Jan 24

Product Review: Team Associated TC4 Club Racer

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I haven’t done a review in some time and thought that with the resurgence in on-road lately, that I would do a review of my new Team Associated TC4 Club Racer.

I purchased my TC4 locally and was surprised to find that this chassis came fully built from the factory. As a result, there isn’t a complete build manual but instead a simple instruction sheet that shows how to install your gear plus a few other tips. This car features a shaft drive 4wd chassis with oil filled shocks, full set of 22 rubber sealed ball bearings, front spool, rear ball diff, lightweight composite CVD’s on all four corners, a machined aluminum motor mount with cooling fins, turnbuckles and a nice foam bumper. You need to supply your own radio gear, motor, ESC, body and tires. The kit also includes a camber gauge, a droop gauge and some simple Allen wrenches which is nice.

This kit uses Imperial hardware so you need to have the proper wrenches to maintain this chassis. Because it is factory built, the first thing I did was to go over all the nurs and bolts. I was a bit disappointed to find a few bolts that hold the diff cases together were stripped. This was a common problem on its predecessor the TC3, so I have since ordered a replacement gear case set. The good news is that the parts are very inexpensive and a new case set is under $5. As a temporary fix, I installed slightly longer bolts and everything firmed up nicely.The oil filled shocks are plastic and use clips to adjust ride height and come with blue springs. Mine were leaking slightly.
With an efficient shaft drive drive train, I decided to configure the car for the 21.5 Sportsman class at RCO. The first thing I did was to replace the stock 72T 48P spur gear. I prefer 64P for on-road racing and I installed a Robinson Racing 75T spur. In order to make the change, some drive train disassembly is required. The rear gearbox must be opened to access the rear stub shaft that holds the spur. Not difficult but it does take a few minutes. In order to get a final drive ratio that works in this class I needed to install a large pinion gear. To make the pinion gear fit, it was necessary to grind the chassis below the pinion for clearance. The instructions show this and it also only takes a few minutes with a Dremel.

With the gearing solved, I next focused on the suspension. As I mentioned earlier, the stock shocks are plastic and use clips for ride height. I had a set of Tamiya TRF threaded aluminum shocks in my pit box so I decided to use these instead. The swap is easy and I mounted the Tamiya shocks in the same position. I used Tamiya yellow springs on all corners. Next, I checked the droop and used the settings recommended my Associated and I also set the front toe.

The radio system install is easy and everything mounts like it would in any other chassis. I used a Futaba S9452 steering servo, Hobbywing Justock ESC, Orange GR300 receiver and a Reedy 21.5 motor. Everything fits nicely on the chassis and I didn’t have to stack the receiver on top of the steering servo. The plastic battery strap is held in place with two body clips, but the rear one has a tendancy to move too much and can easily foul the spur gear. This could strip the gear or cause it to jam completely, so I installed a bolt and washer instead. This still lets me remove the battery easily and I never have to worry about wrecking the spur gear.
The last thing left to do was install a battery. The battery tray is designed for the older NiMH cells and has slots cut in the bottom. There is also some webbing in the battery tray that prevents a modern rectangular lipo pack from sitting properly. To solve this minor issue, I used one of my Hobbyking Zippy hard case packs that has nubs on the bottom that fits perfectly into the battery tray.

With the car fully rigged and ready, I next checked the camber and ride height adjusting as needed. The final item required is a body and I painted an HPI Porsche 911 Turbo. I raced this car at the last RCO club race and I was pleaseantly surprised to find that it handled great and was fast. I drove it hard all day and it took a few hard hits. The only damage suffered was a cracked steering knuckle which was easily replaced.

I must say that I was very surprised to find that this chassis is still competitive. It comes completely built, is as tough as they come and there is a ton of factory and after market upgrades available should anyone want to trick it out. This is an excellent kit for anyone wanting to start racing. This chassis should do very well in Sportsman, VTA and GTA. What’s old is new again and I would recommend this chassis to anyone looking to get into racing or try another class.

Words and Pictures by: Steve Maines

Permanent link to this article: http://rcottawa.com/2015/01/product-review-team-associated-tc4-club-racer/