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A heck of a project on my hands

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Old 08-11-2010, 04:56 PM
  #1
TheSaum
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Default A heck of a project on my hands

Greetings all!I'm a newbie to the site and, really, to the hobby. My dad recently cleaned out his garage and came across 4 Tamiya trucks that he built for my brother and I back in 1989 (yep, these are 20+ years old!) The trucks are, Monster Beetle, Black Foot, Clod Buster, and Lunchbox. The condition of these trucks range from pretty good (Clod Buster) to ok (Monster Beetle) to down right scary (Lunchbox). I am very interested in getting at least 3 of these trucks up and running again, but I'm kinda at a loss as to where to start. I've never restored trucks like this, although after looking at them they look fairly simple. My dad assembled them, but they look straightforward enough that I should be able to disassemble them, clean them up, and reassemble them. However, I feel like I need some pointers from people who have done this before. Because it was "my" truck, the first one I'm going to tackle is the Monster Beetle. With that in mind, Ihave questions:

1. Once I take the MB apart, how do I go about cleaning the parts?I'm assuming the plastics can be cleaned with mild detergent (dishsoap) but what about the metallic parts?Surely I don't want to get those wet! What about parts, such as the shocks, which show rust/corrosion. Are they a loss?Would I be better off replacing them?

2. Electronics:The last time I drove my MB, I was playing on a beach near the river. As the MB was cruising down the beach, it banked a hard left right into the water for no reason. I was never able to drive it again, and I'm assuming one of two things happened:the radio receiver is toast or the motor is toast, or BOTH. I no longer have batteries, so I haven't been able to fire it up, but if I need to replace either the motor or the radio, how should I know what to look for?Again, I'm fairly new at RCcars in that it's been 20 years since I've played with them!

3:Gear box:Anything I need to worry about here that I haven't already asked?

4:Misc:Anything else I need to know before I start tearing the MBapart?

The chassis is in good shape, and most if not all of the parts are still there. The body, however, is a whole other story: its missing the front hood piece and one of the rear fenders is broken off, meaning I'll need to eventually find a replacement body. Other than that, I think my MBis a great candidate for restoration. The gold wheels all look good and, again, I think it's complete. It probably just needs to be rebuilt, oiled, re-wired, a new motor, and updated radio and a new body. Ok, so on second thought that seems like a lot, lol. Site,if possible, I'd like to bring this classic back to life. Any suggestions folks have would be greatly appreciated!

Here are a few pictures of what I brought home. Note the varied condition of each car (also note that I do not have bodies for either the Black Foot or the Lunchbox):


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Old 08-11-2010, 09:22 PM
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Default RE: A heck of a project on my hands

First of all welcome to RCU, I hope that you have a good time here. I'm glad to see people restoring their old classics. Though it can get time consuming, the result is well worth it.

1.Metal parts can be washed with soap and water, too. For the steel parts just make sure that you dry off all of the water and let them air dry for a while before re-assembling. About the shocks, it really depends on their condition. Are they oil filled, friction, or pogo shocks? Oil shocks use a piston and oil for dampening. Friction shocks use a rubber hose inside the body that rubs on the head of the screw that makes up the shock shaft. Pogo shocks don't have any shock absorber in them. They use just a long screw type shock shaft that moves freely in the shock body.

2.Motors are very resistant to water, I doubt that the motor was damaged from the water. The receiver is likely the problem.

3.Just look for any possible damage, if there's none, then clean it, and re grease it with a plastic safe grease.(ex. silicone or ceramic grease).

4.Just keep it organized. If you do happen to forget where something goes, you can find a manual for almost any Tamiya car on either TamiyaUSA.com or Tamiyaclub.com.
Something to keep in mind. Since they are older trucks, they most likely still use manual type speed controls(uses a servo , ceramic resistor and variable position switch to control the motor). Currently almost all RC cars and trucks use electronic speed controls(ESC) which don't require a servo to operate, accelerate more smoothly and can be run at low speeds without overheating a resistor. That would be an upgrade to consider after you get them fixed up.
Also, the lunchbox and clodbuster are still being made, so getting parts for them wouldn't be hard at all.
http://www.tamiyausa.com/product/ite...oduct-id=58347
http://www.tamiyausa.com/product/ite...oduct-id=58321
(the Super Clod Buster is the same as the original Clod, but uses blue parts where the original used red)

BTW, nice find.
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Old 08-11-2010, 10:23 PM
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Default RE: A heck of a project on my hands

Thanks for the response!  Since I posted this thread, I've already completely disassembled my MB and have cleaned all of the plastic parts in soap and water.  Let me tell you, they look GREAT!  They practically look brand new in fact!  I'm glad I disassembled this thing, too, because I really feel like I'm getting to know this truck for the first time (again, my dad put it together when I was a kid!)  I had already found the old manuals online (thanks for the tip anyways!) and I also have a Black Foot, which is the same chassis, etc, so that makes for a nice guide to use to put this thing back together.

In regards to the shocks: these are the oil/piston type.  I specifically remember this kit coming with a small bottle/tube of oil that my dad used to fill the shocks 20 years back (good memory!)   Today when I pulled them apart, the insides of the shocks were all but dried up, filled with black, greasy gunk.  I've currently got them soaking in some soapy water.

Thanks for the heads up on the electrical issue (ie: radio vs motor).  I'm wondering if there's a way I can test the motor at a local hobby shop.  I plan on making a trip down there tomorrow to familiarize myself with aftermarket parts, should they carry any of them.  For now, I'm considering using the radio for the old Black Foot (if it still works) for the MB.  While I'd love to buy a new radio, I think it would about break my bank.

Speaking of which, I'm extremely lucky in that there are few broken pieces on this MB.  In fact, the only pieces I could find busted are the 3 posts that the body connects to.  Anyone know if they made metal aftermarket replacements for these (instead of plastic ones).  Back to breaking the bank...the body on this think is in very rough shape, and I'm going to need to replace it.  Am I going to have to spend several hundred dollars to do this?  I've looked around online for MB bodies, and so far I'm not having much luck.  Is there an economic resource out there that I'm just not yet aware of?

Again, many thanks!  If this rebuild goes well, I'm gonna tackle the Clod Buster next, which is in even better shape than the Monster Beetle! 
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Old 08-12-2010, 08:17 AM
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Default RE: A heck of a project on my hands

Depending on how good of a hobby shop it is, they may be willing to test your motor.

There are a few things to look at when you are assessing oil shocks. First is the shock shafts, you should check to see if there is noticeable wear on it and how smooth the surface is. Run your fingernail down the shock shaft from top to bottom if you can feel any surface imperfection at all, they most likely should be replaced. Since you mentioned that they are rusting, they definitely should be replaced. Inside the tops of the shock there may or may not be a rubber dome shape piece, which is called the shock diaphragm or bladder. They should be very flexible and have no cracks or tears in them. The bottom of the shock body should unscrew and there should be two rubber "O" rings there which seal the oil in the shock body. They should be very soft; like silicone rubber. Since they are so cheep, though, it a good idea to replace them anyway to prevent any possible leaks.
http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXGG96&P=7
You can also find the o-rings on ebay under "tamiya monster beetle", which are a bit cheaper when you include shipping.

Also you should find if your truck have bushings or ball bearings.
Plastic bushings

bronze bushings

ball bearings



Upgrading to ball bearings will allow the drivetrain and wheels to spin more freely by reducing friction.
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Old 08-12-2010, 08:55 AM
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Default RE: A heck of a project on my hands

Looking at the two of them, you may be able to get a sand scorcher body with very little modification(only drilling holes for the body mounts). Since the sand scorcher has been re-released recently, the body won't cost anywhere near as much as a monster beetle body.
For a complete body you would need:

Main body piece $15
http://www.tamiyausa.com/product/ite...uct-id=9335562
L parts $6.75 (windshield, head and tail light lenses front turn signal lenses)
http://www.tamiyausa.com/product/ite...uct-id=9115269
P parts $6.75 (driver, sunroof, tail light housing, wipers, front of body and license plates)
http://www.tamiyausa.com/product/ite...uct-id=9115270
q parts $7.25 (front turn signal housings, headlight housings, mirrors, VW emblem)
http://www.tamiyausa.com/product/ite...uct-id=9115271

Info on the new sand scorcher body vs the monster beetle.
http://www.tamiya101.com/article_san...her_shells.asp
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Old 08-12-2010, 09:19 AM
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Default RE: A heck of a project on my hands

PARMA makes a nice lexan baja beelte body thats very close the mb body, thats what i run on my mb.

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