp.link/7dae87a0
Aluminum Rear Hubs (LOS311005) https://snp.link/1541821d
Aluminum Rear Pivot Block Set (LOS311006) https://snp.link/7a03ce37
Aluminum Front Brace Set (LOS311007) https://snp.link/9440f081
Aluminum Servo Mount Set (LOS311008) https://snp.link/a71a55d0
Aluminum Front Camber Block (LOS311009) https://snp.link/fb8744bc
Aluminum Rear Axle Hex Set (LOS312004) https://snp.link/6d50596a
Front Aluminum Shock Set (LOS314004) https://snp.link/6ea0510d
Rear Aluminum Shock Set (LOS314005) https://snp.link/e2dc6c17
Clear Mini T 2.0 Body with Decals (LOS210016) https://snp.link/77f94e3a
5350Kv Sensored Brushless Motor (15787)
RS Sensored Brushless Electronic Speed Control
SR2000DSMR Micro Race Receiver (SPMSR2000) https://snp.link/acec4137
Bradley Fine Line Design
Custom Paint Job on the Clear Body
Let’s start up front. To help the Mini T 2.0 feel more planted I wanted to add a little bit of weight. Replacing some of the stock plastic parts with aftermarket aluminum parts was an obvious answer to help accomplish this. I removed the entire front end from the chassis and got to work, swapping out the front pivot block, camber block, servo mounts and front braces. While I had the servo out of the truck I opened it up, unsoldered the short stock plug, and soldered in a slightly longer one. More in this below! I also replaced the stock plastic steering bellcranks/drag link; not because of the weight the aluminum option parts would add, but because I broke a few of the bellcranks while racing around the indoor off road carpet track at R/C Madness in Enfield, CT. I also replaced the front caster blocks as the stock plastic parts started to develop a small amount of slop after a few weeks of racing.
Moving to the back of the Mini T 2.0. I replaced the rear pivot block set and rear hubs, this helped eliminate the slop that developed from weeks of racing. I also replaced the stock plastic wheel hexes with the aluminum version to help ensure the rear wheels were as true and wobble free as possible at high speeds.
Final aluminum goodies I added from Losi were their aftermarket shocks. The stock shocks do work well, but the aluminum shocks are considerably smoother, so much so that I use thicker oil in these shocks compared to what are in my trucks that still have the plastic shocks.
The drivetrain on the Mini T 2.0 is nearly bullet proof with all the metal gears (a nice upgrade from the plastic and brass gears on the original Mini T. Still, I wanted to help the trick corner a bit more consistently. After taking the transmission apart I noticed that the gear diff on the 2.0, was similar in design to the 1.0. I rebuilt an old school MIP ball diff that had been in my spare parts box for years and sure enough, it fit like a glove!
Now, what good are all these option parts if we don’t crank up the power?! I’ve used the mini sensored brushless motors from Carisma RC in a few of the 1/16 & 1/14 projects I’d built in the past and thought one might be a good fit in the Mini T 2.0. The diameter of the motor was spot on, unfortunately the motor is a few milimeters too long so I had to take out my trusty Dremel tool and grind a small amount of the plastic away from the side to get the motor to fit. I paired the motor with an Tekin RS speed control as it was the smallest sensored esc I could think of. In addition, Tekin speed controls are always butter smooth and I like how they can be customized and tuned with their Hotwire and free downloadable software. I mounted the Tekin RS where the stock esc/receiver unit was mounted on top of the battery and then proceeded to mount a Spektrum SR2000 receiver on top of the servo. As mentioned above, the stock servo has a very short lead, so short that it would not reach to plug into the receiver. This is why I replaced it with a slightly longer one. I would not suggest trying to do this if you are inexperienced with soldering as it is a bit tricky.
To top things off, literally, I sent Bradley Farmer of Bradley Fine Line Design a new clear Mini T 2.0 body and asked him to paint it like he had done previously on my project Mini T 1.0 truck. Bradley, as per usual, did not disappoint and the colors just pop!
Time to throw down some laps!
I charged up a few batteries and headed to my home track, R/C Madness in Enfield, CT to give the heavily modified Mini T 2.0 a shakedown. Upon pulling the throttle back the truck took off like a rocket! The power increase was more than evident and I quickly had to adjust my driving for the added horsepower compared to the stock brushed truck. I took a few “slow” laps around the track, each time pushing myself to go just a bit quicker. The Mini T 2.0 was near flawless as I was able to put the tiny truck anywhere I wanted to and with a quick pull of the throttle rip down the straight-a-way and easily transition from corner to corner. After about 8-minutes I noticed the MIP ball diff was slipping ever-so-slightly so I took the truck off the track to tighten it up and give it a once over. The Carisma motor was barely warm and the Tekin esc was room temperature. The shocks were plush with no oil leaking out and everything else was in perfect order.
My second time out I drive considerably more aggressively and again, the Mini T 2.0 was up to the challenge. I clipped a few corners and the truck even cartwheeled down the straight-a-way once, each time only leaving a few scuffs on the body. I did tag a corner VERY hard toward the end of the run and I thought the worst as the steering was off, only to find out that just a ball end popped off.
There was no question that Losi had a hit on their hands with the Mini T 2.0, with the initial price point and features. Taking this truck up a few notches, while it will cost a few hard-earned dollars, shows the true potential of this platform. Faster, better handling and more durable, this upgraded Mini T 2.0 will be right at home on the racetrack!