Performance Parts for Your Team Associated TC4 Touring Car
For this installment of Hop Up Corner, we’re going to check out some of the best upgrades for your Team Associated TC4 Touring Car. This TC has been out for quite some time and seen many revisions, but it is still a great onroader for classes like Spec, USGT and VTA. For this Hop Up Corner, we’re going to focus on switching this car over to a VTA platform. I’ve run mine in the VTA class with great results and only a few mods.
Even though the car is a bit older, it has one of the best and most adjustable suspensions on the market. Everything from camber, caster, toe, ride height, Ackermann, roll centers … you name it, the TC4 has that adjustment. On earlier models, the TC4 had either plastic or blue-anodized shocks (with either threaded or non-threaded bodies). These shocks work fine, however after awhile will wear out and can become sticky or ‘loose’. Thankfully, AE also offers some excellent replacement shocks; the Team Associated Factory Team Threaded Shock Kit for the TC4. This kit includes hard-anodized threaded bodies, coated shafts and blue aluminum shock collars. Because they are hard-anodized, they will last a really long time with very little wear. The kit includes everything you need to build and replace, ridding yourself of your dilapidated dampers in favor of a premium set of shocks!
If you plan on running the VTA class, you may (or may not) know that the power system is regulated to a 25.5T motor and an ESC with “Blinky” mode. There are many different ESC/motor combos to choose from, but one company that I support that has always supplied me with some major horsepower is Team Tekin. Their ESC’s focus on a tiny footprint, a sexy white case and tons of internal and external features that can help fine tune your powerband, brakes, drive frequencies and even boost. Best of all, though, is their easy-access “Blinky” mode that allows you to run in any Spec class. External solder posts let you manage wire length and all the internal features can be accessed using two buttons and a series of lights on the top of the unit. While I haven’t used one yet, the companies new line of Gen3 Redline brushless motors are said to be leaving your competition crying for mercy. I’ve got two of these systems on order for my F1 and VTA cars!
Team Associated has loaded the TC4 with a pair of ball differentials. Those are great and allow some differential tuning, but in most cases a solid front axle is the way to go. Using the Team Associated Solid Front Axle will completely change the on-power handling of your TC4 and is really one of the best drivetrain upgrades you can get. It features a bevel gear that attaches to a heavy duty solid axle and slips right into the gearbox with no other modifications. The solid axle reduces slip under both acceleration and braking, causing a more positive feel as well as reducing any ‘lag’ that can sometimes be caused by an open diff. If you decide to go this route, it is also suggested that you upgrade the front dogbones to the Team Associated TC4 Factory Team Heavy Duty CVD Bones if you don’t already have those.
There are quite a few bodies that are legal for the VTA class, it will be simply up to your taste as to which one to use. Sure, some have slight advantages but since the cars aren’t going all that fast, those advantages are quite negligible. One of the cooler looking ones is the Protoform 1971 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am VTA Body. This is a bad ass body that can be painted in either a normal scheme or with some wild vintage livery. The nose is a separate piece that can be detailed and mounted using the included screws, and it can fit either a 190- or 200mm car. In this case, our TC4 is set at 190 but we’ll use a wider offset wheel and tire combo (see below) to take up that extra gap.
The VTA class requires the use of vintage wheels and tires, and what set of rollers look as good as the HPI Racing Vintage 5 Spoke Wheels and HPI Vintage Racing Tires. The wheels come in a couple different color variations as well as a different offsets to fit a variety of cars, and the tires come in a narrow and wide version for the front and rear. I would suggest doing a little research prior to purchasing the wheels so you get the right offset for the body you choose. Either way, this set of wheels/tires provides decent tire wear and good traction on the 25.5T power system.
Because the TC4 has been out for some time, there are numerous additional upgrades you can do. For instance, you can put throw on a Team Associated FT Carbon Fiber TC4 Chassis or Team Associated TC4 X-3.0 Aluminum Rear Arm Mounts. There’s even a Team Associated TC4 Aluminum Screw Kit or Associated 3928 Long BL TC3 RDL CLP Heatsink, but the item I’ve found most useful is actually the Team Associated Cooling Duct/Fan Kit. This is a bolt-on system that uses a pair of high-output mini-fans to pull cool air through holes in the bottom of the chassis and direct it right onto the motor. A molded duct unit mounts to the chassis and an integrated ‘grate’ keeps pebbles and debris from destroying your fans. The duct is large enough to mount your ESC (especially the tiny Tekin) and receiver. I’ve used this on every single TC4 I’ve had and it really does a great job of helping keep the motor cool. I highly recommend this item!
Well, there ya have it. Hopefully we’ve helped you revitalize your TC4 into a pretty potent VTA racer.
Like to see another car featured? Shoot us a message using the form on the Hop-Up Corner Request Page and we’ll get it added to the queue!