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Home RC Car and Truck Build Projects Project Zilla: ESP Clodzilla II Build
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Project Zilla: ESP Clodzilla II Build

ESP Clodzilla II Tamiya Clod BusterBack in 1987 Tamiya introduced a phenom in the R/C world, the Clod Buster. It’s popularity spawned a huge aftermarket following that still thrives to this day. One of the original manufacturers to create parts for this beast was ESP Hobby Mfg. They made everything from a simple lift kit to full cantilever race suspension systems for the Clod. Heck they even made a snow plow for it! One of the first kits they produced was the Clodzilla II. When I was a kid there was nothing I wanted more than this kit. It would literally call my name as I read the ad in RCCA magazine. Unfortunately lack of funds resulted in me never getting my hands on one…until now that is. Follow along as we document the build of a Clodzilla 2 on my brother Brian’s Clod Buster.

First thing we want to document is what is included in the ESP Clodzilla 2 kit. The Clodzilla II arrived in four separate plastic bags. Each bag included the parts to assemble certain areas of the kit such as the frame, suspension links, steering links, etc. Unfortunately after sorting through our kit we noticed that the chassis brace was missing. We sent an email to ESP to inform them of the foul up and they assured us it was a mistake and the part was on its way. A few days later we received the missing item.

The picture below shows everything (less chassis brace) that is included in the Clodzilla 2 kit. The upper bag contains everything needed to assemble the chassis including the frame side rails, cross member tubes, battery mounts, and lift kit plates. The bag on the lower left is the long wheelbase suspension kit. It includes the aluminum suspension links, rod ends, and shock mounts. The bag on the lower right contains the parts for the HD steering link kit. We were quite disappointed to find that ESP doesn’t include rod ends for the steering kit. Instead you are forced to use the stock pieces.
ESP Clodzilla II Kit

The ESP HD Steering Rod Kit for the Tamiya Clod Buster.
ESP Clodzilla 2

Here is one frame rails which come assembled as shown.
ESP Clodzilla II

Most of the parts included in the Clodzilla II kit are made of aluminum. However we found that the finish on these parts were very rough and were in desperate need of a good polishing. For that we turned to our trusty can of Mothers Mag and Wheel Polish. All that was required was some elbow grease and we had ourselves some nicely polished parts. The picture below shows what the items looked like when they arrived, and after polishing.
ESP Clodzilla II suspension links

All of the Clodzilla 2 kit parts after polishing
ESP Clodzilla II frame and suspension parts

Here’s another picture of the parts after polishing. The round pieces are the chassis cross members, and the square pieces are the lower shock mounts.
ESP Clodzilla 2 suspension parts

One of the suspension lift kit plates with the ESP name CNC’d into it
ESP Clodzilla 2 lift kit

The suspension links, steering links, and aluminum body mounts
ESP Clodzilla II aluminum body mounts

Here are a few pictures of our Tamiya Super Clod Buster before beginning the transformation into a Clodzilla. Our Clod wasn’t stock though. A while back we removed the stock suspension and replaced it with a set of stock wheelbase CPE suspension links. At that point we had kept the stock plastic tub chassis but modified it for better articulation by cutting out the center sections on each end.
Tamiya Clod Buster

As you can see our “stock” Clod Buster had roughly a 10 1/2″ wheelbase
Super Clod Buster Wheelbase

The stock Tamiya Clod Buster chassis next to the ESP Clodzilla 2 chassis. The nice thing about the Zilla II chassis is that the battery mounts are slightly slower and it makes it possible to mount two batteries at once for longer run times or more power. (depending on how you wired everything up)
Tamiya Clod Buster frame and ESP Clodzilla frame

Here is the Clodzilla II chassis assembled. It went together very easily. All that was required was to bolt the two frame rails together with the chassis brace and cross members. Pictured is a chassis brace we built ourselves while waiting for our missing piece to arrive.
ESP Clodzilla 2 frame assembled

The Clodzilla II long wheelbase suspension links with rod ends installed. Building these was just a matter of screwing the links in place and popping the balls into the ends.
ESP Clodzilla II suspension links assembled

Here is the Zilla II assembled with the axles. Getting to this stage was relatively easy. It was just a matter of putting the frame together, installing the suspension links, and installing the axles. We suggest using a lot of thread lock on all screws because otherwise you’ll be losing parts after a few runs. As for shocks we chose to stick with the Tmaxx units we installed on our Clod ages ago. They’re relatively cheap and work great for a basher of this kind.
ESP Clodzilla 2

ESP Clodzilla II

Believe it or not we’re still running a mechanical speed control. The Clodzilla 2 chassis has the appropriate mounts so you can use your stock radio tray, however if you’re going to use the MSC you’ll need to re-mount your resistor to the tray as it will no longer fit on the cross brace. You may be asking why we’re still using the MSC and thats pretty simple; cost and waterproofing. The MSC is extremely cheap and basically waterproof. Since the Clod has two motors we’d be required to run either one expensive ESC or two cheaper units, and then we’d have to worry about getting them wet. The MSC solves that problem, although at the slight cost of efficiency. Speaking of the cross brace, as you can see we used the stock rear piece because we needed the antenna mount. I have no idea why ESP didn’t build some sort of antenna mount into this thing from the beginning.
ESP Clodzilla II Tamiya Clod Buster

The Clodzilla 2 with a Protoform Ford F-350 body on it.
ESP Clodzilla 2 Tamiya Clod Buster

ESP Clodzilla II Tamiya Clod Buster

As you can see the Zilla 2 has a 13″ wheelbase. That is 2 1/2″ longer than stock and really transforms the look of the truck.
ESP Clodzilla II wheelbase

For our maiden run we hit the jackpot, snow! On the day of our test run we got about seven inches of snow, and although that may not be the best situation to test a rock crawler in (like with last month’s Axial build) it is perfect for a basher like this. We found that the extended wheelbase really made the truck feel planted, and the suspension soaked up the bumps and jumps with no problem.
ESP Clodzilla II in the snow

ESP Clodzilla 2 in the snow

ESP Clodzilla II jumping

ESP Clodzilla 2 Tamiya Clod Buster

The Clodzilla 2 jumping over mounds of freshly fallen snow!!!
ESP Clodzilla 2 jumping

That’s the end right? Not quite. We wanted to point out a few things that really disappointed us about this kit. First thing I noticed upon removing the parts from the bags is that the ends of the frame rails seemed to be cut very roughly and one was slightly “pinched” at one end. Other problems included stripped threads on one of the cross member tubes, and pitted/gouged steering links. We have contacted ESP about these problems and have yet to hear back from them. We received a prompt reply when we noticed our chassis brace was missing but nothing since informing them of these defects.

Below you can get a better idea of what we mean by the frame rails being cut roughly. They look like they were cut with a hack saw without any filing afterwards. Notice the little nicks and scratches, thats not something that should be seen in a professionally built aftermarket kit in my humble opinion.
Clodzilla 2

Here is another picture of one of the frame rails. If you look closely you can see that it is slightly pinched or dented in. It also *features* a good amount of gouges and scratches.
Clodzilla 2

Here is a picture of the steering rods while still in the unopened bag. Notice the nicks/gouges in the aluminum. Again these are defects in craftsmanship that should have been found in quality control.
Clodzilla 2 problems

Although this build is over we intend to keep you up to date as to the durability of this truck and any other modifications we perform along the way. Thanks for stopping by!

Update
Since converting our Tamiya Clod Buster to an ESP Clodzilla, it has undergone a few changes. We decided to ditch that beat up old pre-painted body and replace it with a Parma Clod Buster replacement body which was custom painted with flames in the front and a marble pattern in the rear. We also replaced those worn out old chrome wheels with a set of classic white Clod wheels and dyed all of the blue parts black. Also, since taking the pictures below, the Clod’s stock electronics were traded for a pair of 14t Team Orion Revolution brushed motors powered and a Novak Super Duty ESC. The Clod was still a lot of fun with the old silver can motors but now it rips! Check out the pics and let us know what you think about the Clodzilla’s new look.

Tamiya Clod Buster Clodzilla

Tamiya Clod Buster Clodzilla

Tamiya Clod Buster Clodzilla

Tamiya Clod Buster Clodzilla

Tamiya Clod Buster Clodzilla

Tamiya Clod Buster Clodzilla

Tamiya Clod Buster Clodzilla

 
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35 Comments  comments 

35 Responses

  1. JASON

    this truck kicks ass,i just purchased a super clod and this is exactly what i want to do. thank you for all the detail, very helpfull. thanx a bunch , jason

  2. Dan

    How is the battery(or batteries)secured?
    Thanks!

  3. Dan, on the lower part of the chassis there are three holes on each side which allow you to use zip ties to hold the batteries in. You have the choice of using one or two batteries at a time. If you look in home depot you can find reusable zip ties that are perfect for this application. I really wish ESP would have spent more time on a battery mounting solution for this kit, such as a velcro mount like the Axial Scorpion has.

  4. steve y

    i had one of these about 10 years ago and its not bad but i didnt like the super soft aluminum i dont think they use 7075 and i beleive the screws wher aluminum too they strip easy and became dificult to work with.and i agree with the battery mounting too could have been designed a little beter but not bad for the price. in all reality no body makes the clod chassis i think we all want.

  5. mt11

    What are the 4 included black plastic clamps for?
    I don’t know whats to do with it…:-(
    Thanks!

  6. To be honest I’m not sure what those are for. We didn’t use them and the instructions didn’t mention them. I can only assume they’re to keep the motor/radio wires in place.

  7. mt11

    ooops…now i know what the black clamps are for – after a closer look in the instructions 😉
    The stock power-economy and on-off switches can be mounted to the crossmembers with the clamps.

  8. I was curious, have been looking into getting a clodbuster and building my own supsension kit for one. Not to take anyones business just for the experience. No one that I have found has spoken of the durability of the axles and gearing. The reason I ask is that I want the off road ability of the lifted 4x4x4 but would also like to go and open up the speed of the Clod. How fast (approx.) does a normal quad go and will the clod drivetrain handle brushless motors?
    Thanks and project turned out excellent if you want my opinion.
    Brian

  9. The clod drivetrain is extremly durable and if you look on youtube you’ll find that a number of people have put dual brushless systems in them already.

    The stock clod only does about 10mph.

  10. leo

    hi there,
    i just purchase the clodbuster 58423 chrome edition. where can i buy your upgrade parts? and is it compatible with my 58423?. sorry i’m a novice. thanks in advance.

  11. RICHARD DEFRANG

    I HAD ONE OF THESE KITS MANY MOONS AGO ,, WHY I GOT RID OF IT ?? DON,T KNOW WHY , I SHOULD OF SHOT MY-SELF IN THE FOOT ,, I DID ORDER 1 ON TUESDAY,, SHOULD BE HERE SOON , BUT OVER ALL I HOPE THEY DO BETTER QUALITY CONTROL ,, GOOD JOB GUYS ,, WERE ARE U FROM ?? MARS OR VENUS..LOL JUST ASKING ,, THANKS RICHARD

  12. RICHARD DEFRANG

    FORGOT 1 THING I,AM GOING TOO USE THE STOCK BODY FOR KNOW , CA,NT AFFORD A NEW 1 AT THIS TIME,, AFTER ORDERING NEW MOTORS& ESC,& BATTERIES,, I HAVE YOU GUYS ON MY FAV LIST ,,I,LL USE THAT AS A GUIDE ,,DURING THE BUILD THANKS AGAIN RICHARD

  13. RICHARD DEFRANG

    I,LL LET U KNOW HOW IT GOES , I JUST STRIPPED THE CLOD DOWN , EVERYTHING IS HERE IF ANYBODY NEEDS ANY THING ,,THAT WAS WAY COOL WHAT U DID FOR YOUR LITTLE BROTHER ,, WAY COOLLLL

  14. HEY GUYS HAVE U EVER HAD ANY PROBLEMS GETTING ANYTHING FRON ESP ?? I PLACED AN ORDER ON 01/33/2011, I,VE SENT AT LEAST 4 E-MAILS THIS WEEK .. NOTHING I,AM GOING TOO GIVE THEM A CALL ON 01/14/2011 TOO SEE IF I CAN GETT ANYBODY TOO DO SOMETHING YOUR A COOL KID FOR WHAT U DID FOR YOUR LITTLE BROTHER THANKS BUD RICHARD

    • Richard, Our Clodzilla took a couple of weeks to be shipped out as well. We asked ESP about it and they said it was due to one of their machines being down but I have a hunch that they build these as the orders come in, which is why it takes so long to ship. I say try calling them on Monday to see what’s up.

  15. WELL I HAVE A UPDATE,, I CALLED ( ESP) THIS MORNING & MY STUFF WILL BE HERE BY 02/16 , JUST HAD A LONG TALK WITH ONE OF THE GUYS ,, SO EVERYTHING IS JUST PEACHYYYYY RICHARD D

  16. Drillbitt

    When i got my kit some of the holes were drilled at an angle to were i couldnt mount the chassis brace. called and got a new one sent out. it was the same way.I filled in the holes and redrilled the holes. i would rate this kit an 6 out of 10. and your right it looked like they used an hack saw to cut the rails. but at $99.98 a kit you would think they would care a little more about there product that they put out.

  17. Perry

    I am waiting for my clodzilla IV kit to arrive. They took a while longer to ship than I had anticipated. After reading some of the comments about their quality, I am a little concerned. I also got the Wide Kit.

    Does anyone know if this kit is bare aluminum or if it coated with a clear anodize? I am going to have mine anodized in a hard coat black. Also, are any of the holes threaded, or are they thru holes requiring a nut?

    Thanks

    • Not sure if the aluminum is coated. The only parts that i can remember being threaded are the cross brace tubes. Unfortunately the threads on one of our cross tubes stripped so I’d suggest being very careful when installing those screws.

  18. Perry

    Thanks for the reply. If I strip any of the tubes, I’ll retap and helicoil them.

    I may end up taking dimensions on everything and duplicating the entire kit. I work in a machine shop. Although I am not a machinist, I can have the parts made up by giving them a sketch.

  19. Perry

    I got my kit today, and unfortunately, some of the negative comments are correct. I waited 3 weeks for this kit. Some of the holes are oval shaped, every hole has large burrs, and some of the pieces are bent. It looks like a dull drill bit was used as the material is rolled around the holes.

    Quite disappoining

  20. cole

    What has happened to ESP?? I had a Zilla II about 6 years ago and I remember the finish being a bit dull and some scuffs here and there but the holes were nicely drilled and tapped, and everything went together great! I guess they have been using the same tools/jigs all these years and the stuff is getting worn out?? QC should notice these things, maybe instead of mentioning this here I should contact ESP and let them know how people are reacting to their product!! The project truck in the article looks sweet though!

  21. Ivan

    I just received a Clodzilla IV with Wide Ride kit from ESP. I got it via eBay under their site. Payment was sent December 15th 2011 and the product shipped two weeks later. It has the new cantilever design and looks better and appears to be far beefier than the old triangular unit.

    It took a few weeks to get here after initial payment was received (arrived January 6th 2012) and when I called ESP they said that they only manufacture them once a week as most of their time is spent manufacturing parts for snowmobiles etc. I can’t remember the name of the gentleman I spoke to but he was very polite and friendly.

    If you are building a Zilla IV I would suggest you switch out the screws and nuts supplied with the kit and invest in some 3mm and 6-32 hardware. I found that I had to replace some of the supplied and recommended screws in their manual with longer screws and I decided to go with nylock nuts on all the important parts as I didn’t want to mess around with thread lock too much.

    Overall I am pretty satisfied with the kit, everything fit properly although there were a few minor finish issues that I needed to fix with a dremel (specifically where the lower shock mounts attach to the brace between the caster block and gearbox assembly on the axles). And a few pieces of hardware had to be replaced. I went into this purchase knowing there were probably going to be a few issues I would have to work out. I like to tinker, so this kit provided enough “tinkering” satisfaction without huge amounts of frustration (try building a cheap Chinese clone helicopter kit to know what I mean).

    • Ivan, Im glad to hear you had a pretty good experience with the Clodzilla IV kit. I agree about the nylon locknuts. I wish we had gone that route from the start too.

  22. charles bailey

    I just bought a use clodzilla 4 off ebay there no sway bar on it I am curious it did not come with instructions to put it together I dont know what size to drill the holes in the axles or what screws to use or how long they should be.. you can send me the info on this to my email please its bailey_cartoon61@yahoo.com

  23. Jay

    Hi, are ESP hobby still producing clod parts? If so does anyone know the current email? Really keen on some bits for period correct a super stocker build.

  24. b

    Awesome build! I have been wanting to get a clodbuster since the 80s and I think you finally sold me. Does esp still sell the clodzilla 2 chassis or is there a better alternative?

  25. jason

    I purchased the clodzilla 2 kit last November (2013). What a P.O.S. Save your money and purchase a 4 link system from Crawford Performance. They have 3 different wheel base links. 12, 14 and 16 inches. I purchased the 16 inch and used the stock chassis.

  26. Harley

    how much is this and were do i buy it

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