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Old 05-31-2006, 12:53 PM   #1
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The FT TC4 Dilemma

I've been out of the game for almost of a year due to a local track closing. Before I went dormant, the FT TC4 had just be revealed and Craig had won the 05 Reedy Race with it. According to reviews, it's upset win of the race, and the overall design and idea, this car looked like a winner. Now, crossing my fingers for a new track, I see the FT TC4 has been abandoned by many racers including now former AE drivers for the belt cars. Even more suprising, the heads at AE are jumping ship with the FT design and have a new belt car in production!

What is going on? What seemed to fail with the FT TC4? Is this just car of the week and people now think belts are cooler than shafts or was the initial FT TC4 hype just that - hype? Then why could Craig win the Reedy race in 05 against Tamiya, Hotbodies, and Xray - the biggest names in belts?? I realize driving is done by the driver and luck does come into play but I can't believe how many people are digusted by the FT.

In a world of confusion here.....thanks
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Old 05-31-2006, 01:03 PM   #2
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From experiance running the FT TC4 vs the other cars I have ran is that the belt cars are overall easier to drive smoothly and consistantly. Not that shaft cars don't run fast but I have found that it is just easier to drive a belt car. I think also with the new batts and motors making everything faster it is really showing more and more that the belt car is easier to drive fast and smoothly.
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Old 05-31-2006, 01:56 PM   #3
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Great question...

there has NEVER been anything really "wrong" with the shaft car... just that it sets up and drives differently than a belt car...

look at this past weekend...

2 FT TC4's were fast enough to contend for an A main spot in the heated spec class... Stellflue/Heiser...

3 FT TC4's made the A-main in Open Mod finishing 3rd (Thielke)/4th(Torikka)/9th(Andersson)...

2 FT TC4's with A-main speed in the Open Mod B(Lee/Skidmore)...

The FT TC4's didnt look any "worse" or slower going around the track this past weekend than any other car on the market.
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Old 05-31-2006, 02:07 PM   #4
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I agree...there's nothing "wrong" with the FT TC4. I think the reason most people hated the TC4 in general was it wasn't a TC3. You couldn't set it up like a TC3 it was a different car and I think that frustrated some people.

I do agree that belts make the car feel smoother. I'm looking forward to AE's next touring car for this reason. However, I'm not going to sell my FT TC4 just yet.

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Old 05-31-2006, 02:50 PM   #5
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IMO.

Next to Xray (any Xray) the FT TC4 isn't very well built. But top of the line Tamiya touring car isn't built much better than TC4, which is kind of shocking considering the prices. It's nothing that can't be fixed, but why should you have to take brand new car and "fix" it? The TC4 is fine chassis, just not as well designed as the TC3 was.
I still believe that the drive shaft is superior to belt drive, and the basic layout, batteries on one side and the electronics on the other, that was pioneered with TC3 and kept on in TC4 is the standard in almost all new touring cars today.

The reason for lack of results is because there are nearly no top drivers driving for Associated anymore. I don't remember them signing any big name worth mentioning since Mike Reedy quit. They've lost most of their best drivers. Barry Baker, to name one, is still there from the old days, but he isn't in top form these days.
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Old 05-31-2006, 02:58 PM   #6
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Honestly, going through the FT TC4 I can't say that I would call it "not well built".

Saying the TC3 chassis was great isn't really accurate. To properly build a TC3 people would have to mill the center spine to move the batteries to the center.

The only items that needed hand fitting were the steering knuckles which were somewhat tight. The hinge pins also should have been the polished versions. I simply polished the ones that came with the kit.

I would really like to see what needs to be fixed on the FT TC4? Anyone have a specific list of what is wrong?

I've owned every version of the XRay (except the T2) and the FT TC4 wasn't really any worse than the FK05.

Really I think AdrianM said it best (speaking about 1/12th scale cars but I think it transferes well to TC's), "Pick something you think looks cool and run it."
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Old 05-31-2006, 03:50 PM   #7
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The Tc3 was winning races up until the very end. Sure, battery slots got milled, some guys ran Losi rear hubs, or a certain driveline part was a " had to have" item, etc. If Associated just felt like selling a car that had all the mods done to it, improved some of the QC stuff, had a better motor mount, and allowed you to move the hinge pin mounts for roll center in a similar manner to say the Pro4, they could have kept selling the car for a while. Perhaps if they made it so you could easily use the nitro rack as well..

They seemed to want a car that did better on asphalt..why I don't know. It seemed plenty fast there. They had total domination of the carpet racing market, especially in stock motor. I remember plenty of people trying other cars, only to return to AE. So they removed a lot of the ribbing in the chassis, which seemed to be a mistake. The suspension parts also had less stiffness. Also the arm geometry was different if I remember correctly.

Changing from a suspension geometry and level of chassis stiffness that was so successful to my mind was the mistake. The only flaws of the TC3 car were some of the QC issues, and adjustability in "new" areas, like hinge pin height. Sure, the battery slot placement was a problem, but only because we went from 2000s to 3300s.

If you look at what Craig did at the Reedy, that was an asphalt race. I remember talking to one fast stock racer at Cleveland who was kicking himself for leaving his TC3 at home the year the TC4 came out. He could not get the car up to speed. Now he drives an Xray, like all the others who switched, that is unless they drive a Corally . The point of all this is not to be down on Associated, because they did an unreal job on the TC3. The car was basically designed in 96-97, and took a long time to debut finally in 99. It lasted until around 2004. Last year at Vegas, Jim Herrmann laid it down in stock in the first round with the baddest TC3 I have ever seen. Upon all the Xrays, Corallys, Tc4s, etc...the car was a tremendous design to stay competetive for all those years. I think that if the car works that well, you don't stray far. Xray became dominant because they stayed with the general layout and kept improving it, once they really hit with the FOC and FK cars. Associated could have made "maintaince" type changes, and stayed on or close to the top.

That's all behind us now anyway. The new car is 100% new from the internet pictures, and I'm sure they will do awesome. The preliminary results from the reedy look great, and I know they have some good people over there (Hi Bob )
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Old 05-31-2006, 06:23 PM   #8
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There is absolutely nothing wrong with the FT TC4. Once setup properly it drives just as well as my Xray T2. Out of the box, the T2 recommended asphalt setup worked out to be much better for my particular driving style, but I believe most racers (that write off the car) are too lazy to fully appreciate the nuances of making suspension/geometry changes to find a setup that works for them. I personally had a difficult time setting up the TC4 but after consulting various setup sheets I found a configuration that suited my driving.

The car may take more patience and a longer learning curve but it is still a capable performer. I just wish associated would follow xray's lead and make a better manual. There is no doubt that xray put in the extra hours to make their kit a polished and well presented package.

If you have your heart set on a FT TC4 then I say go for it.
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Old 05-31-2006, 06:39 PM   #9
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I went from a BMI TC4 to the MI2EC. My reason for switching was that the TC4 was harder to turn fast laps consistantly. After I got rid of mine and was waiting for my EC I ran my buddy's tub TC4 and was faster than I was the week before with my BMI. Outside, My BMI car was insanely fast. I loved it...but guess what. I switched to the EC and I'm faster. It's all about driving styles. I will say that the quality of AE is a far cry from the Euro cars.
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Old 05-31-2006, 07:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dr_hfuhuhurr
Honestly, going through the FT TC4 I can't say that I would call it "not well built".

Saying the TC3 chassis was great isn't really accurate. To properly build a TC3 people would have to mill the center spine to move the batteries to the center.

The only items that needed hand fitting were the steering knuckles which were somewhat tight. The hinge pins also should have been the polished versions. I simply polished the ones that came with the kit.

I would really like to see what needs to be fixed on the FT TC4? Anyone have a specific list of what is wrong?

I've owned every version of the XRay (except the T2) and the FT TC4 wasn't really any worse than the FK05.

Really I think AdrianM said it best (speaking about 1/12th scale cars but I think it transferes well to TC's), "Pick something you think looks cool and run it."
In TC3 you didn't "have to" mill the center spine to build the car. It was something that lot of people did because batteries have become somewhat heavier over last 5-10 years.

I thought I'd said it but I didn't. The number one fault in my TC4 is slop. I could move the rear wheels more than 4mm back and forth, and change caster in front at least 5° with my fingers, without using force. My X-Ray 05 is much stiffer and better manufactured, it has less than 1mm and less than 2° respectively. Even the Trinity T-Spec has less slop than the TC4.

I've owned the original X-Ray, Raycer and FK05, also TC3 and TC4 among other makes.

I'd have loved to see TC3.5 with same chassis, with narrower center spine, rear shock tower in front and other mods that the team drivers routinely did to their cars. But that is history. I look forward to the TC5 belt drive car.
I just hope it's not as shameless copy of the Tamiya layout as the X-Ray T2.
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Old 05-31-2006, 07:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robk
The Tc3 was winning races up until the very end. Sure, battery slots got milled, some guys ran Losi rear hubs, or a certain driveline part was a " had to have" item, etc. If Associated just felt like selling a car that had all the mods done to it, improved some of the QC stuff, had a better motor mount, and allowed you to move the hinge pin mounts for roll center in a similar manner to say the Pro4, they could have kept selling the car for a while. Perhaps if they made it so you could easily use the nitro rack as well..

They seemed to want a car that did better on asphalt..why I don't know. It seemed plenty fast there. They had total domination of the carpet racing market, especially in stock motor. I remember plenty of people trying other cars, only to return to AE. So they removed a lot of the ribbing in the chassis, which seemed to be a mistake. The suspension parts also had less stiffness. Also the arm geometry was different if I remember correctly.

Changing from a suspension geometry and level of chassis stiffness that was so successful to my mind was the mistake. The only flaws of the TC3 car were some of the QC issues, and adjustability in "new" areas, like hinge pin height. Sure, the battery slot placement was a problem, but only because we went from 2000s to 3300s.

If you look at what Craig did at the Reedy, that was an asphalt race. I remember talking to one fast stock racer at Cleveland who was kicking himself for leaving his TC3 at home the year the TC4 came out. He could not get the car up to speed. Now he drives an Xray, like all the others who switched, that is unless they drive a Corally . The point of all this is not to be down on Associated, because they did an unreal job on the TC3. The car was basically designed in 96-97, and took a long time to debut finally in 99. It lasted until around 2004. Last year at Vegas, Jim Herrmann laid it down in stock in the first round with the baddest TC3 I have ever seen. Upon all the Xrays, Corallys, Tc4s, etc...the car was a tremendous design to stay competetive for all those years. I think that if the car works that well, you don't stray far. Xray became dominant because they stayed with the general layout and kept improving it, once they really hit with the FOC and FK cars. Associated could have made "maintaince" type changes, and stayed on or close to the top.

That's all behind us now anyway. The new car is 100% new from the internet pictures, and I'm sure they will do awesome. The preliminary results from the reedy look great, and I know they have some good people over there (Hi Bob )

Rob has made some great points, and from the way he is talking i am sure he will be inline right in front of me to get this car when it comes out. There is no need to rush this baby out, i just got a T2 and rob an rdx. Take your time and make it perfect. Leaving us a little time to actually drive the cars we have recently bought.
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Old 05-31-2006, 07:56 PM   #12
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Slop has been a problem with AE cars in the past. They have gotten better. The transmission cases used to need to be blueprinted to run smooth. We did all sorts of crazy things to get a TC3 ready back in the day. It's gotten much better though. My FT TC4 requries no shims anywhere and I am very particular about slop in my car.

XRay, Corally and maybe Schumacher (I've never onwned one of those) may have a slight advantage in the quality dept but AE has one thing that not one of those cars has...parts on the shelves in the local shops.

I agree, it's about driving style and setup. Of course driver talent comes in no where here...it's all about the hardware

I'm looking forward to the AE's new belt car as well. It will have one thing that none of the other current belt cars will have (except maybe the JRXS), parts on the shelf at the local shops here. That counts for a lot.
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Old 05-31-2006, 09:35 PM   #13
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i'm sure all will be fixed when the tc5 is released, just hope its not to late
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Old 06-27-2006, 06:51 AM   #14
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I just hope AE does not discontinue the TC4 FT! Tamiya, Kyosho and Yokomo have both shaft and belt cars, AE could do the same.
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Old 06-27-2006, 10:06 AM   #15
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I home they get rid of the camber link ballstud/kingpin, that is really a dumb design....
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