The Avante steering system
And now, ladies and gentlemen... the steering bellcrank. All of it:
Got lost perhaps? Not a problem:
Without the steering bellcrank
With the steering bellcrank
Complex? Undoubtedly! But so much fun to build, not even counting with the result that is extremely smooth and precise because there is absolutely no play. How beautiful the adjustable turnbuckles and the pivots of different sizes to make the whole articulation. With the arms made out of links mounted on uniball ends and the steering bellcrank, you get quite a pretty good idea of what defines the Avante: awesome complexity. And weight.
>>>>> Update <<<<<
Improving the Avante 2011 steering system
After a few runs, I found a breakage in the steering bellcrank, despite my model being well treated and not suffering any hit or hard landing. As a reminder, the next gallery shows the actual complete steering bellcrank and the manual excerpt:
On the first photo, the blue circles show the parts that share the same weakness and the red circle points the breakage on my model. As you can see from the manual excerpt, all these parts use one M3x8 screw (BC2) and hexagonal bushings (PC4 and PC5) that act as pivots for the plastic parts (E1, E7 and E8 parts). Actually, please note the icon targeting the BC2 screws: as you could expect, it recommends the use of thread lock to secure the assembly. Because the BC2 screws and the PC4 and PC5 hexagonal bushings are in metal, they need to be secured by thread lock in order to resist vibrations. I would like here to remind that thread lock is the enemy of plastic because it dries the material to the point of making plastic fragile as glass. So, no thread lock on plastic, no thread lock on plastic, no thread lock on plastic...
Trust me, I did not apply thread lock on purpose on that plastic part, and given how close the plastic part is to the metal, I applied thread lock with care. However, if you have a closer look, you can spot marks of thread lock on the screw thread of both the screw and the inner hexagonal bushing... but also inside the hole of PA4 that the screw when through. Wait, how could the thread lock get there? Well, easy: the thread lock I use is liquid. When building this step, the thread lock from the screw back-flowed towards the head of the screw, then it went into the hole of PA4 and got in touch with the plastic part E1. This is not about how much thread lock you apply, it is a matter of adjustment: there is very few room for anything inside a screw thread. So the liquid got flushed out while screwing and then it spread. To solve this, you can apply the thread lock inside the hexagonal bushing instead, and then mop the liquid leak while you are screwing: I usually proceed like this, but not this time as it seems.
There is an alternative solution, using a product that reminds me of my Toyota Mountain Rider build
54032 Anaerobic Gel Thread Lock
The advantage of gel over liquid thread lock is that it is easier to apply and it reduces the risk of leak. However, this gel is still thread lock, so keep it away from plastic too. Last note: Tamiya's gel is red, but not respecting the industry standard (Tamiya's gel should be blue). If you want to use third-party thread lock, either gel or liquid, use blue thread lock: it is strong enough for RC usage. Red thread lock is way too strong: due to the small size, thus reduced grip for tools, parts are almost soldered together and impossible to take apart, even when using heat.
Even though my mistake in applying thread lock is the direct cause of the breakage on my model, I think it revealed a weakness in the bellcrank too. In order to repair, you can either order new parts to rebuild the steering or you can use aluminum parts available on internet (Pargustore) to replace the plastic parts (E1, E7 and E8). Another solution was used by heirs of the Avante: Tamiya sell the option 84256 Avante Racing Steering Set that reveals to be the full Egress steering system.
This gallery contains hi-res photos of the Egress steering system installed on the Avante, as well as excerpts of the Avante Black Edition and Egress manuals. I could also have scanned the 84256 Avante Racing Steering Set instruction sheet or even the step 26 in the 58497 Vajra manual, but apart from the reference (the name) that sometimes changes, all parts are strictly identical on all these models.
However, the Avante is not the Egress because Paranoid Perry is not Hairy Ogre:
As mentioned at step 38 in the Avante Black Edition, you need to remove 5mm at the front of the driver cockpit in order to leave room for the Egress bellcrank. By the way, you'll notice that the steering rod is mounted reverse on the servo saver.
Well, so you only need to order the parts: no problem when you order the aluminum parts (Pargustore), the 84256 Avante Racing Steering Set (that is, if you can find it somewhere) or when you order new stock parts (C+E parts reference 9005281). However, you may want to individually order all the parts required to build the Egress steering system, just like it did myself. So you open your Egress manual and you list the required parts. You order will contain the 19405430 metal parts bag, 9804418 flat screws, 9804206 ball connectors, 9805583 thread shafts, the 3405051 Egress steering plate and the Egress 9115328 L parts.
Slice of life: once the order arrived, I began installing the improved steering bellcrank on my model, not even having a look at the manual (no big deal honey, only 3 screws and bolts, I'm back in minutes). Except that things didn't go as expected despite several attempts: well, time to be more humble, I open the Egress manual and I start again... no improvement! OK, I take everything apart and I start again from the beginning, double checking each part and how to assemble it: same result! [insert swearwords here] . In the heat, I decide I don't have enough valid neurons left to properly hold a screwdriver, so the build will wait for the next week-end.
Several days later, after gathering an army of at least... several neurons, I start the bellcrank build over. Well, the good news for me is that my neurons are still working properly. The bad news:
Avante 2011: 19405430 metal parts bag
Avante 2011 Black Edition / Egress 2013 / Vajra: 19405430 metal parts bag
The content listed in each manual corresponds to the parts required for each model, no mistake here. However, the metal parts bag reference is exactly the same for all models (Avante 2011, Avante Black Edition, Egress 2013 et Vajra) but the content is different for the Avante 2011. Unfortunately, the metal parts bag available in stores is the Avante 2011's, so it doesn't fit the other models of the series because the parts 19804509 and 19804510 are missing (5x6mm bushings).
This mistake probably came with the release of the limited edition of the Black Avante at the end of 2011 beginning of 2012, but even if I doubt I am the first person to stumble on this, Tamiya still hasn't make any correction so far (2017). So here is the exact list of the parts required to build a complete steering bellcrank for the Egress 2013 / Avante Black Edition / Vajra:
|Reference||Quantity *||Reference||Quantity *|
|50587||2||850 ball bearing||8|
* Quantities listed above are units required for the build but the reference is Tamiya's packaging (which is not always per unit). For example, you need 2 units of 50587 (spring washers) but reference 50587 is a bag of 15 units. On the contrary, I listed 1 unit of reference 19115328 when it is the L parts tree that holds 2 parts. Anyway, check what you precisely need, not forgetting that you probably already have some of the required hardware in your stock.
Highlighted references and quantities are required for the complete Egress steering system but these parts are already used in the stock 58489 Avante 2011 steering system. They can be re-used if you are upgrading from an Avante 2011.
Well, after contacting the store who got in touch with the national distributor, I received the missing parts (2 x 19804509 + 2 x 19804510). From then on, I was able to complete the build in a matter of minutes.
>>>>> End of the update <<<<<