Tamiya FJ Cruiser CC-01 Review - RC Groups

Tamiya FJ Cruiser CC-01 Review

Built for cross-country adventures.

Tamiya FJ Cruiser CC-01

A scale crawler atop the venerable CC-01 chassis

Product: Tamiya FJ Cruiser
Retail Price: $409.00
Scale: 1:10
Drivetrain: 4wd
Suspension: Front wishbone, rear 4-link solid axle
Motor: 540-brushed (included)
Bearings: Plastic bushings
Manufacturer: Tamiya
Available from: Tower Hobbies

The Tamiya FJ Cruiser is the latest in a long line of lexan bodies to grace the top of the CC-01 chassis. Designed in the early 90's and still being manufactured today, the CC-01 (CC stands for cross country) is arguably one of the best rc chassis if you're after true 1:1 scale suspension performance.

Building the Tamiya FJ Cruiser can be accomplished by anyone that can turn a Phillips head screwdriver; the instructions are easy to follow, but be prepared to spend a few long evenings cutting out and applying decals. In this review, we will highlight some of the main building steps and discuss the FJ Cruiser's off-road performance.

The Build

As with almost all Tamiya kits, the instructions are easy to follow and no aspects of the kit are very difficult to accomplish, but care must be taken to measure fasteners before installing them. Also make sure to read the fine print that sometimes gets thrown in around the diagrams. Many parts are left/right specific and are usually only differentiated by an obscure mark. As stated above, we'll go over some of the major steps during the build; consult the assembly manual for detailed instructions.

In the first steps, we install the motor plate, build the front differential and spur gear, and fit them into the chassis. When putting the gears together, use the supplied ceramic grease to lightly coat the gears. You don't need to cover every tooth, as the rotation will spread the grease around quickly.

Once the gears and motor are installed, the suspension components come next. Start by attaching the ball joints and assembling the lower suspension arms. Once you have it together, attach it to the front of the chassis.

The front uprights, or steering knuckles, get installed next. You'll be snapping links onto ball joints, so use a set of needle nose pliers and gently snap them together. Don't use your thumb, it hurts after a few snaps!

We'll assemble the rear differential now, and you have a choice to leave it as an open diff, or lock it. As an open differential, power will be transferred to both wheels, but the one with the least amount of traction will spin in some cases. When locked, both wheels will spin with equal power. I would advise locking the rear to increase off road performance.

Once the diff is assembled, place it in the rear axle housing, slide the bushings over the axle shafts, and install them in the case. Bolt the two halves together and attach the rear suspension arms to the axle. We're now ready to install the axle onto the CC-01 chassis.

I went with the optional Tamiya CC-01 Aluminum Oil Dampers (item number 54541). They add a little bling to the FJ Cruiser and help soak up the bumps better than the stock plastic shocks. The shocks build quickly and come with oil. Make sure to bleed off the air bubbles before sealing them up. Instructions in the shock kit detail how to do this.

For a steering servo, I went with a Hitec HS485HB. This is the perfect budget servo for a crawler, putting out 89oz. of wheel-turning torque with a 180-degree turning speed of 0.2 seconds... all for under $18. The servo features ball bearings and hardened Karbonite gears. Tamiya includes a servo-saver arm in the FJ Cruiser kit, with splines for JR and Futaba.

The latest ESC to come with the CC-01 chassis is the TBLE-02S. Its a brushless/brushed ready esc with standard features such as low-voltage protection and reverse lockout for racing. When setup for a brushed motor, use the yellow and blue motor leads; the orange wire is not used.

The clear lexan body needs to be cut out, masked, painted, and decals applied; the most time consuming part of the build. My only complaint is wanting the decal sheet to be die cut; having to cut out every decal with a hobby knife takes longer than building the chassis.

Tamiya recommends the following colors:

  • PS-1 White
  • PS-7 Orange
  • X-18 Semi-gloss black
  • PS-31 Smoke (no longer available)
  • PS-5 Black
  • TS-74 Clear red

I used the optional Tamiya LED Light Unit (TLU-01) for always-on head and tail lights. The FJ Cruiser kit is setup to accept the LED lights easily, just use the supplied wire holders and screw them into the light buckets. The LED light unit can mount anywhere; Tamiya recommends it to be mounted on the inside roof of the Cruiser.

Driving Report

With a couple of fresh LiPo packs, I set off to the local middle school; behind the sports fields is a dirt area that attracts many local rc'ers. Like a barren tundra with very small rocks and pebbles, I considered this location as scale as it gets for driving a 1/10th scale FJ Cruiser. The surface was dry and very hard, but with a loose layer of fine rocks and sand.

With the optional long-travel rear suspension kit installed, the FJ exhibited noticeable body roll if the steering was cranked hard while driving fast. Unfortunately, that's the price you have to pay with the long-travel kit; it's great for rock crawling, but makes the rear of the body lean out on fast turns. Luckily, due to the shorter suspension stroke on the CC-01 chassis when compared to other crawlers, the body roll rarely resulted in a roll over.

With the rear axle locked, traction improved dramatically versus the open differential option. The front bumper sits low, making approach angles shallow; I found myself having to back up and attack small ledges from different angles to avoid getting snagged on the bumper.

After playing in the rocks and sand, you'll find that the bathtub-style CC-01 chassis accumulates quite a bit of debris. Flip it over to clean it out often.

As I stated before, the suspension stroke is relatively short, so catching a little air with the FJ Cruiser is exciting as it slams back down. Luckily, the hop-up metal dampers provide decent cushioning and always kept it wheels-down after a jump.

Top speed was actually much faster than I anticipated. Tamiya markets the FJ Cruiser as a crawler, but the gearing is much more suitable for a basher. A 55-turn lathe motor and different gears would definitely help slow it down for precision crawling.

Video

Conclusion

The Tamiya FJ Cruiser is a nice scale addition to any crawler fleet. The time-tested CC-01 chassis is one of the closer examples of a 1/10th scale platform that mimics 1:1 performance, and with the option to lock the rear axle, you get pretty decent off road performance. For general bashing, the FJ Cruiser is suited well. Smooth off-road surfaces and light-duty crawling is where the CC-01 chassis excels, and the mud-terrain tread pattern on the tires provides good traction on most surfaces.

For anyone looking to step away from the competition-based crawlers and have some off-road fun, or as a first rc kit, I would recommend the Tamiya FJ Cruiser.

What I liked:

  • Scale looks with scale performance.
  • Comes with a motor and esc. The esc is brushed and brushless ready.
  • The Tamiya CC-01 chassis builds quickly.

What I didn't like:

  • The decal sheet takes longer to cut out than the actual build. I wished it was die cut.
Last edited by Matt Gunn; Oct 27, 2015 at 09:48 PM..
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Jul 29, 2014, 07:31 PM
DFS#000178
Rampage's Avatar
A mod I recommend for all CC01s.

Semi-locking front diff.



Adds a lot of resistance and semi-locks the front diff without completely locking it. You gain most of the effects of a locked front diff without losing the steering radius. It's been holding up in my H3 for years.
Jul 30, 2014, 09:28 AM
Registered User
are crawler models just too much overpriced? just look at the black plastic parts, why it cost so much in a crawler than say a touring car.
Jul 30, 2014, 10:07 AM
DFS#000178
Rampage's Avatar
Because it's unique on the market and Tamiya can get what they ask for it.

It's actually not terrible considering you get a a pretty nice ESC and everything with it. $209 isn't too bad. The Pajero and Jeep were a little more expensive because of their hard-plastic bodies.
Jul 31, 2014, 07:29 PM
Romans 8:28
peacekeeper94's Avatar
Toyota is discontinuing the FJ this year, so this may be the only way to get a new one.

Great review, Matt! I enjoyed reading it. I've been a big fan of Tamiya for a very long time. That's a great looking ride. It looks like there's a lot of room inside the body. With some interior parts and a driver from RC4WD, you could really detail it out!
Last edited by peacekeeper94; Jul 31, 2014 at 07:37 PM.
Aug 01, 2014, 03:17 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rampage
Because it's unique on the market and Tamiya can get what they ask for it.

It's actually not terrible considering you get a a pretty nice ESC and everything with it. $209 isn't too bad. The Pajero and Jeep were a little more expensive because of their hard-plastic bodies.
agree what you said, but it is 409, and with white pig motor and black plastic chassis, nice body though.
Aug 01, 2014, 06:56 PM
crpplus/cowrc factory driver
multiflyer2's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by peacekeeper94
Toyota is discontinuing the FJ this year, so this may be the only way to get a new one.

Great review, Matt! I enjoyed reading it. I've been a big fan of Tamiya for a very long time. That's a great looking ride. It looks like there's a lot of room inside the body. With some interior parts and a driver from RC4WD, you could really detail it out!
Yep, 2014 is its final production year according to TMS. Its bound to be a collector's item in the years to come. Wanted one back in 2006 , but due to kids and family ended up w/ a RAV-4
Aug 01, 2014, 07:17 PM
DFS#000178
Rampage's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by modelerchina
agree what you said, but it is 409, and with white pig motor and black plastic chassis, nice body though.
That's the MSRP. It's $209.99 at Tower Hobbies.
Aug 01, 2014, 07:18 PM
DFS#000178
Rampage's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by multiflyer2
Yep, 2014 is its final production year according to TMS. Its bound to be a collector's item in the years to come. Wanted one back in 2006 , but due to kids and family ended up w/ a RAV-4
A coworker of mine has a really really nice low-mileage TRD-edition FJ and Toyota's trying really really hard to get her to trade it in.
Aug 01, 2014, 09:47 PM
Registered User
Very nice. Give us some more info on the semi locking front diff and Matt, how id you paint the chrome rims? How did you prep the chrome plating? I have this kit for a future build.
Aug 01, 2014, 09:55 PM
RCGroups Editor
Matt Gunn's Avatar
The front diff is a little lose in stock form for anything serious, but it should be expected as it's not a comp crawler. I used Tamiya PS semi-gloss black on the wheels. I didn't scuff them or anything, just put down about 5 coats. Once it hardened, it was almost like a powder coat... hard as a rock.
Aug 02, 2014, 05:38 PM
Registered User
I didn't notice that it came with bead lock appliques. I might do this then. I have some Krylon fusion semi gloss black I would use. But I will try to at least clean and scuff them first. I gues adhesion does not have to be stellar since this part of the wheel will not contact anything. The two tone looks much better than just all chrome. I'm still torn on color. I have orange and blue paint, but I am wanting to use Krylon fusion terra cotta. Just not sure I will like it, but I want something different.
Aug 03, 2014, 06:33 PM
DFS#000178
Rampage's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by shahram72
Very nice. Give us some more info on the semi locking front diff and Matt, how id you paint the chrome rims? How did you prep the chrome plating? I have this kit for a future build.
My original build thread on ScaleRC4x4. Has all the details.

One of these days I need to finish that build. Or sell it.
Oct 07, 2014, 05:32 PM
Registered User
Habanero's Avatar
Gentleman says to lock the rear diff for more traction on off- road.

What would be the advantage of NOT doing this and allowing wheels to spin? Would this be better on road?

Thanks in advance....
Oct 07, 2014, 06:21 PM
RCGroups Editor
Matt Gunn's Avatar
Technically yes, an open rear diff will turn easier on the pavement, but these tires don't grip exceptionally well on the street so they drag easily when turning on hard surfaces. Keeping it unlocked also adds an element of scale, but does hinder performance quite a bit if trying to climb.


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