Back from the grave.. Can I save this Tamiya TB Evo IV?

This year I decided that no new 'Projects' would be appearing until I finished some of the ongoing ones I’ve been working on over th...

This year I decided that no new 'Projects' would be appearing until I finished some of the ongoing ones I’ve been working on over the last few years (FF04, TRF415 LP etc).

However, this new years resolution didn't last long.. 😜
This is in part to me breaking another 2024 goal.. Spotting a bottle of wine hanging around in the fridge after the festive period, I embarked on an evening that would see me failing Dry January in spectacular fashion.

With the first bottle 'breaking the seal', I found myself travelling to meet up with friends in a taxi. Instead of questioning my lack of willpower, I spent the journey browsing online and stumbled on this very sad looking carcass of a TB Evo IV.. 

As the self appointed gatekeeper of the TRF sanctuary, I felt I had a responsibility to stop this race bred Tamiya ending up in the bin, or even worse, restored and stuck on a shelf!! The urge to revive this once glorious race car, and let it experience the joy of hitting the track again, was eating away at my resolve..

As I had already failed one of my new year goals, I agonised whether to break the other. No more projects I kept telling myself.. I mulled it over for a while (About 5 minutes until the Cab was pulling up to it's destination), I senr the offer, exited the Taxi and quickly hunted down the next chilled bottle of New Zealand’s finest Marlborough.

The next day I awoke with a fuzzy head, a sense of self loathing, and a notification from eBay that my offer had been accepted. Oh well.. there is always next year.

The parcel arrived quickly and it took a closer look at the heap I had purchased.

It was bad, what was left of the drivetrain had ceased up. The bearings had all rusted, the one in the motor mount was actually destroyed, which proved very difficult to remove.

One thing that I did discover is that the chassis is actually a Tamiya TB Evolution IV MS. The easy way to spot this is that the lower bulkheads are all in one piece as opposed to separate halves. 

Now began the arduous task of disassembling the chassis. The whole car had been bathed in thread lock.. Arghh!!!

It took some time, however I had removed all but two screws. One in the lower front bulkhead, the other in a suspension block.

I heated up the screw in the suspension block. I knew that if I removed the block I could at least try to rotate the remaining lower bulkhead to give me purchase on the stubborn screw that was embedded firmly in. Unfortunately the heat trick didn't work. So I just dremeled the suspension block in half (I have loads of them).  This allowed me to rotate it a bit to break the thread lock and remove the block. Importantly I could now try to free the screw in the the rare lower bulkhead. I gently twisted it on the chassis and I could feel the screw moving. The bulkhead was saved. A small victory..

Now it was time to clean all of the parts. Most were chucked into the jewellery cleaner with lashings of fairy liquid and boiling water from the kettle. They took a couple of cycles but came up nice and clean.

Under the grime I was not going to discover a diamond in the rough though. As you can see from the photos most of the parts are very scratched. This chassis has definitely seen some action.

On close inspection of the cleaned parts, I noticed one of the lower bulkheads had a snapped screw in it. 

To remove it I drilled in with a 1.5mm drill bit to make a hole, then jammed in an old hex driver and twisted it out.. result!

The bevel gear is worn, but still usable.
I just wanted get the drive train assembled so see if anything was bent.

The spur gear mount had been filed.. no idea what the logic was for that move. In the end I used an additional 1060 bearing and some 0.1mm shims to take out the slop.

All of the existing screws have been thrown in the bin and replaced with new ones that I keep from my TRF builds (I always use Moodyfools titanium screws on my race cars), the Tamiya screws are just put into a screw box for spares, and used for rebuilds etc.

The bearings were replaced with spares from when I bought sets from RcBearings.co.uk and now I have at least the essence of a race car.

Here is is, all cleaned up. The drivetrain feels free.. I need to rebuild the diff, but it actually doesn't feel too bad.

As  you can see there is not quite a full chassis there. 

Now comes the question.. what should I do with it? 

I am not interested in restoring it to a minty fresh example.. it's a race car.. I just want to get it back on the track.

So I've decided on a few rules..
  • I'm going to keep new expenditure to a £50 budget.. I don't want to basically buy everything new and rebuild the car. I want to keep the essence of this car and to make creative solutions to get it back on track.
  • I'm going to delve into my TRF scrapyard. I have decades of TRF parts that are part used and kept as back-ups for race cars. Old suspension arms that have been replaced with newer designs etc.
  • Finally, I'm going to take it to a couple of clubs and actually race it..

So I could mix and match, make a evolved version of an Evo. I can 3D print parts if needed as well. Do I even need to make it 4WD? I could possibly make it FWD? 

Lots to decide.. what would you do?
Tbevo 8343591827418417383

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