RECON G6 Challenge Birthday Bash 2014



2014 RECON G6 Challenge Birthday Bash
December 6, 2014
Moonrocks, Reno, Nevada
Words and Photos by Matt “Skeeno” Soileau

RECON G6 006 (Medium)

Can you believe that the RECON G6 Challenge is four years old?  I can’t. It seems like just yesterday a few of us guinea pigs showed up at the first RECON G6 Challenge and tested our Axial SCX10s on the longest, most technically challenging trail they had ever been on.

This year the RECON G6 Challenge not only traveled to seven of the United States, it went global with a stop in Austria! Attendance records were also set at each event as more and more members joined the RECON G6 family. So, in honor of the birth of the RECON G6 Challenge, the annual Birthday Bash G6 was once again held in the birth city of this great event.


This past weekend, Skeeno Jr. and I headed out to Moonrocks just north of Reno, Nevada to celebrate all the great things that have come to the RECON G6 Challenge this year. It just so happened to take place on the same weekend that a few local clubs were holding their Club Challenges, so the location was full.


When I arrived, the line was already out the door. Eager G6ers were waiting in line to be registered and to also donate their toys for the Washoe County Sherriff’s Christmas on the Corridor program.


Mr. Rivas Concepts and Mr. Cole were at the front of the line getting drivers registered and collecting the toys.




Over 100 new toys were donated.



Hoyfab had his YETI XL on display at the registration booth. This thing was sweet and full of extra detail. Equipped with a Premier Power Welder and tons of GoPro cameras. Hoyfab is the man to see for awesome 3D printed scale accessories.


Also on the table was this wonderful jerky. I may have eaten multiple pieces while Cole and Rivas weren’t looking.  Thanks for the hookup OFO Crawlers. Feel free to bring more to Axialfest 2015.


I spotted a couple sweet trailers waiting in line. The trailer is the new black. You better get yours ready for Axialfest 2015. And don’t forget, Axialfest will be held in July this year. More info can be found here:


Of course RPP Hobby was in attendance, they are the Official Hobby Shop of the RECON G6 Challenge.


This Drivin Diva didn’t have time to drive, but Alyssa made sure to come out to say hi to all her old driving buddies. Thanks for stopping by.  We hope to see you on the trail soon.


While waiting for everyone to register, I headed over to the 1:1s to check out the rigs and see what was going on.  This first crawler I came to just happened to belong to my old buddy, Bryan.  Can you believe this started life as a Suzuki Samurai?  The only thing Samurai left on this rig is the firewall now.


I also spotted the Axial Wraith in the queue waiting for its turn on course. Notice it’s also running the Official Tires of the RECON G6, Pitbulls.

DSCF0388The pile of kits kept growing and growing.


This lone Land Rover was looking for a home. Who wants this?


Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer would be proud to be seen in these two kits.


Parker went over the rules. Remember, no Hand of God.  That’s pretty much the golden rule.


As always, the National Anthem was played before the lipos were lit.


Parker was kind enough to line us up backwards. We got to drive in reverse to that rock behind him before we could drive forward.


Somehow, Skeeno Jr. and I ended up in the lead for the first dozen or so trail markers.


Of course, Mr. Pham eventually passed us by. His Axial SXC10 RECON G6 Jeep is the envy of many G6ers. That’s the perks of working at a hobby shop.



Skeeno Jr. tried to keep up the pace…


…but Mr. Fokai finally got by her. Besides, the RECON G6 isn’t about winning. It’s about having fun, so we let him by and relaxed.


Reno’s CKRC crew brought a full compliment of drivers and kits.  They were super helpful, and I saw them personally give away parts to at least three broken drivers, so they could finish.


It’s a good thing I had my new Bull Rope tow strap. It came in handy. Since we had some recent rains, the rocks got a little muddy and slippery. Here, I had to pull Skeeno Jr. out of a crevice she slipped in to.


Those balloons helped this Wraith float over the rocks.


TM102 presented the opportunity for a little air time, so I took it.


The courses at the RECON G6 Challenge are always long, so it’s a good idea to pack refreshments. Remember, it’s about having fun, so there’s no need to run.


I have to include this picture because Parker loves Scouts, and this one’s leading the way.


There’s always casualties at a RECON G6. Remember, finishing a RECON G6 is like winning a RECON G6. Don’t be afraid to make trail repairs and ask for help if you need it. Other G6ers are always happy to lend a fellow G6er a hand.


Speaking of lending a hand, Werty lent Skeeno Jr. some of his sweet jack stands to help her with some maintenance in the pits.


I think Mini Meeks was giving me the stink eye.


Scale or 1:1?


This Jeep was having a hard time climbing this section.  It took me a while, but I finally figured out why…there was no driver, duh.


One of my favorite G6ers made it out. Mr. Stern is also our oldest G6er at 91 years young.


The last time I saw this trailer, it was camo-ed out. This teardrop trailer was even cooler this time in full RECON G6 regalia. You can see the old version here:


I told you trailers were popular. Here the Werty trailer adds a little extra challenge to this sandy hill climb.


Parker and RC Chick putted around on my CT70 making sure everyone was having a good time. He also used it to plant some special prizes on course.


Here’s what he was planting, $20 RPP gift certificate coins. Did you find one?


Remember that if you find something that looks out of place at a G6, it’s probably a trail treasure. Pick it up and take it back to G Central with you and you will be rewarded. Mr. Tree found this double barreled sling shot over on Course 2 and earned some bonus time for his good fashion sense.


The best part of Moonrocks is the rocks.  The jagged granite provides tons of traction and the sandy decomposed granite removes that traction, so it’s always a dance with the trigger finger.


I cut my RC crawling teeth at the Moonrocks, so it was fun to reminisce about all the old B.P.R.C.A comps that were held in these exact same lines.


Uh oh, that Scout is falling behind. He’s probably just letting this Jeep feel what it’s like to be in front for once.


After Skeeno Jr. and I were finished driving, we headed over to check out the 1:1s. This Jeep was at the top of a steep off camber climb.


Here’s the other side of the climb. This leaf springer almost flipped on its lid.


The Axial Wraith used a little wheel speed to get up this line.


Just like RC crawling comps, there’s lots of waiting in line with the 1:1s as well.  That’s why we love the RECON G6, no lines and Maximum Drive Time!



This 1:1 detonated his Rockwell in this crevasse. Skeeno Jr. thought it was awesome. She was fascinated by these big boys.


My buddy Bryan made the crevasse line with no problem even with a hastily stitched back together driveshaft.  It’s all about finesse sometimes.


As we headed back to G Central, we spotted a few of the last G6ers finishing up their courses.


Some scale water, axle deep.


The CKRC/Rivas Concepts Deadbolt was still looking good even after running all day long.

Of course, we finished up the day with a few awards.


Durty Driver of the Day, Mini Meeks


Drivn Diva of the Day, Mrs. Werty


Expedition Driver of the Day, Mr. J.J.


2.2 Driver of the Day, Mr. Kowatch


1.9 Driver of the Day, Mr. Klein


Drivers of the Year, Klein and Wolfe


6×6 Driver of the Year, Mr. Hoyfab.


Luckiest Winners of the Day taking home G6 kits, so they’ll be ready for the next RECON G6 Challenge.

The calendar of events for 2015 will be out soon. Watch for events coming to your area soon. You don’t want to miss one.

Jump Properly


If you got started in RC with one of Axial’s rock crawlers, you may not know how to properly jump. What is there to it? There’s more to it than pointing your vehicle at a jump and launching it. The part you may not know is that you can actually use the throttle and brakes to control how the vehicle flies through the air.

If you have experience with dirt bikes you may catch on that the throttle can be used in the air to actually raise the front of the bike. The opposite happens when brakes are applied–the front end lowers. Every RC vehicle jumps differently, but they all react, at least to some degree, to throttle and brake inputs. 4WD vehicles such as the Yeti, Yeti XL and EXO Terra Buggy offer more in-air control than 2WD vehicles. Vehicles with bigger tires can also react better to throttle and brake inputs–if they have enough power to really spin the tires. Also, in general, the more power, the more control in the air.

The best way to approach a jump surface is with even speed. Your suspension reacts as you accelerate and decelerate on the ground just like it does in the air as described above. When you approach a ramp, for example, and suddenly accelerate, on or right before the ramp surface, the rear suspension will compress. It will then rebound when you let off the throttle. Without getting too deep in a physics lesson, the rebounding suspension will cause the vehicle to start to lift its rear higher than the front. Even speed–neither an increase or decrease in speed–will provide the most consistent results.


If the vehicle is nose-diving in the air, grab and hold the throttle until the attitude of the vehicle is level or slightly nose up. Dropping the nose using the brakes requires a slightly different method. Only a tap of the brakes is needed. Too much brake will quickly over rotate the rear up and over the nose.


The key to a perfect landing, as far as throttle input is concerned, is to have the wheel speed match the vehicle’s speed upon touchdown. That’s a whole lot easier said than done, so concentrate on not having the brakes applied or having the tires spinning too fast. This will keep the drivetrain from taking too much of a jolt and keep the vehicle from darting out of control.

From approach, to launch, to being airborne and finally landing, jumps go by pretty quickly. It’s sometimes hard to imagine you’ll have time to think and do all of the actions described above, but with just a little bit of practice, it will all be second nature.

Trim a Lexan Body


kit body

There are two ways to properly trim a body. One is the obvious method of using scissors to slowly trim the Lexan material away. The second method involves the far less obvious trick of scoring and snapping off the unwanted material.

untrimmed body

When using scissors, two types of scissors are recommended, one set of traditional straight blade scissors and a pair of RC-specific body scissors with short curved blades.

body scissors

Duratrax makes both the curved short bladed and straight short bladed scissors. The perfect setup is actually three total pairs. Add to the pair of previously described Duratrax scissors a pair of long straight bladed scissors. These are very handy for cutting long, perfectly straight lines such as the rocker panel area between wheel wells. The key is to avoid scissors with the fine serrations. Using the scissors is pretty straightforward. Just take your time and use longer blade scissors for long cuts so you get a straight edge.


The second method of trimming a body requires a sharp hobby knife. The preferred blade for RC use is the #11 blade. Revell, the model company, offers a high-quality knife that includes five #11 blades.


You may have seen glass cut by it being first scored with a sharp device and then snapped at the score line. Lexan RC bodies can be trimmed the same way. If you score the trim lines and then bend the excess material back and forth, the body should snap apart at the score line. Do not peel the Lexan extra material away from the body. This can go wrong and result in a tear across your expensive body. Overall, this technique takes some practice, but the end result can be very impressive.

While using these techniques can, with some practice, yield some great looking smooth results, you can still touch up areas occasionally. The best tool for the job is a rotary tool with a sanding drum. While you’ll find dozens of uses for a rotary tool, even if you only used it for finishing up a body, you’ll find it’s worth every penny.

Waterproof Your Receiver


There are a lot of opinions being shared on how to waterproof electronics items, such receivers. The downside on most of the techniques is that they void the warranties of the products they are supposed to protect. Even worse, they often don’t work as promised.

ar-2 rec 1

The receiver on your Axial vehicle is the brain of the onboard electronics system. While all of the components need to work, none will work if the receiver is compromised. The number one way a receiver is damaged is by water exposure. If you avoid water, mud, and wet conditions in general, you have nothing to worry about. If you do want to be able to get your RC car wet, the receiver should be the first item addressed.

Since receivers don’t have overheating issues, the absolute best way to waterproof a receiver is to completely shield it from water exposure. The best method for this is an old method that has been used in RC for decades, but still works flawlessly. The method in question is to use a simple balloon over the receiver. A typical party balloon works fine, but the thicker the balloon the better. A thicker material is more durable, but all intact balloons are waterproof. It’s worth noting that balloons, even the standard party balloons, come in different sizes.

rec balloon

The hardest part is stretching the balloon over the receiver without tearing the material. The best trick is buy the bigger 12″ balloons and to stretch out the neck of the balloon with your fingers until it easily opens wide, and then while holding it open drop the receiver in. Sometimes having an extra set of hands will make this much easier, so get an assistant if you can.

rec balloon 2

Also, make sure all of the wires are attached before covering the receiver with a balloon.

silicone 2


While the balloon over the receiver offers enough protection for most conditions, the receiver isn’t fully waterproof just yet. Using traditional silicone glue, fill the neck of the balloon about halfway down. There’s no need to overfill the glue, but you want to use just enough to completely surround the wires.

zip tie

After the glue has partially hardened, cinch a cable tie around the glued area. After the glue has completely dried (it will take a while to completely cure), you can add a small amount of glue as added insurance.

When installed inside one of Axial’s receiver boxes, the receiver will be truly waterproof and, if you performed these steps properly, will be safe for even the wettest conditions. Venturing into water is risky and can damage electronics. Do so at your own risk. Even if your electronics are “waterproofed,” other components on your RC car need care before and after water exposure.

Axial Yeti XL Pre-run Checklist – Read Before You Run


So you just picked up your Yeti XL and are ready to go bashing! Take a few moments to check out some recommendations to make sure you have the best experience possible.

Pre-run checklist:

Check the screw tightness, especially around the front bulkhead

YetiXL Pre-Run Blog

YetiXL Pre-Run Blog

Wheel nuts – We recommend using a ratchet with an 8mm socket to install and remove the wheel nuts; this is easier on the hands than the included wrench.

YetiXL Pre-Run Blog

Battery install – Your Yeti XL comes with foam spacers for using two 2S batteries or two 3S batteries. You can run your batteries with their leads exiting the front of the tray or the rear of the tray

If using standard hard case 2S batteries, use the long skinny foams on top or bottom, and the block foam in front or back. We prefer rear battery lead exit and rear battery placement with the foam on top to keep the weight as low and back as far as possible.

YetiXL Pre-Run Blog

YetiXL Pre-Run Blog

If using standard 3S batteries, store the long skinny foams and just use the block foam to keep the battery from moving front to rear tugging on the leads.

YetiXL Pre-Run Blog

Trimming the tabs slightly that hold the battery doors closed may help with large batteries. Using a small x-acto knife, you can cut a small amount of plastic out to make sliding the pins in on the battery doors much easier.

YetiXL Pre-Run Blog

YetiXL Pre-Run Blog

When unleashing the massive amount of power this rig has to offer, it is possible to rip the tires from the wheels, especially if they did not get fully glued from the factory. It is highly recommended to make sure the tires are fully glued before running. Using your fingers, tug on the tires all the way around all the wheels and make sure they are fully attached.


Check screw shafts on transmission outputs

YetiXL Pre-Run Blog

Check wiring for proper routing (should be away from any moving parts) and for any loose connections.

YetiXL Pre-Run Blog

Before using your new rig, buy the wife/GF something nice because you won’t be spending much time with her once you unleash the Yeti XL. (This last one is probably the most important). Clicking here is a good start.

If for some reason you disregarded that last piece of advice, or happened to read this blog after the fact, you may be forced to buy one of these…..


If you are a girl and purchased the Yeti XL, reverse this process as us guys are cheap and expect cubic zirconium’s laid in titanium bands.

Please make sure to check back regularly for the latest information and tips! As always thank you for your support!

U4RC 2014 Series Final


Words by:  Jerry Tobin – U4RC

Photos courtesy of : Matt Frederick, James Goad

With overwhelming success in the past two years, U4RC has proven that r/c rock racing is truly the “next big thing” in r/c. U4RC has solidly claimed its place in the world of r/c racing. And with the recent releases from Axial racing of several “rock racer” themed rigs, (i.e. Yeti, Yeti XL, 1.9” Deadbolt and the Spawn) r/c rock racing is apparently here to stay. The R&D department at Axial really nailed it with these new releases.  Rock racing is by far the most demanding form of r/c racing that exists. The most interesting aspect is that being “fast” is not always fast, and being “slow” is usually the fastest way around the track. U4RC rock racing has taken off around the globe as well, with U4RC chapters now active in many countries including Austria, Australia, Poland, Canada as well as followers from over 30 other countries worldwide. So look out world, it’s the “Spawn” of a new era of r/c, pun intended.


The racing for the third series was to say the least…epic! The caliber and skills of the racers has improved radically since U4RCs inception. The racers are paying close attention to the track conditions, rig prep, series points, and other racers. We consistently see a flow of new, entry level as well as advanced level racers at U4 events, and that is really exciting for the staff. We enjoy hearing the “woo-hoos,” laughter, and friendly ribbing all day from the drivers’ stand. So if that sounds fun to you, head out to your next local U4RC event! General information, media, and upcoming U4RC event information can be found at


Series Summary:

The 1.9 Trail class witnessed a great battle between James Williams (Axial JK) and John Ingold (Axial Honcho) for the championship title which James eventually won. Close behind them were a handful of drivers from the Whistler Racing Team. The Whistler Racing team drivers were running various forms of Axial SCX10’s. The 1.9 Trail class is still a great entry level class for people looking to get into rock racing on a budget. Many racers run there “trail rigs” in this class with just some pinion and spur gear adjustments. Remember that “slow is fast” in r/c rock racing. The Axial Deadbolt as well as all SCX10s are great examples of affordable rigs to enter into U4RC racing.




2.2 Comp Limited is another popular class with suspension, chassis, axle (solid/solid),  as well as a few other restrictions that help the class remain an entry level 2.2” class. Axial Wraiths are the main rigs seen in this class, although we have had several 2.2” clad SCX10s do very well in the class as well. The new Axial Spawn looks to be a perfect entry or expert level rig for 2.2 Comp Limited with its many, racing specific features.



The 2.2 Comp Open class got a huge boost with the release of the Axial Yeti just over halfway through the series.  2.2 Comp Open is just as the title says – an open class for highly modified Wraiths and IFS rigs, factory and custom alike. The author of this article was able to grab two consecutive podium finishes with a stock Yeti on 2S, with minimal suspension adjustments, tire tuning, and less than $40 of hop-up parts. Rich Hernandez walked away with the championship title with his AR60 rear axled EXO Terra buggy.



2.2 Trophy Class was as usual packed with tons of the most realistic rigs and racing in any genre of r/c. With the sounds of heavy, real metal rigs scraping and banging around the course and into each other, U4RC racer Rich Boltz recorded the fastest lap time (sub 60 sec.) out of ANY class for the entire series in his FB 2.2 Trophy rig. This is quite a feat considering the minimum weight requirement for the class is 8lbs. At least 95% of the rigs competing in 2.2 Trophy are Axial based. Racers are using several different Axial models for their basis, including Wraith’s, EXO’s, SCX10’s, and the Yeti.




U4RC would like to thank Axial for their dedicated support, since the first series, of U4RCs vision to bring realistic, grassroots, r/c rock racing to the masses; a vision they must share considering the current Axial Racing product line. A full version of U4RC rules, class specs, media, upcoming events, track locations, and general info can all be resourced at

Recon G6 Fowl Play Recap


Axial Presents:

The “Fowl Play” Recon G6

September 27th, 2014

Paulina Lake, Oregon

Trip Report by Ryan Gerrish

Photos by Ryan Gerrish and Chris McMullin

Last September the G-train invaded the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, just outside of La Pine, Oregon in the beautiful Deschutes National Forest. This amazing bit of geology includes over 50,000 acres of lakes, lava flows, dense forest and high desert. It is an endless R/C crawling playground smack in the middle of a 500 square mile active volcano. The perfect environment for Mr. Brian Parker and his crew to entertain a group of over 100 Northwest scale crawling enthusiasts with both day and night G6 stages.

The beautiful Paulina Lake. A large portion of the day stage ran around part of the perimeter.

img 1

Saturday morning began with the Rivas concepts show & shine with prizes from Hoyfab Crawlers, followed by a group photo and drivers meeting. Parker went over the basic G6 rules, and the national anthem played to kick off the event.




There were endless unique and well-built rigs to drool over.





A very clean full-size Range Rover Classic:


The G6 was set up to run at 4 different locations around the park; Paulina Lake, Paulina Falls, The Bosidian Flow, and The Snow Park (Staging Area). You could run them in any order, and there were special photos you could take at each to earn bonuses.

The Snow Park hill climb:





Running the trail up to Paulina Falls:






The Obsidian Flow was pretty epic crawling. Endless jagged rock and beautiful scenery.






Running around Paulina Lake:



The Sled pull challenge at the end of the day stage:



The Marshmallow golf challenge: Hit one past the Crawler Innovations banner for extra points!


And of course, the hardest working man in RC:


I wasn’t able to get pictures of the night stage, but there is some good video on YouTube and many more pictures on Facebook! It was a great event with awesome turnout, over 130 entries if I remember correctly. The courses were challenging but not too difficult, and people seemed to have a great time exploring the park. Many thanks to Brian and crew for their hard work! We look forward to next year.

Understanding Tire Wear


Tires are inarguably one of the most significant deciding factors when it comes to determining the real-world capability of a vehicle. Tires will make or break a RC vehicle. In the case of crawlers, where a lack of traction can lead to a nasty fall, tires can quite literally make or break a rig. You need the right tires, and to really get the most out of a set of tires you need to know when to replace them.


Most people think of reduced tread depth as the primary concern with tire wear. It may be important for your full-size car, but it is essentially a nonissue when it comes to RC applications such as rock crawling. The real issue at hand is rounded edges. When tires are new, the lugs have sharp edges that grab rocks and provide traction. Rounded edges will, in contrast, slip and spin.

Examine your tires closely and look at the forward edges of the lugs. If you look closely, you’ll see how the edges get rounded. You also most likely notice the rear facing edges of each lug are relatively new looking in comparison.

Where all of this leads is to hopefully making you realize the value of rotating your RC tires. Rotating tires really works for getting the most out of a set. When a set of tires has been rotated and both sides of the lugs are rounded off, it’s time to set the tires aside for practice and play and get a new set.


Another part of tire wear you need to understand is examining for tears and cuts. Tires come in different thicknesses  Thinner carcasses are, as you’d expect, often easier to get tears and cuts in. The key to dealing with these puncture wounds is early detection. If you notice the damage before it gets too bad, you can actually fix the repair with CA glue. It’s worth noting that some pretty long tears can be fixed, but have to be fixed in small sections at a time.

The Truth About Waterproof


When an RC vehicle has “waterproof” stamped on the box, what does that really mean? Most people believe that you can drive that vehicle in water without any harm coming to the vehicle or any of its components—it’s waterproof, after all. This claim of the vehicle being waterproof is somewhat misleading. Entire RC vehicles are simply not waterproof. Believing that they are and thus using the vehicle as if it were entirely impervious to water will result in damage. We want you to enjoy your Axial Racing purchase for a long time and not ruin any of your RC investments, so here are the facts, as we see them, on what really is waterproof. We want you to know what can really happen if you take a water adventure too far. Honest information will prevent you from ruining your investment.

Axial Racing vehicles are scale models of real off-road vehicles and are, as such, intended to be used in a scale equivalent for terrain. What this means is that water crossings that would be appropriate in a full-size Jeep and run no risk of damage would be appropriate, in scale, for your Axial vehicle with no expectation of damage. The general rule is that you can drive a stock full-size off-road capable vehicle in water up to the center of the wheel hubs. The same holds true for Axial vehicles; hub deep is safe for your Axial vehicle. So, if you drive straight through water that is approximately as deep as the middle of the wheels, your SCX10, for example, will traverse the conditions with no concern. You won’t incur damage and won’t require any special maintenance. Commonly, when you buy a new 4X4 truck from a dealer, you think you are prepared to take on any and all terrain. With water crossings, core enthusiasts, however, will tell you that you need various modifications such as lengthened differential breather vents raised off the axle and onto the firewall, waterproofing of the distributor and airbox and, of course, the iconic snorkel. Or, you can learn the hard way. The same is true for surface RC vehicles. Without very specific and specialized modifications, you shouldn’t exceed that general hub-deep recommendation. And, even with extensive modifications, both RC and real vehicles will require maintenance beyond what is normally required if driven in deep water.


Receiver Boxes
Receiver boxes that are considered or labeled as waterproof often do an excellent job of keeping the elements out when use consists of splashing through wet terrain and shallow water. These sealed boxes are not, however, truly suitable for protection when submerged in water. When submerged, water can seep in for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, the quality of the seal depends on how well the receiver box was assembled. If the O-ring falls out of position on the main lid or there isn’t sufficient grease on the seal for the servo leads and antenna wire, the box will leak. Water will actually get on the wires and travel right into the box if enough grease doesn’t completely surround the wires where they enter the box. Even a small amount of water can get moved around inside the box and eventually inside the receiver. Again, these boxes provide great protection, but shouldn’t be relied on for submerging your vehicle. Also, keep in mind water depth and time submerged impact how waterproof a receiver works. One of the most problematic aspects of sealed receiver boxes is that it’s next to impossible to see if water has found its way in.

Radio Reception
Here’s a fun fact. Did you know that water is dense enough to impact the reception quality of 2.4GHz radio systems, which are now the most common type of radio system used in hobby-grade RC? Those guys you see driving their RC vehicles into lakes to show off how waterproof their vehicle is might be in for surprise when they lose signal. While receiver antenna length, battery strength, and other factors play a role, technically you could lose control of your RC vehicle if enough water gets in between your 2.4GHz transmitter and the vehicle.

When a manufacturer claims a vehicle is waterproof, a glaring omission is the drivetrain. Transmissions and axles are not waterproof. The bearings may be water resistant (see below), but water will seep in components such as transmissions and axles. These parts may have a tight fit that does an exceptionally good job keeping dirt out, but maintenance will reveal that, eventually, dust or fine dirt gets in. If dirt can find a way in, water certainly can. Not only will water cause corrosion, but it will contaminate the grease. When a vehicle is completely submerged, a surprisingly large amount of water can seep in. Not only is the water bad by itself, it is most likely dirty water carrying abrasive dirt particles with it.

Axial bearings are sealed and made out of high-quality stainless steel, but RC bearings are not watertight. The seals keep dirt out and grease in, but prolonged submersion in water will contaminate the bearings, as dirty water will eventually seep in. Cruising through shallow water will not harm your Axial bearings and even mud can be cleaned off the outer surface. When completely submerged, however, the water will contaminate and simply gum up the grease. It’s important to note that stainless steel is not rust proof, despite what most people think. It will stain less, but it can still stain. There are also different grades of stainless steel. Odds are you don’t know the grade of the stainless steel used in your bearings, but 300 series stainless steel resists rust better than 400 series. Axial bearings are sealed and made out of high-quality stainless steel, but no brand of RC bearings are watertight. Again, the seals keep dirt out and grease in, but prolonged submersion in water will contaminate the bearings.


Brushed Motors
Brushed motors are well known for being able to survive wet conditions. They can even run under water—completely submerged. Brushed motors are frequently said to be waterproof and are actually a great example of the difference between being able to do something and being able to do something without long-term damage. Brushed motors can, in fact, be completely submerged in water and run. Many RC enthusiasts will point out that old school RC racers used to purposely dunk and run brushed motors in water to break them in for higher performance. This is only partially true. The key point to know is that this was done because it rapidly wore or “seated” hard brushes. This technique was used because it was the only option for sealed, non-rebuildable motors and/or because the job of breaking in needed to be done quickly. Water dipping was not the preferred way to break in a motor. Again, water dipping the motor causes rapid wear. Clean water wears down the brushes quickly; dirty water—naturally more abrasive—wears the brushes and scores the softer commutator. Bottom line is a brushed motor can run in water, but doing so undeniably wears the motor out extremely quickly. The bushings (or bearings) will also need to be lubricated after, which requires the motor to be completely removed from the vehicle for cleaning and maintenance.

Brushless Motors
There are two types of brushless motors—sensored and sensorless. While there are some sensorless motors labeled as waterproof, it is highly advised that you do no submerge these motors or even subject them to extremely wet conditions unless you are prepared for and know how to perform motor disassembly and maintenance. These motors use steel shielded bearings, which are not designed to be water tight or even truly significantly water resistant. The stainless steel shields used in most RC vehicles are high quality and well-sealed, but are designed to keep debris out and are not watertight. Sensored brushless are not waterproof due to the sensors that give them their name.


Unlike full-size tires, RC tires almost always use foam inserts in place of compressed air. Also, unlike full-size tires, RC tires are almost always vented with holes in either the wheel or in the tire itself. The foam supports the tire so it can bear the weight of the vehicle and the vents allow air to escape and reenter as the foam compresses and then regains its shape. Without the vent, tires would not readily conform to obstacles and would act more like bouncy balls on bumps and jumps than tires. The downside is the vents also allow water in. Water soaked foams are difficult, if not almost impossible, to get 100% dry, and water has proven to significantly degrade the foam and make it deteriorate quickly. On beadlock style wheels, the tires can be disassembled and the foams can be replaced—at a cost. Tires that are glued to the wheels, however, may be a complete loss if soaked.


Speed Controls and Servos
Speed controls (or ESCs), such as the Axial AE-5, and servos are good examples of individual waterproof components. Electronic components are easily damaged by water and when damaged, it is often quickly apparent—the vehicle immediately stops working. Other water damage, in contrast, takes time to manifest. This is the primary driver in declaring a vehicle to be waterproof when only the electronics are actually protected. Speed controls and servos can have their circuit boards sealed—often with an epoxy type material—or have the cases sealed with gaskets, but with both methods more heat is retained. Like water, heat can also damage electronics, so make sure you operate the device within the manufacturer’s specifications.

Both NiMH and LiPo batteries function underwater as the individual cells are sealed. Both, however, have exposed tabs that easily corrode. Water does damage batteries. The inside of the cells is well protected, but the exposed parts are not. The battery packs work in wet conditions, but that doesn’t mean damage doesn’t occur. Batteries are also difficult to dry due to their construction.


In addition to the components and related issues described above, the hardware holding your RC vehicle together will quickly corrode when exposed to water. This isn’t just an appearance issue; hex hardware will often start corroding inside the hex-shaped head and make maintenance difficult.

Industrial Ratings
There are many waterproof rating methods used in industry and very few are stated in RC. It’s worth noting that none are applied to entire vehicles. That is essentially the point. Your entire vehicle is an investment and worth protecting. Even if the box says waterproof, you could be ruining it by driving it in deep water.

Below is the IPX rating that only describes water protection. IP stands for International Protection. The X indicates that solid particle protection is not identified. There is a two-digit IP code that does also list solid particle protection, which will be the first digit in place of the X.

IPX-0: No protection
IPX-1: Protected against condensation or dripping water falling vertically
IPX-2: Protected against spraying water when tilted up to 15 degrees vertically
IPX-3: Protected against spraying water when tilted up to 60 degrees vertically
IPX-4: Protected against splashing water from any angle
IPX-5: Protected against low pressure water stream from any angle
IPX-6: Protected against high pressure water stream from any angle
IPX-7: Protected against water immersion. Immersion for 30 minutes at a depth of up to 1 meter
IPX-8: Protected against continual water submersion in under water conditions.

Click Here to Read Our SCX10 Waterproof Post