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54965 Tamiya TT02 Type-S Aluminum Steering set (Long tie rod) review

The TT02 Type-S (And SR), is a much more race worthy chassis than the base model. It upgrades the standard TT02 in many ways, fundamentally due to its TRF suspension system. Now with the release of the 54965 TT02 Type-S Aluminium suspension set there is another upgrade that will help push it towards being even more race worthy. So let's take a closer look.

In the packet you get everything you need to replace the kit parts with the new kit system. One thing to note is that most of the screws are all hex head instead of the standard cross head (JIS) screws that come with most TT02 Kits other than the TT02 Type SR kit. So you would need a 2mm hex driver to assemble it all (Or a 2mm allen key) 

The arms are attached to the main steering bridge with flat head screws. The kit includes a small pair of shims to attach under the screws and once tightened up there is no slop on the arms and as the bridge contains bearings it all moves silky smooth.

Ball connectors are next. As you can see they are much closer to the centre of the steering bridge than the standard TT02 steering set-up.

Next up are the turnbuckles. The package includes two 38mm ones for the steering arms and one 42mm turnbuckle for the servo link. Also included are the excellent Tamiya open faced adjusters (Ball cups to the rest of the world). 

The kit turnbuckles are steel, so will be very resilient to bending if you are hitting kerbs. I however swapped them out with the 54250 3x42mm Aluminium Turnbuckles. These are much lighter and they also give me the blue that I crave! Also as a note the 42mm length is fine for all three turnbuckles, and you still have enough movement to adjust the toe-in / out at the front to any standard settings.

The new adjusters are a tight squeeze but as long as you insert them with the small circle on the side that you are attaching them to the balls you will hear a satisfying click and you will end up with a smooth moving joint that has very little movement. 

The kit includes steering posts, and 23mm screws and bolts.

You mount the posts by screwing from underneath the chassis and mounting the posts on top. I am glad to see Tamiya are using this method to attach the steering this way. As unless steering posts have a hex shaped bottom (Like the modern TRF cars), they can be a pain to remove. 

The steering assembly slides over the posts, and is secured with some Tamiya slim lock nuts.  Resulting in no vertical movement on the arms, ensuring a competition level feel with the smooth, slop free movement. 

The uprights now have a ball nut and 2x3mm spacers to accommodate for the new steering set-up. The TT02 TypeS already has 3mm on each side, and the steering set has the additional parts that are needed. 

What is the difference?

It is good to have a quick look at the two types of hop-up steering for the TT02.

The Tamiya 54752 TT02 steering upgrade parts replace the standard plastic parts with more precision and strength. These parts have the same geometry as the standard kit. Here you can see that the steering arms are quite short, they do match the length of the short TT02 arms. Also the servo link is short and , and the steering bridge is at the back.

The new steering is very different. The steering bridge is at the front of the arms and the steering links are much longer. Also the servo link is not attached to the left arm, this is mainly to compensate for the bridge being at the front. 

Ackermann tuning. 

Another benefit from the new steering system is that you can add shims behind the balls to move them more forward.

Adding 0.5mm or 1mm makes the Ackermann steering angle change. This will make the steering links angle further back, resulting in a smoother less aggressive steering characteristic. This is great for larger sweeping tracks, or to compensate for tyres with a drastic slip angle. In reality all corners have a slightly different ideal Ackermann angle, so you always want to find the best compromise. 

Track test.

I was interested in seeing how the new steering geometry would change the way the car feels. It doesn't take long to see how this change has improved the overall feel of the car. 

When approaching a hairpin corner you soon realise that you can brake a little later as the car feels more steady coming into the corner. This gives you more confidence that you will be able to control direction of the car all the way towards the apex. 

On medium speed corners you just feel that you can be a little more refined all the way around, there is more correlation between my movement on the transmitter and the way that the chassis responds. This gave me more confidence to make more adjustments around these corners, especially when trying to change the line in a corner to get the run on a rival by adopting a different approach to the next corner. 

This extra fidelity in the steering does not make the chassis feel numb. It just has smoothed out the whole feel. 

Overall.

This is a great upgrade from the stock steering on the TT02 TypeS / SR. It makes the steering feel of the chassis feel much more competition level than the standard steering. Although I want to be clear that it is not a total transformation, but it provides you with a more nuanced feel of the chassis as it runs into corners. 


The added ability to add some shims to tune the Ackermann also provides a level of steering tuning to the humble TT02, and pushes it further forward on the track. 

If you are looking to upgrade your steering, and you have a TT02-TypeS or TT02-Type SR this should be on your hop-up list. It is a noticeable upgrade from the stock steering.

I wonder if this will fit on a standard TT02? I might have to try it out. 
TT02S 792624925838904988

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