Trail Ready Yota For Four
The scale side of RC has been picking up some major steam over the past couple of years. Not only do people love the technical aspects of this segment, they absolutely thrive on the customization portion of it. Think about it; between all the bodies, wheels, tires and parts, there are literally thousands of combinations that allows anyone to create a one-of-a-kind customized vehicle.
This process, however, starts with the rig itself, and what we have here is one of RC4WD’s newest scale trucks, the Trail Finder 2 LWB. The LWB stands for Long WheelBase, making this Yota basically the same as the original TF2 only stretched to add just over 1″ to the wheelbase. The body has also been drastically changed, adding an additional set of doors and a slightly shorter bed. It’s all about the details, so let’s get this beauty out of the box and on to the trails!
Product: RC4WD Trail Finder 2 LWB Trail Truck
Part #: Z-K0058
Recommended For: Anyone looking for a super scale scaler
The Trail Finder 2 LWB uses a pair of thick aluminum frame rails as the basis for the chassis. Multiple cross braces can be seen from the front to the back, tying everything together to form a very sturdy platform. In the middle, a wide plate is mounted on top to attach the electronics; the ESC, shifting servo and battery all fit. Plastic end-caps on the chassis allow mounting of the front and rear bumpers and the rock sliders attach directly the frame rails. To keep the TF2 looking scale, body mounts extend from the chassis and attach to the side of the hard body.
The TF2 is one of the only production rigs on the market that uses a leaf spring suspension. Why is that? Well, typically a linked suspension has much more articulation, resulting in better offroad handling. However, we’re talking scale here, and it’s a nice change of pace to see this kind of setup.
Helping the leaf springs are a set of internally-sprung shocks, meaning there is no spring on the outside; it’s on the inside. Silicone oil and tiny internal pistons are also used to control damping. The suspension is very simple, but also very effective.
RC4WD provides the TF2 with a pre-built transmission, transfer case and axles. This cuts down quite a bit on the assembly time and ensures a properly working drivetrain right from the get-go. All that’s really required is to attach these parts to the chassis.
The transmission mounts up front like a real car, posting the motor right behind the front grille. The transfer case attaches to a sunken center skid plate with metal sliders transferring power to the axles. 12mm hexes are pre-attached to the ends of the axles; all you have to do is mount the tires to finish off the drivetrain.
The steering is pretty typical on the TF2; the servo is chassis mounted with a short link to the left steering block. From there, a long link connects the left and right steering blocks. Both links are metal so durability shouldn’t be an issue here, especially since the links are in front of the front axle.
Speaking of that, I mentioned the front axle comes pre-assembled – well, that includes the steering parts attached to it as well. Again, this helps move along the process and prevents any mis-steps during the build.
I mentioned above that the electronics plate allows mounting of the battery, shifting servo and ESC. Typically, a standard-sized battery would also be used, but I opted for a shorty since the Outcry ESC has an external BEC. This adds a little more to the ESC’s footprint, inching into the area a full-size battery would normally go. I could have re-arranged everything to make a full size pack fit, but I was also curious as to how a shortly LiPo would work on a trail truck so that’s the layout I stayed with.
Right behind the electronics plate is a small chassis mounted box that looks like a fuel cell. This is actually where the receiver is located. The box mounts securely to a pair of cross braces and has small cutout for the wires to enter. It’s unfortunately not waterproof, but it’s high enough up that fording through shallow water shouldn’t be an issue. If that’s a major concern, you could add a dab of Shoo Goo to the opening to help keep the water out.
The TF2 requires two servos; one for the steering and one for the transmission. To keep the TF2 LWB in a straight line, I went with Futaba’s S3470SV S.Bus2 High Voltage servo. Yes, this might be a bit overkill, but it rocks some great numbers; .12 seconds in speed (7.4v) and 133oz of torque (7.4v). While the speed isn’t all that necessary, a high torque rating is critical for trailers in rocky conditions. Plus, the S.Bus servos are both high voltage and programmable, giving them an extra edge in performance. Oh, and the S3470SV retails for under $50 – kind of a no-brainer.
For the shifter, you really don’t need anything over the top, however I still wanted something with a bit of torque to help shove the shift fork in place in case I was stuck on rocks. With that, I opted for Futaba’s S9405, a high-torque servo that rolls in with a .11 speed and 100oz of torque. Easy peasy.
When it came time to choose the powerplant, I wanted to keep it as budget-friendly as possible. I opted for a combo from RC4WD; the RC4WD Outcry Crawler ESC and RC4WD 45T Boost Crawler motor.
The Outcry was a great choice, able to handle 4-12 NiCd or NiMh cells or up to a 14.8v (4S) LiPo. It also has a great driving feel, but the big bonus is the massive drag brake. I loved how it held the TF2 in place on steep hills while I changed my position to better visualize a descent. The ESC itself has a small footprint, but does come with an external BEC that requires a separate mounting location. Since I’m using a shorty LiPo pack, space isn’t really an issue on the TF2.
The 45T Boost is a brushed motor that is built for crawling. It is completely rebuildable and provides good wheelspeed when you need it. Its best feature, though, is the amount of torque it provides, especially when the TF2 is in its lower gear.
To get the most from your powerplant, you need a good battery to provide ample juice. I chose the ProTek RC Supreme Power 100C Shorty LiPo Battery for just that reason. This pack is set up in a 2S2P configuration and sports some serious power, perfect for times when the TF2 needs that extra oomph to clear an obstacle. I also like that it comes in a hard case; spinning tires can kick up all sorts of battery-piercing objects.
All my scalers are loaded into my Futaba 4PLS 4-channel radio system. Besides being lightweight and easy to use, it has features that make life easier with some of my other rigs – one being 4WS mixing. I also like that it has telemetry and an Inactive Alarm; that helps warm me while I’m on the trail that I need to keep moving. You’d be surprised how much down time can happen when waiting for other drivers.
Body and Bumpers
There’s no denying the beauty of this rig is the Toyota hard body. It comes in four pieces – the front grille, 4-door cab, cab back and the shorty bed – all primered grey and ready for paint. Assembling these parts is easy with the help of a few screws; the resulting shell really being a work of art. The glass is separate, using a single sheet for the rear window and a clear molded ‘tub’ for the windshield and side windows. Final touches include clear light covers, side markers with bezels, door handles (even one for the bed), side mirrors and windshield wipers.
I gave the Yota a shot of Tamiya TS-92 Metallic Orange, detailing the bolt-on parts with TS-6 Matte Black. To give the bed a more realistic look, I masked it off and sprayed the inside with Rust-Oleum Truck Bed Black Textured Paint. Now it looks like it’s got a spray-in bedliner. Good stuff.
The bumpers on the TF2 LWB look great, both wrapping around the corners of the truck to help protect against scars and scratches. They’re a bit flexible, though, so any hits tend to push them out of the way, allowing the body work to take the blow. Their flexibility also surprised me when I went to pick the truck up; it’s not a good idea to initially pick the truck up by them … I almost snapped the front one off! Once up in the air I think it’s ok to carry the TF2 by them, but they still feel a bit flimsy.
Wheels and Tires
At first, I thought the included wheels and tires were a bit small for the truck. After they’re mounted, though, I think they look really cool! Assembling them will, ummm, definitely test your patience – at least the first one will. After that, you should be able to breeze through the other 3. Hopefully.
To test the overall performance of a scale trail truck, there really should be a combination of terrain to run on. For this, I opted to take the TF2 LWB to one of the best local places I’ve found – Corona Del Mar (CDM). This location has a huge natural crawling area, starting from the parking lot and leading up to an elevated section of paths, crevices and rock formations that will test the limits of any kind of rig. Since this is more of a trail truck than anything else, I kept mostly to the paths, although I did venture a bit towards the heavier stuff to really test the capabilities of what the TF2 LWB had to offer.
Speed and Braking
With the included electronics, the TF2 LWB cruises along at a pretty mellow pace. There’s no drama or stress on the tires or drivetrain even on relatively steep hillclimbs. Meet up with a particular abrupt angle that causes a struggle, simply flip the switch to change to the lower gearset and continue on your way.
That lower gear isn’t something you want to drive around with as it’s very slow, however it’s fantastic for controlling wheelspeed to gain access to locations you may not be able to in the taller gear.
The Outcry ESC has incredible brakes; going up or coming down, the sidehill holding power is phenomenal. The only limitation, however, is the actual tires themselves. While in motion, the tires conform to pull the TF2 around really well. Stopped, they seem to allow a little bit of slide which, in any steep situation, becomes a bit hairy. If you do decide to attempt some crazy-crawl, remember that hard body. Losing grip could cause some serious damage to your beautiful shell.
Steering and Handling
Steering on the TF2 is also really good. The Futaba S3470SV performs nicely when traversing rocky terrain and allows me to whip the tires back and forth to help them gain traction without the fear of blowing an internal gear. The TF2 can make decent tight turns, but in some cases I needed to do a 3- (or 4-) point turn in order to clear an obstacle. That’s fine, though, as I’d expect a full scale truck to have to do the same.
Handling. Well, I really wasn’t sure what to expect being my first leaf-spring vehicle but, in all honesty, I was quite pleased with how it performed. On trail, it goes where I need it to – no muss, no fuss – and looks simply bad ass doing so. The suspension works like a real leaf-spring truck should; it soaks up most of the terrain while making you slow down a bit to tackle the more difficult stuff.
Articulation isn’t its strong point, but that doesn’t seem to stop it when the going gets tough. I’ve been to CDM with other rigs and, other than some more mature climbs, this truck ate up this terrain without any issues. If I had to ding it on anything, it would be the tires. While they are really good in most cases, they do seem to be the limiting factor when the TF2 fails a climb.
Durability and Maintenance
Most of the TF2 LWB is rock solid – the chassis, transmission, axles, suspension – all fantastic. I can’t really see anything as a weak point after a couple trips on the trails. The front and rear bumpers are a concern, however. They are pretty flexible and I have to remember not to pick the truck up by them. On top of that, a good solid hit in a wrong direction could decrease their usefulness to protect my cool body. The good news is I have a set of metal replacements that will be finding their way onto this truck shortly, so I just have to be a little careful until I get those installed.
There shouldn’t be much in the way of maintenance, but that will completely depend on your driving. Run it through water, snow or mud and you’ll want to check all the screws to make sure they haven’t backed out or are starting to corrode. Keep an eye on the beadlocks as well. I had one tire slip slightly out of the bead, probably my fault during the mounting period that didn’t show up until after my run. Other than that, the rest of the TF2 looks great.
There’s not much in the way of tuning on this truck. The shock oil can be changed and the stiffness of the leaf springs can be altered (either by removing the helper springs or installed a softer set of springs). But, really, you shouldn’t need to be worrying about the setup – the TF2 LWB is definitely a capable rig in box stock form.
• Steering Servo
• Shift Servo
• Brushed ESC
• Brushed Motor
• Shorty LiPo Battery
• Radio System
• Futaba S3470SV Steering Servo
• Futaba S9405 Shift Servo
• RC4WD Outcry Crawler ESC
• RC4WD Brushed 45T Boost 540 Crawler Motor
• ProTek RC 2S 4300mAh Shorty LiPo Battery
• Futaba 4PLS 4-Channel Transmitter
Power Source: Electric
Length: 20.16″ (512mm)
Width: 8.46″ (215mm)
Wheelbase: 12.36″ (314mm)
Height: 8.27″ (210mm)
Ground Clearance: 2.09″ (53mm)
Type: Ladder Frame
Type: Dual solid axle
Shocks: Internally sprung scale shocks
Steering: Chassis mounted direct
Turnbuckles: Fixed links
Transmission: R3 2-speed
Clutch: Slipper clutch
Bearings: Precision sealed
Gearing: 32P, optional pinion gears
Body: Hard, LWB Toyota
Wheels: 1.55″ Stamped steel beadlocks
Wheel hex: 12mm hex
Tires: Mud Thrashers
If you need any help building this truck or just want to see what it entails, check out our online build. We show you, step-by-step, how to take your RC4WD Trail Finder 2 LWB from a box of bags to a running rig complete with pictures and helpful tips.
You can see the build here: RC4WD Trail Finder 2 LWB Online Build
• Absolutely LOVE the Toyota body and all the extra details
• Body comes primered and ready for paint
• Build quality is excellent
• Pre-assembled gearbox and transfer case
• Fuel cell radio box is really cool
• Adjustable leaf-spring suspension
• Wheel and tire combo looks awesome
• Surprising ability to keep climbing even when you think it shouldn’t
• TONS of aftermarket parts to make it a one-of-a-kind rig
• Did I mention it looks bad ass?
• Plastic bumpers are flimsy
• Building the beadlock wheels is a bit tricky