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wtcc 10-31-2017 12:25 PM

wtcc's FF project
I am starting this thread as a kind of diary for my FF03 conversion and because the direction this project is heading, I find it disrespectful to continue to fill the "Tamiya FF03 Thread" with the progress of this conversion. I hope all FF-enthusiasts will enjoy and participate in discussions :)

With the first posts, I will recap what already happened and how it all started:





Well now this was the start. My first FF car. I really wanted to buy the Williams Renault Clio, but there was no chance to get one in march 2017. So I went for the Civic. A very beautiful car from Tamiya. Unfortunately only the normal FF03 version. I wanted the pro badly, but again had no luck in getting one. Tuning parts relieved the pain :smile:
In this early stage already, I couldn't resist to optimize the chassis and electronic layout. The bumper didn't fit unter the Civic hood...

Later I had to add something every Civic driver is proud of: Nice exhaust tips :lol:


A good friend made an awesome video of the car and how it performed at this stage:

wtcc 10-31-2017 01:10 PM

On the video the car looks blistering fast. I for myself felt that there was too much weight in front. I couldn't attack the corners like I wanted to.

Not sure what happened then :D

Some day I found myself checking the net for tuning chassis and found some from 3racing and Yeah racing. The way these where designed, showed that you could replace the tub chassis with a carbon plate... This was too much for my brain to resist the challenge. Soon I was sitting in front of my laptop measuring, drawing, creating, checking other FF chassis. I built mock up chassis from plastic sheets, searched and ordered parts. This was the 3D-result:


Virtual drawings are nice, but you need a pro to make actual parts from this. So who is topping the time sheets in his class at nearly every ETS event and drives his own chassis on his Tamiya cars... yes, Christian Donath was my man of choice. Lucky as I am, I know him personally from many training days in south Germany. I contacted him and he was super nice. Around one week later I had all parts in the mail. The quality is still impressing. This is what I could hold in my hands after an troublefree assembly:



"I went for lay down shocks, because I am just a big fan of it. Also it works pretty smooth with ball bearings and decent shimming in the rocker arms. The rocker arms and shock ends are attached to the top deck with counter sunk screws to have a low topdeck and to give the battery the opportunity to slide in sideways. As mentioned above the topdeck in the rear is attached to the chassis by Exotek F1 servo mounts. This is a low price, lightweight and for me practical solution as I had them laying around from my F1R2. So the topdeck is a multifunctional part including rocker-, shockposition and defining the camber links. I use a 1/12 sized 2s shorty lipo so my topdeck is just 19mm above the chassis plate. This would create arkward angles for the rear camber links. By using Tamiya 9805974 TB-02R posts I raised the ballstud position and strengthened the construction with a small carbon bridge connecting the ballstuds. Taking advantage of what is given harware wise, I used the upper open thread of the rocker nuts to attach the rear body posts (pan car style). Optional: The upside thread of the rear-rear-suspension block (1XD) is used for the active rear suspension style toe link ballstud. This way I could avoid buying Tamiya suspension blocks while having the advantage of a free toe adjustment. Depending on the rear arms used it is maybe necessary to drill holes for the rockerarm link and/or anti-roll-bar-mount.
These are all "secrets" in the rear. A lot of text, but mostly plug and play in the end."




"The layout of the lower chassis plate allows for two motor positions: The "traditional" motor position and the front middle motor position (as shown here). If you go for the "traditional" position the standard steering layout can be used. The front shocks will have a lay down position.
The front middle motor layout does not have enough space for that. The shocks are in an standing position and attached to the aluminum motor plate and the motor mount on the left side via small carbon parts. The front end of the topdeck has three holes to attach it to the M1-part (51422 M-parts from your FF03). This part has to be optimized to make space. In the end I used the outer two hole for attachment only. Also this part has to be shimmed out correctly for a straight attachment to the lower chassis as the bumper now doesn't fill the space in between (see FF03 manual)."




The additonal parts needed:
1x Xray 306200-K - T4 2015 Alu Servo Mount - BLACK (2)
1x Xray servo saver #372503
1x Exotek 1495 F1 servo horn plate
2x Exotek 1397 F1R2 Servo mounts (used as rear bulkheads)
1x Tamiya 9805974 TB-02R posts 10.5mm
1x Tamiya 51457 TA-06 N-parts (rocker arm)
These parts plus my chassis parts will be enough to make a full conversion. Plus a lot of M3 shims.

In this conversion process the suspension parts were changed to Xray parts which I had laying around as spare for my daily T4'17.

"Now a mod for the hardcore racer (optional): After first installing the gearbox on the prototype (flat) chassis I discovered that the motor hovered nearly 3mm above the chassis Not sure why Tamiya constructed it this way, but I couldn't let this happen. The easiest way to reduce the height is to precisely cut away the lower tabs of the gearbox. And that is what I did. If you do it take your time and check that the cut is straight and/or file away the last half millimeter to make it perfect. You can do it without being a pro just take time and check several times. The carbon chassis already features a large enough cut out for the lower differential housing."



The position change of the motor was not as easy as it looks. Because I turned around the whole gearbox, the motor rotation needed to be changed. This was not as easy as thought. I quote what I wrote in the FF03-Thread:

"Ok, now there is one thing, which nearly killed this project for me. And I thought I could not come up with a solution. But looking at this problem now, it wasn`t a problem at all and even gave me a deeper understanding about sensored brushless motors. What am I blabbering about ( ) is that with the front-middle-motor-configuration we turned the motor around 180°. So it turns in the wrong direction. For unsensored and brushed motors this is not a problem. Just switch plus and minus cables or A & C. But a sensored motor will not turn with just changing cable position or the esc will even tell you there is a problem and do nothing. There are three steps to make a sensored brushless motor of any make switch its rotating direction:
1. Switch cable position A & C on the motor side
2. Switch sensor cable pin position: pin #2 with pin #4 on the motor side. Don't be afraid here. Just count the wires from left to right. If you did it wrong nothing will happen. Then bring it back in the original order and just count from the other side and voilá it works! Just don't change the most outter pins: pin #1 with pin #6 that is plus and minus
Here is an overview:
Pin#1 - ground potential (minus)
Pin#2 - sensor phase C
Pin#3 - sensor phase B
Pin#4 - sensor phase A
Pin#5 - motor temperature sensing
Pin#6 - sensors feeding +5.0V"

"Phew, I had a hard time finding, adjusting and installing the timing and timing insert. It was also my first time to disassemble a brushlessmotor completly. My impression from last time was that the timing was zero or even negative. The motor got hot without delivering good output.
To change that I had to add circular movement for the timing insert. Therefore I grind away the material from the endbell (the bases that connect inner and outer bell). The endbell had to come off to do it right. Then I reassembled everything just to realize it won't move more than before It took around fifteen minutes before I discovered little plates sticking out beneath of the windings which prevent the insert from turning into my wanted position. So I had to do it all over again. Fortunately these plates were made of plastic and not iron. Now the motor turns faster and stronger. The insert has a position 90* in rotation direction in comparison to the original position. Which is something I do not understand as the theory suggests an anti rotation direction... My theory would have been to turn the insert 60* clockwise to get the wanted 30* of timing for the changed rotation, but this and other positions just do not work. The motor does not turn or sounds terrible or turns in the wrong direction if the timing insert is in any other than the above mentioned position... So that is why it took so long (three evenings)."

So this was quite a learning curve :blush: Now the motor runs smooth and strong!

JoeyE 10-31-2017 01:24 PM

WOW, very nice~!

aracefan 10-31-2017 01:31 PM

In the FF03 thread or it's own thread - still mountains of awesome here!!

Read it again and still dig it. :tire:

bertrandsv87 10-31-2017 02:28 PM

The rear shock pivots might need to be angled a bit, but the car does look good....

wtcc 10-31-2017 02:54 PM

Thanks guys :smile:

@bertrandsv87: Yeah... the angle is a bit odd. Luckily it does not harm the performance and so doesn't justify a new topdeck design.

walrusjon 11-01-2017 12:34 AM

Very nice and good job wtcc, I want to have one ff like it 👍😙

wtcc 11-01-2017 04:03 AM

My offer to send the files to everyone who wants to build his FF03 like this is still up. So just PM me with your Emailadress ;)

I continue with the FF-story:

Here some close up pictures of the servo mount.



I had to think about how to implement the anti roll bars. Space was limited, especially in front. In the end I desinged a mount on top of the servo for the front and used the suspension mount in the rear:
"In the planning stage it was quite frustrating. There are so many things to check and think about to prevent collision with other parts. I found a good space and it worked with the angles of the anti-roll-bar-wire. It was inevitable to build another small carbon plate as base for the K-part. In fact I had two ideas on my mind for this base and decided for the more easy to dremel one (yes all small carbon parts are handmade). Unfortunately everything assembled was one millimeter to high and collided with the servo arm I had no choice but to build the base from my second idea which is also a replacement for the servo mount plate."


"Building carbon parts by hand is always a little gamble as it is not easy at all to precisely drill the holes. But I was lucky here and hit the marks well. While I was wearing all protection gear I copied two Tamiya tuning parts that replace the upper bumper brace. That mod really looks good :) "


"The angle front to rear (of the rear anti roll bar) could be more horizontal, but there is not enough space and I couldn't build shorter links. Nevertheless it works good and the suspension lift is equal side to side. I can be seen lucky, because I thought the upper arb holder were K-parts. They were not, it is J-5. What saved this mod were the rockerarms from the TA06. These N-parts came with two arb holder which fit fine with only a little material removal."


Right now I drive the car without anti roll bars. I wasn't convinced that the use brought any advantage... The car didn't feel better and wasn't faster. Maybe I should go for softer springs :confused:

wtcc 11-01-2017 04:10 AM

Time to hit the track! Here now my collected experiences I made indoor and outdoor with this chassis.

First test indoor on a medium grip (ETS) carpet:

"I am back from prototype testing
It was good! Even with the slower Volante (old version) tires and 17.5t motor (instead of Sorex 28 and 10.5t) I could match my fastest laptimes. I am very happy. The chassis has tons of steering and a much better corner entry. A lot of understeer also vanished in long fast corners. There the car pulls itself around the corner under full throttle. Very nice! The front now seems to have the right amount of load. I drove with 16lb/in springs all around, something I do with 4wd chassis and it worked perfectly. The car stays flat in the corner even without anti-roll-bars (I am going to install them next week). Also the nasty grip roll vanished.
I am very happy that this conversion works so nice. I had no problem all day, not even a loose screw (this must be the feeling Gordon Murray had after the first F1 race 1988) :lol: "

Second test on the same track:

"The day started slow. I had 50000cst in the front diff and it was not good. The car was not agile and had no pull out of the corner.
During the day I switched to the 10.5t motor and tried different settings with the roll bars.
The front arb made the car stay flatter and better from corner middle and out of the corner. Unfortunately the corner entry suffered so much, that the laptimes dropped around 1 tenth. In the end I stayed with a 1.3 wire in the rear. It took a little roll out of the car without harming or bettering the laptime. What made the car a real threat for the 4wd chassis today was the 500000cst front diff oil. The car was an agile beast from there on. The front was in charge and pulled awesome through every corner. Traction for 4wd is still better, but the flowing less tight corners were my territory. Also a tight chicane was impressive fast to drive. I could pull out one meter in the last corner on to the straight. That was enough not to be catched until the corners started again."



"Today I could close the gap to the fastest 4wd from 1 second down to 5 tenth. Unfortunately there is still an 11 in front. There are still two things that cost time:
1. I need a spool. 500000 is good, but not good enough,
2. the motor performance. The 13.5t 4wd always took at least one meter or more away on the straight. The motor seems to lack of performance while still becoming hot. Around 75*C after 5 minutes, before the conversion it came at 45*C with the same gearing of course. I need to check the timing again. Maybe I put the insert in a wrong position or with too much timing... These things corrected should be worth 2-3 tenth.
--> I mentioned and solved this problem in the above posts already ;)

Other than that I am extremely happy with the car. The traction and cornering of a fwd is impressive, in some cases superior to 4wd (at least at my skill level). Overall 4wd will be always faster, but 2wd kicks a** :lol: "

"I just came back from my first outdoor training with my FF-03 conversion...
Still not sure what I did right, but this thing just flys. It is a little twitchy on the rear. Apart from that corner speed is sick. Then again into and out of the corner it is a bomb. Easy to drive and then it pulls itself around and out of a corner... I trained with two ETS-regulars and had no problem to keep up with them. Ok I cheated by having the stronger motor which made up for the lower traction on acceleration on the straight, but cornerspeed was partly better. Then I pulled out my T4'17 and thought that I could drive these guys away. No chance. We had the same speed. So this FF is insane. Difficult in the corner middle, but awesome everywhere else. I am extremely happy."

wtcc 11-01-2017 05:07 AM

Most things I posted about this car until now in this thread, happened in the first half of the year 2017. My interests then shifted a little to 1:1 scale cars. With my friends I visited the Nuerburgring Nordschleife several times. In between we upgraded our cars. My Skoda Fabia RS Mk2 got some performance parts: downpipe, intercooler, aspiration box , air filter, brake air guide plates, etc. Then in august I also renovated the terrace. :rolleyes:
So the car was a little forgotten... When the hobby came back into my focus again, the T4'18 just came out and I upgraded my "old" T4'17 in my own style --> no part from the T4#18 was purchased :lol: As can be seen here: http://www.rctech.net/forum/electric...sion-more.html

To be honest, Nerobro was the guy who woke me up. He posted some facts about his lightweight FF-03 (which I partly misunderstood :lol: ). I had to pull out my car again and check my numbers:


So lighter is better and more beautiful: "I invested in blue (aluminium) gold from Hiro Seiko and black (rubber) gold from Sorex to reduce the RTR weight from 1080g to 1040g."

Chassis weight with mostly steel screws...


... and with all but five aluminium screws:


wtcc 11-01-2017 05:23 AM

The car was in my focus again. My eyes were insulted by the front shock mounts. These were much to high:

"This time the shocks were my focus. I want to try some setup options of my T4. The 2.5-2.8 springs really work nice indoors, so I put them on the TRF dampers. Within the limit of the possible arm uptravel I reduced the height of the upper shock mount. I also cut away a 1.5mm slice of the lower shocklid. This way the shock body is much lower and the suspension still functions flawless.
In this process the front body mounts moved from the motorplate and the carbon brace to the bumper mounts."



"From old TC6 capsules I build new spacer for the front upper shockmounts. Now these are only 0.5mm away from the spur. Resulting in a much more inclined shock angle. This should make the car much smoother into the corner and carry better middle corner speed. If I want more upright damperangles I can control it with shims."


Another indoor trackday:


"Back from serious setup work.
The car ran great. With some little changes it was fast and consistent. I could drive most laps within a tenth. The nervous rear is also cured. The M410 body suits the chassis very well. As soon as the ULT-version is available I'll go for that. The regular weight is too heavy and doesn't allow to take the curbs. I also need to bring the track width up. Compared to my T4 it is still several millimeters too narrow.

Shortly before I wanted to try a spool in front, the gear case started to make (not) funny noises and then its inner parts died... 10.5t seems to be a little too much."


First mechanical failure:


"To my surprise except for the idler gear the transmission is undamaged. The idler gear therefore lost several teeth and half of the remaining teeth are terriby worn.
My search for a strong successor was pretty interesting. Tamiya offers two versions. A white one for the normal FF03 and a black one for the R and Evo versions."




"Mine was the weak version from the normal FF03. I ordered the stronger one (part number 54262) and now hope that this problem won't occur again.

I also ordered the Techra suspension mounts to widen the track width and to have more freedom with the rollcenter adjustment."

We are back in the presence. I am waiting for the ordered (spare) parts. The T4'17 also waits for parts :(


wtcc 11-01-2017 05:42 AM

With this mechanical failure I took a closer look at the gearbox. The way it is designed is ok for the regular FF03, but for my chassis and gearing I would like to have a lower unit. So I played with the involved gears and see a chance to leave the idler gear out. Again the space is tight in all directions and part collisions are avoided by tenth of millimeters. The advantages are a lower and more compact gearbox:



The bulkheads implement mounts for a real shocktower and for the camber links. The materialvolume is designed a little beefier. Except for the motormount and the connectionbrace on the opposite side, I want to print the bulkheads and hope it will be stiff enough.

30Tooth 11-01-2017 07:37 AM


wtcc 11-01-2017 01:47 PM

Last update for today :lol:
Made a stupid mistake by accidently deleting the CAD-file yesterday evening. I rebuild it today and it even got better (I hope :sweat: ).
It is four printed parts and four parts will be milled freehand by myself...



Oh! And one huge advantage I forgot to mention is, that there is no need to switch the turning direction of the motor by leaving out the idler gear ;)

G-rem 11-01-2017 03:38 PM

Super nice project Kevin!!! :)

How will you manage the milling freehand? Any tips or technique?


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