Tamiya DF03 MS: Can it Compete Part 4, The Breaks

Its been awhile since our last article concerning the Tamiya DF03 MS. So for a quick refresher,we built the car up to see if it could compete with today’s race proven cars. The first article was the build, the second article was the installation of the electronics and the 3rd article was about the hop ups. All of which you can find in the build up section on RC Soup’s home page or by clicking the appropriate link.

For this article we will go over the breakage (yes there was breakage – a lot of it), how it handled and of course to answer the question we had from day 1, CAN IT COMPETE?????

So I will try to do the breaks as they happened but its been awhile so bare with me and sit back, grab some popcorn.

All the testing and racing we did with this car was done at Redneck Hobby that was owned and operated by Calvin Hall. Calvin donated the car for this article and we greatly appreciated it. It is however with a saddened heart I have to tell ya that Redneck has shut their doors. They are no longer in business. So support your local shops so this doesn’t happen to your local shop.
df03 break a
Break 1. At Redneck Hobby the track was a clay, dirt mixture. It was a lot of fun. It had some large super-cross style jumps. One section was a set of 3 doubles. Upon one of the 1st couple of laps I was hitting that section and heard a “crack”. The car came to a halt and a marshal brought it over to me and that’s where I saw the very first break of the DF03. The rear hub carrier seen above.


df03 break b
So with that break I bought a pair of E-Racing rear hubs. They looked good and hopefully would hold up to my abuse.


df03 break c
Next up in the breakage department (yep- that’s a real thing, I’ve been there) was one of the front steering knuckles. Now I cant remember for sure where on Redneck’s track this happened but I believe it was the same set of doubles.. Yea I know.


df03 break d
Now with a quick email to one of our great sponsors of this article, RcMart we received a box of goodies. In the box where these beauties. Eracing’s aluminum front steering knuckles. On the went and back to the track we go!


df03 break e
The next problem wasn’t really a break and more of a lost part. A shoulder screw that was specific to this car was lost. Fearing more downtime I improvised.


df03 break f
This shoulder screw was close to the stock size but not quite a perfect fit.


df03 break g
So with the use of a spacer and a new screw I cobbled the car back together. Give me a hammer and some duck tape and I can fix anything.


df03 break h
Now come on… this is track ingenuity at its best.


df03 break i
Well I am sure you looked at the photo already and seen our next break. The chassis!  Now I read of this happening but I was hoping that the from aluminum chassis support we put on would keep this from happening. It did not help lol. It happened during an actual race and that made this break that much more bitter. If you look close the chassis is made of molded ABS plastic and I think this type of plastic is a problem for cars that are used offroad. It is just too brittle. I have a friend that told me “Shinny plastic is bad” lol, he is right at-least in this  scenario.

df03 break j
So i scoured the internet looking for another option as i was determined to run this car. I found this Mono Tuning chassis from The Toyz website. Now this chassis had some added benefits. Its longer then the stock chassis and brings the wheel base up to the length of today’s cars. I had hope but yes it was still ABS “shinny” plastic. Notice that the chassis came with a longer drive shaft and battery door.


df03 break k
So I forgot to take an actual pic of the parts separated that broke. If you look closely, the left side of the stock ackerman plate is broken. Whats the one underneath it you might ask? while at this point I was getting tired of breaking the car and having to wait for parts so I fabbed a new arm up out of an old Durango plate. I just needed to cut it down and drill new holes. the arc was pretty close.


df03 break l
Here is the new ackerman bar all mounted up to the bellcrank. It’s not 100% perfect but it will work.


df03 break n
With the car finally going again under its own power I noticed the shocks were leaking pretty bad. The bladder in top of the shocks were ripped. I found that the shocks had too much travel and the pistons were hitting the bladder on compression.


df03 break o
To fix this I limited the travel on the shocks. Not ideal but will keep the oil where it belongs.

df03 break p
Yup……. It happened again! This time the it was the Mono Tuning chassis that broke. It broke where the front chassis plate mounts too. At this point I was ready to call it quits but RC Soup Co-founder Kevin convinced me to continue on.


df03 break q
So with help from our friends over at RC MART we got YET Another chassis. This time we got the 3Racing graphite chassis. The pic above really doesn’t do this chassis justice. It is very nice and well made. It uses the stock layout and the battery still goes in from the bottom. I wish I took more pics but I really wanted to see what this car could do. Here is a link to the chassis so you can check it out.  http://www.3racing-parts.com/shop/tamiya-df03-chassis-graphite-conversion-kit-for-tamiya-dark-impact-3racing-df0315wo-p-10000732.html

df03 break r
Well I got to run the car (more on  that later) and I noticed the stock plastic shock towers flexed so much it would allow the dog bones to pop out resulting in a DNF. So I took the chance and put on a pair of aluminum towers we got from RC Mart. Now I knew that we would be taking a chance with the towers transferring any shock to the plastic parts that remained on the car. I was right…


df03 break s
Flipping the car over resulted in the rear tower taking the brunt of the hit and that transferred all that energy to the next weakest point. The gearbox where the tower mounted. This was the final blow. We decided to call this series complete.

So lets get right to the point and answer the question that we asked at the beginning of this series of articles.

“Can it compete?”

In my opinion I will say over all it can. Yes you read right BUT there’s a catch.. You can’t crash. Ever. With me driving I was able to finish a couple of races and one complete day of racing at Redneck Hobbies. I finished 4th that day against today’s high powered buggies. So if you can drive and not crash you might do decent with this car. The areas besides the durability problems that the Tamiya DF-03 MS suffered was its lack of suspension. I found the car very erratic. It could of been me, I’m known as a hammer driver and I do break alot of cars.

So with that said I would not recommend this car for racing. If you want to have a 4wd buggy to drive around the driveway or parking lot I think it would do fine. It just doesn’t have the durability it takes to compete on today’s large motocross style tracks.

The series was fun and I would like to thank the sponsors, Redneck Hobby and RC MART. Stay tuned for the next “Can It Compete?” article. Yes, we have another one in the works!



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