We finally got the truck assembled, painted, and detailed so what’s left to do? Beat on it! We’ve been eagerly awaiting our chance to take the Tamiya Land Cruiser 40 out and see how she compares to the various other crawlers on the market, most notably our Axial Scorpion. How will she fare? What will break? Only way to find out is to read Part 3 of Project FJ40. After the jump we’ve got the full scoop on what we thought of the CR01 and a bunch of pictures from the trail. Go check it out.
Part 3: Testing
Like we said in Part 1, we weren’t sure what to expect when it came to the CR-01′s suspension. Turns out we were right to be a little skeptical. Compared to the Axial Scorpion the Land Cruiser has somewhat limited suspension travel, especially when assembled according to the instructions. Some tweaking of the cantilever rod mounting locations and shortening of the cantilever rods did add some travel, but even so it just didn’t have the massive amount of articulation that a competition ready crawler would. Whether the limited suspension travel hinders it’s performance depends on how you look at it. There is no question that this isn’t, nor was it ever meant to be, a competition level crawler so I don’t think it would be fair to treat it as such. On the other hand the CR01 has decent performance for what it is and those not acquainted to the performance level of a comp level crawler would likely find the CR01′s rock crawling ability to be pretty stunning.
We threw it at everything from rocks to trails in the nearby woods. In the woods the CR01 felt at home. It makes a great trail rig because it’s higher than normal (for a crawler) top speed allowed us to zip from obstacle to obstacle without a long slow trek inbetween. On the rocks the FJ40 performed well, though we felt tire grip was lacking. On small inclines the truck was fine but once we started hitting the steeper lines the lack of traction killed forward momentum and the truck would wind up sliding to either side. We wanted to give the suspension a more thorough test but the lack of traction made that a tough task. At the end of the day we decided to try swapping our weighted Scorpion tires/wheels on it and the difference was huge. The extra grip allowed the Land Cruiser to go over just about anything. At this point the only limiting factor was it’s center of gravity. When assembling your truck we’d strongly suggest star cutting the tire foams and adding weight to the wheels, you won’t be sorry.
On our second battery pack the Land Cruiser suffered the same fate our Axial Scorpion test truck did during it’s review, it blew a drive shaft. Unlike the Scorpion, the CR01′s driveshaft twisted like a pretzel. I’m not sure what these things are made of but we were really disappointed at how absurdly easy these driveshafts twisted. Why am I using the plural when refering to the twisting? Because when pulling the truck apart to replace the front pretzel we noticed that the rear had a good bit of tweak to it as well. Guess we should have known it was a bad sign when Tamiya included an extra set of shafts with the kit. For now we’ve got a set of Stampede driveshafts installed in the truck but in the future we’d like to see a manufacturer like MIP produce a hardened steel version.
It all comes down to one question. Would we recommend the Tamiya Land Cruiser 40 to a friend and that answer depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking to enter a local rock crawling competition then we’d probably suggest something a little more suitable. On the other hand if you’re just wanting to have fun on a rock pile in your back yard then by all means go for it. Sure it isn’t competition level, but regardless it’s pure fun.
Now go out and get one!!!
Here is Project FJ40 running on our test course.
Here is our front pretzel driveshaft in all it’s twisted glory. It may be hard to tell from this image but the male end of the shaft is twisted nearly 90 degrees. The female side is also damaged. Although our rear driveshaft wasn’t quite this bad it was deemed unusable.
I’ll take a FJ40 on the rocks. Shaken not stirred please.
With the Mabuchi 540 motor installed the Land Cruiser exhibited higher than normal speed for a crawler. We like it! Sure it doesn’t give us the same amount of low speed control, but the extra speed is just too much fun. Don’t be fooled though, this is no touring car.
Land Cruiser CR-01 Pictures: