Building the TLR 8ight 4.0 was a pleasure and we are very thankful to Horizon Hobby that they have given us the opportunity to have this new nitro competition buggy in our wrenching room. This article is all about our experiences during the building proces and our overall conclusions.
The box and contents
We store always the TLR boxes, why? Well just because they are great. Apple says that the user experience starts when the customer is getting their hands on the box for the very first time. That particular moment is one of the most important parts of the customer journey. This is exactly what happend when you’re getting a Team Losi Racing kit in your hands. It's just great! In this case it's the brand new TLR 8ight 4.0 kit and has a slightly different box design, a refinement which is also the case with the buggy itself.
When we opened the box we were surprised that there are 2 sets of rims included. This was also the case with the earlier buggy kits but we recently have build the latest 3.0 e-Truggy kit and that kit didn’t come with rims. So we did the assumption that this had become a company policy but we are glad that this isn’t the case. It is always a good thing to have these rims and choose your own rubber and foam inserts.
When you've ever build a TLR kit you are familiar with all the nicely sorted bags. All recognizable with alphabetic signs which corresponds the chapters in the manual. This helps you to work efficient and this is one of the reasons that it’s so much fun to build this kit and getting closer to a final product step by step.
Bag A | The steering and tank
Starting the build you need the manual, chassis plate and bag A. Your goal is to build the steering of the car and mount the tank on the chassis. When following the manual there is really nothing you can do wrong.
In every 8ight car we add some aluminium directly. The parts we love in alu are the servo saver top (TLR244021), servo horn and the Top Brace (LOSA4440). This will give the car extra strength and less flex when landing on the front. Without these upgrades there is a risk that your center dogbone will bend.
While we finished the build of bag A we found out that the tank is very close and hitting the steering bellcrank. The steering has to be as smooth as possible for an optimum response. We decided to remove some plastic from the edge of the tank and now it’s good to go.
Bag B | Front suspension and drivetrain
This is the first moment you have to make some setup decisions. First the differential. TLR included 5000k diff fluid for the front which is a good choice for the allround driver. We build this car specifically for Astro Tracks (high grip) so we need more on power steering. We decided to fill the differential with 10k fluid which is also our favorite in the 3.0 buggy.
Bag B has also some updates compared with the 3.0. First the CVA dogbone is now booted so you can put grease on that part without the risk of attract any dirt. The will increase the lifetime and that’s always a good thing. The second refinement is a spacer to protect the outdrive coupler from hitting the gear box. Simple but effective! And of course the height of the spindles can now be changed and add a extra tuning option to tune the dog bone plunge. Another refinement are the redesigned shock towers and adds some extra shock and camber link mounting holes (front and rear towers).
Bag C | The center
Now it’s time to get the focus on the center of the buggy. TLR added a tube filled with 7k fluid for this differential and this is also our favorite. So no deviations this time and we build the center completely as TLR advised in the manual.
The throttle actuator that will be fitted on the radio plate later on is now already assembled and fitted to the diff mounts to get the brakes work. A nice feature is that the throttle actuator holds now ball bearings (no plastic anymore which is susceptible for wear) and this will help you to have a quicker respons on the car.
One of the biggest improvements of the 4.0 is it's optimized drivetrain. The center diff (and thus also the engine) has a slightly different position in comparison with the 3.0. The 3.0 has it's rear/center driveshaft in a straight line to the backside of the car and the front-rear driveshaft has an angle. The straight rear/center driveshaft makes it easier to transfer the power to the rear side of the car. With the 4.0 both driveshafts are having an angle and the power is overall more divided which will give this car a better 4WD experience and better handling.
There is one challenge and that’s to put the boot on the dogbone. What helped is to add black grease on the dogbone and first putting one pin in the boot hole. From that moment you can carefully slide the boot over the other side.
Bag D | Rear suspension
Nothing special while building the rear side of the buggy. 5K in the rear differential is spot on for us and is included in this bag. Also here all the driveshafts are nicely packed in boots so the the dogbones and axles are safe from dirt.
Bag E | Shocks
The 16mm bigbore shocks pretends to be the same as the 3.0 from the outside but there are really some cool features here. First the caps have now bleeder screws which makes setting up the shocks much more easy. It is always a challenge to setup the shocks in a correct way and with the bleeder caps this is done much easier.
The shocks can now be used in emulsion or bladder setup. The bladder setup is very regular and used in all other TLR kits. But now you can also choose for an emulsion setup. The bladder will be replaced by rubber rings. The strange thing is that this is not mentioned in the manual and the rubber rings haven't a part number in the exploded view yet. The emulsion is interesting because it will help you to smoothen your suspension so we decided to put the rings in the caps instead of bladders. Our theory is that emulsion shocks allows an instant shock action. With other words the piston will start passing oil thru the hole at the start of its travel. So more responsive.
Bag F | Radioplate
This is the point that the car can comes to life. We decided to use some high end servo’s to control this buggy. For steering we're using the Spektrum S6280 Torque servo, on throttle / brake the Spektrum S6290 Speed servo. The cables can be removed so you can nicely fit the servo's in the tray without damaging the leads. The servo without the lead is very welcome because the servo's are very tight in the tray.
The receiver is also from Spektrum, the SR2000 and bind on a frame rate of 5.5ms. So we will have the quickest response available and that’s exactly what we like. For all the input we are always using the Spektrum DX4r Pro transmitter.
A nifty new feature is a brace to connect the radioplate to the midd differential mount. This prevents flexing of the radioplate during heavy breaking which will give you a much more consistent break.
Bag G | Engine
This kit doesn’t include an engine and exhaust. That's a good thing because every competition driver has it’s own personal taste about nitro engines or is sponsored by any engine manufacturer. We are very happy with our Team Orion engines and ordered the CRF 3 ports .21 nitro engine (ORI80704). This is a 3.5cc factory tuned engine which is able to run at 36.000 RPM. The exhaust we have chosen is from TLR itself and has a nice black coated finish (part number LOSR8002).
One of the improvements is the new engine mount. The mount is much longer than the previous versions and this prevents the chassis for bending. After the engine is mounted on the chassis the car is done.
Our thoughts after the build
The car is finished and time to have a closer look. The shocks with the emulsion rings are great and it felt like they are indeed smoother and consistent than shocks with bladders. We are very happy with that because the shocks are one of the most important parts to get seconds on the track.
The drivetrain has a lot of improvements. The booted CVA's are well designed but is given the car not the smoothest feeling when turning the wheels. The car is new and it needs some time to break-in in order to run the car as smooth as possible.
Another part that needs some break-in is the steering. We have investigated the steering and it looks like the holes for the kingpins are a bit off. There are 2 options. You can drill the hole a bit wider (approximately 0.2mm) or just drive the car so it's solved due some wear. We decided to go for the last one and we have some good reasons for that. We have builded several TLR kits and always discussed these 'negatives' with the R&D department of Team Losi Racing. They have made always good decisions by design and it looks like all the above things are really no mistakes. We trust TLR for the fully 100% and we will drive this car without making any changes with drills or something like that.
To show you all the refinements and the finished 4.0 product hereby some pictures.
The 4.0 is really a good upgrade compared to the 3.0. The 3.0 is still a great car and can win many races. The 4.0 has some interesting new features for durability and handling. Our favorite is the new positioned drivetrain and we can't wait to get some hot laps on the track very soon.
It is really a blast to have this car in front of us and we can highly advise this kit! Have fun building and driving one of the best nitro competition buggy’s in the world :-)