Tamiya DT03 Guide, Mods and Tuning tips for Club racing

I have been asked by TheRcRacer to do a review about my Tamiya DT03. Now I have never done this before (write a blog that is) so please bare...

I have been asked by TheRcRacer to do a review about my Tamiya DT03. Now I have never done this before (write a blog that is) so please bare with me.

Well a bit about me, I am your average 1/10th off road buggy racer, for the past ten years I have exclusively raced Tamiya's. A DB01R and a Vega'd TRF201 mainly and I now have a TRF502x with the upgrade pack fitted (That will be my next review).
Ready to hit the track 

The Challenge Begins

So I know the DT03 Neo Fighter is not destined to be a top class winning chassis but how far can you push these entry level cars ?

Having already taken a Tamiya DT02 and DF03 to their limits I just had to have a go at Tamiya's latest addition.

This kit straight out of the box is a good value for money car. You get the new esc from Tamiya which can run both brushless and brushed motors. Oil fill plastic dampers and a Torque tuned motor. No ball races oddly ?

Anyway not wanting to use any of those they were put to one side. I chose to use a 100amp Turnigy Trackstar esc and a Losi 10.5. A high torque servo and my usual trusty Sanwa 40mhz.

The Hop Ups for the DT03 came out the same time the car was released. Thank you Tamiya about time you did this. So bought all of them at the same time as buying the kit.

Now this is where the DT02 and DT03 cross over is. The DT03 uses the same gearbox, well the whole rear end to be exact. Only the chassis mounting part and the shock tower differ from the DT02.

So not wanting to spend even more money on another lot of hops for the gearbox I cheated and pulled the whole Hop'd Up gearbox from my DT02.(See DT02 tuning guide here) Reducing the cars build time significantly.

Rear end from the DT03 to speed up build time 
The gearbox included 3Racing universal shafts, a Tamiya limited slip ball differential, 5 Stars aluminium rear hubs (one thing to note at this point is the lack of rear toe in) and an anti roll bar.  It had my Losi 10.5 already in it and the Turnigy esc soldered to it.

The DT03 specific Hop Ups I will go through one by one. The quality of these Hop Ups is typically Tamiya. Top notch as we would all expect.

The Hop Ups were built in to the car as I went along, this is a favourite of mine and thoroughly enjoy doing it this way.

Now I am not going to go through the build step by step (A build review is here for the std kit), just concentrate on the Hop Ups within the build. So the first one to go in the car is the Aluminium servo mount. Lovely Tamiya blue and cheap as chips. A necessary Hop Up ? It certainly adds to the cars strength and possibly stops some chassis twist so I will say yes on that one.

54565 Tamiya DT-03 Aluminium Servo Mount
The next Hop Up within the build are not Tamiya parts, these are 3Racing aluminium front C hubs. Tamiya do not make alloy ones so the 3Racing ones had to do. The added stresses of a brushless system made these an easy Hop Up choice.

3 Racing Aluminium Hubs
Moving along in the instructions we build the gearbox assembly, now I have already spoken about this so moving swiftly on we come to the Aluminium  gearbox bridges.

Now at first when I saw these I thought they were to adjust the anti squat, some thing the DT02 lacks. To my dismay it appears they are not and are just a bling part.

54566 Tamiya DT-03 Aluminium Gearbox Bridge
Now we move on to the shock towers, the weave on the Tamiya Hop Up carbon fibre shock towers (54562 Tamiya DT-03 Carbon Damper Stay for the front and 54563 Tamiya DT-03 Carbon Damper Stay for the rear) is just fantastic. Quality through and through. These are needed to stop any twisting and coupled with a spare set of TRF aeration dampers I had rolling around my pit box the chassis would have the best it can get. These are seen in the picture with regards to the front C hubs.

Now we are at the wheels and tires stage in the manual, I used the kit front wheels but not the rear. Wanting to use Schumacher mini spike tires I already knew the kit rear wheels were to narrow so I opted for DF03 rear wheels.

Schumacher Mini Spikes on the Rear with DF03 Rear wheels
There were a few other Hop ups used in my build, the 54564 Tamiya DT-03 Aluminium Battery Bar being the other DT03 specific one but others were used such as adjustable top links and TRF adjusters. (Tamiya has its own DT03 set here)  The car was of course ball raced through out and you can get them from a lot of places including RC bearings here

One note able non kit part was the rear wing, the kit one was just not going to do the job so a TRF201 wing was used.

This picture of the chassis shows how long the car is and some of the Hop Ups I have mentioned.

The Ultimate DT03 around?
 The body shell is not an inspiring one and Tamiya have kept it simple so it was a breeze to mask and paint.

Looking great ready for the track!


The car now ready for the track I took it to one of my local clubs. The track at Surrey and Hants RC club (Link here) as you might recall was used for last years DT02 challenge and the event will be held at the same place this year. (More details soon)

I had noticed during the cars build how light the front end was. I did add a little weight and the servo was not the lightest of servo's but even with Schumacher slim cut staggards yellow compound tires the front end under steered massively.

I used my race knowledge and even with all the correct cambers and really soft front suspension the car did grip,  and mid speed turn in was good but I still wanted a bit more performance/

On astro turf I need to tune the car more if I want to run a hot 8.5t motor !

The Car was a little unpredictable on Astro Turf with high power!
A real shame at this point as I know full well The DT02 is a very good car on astro.

The club members know me well at shrccc and were intrigued by what I had brought along as they are used to seeing me racing my TRF201 vega mid motored 2wd car.

It was quickly noted that the DT03's suspension geometry is all wrong, the front end is all new but the rear end is still a DT02.

Back up you say, I did say yes that the DT02 was a good car on astro?

I did yes but this is where the DT02 and DT03 differ - wheel base.

Tamiya have gone very long with the DT03 (It's longer than my vega) and to great lengths to improve the front end. Without redesigning the rear end its fate is sealed. The DT02 with its poor front end is compensated by its short wheel base. Making the car able to change direction easily.
Make it long and you bring out another set of problems. 

Now Tamiya clearly did not see the point as this car is meant for the DT02 Super Fighter cup series which runs milder motors down to 16t brushless. With this power it performs really well, but higher power and you start to see where it fails against more modern race chassis.

So then, on a high grip surface, ie astro turf the car is not at home at all. A bit unhappy at this point I can tell you!

Clumber Park on the grass

The cars next big outing was at Clumber Park. A popular get together organised by John Weston from Iconic RC.

After a very long drive (3 hours) I had parked my car and was just in time to see a basic track being put out on grass.

The only change I had made to the car at this point was to put Schumacher yellow mini spikes on the front and wind down the front shock collars to the top of the spring with the front arms in full droop so there was no pre load. I put it down and hit the throttle...

Well what a difference ! The DT03 had found its home - GRASS !

This is real offroad buggy racing.. DIRT!
The car was a delight to drive, predictable and consistent. The balance was still not perfect but careful throttle control meant I could compensate and enjoy driving the car.

It took a couple of practice jumps to get it right as the car is so back heavy but brilliant !

Big air is fine with gentle throttle movement
With lower grip, the DT03 blew me away, what a relief !

The DT03, Proved its worth and proudly awaits its next drive!
Let us know how you find your DT03's any tips in the comments section or on our Facebook page.

You can buy DT03's from Fusion Hobbies here

trf 1241784438115500050

Post a Comment

  1. Great tips! Thank you! Especially the cut-off at the gearbox hopefully will solve my heat problems with lowturn brushed motors. Did you try to modify the gearbox for smaller pinions. I would be very thankful for information on that.

    1. Apparently some people have cut the plastic gearbox a little to allow smaller pinions. I have not done it yet but will do a post if I do :)

  2. Hi, Thanks for the great review and tips. I have built one pretty much the same based on your tips & guides. It drives really well.

    I am a bit confused with some new tires. I have Schumacher U6558 mini spike 2 with the correct foam inserts ((U6734) and they seem to fit the kit Tamiya wheels perfectly. If anything the wheels could with being narrower which seems to be the opposite of what you say.
    Please let me know as I want to glue the tires!!

  3. I have checked up and the dt02 wheels are 60mm by 54mm and the df03 wheels are 62mm by 57mm.

    I will order the correct wheels for the tires and see how they fit. I could do with more ground clearance at the rear anyway.


  4. I'm a few years late reading this, but it was very interesting to see your set up on your DT-03 and has given me a ideas. I 100% agree with the back end being heavy and how unpredictable it can be to drive.

  5. Write English please

  6. I have used the stock CVA's but I replaced the stock one piece rod and plunger. I ordered rods and eclips and used the one hole plunger that was in the kit. I replaced the black o-rings with the red ones and filled it with stock Tamiya yellow oil. I installed ball joints for the dampers front and rear to get rid of the slop. The rear shocks are long enough for full droop and I used the longest spacer on the damper rod and placed the bottom spring retainer on top of it. it gives a clean look and perfectly sets the rear height. for the front dampers I screwed on the longest eylet meant for the rear dampers (you will need spares to do this) and this increased the droop in the front. If you don't have longer rear eylets as spares you can use the innermost mounting hole. I used a tto2b screw spacer from a tto2b and installed it on the brass bushing for the lower shock mount to get rid of the slop. This is the best you are going to get without purchasing new dampers. you will still have the two and three hole plungers from the kit to tune. lastly if the spring rates aren't what you want you can get the dt03 spring kit that has soft and hard springs (Dt03 comes with medium springs)

  7. the tt02b screw spacer above is the spacer for the screw on the top shock mounts of a tt02b. replacing the black o rings in the damper with red helps reduce rod sticking. i think i am going to try the blue x orings as I heard they are even better.



Home item

Support this site

Featured post

Tamiya Suspension Mount Ultimate setting Guide and charts

The Tamiya suspension mounts are a powerful tuning option to help you refine the way in which your car will handle on the track. Th...

Search This Blog

Like us on Facebook!

Popular Posts


Random Posts

Article Archive

Other things