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May 03, 2019, 02:14 PM
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jameschen072's Avatar
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Mini-Review

WPL C34KM Toyota FJ40 Crawler review


JamesChen072's WPL C34KM Toyota FJ40 Crawler review


Hey everyone!
WPL, one of the most interesting companies to have graced the hobby industry lately… has released yet another product. Despite knowing the many flaws of previous products from first-hand experience, I just had to make the jump… I’ve purchased every truck they’ve released and it’s becoming an addiction!
So here it is, a review of the C34KM metal edition kit… a 1/16th (realistically closer to a 1/14th scale) scaler with an injection molded FJ40 body for the whopping price of 98 dollars (rumored) . Is it too good to be true?
Before we begin, I’d like to thank Banggood for not only providing the review unit, but also for their understanding that my reviews are unbiased and do reveal the good, the bad and sometimes the ugly sides of the reviewed product.


Foreword
Past WPL’s products were fantastic to look at but realistically not reliable enough to take to the trails; I recall the first B series trucks had extremely brittle plastics and the gearbox was a nightmare to work with. As time progressed, evolutionary changes were made to the subsequent trucks-with enough patience through trial and error, it was possible to make a decent looking truck with performance to match.
Unlike its predecessors, the C34KM aims to be fully upgraded out of the box, eliminating the need to shop between third party upgrades and having to drill, file and modify parts in order to make them fit. I’m a fan of that idea.

From information released so far- the C34 comes in 3 variants-

C34 Standard Kit- Fully adjustable linkages, Soft tires, 180 sized motor with plastic-geared gearbox, 25g servo

C34KM- Fully adjustable linkages, metal axles, metal drivetrain, 370 sized motor with metal-geared gearbox, metal CVD, ball bearings, weighted hubs, soft tires, 25g servo

RTR- Apparently fully proportional. To be released soon.


Note that the only electronic component included in both kits are the 25g servo. A brushed ESC (10A+), transmitter, receiver, charger and 2S lipo batteries are required to complete the kit.

The build

Due to the mostly metallic construction of the C34KM chassis, this was the first time where I felt I wasn’t doing a toy conversion; I was building a kit! To complete the C34KM, I used a 2 channel 2.4GHz surface radio and a 10A ESC.
Despite the improved fit and finish, there were still a few flaws in the kit that needed tinkering:

1. The manual included in the kit wasn’t as detailed as the previous WPL kits. The print was extremely small and the details were quite vague. I ended up having to find photos of the prototypes on Facebook to check my work. One of the biggest errors was that there was no mention of how long the linkages had to be. Thankfully, I found out the specific measurements through my friend Edward, they are as follows:
Steering linkage: 91mm
Chassis linkage: 60mm
Panhard linkage: 56mm
My truck still didn’t seem to articulate very well with these linkage lengths, so some fine-tuning is necessary to get the geometry to work properly.

2. The cover on the axle body requires a lot of attention- if tightened, the part interferes with the gears. I’ve found it easiest to tighten the screws revolution at a time and turn the axle to check for interference.


3. The spring on the metal driveshaft requires a bit of patience to install. I used a small flathead screwdriver to pry the spring apart and slide it into the slot.


4. The screws that hold the shocks protrude into the shock body if overtightened and interferes with the movement of the springs.


Metal kit highlights
The metal chassis version of the C34 is quite an upgrade over older WPL trucks- Here are some highlights that I’ve noticed while building this truck:
Improved screws that don’t strip or snap as easily
Servo tray redesigned to accept the included servo
Metal axle body, steering knuckles, CVD and driveshafts. Full ball bearings.
Redesigned gearbox allows for increased ground clearance (belly). Metal internal gears are durable, while the counter-rotating output shafts on the transfer case reduces torque twist to a certain extent.
Panhard linkage significantly reduces bump steer
45-degree steering angle significantly reduces the turning radius of the C34KM
Included wheel weights lower the CG of the truck and increases wheel traction


On the trail
Like its full-scale counterpart, the C34KM looks fantastic on scale terrain. The motor/gearbox combo provides more than adequate torque and the drivetrain can actually handle it without stripping gears!
With the stock springs and the linkages at their recommended lengths, the chassis feels very stiff- a small amount of articulation happens then the truck lifts a wheel. I’m trying to troubleshoot this by tinkering with it some more- WPL’s official video shows the same truck with better articulation so I’ll try to adjust mine until it gets to that point.

As it sits right now, I’m really happy with the way the truck looks. With a bit of mud, a couple more scratches and the right camera angle, I think it’ll look very similar to the real deal!


Conclusion
Despite still having hints of its toy-grade roots, the WPL C34KM truly blurs the line between toy and hobby. With a scale body that few hobby companies could match, a chassis that is durable and functional- WPL is truly ahead of the game in their own sector of the market. It’s truly a great time to be in the hobby when you could get a truck like this for under a hundred dollars!
Given the amount of engineering work that went into creating such a detailed product, it’s a small shame that WPL didn’t dedicate more time into things like creating a better manual or improving the primitive shocks. I think the user experience is very important for any kit, and it’s one of the lessons they must learn in transitioning to the hobby world, I suppose.
All in all, I’m very happy with the C34KM. It has far exceeded my expectations and I’m already looking forward to what WPL will release next!

Thank you for taking the time to read this review. For questions, comments and suggestions, please PM me or leave them in the comments below, I will try to answer them to the best of my abilities.

Pros and Cons
Pros
+ Fully upgraded chassis
+ 3 wired hobby-grade servo
+ Fantastic looking Toyota FJ40 hardbody with functional doors
+ Price!
+ Increased torque and ground clearance with new motor/gearbox setup
+ Significantly increased durability

Cons
- Manual was poorly printed and didn’t provide adequate information
- Shocks bind up very easily
- Axle cover interferes with metal gears
- Chassis geometry setup requires a lot of tinkering

Video review with short run video
WPL C34KM Toyota FJ40 crawler review (15 min 35 sec)


WPL C34KM FJ40- Ready for an adventure? (4 min 10 sec)

More videos to come!

If you’d like to purchase this truck, please visit our friends at Banggood.com (links below, affiliated)

C34KM METAL KIT (AS REVIEWED)


C34 PLASTIC KIT
Last edited by jameschen072; May 14, 2019 at 12:47 PM.
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May 03, 2019, 02:17 PM
kiwi power!
jameschen072's Avatar
Thread OP
Further findings:
-I was wondering why the chassis was so stiff- turns out the shocks need to be VERY loosely attached to the chassis to the point where they have space to move front and back. Now the axles are able to articulate properly after that adjustment.

- Unless a very slim ESC is used (which aren't usually waterproof), I've found it easier to mount the receiver underneath the dummy engine and the ESC next to the battery.

-I was worried about the space between the two gears in the transfer case but they are functioning just fine






Photos and media below:
Last edited by jameschen072; May 09, 2019 at 11:05 AM.
May 04, 2019, 02:33 PM
Registered User

lots of room...


for improvement ..its still toy grade with the questionable electronics on it. 100$ for this....mmmh Ill pass.
May 04, 2019, 02:55 PM
Registered User
Maybe it's a toy ... but for the price the fun you can have with WPL trucks and moreover - the look ... it's just unbeatable.

Ty @jameschen072 for the nice review. Really like it! Ty for mentioning the points ...
Do you know how the plastic kit differs? If the standard WPL metal upgrade fill fits? The shafts are way longer for sure. I'm just waiting for 2 speed gear box conversion. I'm used to use it on all my WPL's :-)
May 05, 2019, 06:04 AM
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jameschen072's Avatar
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@themountain, I certainly agree that there's lots of room for improvement- things like the shocks and some of the chassis plastics... but in all fairness the electronics in the kits are hobby grade and are quite durable. The chassis also will stand up to a surprising amount of abuse. To each their own though, sometimes a product just doesn't speak to you...happens to me all the time too!

@mech1, Thanks for the kind words sir. I believe the plastic version has the old 180 motor, gearbox and axles? So I am guessing most upgrades should work (other than the driveshafts as you said, due to the extended wheelbase). Would love to see a review of the plastic version just to confirm though!
May 05, 2019, 04:04 PM
Registered User
Do you have a screenshot from below to appreciate the links? Also is this truck the same size as the c14 / c24?
May 06, 2019, 12:07 PM
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jameschen072's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spunkid
Do you have a screenshot from below to appreciate the links? Also is this truck the same size as the c14 / c24?
Hey Spunkid,
Sorry I'm not at home at the moment but please visit the youtube link:
WPL C34KM Toyota FJ40 crawler review (15 min 35 sec)
At around 7:55 I have the truck flipped over and it'll give you an idea of the chassis setup.

The C34 is quite a bit bigger than the C14/24, it has a longer wheelbase and is quite a bit taller too. About the same size as a MN90, which is probably more 1/12~1/14 scale.

Hope that helps!
May 06, 2019, 01:31 PM
Registered User
I ordered the blue metal one. Will see.
Hopefully I will be able to fit 2 speed gear box.
May 07, 2019, 05:59 AM
kiwi power!
jameschen072's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by mech1
I ordered the blue metal one. Will see.
Hopefully I will be able to fit 2 speed gear box.
Nice! Never tried the two speed but if it fitted the old WPLs it should fit the new one too given that it has the same mounting points on the chassis. That new powertrain would be hard to give up though, it's really quite good!
May 09, 2019, 02:53 PM
Registered User
I understand.
But I still need the speed of faster walking ... to fastly transport on places of off roading. And I'm afraid, from you video, the stock drivetrain isn't that fast :-(
May 10, 2019, 01:35 PM
kiwi power!
jameschen072's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by mech1
I understand.
But I still need the speed of faster walking ... to fastly transport on places of off roading. And I'm afraid, from you video, the stock drivetrain isn't that fast :-(
You're right, the C34KM moves at a slow walking pace- definitely needs a 2 speed if you are moving long distances in between!

Speaking of the video, here's a video of the C34KM in action! *shameless plug

WPL C34KM FJ40- Ready for an adventure? (4 min 10 sec)
May 11, 2019, 04:38 AM
Vienna calling...
Donaldsneffe's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mech1
I understand.
But I still need the speed of faster walking ... to fastly transport on places of off roading. And I'm afraid, from you video, the stock drivetrain isn't that fast :-(
Hi,
it should be easy to change gearmotors, they are cheap. Or to run on 3s
Got different results with different motors on 2 and 3s, made a video of motor tests:


370 Gearmotor and Metal Transfercase Test for Willys Jeep, WPL, JJRC and MN Trucks (34 min 35 sec)




I will never go "back" to 2-speed in "WPL-style-trucks" (in fact I never had 2-speed - nevertheless there are metal gears for 2-speed available now).

The C34 transmission is said to be 1/1 - isn't it?
This is the same 1/1 as I use in my test-setup.
And as you can see in the video, 3 out of 4 motors are really "faster than walking speed", even on 2s. On 3s they are "hellspeed", and low speed control is fantastic, torque, too.

So better change the motor and use a good ESC - then you will not need 2-speed.

Walter
May 13, 2019, 12:13 AM
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jameschen072's Avatar
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Thanks for the input Walter, I checked with WPL and they said the motor is 3s compatible, so that certainly is an option! At 2s it's just a but slower than walking pace.

Took the C34KM out yesterday on a real trail.. on scale terrain it was fantastic! A bit top heavy in more precarious situations but it actually did the whole trail without breaking any parts. Being a bit smaller than the 1/10ths that were there, I really had to choose my routes carefully... was a lot of fun!
May 13, 2019, 06:44 AM
Vienna calling...
Donaldsneffe's Avatar
Hi James,
try one of those Chihai 370 Gearmotors - they are cheap and really good.

Here is a list:
https://www.rockcrawler.de/thread/40...15#post1144815
I recommend to buy Nr. 2 or Nr. 3 (picture at the end of the post), and I recommend to buy a 12 V version and not a 6 V version. There is nearly not difference between 12 and 6 V versions, but the 6 V seems to run a bit hotter on 3s.

The motor of the C34 seems to be a "cheap motor" - if you take a look at the backside. Similar to Nr. 1 on the picture in the posting (which was not much cheaper than the motors with the blue backside, the Chihai GM-25).

I would simply spend those few bucks and try one of those "blue" motors - and probably you will get a huge improvement in performance already on 2s.
If you watch my video: Those motors (6 and 12 V) are far faster than "walking speed" already on 2s.

Walter
May 13, 2019, 07:52 AM
Registered User
@Donaldsneffe you answered to my question about 2 speed gear box on more places :-) So I will continue here ;-)
I saw all your videos and all your notes about plastic gears. Are they so problematic? Just asking. I'm using them in all my trucks but I carefully chose the terain and I'm gentle at shifting. Will see what happens.
My problem is that I really have to walk to offroad. And when it's slow I probably take the cat ro hand ... which isn't scale ;-)

From where do you have C34KM? I preordered on BangGood and it's seems they will out of stock. In this video they will probably stopped production of the KM version :-(


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