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58669 Tamiya M08 Build Tips Review


One of the coolest car kits of the year is undoubtedly the Tamiya M08. The M02 was one of the most fun to drive chassis of the nineties, even Marc Rheinard was addicted to driving it. Marc ran hundreds of laps in these cars around his dad’s racetrack in Andernach. The mid engine rear drive chassis probably helped him to hone his skills and made him the great R/C car racer he has become.

The M04 and M06 cars never captured the magic of the M02. They were not a good match for their FWD counter parts on the racetrack. I was hopeful that the M08 would recapture the magic, and when I saw the first cad pictures and then held the M08 prototype I instantly felt that the magic had returned. This chassis has all the makings of being a hit and putting rwd racing back on the map.


The M08 is based upon the M07. If you have ever run an M07, you will know it’s the best Tamiya M chassis car to date. Because of its similarities, many M07 hop ups can also be used on the M08.

For this build I used some of the following hop-ups

42291 - M Chassis Big bore dampers

54888 - M08 titanium screw set (mainly because this uses hex screws instead of the Philips screws in the kit)

54760 - M07 rear suspension mount

54757 - M07 stabilizer set (More speed around corners)

54791 - M07 carbon bumper support... erm for bling ;)

I also used two packs of (53851) 46mm titanium coated suspension shafts for the smoothest possible suspension movement. I would also have liked to add aluminium ball ends and the aluminium steering, but I didn’t get them in time.

Starting the build

The first things I noticed is that the chassis comes in two halves.
Rear section on the right, front section on the left.
This is a quite clever idea from the Tamiya engineers and allows for an easily adjustable wheelbase. Please also take a look how narrow the rear section of the rear chassis is. This is probably done to allow a lot of rear flex and to give the car more rear end grip.

The chassis is able to be built in the 3 classic M-Chassis wheelbases. 210, 225 and 239mm.

To begin with you build the rear of the chassis. One thing that is very important with an R/C car and perhaps even more with a rear driven car is a free moving suspension.

I therefore reamed the arms to allow the arms to drop under their own weight. Building the car with the M07 rear suspension mount and 46mm titanium coated suspension shafts also helps the suspension to move freely. If you look closely, you can see that the rear suspension has droop screws which will come in handy to fine-tune the chassis.

There is a table in the M08 manual to show how much toe-in you get per shim
The rear toe-in is adjusted by adding or removing the shims each side on the rear suspension mounts. This is a great solution to change the rear toe-in without having to change suspension blocks.

With the kit settings and shims

  • 0 shims = 2.6 degrees
  • 1 shims = 3.2 degrees
  • 2 shims = 3.8 degrees

For the moment 2 shims are installed per side, which gives a total of 3.8 degrees of toe in. This should provide the car with a very stable rear end.

The rear transmission case builds like a dream. The M08 is a race spec kit so comes with bearings throughout.

I put some blue 1Up grease on the gears to make them run a bit smoother. I always use this stuff on my gears, shocks and diffs and it works perfectly!

When installing the hex screws you can fully tighten them and then go back 1/8 turn. This will free up the rear transmission. By doing so on the rest of the car, you will get a tweak-free ride as well!

Next up is the diff. To be honest, I was a bit afraid to build this small diff. From my experience with high level touring cars, I know that building a perfect diff is a hassle.

I put 1Up blue grease on the O rings and gasket and assembled the diff dry. I made sure that all the bevel gears were perfectly round and had no superficial plastic parts hanging around. When I put the bevel gears in, I was really amazed. This was the smoothest running diff I have ever built. I assume the special white plastic of the bevel gears helps a lot. As you might know, Tamiya is a specialist when it comes to plastic model kits. Their knowledge and experience with plastics really paid off in this diff.

I filled the diff with 3000K Tornado oil and finished the rear of the M08. Note that I wrongly installed the 5mm ball end cups at the back of the car in this photo! They are used for the camber links and should be positioned higher.


Next up were the rear axles. I know many companies inform you to add a black (graphite or anti wear) grease on the universals. I never do this. I use some drops of 1Up red axle oil. This gives me the smoothest operating universals.

The universals use a spring to hold in the pins. As you can see you need to move the spring into the ridge seen in the top universal so it clicks in as seen in the lower one.

I almost got a heart attack when I put the axles and bearings in the rear hubs. The ball bearings protruded from the hubs. After checking the manual, I noticed it was normal, so no worries here ☺

Just add the final rear plastics and the rear of the chassis is finished.

Giving it a twist you can feel that it is already quite stiff thanks to the strengthening bars that also ensure that the body posts will not wobble.

With the rear finished, it is time to move onto the front half of the chassis.

As with the rear arms, you add a 3mm grub screw to the front arm with which you can change the droop. I also reamed the front arms and they dropped down under their own weight.

Like the rear hubs, the fronts also have protruding ball bearings, I wont pretend to understand the design theory with this.

When inserting the front hub carrier into the C hubs, you will need to insert 3mm shims. With these shims, the front suspension is relatively slop free.

With the front suspension assembled, you can see that you can easily change the front toe, camber and also the bump steer. With all of these adjustments, you will be able to dial in all the steering you need!

Close enough to 10mm
The M08 comes with the Tamiya CVA oils shocks in the box, however I have used the Tamiya M chassis big bore dampers for my build. TRF shocks are so smooth, and also allow you to make small adjustments to the ride height with the threaded shock bodies. This extra investment will give me the confidence that the suspension will work perfectly. When setting up, I used a 10mm damper rod length on all 4 shocks.

With both chassis halves assembled, you can see how cleverly the designers at Tamiya have allowed the driver to choose the three different wheelbases to suit their driving style. As a quick reference
Longer: More stability less cornering.
Shorter: More cornering less stable.


The motor mount comes with an opening where you can check the gear mesh and motor pinion that is currently used. Once aligned you can fit a cover. The gearing allows you to go from a 17t pinion (6.795 fdr) up to a 24t pinion (4.813 fdr).

The two halves are attached with 10 screws. So it will not take that long to adjust the wheelbase. It is important that you do not over-tighten these screws as it may cause the chassis to tweak.

Final thoughts

I am impressed by the quality of this neat little kit. The rear driven mid motor car smacks of that classic Tamiya magic. You can tell that it is focused for racing. Its clever design allows for easy toe, camber and wheelbase changes so you can easily dialed the chassis to work on your local track.

The build is nice and easy thanks to the detailed manual, and the quality of the plastics is superb. I would have liked the kit to have come with hex screws as that is my preference. However this kit does have a good level of specification for the low price and the quality of all of the components is top notch.

Importantly for me I think this chassis can help can help revitalize club racing alongside the M07. Imagine a field of M08 and M07's fighting it out on a Friday night. It's going to be incredible fun.  Now let's hope Tamiya will release some cool bodies like the BMW 1M, BMW 2002 Ti, Fiat 124, Lotus Elise or Exige.

Now the big question is which chassis is quicker... M08 or M07? I cannot wait to find out :)

Article David Joos
tamiya 4820074260638945572

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  1. Need a mid motor body like a Mclaren F1, Ford GT, Toyota Spyder (MR2), Corvette C8....etc...

    ReplyDelete

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