Posts Tagged ‘RC Rock Crawling’

 

The great thing about scale radio control trucks is we can live the off-road life, in scale, and for far cheaper than off-roading our full size trucks. I have written a couple of articles on modifications made to my Axial Racing SCX10 trail truck. If you missed it, look through the archives section on Fun and Games to find the details.

 

In short, I changed the suspension links set-up from a three link to a four link which allows the axles to better articulate over rocks and obstacles on the trails. I also installed cv style axles in the front which gives me a better turning radius and again, better articulation when things get rough. I installed new shocks that allow for better traction and stability and for dependability, I added rear axle lockouts and c-hub carriers made of aluminum instead of the stock plastic parts. This article is about how those changes affect the truck when driving my scale trail sections behind my home, a mix of rock formations, dirt trails, washouts and mud holes. I also wanted to touch on the whole idea of access and where you can put your scale truck to work.

 

My home trails are built around my backyard R/C track where we run 1/18th and 1/10th R/C trucks and cars. I utilize the track for practice, testing new parts and set up changes before I head out for weekend club races. The property around the track is largely wild, so I have begun to transform it into a natural garden where the trails move around and through the property with natural vegetation surrounding it. I have two large rock formations, a short rock trail and a selection of mud holes, washouts, and off camber driving areas.

 

The suspension modifications have been readily apparent as the truck now negotiates the scale rock trail and the rock formations much easier than before. It is now tackling climbs only my 2.2 crawlers could do which is pretty impressive. The four link suspension gets much of the credit for that but with the aluminum lockouts and c-hub carriers; I can get a bit more aggressive on the throttle which gets me the wheel speed sometimes needed to maintain momentum. The steering modifications are working well in the tight confines of some of the trails. I can now turn tight corners better and access sections of trail I otherwise could not due to the trucks stock turning radius. Finally, the shocks have made a great difference in negotiating the mud holes and off camber areas as the increased strength and adjustability allows the truck to be more firmly planted and more easily grab traction where before the wheels would not have enough pressure on them to dig in. I also have found the truck is benefiting with the added weight of all the aluminum parts on board. I have better traction and it stays planted better in the off camber sections.

 

If you have a scale truck or are thinking of getting one you will want to drive it in a variety of locales and conditions. Now, not everyone is fortunate enough to have the property to build scale trails but that shouldn’t deter you. I have taken my scale truck to rock formations where we run our crawlers, on trail rides utilizing walking trails and forest trails where we pack a back-pack with batteries, tools and supplies and make a 4 hour walk a trail truck dream excursion. You heard me right; some of the best walking trails make awesome scale truck drives. Usually there are plenty of obstacles lining the trails where you can rock crawl or climb dirt hills, we even have one forest trail system we use where the trail itself climbs large hills and lots of wooded step ups and step downs. It is a great test of machine versus Mother Nature, in scale! There are plenty of videos on YouTube showing the great diversity these trucks can tackle.

 

In our home, even Mrs. Editor in Chief enjoys a spring walk on some easy walking trails where she drives her stock AX10 and I wheel my trusty SCX10. The trails are not mountain goat-like but there are some great rock formations we crawl and a couple of tricky side trails that have some great natural obstacles to crawl over and under. This allows us to get out of the house, do some great exercise, enjoy the quiet and tranquil nature of rock crawling and enjoy our machines.

 

Once you make the initial purchase or new mods to your current truck, you can then find a number of places where you can drive them and the cost really is minimal. No track fees, or club memberships to worry about, just your time and a little exercise. If you are so inclined and want to make your own trails, even better still!

 

The second and final stage of this R/C Upgrade story is installation of new c-hub carriers, AX-10 universal joint axles and new aluminum option shocks that were supplied by Axial Racing. These are option parts that Axial has developed to help increase the performance, durability and looks of the SCX10. We have updated the axle links set, added true four link suspension and strengthened our rear axle with aluminum lock outs. The rear axle was also treated to new bearings, cleaning rust off of the axles and new hex pins. The conclusion of this build will finish the front axle and give us new shocks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The aluminum c-hub carrier’s Axial part number AX30495 will give us more strength at the ends of the axles, greater support of the knuckle in a shear condition and with the new axles we are installing, a better articulation and no binding. I removed the front axle from the chassis and removed the hex nuts, bearings, steer knuckles, and old c-carriers. I removed the stock axles and bearings as we will replace those. I built the new universal joint axles, Axial part number AX30464 using a small amount of grease in the u-joint. I added new bearings to the axle shaft and installed those into the axle. I added the new c-carriers to the front axle and ensured the set-screws were tight in the old screw holes. You can set the carriers in an additional caster position for better steering and then mount the knuckles. I finished with new outer hub bearings. I cleaned up the wheel hex nuts and installed them with new hex pins. This is the front axle upgraded and so I installed it back onto the chassis.

 

Here is the front axle before we upgrade it.

 

The new aluminum shocks, Axial part number AX30090 that Axial provided to us are an aluminum body shock that features dual rate springs that act in unison to give you progressive damping through the shock’s travel. They come with an aluminum faux reservoir for scale looks and they mount using the hardware for your stock shocks. They are also an oil dampened shock with threaded collars for easier adjustment of pre-load.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I removed the springs so I could move the shock piston up and down without resistance to bleed the air out. I only had race weight shock oil so I went with the lowest number I had. I installed 30 weight shock oil and bled the air out of them. I suspect I may want to go with a thinner oil because unlike racing where shock travel is quite fast, in rock crawling and trail driving we need  as long a stroke as we can get and we want slow rebound so as not to unsettle the chassis. We’ll test drive the truck but I am pretty sure I am going to do some tuning on these shocks to get the right stroke and rebound speed. That said, once the air was bled, they were re-assembled and mounted on the truck. It was a really simple process and I had all four shocks oiled, bled and mounted within an hour.

 

Old rusty axles on the left, new universal axles on the right

 

I chose this time to mount up some new wheels. The tires that came on the truck stock are still in good condition but the stock wheels were beat up pretty good. I chose a Pro-line wheel and mounted the tires on the new wheels. The black wheels compliment the truck nicely and I can add weights to them if I choose to weight my wheels like I do on my comp crawlers. I cleaned up the body and mounted it for final photos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am hopeful we have shown you how easy it is to upgrade your SCX10 with the help of Axial Racing’s option parts selection. The whole project was completed over roughly three evenings a couple of hours each night. The truck looks great, will have much better axle articulation and shocks that I can tune on and make changes easily on the fly. We have increased the durability of the rear axle and increased the reliability by taking the time to clean it and replace the old bearings. The new universal joint axles up front replace the dog-bone axles which were well worn so the new axles, bearings and carriers give me a bullet proof front axle which will outperform the stock front axle.

The new universal axles assembled

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to Anthony at Axial for his support in making this R/C Upgrade story possible. Look for more upgrade stories in the coming weeks as we show you how much fun it is to wrench on your rig and the payoff you get by installing parts that increase performance, durability and looks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New axles and c-carriers installed

 

New Axial Option Parts shocks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Completed chassis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New suspension , new shocks, new wheels and upgraded axles, Mission Accomplished

 

The beautiful thing about radio control trucks and cars is that they entertain, and they can be a scale reproduction of the types of cars and trucks that we enjoy driving. Part of owning a vehicle is the opportunity to repair them and perform upgrades, R/C trucks and cars also allow us the opportunity to do repairs and upgrades. This is important to car guys, and gals; that enjoy wrenching on their full size rides. We know full well the satisfaction that comes from doing a repair or upgrade right and how good it feels when you complete it, mission accomplished.

 

Completed link set, plus the four-link trusses

Back on April 19 I wrote an introductory story on a new feature for Gearheads Magazine, R/C-Upgrade. The purpose of this series of articles is to show people how easy it is to repair and upgrade your R/C car or truck and the added benefits of this work.  To begin the series we have an Axial SCX10 scale truck that I will be installing a number of parts provided by Axial Racing. These parts are option parts, made by Axial. The advantage of a manufacturer providing their own line of upgrades is that they will have the proper specs from the design of the original vehicle, so it’s a sure bet the parts will fit well, and perform as advertised.

 

As we begin this build, we tackle the largest job of the project, a project that will see us install aluminum axle links, steer links, rear axle lock outs, new shocks and new front axle components. We will install the axle links, steer link and rear axle lockouts in this installment.

 

I started by reviewing the enclosed instructions that came with the link upgrade set, part # AX30549. I also have the original owner’s manual that came with the truck as a reference. I assembled all of the links with the included hardware and laid them aside for photos.

 

Cleaned chassis, ready for new links

I removed the wheels and tires and set to work thoroughly cleaning the chassis with a stiff paint brush. I had already cleaned it with water and let it dry, now is the time to remove the remaining residue and grime. This truck has been well used and has been a reliable performer. My R/C race vehicles could stand to be as reliable. As evidenced in the photos, it is rough looking and a bit beat-up. The point here is that these upgrades will not give this truck a show vehicle look per se, but it will look a bit better, be more durable and really increase performance.

 

After a good going over with the brush, I used a wire wheel in my Dremel to remove surface rust from the steel u-joints and the nuts and bolts. I removed the old suspension links and unbolted the shocks at the axle. This effectively dis-connected the axle from the truck; I slipped the two part drive-shaft apart and set to working on the rear axle. I took off the three -link attachment on the diff and installed the four-link truss, part #AX80018 so that I have a true four-link set up front and rear. This will increase articulation and grip.

 

Four-link truss and axle lockouts installed

At this point I installed the Axial rear lockouts, part# AX30494. These parts are aluminum and will be far more durable than the plastic parts they replace. Powder coated black; they look great and will be really strong. I took off the wheel hexes, removed the plastic lockouts and removed the axles. The axles were filthy so I cleaned them, installed new bearings and re-installed them into the diff. I put on the new lockouts and they went on really smooth, with a great, secure fit. I installed new hex pins, installed the hexes and ensured the set screws on the hexes were tight. With that done the rear diff was finished and ready to go back in.

 

I installed the new rear links at the chassis mounts and then attached them to the axle. I will be replacing the shocks but for now I re-installed the old shocks. While doing the links I made sure to re-attach the two piece drive shafts and I also tightened the set screws on the universal joints.  With the rear half of the truck complete I turned my attention to the front.

 

The process up front was similar. I removed the old links, removed the servo so I could swap out the three-link bar in favor of the four-link truss, and then put the servo back on. I removed the steer rod in preparation for the new one that comes in the kit. I installed the

Steer rod in place, front links installed

new steer rod, attached the links to the frame mounts and then to the axle, ensuring the drive shafts were re-attached and all hardware was tight. I avoided doing any work on the front axle in so far as cleaning and so forth as that will be a story on its own. The shocks were again mounted and final pictures were taken. I made sure to check the articulation of both the front and rear axles. I moved the axles up and down as well as side to side, to ensure there was no binding or friction.

 

The truck looks good with the new links and rear lock outs. I know my rear axle is up to snuff with new bearings and a thorough cleaning and I am looking forward to the new-found articulation the four- link will bring me. The rear lockouts add good looks, durability and because they are metal, added weight on the rear axle which increases grip when crawling. The aluminum steer rod is a mandatory upgrade if you choose to go rock crawling or tackle really aggressive trails, and this one looks great and will last a long time.

 

Rear links in place, axle lockouts, true four-link suspension front and rear

The next story will focus in on the front axle where we will disassemble it like we did the rear; add new bearings, pins and some new steering parts from Axial. I would like to thank Axial Racing for providing the parts for this series of upgrades and stay tuned to Gearheads Magazine for more info on R/C vehicles and R/C vehicle projects.

 

 

 

Full shot of completed chassis with new links, and rear axle lockouts. Total time to complete this was two evenings a couple hours each evening

 

New to Gearheads Magazine will be a regular series on upgrading RC trucks and cars, called RC-Upgrade. We want to show people new to the hobby or considering entering the hobby how easy it is to elevate the reliability and performance of your favorite RC vehicle.

 

Our first project is a makeover of my Axial Racing SCX10 trail truck. I will be installing a number of option parts that are available from Axial or your local hobby store. These parts are intended to increase durability, performance and overall enhance the look of your Axial vehicle. This project will also include some tips on how to clean up a well-used trail truck with a little bit of elbow grease and innovative techniques.

 

The parts that Axial Racing provided to us include aluminum links that link the axles to the chassis. We have new metal shocks that are more durable and will perform better than the stock shocks. I will install axle upgrades including new c-hubs, and rear axle lock outs. I have new transmission outdrives and a fresh new pinion and spur gear for reliability.

 

All of the upgrades can be completed with basic hand tools and bit of time. You can choose one or all of these upgrades and the result is a better handling, tougher, and better looking trail rig. The first of the upgrade stories will begin next week here on Gearheads Magazine, we will also Tweet the upgrade stories with links so make sure you check back and / or follow us on Twitter. I would like to thank Axial Racing for thier support of this project.