Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser Build

Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser
We finally got our hands on one! Ever since Tamiya announced the CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser 40 thousands of RC crawling enthusiasts have been clamoring to get ahold of one. We thought about it and decided that there would be no better way to celebrate this site's one year anniversary (today!) than to buy one, build it, beat the heck out of it, and let you know what we think along the way. So follow along as we document the build of Tamiya's first rock crawler, the Land Cruiser 40.

To be honest I wasn't sure what to expect. Having only seen pictures of the CR-01 I was skeptical at best. Lets face it the suspension is a very odd design compared to 99% of the rock crawlers out there today. The Land Cruiser features a suspension system that separates the springs and shocks much like you'd see on a full size truck. Unlike what you'd see on a full size street truck is the unique cantilevered damping system. The Land Cruiser has it's shocks mounted on the chassis with cantilevers and rods attaching them to the axle. Even more unique is that when the suspension is compressed the shocks actually extend. I guess only time will tell how well this system works. Let's get to it!

As usual Tamiya supplied the Land Cruiser in an awesome looking box. It features an illustrated Land Cruiser doing what it was meant to do, climbing rocks. Not only does the outside of the box look great, but Tamiya even went so far as to put little illustrations of the CR01 throughout the interior of the box.
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser box art
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser box
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser
Some of the interior box art
Tamiya CR-01 Land Cruiser box art
Tamiya Toyota Land Cruiser box art
The freshly opened box. Got Rock?
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser chassis in box
Here are the majority of the plastic parts that make up the Land Cruiser. Compared to the average rock crawling kit the CR01 is definitely complicated, but as with all Tamiya kits, it is fairly easy to build.
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser parts
Tamiya Toyota Land Cruiser parts bags
The Land Cruiser is supplied with a brand new Tamiya tire, the 2.2" Vice Crawler. The Vice Crawlers include fairly soft foam inserts. We don't want to let the cat out of the bag just yet, but we'd strongly suggest star cutting the foams before the build. No sense having to go back later and remove the two zillion screws that hold the beadlocks together. Speaking of wheels...
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser vise crawler tires
The Land Cruiser is supplied with black plastic wheels with silver beadlock rings. After getting used the aluminum rings that came on our Scorpion we were disappointed to find that the Tamiya's beadlock rings were made of plastic. Tamiya plans on producing optional black aluminum beadlock rings in the near future.
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser black wheels
Tamiya Toyota Land Cruiser wheels
Tamiya CR-01 Land Cruiser wheels
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser beadlock rings
Tamiya included a "silver can" style Mabuchi 540 motor. Though this motor is a decent choice for the beginner we think many will opt for a lathe motor for more torque and more low speed control. For our test we're using the kit motor because that's what most buyers will initially use.
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser 540 mabuchi motor
Something we couldn't wait to get our hands on was the Land Cruiser's transmission. Rather than using a standard 3 gear design like most crawlers of today, Tamiya went with a very unique planetary design. Before receiving our truck we heard that the biggest benefit of this type of transmission was it's compact size. However after seeing it in person we believe it is actually larger than the one in the Axial AX10. Regardless this unique transmission will likely find its way into many scale projects over the next few years. Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser transmission gears What can I say. Tamiya supplied us with four driveshafts. Is that a sign of things to come? Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser shock bodies Two different rate springs are included with the kit. Be sure to install the blue marked ones in the front and yellow in the rear. Tamiya also offers an optional spring kit which includes three pairs of different rate springs, and also an optional barrel spring set which, like its name, is a set of barrel shaped springs which according to Tamiya create a "progressive damping affect".
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser shock springs
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser shock oil
The beautifully polished suspension links. We really wish Tamiya would have supplied similar links for the steering system. Instead we're stuck with steel tierods.
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser aluminum links
Just like the Tamiya F-350 High Lift, the Land Cruiser's differentials feature a locking pin design which allows the owner to decide whether or not they want either the front or rear differentials locked. To lock or unlock them you simply remove a plug from the axle case, and then uninstall the pin in the differential. I can't imagine many ever removing those pins though.
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser driveshafts
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser diff
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser spider gears
The 40 ball bearings included with the kit. Incase you're wondering the two largest ones are installed in the center of the planetary transmission.
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser ball bearings
As usual, the Tamiya sculpted some nicely detailed and decently scale appearing axles cases.
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser axle case
Tamiya CR-01 Land Cruiser axle cases
Here are the mirrors for the body. Tamiya also included separate pieces for the front turn signals, and front grill. Although Tamiya does supply decals for the mirrors they were silver in appearance. Maybe we're nitpicking too much, but we'd much rather have seen actual mirrored decals included instead.
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser mirrors
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser mirrors and grill
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser headlights buckets
Each step throughout the owners manual has detailed illustrations and even scale diagrams of the hardware for accurate size comparison.
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser owners manual
The decal sheet includes everything from headlights and turn signals, to windshield wipers and black molding for around the windows.
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser decal sheet
Tamiya CR-01 Land Cruiser decals
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser window masks
I know a lot of people these days would rather have their RC trucks come pre-built from the factory but we were glad to hear that Tamiya would keeping up with tradition and offering the CR-01 only in kit form. Not only does that allow us the pleasure of building this beast from start to finish, but we also get to document it all for you along the way.

Below is the heart and soul of the CR-01 Land Cruiser 40 chassis, the frame rails. They're made of a mat silver anodized aluminum and have multiple holes for tons of suspension adjustment. We like all that adjustability, but would rather the frame not look like Swiss cheese. Tamiya offers an optional polished frame rail set as well.
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser chassis rails
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser aluminum chassis
The Land Cruiser owners manual takes a different approach to building the truck than many other kits we've seen in which Tamiya starts you off by first building the frame, then the axles, and back to the frame again. The picture below represents steps 1 and 2 in the assembly process. Step one involves building the cantilevers. Pay close attention to the way the cantilevers are put together as it will cost you a ton of time later to pull this back apart.
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser cantilevers
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser assembly
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser chassis assembly
Step 3 requires you to assemble the radio and battery trays. Notice the faux diamond plate on the radio trays. Its weird how such a small addition can change the look of something. It really gives the chassis a rugged look.
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser battery tray
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser diamond plate
Here is the result of steps 1 through 4. The basic chassis is now assembled. Notice our mistake? We put the upper spring mounts on inside out. This isn't a big deal right now but the further you get into the installation the harder it'll be to fix. Like we said earlier, be very attentive when assembling the cants and upper spring mounts.
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser assembled chassis
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser
Tamiya CR-01 Land Cruiser
Tamiya Toyota Land Cruiser
Tamiya Land Cruiser
Tamiya CR-01
Now its time to get started on the axles. Steps 5-11 involve various stages of axle assembly. In part 6 you must assemble the differentials. You now have the choice of installing the locking pin to lock the differential. Considering this is a crawler we can't see many people deciding to leave it unlocked. Below is a shot of the inside of the differential and its spider gears.
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser differential
Here is the differential assembled and installed in the axle case. As you can see we have our locking pin installed. Don't forget the threadlock!
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser diff
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser locking diff
Here is the basic axle assembly up to step 7. If you look closely you can see the hex screw that acts as a plug for the locking pin installation and removal. To remove the locking pin all you need to do is remove the hex screw, turn the axle until you can access the the locking pin, and remove it.
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser axle
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser axle
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser crawler axles
Here is the axle assembly with the hubs, and servo mount installed. Although we chose to keep our truck with front steering only Tamiya does include the parts needed to convert your truck to 4ws. All you need to supply is an extra servo and either a Y harness, or a three channel radio system.
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser servo mount
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser
Step 14 involves installing your steering servo onto the front axle. Don't forget to center your servo before installation. As you can see we're using a standard Futaba servo though we would strongly recommend going with a high torque metal gear servo if your budget allows for it.
CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser
Here we are up to step 16 which includes the assembly of the suspension links and installation of the axles to the chassis.
CR-01
Tamiya CR-01 Land Cruiser
In step 17 and 18 you'll have to assemble the shocks. As you can see from the picture below you fall one step short of the usual shock assembly process with the CR-01 because you don't need to install the springs on the shocks. We have heard some complain of these shocks leaking on their trucks but we never experienced that throughout testing. I chalk it up to the probability that some may have nicked the shafts while installing the rod ends. We also suggest lubricating the o-ring seals before installing the shaft which will help reduce the possibility of damaging them.
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser shocks
Here is the partial assembly the inner workings of the planetary transmission. When assembling our transmission we ran into a problem. No matter what we did, the assembled transmission was completely locked up. After tearing it down a few times we finally found the culprit, read below.
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser planetary
Below is the motor plate which bolts to the transmission. That black piece is the transmission shaft bearing support. Note how when installed the bearing support sits flush with the motor plate on the right side. Well if you were to mistakenly install the motor plate backwards the bearing support wouldn't sit flush putting pressure on the internal gears of the transmission causing it to lock up. Don't ask us how we know. Other than our stupid mistake the CR01's transmission was extremely simple to assemble.
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser motor mount
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser motor plate
Here is the assembled Land Cruiser transmission with motor and driveshafts installed.
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser transmission
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser transmission
Step 26 involves installed the assembled transmission onto the lower skidplate, and then installing it all into the truck chassis. As you can see below part of the installation requires you to also install the driveshafts.
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser 4 link
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser suspension links
In step 29 you install the front and rear cross members, body mounts, and front bumper
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser body mounts
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser front bumper
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser rear bumper
Step 30 is the bear of this project, assembling the beadlock wheels. Actually we found that assembling the beadlocks were pretty easy, just a little time consuming and very much hand cramping. Here are the 80 screws which are used to assemble your beadlocks.
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser beadlock rings
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser beadlock wheels
One down, three more to go.
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser wheel tire
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser wheels and tires
Here we are, done with chassis assembly, and all that is left is to paint and detail the body.
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser roller for sale
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser
Tamiya CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser
We're all finished! As you can see we decided to go with the same paint scheme as the box. Painting the body is fairly straight forward. Tamiya supplies window masks which really make things easy, and all you need to do is mask off the top before laying down the red. After you've shot the red then you peel off the masking tape from the top and spray the white. Finally all that is left is to install the grill, mirrors, turn signals, and decals. The Tamiya Land Cruiser body is a real beauty!!!
Tamiya Toyota Land Cruiser CR-01
Tamiya Toyota Land Cruiser CR-01 Build pictures
Tamiya Toyota Land Cruiser CR-01 kit building
Tamiya Toyota Land Cruiser CR-01 kit
Tamiya Toyota Land Cruiser CR-01 kit pictures
Tamiya Toyota Land Cruiser CR-01 red body paint
Tamiya Toyota Land Cruiser CR-01 custom body
Tamiya Toyota Land Cruiser CR-01 paint job
Tamiya Toyota Land Cruiser CR-01
Tamiya Toyota Land Cruiser CR-01
Tamiya Toyota Land Cruiser CR-01
Tamiya Land Cruiser CR-01 rock crawler
Tamiya Toyota Land Cruiser CR-01
Tamiya Land Cruiser CR-01 rc crawler
Tamiya Toyota Land Cruiser CR-01 articulation
Tamiya Toyota Land Cruiser CR-01
We finally got the truck assembled, painted, and detailed so what's left to do? Beat on it! We've been eagerly awaiting our chance to take the Tamiya Land Cruiser 40 out and see how she compares to the various other crawlers on the market, most notably our Axial Scorpion. How will she fare? What will break? Only way to find out is to read Part 3 of Project FJ40. After the jump we've got the full scoop on what we thought of the CR01 and a bunch of pictures from the trail. Go check it out.

Like we said, we weren't sure what to expect when it came to the CR-01's suspension. Turns out we were right to be a little skeptical. Compared to the Axial Scorpion the Land Cruiser has somewhat limited suspension travel, especially when assembled according to the instructions. Some tweaking of the cantilever rod mounting locations and shortening of the cantilever rods did add some travel, but even so it just didn't have the massive amount of articulation that a competition ready crawler would. Whether the limited suspension travel hinders it's performance depends on how you look at it. There is no question that this isn't, nor was it ever meant to be, a competition level crawler so I don't think it would be fair to treat it as such. On the other hand the CR01 has decent performance for what it is and those not acquainted to the performance level of a comp level crawler would likely find the CR01's rock crawling ability to be pretty stunning.
Tamiya Toyota Land Cruiser CR-01 rock crawling
Tamiya Toyota Land Cruiser CR-01
Tamiya Toyota Land Cruiser CR-01
We threw it at everything from rocks to trails in the nearby woods. In the woods the CR01 felt at home. It makes a great trail rig because it's higher than normal (for a crawler) top speed allowed us to zip from obstacle to obstacle without a long slow trek inbetween. On the rocks the FJ40 performed well, though we felt tire grip was lacking. On small inclines the truck was fine but once we started hitting the steeper lines the lack of traction killed forward momentum and the truck would wind up sliding to either side. We wanted to give the suspension a more thorough test but the lack of traction made that a tough task. At the end of the day we decided to try swapping our weighted Scorpion tires/wheels on it and the difference was huge. The extra grip allowed the Land Cruiser to go over just about anything. At this point the only limiting factor was it's center of gravity. When assembling your truck we'd strongly suggest star cutting the tire foams and adding weight to the wheels, you won't be sorry.
Tamiya Toyota Land Cruiser CR-01
Tamiya Toyota Land Cruiser CR-01
Tamiya Toyota Land Cruiser CR-01
Tamiya Land Cruiser CR-01
On our second battery pack the Land Cruiser suffered the same fate our Axial Scorpion test truck did during it's review, it blew a drive shaft. Unlike the Scorpion, the CR01's driveshaft twisted like a pretzel. I'm not sure what these things are made of but we were really disappointed at how absurdly easy these driveshafts twisted. Why am I using the plural when refering to the twisting? Because when pulling the truck apart to replace the front pretzel we noticed that the rear had a good bit of tweak to it as well. Guess we should have known it was a bad sign when Tamiya included an extra set of shafts with the kit. For now we've got a set of Stampede driveshafts installed in the truck but in the future we'd like to see a manufacturer like MIP produce a hardened steel version. Here is our front pretzel driveshaft in all it's twisted glory. It may be hard to tell from this image but the male end of the shaft is twisted nearly 90 degrees. The female side is also damaged. Although our rear driveshaft wasn't quite this bad it was deemed unusable.
Tamiya Toyota Land Cruiser CR-01 twisted driveshaft
Tamiya Toyota Land Cruiser CR-01
Tamiya Toyota Land Cruiser CR-01 pictures
Tamiya Toyota Land Cruiser CR-01 photos
Tamiya Toyota Land Cruiser CR-01 build pics
It all comes down to one question. Would we recommend the Tamiya Land Cruiser 40 to a friend and that answer depends on what you're looking for. If you're looking to enter a local rock crawling competition then we'd probably suggest something a little more suitable. On the other hand if you're just wanting to have fun on a rock pile in your back yard then by all means go for it. Sure it isn't competition level, but regardless it's pure fun.
Tamiya Toyota Land Cruiser CR-01
Tamiya Toyota Land Cruiser CR-01
If you have enjoyed this build and would like a Tamiya Land Cruiser 40 of your very own, please purchase it from Amazon. We get a small commission from the sale which helps support future projects. Thanks!
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