Xmas in September !
Words and photos: Sylvain Lafrance
Waiting for a new kit from Team Associated is always exciting. Few months ago, the A-Team released the RC8 buggy and now the RC8T hits the market. The wait has been long for the truggy. While some manufacturers were releasing their second generation of truggy. The A-Team were still working hard to offer us what they think is the best truggy on the market. The truggy comes unassembled at the exception of the shocks, diffs and turnbuckles. The body is cut at the exception of the engine and windshield venting holes, maybe just in case you decide to go brushless!
Does the RC8T worth the wait? Keep on reading and this is what you’ll find out.
The RC8T comes as a kit.
- Factory assembled shocks, diffs and turnbuckles. Factory Team shock and diff fluids included.
- Factory Team ‘Big Bore’ threaded, hard-coated shocks feature 16mm six hole pistons and 4mm gold shock shafts for maximum smoothness
- Factory Team Aluminum Top Plate and Steering Rack for the ultimate truggy durability
- Factory Team chassis braces with integrated center stiffener that maintains chassis integrity
- 4mm woven carbon fiber shock towers for maximum rigidity, strength, and light weight to keep the center of gravity low
- Blue aluminum wheel hexes featuring captured drive pins and nyloc wheel nuts providing the ultimate in security
- The 4.30:1 ratio gear boxes produce maximum punch allowing the RC8T to accelerate harder out of the corners and up the biggest jumps
- FFC Free Float Caliper brake-system eliminates the possibility of unwanted brake drag while on throttle
- Two-piece split-center diff mount allows quick and easy access to the center diff
- Wing angle and position is fully adjustable and secure
- High-torque capacity three-shoe aluminum clutch
- Full CVAs with captured CVA pins
- Full ball bearing drivetrain and steering
- Metric alloy hardware throughout
- Milled 3mm black hard-coated 7075 aluminum chassis
- Factory Team blue titanium turnbuckles
Since the RC8T is sold as a kit, I have to build the truggy. Team Associated built for you the most time consuming parts which are the shocks, diffs and turnbuckles. I closely examined the diffs and new big bore shocks before filling them and they are well built. I also measured the length of all turnbuckles before assembling them and they have all the perfect length as explained in the instruction manual. All preassembled parts are perfectly assembled at the factory.
The instructions manual is well done. Maybe I’m getting too old but more close-up pictures should have been easier to identify how parts fit in each others. I made few mistakes when building the RC8T, pay extra attention when assembling the servos mounts, the steering blocks bushings and the upper front arms. The rest was easy to assemble and all parts fit perfectly well together and no parts were missing in the kit. I used thread lock fluid on all metal to metal screws to prevent them from loosing due to vibration.
It took me a total of six hours to fully assemble the kit. This includes time for the photos and all notes taken while I assembled the kit for this review.
Here’s the front end ready to be installed on the chassis.
On the bench:
The RC8T uses 4mm woven carbon fiber shock towers. Those shock towers are low profile and help to keep the center of gravity low and they are extra light too. New Big Bore Shocks are included in the kit. The hard-coated shock bodies are threaded making quick adjustment easy. Six-hole pistons and 4mm gold shock shaft (protected by a dust boot) are used.
The rear end of the Team Associated RC8T.
Team Associated also included a bottle of 50wt shock fluid with the kit. The shocks come assembled and all I have had to do was to add the included oil. A bleeding hole is drilled in the shock cap. I have simply filled the shock, slightly screwed the shock cap and compress the shock to let extra oil exits by the bleeding hole and the tight the shock cap.
I measured all shocks, the front shocks are the same length as the rear shocks are equal length too. The ride height is also perfectly adjusted from the factory.
The new Team Associated big bore shocks are preassembled.
On the track:
As expected the RC8T’s suspension works fine and is very smooth. However, the included 50wt shock oil is a little thick for my track and my driving. I’ll replace the oil with 45wt. The suspension absorbs ruts and track imperfections with ease. No significant body roll or bottoming out was observed during the track test. Weight transfers from braking or accelerating are as expected. The RC8T pops off the jumps with ease and easy to control in the air.
Milled 3mm black hard-coated 7075 aluminum chassis.
On the bench:
The steering is the first step when building the RC8T. The steering is similar to what we find in the RC8 at the exception of the top plate and steering rack that are made of aluminum instead of carbon fiber. The aluminum steering race and top plate are Factory options on the RC8 but included with the RC8T. Four 6mmx10mm bearings are used for the dual bell crank to make the steering very smooth.
The first steps of the buiding are for the steering
I had difficulties to assemble the steering blocks bushings on page 14 of the instructions manual, not because parts were wrong but because I found difficult to align correctly the keyed bushings into the steering block. Otherwise, all steering components really fit well together and the steering is slop-free and precise.
Factory aluminum steering rack and top plate are included with the kit.
On the track:
The RC8T has a lot of on and off power steering and I like it. Entering or exiting tight corners is easy and I never needed to hit the brake to swing the rear end or to transfer weight to the front wheels. The RC8T is wide and its low CG helps for fast cornering. The steering is also very precise making the RC8T easy to drive.
On the bench:
To transfer all the power to the drive train, the RC8T uses three aluminum clutch shoes and a 14T clutch bell. A two-piece split-center diff mount houses the center diff and the 54T spur gear. This gives a quick access to the center diff. Team Associated included a bottle of 7000wt diff oil with the kit.
Ultra precise spiral cut diff gears
RC8T’s diffs come preassembled and the diff fluid is included in the kit.
The suggested diff setup has nothing in common with others truggies. AE recommends a 7f/7c/7r diff setup. At first I was a little skeptic about this setup since the RC8T has been designed and tested with a .21 engine in mind. A 7f/10c/3r should have been a more “basic” diff setup but I trust Team Associated and I’ll try the stock diff setup. Ryan Maifield has raced with a 20f/30c/10r diff setup when he TQ’d and won the Manufacturers’ Cup. This shows the wide range of diff setups that can be used to fine tune the RC8T.
With a final ratio of 4.3:1, the accelerations will be quick not to say insane. Ultra precise spiral cut diff gears and diff pinion gears are used for the front and the rear diffs. Don’t forget to apply grease on diff gears and pinions. All the drive train spins really smoothly. The RC8T’s drive train is bullet proof and will sustain all the power of any big block engines on the market. On each corners, captured (and protected by rubber boots) CVA’s are used which means that the axle spins inside a huge 15mmx21mm bearing. This is a nice feature that will prevent the cross pin from coming out of the CVA.
The captured axles are a nice feature.
The front and the rear drive shafts also use CVAs. Note the absence of setscrew to retain the cross pin in place. Instead, the front and the rear drive shafts use a pin retainer clip to keep the cross pin inside de CVA. Extra holes are drilled into the axle so you can change the CVA’s pin location when the pin holes are worn. This will extend axles lifespan.
Insert the retaining clip before installing the hex on the axle.
Axles have an extra hole for the crosspin.
Four half offset blue anodized wheel hexes are included. This confirms that the RC8T is designed to be raced with 0″ offset wheels. The hexes use a clip and a setscrew to retain the pin inside the wheel hex.
On the track:
To test the RC8T, I installed four Pro-Line Bow-Ties LPR tires and my new Novarossi Plus 28-7 engine with a Factory Team tuned pipe. This combo produces more power than me and my RC8T will ever need. From stand still, I applied full throttle and the RC8T accelerated straight and hard time after time no matter the track surface. The drive train had no difficulties to transfer the power to the ground. After four consecutive fuel tanks, the brake were still grabbing like new with no sign of fade.
The center diff comes assembled, just add diff fluid.
A plastic cover protects the center diff. Aluminum inserts cool down the disks brake.
To test the RC8T, I used the Novarossi Plus 28-7 engine coupled to the Factory tuned pipe.
What I liked
- Light, nimble and fast
- A lot of on and off power steering
- Big bore shocks already included in the kit
- Aluminum top plate and steering rack included
- Nice looking body
What could be improved
- No tires included in the kit
- I had difficulties to assemble the steering blocks bushings
Items used for the track test
- Novarossi Plus 28-7 engine (Read review)
- Pro-Line BowTies LPR tires
- Team Associated Factory tuned pipe
- Futaba 3PM 2.4 GHz transmitter (Read review)
- Trinity 30% Monster Horsepower fuel
- Team Associated DS1015 Servo (Steering)
- Team Associated DS1313 Servo (Throttle/Brake)
- Reedy 1600NiMh humppack
No doubt that the long awaited Team Associated RC8T is a full blown race truggy out of the box. The new big bore shocks are a nice addition; the suspension is smooth, absorbs any track imperfections and makes the truggy pops off the jumps. The on and off power steering is awesome and the drive train transfers power to the track with ease. The RC8T is easy to drive, predictable and forgives many of my driving mistakes. When pushed hard, the RC8T still want more. The RC8T feels very light on the track and performs very well when exiting or entering tight corners.
I contacted AE and I asked them why they no more include tires in their kit. The answer was simple and justified. Since the RC8T is designed for racers, many of them prefer to have the own tires rather than tires included with a kit. This also helps to keep the price tag low. I’d like to see two pairs of Pro-Line Bowties LPR or Pro-Line Crime Fighter LPR tires in the box since they are the choices of many racers. Plus, the four white dish wheels included in the box will accept Pro-Line LPR tires.
The only limits to the RC8T’s performances are my driving skills! The Team Associated RC8T Factory Team will give a lot to any racers out there. Your place on the podium now only depends of your driving skills!
For more information, visit www.teamassociated.com