Part 2 of our project Tamiya Land Cruiser highlights what we find to be the most enjoyable part of this hobby, the build. I know a lot of people these days would rather it be built for them, but we were glad to hear that Tamiya would keeping up with tradition and offering the CR-01 only in kit form. Not only does that allow us the pleasure of building this beast from start to finish, but we also get to document it all for you along the way.
Part 2: The Build
Below is the heart and soul of the CR-01 Land Cruiser 40 chassis, the frame rails. They’re made of a mat silver anodized aluminum and have multiple holes for tons of suspension adjustment. We like all that adjustability, but would rather the frame not look like Swiss cheese. Tamiya offers an optional polished frame rail set as well.
The Land Cruiser owners manual takes a different approach to building the truck than many other kits we’ve seen in which Tamiya starts you off by first building the frame, then the axles, and back to the frame again. The picture below represents steps 1 and 2 in the assembly process. Step one involves building the cantilevers. Pay close attention to the way the cantilevers are put together as it will cost you a ton of time later to pull this back apart.
Step 3 requires you to assemble the radio and battery trays. Notice the faux diamond plate on the radio trays. Its weird how such a small addition can change the look of something. It really gives the chassis a rugged look.
Here is the result of steps 1 through 4. The basic chassis is now assembled. Notice our mistake? We put the upper spring mounts on inside out. This isn’t a big deal right now but the further you get into the installation the harder it’ll be to fix. Like we said earlier, be very attentive when assembling the cants and upper spring mounts.
Now its time to get started on the axles. Steps 5-11 involve various stages of axle assembly. In part 6 you must assemble the differentials. You now have the choice of installing the locking pin to lock the differential. Considering this is a crawler we can’t see many people deciding to leave it unlocked. Below is a shot of the inside of the differential and its spider gears.
Here is the differential assembled and installed in the axle case. As you can see we have our locking pin installed. Don’t forget the threadlock!
Here is the basic axle assembly up to step 7. If you look closely you can see the hex screw that acts as a plug for the locking pin installation and removal. To remove the locking pin all you need to do is remove the hex screw, turn the axle until you can access the the locking pin, and remove it.
The back end of the assembled axle.
Here is the axle assembly with the hubs, and servo mount installed. Although we chose to keep our truck with front steering only Tamiya does include the parts needed to convert your truck to 4ws. All you need to supply is an extra servo and either a Y harness, or a three channel radio system.
Step 14 involves installing your steering servo onto the front axle. Don’t forget to center your servo before installation. As you can see we’re using a standard Futaba servo though we would strongly recommend going with a high torque metal gear servo if your budget allows for it.
Here we are up to step 16 which includes the assembly of the suspension links and installation of the axles to the chassis.
In step 17 and 18 you’ll have to assemble the shocks. As you can see from the picture below you fall one step short of the usual shock assembly process with the CR-01 because you don’t need to install the springs on the shocks. We have heard some complain of these shocks leaking on their trucks but we never experienced that throughout testing. I chalk it up to the probability that some may have nicked the shafts while installing the rod ends. We also suggest lubricating the o-ring seals before installing the shaft which will help reduce the possibility of damaging them.
Here is the partial assembly the inner workings of the planetary transmission. When assembling our transmission we ran into a problem. No matter what we did, the assembled transmission was completely locked up. After tearing it down a few times we finally found the culprit, read below.
Below is the motor plate which bolts to the transmission. That black piece is the transmission shaft bearing support. Note how when installed the bearing support sits flush with the motor plate on the right side. Well if you were to mistakenly install the motor plate backwards the bearing support wouldn’t sit flush putting pressure on the internal gears of the transmission causing it to lock up. Don’t ask us how we know. Other than our stupid mistake the CR01’s transmission was extremely simple to assemble.
Here is the assembled Land Cruiser transmission with motor and driveshafts installed.
Step 26 involves installed the assembled transmission onto the lower skidplate, and then installing it all into the truck chassis. As you can see below part of the installation requires you to also install the driveshafts.
In step 29 you install the front and rear cross members, body mounts, and front bumper
Step 30 is the bear of this project, assembling the beadlock wheels. Actually we found that assembling the beadlocks were pretty easy, just a little time consuming and very much hand cramping. Here are the 80 screws which are used to assemble your beadlocks.
One down, three more to go.
Here we are, done with chassis assembly, and all that is left is to paint and detail the body.
Assembled chassis top view
Assembled chassis bottom view
We’re all finished! As you can see we decided to go with the same paint scheme as the box. Painting the body is fairly straight forward. Tamiya supplies window masks which really make things easy, and all you need to do is mask off the top before laying down the red. After you’ve shot the red then you peel off the masking tape from the top and spray the white. Finally all that is left is to install the grill, mirrors, turn signals, and decals. The Tamiya Land Cruiser body is a real beauty!!!
Gotta have an articulation shot. Thats a Tamiya Clod Buster wheel BTW.
Another picture of the side
Well that’s it. The CR-01 is assembled, painted, and detailed. Now it’s time to go out and beat on it until something breaks. In Part 3 of our build we’re going to take her out for a spin and let you know what we think. Now go check out the rest of the pictures of the build process below.
Land Cruiser CR-01 Pictures: