How To Glue Tires

Most steps in building an RC kit such as the Axial Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon are pretty straightforward. If you follow the instructions and use the correct parts, most building steps are fairly hard to get wrong. A few other steps seem simply, but are, in contrast, pretty easy to get wrong if you aren’t familiar with how to properly do the task. Gluing tires is one such step. No need to worry. Follow these tips and you’ll get your tires glued up perfectly.

As part of the manufacturing process, molded parts are coated with a mold release agent that is used to facilitate the removal of the part from the mold. The mold release can inhibit the ability of the glue to do its job. The easy solution is to quickly clean the bead areas of the tires and wheels before gluing. Remove the foam inserts from the tires before cleaning. Do not use ordinary household cleaners such as window cleaner as the chemicals in the cleaner may also prevent the glue from properly adhering. Denatured alcohol and rubbing alcohol work best, but RC motor spray (make sure it’s plastic safe) can also work well. Follow all safety precautions on the label of the cleaning product you choose. Saturating a paper towel with cleaner and rubbing the bead area of the parts until no residue shows on the paper towel is all that is needed. You may have to use a clean area of the towel frequently and reapply cleaner. When the parts are clean, let them dry before gluing.

Quickly check the bead areas of the tires for any extra material, called flashing. Axial Racing tires are high quality and precision molded, but it is still good to check. Remove any extra material with scissors. Next, reinstall the foams and make sure the foams are perfectly centered in the tires. Slide each tire over a wheel and make sure the tire is seated down completely on the wheel and that there are no gaps or bulges.

The tighter the tire is held to the wheel, the stronger the bond will be. The end result will also look better and perform better. Place two large wide rubber bands over each tire—one on each side firmly holding the tire to the wheel. The rubber band trick will work on smaller 1.9-inch tires as found on the Axial SCX10 to larger 2.2-inch tires found on the Axial Wraith.

Use only hobby specific CA glue when gluing RC tires such as Duratrax Pit Tech Tire Glue. Medium viscosity glue is the easiest to work with. In contrast, thin CA glue is too likely to run and it’s too easy to over apply. The thick CA takes too long to set.

The key to a good glue job—one that looks good and is strong—is taking your time. Pull back the tire just enough to add a single small drop of glue. Start in the 12 o’clock position and move to the 6 o’clock position. Do this on one side of one tire and wheel combo and then move on to another tire and wheel. Do all of your tire and wheels—just one side. Let the glue dry for a few minutes and then check the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions of each tire. Add a single small drop as needed. Let the tires dry completely and then do the other side in the same manner. Keep in mind the two biggest mistakes made are using too much glue and going too fast. After all of the tires are glued, check for any loose spots and after adding small drops of CA glue as needed, let them dry completely before using.

We all make mistakes. If you have a gluing mishap such as a runaway drop of glue dripping down the side of the tire, it can be fixed if you act quickly. Find a lint free rag and soak a small section in rubbing alcohol or denatured alcohol. If a drop of glue runs, you can quickly swipe it with your rag and minimize the unsightly mark it leaves on the outside of the tire. It is a very good idea to test the rag you’ve selected on a piece of scrap material with glue on it. This will make sure the rag doesn’t leave behind a residue.

> Use only hobby-grade CA Glue
> Medium CA Glue works best
> Clean tires and wheels before gluing
> Use small drops of CA Glue
> Take your time!

LiPo Batteries 101

Batteries are nothing new. These simple devices have actually been around for hundreds of years, and they are found in items we use everyday—cell phones, laptops, TV remotes, etc. So, what’s the big deal? The big deal is the technology commonly used in RC has shifted. Specifically, LiPo (lithium polymer) has replaced NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) as the preferred type of battery chemistry.  And with anything new comes hype—good and bad. While many people may be intimidated by LiPo batteries, to get absolute maximum performance out of your Axial Racing vehicle, you should seriously consider going LiPo. Here is what you need to know.

> Use a LiPo battery with a 25C rating or higher
> Only use a LiPo-compatible charger in the LiPo mode
> Use the balance mode
> Do not leave a charging pack unattended
> Always charge in a fire resistant battery sack
> Do NOT over discharge a LiPo pack and make sure your speed control is properly programmed
> Store LiPo packs 50- to 60% charged

Anything improperly used can be dangerous. A hammer lying on a bench can’t do harm, but if used incorrectly and you may be getting X-rays. Much of the concern with LiPo batteries started and has stuck around because of misuse taking place when LiPo cells first started to get used in RC. Improper charging, use and storage led to failures and this led to a very negative view of LiPo batteries. Now that LiPo specific chargers are readily available and we know how to care for these cells, LiPo batteries are perfectly safe if used properly. Again, the more factual view of LiPos is that, if used properly, they are, indeed, perfectly safe and no more dangerous any other type of battery.

LiPo cells offer many advantages over older cell chemistries such as NiMH. Most notably, a LiPo cell with the same capacity and approximate voltage will be significantly lighter and smaller than its NiMH counterpart. Along the same lines, if you replace a NiMH pack with a LiPo pack of the same approximate size and weight, you will have a battery with significantly more capacity.

Even better and a little more technical, the discharge curve of a LiPo is much better suited for RC use. The power delivered from a LiPo stays more constant as it’s discharged. In contrast, a NiMH gets noticeably weaker (the voltage decreases) as it discharges. If you install a NiMH pack in an Axial Wraith, even if the runtime is in the double digits, the acceleration and top speed will be noticeably lower halfway through your run compared to when you first started your run. A LiPo installed in the same Wraith will deliver essentially the same performance through the entire run. Who would want a full-size vehicle that got slower as you got lower on gas?

LiPo cells also have lower internal resistance compared to NiMH. They deliver more power than their NiMH counterparts. This means that a 2-cell LiPo battery (known as a 2S pack since the pack is made of two cells wires in series) with a total voltage of 7.4 is more powerful than a typical 6-cell NiMH pack, even though the NiMH has a similar 7.2 voltage. To get comparable power to a 7.4V 2-cell LiPo, a 7-cell 8.4V pack is actually needed.

LiPo cells don’t lose voltage nearly as fast during storage. While you shouldn’t store a LiPo fully charged (more on that below), you can charge a LiPo in the morning and use it hours later with no depreciation in power. A NiMH only delivers its peak performance if used immediately after it’s charged.

Higher charge rates are possible with LiPo cells, which means they can be charged faster than NiMH cells. Most NiMH packs are best charged at a rate of 5 amps. When used with a balance charger (Note: always use a balance charger), LiPo cells can be charged at high amp rates, which significantly reduces downtime.

There’s more. Unlike NiMH cells, which are best used only once per day, LiPo cells can be used as many times as you like.

Even more. LiPo cells have no “memory.” LiPo packs do not have to fully discharged before charging. Hypothetically, if you routinely use a NiMH pack for five minutes and then try to use it for ten minutes, you will notice it falls flat at about five minutes. This is because the chemistry has what is called memory. It gets conditioned with each use.

Proper use of a LiPo starts with the proper purchase. You get what you pay for. With a Duratrax Onyx 4000mAh LiPo costing less than $50 at most locations and only $40 at many others, there is no reason to risk your hard earned money on a cheap pack. The choice is yours, but you get what you pay for. An individual LiPo cell is rated at 3.7 volts. When wired in series, the voltage increases by 3.7V with each cell added. So, a 2S pack is 7.4V and a 3S pack is 11.1V. Cells or groups of cells wired in parallel increase capacity. Two 1000mAh cells wired in parallel (2P) will have a capacity of 2000mAh.

Charge Mode
The second step in proper LiPo use is to use a LiPo-specific charger. Only use a charger that uses the CC/CV (constant current/constant voltage) method. In brief, this means the charger maintains a constant current (amps) until a specific voltage is reached. At that point, the charger adjusts the current to maintain that voltage until the pack is fully charged. Since most chargers charge many types of batteries, it is essential you make absolutely certain you are using the LiPo mode. While it’s important to note that LiPo packs do not actually explode. They can, however, burst into flames and for that reason, it is a best practice to use a battery sack (made out of flame resistant material) and to never leave a charging pack unattended.

Balance Charging
LiPo cells usually have an additional plug that allows the charger to monitor each cell individually and make sure a cell isn’t overcharged. As the name implies, balance charging will make sure each cell is equally charged. This increases performance, increases the life of the pack and makes for safer charging.

Charge Rate
When setting up your charger, you will most likely need to select the charge rate. The charge rate is based on the capacity of the pack. For example, charging a 5000mAh Duratrax Onyx pack at 1C means the charger will charge it at a 5-amp rate. 2C is 10 amps and cuts the charge time in half. Always follow the recommendation of the battery manufacturer. If you’re not sure, charge at 1C.

Using a LiPo pack is essentially no different than any other type of battery—with one big exception. A low voltage cut-off is absolutely essential to prevent the pack from being over discharged. Over discharging is one of the most common ways LiPo packs are damaged. Most modern speed controls come with low voltage cut-off built-in. Axial Racing ready-to-run vehicles come with the voltage cut-off set for LiPo use (Auto-LiPo mode). The general recommendation for the lowest voltage a LiPo cell should be allowed to get to is 3.3V. The “normal” voltage of a LiPo cell is 3.7V (in comparison a NiMH is 1.2V per cell). If you have access to a temp gun, your LiPo pack should never exceed 130 degrees F.

It is important to know temperature changes can impact the voltage of battery packs. If a LiPo is left in a hot car, the voltage will rise and it is highly likely the pack will be ruined. Extremely cold conditions can do just the opposite. The simple solution is to store your batteries in a cool, dry place and out of prolonged direct sunlight. In addition to storing your LiPo packs in an appropriate location, it is important to install them partially charged. Don’t store your LiPo packs plugged in (even when the speed control is turned off there can be a current draw that will slowly drain the pack) and do not store packs in the vehicle. Store packs partially charged. 50- to 60% charged is perfect. Do not store packs fully charged.


Vanquish – Currie Rock Jock Axle Install – Wraith

As some of you may have seen, I recently wrote an article about swapping stock SCX10 housings out for the aluminum Currie Rock Jock axle housings from Vanquish Products. Vanquish has now taken these axle housings a step further by offering them for the Wraith as well. The assembly on these axles is very similar to the SCX10 version, which is fairly simple. The two biggest differences between the axles is the SCX10 ring and pinion assembly is centered on the axle, and the axle tubes are equal lengths. The Wraith version has the offset ring and pinion assembly with one short axle tube and one long.

I came back from lunch a few days ago to find that the “Vanquish Fairy” had left some parts on my desk for me. One quick look and I knew exactly what was in the package. Time to install some bling on my custom Wroncho build. Let’s get busy!

A shot of the front and rear axles.

I started with the rear axle, here you can see all the parts are sealed in separate bags to prevent damage during shipping.

Once you have your old axles torn down, grab the pinion gear and the two bearings used to support it.

Install a bearing on the pinion shaft and press it into the axle housing by hand.

Now set your ring gear assembly into place.

Use the supplied M3 hardware to secure the bearing caps that hold the ring gear assembly.

Time for the axle tubes. Here you can see the parts and tools required. A set of snap ring pliers are needed for this step.

Insert a 5x11mm bearing into the end of the axle tube, and install the snap ring to hold it in place.

Slide the axle shafts into place next.

Then install the drive pins and hexes.

Completed axle tubes ready for install.

Now insert the long axle tube into the axle housing opposite the ring gear.

Add a dab of blue thread lock to the M3 set screw.

Install the M3 set screw into the axle housing to locate the tube. Then do the same for the short side axle tube.

Now install the axle truss per the instructions to properly time the whole assembly.

Now install your four M3 set screws that secure the axle tubes to the center section. Don’t forget to add a dab of thread lock to these as well.

Now remove the axle truss so you can install the differential cover.

Add a little grease to the ring and pinion gears before installing the diff cover.

This is also a good time to fill the unused holes in the axle tubes with the provided set screws in the axle kit. Add a little thread lock to each one so they stay in place. Make sure you leave the holes needed to secure the axle truss empty as well.

Now install the diff cover using the supplied hardware.

Re-install the axle truss using thread lock per the instructions.

Install the link mounts.

Last but not least, install the differential skid plate.

Now we will move on to the front axle.

Dissect your front axle and set the parts you will reuse aside.

Grab the front axle’s center section and the rest of the parts required to complete this step.

Slide the pinion gear and bearings into the center section.

Drop the ring gear assembly in the housing and install the bearing caps with the supplied hardware.

Locate your axle tubes and the required set screws.

Insert the axle tubes into the housing’s center section and install the M3 set screws to locate the tubes.

Temporarily install the axle truss.

Add a little thread lock to the set screws used to tie the tubes to the center section.

Install the set screws to lock the axle tubes into place.

Remove the axle truss, grease the gears and install the differential cover.

Install the supplied set screws into the unused holes on the axle tubes.

Now you can used thread lock and install the axle truss permanently.

Bolt the link mounts into place on the axle.

Install the plastic skid plate on the axle’s center section.

Slide a 5x11mm bearing into the ends of the axle tubes.

I am using the Vanquish chassis mounted steering kit on this build, so I installed the 3 link mount on the axle tube at this time.

Install the inner axles, c-hubs, knuckles, steering tie rod and you are done.

That wraps up the Vanquish Rock Jock axle swap for the AR60 axles. For those that missed the SCX10 axle housing swap, here is a link to that article.

Project Wrexo – The Ingredients!

Overall chassis shots.

Detailed shots. Here you can see the details of the EXO front end. The front toe block was flipped 180* to get a little more kick-up.

A shot from the top out front. Here you can see one of the chassis braces running from the top of the bulkhead to the upper link mount on the Wraith skid. I also had to clock the steering servo so the servo horn cleared the cage work. It now runs parallel with the front driveshaft, which provides just enough clearance.

A shot of the rear axle and its suspension set-up. I used an old AX10 chassis plate to make the rear shock towers and sway bar mount.

The rear cage has been cut since these photos were taken, in order to mount a full size spare.

A couple finished shots with the spare tire mounted.

The ingredients:
AX90020 – Wraith Kit
AX90015 – EXO Kit
AX30091 – 67 – 90mm Aluminum Shocks (Front)
AX30222 – 14 x 70mm 3.55 lbs/in Blue Springs (Front)
AX30092 – 72 – 100mm Aluminum Shocks (Rear)
AX30224 – 14 x 70mm 1.43 lbs/in Purple Springs (Rear)
AX30825 – EXO Front Shock Tower (Front)
AX30811 – EXO F1 Toe Block (Front)
AX30812 – EXO F2 Toe Block (Front)
AX30815 – EXO Machined Steering Rack (Front)
AX30415 – EXO CVD’s (Front)
AX30781 – Wraith Front Sway Bar (Rear)
AX30829 – Wraith HD Differential Cover (Rear)
AX30402 – HD 43/13 Ring and Pinion Set (Rear)
AX30789 – Wraith Aluminum Lockouts (Rear)
AX30860 – HD Motor Plate
AX80059 – XR10 Lower Link Mount Sleeves
AX24260 – Vanguard Brushless ESC
AX24010 – Vanguard Brushless Motor
AX30836 – 25t HD Aluminum Servo Horn
AX12015 – R35 Ripsaw Tires
AX90001 – OG Axial Scorpion Chassis Plate (Rear upper shock towers)
AX30519 - 101mm x 30* grey links x2 – rear upper links
AXA1420 – 15mm grey post x2 – sway bar links
AXA1421 – 20mm grey post x1 – steering drag link
AXA1424 – 35mm grey post x2 – chassis brace ties upper/lower cage together
AXA1425 – 40mm grey post x2 – front upper links for IFS
AXA1427 – 50mm grey post x2 – steering tie rods
AXA1428 – 55mm grey post x2 – shock braces front and rear
AXA1429 – 60mm grey post x2 – rear upper roll cage supports
AXA1431 – 70mm grey post x1 – front bulkhead brace
AXA1413 – 1mm grey spacer x10 – washers and front upper suspension arms
AXA1414 – 2mm grey spacer x10 – washers, front bulkhead brace and steering drag link
AXA1415 – 3mm grey spacer x10 – chassis brace ties upper/lower cage together
AXA1416 – 4mm grey spacer x10 – rear lower links, sway bar
AXA1417 – 5mm grey spacer x10 – front chassis brace
AX30475 – 74.5mm grey links x3 – rear lower links and rear upper shock mount brace

All links and spacers listed are for the color grey, not red. All red links and the 74.5mm links are now discontinued.

Parts sourced from Vanquish Products.
Vanquish SSZ-Star Wheels (Soon to be re-released)
Vanquish .350 Hubs (Front)
Vanquish .600 Hubs (Rear)

Axial On Site at the 2013 Ultra4 King of the Hammers

Axial base station

The Axial crew along with Axial Team driver Ryan Gerrish, Brian Parker and the RECON G-Crew members Brad and Cole Bailey converged on HammerTown, USA for the 2013 Ultra4 King of the Hammers. Starting Feb 3rd the Axial crew showed up on Means Dry Lake located in Johnson Valley to set up what would be the R/C attraction for all Axial friends and fans. For two days the Axial and RECON Crew spent countless hours building the ultimate scale playground in the middle of HammerTown, home of King of the Hammers.

It all started with flat ground, a clean slate of dirt:

Ryan Gerrish began plotting the course for the Axial Adventure Trail.

Brian Parker will take on work from any able body! Mr. Johns is one such willing worker as he’s texturizing the trail with simulated holes.

Others looked on in anticipation! Mind you this is MONDAY! These kids should be in school! After inquiring, they were doing homework in the evenings.

The area is taking shape…

And we would work well into the evening..

As we all wanted to get our scale adventure on.

Casey Currie would be one of the first to test the Axial Adventure Trail.

The result was nothing short of spectacular! A scale trail was developed that would allow current Axial customers and potential customers to experience and drive the new Axial SCX10 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon.

The Axial Jeep JK Trail Experience:

The scale trail was made of natural terrain as well as a few hand made bridges.

The trail starts off with an uphill climb over some rocks and then through a small canyon under a bridge.

After traveling under the bridge, the Jeeps will descend down the hill then make its way around the perimeter of the hill until it makes a turn to go up over the hill and finally over the bridge.

After negotiating the narrow bridge, the Jeeps will have to work their way down a steep decline loaded with some substantial boulders.

Once at the bottom of the hill the Jeeps will have to snake through some rock strewn trail before it drops into a small canyon. A steep dirt climb greets the Jeeps as they exit the canyon. Once the jeeps have climbed out, they must climb over a small hill before entering a second canyon. Upon climbing some big rocks out of the second canyon, the Jeeps will be forced to travel across a very narrow 7′ long bridge.

The end of the bridge features some rather large logs that the vehicle must carefully descend. After clearing the logs, drivers must work their way around a 37″ Pit Bull tire and then enter the “Sluice”.

The sluice is a nasty and deep V crack that will challenge the Jeeps and their drivers to stay up on the edges of the tires. Bad line choice or excessive throttle will most certainly result in a Jeep lying on its side.

After clearing the sluice, the Jeeps will have to negotiate a 270 degree turn loaded with sharp and over sized rocks. After exiting the rock garden, the Jeeps must work their way through the log whoops, which consisted of logs cut in half long ways and laid out a various angles.

The final obstacles include a small hill followed by a very deep hole.

A little wheel speed will pop the Jeeps right out of the hole and over the finish.

In all, the trail takes the average person with intermediate skills about four minutes to complete. Axial wanted to make sure that the drivers would have plenty of time to see the capabilities of the Axial SCX10 Vehicles and challenge drivers to drive smart and slowly.

Brian Parker was the man on the microphone all day every day, explaining the objectives of the Axial Jeep JK experience. Parker also made sure to teach the younger participants about trail etiquette. Some of the focus of his message included “Tread Lightly”, “Pack it in, pack it out” (referring to trash) and show respect to your fellow travelers (basic trail etiquette). To make this a FUN educational process, Ryan Gerrish and Cole Bailey took turns being the trail leader for these small groups of drivers around the course to show them how to negotiate obstacles along the course. Parker also reminded all spectators and drivers to do their part to “Save the Hammers”, a movement to keep the Johnson Valley area open for all recreation activities.

Axial is not just a manufacturer of toy cars looking to take from the community, but instead, Axial is part of the community, doing the best they can to help spead a positive message to the young off roaders of tomorrow. The mission for Axial at this event was to provide an experience with these Jeep vehicles that is as realistic as possible, as well as spread the positive message of responsible off roading.

The Axial booth consisted of a 60′ X 80′ site with the Axial merchandise semi trailer stocked with Axial vehicles that can be purchased and parts to make sure all Axial vehicles stay up and running.

The Axial Motorhome was also on site and served as home for the Axial crew for the entire week. The Brian Parker G-Train was also on site with their wrapped trailer and “Red Rocket” as Parker’s Ford is affectionately called.

Thank you to all who visit the Axial Adventure Trail during the King of the Hammers!

Custom Rock Sliders

Here’s a few tips on making your own custom length rock sliders out of stock plastic Axial rock sliders that are included with all SCX10 vehicles. The stock sliders look great and are fully functional. But, for a few of my custom builds the rock sliders are too short to use, when compared to the length of the body’s rocker panels. I have been wanting to extend the stock rock sliders for these projects, but never got around to it. Brandon recently extended a set for one of his custom builds and they turned out pretty nice. So, I decided it was time I modded a set for myself to see how it would work. Here are a few tips to help anyone that wants to attempt this same modification.

You will need 2 sets of rock sliders to make one extended set. First thing I did was cut the rock sliders as needed. To get the length I wanted I needed to leave 7 holes in front half and 4 holes for the second half.

After I cut the sliders to length I drilled holes in the ends that were cut. I than wallowed out the holes with a drill bit so they would be tapered.

Using some plastic from an old parts tree I made some pins to press into the 2 halves of the rock sliders.

Now you will need to check the fit of the mating part. Chances are you will have to do some more trimming on the pins to make everything line up properly. Take your time here and check the overall fit often. Once everything lines up, you can use some tire glue to join the two halves together.

I had to drill new holes in the frame for the rock slider’s mounting tabs, since the sliders are now longer the mounting points on the frame rails have to be re-located.

Overall shot of the finished product.