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Grasshopper basketcase rebuild 7 years 7 months ago #16093

Time for another resto thread from me I think!
It's been a while since the last one, mainly cos I've got at least 3 cars-worth of bits on the bench, have had piles of receivers, transmitters & servos to fix, plus my Frontera decided to fall to bits just after I booked its MOT, not to mention the fact I'm skint (Again) is seriously holding everything up...

MartinBell was kind enough to send me a pile of leftover Hornet bits.
I'm still not sure if it actually started life as a Hornet or as a Grasshopper which was subsequently upgraded with Hornet bits. Gearbox pivots & threads cut in the body-mount pillars suggest it was a Grasshopper.
I also suspect it may have been a later one, not an original.

This rebuild is so I can give my niece her first RC, or rather an RC to keep her quiet when I give the Thunderdragon to my nephew for xmas.
She's very young & also has a fascination with dirty puddles, so the build will be a "make it work" "keep it simple" "make it slow" type affair. Obviously I was also trying to keep the outlay down too, due to current financial status & onset of xmas countdown.

Anyway, here's a pic of what arrived, all covered in what the missus refers to as "ooi" (Not to be confused with "oowee" which means "where are you")

The gearbox case was, um, fubar, I suspect from a heavy hit to one of the rear wheels, the damage then ignored for some time (Judging by the amount of grit/stones inside & damgae to the internals)

1st job, clean stuff & look at it...

I quickly noticed there were several squashed/mashed gear teeth on the gears, caused by stones whizzing around in there. The diff ring-gear was split in several places too

I've never managed to break one of these, it's the first time I've ever seen a broken one. Like I said, it must've had a BIG hit to one of the wheels to cause that! Welded it up with the old soldering iron trick. Gave it a flex to make sure it'll be good enough....yep.
Gear teeth were then squidged back into shape with a flat-bladed screwdriver.

Something else that caught my eye, & made me think the car is a later one, was the pin that goes through the diff gear to centralise it with the axles. At first I thought it was just seriously worn, but after having a measure (I was going to make a new one) it appeared that it's supposed to be like that - the holes in the shaft ends are smaller than the hole through the diff gear.
The manual I downloaded from here shows a parallel pin & I'm pretty sure my original one I bought back in '84 did too.
That will be something to watch for if you're replacing bits on your vintage 'Hopper with re-re ones

Next thing I checked was for the notorious front stub axle wear. Most 'Hoppers are like mopeds - 1st car, so no maintenance, care or build-skill, & they've all been run into the ground on their plastic kit bearings. Usually the only mods are a 540 motor & sometimes the Hornet suspension upgrade.
Stub axles weren't too bad, but I was planning to fit plastic bearings again & needed to alleviate as much "slop" as possible, so plan was to replace the metal.

So, 1st bit of making/fixing. Yanked the axles out of their plastic uprights, found some 5mm silver-steel, machined up some new axles & fitted them back into the plastic uprights.

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Re: Grasshopper basketcase rebuild 7 years 7 months ago #16095

It was cold in the shed, so I thought I'd just do 1 more quick job & retire to the warm house, so made a pile of servo-mounting post thingies

After warming up a bit, I assembled a 5-cell, 6V NiCd pack from ex-power tool cells.
Note the thicker-than-normal heatshrink - it's all I had left (Leftovers from a premier Foods scrubbing plant installation I was involved in a few years ago).
Note also it's got a 7.2V connector on it - my bro's fast charger will charge different voltage packs, & has a 7.2V connector on it, so the pack had to match.

Had a dig about in my spares & found enough phillips/slotted self-tappers to put the car together, they just needed cleaning up before fitting, so I avoided having to pay out for extortionately-priced Tamiya screw-bags, & still be able to have the car looking as it should.

The gear cases HAD to be replaced so I could move the job on. As luck would have it, there were just NO 'Hopper/Hornet cases or gearboxes to be had on Ebay for the 2 weeks I was looking, so I bit the bullet & bought new ones. I was also in need of the 380 motor adaptor plate (To use as a pattern) which also came on the gearbox sprue, along with some new plastic bearings, so it wasn't all bad.

I said I needed the motor adaptor as a pattern - there's no way I was going to lash out 10 quid for a new 380 motor & pinion, especially as these are only fitted so you can take them out & bin them... I also said the car needs to be slow enough for a young-un, whilst maintaining the option to make it faster. Just so happens I have an RS385 5-pole 380 boat motor) kicking about, so plan is to use that. It should also give some really silly-long run-times (I'm guessing about an hour play time per charge).
Although really slow, the 5-pole motor will be smooth & torquey, so to regain some top speed I'm thinking I'll get away with fitting a larger pinion to it, mainly cos I haven't got a 10 tooth one & I'm not paying 7 quid +PP for a "special" pinion (Special cos the hole is smaller for the 380). In summary, I needed a motor adaptor plate for a 380 size motor with a non-standard pinion, & the kit adaptor plate was something ideal to copy & drill to suit my application.

to start, I'll need a pinion to work with, so I machined & bushed the second of those heli pinions I bought for the ThunderDragon project

Next, I cut out an oversized lump of card, mounted it on the 385 with its new pinion, then chopped bits off until the motor sat where it needed to be on the gearbox, & transferred the gearbox motor mounting holes onto the card. This was my template for my new adaptor.
Material of choice for this job was uPVC bar, as it's fairly hard & stable enough to hold tappings, yet easy enough to machine that I don't have to be out in the cold shed for any length of time!
Below should be a pic of the special adaptor, the card template, & the original kit adaptor

It then occurred to me that I had no wheels for this car... oh no, another wheel search....
MartinBell helped out again here & sent me some poorly wheels to play with (Cheers again Martin!)

Got the wheels to bits, washed the tyres in hot soapy water, & abandoned the rims in some brake fluid.
The rears came up clean after about 2 hours, but the fronts were caked in several layers of really unfriendly paint, & took just over a week of soaking/scrubbing to get them clean.

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Re: Grasshopper basketcase rebuild 7 years 7 months ago #16097

Ha, just had a look back through the post to make sure the pics are the right ones(!), & noticed that in with the servo post pic are the front damper mounting brackets. These were also home-made (Stainless). Moving on...

I finally had enough bits done that I could move on to putting some of it together, which was good as the stuff on the bench was now multi-storey & threatening to collapse & bury me!
Some partial assembly work... Note it's now got proper Grasshopper dampers on it - I've had them for ages & had given up trying to sell them or give them away. Probably just as well really, as the Hornet shocks that came with it are more complex & something extra that is likely to stop play when full of mud. Plan is to sell the Hornet suspension bits as an "upgrade kit" , but I think I'll wait until after xmas to list them, maybe March.

Lektrickery next... I have a pile of Tamiya MSCs of various ages, but I thought I'd just stick one of those I have multiples of, on this car. Yeah I know it's not the right one for the car, but it works & the car's likely to be dead before it ever gets into a collector's hands!
Fitted some servos, then made up the track rods (Stainless bicycle spokes) & MSC rod (A big paperclip).
Receiver is in a plastic bag to waterproof it.
Wheels on, Charge the battery & gave it some old-biddy pootling around the front room (It's slow enough I can drive it flat out around the living room without letting up!).
Can move on to the body now.

Ebay tricked me again, no Grasshopper bodywork for the duration of me looking for a cheap one, so gave up & bought a new one. Between the gearbox casings, the body & radio parts, it would've been far cheaper to have bought a complete car! Oh well, I'm enjoying myself, that's the main thing!
Painted the roll bars on the body, modified a Frog bust I had kicking about, then moulded a drivers head & spot lamp bits (Moulds were left over from the Quattro resto).
Painted that lot & fitted them, then moved on to decals.

Not a fan of decals, never have been. As a kid, the first thing I used to do with any new toy was to yank the stickers off, so it just feels wrong to me to be putting them on instead.
Cheers Edou for the 'Hopper decal pics! I've since "whited" the background for printing. Could do with some more tidying, but they're good enough. Do you want me to email them back to you?

I know I keep banging on about waterslide decals, but in this case I opted for the extra resilience of sticky decals. Clear sticky decal paper was the order of the day - for some reason the clear tends to be thinner than the white, & seeing as it was going to be applied to a white shell, there was no reason to be putting up with the extra effort required to make the thicker white paper go through my printer...

I'm fairly pleased with the look of this set of decals, the colours are nice & rich, the edges crisp & clean. Putting them on was a nightmare though. I was instantly reminded why I hate stickers so much - the absolutely refused to stay stuck down around the various tight corners on the shell, & most ends required a dob of CA to keep them down. Lining them up was a pain too, I've been spoiled by the reposition-ability of waterslides!

Anyway, here it is done, ready for xmas


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Re: Grasshopper basketcase rebuild 7 years 7 months ago #16100

Great thread and some cool modding there again, eddrick. :y:
Looks nice and tidy - and a pretty cool Xmas present!
Didn't I send you the decal sheet in pink as well though (since it's for your niece)? Haha
Would be great if you could mail the whitened one back, thanks.


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Re: Grasshopper basketcase rebuild 7 years 7 months ago #16101

I like it. Simple and clean. I'm putting my old one together for my nephew as well. Still messing with the decals and such. Having way too much fun with them. I'll post up what I'm doing for those later this week. Had to break into my old files of logos for some things from my past life in the auto racing biz. B) I am just getting around to putting the body in brake cleaner for the strip down.

My chassis is a bit more complex but just as bullet proof as possible. It is a Hopper though so it is simple. I'm leaning to an ESC myself to stave off the hot resistor from small hands. :laugh: I like that color combo too. Nice work! Maybe we should get a race together!! :woohoo:

Current Project: The Dylan Project Grasshopper

My Projects in the works: The Fighting Frog, The Restoration of my Fox, Back in the Day Blackfoot Racer, The JRX-2's, Yokomo YZ-10's of fury x3

I'm not a Re-re yet!

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Re: Grasshopper basketcase rebuild 7 years 7 months ago #16105

Cheers Edou!
Yeah, I think it came out ok for a basher, it wasn't the intention to do a full-on restoration, I'm sure she'll be pleased with it!
Apparently she doesn't do pink or dolls houses etc, hence the last minute panic to get her something like what her brother's getting.

Whitened decals are on their way
The following user(s) Liked this: Edou

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Re: Grasshopper basketcase rebuild 7 years 7 months ago #16106

Whoa Shawn! Brake FLUID not cleaner! Brake cleaner will dissolve the plastic, you need to be using brake fluid, y'know, the hydraulic oil that works the brakes in yer car.
Cheers for the comments though!
Yes, 'Hoppers are bomb-proof, I used to drive my original one down the stairs & it always survived!
It was only money that stopped me doing the ESC thing, it's a far better idea as far as younger drivers are concerned, mainly due to the built-in failsafe for when the battery goes flat. I put an MSC in this one as I've got loads of them at the mo, & have installed an Rx battery to stop any flat battery related runaways.
It's a shame you're so far away as yeah, I'd love a bashing buddy!

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Re: Grasshopper basketcase rebuild 7 years 7 months ago #16107

well that fits, Hollowman making his body disappear in brake cleaner. :whistle:

:laugh: :laugh:

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Re: Grasshopper basketcase rebuild 7 years 7 months ago #16108

It's an easy mistake to make, especially if you've never never had a go at the body stripping thing before.

I was reminded the other day of a similar thing that keeps cropping up - I was in the local motorists shop buying bits to get my car through its MOT. I asked for antifreeze (My motor's been losing coolant & I've just been blindly topping it up with water, the onset of arctic weather reminded me its freezing ability may have increased, so I wanted to chuck more glycol in it) & got a combined strange/alarmed look from the guy behind the counter. At that point I twigged & reassured him, yes, antifreeze, NOT screenwash - the number of times I've overheard women saying they need antifreeze for the washer bottle cos it's run out... Just wish I could be there when she tells hubby!

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Re: Grasshopper basketcase rebuild 7 years 7 months ago #16129

Nice job Eddrick. I never thought I'd see that bag o'bits living again!
I hope your niece enjoys it. I took my RC car (the TRX-3) down to my sister's a few weeks ago. My brother-in-law seemed to enjoy it but I couldn't prise my nephews off the xbox :(

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Last edit: by Martin Bell.
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