Tamiya TT-02 Getting Started

  1. Background
  2. Which Kit Do I Buy ?
  3. Upgrades
    1. Alloy Upgrades
    2. Ball Bearings
    3. Drive Shafts
    4. Shocks
    5. Front Diff
    6. Servo Saver
  4. Electronics
    1. ESC (Electronic Speed Controller)
    2. Servo
    3. Battery
    4. Charger
    5. Motor
    6. Radio
    7. Transponder
  5. Setup Tips
    1. Tyres
    2. Build your kit right
      1. Steering
      2. Hubs
    3. Ride Height
    4. Body
    5. Setup
    6. Driving


The Tamiga TT-02 is a very popular budget/entry level chassis. We race Tamiya TT-02 cars at both our Kambah asphalt circuit as well as our carpet indoor track. A well set up Tamiya TT-02 will be easy to drive and very reliable. There are some traps that are easy for people starting out in RC to fall into when starting out racing a TT-02. This page aims to give some guidance so people can get their TT-02 up and running as quickly (and cheaply) as possible without buying upgrades that will not make your car any faster or more reliable.

Which Kit Do I Buy ?

There are many TT-02 kits specs available. And as tempting as it may be to purchase the highest spec kit you can find (such as the TT-02SRX) the base kits are more than suitable for entry level racing with a few small upgrades. If a TT-02SRX looks like something you might like to buy, an ISTC Touring Car might actually be closer to what you are looking for. So which kit do I buy ? Well remember that the TT-02 class is an entry level class, so look for value. If you end up loving racing RC, you may soon want to promote yourself to a faster class. Many retailers sell basic TT-02 kits complete with body, wheels/tyres, motor and ESC for less than $200.



Alloy Upgrades

Let's talk about the elephant in the room first. Alloy upgrades. Many people buy alloy upgrades for various reasons. They look great and add some serious bling to your new ride. They reduce the amount of play in the steering and suspension. They are stronger than the plastic parts. These are all true and if you really want to get some bling, go ahead and get yourself some blue gold - but before you do, please read on.

Alloy Upgrades

There are some downsides to the alloy parts. They almost certainly won't make you any faster. We have found that fully plastic TT's lap at the same speed as blinged out alloy cars. There are things you can do to make your TT faster, but alloy isn't high on the list. Secondly, if you're new and you find yourself crashing, don't be tempted to try and get alloy to make your car "crash proof". Alloy parts will bend and make your car hard to drive. Your goal is to get a car that is so easy to drive you won't crash, not to make it crash proof.

Ball Bearings

If your TT-02 kit comes with plastic bushings, do not even build it until you have ordered a ball bearing upgrade kit. An aftermarket bearing kit should be available for less than $20. For example here


Drive Shafts

If you have a base TT-02 with plastic dogbone drive shafts, it will only be a matter of time until you have a crash and a front dog bone pops out. This isn't normally a big deal (unless it costs you your first race win). But upgrading the front drive shafts is a common upgrade. You should be able to find yourself a set of aftermarket universal shafts for less than $20. Search for "Yeah Racing TT-02 Universal Drive Shafts"

Drive Shafts


Basic TT-02 kits come with friction shocks. These are more than enough to get you started. Adding grease to increase the damping will improve the performance of your car. It's super easy to add grease to the friction shocks. Try different grease types. Ideally you want to be able to drop one end of your car without it "bouncing"

If you want to upgrade the fiction shocks you have many options. The Tamiya TT-02 CVA Super Mini Oil Dampener Shock Set 4pcs is the factory upgrade. For a set of 4 shocks this kit will normally start at around $50. Aftermarket aluminium shocks will be around the same price or slightly less. Don't feel like you need to make this upgrade. A friction shock with the right grease will have your TT-02 lapping very nicely and it should be easy to drive.


Front Diff

If you're racing at Kambah, a very simple mod that will make your car easy to drive is to lock your front differential. This can be achieved in many ways, but we recommend just using blue-tac. Apply enough blue tac to ensure that the planetary gears cannot turn, yet not so much that the diff can't easily close. Blue-tac will be easy to remove if you change your mind and won’t make a mess like diff oil.

Locking the front diff will make your TT-02 much easier to drive. There is a reason that all modern ISTC Touring Cars come with a front spool (locked diff).

See the image for inspiration (Note: this is not a TT-02 diff, but the theory is the same).

Bluetac diff

For racing on carpet, especially if you are now looking to improve your times, an open front diff may give you more steering and faster lap times.

Servo Saver

The kit servo saver is not really ideal for racing. It can be made acceptable with a small modification however. If we use the kit servo saver, wrapping the shoulder with a tightly applied cable tie will increase the accuracy of your steering. A better solution is to upgrade the servo saver. The XRAY Composite Server Saver should be first on your list. This servo saver will last you forever, and if you decide to race a 1/12 car - this servo saver is the "go-to" part. See here

Servo saver


ESC (Electronic Speed Controller)

Your kit TT-02 may have a Tamiya ESC bundled. The most recent versions of these ESCs are very good and will work with both brushed and brushless motors. The main complaint people have with this ESC is it can be difficult to program. However it is more than capable for racing and combined with a Tamiya Torque Tuned motor it's a great choice.

Tamiya ESC

If your kit did not come with an ESC or you want an ESC that can be programmed with a program card, there are options, but as we race with brushed motors your choices are limited. We recommend the "HOBBYWING QUICRUN 1080" as a solid starting point. You will be able to find cheaper ESC's and they will also be fine, but the HOBBYWING QUICRUN 1080 is a proven and popular ESC that will serve you well.



OK - you have read all the way to this point and now we are going to tell you the #1 speed secret for your Tamiya TT-02. If you want to go fast and make your car predictable and easy to drive, buy the best servo that fits your budget. Note: If you buy a low profile servo (your best choice for ease of fitment) this servo will also slot into your ISTC Touring Car or 1/10 Buggy.

Your options are almost unlimited and range from entry-level mid-range high-end



We use 2S Lipo batteries for 1/10 RC racing in Australia. You can pick any 2S Lipo that is the correct size for an on-road car (NOT shorty packs). The capacity is not critical, the trade off is that LIPOs with larger capacity are heavier and take longer to charge. We recommend a battery somewhere between 6000-7000mAH.


The most important thing if you are new to RC and LIPO batteries is to care for them. This means:

  1. Never over charge (8.4v max)
  2. Never discharge below 6.5 volts (below 3.2 volts per cell will damage your battery)
  3. Don't leave your battery fully charged for long periods (Do a storage charge).
  4. Always charge and discharge your cells in a LIPO safe bag



A lot of the care items above are made easy with a good quality LIPO charger. Modern charges are amazing and will allow you to charge almost any type of battery. From your RC LIPO, transmitter LIFe batteries and even your car battery.

Pick a charger that fits within your budget. As long as the charger is a LIPO compatible "balance" charger it will suit. Some options include entry-level higher-end

Note: some more expensive chargers are easier to use as the larger screens are more user-friendly.



This one is easy. Most TT-02s are bundled with a Torque Tuned brushed motor. This is the perfect motor for racing both indoors and at Kambah. Start with the factory gearing and if you start getting competitive, talk with you fellow racers and check if they have fine tuned their pinions.

Torque Tuned


There are really three popular brands for radios. Futaba, Sanwa and Flysky. Each of these brands have full ranges of options from entry-level to high end. If you have caught the RC bug and are 100% sure you will want to continue your RC journey and have money to invest in the top of the line radio gear, then purchasing a high end radio at the start will prevent you from investing in receivers that might not be compatible with the high end radio your purchase down the track. Also many racers achieve great results with "mid-range" radios. Today's mid range radios are much better than the best radios available only 10 years ago. Entry level radios are a great way to start if you are on a budget, but they generally will not be capable once your skill level improves to a certain level.

The current high end radios are:

  1. Futaba T10PX
  2. Sanwa M17
  3. FlySky NB4 Pro

Some mid range radios include:

  1. Futaba T4PM
  2. Sanwa MT-5
  3. FlySky NB4

Your radio may or may not come bundled with a receiver. If not you will need to make sure you buy a receiver that is compatible with your radio. Ask your hobby shop for help to make sure you buy the correct receiver.



We use a mylaps RC4 timing system for our racing and practise days. We recommend either a "MyLaps RC4 Transponder" or a "MyLaps RC4 Pro Transponder". The club has transponders available for hire and sale for new racers.


Setup Tips

So you have read the page, bought all the gear, built your kit and want to make your TT-02 easy to drive. Well here we go!


The biggest factor in how much grip your TT-02 has is tyres. The kit tyres are fine and have plenty of grip for starting out. But if you're new to RC and want to make your car even easier to drive, upgrading to touring car tyres is a must. We recommend 36 shore touring car tyres for asphalt and 28 shore tyres for indoor carpet. The club sells 36 shore tyres at asphalt race or practise days. We currently stock Solaris 36J touring car tyres. But any touring car tyre you can find will offer improved traction over kit rubber.


Build your kit right

We see a lot of mistakes when assembling TT-02s. The two most common are:

Steering not free

Make sure that with your servo saver disconnected from your servo that the steering is free. It should be very free and the wheels should turn by themselves if you flip the car from side-to-side. If you have binding in the steering it will most likely be caused by one of two things:

  1. Screws over tightened in the steering assembly
  2. Steering links damage and tight on ball ends

If your steering is too tight due to over tightened screws, simply back them off slightly. If your links are binding on the ball ends, lightly squeezing them with pliers will free them up.

Hubs not installed in correct orientation

It would seem it's almost impossible for most of us to install the hubs on a TT-02 in the correct way. We often see one or more hubs upside down. Doing this for a subset of the hubs will make your TT-02 handle very inconsistently. Doing all hubs upside will increase the ride height which would be great for off-roading, but not great for racing on-road. Double check those hubs people!


Ride Height

You want to run your car as low as possible within reason. Never go below 5mm. We find that between 5mm and 6mm works great for both asphalt and carpet. It's important to get the front and rear ride heights as close as possible. If anything we would rather the rear to be slightly higher than the front, but equal ride height front and rear is fine.

If you don't have a ride height gauge, a set of calipers or something that is 5mm height is perfectly fine. The ability to fine tune ride height with factory dampers is minimal, so close-enough is definitely good enough.

ride height


You want to run your body as low as possible without it scraping. When the body scrapes it changes the load on your tyres. On a TT-02 we want to avoid our bodies touching at all times. This is especially important if we are running on carpet where the body will damage the carpet. We recommend running bodies at 8mm for asphalt and 10mm for indoor.

It's also critical that your body is free on the body posts. We would rather the body holes be too big than too small. Although the TT-02 chassis is very stiff, there is still enough flex that a body with holes that are too tight or in the wrong place can tweak your chassis. Make sure after your body is mounted that it moves freely on the body posts.



The bad news is that the base TT-02 has no adjustments. The good news is, it doesn't matter! The kit setup is great and your car will drive great without needing to adjust camber or toe. If your TT-02 has adjustments, we recommend a very basic setup. 2 degrees camber all round. 1 degree of toe out at the front.


The biggest setup tip so far. When we see newcomers race TT's at Kambah or Indoor the number one mistake most make is trying to drive too fast around corners. Your goal should be to be as close to possible to every apex at every corner. If you are just starting out and do not feel confident "hitting the apex" it is perfectly fine to leave a margin. What we are trying to avoid is missing the apex completely and making the track twice as long.

So why am I missing the apex ? Well it's simple, even with a torque tuned motor our TT-02 will easily be able to carry enough speed that it will exceed the maximum corner speed possible for many of the corners at Kambah or at our Indoor track. So you need to slow down for most corners! If you are at a practise day, do a simple test. Run a few laps "flat out" and check your lap times. Next force yourself to drive so slowly that you hit every apex. You will be amazed that you just set your PB lap time and the car is much easier to keep away from the walls!


So you've read this whole page ?? You must be keen! What are you waiting for, go get that TT-02 and start your racing journey today!