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Old 01-05-2018, 09:41 PM   #1
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Default Tacon Ranger

For about a year now, a co-worker and I have been kicking around the idea of doing some after hours budget friendly racing. A few weeks ago I came across the Ranger mini rally, and decided to give it a shot.



Reasonable priced, a decent size, and according to the internets, fairly tough. Since the budget was the deciding factor when it comes to getting others on board, I chose the cheaper brushed version. My goal was to keep it under $200 all in, which includes the RTR car, a couple of batteries, a charger, street tires, and maybe some spare parts. Cheap and easy enough for a noob to jump in to.

The goal was met easily enough, and right after New Years I had a new toy to play with.

I honestly have never bought anything this cheap that was this good. Yeah, it's mostly flexy composite plastic, but that isn't always a bad thing. These things are going to take a beating until all the new drivers learn how to drive, so being a bit squishy will be an advantage.

It's greatest downfall is the stock body. They are horribly fragile. I damn near tore the nose off the first night I got it after hitting a bit of gravel. Even the slightest bump into something creates a new or larger crack. Buying the replacement polycarbonate version is absolutely mandatory.

My service manager decided he was going to pick one up as well, and decided on the brushless version. Quite a bit better and faster rig for the extra $50 over the brushed, but is a handful on the slick concrete floor that we'll be racing on. The slower brushed motor may be the way to go.

Speaking of slick concrete, mine got away from me tonight and it ended up parked inside of a pallet.



I've got a few mods in mind for the future, and I'll be laying tape and paint on the new body in the morning. Updates to follow...
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Old 01-07-2018, 09:30 AM   #2
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It's been at least 2-3 years since I've painted anything, so naturally the tape was crap and the paint wasn't much better. Spray bomb ftw. I'll zazz it up later with some decals.



The rally comes with no bumper on the rear, and with a few inches of air between the diff and body, it's just asking for trouble. I picked up a front bumper assembly with the intent to mod it to fit, but lo and behold, it was literally a bolt on affair. All that it required was some longer bolts through the shock tower and the removal of a spacer between the chassis and diff case.

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Old 01-07-2018, 12:01 PM   #3
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The Tacon minis are awesome. I have the Soar buggy. It's one tough SOB. They are a great example of sometimes inexpensive Chinese products are not junk.

I should convert mine to on road. These small scale RCs are way too small for off road bashing except on perfect, rock-free dirt which is rare here. I know the Rally has a longer chassis than the buggy.

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Old 01-07-2018, 12:44 PM   #4
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I had a Mini8 Rally that was a fun culdesac racer, but it was going to need a ton of $$$ to stiffen it up to my liking, so I sold it. These Tacon's are basically what the Mini8's should have been, and for less dough, and as far as I could find, most mini8 hopups fit them. If the mini bug bites me again, these Tacons are near the top of the list.
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Old 01-07-2018, 01:32 PM   #5
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The Tacon minis are awesome. I have the Soar buggy. It's one tough SOB. They are a great example of sometimes inexpensive Chinese products are not junk.
I think that's why it took so long for me to settle on a car. There are tons of cheap Chinese rigs out there, this was the first that I came across that didn't appear to fall apart out of the box and require $100 in hop ups to be usable.

A few years ago I had a pair of the Traxxas mini rallys, they were a blast and nearly indestructible. They also hold their value a bit too well to be a reasonable option for what I wanted to do.

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I should convert mine to on road. These small scale RCs are way too small for off road bashing except on perfect, rock-free dirt which is rare here. I know the Rally has a longer chassis than the buggy.
Yeah, leaving the pavement with small scale is more barely controlled crash than actual driving unless you have a prepped track, and I quickly kill the offroad idea as soon as it's brought up. That's way more time and effort than I want to invest. The whole idea here is relatively cheap and easy racing.
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Old 01-16-2018, 06:31 AM   #6
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What do you all think of parts support and shipping time?
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Old 01-16-2018, 06:52 AM   #7
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What do you all think of parts support and shipping time?
See the two links below. Two different sites, but they are the same company. I've ordered lots of things from them over the years and shipping is about a week from what I remember - surely no more than 2 weeks. It ships from California.

HobbyPartz.com - Lowest Price for Arduino/RC Hobby Parts, Digital Servos, Brushless Motors, ESC, LiPo Batteries/Chargers for RC Helicopters, RC Planes, RC Cars, Robots, RC Toys, 3D Printers
https://www.nitrorcx.com
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Old 01-16-2018, 07:38 AM   #8
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Parts support seems to be fair. There are some aluminum upgrades available, and many or most of the parts will swap across at least one other platform.

You can also find parts at any LC Racing dealer.
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Old 01-22-2018, 05:43 PM   #9
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Spent some time screwing off with this thing and having fun. They sealed the concrete in the shop so now the traction is quite a bit better, and the 4500kv motors aren't so ridiculous. They're still faster than I'd like, but at least you can get them to hook up.

I swapped in a 3600-ish kv motor and it seemed just about right. Lots of things to iron out yet, so time will tell.

A couple of weeks ago they were having a sale on the brushless version, so now there are two. It's quite a bit nicer machine, and still a great deal. I'll race the good one and use the cheapy as a rental.



The bodies are still crap btw.



New official paint job for the race rig. The green one will go on the rental.




I was having a horrible tire rubbing issue, and initially thought it was the offset of the new wheels. Eventually I figured out that the rear bumper was spreading the body out enough to pull the sides in and narrow up the car. A few passes with a hobby knife to shave off some foam seems to have cured it.

Hopefully I'll get a couple of opportunities to do some testing/tuning this week. Most of Saturday was spent tweaking the suspension, and it'll be interesting to see if I remember everything that I seem to have forgotten about doing that stuff.
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Old 01-23-2018, 05:34 AM   #10
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Default Re: Tacon Ranger

That concrete floor looks perfect for some rc running. Those bodies sure do look brittle,look like a fun little car and the new paint job looks great.
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Old 01-23-2018, 06:53 AM   #11
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Wow that body looks like it was in a real car wreck! Are there no alternative rally bodies? The Vaterra Kemora rally (and whatever it was called afterwards) might fit.

I love your new paint scheme with the yellow wheels. Sweet!
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Old 01-23-2018, 04:50 PM   #12
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That concrete floor looks perfect for some rc running. Those bodies sure do look brittle,look like a fun little car and the new paint job looks great.
Yeah, that floor is nice. A bit too nice for what it's there for, but it's awesome for racing.

The bodies are made from paper thin ABS, and are like egg shells. Out of the three that we've ordered, two were broken when we opened the box. It was expected, so it's kinda fun to see them get torn up.

Quote:
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Wow that body looks like it was in a real car wreck! Are there no alternative rally bodies? The Vaterra Kemora rally (and whatever it was called afterwards) might fit.

I love your new paint scheme with the yellow wheels. Sweet!
There are a couple of bodies that fit if you do the rally conversion from a buggy or sc truck, but none that fit the factory rally wheelbase. It's in between other similar cars and touring cars.

I like the paint too. Most of my paint is 3-4 years old, so what I wanted and what would actually come out of the cans were two different things. It worked though. This was the inspiration...

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Old 04-14-2018, 09:47 PM   #13
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So it's been a few months and these are still going strong. We're running races twice a week and the driver pool is slowly growing. Since I'm the only one with any real race experience I can still outpace everyone, but it's not nearly as easy as it used to be, which makes for more fun for everyone.

No real issues to report, other than a dead servo in one car and some fluke electrical issue that fried the stock esc in another, including the replacement that was installed the same night. I suspect something conductive found its way into the rx and blew the becs out. A good dusting with compressed air and an external bec got it back in the game.

The shop floor is proving to be tricky to keep consistent. Every Thursday I stop work an hour early to clear, sweep, hose down, and squeegee my bays clean (I've got the cleanest bays in the shop, so the boss doesn't care ). Fridays just get a good sweep. Sometimes there's decent grip, sometimes there isn't. Either way you can chew the fawk out of a set of tires if you drive too hard. I'm getting about 18 packs (roughly 9 hours of drive time) per set before I wear them through. That sounds pretty reasonable now that I've said it...

Concerning track setup - we've tried a few different things. First it was some plastic cones from the dollar store, which worked great until you hit one, which seemed to cause a domino effect. The noise and the ensuing laughter would break everyones concentration and pretty soon it was chaos and cones flying everywhere. Taping them down resulted in broken cones and more laughter. Lately we've been using yellow masking tape stolen from the body shop to lay out a rough outline, and it's been really successful. We're still racing on the honor system, and not taking things too seriously yet, so cut corners happen. If they get cut too bad we just slow our pace for a few seconds to compensate. It's really nice not to have to stop and reset every few minutes, and it's really nice to be able to leave a track laid out for a day or even a week or two if we really like it.
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Old 04-14-2018, 09:48 PM   #14
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Oh, I nearly forgot. The latest Ranger purchased came with a poly body and not the crappy abs.
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Old 04-16-2018, 12:58 AM   #15
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Not sure what prices your tires are costing you, but I found a brand that has a handful of different design touring car tires, all for $9.99 for 4 tires and free shipping...

https://www.amazon.com/4PCS-High-Gri..._36%3A500-1000

https://www.amazon.com/4PCS-Black-Ru..._36%3A500-1000

https://www.amazon.com/Racing-Rubber..._36%3A500-1000

https://www.amazon.com/Performance-R...70_&dpSrc=srch
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Old 04-16-2018, 07:41 AM   #16
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Nitrorcx sells similar/same as those, and are what we've been using. Only real difference is that theirs come with wheels. Price is the same too.

I think I'm going to try my hand at making some foam tires...
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Old 05-11-2018, 06:01 AM   #17
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Guys, it looks like most of the M-Chassis "mini 10th scale" bodies will fit. Here is a great site from the UK with some nice options: www.m-racing.co.uk - Home Of M-Chassis Model Racing
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Old 05-11-2018, 07:12 AM   #18
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You sure about that? I didn't see any that fit.
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Old 05-11-2018, 09:24 AM   #19
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When you google 225mm bodies, there are a few m-chassis bodies that come up. May take some personal contact with these supplies to make sure, but since the Ranger is a 1/12 scale, I can see the connection between it and a "mini 1/10th" size.
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Old 05-11-2018, 11:29 AM   #20
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Everything I saw had the wrong wheelbase or track width...
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