RC4WD TrailFinder 2 - RCGroups Review

Scale offroad adventures await.

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Introduction


Product:TrailFinder2
Retail Price:$399 (Kit version, no electronics)
Scale:1/10th
Wheel base:287mm
Screen size:7"
Available from:RC4WD.com

The TrailFinder2 is a 1/10th scale offroad truck, sporting true-scale realism and performance seldom seen on other rigs currently available. Manufactured and sold by RC4WD, the TrailFinder2 features bullet-proof drivetrain components and a laundry list of available accessories to customize it to your heart's content. Build time is cut down considerably with the fully assembled 2-speed transmission, transfer case, and front and rear axles; they're ready to be bolted in for service! And just in case you're not quite sold, a highly detailed plastic Mojave body kit is included, which bears a striking resemblance to the iconic 'Yota pickup from the 80's.

Available in an RTR version and a kit version, RC4WD gives you the options to hit the dirt with an electronics package chosen for you, or take some time to assemble the kit and utilize your own motor, esc, and servos... I chose the latter of the two. In this review, we'll go over the main building steps to get it put together, then we'll set this little scaler loose on the trails and see just how well it performs.

The kit

The TrailFinder2 packaging is quite classy to say the least; the Mojave body set is boxed separately next to a foam tray displaying the transmission, transfer case, wheels, and axles. Under the top foam tray is another box containing the frame channels; below that are the individual bags of parts and hardware. Each bag is labeled for easily finding parts during assembly.

The included Mud Thrasher tires in Advanced X3 compound have a very similar tread pattern to BFG Mud Terrain tires. They have an inner diameter of 1.55" and an outer diameter of 3.67". Foams come pre-installed.

Adding to the realism of the TF2, the OEM-style steelies look very true-to-scale and give the truck that classic beater feel. These 1.55" wheels have inner beadlock rings and work by sandwiching the outer wheel sections against the tire bead and the inner ring. Six bolts hold the three-piece wheels together.

The transmission is all metal and comes fully assembled. Dubbed the R3, it's a 2-speed tranny with a billet aluminum case, and utilizes a Delrin spur gear and slipper clutch. A motor mount is built into the case and has numerous mounting holes for running a wide variety of pinion/spur gears - this thing is a work of art.

The Hammer transfer case is constructed of cast aluminum, and features 32P widened gears for durability. Like the transmission, it comes built and ready to install.

The Cast Yota axles are the most accurate scale axles on the market, says RC4WD. I have to agree with them as they look like they were taken right off the real thing. They have hardened steel spur gears, die cast metal housings, full bearings, and are powdercoated in black.

The build

The following photos show the main steps involved in the assembly process of the TrailFinder2. I didn't show every single nut and bolt being fastened, but rather detailed the overall flow of putting this little rig together. The assembly manual is very easy to follow, and all parts requiring threadlocking compound are depicted. As a rule of thumb: if it's metal on metal, use threadlocker. If I had to point out the most difficult part, it would be installing the beadlock wheels on the tires. A rather time consuming task at that, each wheel had six very small bolts that had to be snugged down. Threading the nut on the bolt, and then tightening them down while maintaining a perfect "pinch" between the rim, the tire, and the inner sleeve got my blood pressure up there for a few minutes. Trust me, you get spoiled when the rest of the kit goes together so quickly! As with any build, this review should not be used as the sole means of assembly; always follow the manual.

For electronics, I chose the RC4WD 45-turn crawler motor, and a pair of Hitec HS645HB servos (one for steering and the other to shift the transmission from low to high gear.) The esc I had on hand was a spare no-name crawler unit from an old kit I parted out; it worked well and saved me from purchasing another one. Setting up the servo end points for shifting the transmission was an easy task; without the linkage connected, move the transmission shifter to each end and adjust the servo arm end point to that position.

Driving

In the real world, the TrailFinder2 closely resembles a Toyota pickup, lifted on 35's. It's leaf spring design won't win any crawling competitions, but that's not why you would purchase this kit. Whether it's slow and meticulous driving over uneven terrain, splashing through a shallow stream, or ascending rocky hills with all four wheels spinning, the TF2 can do it, and it looks the part I might add!

I will admit, I was a bit surprised with the suspension stroke; it's shorter than I expected, but then again this is my first real scale off-road truck, aside from a Tamiya FJ Cruiser. If you're looking for serious flex and crawling performance, a dedicated crawler is probably where you should be. But if you're after scale looks and scale performance, the TF2 will fit the bill nicely. Optional softer leaf springs are available to give just a little bit more travel, but honestly I'm quite happy with the out-the-box performance.

The TF2's Mud Thrasher tires grip well, but it's the locked front and rear axles that keep the truck moving forward when a tire is lifted off the ground. I found that the tires stuff nicely into the fender wells before the other one becomes airborne.

The only weak area noted was the side mirrors. I glued them on with CA, and the left side popped off easily when the TF2 rolled on it's side. You could drill them out and screw them in from the inside of the body, but that would just allow the mirror to break off and leave the base behind.

The transmission's low gear is exactly what I would expect from this truck equipped with a 45-turn motor and a 2-cell LiPo. Very slow and precise throttle control with just a little pull of the trigger, and quick bursts of wheel-spinning power when you grab a hand full of throttle. The transmission's high gear is good for wide, flat terrain where you want to go a bit quicker, but it's by no means a speedster with this motor/battery combo. I'm perfectly fine with that.

Conclusion

The TrailFinder2 from RC4WD is one of the most scale kits currently on the market. The attention to detail under the body with it's all metal transmission, realistic transfer case and axles on leaf springs, and fuel-cell receiver compartment is quite impressive to say the least. The plastic Mojave body accurately embodies the essence of those 80's Yota pickup trucks with 35" tires and OEM steel wheels. But it's the level of detail that you put into finishing the Mojave body that will set it apart from the rest. Whether you slap a coat of primer over the bright yellow plastic and hit the trails, or spend hours weathering the body with busted fenders and rusted quarter panels, you have an open canvas to take it as far as you want.

The TF2 is a great performer offroad, despite it's somewhat short suspension articulation in stock form. Some TF2 owners have started off with the optional soft springs to gain a little more flex, but most will find the suspension just right for scale offroad adventures - including myself.

Pluses

  • Scale looks and scale performance - outside and under the body.
  • Bulletproof drivetrain.
  • Very quick building kit.
  • Fully customizable with optional scale parts.

Minuses

  • Side mirrors pop off easily.
Last edited by Matt Gunn; Oct 27, 2015 at 08:42 PM..
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Oct 13, 2014, 08:02 PM
DLG addict.
electrich's Avatar
Very cool product. Trucks and crawlers are getting more of my attention. Racing is too regimented and mindless bashing gets old. I like slow technical trail runs and this truck looks great. Nice details and paint job.
Oct 14, 2014, 03:06 PM
AA6JB
Bajora's Avatar
Nice quality review of a very cool looking truck Matt. Really nice photos!
Oct 14, 2014, 03:15 PM
oh that guy
I have seen quiet a few reviews for the TF2 since it has been around a while but this is possibly the most professional and comprehensive one that I have come across. Nice write up!
Oct 14, 2014, 07:12 PM
RCGroups Editor
Matt Gunn's Avatar
Thanks guys.
Oct 19, 2014, 08:46 AM
Registered User
GLHS592's Avatar
I hate reviews like this. They make me want to spend money. I've been wanting one of these since I picked up an SCX10 and got into crawling. I never thought rc crawlers could be so much fun.

Great job on the review!
Oct 19, 2014, 10:41 AM
Registered User
Habanero's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by GLHS592
I hate reviews like this. They make me want to spend money. I've been wanting one of these since I picked up an SCX10 and got into crawling. I never thought rc crawlers could be so much fun.

Great job on the review!
Yeah Matt created a monster with me. One on the bench and two more in the closet. I also got an scx10 for playing around and love it.
Oct 30, 2014, 08:10 AM
Habitual Freeloader
badbill's Avatar
This looks exactly like the Tamiya Toyota 4wd pickup I built back in the late 80's, maybe early 90's? Anyone else notice that?

Bill Davenport
AMA 28141
Oct 30, 2014, 08:16 AM
RCGroups Editor
Matt Gunn's Avatar
Yep! Its the same body as the Tamiya Mountaineer/Hilux... a.k.a Hog Heaven!
Oct 30, 2014, 09:25 AM
Habitual Freeloader
badbill's Avatar
Please tell me it is just the same BODY lol...

Bill Davenport
AMA 28141
Oct 30, 2014, 09:33 AM
RCGroups Editor
Matt Gunn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by badbill
Please tell me it is just the same BODY lol...

Bill Davenport
AMA 28141

Sure! Here you go:

https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...68&postcount=9

Oct 30, 2014, 09:52 AM
Habitual Freeloader
badbill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Gunn
LOL thanks I needed that. I say that because the mechanics of the Tamiya were absolute junk.

Bill Davenport
AMA 28141
Oct 30, 2014, 10:07 AM
Registered User
nice!

i like the look of the chassis and parts a lot more than my scx10...

and the body too
Oct 30, 2014, 11:34 AM
RCGroups Editor
Matt Gunn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by badbill
LOL thanks I needed that. I say that because the mechanics of the Tamiya were absolute junk.

Bill Davenport
AMA 28141
Ah, I see what you were saying... Sorry. Type takes much of the expression out of it!

Yes, just the body. The chassis is all RC4WD. However, I would guess that the suspension travel isn't much more than the Tamiya Toyota; Its rather short. Dont get me wrong, there a place for long travel crawlers and short stroke off road trucks. This one just happens to fall into the latter category.

Matt
Nov 03, 2014, 04:39 AM
Registered User
Hi Sir/Madam does this rc car have a remote control


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