SCX10 II Handling Adjustment – $3 Shock Mod

SCX10II_HandlingAdjustment

We’re guessing by now you’ve logged a lot of miles on your SCX10 II ready to run rig. The truck has probably served you well tackling new terrain wherever your adventure takes you. So what’s next? How about improving your rig for better handling on those to tough to conquer trails. The stock out of the box SCX10 II is set up for general scale trail use, but the highly capable platform can improve as you improve and the tuning trick we’re about to show you will cost you just a few bucks and will take less than ten minutes of your time to complete. What we’re going to do here is lower the CG of the SCX10 II by simply relocating the lower shock mounting point. The shock end comes mounted to the axle on its own mounting boss. But, by relocating it to the same mounting point as the lower link, it lowers the overall Center Of Gravity of the chassis and a lower COG equals better handling. Let’s get started!

WHAT YOU NEED
axa120
3x25mm Button Head Machine Screw- AXA120
3mm Thin Nylon-Lock Nut- AXA1052 (Optional)
Basic hobby tools- 2.0mm hex driver, wheel nut wrench and long nose pleirs

Step 1
SCX Shock Mod 1
Let’s get the easy stuff out of the way. Remove the wheel nut caps, wheel nuts, wheels and lower shock mount screws from all four corners of your SCX10 II.

Step 2
SCX Shock Mod 2
Now, remove the screw that secures the link to the axle and place it in your spare hardware bin.

Step 3
SCX Shock Mod 3
Take the new long 3x25mm button head screw that you spent a whole $3 on and insert it through the shock end, into the axle mount with the link in place and screw it all the way in.

Step 4 (Option)
SCX Shock Mod 4
The screw will be secure as it has been screwed into the plastic axle mounting boss. But if you want to go one step further in security to make sure that screw doesn’t back out, you can add a thing 3mm Ny-Lock nut to the end of the screw. Tighten the nut snug.

Step 5
Repeat Step 2-4 for the remaining shock/ link points.

Step 6
Reinstall your wheels, nuts and caps.

SEE THE DIFFERENCE
SCX Shock Mod 6
You can see above, the left shock is in the stock location and the right shock has been relocated to the new position in-line with the lower link. The axle is also visibly lowered on the right side in the photo. Once all four shocks have been relocated and the truck turned upright, the chassis will now be lower in comparison to the stock position.

BACK TO THE TRAIL
Now you’re ready to head back out and try and navigate some of those tough terrain features that may have defeated you prior. With the lower CG, your rig will benefit from the modification. Keep in mind, this will not be a night and day difference. You still need to choose your lines and wheel speed wisely. Make sure you keep checking back to the Axial blogs as we’ll continue to offer tuning secrets to help your SCX10 II improve as you improve. #AxialPerformance

Yeti Option Parts Overview

Yeti_OptionParts_Overview
The Yeti is one of those high speed, multi-terrain capable vehicles that many turn to for extreme rock racing performance. The combination of the independent front suspension and rear solid axle design gives the driver a unique driving experience. The transmission and power system pumps out speeds that will launch it over whatever is in your way. And of course, the look of the aggressive rock racing buggy draws in any attention seeker. This rig puts you in the action with success right out of the box. But like with any hobby machine, there will be drivers who want to customize their rigs to suit their taste and because of that Axial has a full list of options available to make your machine stand out. Here we have a AX90026  Yeti from the test rig fleet that has received a bunch of option accessories. Here we’ll go through those accessories and their benefits so you can determine if this is the best option part for you. Plus you’ll get to see the part installed and imagine what it would be like on your own Yeti.

Axial Yeti Options 13

Machined Front Shock Tower (Hard Anodized)
AX31170
Axial Yeti Options 1
For those who push their rig to the limits and want aluminum parts to replace plastic, there is the CNC machined aluminum tower. This tower comes with all of the hardware necessary for installation and it provides ultra secure mounting points for you shocks and links without sacrificing adjustability.

Machined Body Post Mount (Hard Anodized)
AX31169
Axial Yeti Options 10
The front of any off-road vehicle is subject to abuse and those roof landing don’t help either. To firm up the body support, this CNC aluminum body post mount is available. This bolts right in place of the stock plastic unit and comes with the required metric hardware for the install.

Machined Sway Bar Clamp (Hard Anodized) (2pcs)
AX31167
Axial Yeti Options 3
While you’re on your aluminum upgrade kick, take a look at these important pieces. These two aluminum swaybar mounts add support to allow the swaybar to do its job. The mount is adjustable so you can alter the placement of the bar.

Machined Shock Mount Plates (Hard Anodized) (2pcs)
AX31166
Since the rear upper shock mount isn’t a conventional shock tower, these plates are available as an option to firm up the mounting points in case you decide to go big on the jumps.
Axial Yeti Options 16

Machined 4 Link Mounts
AX31165
Axial Yeti Options 6
When you bump up your power for speed or jumping, the suspension will take on extra stress. Consider using the optional forward lower suspension link mounts. These strong CNC machined aluminum parts are finished like all of the other Axial aluminum option goodies and comes with the hardware to secure the parts to the chassis.

Universal Axle Set
AX31135
Axial Yeti Options 9
Steel universal axles can provide smooth and consistent performance when adding more power to your Yeti. The stock components will work well, but if you’re increasing performance, these steel uni’s will improve efficiency.

Machined Adjustable Motor Mount (Hard Anodized)
AX31156
Axial Yeti Options 14
The factory supplied motor plate is perfect for the the electronics supplied with the ready to run kit, but some will eventually look to push their rig to the limits. For those looking to boost the power, you may want to consider the Machined Adjustable Motor Plate. This plate and mount is machined from stronger aluminum, hard anodized and even features an etched logo. This sturdy mount will keep your motor stable and gears in place.

Lower Link Plate Set (Aluminum)
AX31245
Upper Link Plate Set (Aluminum)
AX31244
Axial Yeti Options 7
These aluminum plates are simple to bolt on with the included hardware and increase the durability of the plastic link, plus they give the suspension a high end look with the hard anodized finish.

Icon 87-125mm Aluminum Shock Set – 10mm Piston
AX31136
Icon 67-90mm Aluminum Shock Set – 10mm Piston
AX31172
Axial Yeti Options 12
Boost performance with these highly tunable shock sets. These shocks feature machined aluminum bodies, aluminum caps and ti-nitride coated shock shafts. All the hardware needed to build these shocks are in the set, but you will need to supply your own oil. Get more details on these shocks HERE

AR60 OCP Full Width Axle Adapter Set
AX31290
Axial Yeti Options 4
The Yeti is set-up with offset hex hub adapters on the wheels so the front offset is less than the rear. Make the front and rear offset hubs the same by using this Full Width adapter set. This set will also improve durability as the axle tubes are machined aluminum, anodized black and feature etched logos. The set also comes with the necessary long steel axle shafts.

AR60 Machined Link Mounts (Hard Anodized)
AX31433
Axial Yeti Options 5
These CNC machined 6061 aluminum mounts are direct replacements for the plastic link mounts on your AR60 axles. They’re hard anodized and etched for a custom look. It only takes a few minutes to swap out and is a great option part to use when upgrade the power on your Yeti.

M4 Rod End Set
AX31186
M4x55mm Turnbuckle (Steel)
AX31272
M4x60mm Turnbuckle (Steel)
AX31273
Axial Yeti Options 8
A full turnbuckle kit is available for the Yeti RTR that replaces the stock fixed links for adjustable links; part AX31249. The set includes the all four tie-rods that are machined aluminum and hard anodized and the required plastic rod ends for installation. However on this particular build, the individual components were used. The four tie-rods are plated steel in two different sizes and the necessary plastic rod end set is listed above. Regardless of which set you decide to add, these adjustable turnbuckles will now allow you to tune your camber and toe on the front of the Yeti.

Axial Yeti Options 17

RTR Brushed Motor Maintenance Tips

BrushedMotor_Maintenance_Tips
Just because you purchase a ready to run vehicle doesn’t mean it will always stay that way. Like anything mechanical, components can wear, get dirty and just need general maintenance to keep going. This holds true for any ready to run RC car and the area of focus for this blog is going to be a very critical components of your rig, the motor. More specifically brushed motors. The brushed motors that come in ready to run Axial rigs are among the most durable available, they provide the power you need to tackle trails, the torque needed to climb and the will continue to provide that power even while submerged in water or covered in mud. All that abuse can eventually take a toll on the motor, but with a little bit of routine general maintenance you can keep that motor in prime running condition for a long period of time. Let’s talk brushed motor maintenance tips.

BRUSH IT OFF

Motor Clean 2
First things first, if you were covered in mud, would you slip right into your bed to go to sleep at night? Not at all right? Why should your rig be any different. If you put away your rig with a dirty motor, the dirt can start to cake on and its performance may suffer the very next time you use it. Built up crud on a motor will often cause it to overheat and reduce the life of the motor.
What to do? Grab yourself a stiff bristle paint brush or even an air compressor if available and brush or blow off the motor if it has dirt on it. A clean motor that can breath will deliver the power you need and just generally last longer.

JUST A LITTLE OIL

Motor Clean 3
Pretty much every ready to run brushed motor uses a bushing on each end for the motor shaft to spin on. This bushing is specifically called an oilite bushing; the key word to pull out of that is “oil.” The bushing needs lubrication and that comes in the form of oil. Always keep small bottle of bushing oil handy to place a drop on each bushing. This will allow the shaft to spin smooth in the bushings and reduce long term wear. Yes, the oil will collect dirt, so after you’ve let the drop seep in between the bushing and shaft, use a paper towel to get rid of any excess oil so it doesn’t collect dirt.

Suggested Motor Bushing Oil- Dynamite Precision Oiler: Light (DYNE0102)

DYNE0102_a0

A GOOD OLD FASHION CLEANING

Motor Clean 1
Every once in a while your motor will need a good old fashion thorough cleaning. This starts by removing the motor from your rig and cleaning it with motor spray. When you’ve pulled the motor, put on some protective gloves and in a well ventilated area, preferably outside, spray out your motor over a trash can. Spray the motor spray in both ends and keep spraying until the liquid dripping from the motor is clear (it’s a good idea to have a white paper towel in the trash to see the difference between the dirty spray and clean spray.) Once the motor has been cleaned out, you’ll need to oil those bushings again. Follow the steps above.

Suggested Motor Spray- Dynamite Magnum Force 2 Motor Spray (DYN5500)

DYN5500_a0

WIRE CHECK

Motor Clean 4

When reinstalling the motor back in your truck, it’s a good time to check your electrical connections. Are the bullet plugs nice and tight? If they are loose, you can use a pair of needle-nose pliers to compress the female plug just a little bit for a tighter connection. You should also check for frayed wires near the solder connections. Frayed wire will result in a loss of power or even worse continue to break off during a trail run and possibly even break off completely. If a wire is frayed, cut off the old section, strip away the insulation on the wire and resolder the connection.

IS YOUR MOTOR SHOT

Your motor will reach a point in its life where it has just worn out completely or may have been stressed to the point it has burnt out. Here are a few signs to look for if you think your motor needs to be replaced. Loss of power- If your truck has lost power, can’t climb like it used to, the internal brushes or commutator may be worn. Bad odor- Does your motor have a heavy electronic burning smell to it? Overheated or worn out motors can burn out and emit a pungent odor but may still turn with little to no power. Shaft Wobble- Does the motor shaft move side to side? A little bit of in and out movement is ok, but side to side generally means the bushings have worn out. If you have any of the above symptoms, it’s probably time to grab yourself a new motor.

BRUSHED MOTOR REPLACEMENTS
Closed Can-
20T Electric Motor- AX24003
27T Electric Motor- AX24004
35T Electric Motor- AX31312
55T Electric Motor- AX24007

Rebuildable-
35T Trail Breaker Electric Motor- AX31329
55T Trail Breaker Electric Motor- AX31330

MAINTAIN YOUR INVESTMENT

Simple brushed motors like the kind found in your ready to run Axial truck are among the most affordable, but even still Axial would rather see you on the trails having fun then contemplating motor swaps or upgrades because of a poor maintenance routine. Take the time to maintain your investment and it will provide you with a long life of fun off-road runs. There’s no such thing as over maintaining your rig. Do it as often as you can.

Building & Tuning Axial Icon Shocks

Icon_Shock_SetBuilding&Set-upTips

In the world of RC racing, driver’s won’t hesitate to pull their suspension and shocks apart to rebuild or tune them in order to achieve better performance. But in the trail truck and rock racer segment, many think, you just add some oil to the shocks and go. This is far from the truth. Just like any RC vehicle that you want to perform better, shock building and tuning is a crucial part in having a great handling machine. Lucily in the Axial array of option parts, there is an available shock upgrade that will give you all the tuning options you need to get your Axial rig dialed in to the specific terrain you run on. Let’s go over your options, how to build the shock and tuning suggestions.

Axial Icon Shocks

Icon 7mm and 10mm Piston Shock Options

AX31136
Icon 87-125mm Aluminum Shock Set – 10mm Piston (2pcs)
Fits: SMT-10, RR10 Bomber, 1/10 Yeti, Wraith

AX31171
Icon 72-103mm Aluminum Shock Set – 10mm Piston (2pcs)
Fits: SMT10, RR10 Bomber, 1/10 Yeti SCORE, Wraith

AX31172
Icon 67-90mm Aluminum Shock Set – 10mm Piston (2pcs)
Fits: RR10 Bomber, 1/10 Yeti & Yeti SCORE

AX31173
Icon 93-137mm Aluminum Shock Damper Set – 10mm Piston (2pcs)
Fits: SMT10, RR10 Bomber, 1/10 Yeti & Yeti SCORE

AX30103
Icon 61-90mm Aluminum Shock Set – 7mm piston (2pcs)
Fits: SCX10 & SCX10 II

SHOCK SETS INCLUDE: All parts necessary to build two complete shocks; Shock bodies, caps, spring collars, ball ends, pearches, o-rings, bladders, pistons, machined pistons, bushings, pivot balls, washers, nuts, shock shafts and limiting spacers.

Icon Shock bags

Building A Better Shock

Assembling a shock properly is critical to achieving maximum performance. For tips to build the Icon shocks, we enlisted the help of Axial component guru John Schultz. John has discovered a number of tips to building the perfect shock and we’re passing them on to you:

1. Seat the bladder in the cap. Place the bladder inside of the cap and screw the body in place before building the shock. This will ensure it’s in the perfect position later during shock assembly.
2. Install the spring collar. Place a small drop of oil on the outer shock body threads before installing the shock collar. This will allow the collar to move easier later for spring preload adjustments.
3. Grease the shock o-rings with a o-ring specific grease to ensure they work smoothly when the shock is assembled.
4. Place the o-ring on the cartridge. Make sure the o-rings are seated flat on the cartridge before installation to ensure proper seating and reduce the chances of leaking.
5. Install your selected piston on the shock shaft and tighten the nut down until it’s tight, but you can still turn the piston on the shaft. You don’t want to overtighten the piston nut to where it can crush and warp the piston.
6. Before slipping the shock shaft in the body/ cartridge, place a drop of oil on the end of the shaft to allow it to slip through the o-rings without catching or possibly tearing them.
7.When screwing the shock end on the shock shaft, hold the shock shaft securely by placing needle nose pliers on the shafts flat spot or use a specific shock shaft plier to secure the shafts.
8. Now you can fill the shock with oil. Fill it about ¾ full and cycle the shock shaft to allow any trapped air to escape. Wait for the bubbles to pop before moving on.
9. Fill the shock body up with oil so it is level with the top of the body and then push the shock shaft up so it is about 90% of the way in. The piston nut should be just below the oil. Now you can screw on your shock cap with bladder already installed. Tighten the cap firmly.
10. Wipe off any excess oils.
11. Check your shock movement. The shock should compress easily and the full length of the shaft should go into the body. Once you release the shaft it should “rebound” or push out on its own slightly. If the shock shaft does not go all the way in, you may have “hydraulic lock” and you will need to bleed some oil out of the body
12. Slip your spring onto the shock followed by the perch. Pull the shock shaft all the way out and screw the spring collar down so it just touches the spring. This is a good starting point for future tuning adjustment.
13. Finally check your lengths. Using a Caliper, make sure your shock lengths are the same at full extension. If they are not the same, loosen or tighten the lower ball end on the shock shaft of one shock until the lengths of both shocks match. It’s also a good idea to make certain the spring pre-load collars are in the same position. Measure from the bottom of the shock cap to the top of the collar to make sure they are even.

Icon SHock Pair

Starting Set-Up Tips
-Across the board in the RC world, whether you’re running a 1/10 basher truck to a ⅛ off-road buggy, it is often recommended to start with a 2-hole piston and 30wt shock oil. This is also a great set-up for your initial Icon shock set-up. From here you can determine if you need a shock oil weight change, a piston change or even a spring change.
-The Icon shocks come with a number of pistons which allows you to tune the shocks to the handling capability you need. For most, the included machined pistons are the best option. These precision pistons work smooth and only require oil changes for tuning.
Molded pistons are included as well. The A piston is a 2 hole piston with 1.3mm hole for soft damping, the B piston is a 1.2mm 3 hole for firm damping and the C is a 1.1mm 3-hole for firm damping. The hole size and number of holes changes the feel of the shock.
-Now to give you even more tuning options, a molded variable rate piston is included as well. This piston can be installed in either direction but depending on how you install it changes the way the shock reacts. The variable piston in one direction will have faster rebound with slower compression and vice versa when flipped.
-Choosing the piston and oil set-up; this isn’t a simple topic. It all depends on the surface you are running on. So we’ll break it down as basic as possible to give you a starting point. Let’s say you are running on a surface with a lot of jumps. You probably want a shock with more “pack,” a slower compression feel so when the vehicle lands the shocks absorb the impact and the chassis doesn’t slap the ground. This may mean you would want to try a 2-hole machined piston with 35wt oil or a C-piston with 30wt oil or a variable piston in the slow compression setting with 30wt oil. Another scenario is rough bumpy terrain. Here you may want a softer set-up or less pack to allow the shock to react quicker. Here you might want to try the 2-hole machine piston with 25wt oil or the A-piston with 30wt oil or the variable piston with 30wt oil in the faster compression setting.
-Oils change the feel of the way the shock reacts, keep in mind that a lower weight oil will allow the piston to move through it faster while a heavier weight oil will slow the piston down.
-Springs! Springs are included with the Icon shocks and there is a full range of optional springs available at different spring rates. In general, stiffer springs make your rig respond quicker and reduce chassis roll, but will not work well on bumpy terrain. Stiffer is better on smooth or high traction surfaces. Softer springs are better on slippery surfaces or bumpy terrain.

Icon shocks

Hit the off-road
Now that your shocks are properly built and installed, it is time to take your rig out for testing. Take your rig to the area you will run on the most and work on your set-up for that type of terrain. Transitioning to other types of terrain should be a bit easier once you find a base-line set-up. Watch your vehicle as you go over rough terrain. Is the rig landing and hitting the chassis hard? Is the chassis rolling too much? Is it too slow to rebound? Start you changes small, don’t make drastic changes to the shocks. If it’s too slow to rebound, start by switching to a slightly lighter weight oil. Go from a 30wt oil to a 27 ½wt oil. Is the rig rolling too much in the corners, perhaps go with a firmer spring. Again, the best place for a starting set-up with the Icon shocks is the 2-hole machined piston, a 30wt oil and the stock springs. From there, it’s up to you for testing and tuning.

Keep In Mind
The ability to tune your shocks will result in you being able to dial your rig into your specific terrain and driving style. Keep in mind that shocks during their life can take a lot of abuse and the shocks used in rock racing or trail truck driving are among the most abused shocks in the industry. This can even lead to the shock leaking after extended use. When you install your shocks, allow them to move freely on their mounts; don’t pinch them! The excess movement will give them the wiggle room they need to do their job while taking less abuse. More abuse leads to more wear which leads to leaks. But in any case, the Icon shocks are among the best options available to obtain a better handling rig.

Tips For Traveling With LiPo Batteries

Tips4Traveling_LiPo_Batteries

The Axial Blog has been loaded up as of recent with articles filled with tips and information you need to know to attend Axialfest and have the best experience possible. We know many of you are already prepping for the event and planning your trip. For many that trip will require lengthy travel and some will even pack up their gear and head out on planes to get to the event. This brings up one of the most frequently asked question in RC in regards to air travel. How do I get my LiPo batteries from home to the event? We’ve done the research for you and have a number of suggestions depending on your method of travel.

AF18 Traveling with LiPo Batteries 1

Battery Transportation Prep

First things first is prepping your batteries for travel, no matter how you plan on getting to an event. The following steps would also serve as a good storage method for your packs even while you’re at home.

1. Take the time to cycle your battery into storage mode, just as it arrived when you first bought the pack. Do not transport fully charged or discharged packs. Many mid-level to high-end chargers have a storage program that will cycle your battery to the proper storage voltage. Consider leaving any damaged packs behind and only bring packs you know for certain to be in good standing condition.

AF18 Traveling with LiPo Batteries 2
2. Cover the plug or battery input connectors. There is always the possibility of a short and covering the inputs can prevent that from happening. Some cover their plugs with rubber caps or plastic inserts. For batteries with bullet plug inserts, place tape over the holes. Placing electrical tape over the plugs works too if you don’t have caps, this will prevent metals form coming in contact with the leads. It’s also a good idea to check the connectors where the wires are soldered on, tape any exposed wire, solder or connector tabs.

AF18 Traveling with LiPo Batteries 3
3. Tape loose wires against the pack. Many battery packs have wire leads or balance plugs on them. These wires should be taped up against the pack just in case the wires move in transport and may become pinched and short out which can result in a fire. With the wires secured against the pack, it lessens the chance of a rare incident.

4. Place the pack in a plastic bag. Ok, during our research we found several suggestions of placing individual batteries in plastic bags for transport. Some other reports eluded to leaving packs out of sealed bags as they may emit gasses or the battery needs to breathe. We would suggest if you do place it in a bag, not to seal it and move on to tip 4.

AF18 Traveling with LiPo Batteries 4
5.Place batteries in a LiPo safe bag. Placing batteries in their own individual pouches would be the best option, but if you must, place multiple packs in a large LiPo sack when toting them around.

AF18 Traveling with LiPo Batteries 5
6. Battery bag. Once tips 1-4 are completed, place your wrapped up batteries in a transport bag of their own so they are together in case you need to show the packs to a screening agent. This will make their life and your life easier.

Traveling in a vehicle

When traveling to an event by car, keep your batteries within sight and easy reach. Don’t pack your batteries at the bottom of the trunk and stack all of your RC gear on top of them. Although there haven’t been any reports of any incidents where a tucked away battery caused a problem, it’s always just a good practice to have a product such as a LiPo battery accessible.

Traveling on a plane

Some drivers will take a plane to reach Axialfest and this is where many of the questions come into play. Can I carry my LiPo’s on the plane, or should they be checked? From our research, this is the best practice.

1. First check with your specific airlines battery guidelines and regulations to see how they require you to transport your batteries. It is a good idea to follow and print these guidelines out and store a copy in the same bag as your battery packs. If it comes into question at screening if you are allowed to transport your packs, you’re now prepared to show the agent you’re following the airlines protocol.

2. LiPo batteries should be carried on to the plane and not placed in checked baggage. It is legal to bring your properly prepared (as discussed above) batteries through the airport and on the plane.

3. During screening, it is best to remove your bag that your batteries are stored in an place it in a bin separate and at the end of the line of from your other articles. Most likely your LiPo battery bag will be pulled and checked by a screening agent, but at least you’ll be able to gather up your other property while your battery bag is checked.

4. Cooperate with all questions by the screening agent as the battery bag as it’s checked. The screening agent is just doing his/her job and cooperation will get you to that overpriced, half-cooked airport food that much quicker. Once on the plane, keep your gear close to you.

Plane

Ship your batteries

For those who are prepared well in advance, you may want to consider shipping your batteries via ground transportation to an end location. (Note: Make sure your shipping box is properly labeled with the hazardous battery label.) Perhaps you have a friend in California traveling to the event by car. Ask if you can ship your batteries to him/her while you travel by plane. If you are staying at a hotel nearby Cisco Grove, ship the batteries to the hotel address and make them aware there is a package arriving for your stay. As a last resort some have shipped their gear directly to the Cisco Grove management office to hold for their arrival. We ask that you leave this as an absolute last resort as the Cisco Grove crew is pretty swamped with tasks for the event.

Be Safe

It all comes down to using common sense to be safe with your LiPo batteries. We’ve all seen videos or heard stories of fires or released gases from a LiPo battery. There is a danger element to them so they should be handled with care at all times. Following the tips listed above should help you transport your packs safely from point A to B and even properly store them when not in use. Travel safe and we’ll see you at Axialfest!

DISCLAIMER: Axial Racing and the author are not responsible for any incidents in relation to the information given above. The information given is only a tool for assistance. Proper use and transport of any type of battery is the sole responsibility of the property owner.

Axialfest Rock Racer Preparation Tips

AxialfestRockRacerPrep

If you are a regular follower of the Axial Blog and we know you are, you probably saw the Trail Rig Prep blog for Axialfest. It’s loaded with great tips to help trail truck drivers and don’t think we forgot about you Rock Racers either. Rock Racing is a whole other experience at Axialfest and prepping a rig for the Rock Racing course or the Altra Ultra 5K can require a bit more preparation than a trail rig. Trail rig courses are not timed anymore at Axialfest and its a run at your own pace experience. But for Rock Racing and the 5K, there is much more on the line. Although they are fun events, there are prizes at the end for the winners and so you want to spend a bit more time making sure your rig is ready for what it is about to endure. We’ve altered our suggestions just a bit here, so if you read the previous trail blog, you should reread everything seen here.

AF18 Rock Prep2

Hardware Check

Set-Screws- Set-screws can be a headache in the RC world, they are used in several areas on just about any rig. The most common is the pinion gear. If the set-screw goes into metal, it’s a good idea to add some blue thread locking compound to it before installing it. The thread locking compound is a measure to ensure the screw doesn’t back out during use. Most people use a blue thread locking compound which is serviceable, but in a Rock Racing competition, some have been known to use Red which is a permanent compound. Some heat can be used in the future to help break free hardware secured with red thread lock.
Lock-nut- Sometimes standard nuts are used in several locations on a rig and perhaps you’ve installed a nut or two along the way while working on or customizing your truck. Consider swapping out all standard nuts with ny-lock nuts. These nuts have a plastic insert ring that helps prevent the nut from backing off of the screw. You may also want to consider using threadlock compound as an additional way to secure the nut and some have even gone as far as installing two nuts to secure bolts in place.
Machine Screws- Machine screws have a much finer thread than a self-tapping screw. This finer thread often offers more “bite” into a part for extra security. Consider using machines screws wherever you can. And like that pesky set-screw, always use blue thread-locking compound on machine screws that go into metal so they don’t vibrate out while in use.

AF18 Rock Prep4

Steering Tips

Super Servo Arm- Kits and ready to runs include plastic servo arms that will certainly get you underway, but in an Axialfest Rock Racing competition, they have been known to strip out. Axial’s option aluminum servo horns are some of the best available and are often used by builders in builds beyond installs in Axial vehicles. These option horns are available for different servo splines, have a double clamp and two holes for the steering link. The strong aluminum horns will hold up to the abuse on the course.
Servo Upgrade- Many drivers upgrade to higher torque servos with strong metal gears to withstand the abuse on the course. If you do upgrade, consider using a servo with an aluminum case. The mounting ears on a plastic case servo can break on hard impacts. At the very least, use a wide head screw to support the servo in the mounting bracket.
Steering Links- Steering links are often the first thing to hit rocks and other on course debris on the front of RR10 Bombers, Wraiths and on SCX10’s. Plastic links can flex, lead to weakening or can even break. Many upgrade to aluminum links to handle more abrasive action and still deliver precise steering.

 

AF18 Rock Prep1Suspension Work

Shocks- Before heading out on the rock racing course or 5K, its a great idea to rebuild your shocks with new oil and even better replace the seals. The shocks on a rock racer or even trail truck are among the most abused shocks in RC. Not only do they move up and down, but receive side loading as well that can wear on the shock and even cause it to leak. After rebuilding your shocks, make sure they have some “wiggle room” don’t clamp down on the shock mounts with the retaining screws. Let them slide on the mounting bolts a bit. This will give the shock additional movement that will lessen the wear of the shocks internals.

Trailing Links- The lower trailing links see a lot of ground action while damping the rig on the trails. When using plastic links, check to make sure the ball ends have not elongated and may break during the run. Use the aluminum plates to make the plastic links more rigid or there are plenty of aluminum options available from various Axial supporting aftermarket manufacturers.

 

AF18 Rock Prep6

Driveline Tips

Screw Pins- Screw pins are used to secure the universal yokes to the axle drive pinions, if your rig doesn’t have them and you have a through-hole in the bevel pinion shaft, go with a screw-pin instead of a set-screw. This will ensure drive instead of a set-screw that can back out and slip. Use thread-lock here too of course.
Universals- We’ve seen some torn-up universals in our day. These components take a lot of abuse. Replacing the cross-pins before your course run can be a good idea. At the very least, check your universals for binding or regrease them if they look dry.
Bearings- Do you want to be “The Squeaky Guy?” Bearings take a lot of abuse and as they get covered in dirt or submerged in water, you risk the chance of bearing failure. If you hear squeaking, consider cleaning your bearings, blast them with a cleaner and re-oil them. Some go so far as to repack the bearing with grease. A bad bearing can eventually wreak havoc on your driveline on the trail. Fix it before it causes other possibly more expensive problems or dropping out of the race.
Gears- This is an important topic here. Many of crunchy transmissions have been heard along the trails at Axialfest. During your pretrip check, take a look at all of the gears. Do any look sharp, missing parts of their teeth, is your gearcase full of metal dust? Don’t leave it to a trail run to find our you needed to replace gears. In the axles, make sure the gear lash is correct between the bevel pinion and ring gear. Shims may be used to adjust gear lash. Inside of the center transmission, make sure your gears are well lubricated with grease. And finally, your pinion and spur. Make sure your mesh is correct, not too loose that your gears can skip and not too tight that it binds.
Slipper- Your slipper clutch is often the line of defense to protecting your transmission. When your rig gets caught up in a gap in the rocks and you pin the throttle, the slipper will slip rather than the gears skipping. You want the slipper tight enough so you get through gnarly obstacles, but you do need that slip for protection. A little trial and error works here in terms of setting. Always lean toward the loose side to start with.
Grease- As mentioned above a number of times. Grease, grease grease. Grease the gears, consider greasing the bearings, add grease to metal shafts inside of the axles, grease universal joints. Grease will keep these parts smooth and offer some protection from the elements.
Axle caps- The ends of the axles are secured with screws which if they back out can wreak havoc in many ways. Place a small dab of CA glue under the screw head before installing it to help secure it and prevent it from backing out during your run.

 

AF18 Rock Prep3

What To Carry

Parts Supplies- Beyond prepping your rig for the course, you should prep for those what if moments. What if a screw falls out, what if a part breaks. It’s a good idea to carry a small parts bin of hardware with you at all times. Pack the bin with an assortment of screws, nuts, set-screws, body pins, flanged bushings for the steering knuckles, axles pins and washers in case something falls off on a run. Next you’ll want to carry some more substantial parts like a spare shock, some spare links, a spare center universal set-up. An extra servo horn or even and extra servo. There are even some drivers who will pack an entire assembled axle, or center transmission, just in case…
Batteries- During a rock race or during the 5K you may need to swap batteries. For better performance or to make it to the end. Have several packs on hand for the events and stored in a LiPo sack for safe transport.
Tools- You know those little bags of allen wrenches and the box wrench that came with your kit? They make great lightweight travel tools and can fix most of the issues you’ll have to deal with on your rig. Now granted hand tools make the job easier, carry the basics, 1.5mm, 2.0mm and 2.5mm hex drivers; 5.5mm and 7.0mm nut drivers, long nose pliers, scissors and cutters can also be useful. Place them in a bag and put them in your backpack during your adventure.
Survival- Always carry water with you for hydration, in fact its pretty much mandatory for the 5K and a must for between rock racing runs.. Cisco Grove is at a higher elevation and having water on hand will keep you hydrated during your hikes. Also have some nutrition with you. Some power bars, trail mix or other foods can take the edge off your hunger while competing on the courses. It’s also good to have a small first aid kit in case you get a scratch or scrape on the trail. Wear a hat, use moisture wicking clothing, wear proper footwear such as Altra shoes that will keep you sure footed on the course.

AF18 Rock Prep5

The Axialfest Rock Racing and Altra Ultra events test both man or woman and machine. It’s a good idea to prep both your rig and yourself for these events. Train ahead of time for quick sprints and lengthy runs. Be prepared for all types of weather too. It can be cold in the mornings and hot in the afternoons. These events at Axialfest are to promote fun first and foremost, but racing can always get intense and being prepared can help you make it to the finish with success.

Axialfest Trail Rig Prep

adventures_Axialfest-Trail-Rig-Prep_500px

Before you know it, Axialfest will be upon us and the last thing you want to worry about is preparing just a few days before you embark on your adventure. You want to have your adventure vehicle ready to go and ready to take on the terrain without failure ahead of time. Yes, Axial vehicles are built tough, but taking the time to have your rig ready will ensure more fun on the trail. We’ve gathered up a number of tips to help get your rig ready from what hardware to use, to driveline tips and things you may need along the way.

AF18 Trail Prep4

Hardware Check

Set-Screws- Set-screws can be a headache in the RC world, they are used in several areas on just about any rig. The most common is the pinion gear. If the set-screw goes into metal, it’s a good idea to add some blue thread locking compound to it before installing it. The thread locking compound is a measure to ensure the screw doesn’t back out during use.

Lock-nut- Early SCX10’s used standard nuts in several locations and perhaps you’ve installed a nut or two along the way while working on or customizing your truck. Consider swapping out all standard nuts with ny-lock nuts. These nuts have a plastic insert ring that helps prevent the nut from backing off of the screw.

Machine Screws- Machine screws have a much finer thread than a self-tapping screw. This finer thread often offers more “bite” into a part for extra security. Consider using machines screws wherever you can. And like that pesky set-screw, always use blue thread-locking compound on machine screws that go into metal so they don’t vibrate out while in use.

AF18 Trail Prep3

Driveline Tips

Screw Pins- Screw pins are often used to secure the universal yokes to the axle drive pinions, if your rig doesn’t have them and you have a through-hole in the bevel pinion shaft, go with a screw-pin instead of a set-screw. This will ensure drive instead of a set-screw that can back out and slip. Use thread-lock here too of course.

Universals- We’ve seen some torn-up universals in our day. These components take a lot of abuse. Replacing the cross-pins before your many Axialfest adventures can be a good idea. At the very least, check your universals for binding or regrease them if they look dry.

Bearings- Do you want to be “The Squeaky Guy?” Bearings take a lot of abuse and as they get covered in dirt or submerged in water, you risk the chance of bearing failure. If you hear squeaking, consider cleaning your bearings, blast them with a cleaner and re-oil them. Some go so far as to repack the bearing with grease. A bad bearing can eventually wreak havoc on your driveline on the trail. Fix it before it causes other possibly more expensive problems.

Gears- This is an important topic here. Many of crunchy transmissions have been heard along the trails at Axialfest. During your pretrip check, take a look at all of the gears. Do any look sharp, missing parts of their teeth, is your gearcase full of metal dust? Don’t leave it to a trail run to find our you needed to replace gears. In the axles, make sure the gear lash is correct between the bevel pinion and ring gear. Shims may be used to adjust gear lash. Inside of the center transmission, make sure your gears are well lubricated with grease. If you do have plastic internal gears, on your SCX10, consider upgrading to the metal gears, here is the link for the upgrade: HERE And finally, your pinion and spur. Make sure your mesh is correct, not too loose that your gears can skip and not too tight that it binds.

Slipper- Your slipper clutch is often the line of defense to protecting your transmission. When your rig gets caught up in a gap in the rocks and you pin the throttle, the slipper will slip rather than the gears skipping. You want the slipper tight enough so you get through gnarly obstacles, but you do need that slip for protection. A little trial and error works here in terms of setting. Always lean toward the loose side to start with.

Grease- As mentioned above a number of times. Grease, grease grease. Grease the gears, consider greasing the bearings, add grease to metal shafts inside of the axles, grease universal joints. Grease will keep these parts smooth and offer some protection from the elements.

AF18 Trail Prep2

Waterproof Everything

Specific Electronics- Axialfest is known to have some water encounters and as you know water and electronics don’t mix. Most ready to run electronics are waterproof or water resistant but if you’re running something from an older build date or have swapped out your electronics for something non-WP, you might consider taking some precautions to waterproofing your equipment. Seal the servo case with silicone, put a bead of grease around servo output shafts. ESC’s are a bit more difficult to waterproof using silicone as the heatsink area is an area where water can get in. Brushed motors can get wet, just prep by oiling the bearings or bushings.

Radio Box Sealing- The radio box is often the home for items that can be damaged by water or debris. The receiver, lighting module or winch controller are often placed in radio boxes. But water can still get inside unless you seal it up. Use a bead of silicone or grease to seal off any gaps that will allow water to enter the box.

Axialfest night

Light It Up

Why You Need Them- Some of the best adventures on the rocks at Cisco Grove happen at night. The night driving element is very challenging and you’ll see drivers out on the rocks until all hours of the morning. You’ll want to consider adding as much lighting to you and your rig as possible.

Options- Headlight and taillight kits are obvious and selecting the right one really depends on the type of body you run. The other option are light bars. Light bars are a pretty simple bolt on light system to install and many plug right into the receiver for power. Another option to consider are well lights. Those are lights in the wheel wells so you can see exactly what type of terrain your rig is going over. There are plenty of lights to choose from in the Axial options list. You can find more on lights: HERE  Then there are the lights for you. A head-lamp is a great source of light to blaze through the trails. Some fashion flashlights to their radios with tape or rubber bands. Get creative with your lights, but whatever you choose, make sure it’s enough to light the way for long periods of time.

AF18 Trail Prep1

What To Carry

Parts Supplies- Beyond prepping your rig for the trails, you should prep for those what if moments. What if a screw falls out, what if a part breaks. It’s a good idea to carry a small parts bin of hardware with you at all times. Pack the bin with an assortment of screws, nuts, set-screws, body pins, flanged bushings for the steering knuckles, axles pins and washers in case something falls off on a run. Next you’ll want to carry some more substantial parts like a spare shock, some spare links, a spare center universal set-up. An extra servo horn or even and extra servo.

Tools- You know those little bags of allen wrenches and the box wrench that came with your kit? They make great lightweight travel tools and can fix most of the issues you’ll have to deal with on your rig. Now granted hand tools make the job easier, carry the basics, 1.5mm, 2.0mm and 2.5mm hex drivers; 5.5mm and 7.0mm nut drivers, long nose pliers, scissors and cutters can also be useful. Place them in a bag and put them in your backpack during your adventure.

Survival- Drivers can spend hours on the trails. Always carry water with you for hydration. Cisco Grove is at a higher elevation and having water on hand will keep you hydrated during your hikes. Also have some nutrition with you. Some power bars, trail mix or other foods can take the edge off your hunger while completing some of the long trail layouts. It’s also good to have a small first aid kit in case you get a scratch or scrape on the trail. Keep your cell phone with you, lights and a suitable back-pack to carry extra batteries is the best way to take on Axialfest.

AF18 Trail Prep5

Prep For Fun

With rig prep out of the way, you should now be able to relax and enjoy the driving and scenery on the trails instead of being concerned your rig can handle the trek. If something does happen along the trails, don’t be shy and ask another driver for help borrow a tool or even a part to keep you going. The attendees at Axialfest are among the best enthusiasts in the industry and meeting new people in the camps or on the trails can turn into new friendships. See you at #AXIALFEST

Battery Endurance Test – Maximize Your Drive Time

 

tech_aa_radio_battery_overview_500px

What is the best battery? We spend so long in the hobby trying to answer that question ourselves along with seeking opinions on the subject from others. When talking batteries, most people go right to the battery used in the vehicle. But what about the forgotten batteries, the batteries that are essential to making it all happen. Those batteries are the radio batteries and their often just tossed into the radio and forgotten about until we hear lots of beeping to indicate its time for a battery charge or swap. But why not get more out of these batteries too? Wouldn’t it be better if you got more time on the trails rather than spending time trying to figure out if you need new radio batteries? Or perhaps worse, your batteries go dead on the trail leaving you to haul your rig back home by hand.

Battery Test

In this battery discussion, we’re going to look at the popular available options for radio batteries, determining what is the best value and what will give you the best bang for your buck. After All, the longer you’re on the trails, the more time you can spend taking photos and posting them to your social media pages with the hashtag #AxialAdventures.

 

Alkaline

Alkaline AA

These are the most readily available batteries for your transmitter. Alkalines can be found at just about every store you walk into and hobby stores as well. Like any device you install them in, you pull them from the package, install them, use them and toss them in the battery bin at the nearest recycling center when you are done. These cells can last several few months depending on how often you use your RC machine.
EXAMPLE SHOWN:
Brand: Duratrax/ Onyx
Voltage: 1.5V
Average Capacity (at 50mA Drain): 1800-2600mAh
Rechargeable: No

Nickle Metal Hydrid

NiMh AA
Nickel Metal Hydrid, now this may be a battery chemistry more familiar to many RC folk. This battery type is used to power many ready to run vehicles as it’s main battery, just in a series of sub-C size cells which are larger than the cells above. But they are the same basic concept, an easy to use, easy and safe rechargeable cell that you can use over and over, sometimes up to several years. You can find these batteries in various capacities and the price may increase depending on the performance of the cell. You’ll need a NiMh compatible charger to recharge these batteries and they are available in different capacities. These batteries can offer consistent operation, but eventually their performance can diminish and you may notice their capacity can lessen over time.
EXAMPLE SHOWN:
Brand: EBL
Voltage: 1.2V
Capacity: 2800mAh
Rechargeable: Yes

Lithium

Lithium AA

Lithium Polymer technology has made its way into an AA sized cell. LiPo cells are known for delivering consistent power through their use and they can be recharged. During their cycle life they will maintain consistency capacity output right up until they reach the end of their life cycle. Life cycle times can vary depending on the cell. Although they cost more than the others in this blog, they are the most powerful rechargeable cell. Depending on the brand you get, charging styles can vary. The cells above are charged by mini-usb style plugs with the included USB cord adapter.
EXAMPLE SHOWN:
Brand: Creative Standard Battery
Voltage: 1.5V
Capacity: 1250mAh
Rechargeable: Yes

 

Lithium Polymer

LiPo AA

Lithium Polymer technology has made its way into an AA sized cell. LiPo cells are known for delivering consistent power through their use and of course they can be recharged. During their cycle life they will maintain consistency capacity output right up until they reach the end of their life cycle. Life cycle times can vary depending on the cell. Although they cost more than the others in this blog, they are a powerful rechargeable cell. Depending on the brand you get, charging styles can vary. The cells above are charged by mini-usb style plugs with the included USB cord adapter.
EXAMPLE SHOWN:
Brand: Creative Standard Battery
Voltage: 1.5V
Capacity: 1250mAh
Rechargeable: Yes

WHAT TO USE
Obviously the more economical choice over the long haul is to utilize a rechargeable battery. A great choice is the NiMh cell that offers consistent performance and long usage. The LiPo battery cost is slightly higher and depending on the cell can have a capacity near many NiMh offerings, but where the LiPo shines is if you are looking for a higher power output on the cell; 1.5 volts versus the NiMh 1.2 volts. Now if you’re an install a battery and toss it (recycle it) when it’s done type driver, the Lithium is a great choice, they’re more expensive than the Alkaline battery, but performance and longevity are the winning factors here. And in the end, don’t knock the Alkaline cells. These things can be snatched up at just about any store and they work, they work well. Just don’t leave them in a radio if you store it for a long time. A leaky Alkaline cell is not pretty.

 

Suspension Link Types Explained

Suspension_LinkTypes

There is no shortage of suspension design types in the RC world, but for trail trucks and other off-road adventure vehicles, one of the most preferred suspension styles is the link type. Links are typically a long fixed plastic bar or long metal rod with ball-ends on each end that stretch from points on the chassis to the trucks axle. Sounds pretty simple right? There is a bit more to it. There are several link set-up types and Axial vehicles such as the SCX10 and SCX10 II use different type of link setups. There are three different designs used; a 3-Link, 4-Link and a 3-Link with panhard bar setup. Here we’ll go over what each style looks like and their performance attributes.

3-LINK

A 3-Link suspension setup can commonly be found on the front of the SCX10 platform. Two lower links, one on each side, span from the skid to the lower axle tubes. The third link is located up higher to secure the axle from rotating. Here an upper Y-link is used for the third link. It mounts to the frame and spans to a single center point/ mount on the top of the axle.

3-Link Suspension

A 3-Link setup rotates the axle around the moving vertical pivot during articulation and can result in some axle sway.

4-LINK

The 4-Link design is similar to the 3-Link in regard to how the lower links span from the skid-plate to the axle housings in a triangulated format. However the top link is slightly different. The top utilizes two links that span from the inner frame to two pivot points on the top of the axle in the center.

4-Link

The 4-Link suspension design moves in a much linear path than the 3-Link and results in less axle sway, steer and reduces the effects of torque twist.

3-LINK W/ PANHARD

Now, are you ready for the description of a 3-Link with panhard bar? Brace yourselves, it’s actually made up of 4-Links. It’s similar to a “4-Link design” but with one upper link purposely missing. So if you’re one of those people who have opened your kit and said to yourself; Hey a link is missing, it’s not supposed to be there. To prevent the axle from shifting in this style of suspension design, a “panhard” bar is used; the fourth link. A panhard bar runs from the frame perpendicular to the other links and mates up with a mounting boss on the axle carrier.

3-Link With Panhard

This suspension setup offers smooth linear articulation without the axle sway associated with a 3-Link system.

LINK TECH

Although we’ve discussed the different type of link designs in a simple format, there is a bit more to it such as anti-squat, roll center, anti-dive and other tuning options that further differentiate each, but that is for another discussion. The style of links found on your specific SCX10 model are there by design to deliver articulation for optimum performance.

2018 New York International Auto Show Adventure Vehicles

2018NY_AutoShow_Adv_Vehicles

Every year the latest in automotive releases from auto manufacturers world wide converge on New York City at the Javits Convention center to show the press and public vehicles being released for the upcoming year. Many new cars are unveiled at the show so public days can be standing room only at times. Luckily we obtained a press pass and got into the show on press day to see some of the exciting new vehicles on display. Sure, there were plenty of new family toting options, cool cross-overs, some classics parked here and there, just lots of eye candy in many forms all over the show floor. But we concentrated our camera lenses on vehicles that lead to adventure, vehicles that follow the Axial philosophy. So after downing lots of free beverages from Nissan and Honda, candy from Acura and some mini breakfast sandwiches from Mercedes-Benz, we combed the show floors in search of some off-road machines and this is what we’ve come up with.

Auto Show 2

The ewn Volkwagen Atlas Tanoak Concept was on display and not an easy vehicle to get a photo of even on the less croweded press day. This truck looked great in person and the winch built into the bumper really caught our attention.

Auto Show 13
Auto Show 14

Toyota has several trucks and SUV’s on display some sporting optional TRD gear.

Auto Show 12

The GMC display showed off this Sierra beast with tracks on all four corners and enough LED lighting to turn dark into day.

Auto Show 18

Nissan Titan anyone? Nissan needs more play in the off-road world and this truck fitted with an aftermarket bumper, sliders, roll bar and lifted suspension looked like it could handle it.

Auto Show 17 Auto Show 16 Auto Show 15

Jeep was on hand in full force with a complete booth indoors and their Jeep Camp outdoors. First we took a look at some Wranglers and Rubicons on display and some fitted with Mopar performance parts. But what stole our interest was Jeep Camp. On press day, we shot right to the front of the line for a ride in a new JK Rubicon over the man made Jeep course nestled into the front of the Javits Converntion Hall in New York City. The tour over some obstacles like off-camber bumps, stair cases, and 30-degree incline lasted about two minutes with the driver laying down some eduction on the new Jeep.

Auto Show 8 Auto Show 5 Auto Show 6 Auto Show 7 Auto Show 11 Auto Show 10 Auto Show 9

Remember, you can get the off-road Jeep experience, just on a smaller scale. Here are some of the current radio control Axial SCX10 II based Jeep offerings:

AX90060 SCX10 II™ 2017 Jeep® Wrangler Unlimited CRC
AX90047 SCX10 II™ 2000 Jeep® Cherokee RTR
AX90046 SCX10 II™ 2000 Jeep® Cherokee KIT

Auto Show 3

Many of the booths had VR experience centers and VW gave you a full game-style driving experience behind the wheel of a GTI.Auto Show 4

Finally Ford offered a Lego Ford Figure make and take along with a photo-op spot to show off your figure on social media. How could we pass it up?

Auto Show 19

The NYIAS is always a great experience for the auto enthusiast. If you’re ever in the New York area at the end of March, hitting the International Auto Show is the perfect way to see all the latest releases in the automotive world.