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Thread: FAQ: TLT-1 to TLT-Crawler ***NEWBIES READ!!!***

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Old 12-29-2004, 06:58 PM   #1
I wanna be Dave
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Arrow FAQ: TLT-1 to TLT-Crawler ***NEWBIES READ!!!***

This is a TLT FAQ, I will update it periodically, giving part numbers and links when I find them as well as adding pertinent tricks and parts as they become available. Please use this as a basis for understanding the truck and modifying it, but remember, some searching around will have to be done by you. This FAQ does not cover custom chassis design or suspension geometry, this is simply a basic overview to begin you on your way....

TLT..... Wow, this thing has so much potential, so let's get started.

With a stock TLT chassis/gearbox, you can run the 4tec/street sport diff (available at tower here: http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXJG16&P=7)(this mod requires a little fabrication, mainly locking the diff, shimming it to center it, and creating spacers inside the bearings to accept the new yokes). This will keep the stock belt drive, or vertigo performance has just released a locker for the TLT (not in stock yet). When all is said and done, they come out about the same price, and they accept sliders as well. From there you can attach some tmaxx links, 96mm and 108mm (tower links: http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...&I=LXSP04&P=ML and http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...&I=LXDDW0&P=ML), you'll need two sets of each. That'll get your wheelbase out in the 11.5" range. You don't have to buy links though. If you're crafty, you can make your own.

For the axles, first ditch the bumpers, they ruin your approach angle, and take away from under axle clearance. Then move the steering links above the steering arms. Next move the upper links to the back of the axle, and the lower links to the top to remove clutter under the axle. You will need to buy some longer screws and do some shaving or some shimming. I didn't have a dremel at the time, so I shimmed. Please note that doing this mod will extend out your wheelbase and you will have to run the 96mm link on the bottom and the 108mm link on top):

Any HPI rear wheels, Traxxas F/R stampede wheels, Kyosho 2.2" wheels will fit, pretty much, if it has the standard 12mm hex in the back. For 2.2" tires, the tallest ones out there are the Proline Masher 2k's, Imex Swamp Dawgs, Imex Pullers, and the traxxas stampede tires. Most run the swamp dawgs because they are uber soft and provide stellar traction. You can run maxx wheels, and while I don't have it confirmed, it has been mentioned that Maxx adapters for the Wild Dagger will fit on the TLT yokes. Please understand that larger tires create larger amounts of stress/strain on driveline components and raise your overall gear ratio.

Now, having said you can slap a new diff in for the belt drive, let me say this. To do so is in the $30-ish range. That's what you'd also pay for a pede tranny. And after running the belt drive for a while, I can tell you I like the pede tranny alot more. Under extreme conditions, its hard to keep the belt from popping off the pulleys. So in my mind, the cost to go to a pede tranny is well worth it. But the pede tranny is not a drop in unit, but if you are going to run a custom chassis or bruiser chassis, you can rig something up to get the tranny to fit.

Here's a no brainer, but locking the diffs is a good thing. If its going to be a crawler only, lock them with your preferred method right away when building it. Either JB Weld, Quicksteel (I prefer this since it sets up in 15 minutes and fully cures in an hour), or glue from a hot glue gun,. Its not hard to get the axle cases apart, but it does take a bit of time, which I'd rather be driving then wrenching. Pics of the locking process coming.

Here's why you don't run Silly putty. This picture was taken after only two driving sessions:
Now the diff is nice and cleaned up, residue is all removed and I have tools and Quicksteel ready to go:
Here a ring of quicksteel is placed around one of the main gears, ready to accept the spider gears. Make sure you don't place any near the hole in the center of the gear, this can cause problems when you insert the drive axles:
The diff is now reassembled. Make sure that both drive axles fit in all the way.
Make sure that the entire assembly drive axles/diff fit into the axle casing and that it can rotate without binding. If the drive axles do not fit together all the way make sure that nothing got into the tiny female end of one of the drive axles. Even a small amount inside there can mean that the drive axle with the male pin will not go in all the way. If you did get something in there, quickly take a drill bit and spin it in the hole and clear out any material in there:

Shocks, the TLT shocks are kind of junk. They work alright with the cantilever setup, but for whatever reason when you mount them where they need to flex a little, the motion is inconsistent, sometimes jerky. Plus, there are only like two springs available, and the second one is at a home depot, and I haven't yet found it. Upgrade to a maxx size shock. There are tons of them out there, and tons of spring rates. You can go overkill and mount a shock that is longer than 4" but have fun trying to make everything work without rubbing. It also might kill the scale look. I've found most TLT's do well with 4" shocks, but maybe savage shocks and pushing the envelope is your thing, don't let me squash your creativity.

One thing I did was I took off all the traxxas ball ends (the plastic pieces) and attached the stock tamiya ones in their place, then I placed the traxxas metal balls into the cups. They are alot free'er in their rotation, I think it adds a bit of slop, but for how smooth the truck's suspension is, I'll take the slop.

Motors, or first off, ESC's. Get reverse. I don't care what you say, you will need reverse at one point in time or another. Sometimes you'll just approach something wrongly and you'll have to back out, or if you have 2WS (two wheel steering) you just can't turn that tightly, so you'll probably have to reverse atleast once to get through a tight turn. I drove without reverse for a while, and its no fun having to pick up your truck everytime you can't get through an obstacle going forward when you could've simply reversed and changed the line slightly to get past it. So get a reversing ESC. Now, motors. I am using a Great Planes T600 ferrite motor. Plenty of torque and it stays cool. Its also a 550 size can, so its a bit longer than 540 motors (think of an emaxx motor). Another popular motor is the integy lathe motor. This is a 540 size motor and has insane amounts of torque and low RPM's. If you need to gear even lower, you can get a GD600 (look it up on tower). The is a gear reduction, but it also changes the direction of rotation, so you'll need to flip the tranny around. There is also some shaft or pinion modification necessary to run these. I say, run the truck as is and then get a GD600 if you find your truck doesn't have the torque it needs.

And speaking of gearing. Get the largest spur you can and the smallest pinion you can. This creates a low, torquey gearing. If you need more wheelspin, get a larger pinon, but only by about 2 teeth, experiment.

How about articulation? Articulation is how much flex is in the suspension. It used to be the top stuff, people would articulate an axle so that one was upside down and the other was planted. Not a good idea. If your suspension flexes too much, you can twist your truck up in a rock hole and never drive it out of there. About 60-75* of max articulation is all that is necessary. Link mounted shocks give tons of flex, but remember, they also make the shocks feel softer because the moment arm is longer and therefore more torque is exerted on the shock (thats a basic idea of levers and work).

Instead of trying to get tons of flex, try to get your CG (center of gravity) down low. This helps prevent roll overs and keeps your truck stable. To do this, figure out ways to keep the motor and battery down low. These two components are the heaviest pieces in your chassis, and its up to you to be creative and deal with them.

Here's a question I've seen before, "what kind of body is a good crawler body?"

And here's my answer: ANY BODY! Now, granted a mitsubishi eclipse just doesn't look right with huge monster tires under it, but just get a body you think will look good or that you like. Make sure your wheelbase is the same as the body's wheelbase (wheelbase is a measure from the center of one axle to the center of the other). Once you get the body, you will probably have to do some height adjustment and some fender trimming so your tires don't rub. Some people don't like to trim lines on bodies that aren't there, personally I think its just another way to make your truck unique and your own.

Now one last tip that comes from the Dirkmeister, BB's. Some people put weights in the tires of their crawlers, there is a range of options, and BB's are one of them. By placing a weight of BB's in a set of tires (front or rear) you can create stability and traction. Because the weight is not on the chassis, its not going to make the truck roll any quicker than before. Because there is more weight on the tires though, they press into the ground more and you get more traction. This also helps with climbing, and keeping your truck planted to the ground. I suggest you do equal amounts of weight in the fronts and an equal set of weight in the rears, but the front doesn't have to be the same as the rear, but you don't really want a really heavy left tire and light right tire, it doesn't make sense. Play around with different weights in there until you get your truck hooked on the rocks. Now, it might be hard to get the BB's in once you get them glued to your wheels, so either slit a hole in the tire and place the BB's in there, then reseal it with some IC-2000 super glue (the black rubberized super glue, they should have a generic version at your LHS), or figure some other way to open a hole between the tire/wheel to slip them in and out. Remember, the weights in the tires should be able to move around freely, so that they always roll to the bottom of the tires. Its also added weight on the driveline, so available power may go down.

Crawling is an art of balance. You have to figure out what to maximize and what to minimize and create a truck that while not perfect, has a nice balance to it so that you can take on many varied obstacles.

I hope this helps you with your TLT crawling endeavors.

Last edited by Plays_with_Toys; 05-06-2007 at 12:55 PM.
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Old 12-29-2004, 07:44 PM   #2
I wanna be Dave
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Default Re: FAQ: TLT-1 to TLT-Crawler ***NEWBIES READ!!!***

Got yer back dude ;) Thanks for the FAQ!!!

To all the other TLT guys, PLEASE feel free to post tech. Non tech will be deleted from this thread.
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Old 12-30-2004, 03:21 PM   #3
Join Date: May 2004
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Default Re: FAQ: TLT-1 to TLT-Crawler ***NEWBIES READ!!!***

Let's see if can add someting. I deal a lot with this place for springs on stuff I do here at work


TLT springs are 0.432 OD, and 2" long, wire diameter .032"

SPEC springs stocks 0.42" OD and 2" lengths in load ranges from
6.1 lb/in 0.038" wire
8.1 lb/in 0.042" wire (which may or may not fit)

In small quantities (under 50) springs usually run about $5 a piece. If there is an interest, I could do a group buy.
I'll see about measuring the stock TLT spring force, see what options there are, and update this post.

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Old 12-30-2004, 03:25 PM   #4
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Default Re: FAQ: TLT-1 to TLT-Crawler ***NEWBIES READ!!!***


alright this mod will allow you to run traxxas sliders on a stock center diff. WARNING= only for those with experience with the tools listed below. if you slip up you WILL ruin your center diff. If you doubt you have the skill to pull off something like this then DONT TRY.

*A drill press would do the best job but a hand drill and a steady hand will work to
*drill bits you need a 17/64 and a 1/16 bit
*a dremel does the best job just something like a hacksaw will work
*a set of traxxas sliders. LINK


First off you need to take apart your center diff. If you have already locked it dont worry you can still do this it will just be more difficult.
Once you have it apart take the output yokes and clamp them in the vice with the yoke facing STRAIGHT up. Now you need to take the 17/64th bit and drill down into the yoke. GO SLOW.
Repeat that to the other output yoke.

Now you need to take the yoke and put it on its side in the vice and drill through it with the 1/16th. The hole you make needs to be close to the edge but not so close that i makes it weak.

Now incase you havent picked up on it yet you are basically making a traxxas slider out of the output yoke. From here on it gets a little difficult to describe but i think the pictures will help you understand.

what you need to do is cut the yoke so it looks like the end of a slider shaft. After you have that done you can take the middle piece of the traxxas slider (the little metal cross/ball thing) and grind down two of the little stubbs coming off of it. DONT GRIND THEM ALL THE WAY DOWN just take about half of it off. This will make it easier to wedge inbetween the two sides of the output yoke. Like in the picture.

Now before you start this next step slip the bearings back on. If you dont now there is a chance you may never get them back on.

Now take some pliers and slightly bend the two parts that are left on the output yoke. Just slightly

Then wedge the cutdown parts of the ball/cross thing in and squeese the parts back together. After you do that you should have whats in the picture.
Edit by Griz

Thats for the edit Also i got a request for a link to the output yokes for the tranny so people can use them for their axles. Im putting links to both the metal and plastic versions but the metal ones arent really necessary and at $20 they aint cheap either


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Old 01-24-2005, 07:24 PM   #5
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Traxxas stampede/rustler/bandit transmission part numbers and price from tower, all you need are the screws to hold it together
LXJF82 Traxxas Top Drive Gear Stampede

1 4.29
LXJJ19 Traxxas Main Differential Gear w/Plate

1 2.89
LXJJ20 Traxxas Planet Gear Shafts (4)

1 5.79
LXJJ94 Traxxas Aluminum 30T Idler Gear

1 10.99
LXD121 DuraTrax Bearing 5x11mm (2)

2 2.99

Last edited by Plays_with_Toys; 01-24-2005 at 11:50 PM.
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Old 01-25-2005, 09:07 AM   #6
Join Date: May 2004
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Default Uber cheap drive shaft stretch

I figured out a UBER cheap way to streatch your TLT Dog bone drive shafts :grin: In this pic you can see the roll pin with the dog bone cut in 1/2 and pressed into it. I lengthened the drive shafts about 1" for now.


IIRC it's a 3/16" by 2" long spring roll pin. The drive shaft is a VERY tight fit into the roll pin.

The Dog Bone is made from a very hard material, I doubt you could cut it with a hack saw (but feel free to try :grin: ) I used a cut off wheel. I also shortened the roll pin about 1/8" so it wont touch the drive cups.

The shaft is VERY tight inside the roll pin so it's tough to get it started. I used a grinder to make the dog bone shaft a bit "pointy" , and used a punch to open up the roll pin a little. Once it's started in there, I used a hammer to pound it in. Be Careful, if you make the shafts to short, it will be a HUGE pain to try and pull them apart a little.

EDIT 3/14/05
Got my 55T Lathe motor in WHOOT! It's quite a bit slower now, and the batteries are lasting at lease 10 min longer. Im using 6 cell AA packs.
The roll pin drive shafts are holding up just fine. Even with several Forward to reverse wheelies/flips. I ran 6 packs thru it this weekend, and not a lick of trouble [knock on wood].

Edit: 8/1/05
The roll pins are still hanging in there, I need to glue the tires now


PTW, and thank you for your tips

Last edited by Thommy2Tone; 08-01-2005 at 12:19 PM. Reason: Lathe motor RESULTS
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Old 01-25-2005, 06:24 PM   #7
I wanna be Dave
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Thommy, please edit your post later on when you have more experience with that setup, it'd be nice to have an update after you have more runs on the truck, and thanks for the tip.

Sykox is responsible for this list of parts needed to make the TLT axles. While it proves its just cheaper to buy the kit (and you get tons of nifty screws and doodads for other projects), it also gives you part numbers for anything you might break. Thanks Sykox!

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Old 02-01-2005, 05:21 PM   #8
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Default Pede Tranny

I noticed someone hunting pede tranny parts so I did another one.

OK, I enjoyed doing the TLT axle layout so much that I decided to do the pede tranny too. I put it here because it seems to be the most common upgrade for the TLT-1 to date. Once again the results are not cheap but not nearly as bad as the axles.


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Old 02-11-2005, 07:18 AM   #9
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As an add on to sykox's post most traxxas vehicles share parts. Like the nitro ruster, nitro sport, ruslter, bandit, stampede, spirt, and i think the 4tecs all share some parts. So if you already have a traxxas vehicle just go the their webside ( www.traxxas.com ) and print out their exploaded views and find all the parts your car and the stampede rear end have in common. Or if you have a bandit or ruster then you already have the same transmission that the stampede has.

I did this with my old nitro sport and saved myself a good $30 on parts
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Old 02-16-2005, 06:54 AM   #10
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Default Here is a easy way to widen your TLT

I found out from another board how to widen your TLT. Most people have used the TC01 rear shafts, but you can use the Super Blackfoot shaft from Tower to widen the wheel base a half inch. That is the widest that you can get without buy $40 wideners from InetRC.com
You can buy them her for $7+/pair....

I just ordered 4 sets for both of my TLT's. The one thing you will have to do is ad any type of spacer because of the extra length between the pin in the shaft and the spindle.
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Old 03-30-2005, 01:35 PM   #11
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Default pede tranny note

After a Pede tranny in a stock chassis conversion, I'd have to say check clearences. I moved my upper link mounts on the chassis out to clear the spur gear. I didn't have enough room and it contacted the gear. Ended up moving the upper link to the same hole as the lower link which I moved to the very bottum of the chassis. This is with stock link mounting on the axle.
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Old 04-05-2005, 06:06 AM   #12
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Hi, long time browser/reader/lurker, first time posting.
Just wanted to mention that the image links in the forst posts does not work. Tried both FireFox and IE. I can see some of the thumbnails but not the fullscale pics, which I need to stretch my TLT-1 :P

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Old 04-25-2005, 01:13 PM   #13
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PWT--- well since im a "newbie" at the small scale stuff and have a TLT sitting in front of me finally, i decided to do some research on them. BUT, your links aint working anymore bro I can't search when links are broke
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Old 04-25-2005, 01:27 PM   #14
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I'll get the pics fixed tonight. They aren't on my computer so I have to track down the pictures (imageshack doesn't have them anymore either )
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Old 05-05-2005, 12:25 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Treo
Just wanted to mention that the image links in the forst posts does not work. Tried both FireFox and IE. I can see some of the thumbnails but not the fullscale pics, which I need to stretch my TLT-1 :P


If you can get to the thumbnailed pics just delete the .th from the address and it will give you the full pic, not sure about the ones for locking the gears
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Old 05-05-2005, 11:10 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by BADNBADN
How about a "how to" on locking the pede tranny. I know there is one on here somewhere I just cant find it!!!!
I found away to lock a pede tranny. Did not want to go to the wal-mart and 1 am so i just heated up the gears with my solder gun and filled the diff with solder. Only ran it for about 15 minutes but it seems to work great.
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Old 05-16-2005, 06:11 PM   #17
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Just adding a recent find. I've bent a few stock TLT tie rods. So I sleeved one in 3/16 aluminum tube. Then bent it. I sleeved one in 1/4" aluminuim tube, then bent it. So I had an extra REVO push rod and Wall Lah. It fits perfectly and I doubt I'll ever bend it.
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Old 06-23-2005, 04:27 PM   #18
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Just something to add to this....
I also changed the centre diff to accomodate traxas sliders...

I used the output yokes tho...

To do this, I simply drilled a 3mm hole right through both sides of the stock ball cup, drilled the output yoke to the size of the ball cup so that it could slide over.... and then bolted it on !.

I did this for the axle cups too . and it worked pretty well and never broke or anything.

You do need to have a steady drill hand if you dont have a bench drill and vice etc.

Ill try get some old pics i have lying around up and let you all see!!!
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Old 06-24-2005, 12:16 AM   #19
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I hope you guys find this usefull.

I used photoshop to line up all the axles and make them all the same size so its pretty accurate.
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Old 07-01-2005, 03:38 PM   #20
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I saw these links in another thread on another site and thought they needed to be posted here
built a TLT-10
Traxxas Long Truck Half Shafts H&BE
Traxxas Yokes Countersink Grub Screw BE
2X http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bi...p?&I=LXJJ77&P=Z
Traxxas Turnbuckles Front 108mm T-Maxx 2.5 (2)
2X http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bi...p?&I=LXDDW0&P=7
Traxxas Turnbuckles Rear 118mm T-Maxx 2.5 (2)
2X http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bi...?&I=LXDDY3&P=ML
Ofna Wheel 2.2" Truck Chrome RTR (2) or any long offset wheel
Hot Bodies Threaded Shocks Blue T-Maxx (2)
2X http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bi...p?&I=LXANU1&P=0
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