The off-road RC buggy, Tamiya Grasshopper is a 1/10th scale popular RC. It stands as one of Tamiya’s most popular RCs.
Tamiya delivers optimum performance both on dirt and on-road tracks. But can you upgrade the buggy to push the performance? Upgrading which parts will give the best results? Is it too expensive?
The answer is yes! But, it is not cheap. Yet, we can always find budget-friendly alternatives. In this article, I will discuss the important parts of the buggy that can be modified and the cost behind it.
How Much Does Its Cost to Upgrade?
The entire upgrade will cost you about $370-800.
You can upgrade the ball bearings at $8-15, $20-180 on Motor & ESC, up to $160-200 on body and body parts, $50-100 on radio transmission upgrade, $70-120 on the suspension and $40-100 on batteries.
you can upgrade other accessories within $20-80 dollars.
7 Tamiya Grasshopper Upgrades:
Ball bearings and ESC/MSC are the two parts you should definitely consider. Most people will suggest you stop at these two. Changing anything else possibly ruins the OG features of the car.
So if you’re unhappy with the buggy, maybe this is not the car for you. Or if you still want to stick to it, here are more parts for you to upgrade.
Like all runners, Tamiya Grasshopper also comes with plastic bushings with a bit of metal thrown in. Bearings instead protect against wear. It also increases the speed with runtimes.
The best thing is replacing all the ball bearings. This includes the bearings on the wheels as well as the gearbox.
Rubber shield bearings are recommended. For example, the Tamiya blue rubber shield type. These little beasts will save the wearing of your wheels and gearbox components.
Regular Option: 5×11 Ball Bearings & Bushings
Blue Option: Ball Bearings Set
2. Motor & ESC
The stock motor that comes with the Tamiya GH is a 380 type motor. The chassis with this is compatible with a 540 type motor. This little 380 is surprisingly amazing for longer runtimes. The only problem is the speed.
As the chassis supports 540, you might think of upgrading to one. The power of motor you can fit in the buggy is debatable, however. Because overpowering can render the buggy undrivable.
My research says that a 27t motor from Sport Tuned, Dirt Tuned, etc will suit the chassis well. Of course, you will need a steel pinion gear. You can stick with 21T. A 17.5T is the brushless version resembling most to the 21T brushed one.
An EZRUN version can be a great brushless option. The brushless motor and ESC combo is difficult to handle though.
Noiw when it comes to the ESC, GH usually has an MSC. But ESCs will suit just perfect with these. The new re-release thus comes with an ESC. It is in fact, more effective than an MSC. In terms of runtime and reliability.
Separate Option: Ansmann Clash 21 540 Motor, Modelsport UK Sniper RV-20 Auto.
Combo Options: 13.5T 540 Sensored Brushless Motor For Tamiya TBLE-02s ESCs (Expensive)
A lot of work can be done on the different body parts. For starters, switch to a lighter Lexican body part. It is more convenient than the heavy ABS body.
My suggestions on body would be to get a Parma body shell. Or you can go with a Tamiya Hornet shell.
Now if you’re getting Hornet shell, you will need Hornet body mounts. Both the front end (with oil shocks) and the rear end need to be changed.
The rear needs to be switched to Hornet-style floating system (fixed pivot), This stops the bunny hop or torque slap.
My suggestion for shock build is a set of Fastrax 70mm Aluminium shocks. Modify these to hornet bottom balls for the initial rear-end Hornet build.
These converting parts will end at the center pivot (for the conversion of Hornet flowing back).
For this, you will additionally need Hornet plastics all from D pack, Ampro axle retainer tab, Axle springs and shaft and shock retainers.
4. Radio Transmission
The Tamiya GH comes with a 2-channel radio with servos. The old 27MHz currently displays much interference. This is because of the array of devices. These devices use a band of harmonics, interfering the signal.
I suggest you get a modern 2.4GHz radio set. They run fine with a Tble-02 ESC.
If you are buying the transmitter and receiver separately, bear in mind that they must be of the same brand. Don’t mix old radio gear with new upgrades!
Transmitter-Receiver Combo Suggestion: Futaba 4YF Transmitter And Receiver.
Other Options: Spektrum Modulation 2 X Receiver. (Get a same brand transmitter with it)
Tactic TTX300 SLT 2.4GHz 3-Channel RC Radio System.
Another upgrade would be the suspension of the buggy. Albeit it endures a lot.
Now when it comes to Tamiya Grasshopper, initiate installing the rear friction dampers in exchange for the Hornet oil-filled ones.
Then go ahead and fit some Hornet O-ring retainers.
The grasshopper hugs the chassis from the rear end. A tip on the suspension fitting: you may need to cut slightly on the body to fit the suspension.
Here are my suggestions for the suspension kits: (Pintopower/Shapeways 3D-printed 5-shock cantilever system), (Element RC IFS Conversion Kit,) (FRONT SUSPENSION KIT fits Futaba FX10)
NiMH batteries work nicely with whatever mod you have on a GH. But if you are looking for LiPO options, you will need a LiPO charger.
You can find LiPO packs equivalent to the same dimensions as the NiMH packs.
You will find that LiPOs are lighter than NiMH. In this case, additional weight might be needed for the LiPO batteries.
Now getting to the 2S, 3S of the LiPO is essential. I have a few suggestions for you that will provide you variations:
2S Option: Gens ace LIpo Battery 7.4V 5300mAh
3S Option: Multistar High Capacity 3S 4000mAh
Tamiya Grasshopper Accessories Upgrades
According to the upgrades suggested, you will be needing a few hornet pieces. These will connect the gearbox to the chassis. These reduce the hornet bouncing to a certain extent. These would be two little springs that help with the bouncing.
For traction, I suggest you add some extra weight on the back. Place the weight right over the wheels.
You can also fit some CVA dampers on the front side. I’m not sure if anybody has ever tried that though!
Other than this, some oil-filled shocks instead of the front spring dampers might pass as an upgrade. You can also get metal hubs for axles, especially the rear one.
Tamiya grasshopper vintage fans do not prefer any upgrades. I do feel like a criminal for coming up with so many upgrades. However, these will amp up that GH performance. Hopefully will help you make the most out of your GH!