TL-01B chassis specific weaknesses
With more experience and after many runs, I can make a more detailed review on this model. In addition to the above drawbacks which needed some early modifications, there is another one that is even worse. The chassis suffers a serious weakness in the front arms: these are not maintained by an axle but only from the front bar, as shown on pictures below.
On the on-road version of this chassis (the TL-01), the problem does not exist because the arms (front and rear) are shorter, which greatly lowers the efforts on arm support. On the off-road version (TL-01B), the problem arises because of the track itself that stresses wheels thus arms. Not counting jump and poor landings.
Because of the front chassis design, it is not possible to strengthen it: at least, I can't see how. The elusive shape of the chassis, the movement the arms must have and the direction tie rods all make it impossible to modify this section of the chassis. Nor is it possible to strengthen the gearbox by fixing a reinforcement plate fitted below the chassis because the screw would perforate the gearbox, hit the gears and block them. Not to mention a reinforcement plate would reduce the ground clearance and would hit the ground hard with the risk of destroying the whole font gearbox. Widening the front bumper would also be useless as it can't fully protect the wheels thus can't reduce the efforts on the arms.
The consequence of this weakness are cracks on the underside of the front gearbox as above photos show. Repeated efforts cause the cracks and gears are not protected anymore against dust and pebbles that just rush into it. The only solution is to completely change the two part chassis frame... and to be careful for the next runs.
On the above two first photos, you can see the servo head which is not protected at all. When I saw this, I immediately tapped the hole: big mistake. All the pebbles then accumulate under the servo head and block it. Well, that was just meant to be. So I recommend you leave this opening: all the pebbles will enter there, but they can escape easily and avoid the servo block. Well, they will escape this section of the chassis: many pebbles will go further into the chassis frame. Ironically, if there are weight rules in competition, I hope cars weighing occurs after the race: you can cheat at start up with a light weight buggy and be certain to match the minimum weight at race finish thanks to everything the chassis swept .
Last drawback for this model, not very important compared to the previous one: the rims attachment to the rear arms. The inner rim diameter is very close to the upright axle. When running, especially in corners, pebbles can easily enter inside the rims. Nothing unusual if they can escape the same way. But space is limited, so they tend to remain inside the rims and slow down the wheel rotation or even completely block the wheels. You can easily notice when this occurs: the buggy can't go straight and may even keep cornering. Again, no solution for this one either.
Adapting the TL-01 on-road chassis to the off-road TL-01B is not fully successful. Pros are a very good chassis balance you can notice especially when jumping, excellent cornering and the chassis ability to support powerful motors. Con is the front arm fixation weakness. The rear upright axle being to close to the inner rim diameter is just a detail in comparison.
To conclude on a positive note, the pleasure of driving this model is still very important thanks to its great handling. Well if you don't like to vacuum, just run the Baja King and you're done .
The Baja King is very impressive. Driving is totally different from the Blackfoot Xtreme. Much faster, it has a much better handling and its better general balance makes it a great jumper: great!
Last update 13/08/2010
It's now the Baja King that leaves my collection after the Grasshopper II and the Lunch Box. For the same reasons, it is now heading at Vintage-RC forum member collection. It was the second model in my collection, one I had pleasure to drive very often while falling back into the RC hobby, but I needed room for new models about to come in. So this page will no longer be updated anymore.