So I’ve been watching some of the drift action taking place on Saturday afternoons at FredZ Dynamic Hobbies for a few months now and the guys seem to be having too much fun for me to keep ignoring it.
I decided to take the plunge and see what this is all about. Fred recently brought in the new 3 Racing Sakura D4 chassis kit, so I picked one up last Saturday and spent the nights this week building it. I took a bunch of photos throughout the build and decided to post my experience with building the kit and tomorrow morning I’ll take it for a test drive around FredZ carpet drift track and give you my results behind the wheel. If Ritchie shows up, we may even have some video for you.
So to start off, 3 Racing is offering the new D4 chassis in an all wheel drive (AWD) version as well as a rear wheel drive (RWD) version. Being a complete newbie, I opted for the AWD version on the advice of experienced drifters. Once I get some wheel time on that, I’ll go for the RWD version as well and let you know how that goes.
The kit is billed as the AWD Advanced Chassis Sakura CS Sport, a 1/10 scale radio control drift car.
On with the build. Here’s the kit
The manual is well laid out and just like most of the top manufacturers the build progresses in stages with the parts necessary for each stage bagged separately.
A quick visual check of the bag count and a peek at the contents reveal some pink anodized aluminum goodies scattered throughout the bags.
The first bag contained a few handy tools to help with the build.
The main chassis, upper deck as well as front and rear shock towers are constructed of Fibre Reinforced Plastic (FRP) and look like they should have no problem standing up to any abuse I can throw at them on the drift track.
Construction begins with the lower suspension arms, front and rear. The front arms are the “Y” shaped arms that most of the up-scale drift kits are coming with. Being an entry level kit, the D4 comes with composite versions of these arms vice aluminum. My pre-build read of the manual (you do this too, don’t you?) brought me to the last page that lists all the part numbers for spares and option parts. Low and behold, just about every part of this car has an aluminum upgrade. I’ll have to talk to Fred about this…… I see some more pink aluminum in the future for this car.
The composite front arms are a two piece design with ball cup ends to capture a king pin ball on the steering blocks.
Rear arms are traditional sedan units. All the arms are held in place by the usual suspension pin and single/dual suspension mounts. The mounts are composite, as is what looks like most of the plastic parts in the kit, providing strength with a bit of flex.
The build was very straight forward, so I won’t bore you with the details. Here are a bunch of pics I took along the way.
A gear diff is supplied for the front and a composite spool for the rear.
The upper front arms are also 2 piece. They ride on two ball cups inboard and one kingpin ball cup on the top of the steering block. The top arm has a small turnbuckle that adjusts its length and thus the camber angle of your front wheels. Not the funnest things to put together, but they provide a nice hardened steel turnbuckle wrench that makes the job much easier than a pair of needle nose pliers would have been. Nice touch.
The steering system rides on bearings, as does just about every other moving or pivoting part in this kit that doesn’t have a ball/cup joint. There is a ton of steering on this car. Not sure how smooth this is going to be with the supplied cvd’s. I would have expected double joint shafts with this amount of steering, but we’ll see tomorrow how well they work.
This brings me to a few of the things I noticed in the build that didn’t go so smoothly.
The first was the kingpin balls installed in the composite steering blocks. in each steering block, one of the balls did not “grab” while threading them. I barely tightened them because I could feel they were going to strip the threads in the block if I applied any force equal to what I am used to while threading metal into plastic. In case your wondering, it was the lower ball on the left front and the upper ball on the right front. This concerns me, because I expect either one or both to fail tomorrow on the track. This is definitely the first upgraded aluminum part I will install.
The second issue I had was while installing the cvd’s. I added a small shim to axle between the outer steering block bearing before installing the pin and hex adapter. Without a shim, the axle pin rubbed against the inner and outer races of the bearing causing a very gritty feel that would no doubt lead to problems very quickly. This was done front and rear with some Tamiya shims I had in my parts drawer.
Electronics installation was again very straight forward with plenty of room for installing regular sized servos, receivers and sec’s seeing as the front belt is routed totally above the top chassis brace.
The battery tray mounts on this kit are very nice. Giving numerous options for different battery sizes. I happen to have a bunch of shorty packs that I run in my F1 and one of my sedans, so I decided to set up the battery mounts to use these packs. With a few pieces of foam installed, the battery fits perfectly.
The battery can be installed on either side with the removal of one body clip and pivoting retaining plate. Very quick simple and secure system.
The kit comes with a nice set of wheels and drift tires already mount on the rims. I did have an issue during the build with the hex adapters falling off a few times before the wheels were mounted. Sucked having to look for the axle pins and that small shim on the floor, so I will also be getting some clamping hexes for all four corners so I don’t have to get on my hands and knees to look for those again.
The shocks went together very well. They are oil filled, threaded shocks constructed of composite plastic for the main shock body and aluminum bottom and top caps as well as aluminum adjusting nut.
The kit also came with a nice rear diffuser.
A few more pics of the finished build
The final issue I had with the kit, was during my first power up of the car for electronics testing. I placed it on the basement floor to run it in for a few seconds and the front belt decided it didn’t want to follow the preferred path. It jumped off the front guide bearing. I placed it back onto the bearing and noticed that the bearing was not centred directly on the belt. Another trip to the Tamiya shim bin and I believe I have that fixed. The addition of a 1mm shim seems to have the belt riding centred on the bearing. I’ll watch this tomorrow and make adjustments if needed. It looks like I have enough room to go to a 2mm shim if need be.
Here is a pic with me pulling the belt to the right a bit so you can see the bearing and shim below the belt. This is where the front belt comes off the front gear diff comes up and rides on this bearing before going to the main gear shaft and pulleys. Its the way they chose to get the belt up above the electronics and battery that sit on the main chassis.
Last but not least, I topped it all off with a quick paint job on an HPI Mazda RX-8 body for my test run tomorrow.
The kit was built as per the instructions and I used all the supplied oils, lubes etc that came with the kit for the preliminary run. I’ll see how it goes and get some feedback from some of the regular drifter crowd tomorrow and make any adjustments they recommend.
So overall, this kit was a blast to build. I have to say it went together super well. 3 Racing really did put a lot of the features I would not normally expect to see on an entry level kit into this car. I look forward to having a ton of fun drifting this around FredZ track.
Hope you enjoyed this build and if your anywhere near FredZ on Saturday, stop in and I’ll hand you the radio to try out this car.
Words and Pictures by: Rob McRae