Ansmann Mad Rat Review and build

I’ve been flirting with the idea of driving a competition 2wd off road buggy so some time. I’ve had 2wd cars in the past, and enj...

I’ve been flirting with the idea of driving a competition 2wd off road buggy so some time. I’ve had 2wd cars in the past, and enjoyed them, but when it comes to racing, apart from a brief stint with the Tamiya TRF202 / Dynastorm I have always ended up with 4wd cars, both on and off road.
So it was with great interest when I noticed the latest 2wd car coming from Ansmann. The Mad Rat looked too good to be true. It was fitted with the essentials for off-road racing such as a slipper clutch and Oil shocks. More importantly it looked to have suspension geometry akin to the current favourite competition cars such as the B4 and Losi XXX. All for a bargin £49.99! So I promptly pre-ordered one.
Fusion hobbies swiftly dispatched it to me and I was itching to build it up as quickly as possible.

The contents of the box are all well bagged up. Most of the components are bagged with their supporting fitting hardware, but the bags are not labelled so it’s still best to sort out the parts and screws into little pots etc to make the building of the car as easy and enjoyable as possible.
So I spent an evening measuring screws etc and putting them in their well labelled pots… Whist hoping the missus was too busy watching TV to call me a geek! After getting the kits bits ready you need to get your tools ready.
To complete the build you will need:

  • A set of Hex drivers for the kit screws.
  • A small headed but long shafted Phillips head screwdriver
  • A cross wrench (for fitting the wheels / slipper clutch)
  • A Wire Cutter to cut the excess flashing of the plastics
Additionally if you are quite thorough you would also want:

  • A File to ensure the parts move freely
  • A 3mm Drill bit to ensure kingpins etc are free
So let us begin the build
Step 1
First up we want to build the Front Suspension. The first thing that strikes you is the quality of the plastics. Its really stiff and feels much better quality than you would expect from a kit of this price range.

The hinge pins slid in fine, they felt smooth and the arms hung freely.
Step 2
Next up we had to add the arms to the front chassis parts. Again the whole thing slotted together really well.

Step 3
Next up is the steering assembly and servo saver. This was a bit of a bind. The spring loaded Servo saver was proving to be quite difficult to build.
However on closer inspection it seems that the manual wasn’t that clear on where the little flanged bearings would go so after realising that they should be on the top and bottom of the posts I quickly got it assembled. The steering felt nice and free. Again the strong plastics felt especially good for this part, you always want a strong and reliable steering system, and this part should deliver. No carbon or Aluminium hop-ups would be needed to replace this.

Step 4
We just need to bolt the front suspension and steering assembly to the chassis. The chassis itself is carbon re-enforced its very stiff and very light. In fact when I took it to my local club it was found that it was stiffer than the B4’s. The parts slotted together well, and we now felt like we were making progress.

Step 5
The front hubs needed to be assembled now. I didn’t use the included kit bushings. If you are going to use the included 540 motor in the car, then these will be fine.
Note: I would always recommend getting a set of bearings for any car, the extra efficiency they have will give you more speed and ensures that the drive train doesn’t have to work really hard. Long gone are the days when you would have to spend loads on a bearing set, you can get full sets for most cars for around £10 or less.
So back to the build, the hinge pins didn’t fit smoothly into the hub carriers so I got my 3mm drill and reamed out the hingepin holes. I was being pedantic, but the suspension has to be a free as possible, if you get binding it can make getting good set-ups a pain.
I fitted the bearings in the hubs, but decided to leave the pin / hex assembly to the end as they would probably fall out.

Step 6
Made up the pull rods, Hate hate hate this job.. The Mad Rat does have adjustable arms, however they are std pull rods so you will need to pop them off to adjust them. If you race at one track, you will not really need to invest in a set of turnbuckles, as once you have adjusted the car to handle how you want, you wont really ever touch them again.
I made my front upper arms slightly shorter than the instructions to 35mm as I know the circuit I would race on would want more front camber to get around the technical corners.
I then added the front suspension mount, I didn’t add the front 5mm ball studs and their screw, as these would just fall out until the shocks were built.

Step 7
Time to make up the diff.

The bushings were replaced with the bearings (see picture above), and the diff was assembled. I added Tamiya Moledenum grease to the thrust bearings. This will ensure its smooth and trouble free. I used diff grease on the remaining parts listed in the instruction. I didn’t get any dif grease in my box, maybe I was unlucky but I would recommend you get some proper diff grease on your diff.
I then had a problem getting the nut to fit in the diff retainer. Once the nut was in the diff retainer was just not going to slide in. In the end I had to file down the part slightly to fit. It seems I was just unlucky as I don’t know anyone else who had this problem.
Also it is important to note that the thrust bearing screw does not have a hex fitting, but a std cross head. You will need a small thin screwdriver to fit it.
When screwing the diff, I screw it firmly until it bites and shows resistance. I then turn it back ¼ turn. I test it by popping 2 hex drivers in the drive cups, and try to spin the centre diff wheel. If I can move it I then tighten the screws up. Be careful though, as a ball diff should still move if you give it excessive force, so just a good firm attempt to twist it will be enough.
Once assembled the Diff was smooth and silky J

Step 8
Next up is the rest of the rear internal transmission. It took no time to get the lay shaft together again substituting the bushings for bearings.

I then slotted them into the rear gearbox sections, and added the rear motor mount plates. I also added threadlock to the screws as they didn’t feel firm once fully screwed in. I was concerned if this would handle any amount of power before unloosening but it seemed quite solid so I gave it the benefit of the doubt and carried on.

Step 9
Here you have to build the slipper clutch. I still can’t believe the spec of this car for the price. It took no time to assemble.

I did tighten it up more than the manual recommended, again as I didn’t expect to be making loads of jumps, and was only going to add a 10.5t brushless to it… Besides I like wheelies J

Step 10
The rear damper tower and bulkhead were up next, all went together well although I had to give the four fixing screws for the bulkhead a good bit force to ensure that the bulkhead was flush to the chassis.

Step 11
Time to build up the rear chassis, the rear suspension blocks are plastic, which isn’t ideal, but as they seems to be made of the same strong plastic as the chassis, it could be ok. The hinge pins were quickly buffed and slid into the rear arms with no resistance.

When fitting the rear 2 screws into the T-piece don’t tighten them up as you have to remove them again to fit the rear bumper.
Once the suspension is assembled you have to attach it to the chassis. The T-piece fitted flush into the chassis.

I added the rear transmission, shock tower and the bumper with no hassle.

Step 12
Time to build the rear drivetrain.

The Mad Rat comes with CVDs. Again this is another example of its budget busting high specification. These give you the most efficient drivetrain and reduce the amount of times that wishbones can pop out. They come already assembled, so I gave them a quick once over and they were fine.
Again everything went together well, I just left of the hex fittings and pin again until I was ready to add the wheels.

Then made up the rear turnbuckes, added the battery mount posts and the aerial mount. The end is in sight now.

Step 13
The next step is to build up the shocks.

The car comes with oil dampers. They don’t have the aluminium caps that are listed on the box which is a shame, but again for this price you cant really complain, although I hope they change the box to reflect the different spec. When building the shocks remember that the O-rings need you to dab a little oil onto them. I took a little time to check that I was getting the same amount of rebound from the shocks, but the rest of the assembly was nice and easy. Once build they felt surprising responsive.

I used the kit oil (35wt) which is ok as a starting point. I don’t know what rating the springs are however.
Step 14
Just needed to fit the shocks and the wheels to the chassis. Simple stuff, although the front wheels started to bind when I tightened up the wheels. I fixed this by adding a bevelled washer behind the pin at each of the front wheels.
So here is the final chassis build and ready for the electrics.

Step 15
Just had to fit in the car’s electronics. I fitted a Team Orion 70a esc and 10.5t motor, a Ko-propo 2123 servo and 297-f receiver.
Then I started to cut the bodyshell which comes pre-painted.
Whilst I understand why some people would like a pre-painted shell this is one thing that I think Ansmann should change with the kit specification. Kit cars are usually for racers and it is not going to be ideal if the whole grid consists of cars that look identical. Its fine for RTR cars but in kits clear shells should be the norm, or maybe at least have an optional kit with clear or pre-painted shell.
The shell itself looks nice and sleek, it fits the aggressive stance of the chassis and is pleasing to the eye. I quite like the look of it, even my wife said it looked nice.

At the track

So far I have raced the car 5 times. Still with all the std parts. The car has stood up well. The shocks are a little keen to pop the lid off in a roll which is a problem. Other than that I haven’t had any breakages, which is very good for a car which costs this little.
I have adapted the motor mount as I was convinced it was slipping slightly. See one of my earlier blog posts on how to modify the motor mount to make it rock solid.  http://thercracer.blogspot.com/2009/07/mad-rat-motor-plate-fix.html Also it seems that Ansmann have spotted this potential issue and new kits have longer screws and a nut included.
If you are going to race it I would recommend you change the tyres. The kit ones do work quite well as they are made of a soft compound, but you should use the tyres that the racers at your local club use to give you a fair chance.
Its also advisable to buy a spring set and some different shock oil. Again ask at your local club and they will always want to give you good advice.
I will do a full race report of the car at a later date. So far the car has won some heats and its great fun to drive.

A great car for beginners and club racers. The price is unbeatable and with some attractively priced hop-ups coming out soon. Its going to be interesting to see how much Ansmann can chip away at the B4’s dominance in the 2wd arena.

tamiya 3173868577084310538

Post a Comment

  1. Cheers, I didnt realise how long these things take to do. The F109 thread will be done in parts.

  2. yeh i just brought a madrat kit from a shop called modelsport i will let you know how i get on!

  3. Hey rcracerman, thanks for the build chain it been helpful looking at it, i've bought the Mad Rat from modelsport like Ricky, but im not sure is ive gt all the piece i need. At step 7 i cant find the silver metal circles on the left (not in a bag in your picture).i may be wrong and Dads not here to double check at the moment. so ill re check tomorrow.

  4. in The pro file pic i have circled the parts i cant find/ dont have. what should i do if i dont have them?

    Thanks, Ollie

  5. they are optional bearings mate not required but a great upgrade! so they wont be in the box

  6. Yup, thats right these are the optional bearings. You will have a bag of bronze bushings that you will have to use instead of the bearings.

    If you want a set of bearings, email alan041049@ntlworld.com I get all my bearing sets from him. The mad Rat set should be around £8

  7. Ok thanks a lot, Dads home so he showed me the correct ones that you get with the Set =]. Its almost finished (bar the electricals). so i think that ill leave the standard ones in it.

  8. hi thinkingabout ur face with ur nan how cool would that be but any way lol byeeeeeeee(--_---0000

  9. how quick does this go

  10. Hi
    Im going to get a annsmann mad rat but wanted to get cheap effective esc and controller. Any suggestions.
    :D thanks

  11. For cheap and effective ESC and motor combinations for brushless, quick and easy to maintain, try Hobbywing 35 or 60 AMP ESC, and a range of motors with the package from 5.5 turns to 13.5 turns. Of course not as fast as more expensive packages like Speedpassion or GM, but at around £60 (exc P+P) are almost £100 cheaper. They are a quick unit dont get me wrong I love my 9 turn package, it also comes with programme card. Try eBay.com for purchase. :)



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