The WL Toys 104001 is an all new car from WL Toys for 2021 that is in the larger 1/10 scale size. Unlike their previous 124019 which is essentially a lengthened 144001, this car is a completely new design. For this reason I will firstly be looking at some tuning that I STRONGLY recommend you complete before even your first run. This is not a review, I'll look to complete that later on once I've spent more time with the car and can give you some thorough feedback rather than an off-the-cuff opinion.
Just like the 144001 was copied from the LC Racing EMB-1, the 104001 looks to be inspired by the 2016 onwards X-Ray XB4 which is the same basic design to this day albeit with minor improvements year to year. The XB4 is a high end race car and is a strong platform to base design off. However where the XB4 is a no-nonsense race car the 104001 has gone down the basher route so materials and complexity of parts have been downgraded to meet a price point which is more accessible. Whereas race cars need very specific and precise tuning and consumables, bashers tend to be more forgiving however there are some basics you can improve on to enjoy better durability, performance, efficiency and handling. Here I've identified 4 key areas to look at. None of this tuning requires new parts, only consumables.
Add Differential Fluid
With the WL Toys 144001 and 124019/18 we added grease to the gears as this semi solid material would attach to the gears within. In higher spec RC cars differentials are sealed with gaskets and o-rings meaning you can use flowing fluids of varying viscosity to tune them. The good news is then that the 104001 does indeed have sealed diffs so we can use a proper diff fluid. I've have chosen to use a 10,000wt fluid which is very much on the thick side. This will create a high level of resistance to the diff spinning and will serve it well on low grip surfaces. If running on high grip surfaces like tarmac, concrete, carpet you'd want to go much lower, say down to 100wt or even the same grade as is used in your suspension. Regardless of what you choose, here is the process for removing the diffs, opening, adding fluid, re-assembling and putting your car back together. This whole process is MUCH easier than the 144001 due to the design improvements they have made.
With no real fluid inside my diffs would free wheel easily and limit traction where I needed it most when offroad. Although I'd probably choose a slightly lower weight fluid next time I do get much better drive grip on low grip surfaces and more predictable drifting.
Adjust tie rods to the correct length
The tie rod are the metal bars (with black plastic ends) the connect the wheel hub carriers to the chassis. They are fully adjustable and shortening or lengthening them can change the following:
As you saw my steering, toe and camber adjustments were well out. This tuning gave me more consistent steering left and right, better straight line tracking and cornering stability plus more even tyre wear.
Correct fluid level in the shocks
When the 144001 was released it didn't have enough shock oil and dampening was a little light. Later on they had too much oil which limited travel and made the lower seals leak. So how about the 104001 now that they have those learnings? Well mine was alright - slightly low if I am picky - which I am! I topped mine up with a 30wt shock oil as below:
My shocks were slightly underfilled and I could have run as is but with this method I get the best and most consistent dampening possible.
Confirm gear mesh is correct and adjust if necessary
The 144001 had a fixed motor mount which was great because your gear mesh was perfect no matter what but disappointing for the advanced users because it meant not adjustment if you wanted to change pinion sizes. The 104001 is fully adjustable and my gear mesh was way too tight from the factory. This forces this pinion against the spur which creates friction and results in additional wear, a reduction in power and increase in load on the motor and electronics - not the situation you want and a really important area to fix. Below is how I set my gear mesh correctly.
My gear mesh was too tight. with it correctly spaced as above you'd instantly get more power, better battery life and less wear.
No droop screws, no rear toe adjustment.
On the 144001 we were able to add droop screws to limit suspension travel but we do not have this option here. The only way this can be done is by adding collars between the shock piston and body as was done in this article. This does however mean disassembling the shock in order to do so. As much as I'd prefer droop screws like on the 144001 and 124019/18, setting ride height with collars in the shocks seems to be commonplace with 1/10 scale race cars, presumably because it is more accurate.
The rear arm pins resolve a lot of the strength issues from that of the 144001 including a through bolt and solid metal mounting points but takes away the adjustability. Toe in is less severe here though so I am happy to leave as is on this car - not that I have a choice!!
What next for the 104001
I have plenty of plans for the 104001 to come which of course I'll be writing full guides on which will include:
Review is coming soon and it gets a bit messy!!
Hopefully you have found this article useful, I'm focusing on making my guides and testing more technical and exhaustive so the choice is made easier for you. If you purchase via the links here or on any of my pages I receive a small commission at no cost to you which is enough to help my cover my hosting fees and other expenses related to quadifyrc.com - thanks. BTW if you are looking for some solid deals I chose my favourites in the coupons and discounts page here