Thursday, May 30, 2024

Upgrading the RC4WD Trail Finder 2

Upgrading the RC4WD Trail Finder 2
Upgrading the RC4WD Trail Finder 2

Words & Photos: Ty Giebel

Once upon a time the RC4WD Trail Finder 2 was released and like any new product, there wasn’t much support for it. Fast forward to today and there are bumpers, body parts, panhard setups, drive shafts, shocks, 4-link, fender flairs, and more available to tune your Trail Finder 2 however you see fit. You name it and RC4WD now makes it for this vehicle so you can create a truly unique build. It’s hard getting past the incredible scale look of this vehicle and the performance that is just as amazing as its appearance.

Upgrading the RC4WD Trail Finder 2
Upgrading the RC4WD Trail Finder 2

The Trail Finder 2 is undoubtedly the most scale vehicle in the radio control world. RC4WD has been working diligently on the platform and now offers a slew of hop up options and scale accessories. All the key parts are still in place, with a 2-speed transmission and the most scale axles in the market. Now we have the ability to tune the suspension and add scale details to truly bring the crawler to the head of the pack.

I started with a box stock Trail Finder and then went ahead and pulled it apart to add all the tough metal parts that will keep this rig on the trail for years to come.

The 4-link removes the leaf springs for the rear of the TF2 which allows for only the shocks to do the dampening , with this you get easier suspension tuning and a more aggressive modified rear suspension setup.

The front end of the TF2 has been modified for the “on the chassis steering system”, removing the front leaf springs and replacing them with a panhard link set up. This added more suspension tuning options and a clean look that is easily adjusted. The panhard, unlike a 4-link, keeps the tires from steering when the suspension is articulating. This keeps the steering precise. Also, replacing the leaf springs removes the axle wrap and keeps the axles firmly in place.

Upgrading the RC4WD Trail Finder 2
Left: The chassis has adequate room for most electronics setups andt for crawlers running brushed motors the Holmes Hobbies BRXL ESC has everything you could want. If offers tons of drag break and is capable of accepting up to 6-cell LiPo batteries. The BRXL is programmable through a PC computer using Castle Creations Castle Link software. Center: The rear axle truss that accompanies the 4-link system keeps a low profile and fits the scale looks of the Trail Finder 2. It bolts to the top of the axle housing for a solid base for the upper links to attach to.

The plastic drive shafts have been replaced with RC4WD metal Punisher shafts. These shafts are made from industrial grade steel. They add weight to lower the center of gravity of the TF2 which allows it to crawl better. Additionally, the steel construction makes these shafts bulletproof, adding to an already tough scale crawler.

The body of the Trail Finder 2 is already one of the most scale bodies on the market, but RC4WD didn’t think it was enough and offers real rubber fender flairs that bolt on to the body for a great scale touch. These flairs will cover bigger tires to keep the look of the rig looking true to scale “road legal”. The RC4WD Safari snorkel was installed and while it doesn’t serve a functional purpose, it changes the look, adding to the adventure trail rig motif.

Within the cab of the Trail Finder 2 is a scale dash and steering wheel, it comes with decals to add to the scale appearance, but RC4WD has done one better and now offers a bench seat to help complete the look of a fully detailed truck interior.

Upgrading the RC4WD Trail Finder 2
Upgrading the RC4WD Trail Finder 2

The Tough Armor rear bumper for the Trail Finder 2 is CNC machined and keeps the rear end of the TF2 body safe from rock rash. It also helps complete a stock body look, with the plastic front bumper and rock sliders taken off. The rear bumper is the only thing adding viable protection to the body. This modification helps achieve the look of a weekend adventure truck that can be driven to work on Monday.

The Savox 1231SG servo has a larger profile than a standard-size servo, but the Trail Finder 2 is equipped to handle the extra size. With the larger size comes more torque. The Savox 1231SG has a whopping 444.4 ounces of torque, making this servo perfect for any rock crawler.

To help set the body apart on the revamped TF2, I did some custom work, bobbing (shortening) the bed and chassis to create a better departure angle for the rear of the truck when coming off rock obstacles. With this, I felt the bed was lacking a few details. With 1/8-inch solid rod, I created a surfboard rack to build on some scale details for the truck. The surfboards are modified from Tamiya long boards to become a little more modern and fit the shorter bed of the Trail Finder 2.

I took the revamped Trail Finder 2 out to one of my proving grounds; it’s a long single track hiking trail that ends with a rock garden before heading back to the dirt trail. The trail run was a blast. The R3 scale two-speed transmission offers great looks and performance, second gear was perfect for getting down the trail and kicking up dirt before the rocks. As the TF2 got onto the rocks, I shifted into first gear and began a 4WD assault on whatever rock was ahead. The linked suspension geometry in the front and rear of the TF2 worked flawlessly. The suspension had no issues flexing to keep all four tires on the ground, driving the TF2 up to the next obstacle. With all the weight of the motor and steering (and a little lead weight in the wheels, too) the TF2 climbed like a highly tuned scale crawler. When descending, the weight of the rear bumper and ABS body kept the rear end planted on the rocks. The RC4WD Invader tires worked surprisingly well for a less aggressive off-road tire. They grabbed the slick rock and pulled the truck over the terrain. However, the tires did rub on the RC4WD rubber fender flairs when turning, but for me, part of scale is rubbing. It was mild and not much of concern anyway. The optional scale hubs of the TF2 provide an unsurpassed scale look to the wheels, but they do require specialty tools offered by RC4WD to help keep them tight. Loctite was a necessity for keeping these wheel nuts in place, once locked they worked flawlessly.

Upgrading the RC4WD Trail Finder 2
Upgrading the RC4WD Trail Finder 2

• Receiver (R2104GF)
• 4PL Transmitter (FUTK1400)

• 3 cell 1300mAh LiPo
• Torque Master Pro 35-turn

• Trail Finder 2 kit
• 3 Link Kit For Trail Finder 2 Front Axle w/Panhard Setup (Z-S0565)
• 4 Link Kit For Trail Finder 2 Rear Axle (Z-S0603)
• Big Boss Fender Flares for Tamiya Hilux and RC4WD Mojave (Z-S0590)
• Tough Armor Rear Bumper for Trail Finder 2 w/Hitch Mount (Z-S0579)
• Invader 1.55” Offroad Tires (x2) (Z-T0040)
• Scale Bench Seat for Mojave Body (Z-B0032)
• XVD Axle for Ultimate Scale Yota Axle (Z-S0342)
• Scale Aisin/Yota Style Hubs (Z-S0196)
• Scale Front Hub Installation Tool (Z-S0197)
• Scale Rear Hubs (Z-S0175)
• Scale Rear Hub Installation Tool (Z-S0176)
• Scale Steel Punisher Shaft (100-135mm) 5mm (x2) (Z-S0209)
• Viking 1/10 Aluminum Winch Roller Fairlead (Z-S0404)
• King Kong Small Hook (Red) (Z-S0503)

• Servo 1231SG

• Clear red paint (81527)
• Clear orange paint (81526)

Upgrading the RC4WD Trail Finder 2
Upgrading the RC4WD Trail Finder 2

• Primer grey paint (1237)
• Italian red paint (28109)
• Flat black paint (1249)

Scale trail trucks seem to be a booming market in the RC world. The RC4WD Trail Finder 2 provides a true scale realism in the drivetrain and body details. The TF2 is the epitome of scale with details that can fool even the savviest of scale gurus into thinking it’s a real truck. With RC4WD’s line of option parts it is easy to make your Trail Finder 2 stand out from the crowd. But the TF2 isn’t all about looks, this is a performing machine, able to handle brutal terrain with the best of the crawlers on the market.

Futaba futaba-rc.com, 800-682-8948
Holmes Hobbies holmeshobbies.com
RC4WD rc4wd.com
Savox hrpdealer.com, 800-622-7223
Tamiya tamiyausa.com, 800-826-4922
Testors testors.com, 800-837-8677

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