Trim a Lexan Body

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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…..

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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

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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.

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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 www.U4RC.com.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 www.U4RC.com.

Recon G6 Fowl Play Recap

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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.

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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.

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

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A very clean full-size Range Rover Classic:

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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:

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Running the trail up to Paulina Falls:

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

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Running around Paulina Lake:

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

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

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And of course, the hardest working man in RC:

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

Drivetrain
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.

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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.

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Tires
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.

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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.

Batteries
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.

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Hardware
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

Axial at Off Road EXPO 2014

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Off Road EXPO at the Pamona Fairplex is an event that you must attend if you live in the So Cal area. This is the big off road show where you get to see all the latest and greatest off road equipment. We were on the scene checking out some of the awesome rigs on site and snapping photos of the Axial rigs we could find at the show.

This year was different for Axial as we had quite a lot going on. We had demos going in the Poison Spyder booth, the Icon Vehicle Dynamics booth, and the Yeti XL was attracting eyeballs in the BFG booth for its first public appearance.

Many of the Axial marketing partners were also on site showing off their latest goodies…. Check it out!

Icon Vehicle Dynamics just picked up a big rig to take their products and show on the road. This beautiful rig grabbed tons of attention. Those that ventured over to see them got to try their hand wheeling some SCX10s. You would have the option of running the Ram Power Wagon, the Honcho or the JK.

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Have we mentioned we Love the ICON JK?

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and check out this awesome machine!!! I want this body for an SCX10!

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Camping anyone?

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Walker Evans Racing on site with this super clean JK!

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and of course Walker’s beautiful pre-runner buggy

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Rebel Off-Road always brings a crowd of people, and they should with their awesome selection of JK’s and other fun toys

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Does anyone else want 20 minutes alone in the desert with Method’s TT?

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Speaking of Method Wheels, check out this Shannon Campbell Replica Rock racer using Wraith and EXO parts that is almost completed. We found this in the Magnaflow booth

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Also cruising around the Magnaflow booth was this little desert package, ready for the dirt this winter season!

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They even had a Yeti on site!

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Our friends over at Rock Krawler made the trek from New York

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The Poison Spyder booth was a hit as always, completely jam packed with Jeep enthusiasts all day long!

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Crispy was out attracting people to the booth complete with a G6 mini Crispy

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Still one of our favorite JKs

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The Demo at Poison Spyder was fun all around.

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We stopped in to visit the Currie Family and check out their goodies. They had all their latest equipment on display along with their very high end Axial JKs

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Only Casey Currie would do this……

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and then do this 20 mins later….

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The infamous Jerry from U4RC made an appearance

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The BFG booth had a steady flow of people all day, most to see the new KO2 tire, and a few to check out the Yeti XL!

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BFG has an awesome 2 door, we want this one too….

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We bumped into sPOD in the main hall. They are using their SCX10 as part of their display system. So9 cool to hit the buttons on the sPOD, and the lights on the SCX10 light up!

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Our buddies at Nitro Gear getting ready for the crowds…

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Holy Billet Batman!

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Alex at AOE has been busy, his JK is looking ready for action!

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Here are a few parting shots for you, these kids have no idea how cool they are!

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Oh and did you want any Jeep with your tires?

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Properly Build Suspension and Steering Links

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Building Axial’s aluminum suspension and steering links isn’t tricky business, but if you don’t perform the task correctly, you can create problems. Follow these steps for perfectly built links.

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The 3x16mm set screw (AXA186) threads into the plastic rod end, not the other way around in the threaded aluminum pipe. Threading the set screw in halfway is perfect, and there is no need for thread-locking compound.

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To make sure you’ve threaded the set screw in to the correct depth, hold an uninstalled set screw next to the parts you’re assembling to visually see how far you’ve threaded the set screw in. If you don’t thread the hardware in deep enough, the set screw will easily pull out of the plastic. If this happens, the plastic rod end should not be reused. If you thread the set screw in too far, it can bind the ball in the rod end. Even if you back it out, you may have created a dimple inside the rod end and you won’t have the free movement that is desired for suspension and steering links. Also, if the set screw isn’t deep enough into the link, it may be prone to wobble.

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You can make custom-length links by adding spacers or by joining aluminum links together. Two aluminum links can be connected using a set screw. Again, don’t use thread-locking compound. Instead, just snug down the pieces and the assembly won’t loosen once installed.