Tamiya Grasshopper Review, Part 2

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As I mentioned in Part 1, I could have put the Tamiya Grasshopper reissue together without the manual--but I used it anyway. A few short hours after following the steps I had a completed car, ready for some fun. It went together easily and brought back a lot memories for me.

The only thing I haven't done yet is paint the body. I plan to wait until spring-time to do that, when warmer weather will let me paint outside and allow the paint to properly dry and cure. (Refer to most spray or brush-on enamels and you'll see they are to be used in about 50-80 degrees farenheit.)

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Assembly of the gearbox went especially quick because I had recently assembled the exact same thing for the Lunch Box. The only difference is the motor: in this photo, the small Grasshopper 380 is in front, a standard 540 in the middle, and an old Trinity Monster Stock motor is in back.

The smaller Grasshopper 380 motor won't run the car as fast as a 540 would. The flip side is that the small motor won't drain the battery as fast--it'll last quite a long while!

The Grasshopper reissue kit isn't exactly the same as the original, and I picked up on a few of those differences:

  • On the chassis, the original grasshopper had a little piece of molded plastic diagonally across the battery opening. This piece could be removed to fit a 7-cell "hump pack" battery (something I haven't seen in quite a while). In the reissue kit chassis, the mold was modified a little to completely fill in this spot. I highlighted the area in the photo below to make it easier to see how the old kit looked.
  • The other difference I picked up on is something I'm not 100% certain of. In the original kit, I believe I had to build the steering arm. It consisted of four parts: the plastic arm, the metal axle, the brass steering ball, and small worm screw. The worm screw was used to hold the arm and axle together. In the new kit, the axle and arm are one piece, as in the photo below.
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I decided to get a new radio for the Grasshopper: a Futaba 2PL. Installing the steering servo and receiver went easily, as expected. Connecting the Tamiya electronic speed control to the receiver was a little troublesome, however. The Grasshopper kit comes with a paper illustrating how to connect the ESC and it jumped out at me pretty quick that there are plugs for both the channel 2 and battery connections on the receiver. Initially, I only plugged in the channel 2 connector--like most ESCs have--and powered on, which resulted in a lot of beeping!

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The ESC's battery connecter had to be plugged into the receiver, but it was a bit too large. I had to shave down the edge of the connector to get it slim enough to fit. (The shaved area appears a little shiny in the photo.) Once the battery connector was plugged in the ESC worked correctly.

It's worth noting that the Lunch Box uses the same ESC, but I didn't have a problem with that one. I used an older receiver--which had a larger plug hole (either by design or from heavy use; I'm not sure which). I plugged both the channel 2 and battery connectors in that without a second thought, and of course, it worked fine.

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The whole rest of the chassis went together smoothly, and was finished in only a few hours. Some quick testing verified that everything was working properly. The only thing left to do is paint the body, though as I mentioned in the beginning, that will have to wait until spring. To give the Grasshopper a fighting chance, Part 3 of this review--the driving experience--will also probably wait until warmer (muddier!) weather.

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Older Comments (5)

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I have a re-issued grasshopper and have brought a 540 motor since I broke the connections off the original 380 motor. I am having a problem where the recommended 18T pinion gear does not sit in the spur gear correctly, almost as if it is off centre - any thoughts. I have tried everything but nothing seems to work. Any thoughts?

I have the re-issue and I had heard hat the 380 is pretty pathetic in it, so I took the P*SS a little and put in a tamiya Super Modified 11t motor in the thing! Well on the test run it ran well in a straight line but steering was another thing!! you have to have it at the slowest speed otherwise it just rolls. really fun car!!!

Like yourself I bought the Lunch Box last Fri and built it over the weekend. I was happy with what I had built, then when I was out trying it something slipped in the differencial and now it won't move, so I'm in the process of stripping it down now to fix it. I've just bought the Grasshopper there online tonght and can't wait to build that. I was sorry when I had finished building the lunch box as I enjoyed it so much. I had the original Monster Beetle and I'll need to dig it out the loft to see if I can get that going again, then I'll have 3 of them. They are good value for money, not that hard to build and really easy to understan instructions. All the parts are very well made, the Lunch Box was faster than I thought. I would take it to a empty car park to drive it for the space, it's no good on a street. Hopefully I'll sort out my lunch box and have my grasshopper going next week.

All the best, happy buildind, Steven Holt, Glasgow.

I Loved RC cars my whole life. when i was little i had the " toy " ones however come 1984 85 or so and Radio Shack had released the Golden Arrow there first " hobby class " Rc car. I was hooked. . .A year or so before hand my second cousins husband bought a Kyosho ultima. And i used to go with him and run it. . . Boy did that thing seem fast at the time. . .Granted they were fast for there time. . . But now i know My VXl Stampede would have stomped it.

anyway. . After getting to see this ultima run every sunday and snagging a copy of a tower hobbies catalog from him I became familiar with terms like " hump pack " and "rs 540" " trinity" And " futaba" Got the Golden arrow for christmas that year.. . .and it was one of the best years of my life. . i bashed the heck out of that thing and the little troper that it was. It stood my my side and took it.

Cut to 24 years later.
I can not say that i ever really got out of RC Cars i just kinda forgot about it. wen my girlfriend asked me what i wanted for christmas. . I thought A nice Rc would make the perfect gift.

i dig around a while and ecited on a traxxas stampede VXL

This thing is great. . . and fast. . . It lost a wheel the first time out. . .Then multiple caster block, steering arm breaks
Well with tower hobbies and the internet and all and ebay. . . i soon got the parts i needed to make it all right again. . . .however. . . .I ran into something that i never thought I could get.

VINTACE RC CARS FROM YESTERYEAR !!

Oh my, I was hooked. . Grasshoppers, hot shots, ultima's big wigs, rc-10's The list went on and on and lets not forget the occasional golden arrow showing up on ebay complete with box.

At my young age i was not quite sure that i could tackle " building " the grasshopper" and mom and dad were not all that mechanical of folk. . So thats where my golden arrow came in.

Recently in addition to my VXL 'Pede I have added a xl-5 Pede, A Grasshopper from back in the day and a golden arrow with the box and all. ..Its a great sport. and although some may see it as a complete waste of money. . i look at it this way.. . . I coulld be hooked on Crack. .

Thanks for the site and bringing back some childhood memories. .

Chris. .

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