4th Annual So-Cal Off Road Truck Show 6-30-12

It was a perfect June day for the 4th Annual So-Cal Off Road Truck Show and Axial was happy to attend for the 3rd year running. This year 4Wheel Parts of Compton was kind enough to open its gates allowing off roaders from all over Southern California to display their rigs. From a bone stock 1950′s GMC pickup to pre-runner style trucks to all out rock crawlers this show had something for everyone. The California Off-Road Vehicle Association, CORVA, was on site handling the announcing duties as well as the raffle. This organization works tirelessly to keep our trail’s open for us to enjoy; please visit their website for information on how you can help: www.corva.org. Although we did not have any natural rock to play on I was able to make a challenging little course with a few artificial rocks and a wood ladder. It was difficult to get all 4 tires up on the rock without using too much gas and going right up and over the rock. Once on the rock you hoped you were facing the ladder because there wasn’t much room to maneuver without falling off the rock. The skill level of the drivers was impressive and most had prior R/C experience. The EXO RTR was a hot topic since it was just released and not yet in stores. Those who were lucky enough to get behind the wheel were surprised with its top speed and excellent handling. Just before the raffle 4Wheel Parts brought out the RTI ramp for anyone who wanted to test their flex out. A crowd drew as more and more rigs, including a 2wd pre-runner, tested the fruits of their labor. One rig went a little too far and flopped over to the crowds delight and cheers, see the pic and video link below. Lastly was the much anticipated CORVA raffle. Raffle items included a Smittybilt 8,000lb winch donated by 4Wheel Parts, a LED Light Bar by Tough-Light, even a ride in a Class 1 trophy truck by Engage. This year CORVA had a separate raffle specifically for the Axial Trail Honcho and I was honored to draw the winning ticket that belonged to Alex Ayala. This was a great way to spend a summer Saturday and we will be back next year for more off roading eye candy!

Big thanks to Pepe Palomo of Global Offroad Supply for organizing yet another great show! www.globaloffroadsupply.com
Also a big thanks to Nicole Pearson for the great pictures! http://www.pearsonimages.com

4th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12
The Axial booth in all its glory!

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12
On Top: AX90019 Ridgecrest, Left: AX90022 Trail Honcho RTR, Middle: AX90018 Wraith RTR, Right: AX90024 EXO RTR

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12
Front: AX90024 EXO RTR, Behind: AX90019 AX10 Ridgecrest RTR

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12
Kids, and some adults, were drawn to the rigs as if they had some sort of magnetic field emanating from them. Axial wasn’t complaining!

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th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12
John Rocha of Road///Race Motorsports very capable Willy’s Jeep.

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12
Nothing like a ‘home-grown’ Toyota with plenty of battle wounds to prove you don’t necessarily need 30K-50K in a rig to have fun and get in a magazine article or two!

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12
This Jeep means business!

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12
The Storm Trooper edition Toyota Tundra complete with white tint. As you can see the Tundra’s were represented very well here. All of them were super clean and well built!

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12
I would NOT want to plop down on these nice seats after spending a day working under the Toyota….haha!

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12
Sand ramp’s anyone? Did you know Axial makes scale sand ramps? AX80112 is the part number and they can be purchased from your local hobby shop. To view them visit the Axial website: http://www.axialracing.com/products/ax80112

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12
Alex Ayala’s CJ7. Get a look at that GIANT D-ring hanging off the front end?! Alex was also the proud winner of the Honcho RTR raffle, congrats!

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12
No off roading truck show is complete without a Suzuki Samurai with Toyota Axles. I believe the Chevy bow-tie represents the current power plant. The ol’ Suzuki 1.3L 4cyl is probably not up to the task of pushing all this extra steel!

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12
What if you need to replace the headlight bezel? It’s these questions that keep me up at night……

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12
This was a Jeep at one point in its life. I think……

Engage
Engage was displaying these trick LED light bars from Tough-Light. A lucky raffle winner took one of these home, thanks Engage!

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12
Admire’ers of the various sharpie markings from trail dings and dents.

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12
See the guy leaning against the yellow Jeep Cherokee in the background? He was driving his heavily modified Honcho from his Jeep and managed to make it across, now that’s skill! He also had a very nice Wraith in his collection. Thanks for the support!

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12
I know this ‘course’ doesn’t look very challenging but it was. Once the right line was found the 100% stock Wraith, Ridgecrest, and Honcho were all able to make it across the ladder.

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12
Two future Axial vehicle owners. Which one to get is the only question, decisions decisions…..

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12
The EXO RTR got a lot of attention since it just came out that week. Many show attendees were into short course racing and were anxious to see the new EXO RTR in person.

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12
With her nimble handling, brisk acceleration, and awesome top speed, the EXO RTR impressed even the most seasoned short course drivers. Drivers quote of the day: ‘Wow, the EXO RTR seems to handle way better then my [insert brand/model here]?!?!’ That’s what we want to hear!

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12
RTI ramp time! This Suburban did very well for its size.

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12
Full pull! Talk about crossed up?!

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12
V8 powered Tacoma doing WORK!

Rig Flop
Someone had to do it and that someone was Richard Flores of the ‘Rock Brawlers’. For a great video of the action click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Quh-FyG3DBY&feature=youtu.be

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12
John’s Willy’s never fails to impress! Hey what’s that waiting in line behind him?

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12
The Wraith would never miss an opportunity to tackle the RTI ramp! Alex measured up the wheelbase and we heading up the ramp….

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12
Oh yea! Scale full pull? Haha!

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12
Once again Wayne Ford of CORVA, along with the CORVA crew, did a great job with the raffle. This year they had a separate raffle for the AX90022 Honcho RTR which became very popular. Other great prizes were raffled off as well.

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12
The winning ticket belonged to Alex and boy was he happy! He double-downed winning in the standard raffle as well?! I’d say he had a good day!

th Annual SoCal Off-Road Truck Show 6-30-12
Nothing like a Honcho to put a smile on your face!

Tire Cutting 101

When it comes to scale trail runs, mud bogging, competition crawling and racing, tires are one of the most important aspects of your vehicle. Without proper traction it can be tough to hold your intended line in the rocks or around the track. Having multiple sets of tires in your arsenal is always a good idea in order to be prepared for any and all conditions. But, for the budget crawler, basher and racer having numerous sets of tires and wheels isn’t always a feasible option. There are ways to improve your existing tires and wheels though, and all it requires is a little time at the work bench. For this tire cutting article we will show you a few ways to get more traction out of your stock or existing tires, with little to no money out of your pocket. There are numerous ways to cut tires for better performance. Siping, read cutting, tires is a technology used in the 1:1 off-road world for everything from rock crawling to baja, mud bogging and even full size monster trucks. Tire cutting can be used to get better forward bite, better lateral bite, and even help to avoid mud from packing into certain tread patterns. You can also cut the side wall lugs to soften up the overall feel of the tires carcass as well. There are many aspects to this technology/art form.

A good example to start with for the scale crawlers is the stock R40 compound Axial Ripsaw tires that are original equipment on the RTR Wraith and new RTR Ridgecrest. These tires have a great tread pattern with aggressive lugs for hardcore off road terrain. But, the compound on these is quite a bit harder than the softer R35 Axial Ripsaw tires. Here are a few different methods you can use to get the most out of your stock RTR Ripsaw tires. Only tools needed are a good pair of small wire cutters, a Dremel with a cutoff wheel and a little bit of your time.

Wire cutters used.

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Dremel and cutoff wheel used.

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A stock uncut tire before we get started.

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First thing I wanted to improve upon was forward bite, and the ability to clean sticky mud out of the tire lugs. The tires I am using for this article will be bolted up to a 2.2 scaler/rock racer which will see a wide variety of terrain. I started by cutting the smaller rows of lugs completely out of the tires for a super aggressive tread pattern that will have the ability to shed mud and wet dirt, using a small pair of wire cutters. This cut will also soften the carcass up and allow for more forward bite in technical rock sections, similar to airing a 1:1 tire down for more grip and better ride. If your wire cutters are too small to span the entire lug you are trying to remove, you can cut half of the lug and slide the cutters along the base of the lug for a second cut as needed. I had to use this method on the biggest lugs.

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Next cut the smaller center lugs out on the same row.

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Here is how that same tire looks when the first round of cutting is complete.

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A profile shot after the first round with the wire cutters.

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A photo of all the lugs removed from the 4 tires.

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Next I want to improve the tires performance on the rocks in off camber situations. To do this I will use my Dremel and cut the existing tire grooves in the center lugs down to the tire’s carcass. Here you can see it grooves before I modify them.

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Position the Dremel over the lug to be cut and follow the existing groove to make it deeper.

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Keep your RPMs on the Dremel high enough to cut the lug without bogging the motor down. Gently apply pressure until the cutoff wheel cuts the full depth of the lug. Be careful not to go too deep and cut all the way through the tire, take your time and be patient. You can also do this to the outer lugs if you find you need more bite, or sidewall flex. Another way to get more flex out of your tires is to open up the breather holes in the wheels. I drilled out the existing breather holes in these wheels to twice the stock diameter.

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Finished tire

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Here’s a few shots to show the overall look on my “Project Backyard Basher Ridgecrest.” These tires really give it a lot more aggressive look, similar to what you would see on the “Rock Bouncers” from down in the southeast.

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Following these tips will improve overall performance on the stock RTR Ripsaw tires as well as other tires on the market, especially if they are molded in a firm rubber compound.

Bender’s AX10 Ridgecrest Project Backyard Basher

Now that Axial’s new Ridgecrest is readily available I wanted to show one of the Ridgecrest projects I have been working on. For this project I just wanted to build a do it all trail runner/crawler/basher. The Ridgecrest is the perfect platform for this type of build in my opinion, because of the stout AR60 axles and the well tuned suspension geometry. The purpose of this build is to have a rig that can handle a lot of various situations from sandy hills, to rocks and roots, a little water, and possibly some urban bashing. This project will also probably be a loaner vehicle on occasion as well, so I want it to work decent in all situations. Here’s a rundown of what I changed, and why.

A couple shots with the body removed. I swapped the electronics and battery trays around so the battery now sits in front for better weight distribution.

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Swapping the two trays around was easy, the only thing required was a servo extension wire. The steering servo wire lead on this rig was a bit too short for me to reach the receiver after swapping the two trays around. Servo extensions can be found at most hobby shops and online retailers for less than $5, so it is a cheap and easy solution.

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Here you can see the junction where the servo wire and the servo extension meet. I used the stock wire guide to keep the wires out of harm’s way. Also notice I moved the on/off switch to the opposite side of the chassis, just to keep wires cleanly tucked away.

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I stretched the wheelbase on this Ridgecrest to help on big rock obstacles, and hill climbs. A longer wheelbase usually helps a rig’s capabilities in these situations. So, I installed our 106mm grey links, part number AX30516, to replace the old stock plastic lower links. Then, I used our grey machined high clearance links, part number AX30469, to replace the stock upper links. In order to stretch the wheelbase as much as possible I used our long curved XR10 rod ends on all the suspension links, part number AX80057. You will need 4 of the rod end parts trees total to complete the conversion, as well as M3 threaded studs to secure the rod ends to the links, part number AXA0187. You will need two packages of the threaded studs to complete the conversion. My wheelbase now sits at 13 1/2″.

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A shot of the link set-up.

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Here you can see I also installed our new AR60 machined link mounts, part number AX30830, on the axles as well. These link mounts are cool because they have multiple mounting points, which will help you fine tune wheelbase, ride height and shock angles as needed.

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Another modification that I made was the jump to XR10 beadlock wheels, part number AX08061, and R35 Ripsaw tires, part number AX12015. This mod is one of the best you can make, the difference in traction between the stock RTR Ripsaw tires and the better R35 compound tires is night and day.

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Last thing I changed was the springs on the shocks. The stock springs were a bit too stiff for my liking, so I swapped them out for our purple comp springs, part number AX30224.

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A few shots with the newly cut body.

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So far these few mods have really transformed this vehicle into a super capable basher/trail runner, that is extremely fun to drive. Keep an eye out for my next few Ridgecrest installments covering how to convert your Ridgecrest into a capable comp crawler.