The Tamiya Jeep Wrangler hard body has to be one of the most sought after Tamiya lids ever made. It first appeared on the CC-01 chassis as an ultra scale R/C truck, but when that vehicle was discontinued those looking for one of these bodies had no choice but scour ebay for one and sell their first born child to be able to afford it. Then late last year Tamiya announced that it would yet again release this body but this time it would be included with the CR01 rock crawling chassis. I can only imagine how many people must have bought that kit just for the body. Thankfully earlier this year Tamiya decided to yet again release this awesome shell back on the CC01 chassis. We bought one and the build begins…
In The Box:
There is nothing like coming home to find that big package sitting by your front door left by the good ol’ UPS man. Well today was no different, and since this is the first time I’ve ever gotten to see the fabled Tamiya Jeep Wrangler in person I’m psyched! Here she is…
The first thing we did once we got the box open was look around to make sure everything that was supposed to be there actually was. More specifically we wanted to make sure the electronic items were there. Our Wrangler came with the Tamiya TEU-101BK ESC which is only rated for use with the standard 540 motor and Tamiya Sport Tuned motors but we’ve had good luck with using them in touring cars with slightly lower turn motors and have heard from quite a few people who use 19t racing motors with this ESC without any problems. With that said we doubt we’ll be having much trouble with this ESC any time soon and its addition to this kit is truly welcome. The Wrangler kit also includes the TLU-01 LED Light Unit which we’ll talk more about in a second.
Here is the Tamiya TEU-101 BK Electronic Speed Control
Also included in the kit was the TLU-01 LED Light Unit which comes with white LEDs for the headlights and red LEDs for the taillights. Tamiya sells extra LED sets for those wanting to add lights to their fog lights and aftermarket roof lights. In total you can use up to eight pairs of lights with this unit and it can also be mated to a control unit for more functions. For those using this unit for the first time don’t worry about the high pitch sound you hear when you turn the unit on, that is normal.
Its time to look at what other bits are included in this kit. First thing we wanted to take a look at were the wheels and tires. The Wrangler comes with 1.9″ gold looking mesh wheels. Although I don’t quite care for gold wheels I have to admit that they’re pretty scale looking.
Here are the wheels wrapped in the kit’s ultra scale tires sitting next to a set of stock Tamiya High Lift wheels and tires. We initially pulled the High Lift’s tires/wheels out just to have a size comparison between the two but since the High Lift wheels looked so good under the Wrangler body we decided to use these wheels/tires instead!
Here they are side by side. The High Lift tires are on the left, and the Wrangler tires are on the right. We had contemplated using the High Lift wheels with the Wrangler tires but decided just to use both from the High Lift. Not only would we get the trail truck look from the larger tires but we’d also get a slightly greater ground clearance. We were sold, the Highlift tires and wheels it is.
One last shot of both sets of tires/wheels standing side by side. Next time you see these puppies they’ll be on the truck!
Next thing pulled out of the box? The chassis. Like all CC01 kits, the Wrangler features a plastic injection molded tub style chassis. Tamiya molded a lot of details into this chassis which give it a pretty scale appearance including wheel wells.
Here is a close up shot of the chassis. Notice the faux frame rails.
Another shot of the chassis. This top view gives you a better look at the wheel wells.
What good would this kit be without the awesome body? As with all Tamiya hard body shells the Wrangler body is full of details including door handles, hinges, latches, and turn signals. Those bars in the middle of the windshield are just there to protect the body during shipping. Your job will be to cut those out without screwing up the rest of the body…LOL
The front grill of the Tamiya Wrangler body.
In this close up shot of the rear of the body you can get a better look at the details. Check out those tiny hinges!
The body may look a little boring in all white, but once you begin adding on all the included little pieces it really starts to look great. Here are some of the additional body parts. The photo below shows the fog lights.
The Wrangler’s head and fog light buckets. Notice how they have holes in the middle, a perfect spot for placing LEDs.
Here is the rear “tire cover” and various other detail pieces for the body. As you can see the taillights are made of black molded plastic but Tamiya also includes a set of clear plastic taillights as well if you are planning on using LEDs. We suspect that these must have been what was included in the original kit, and then Tamiya realized that if they wanted to include LEDs with the kit they’d need to come up with clear lenses for the rear.
Of course with a beautifully detailed body we also need some authentic emblems and graphics to go along with it. As usual Tamiya included a nice set of decals.
CR-01? Looks like somebody was sleeping at their desk when designing this decal sheet. Otherwise maybe Tamiya figured they’d save some money by making the decal sheet for the CC01 and CR01 Wranglers one and the same.
Alright enough of the body already its time to look at some of the stuff that makes up the meat of the truck. Here are the molded halves of the rear axle. Unlike all of the other trucks we’ve built on this site the CC01 only has one solid axle which is set in the rear. The front end features an independent suspension system.
All the plastic parts in the world wouldn’t do much for us if the kit was missing the various metal parts bags which are needed to assemble it.
More parts bags…
Here are both the front and rear gear sets. The metal gears are for the differentials, both of which can easily be locked.
We weren’t quite happy just building the kit and leaving it stock so while at the local mom and pop hobby shop (Marshalls Hilltop Hobbies in Honesdale, PA) we picked up a few additions. First thing that caught our eye was this awesome little WORKING winch from 3 Racing.
Check out all the little details of the 3 Racing winch. This thing looks just like a full size Warn winch. All its missing is the little red W sticker for the top. Don’t be fooled by its tiny size, this thing has big power.
The 3Racing winch includes a control unit that allows you to use the winch in two different configurations. Notice the little black button on the control unit? Well in one configuration you can connect the winch to your battery and just use that button to control the winch. The button has three steps. Press it once and the winch rolls out, push it again and it stops, push it again and the winch pulls back. The second configuration allows you to use a spare channel to control the entire thing straight from your radio.
One other thing we picked up was a 55 turn lathe motor to slow things down.
Well I think its time to start putting this baby together. Of all things R/C this is the part I truly enjoy.
One of the first things the manual instructs you to do is to install the motor mount assembly to the motor. We opted to go straight to the lathe motor. The CC01 has a motor mount that isn’t adjustable in the traditional sense. It has four holes which allows you to use two different pinion gears. Personally I don’t care for these types of motor mounts. I’ve had experience with Tamiya installing these types of mounts in some of their touring cars and although it might be nice for a beginner as there is no need to set the gear mesh it really limits your gearing choices. For example we found that even with the 55t lathe motor the Wrangler was still too fast for technical crawling, unfortunately we couldn’t go with the gearing we’d like due to this mount design.
Next up is the assembly of the front gearbox and suspension. Both the front and rear drivelines feature gear differentials. We initially opted to install the differentials just like the manual instructed but after our first test run there was no doubt that if you want this truck to climb you need to, at the very least, lock the rear diff. After the second test run we were back inside pulling the truck apart again to lock the front as well. The moral of the story? If you intend to use this as a trail truck or rock crawler save yourself tons of time and aggravation and lock the differentials from the get go.
Here is how you lock the front differential. Just take one of the small silver gears from the rear differential, also known as spider gears, and wedge it between the spider gears in the front diff. This results in the spider gears not being able to move which in turn creates a locked differential. We’ll show you how to lock the rear in a little bit…
Here are the front driveline gears installed in the chassis. That big one at the bottom is the differential all locked and sealed up.
The front gears are covered with this gear cover plate which hopefully stops all that grit from the trail from getting to the gears.
Here is the underside of the chassis with some of the steering and suspension components installed.
Another of the underside of the chassis…
As you can see we’ve gone and installed the rest of the front suspension. The steering components are then covered by this plastic skid plate.
Connecting the front gearing to the rear is a metal driveshaft much like the ones that come with the High Lift.
Here is another shot of the completed front suspension…
I guess the front suspension wouldn’t do us much good without a rear to follow it so its time to start building the rear axle. As we promised earlier we wanted to show you how to lock the rear differential. Thankfully Tamiya included these nifty little plastic pieces that completely replace the spider gears. No need to modify the diff at all in the rear, just install the plastic pieces and bolt the two halves together. You’ve now got a locked diff!
Here’s the rear end being assembled. There isn’t much to it, just assemble the differential, put the pinion gear in place, and install the axles. As you can see this truck comes with plastic bearings and brass bushings. It seems like everything on this truck is behind two other parts so this is definitely the time to install bearings if you are planning to ever do so.
Here is another shot of the rear axle being assembled…
Installing the axle on the truck is a matter of installing the suspension arms and driveshaft.
Another shot of the rear axle installed on the chassis. Although the stock setup has decent articulation a common upgrade is the installation of a custom four link setup. That’s something we may consider in the future.
Rear view of the rear end…
Drive shaft installed…
Next up…shocks. Thankfully the CC01 Wrangler includes oil filled shocks.
Here are the shocks installed on the front suspension…
…and the rear suspension.
Sad to say but that is pretty much it for assembly of the chassis. Here are a few shots of the chassis assembled with the electronics, and stock wheels in place.
Here she is assembled and ready to hit the trails.
As you can see we’ve already installed the winch and decided to throw the stock plastic “tire cover” in the trash (not really) and put one of the stock wheels/tires in its place. Believe it or not that high lift jack was included with the kit. We painted it red and chose to install it next to the spare tire.
Another shot of the rear…
Front end with the winch and headlights installed.
Here is a close up picture of the 3 Racing mini winch installed. That thing really fills out the front end and gives the truck a nice trail truck appearance.
We weren’t expecting much in the way of rock crawling performance from the CC01 chassis and it didn’t let us down. Even with the larger High Lift tires installed the Wrangler has very little ground clearance and gets caught up fairly easily. This is no rock crawler. Where this truck really shines is on the trail. It has just enough ground clearance to clear most obstacles you find on the trail and with its gearing you can get from place to place quick enough so things don’t get boring.
Speaking of speed we were surprised to find that even with the 55t lathe motor installed this truck was quite a bit faster than any of our previous project trucks. With the stock 540 motor it was actually a little too fast as the truck is a bit top heavy and tipsy. As you’ll see in the pictures below we had the chance to bring the Wrangler to the beach with us. We knew the lathe motor wouldn’t quench our need for speed on that massive beach and weren’t sure if even the 540 would be fast enough so we installed an Epic 27t stocker in it. With that motor the Jeep flew! We had a ball making little sand jumps and watching the jeep soar over them. Luckily the sand was soft because it would sometimes land a little off and tumble end over end for what seemed like miles. Thankfully that beautiful body survived it all. To sum it all up, the Wrangler is a great looking, very scale truck that is a load of fun on the trail and at speed.