FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: (Mission Viejo, CA) February 25, 2015.
Axial R/C Inc., A subsidiary of Hobbico Inc., is proud to announce Axial as the Official R/C Vehicles of the Baja 500, Baja 1000 and SCORE International.
So much focus in the R/C industry is placed on short course off road racing. It makes perfect sense, as it is easy to gather lots of people into a confined area to experience off road racing vehicles. What many people don’t know is that short course off road racing was born in the desert. What short course promoters are attempting to do is bring desert racing to the masses. What is lost in this process is the adventure. In true Axial style, we are all about chasing adventure. In this case, Axial R/C has partnered with SCORE International to support further growth of the off road racing that started it all.
The Baja 500 and Baja 1000 are two of the most recognizable off road racing events on the planet. The machines, the people and the experiences of these and all of SCORE’s events are the inspiration for many of today’s off road enthusiasts. Axial fans and consumers are driven by adventure, getting out there and experiencing the relationship of man and machine in the wild. Axial will be taking an in depth look at what drives all of these individuals to push themselves and their machines to the absolute limit to conquer Baja.
Founded in 2005, Axial R/C, Inc. has quickly became a global brand leader of hobby grade radio controlled products as Axial is a company of enthusiasts for enthusiasts. We manufacture chassis and accessory products predominantly for the Rock Crawling and Overland Adventure segments, with design emphasis on rugged construction and scale realism. Axial is regularly involved in local and national events which allow us to keep our finger on the pulse of R/C culture, thus earning us awards year after year, including “Best Truck”, “Most Innovative”, “Best Engineered Product of the Year”, and “People’s Choice.” For more information on Axial and Axial products please visit www.axialracing.com • twitter.com/axialracing • facebook.com/axialinc • youtube.com/axialvideos
About SCORE International
The World’s Foremost Desert Racing Organization, SCORE International was founded in 1973 by the late motorsports innovator Mickey Thompson and continues today under the ownership and director of former SCORE Trophy Truck racing champion Roger Norman. The five-race, internationally-televised SCORE World Desert Championship features 35 Pro and six Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, UTVs, motorcycles and quads. The series is televised nationally on the CBS Sports Network with international syndication for each of the one-hour programs. The flagship event of the SCORE World Desert Championship is the iconic SCORE Baja 1000, the granddaddy of all desert races. The 2015 SCORE Baja 1000 will air as a two-hour special on the CBS Sports Network. For more information regarding SCORE International, visit www.score-international.com
Johnson Valley, CA. 2-10-14 – Casey Currie returned for the 2014 Griffin King of the Hammers this past weekend, expectations for a win may not have been met, but the odds of finishing the race were on Curries side. The week long event took place in Johnson Valley, CA where over 40,000 off-road/rock crawling enthusiasts flocked to watch 158 entries take their chance at the 150 mile brutal course.
After Curries 3rd place finish in Wednesdays UTV race, he helped his uncle, John Currie prepare for Thursdays Every Man Challenge. John qualified 1st for the race. Just miles into the start of the race, John gained a significant lead on the other competitors and continued to hold that lead all the way to the finish.
“We make sure that racing is fun for our entire family and it was great to see my Uncle as well as my brother finish on the podium.” Stated Casey Currie. “Knowing that my uncle won the EMC in the same vehicle I raced on Friday solidified my concerns on being a top competitor for the King of the Hammers race.”
Casey qualified the #88 Ultra 4 truck in the 44th starting position. The race began at 8am sharp and once on the course, Currie set a steady pace for the first lap. The first lap of the race consisted of dry lake-beds, sand washes and dunes. Currie finished the lap with no major issues and came into the main pit physically in the 20th position.
Laps 2 and 3 were more demanding and difficult with the course making its way through Clawhammer, Wrecking Ball, Chocolate Thunder and more. These laps would take there toll on numerous Ultra 4’s. Some out of the race, others rolled over and giving it all they have to get back on all fours. Currie and co-rider, Oren managed to make the right decision when making their way up the waterfalls.
“It is important to have a co-rider with you that is smart, calm and can assess the situation. This is just what Oren does.” Said Currie.
As Currie made his way up “Backdoor” one of the hardest obstacles of the course, Oren had the challenge of guiding Currie up the slippery rocks. Other stuck vehicles would block the best lines and another vehicle would roll on its lid right next to them. This would be the only part of the course that would set the team back on time, but it wasn’t long before they made their way to the top and continued towards the finish.
In ten hours and 50 minutes, Currie and Oren crossed the finish line. Once at the finish the celebration was well deserved as the team got the results of a 14th place finish. This was worth celebrating since the #88 Ultra 4 was the first vehicle to come in that had only 14inches of travel, where as all the other finished had 20inches.
“We couldn’t be happier with our finish. It was a long day out there and the course was rough. The ruts were huge and dealing with other stuck competitors was a challenge. There is always the chance that they can take you out as well. Finishing in the top 15 out 158 speaks volumes of our team and the vehicle. Big thanks to everyone who puts this race together and on a great week of racing.” Stated Currie.
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.
The Axial EXO Terra Buggy stands out due is its unique looks and construction. The integrated cage and multi-piece body seperates it from the norm, eliminating the standard body posts and bouncy lexan body found on most RC’s. So what do you do when you feel the need to change the look of your EXO Terra Buggy?
First thing I did was find some inspiration. While surfing the classified’s section on race-dezert I came across this heavily built VW Bug with an LS1 out back. Perfect! The EXO Terra Buggy is also V8 powered thanks to Turnkey.
A few days later the fun began! A quick trim and mock-up showed that this project had some potential. I started the build on my EXO Kit, so excuse its rough looks.
Some more trimming, fitting, and head scratching resulted in the following:
I immediately knew this body needed something to top it off… How about Axial’s Universal Light Bar? Part number: AX30709
Decision on the paint scheme was easy. I know this is a VW and not a Toyota, but I couldn’t resist.
To finish off the lighting I installed a pair of the small round buckets included on the Axial Light Bucket Set. Part Number: AX80045
Now for the fun part. My AX90024 Axial EXO Terra Buggy RTR is still fresh and right out of the box. Let the modifications begin. With the body already trimmed to fit and the basic modifications required already laid out this was an easy build!
First things first, I removed those awesome green body panels. The rear wing was also removed for now. Still undecided on the look with/without the wing.
Because the hood of the VW body is longer I had to look at finding a way to move the front bumper out of the way. So for now I simply removed the bumper brace. Add that to the pile of removed parts…
I also wanted to give this build more of a long travel stance. Out of the box the EXO sets at about mid travel for ideal handling. I decided to use some longer rear springs in the front to achieve the look I am after. Some 14x70mm Firms did the trick. Part Number: AX30221.
New longer springs vs. the stock front springs. Both are Firm (Yellow) Springs.
End result, the new front stance.
To mount the VW baja body I decided to avoid using the existing hardware that was used to mount the EXO Terra Buggy body. Instead I fabricated some body mounts. Lots of ways to do this but here are the parts and placement I decided to go with.
I picked up some some threaded posts. They were included with Traxxas TRA3727A. The simply threaded into the existing hole that held down the old hood.
I also trimmed the hood mounts on the front to allow the body to sit as low as possible. The two mounts circled in red were cut flush.
For the rear body mounts I dug through the parts box. These started life as AX10 body mounts. Part number: AX80005
I simply cut them to the required length and drilled a new hole in them.
Once my cut was cleaned up and I confirmed the length I used the existing holes on the EXO cage (where the original body mounts). I used some M3x15mm Tapping Buttonheads that used to hold on the bumper compression brace. Perfect length for this, and a great way to re-use parts from the “removed” pile.
The end result looks factory. I even have some adjustment left to fine tune the fitment of the VW Baja Bug Body.
Next I decided to remove the rear light bezel. The roof of the VW Baja Bug body will cover this, and removing this allowed me to get the body to set at the desired height. Plus this gives me easy access to install the radiator. Note: It is possible to remove the light bezel without removing the cage, I used an Axial 2.0mm ball driver. Axial Part Number: AX20021
Guess what is included in the spare parts bag of the Axial EXO Terra Buggy RTR? How about an officially licensed Griffin Radiator. Score!
This parts tree is available separately as well. Its a great accessory for your SCX10 or Wraith. Part Number: AX80103
I decided to cut the radiator off and lay down some silver paint for scale realism.
Radiator assembly and installation.
Did you catch that additional parts tree with rod ends I showed in the picture of the radiator? They provided a perfect solution for adjusting the position of the front bumper to fit the VW body. I picked up some M3x25mm threaded turnbuckles, Part Number: AXA1633 to complete the assembly of the links. The following screws and nuts were used to mount the assembled links to the bumper and bulkhead:
M3x45mm Cap head. Part Number: AXA0094
M3x18mm Button head. Part Number: AXA118
M3 Thin Nylon Lock Nuts. Part Number: AXA1052
One thing I really liked about the 1:1 inspiration was the overall width and stance. I decided to mimic this look by simply installing some front wheels and tires on the back of the EXO. The EXO Terra Buggy comes with narrow front wheels/tires and standard rear wheels/tires. To match the narrow wheels/tires on all 4 corners I needed the following parts:
Here is my final pile of removed parts. Looks like my EXO Kit gets some fresh body panels and a new wing now!
Here is a shot of the cutouts on the hood to clear the shocks. Also note the cutouts for the front bumper, this wasn’t necessary but I didn’t want to take away too much clearance from the front by pushing the bumper any further forward.
This also includes the seats and dash, I’m saving that for a potential part 2 of this build.
Trimmed, painted, and stickers applied. Too easy! My EXO RTR should be much faster now…
Install time, simply remove the 2 button head tapping screws holding on the center brace from each side and it comes right out. (4 Screws total)
I grabbed 4 of the M2.6 button heads that held all the original green body panels to the cage. These will be used again to mount the motor.
Once mounted it simply slides into place. The detail of the motor and radiator should definitely make this VW Baja Build stand out.
Ready for it?!?
The completed build is definitely very unique. It was surprisingly simple to do as well! The EXO Terra Buggy platform has a ton of potential for scale builds and replica’s. Already brainstorming the next EXO based project, hope you enjoyed this one.
You have probably noticed a lot more full size off-road company names featured on Axial vehicles as of late. These names are not just another marketing ploy, but instead relationships that Axial has developed to bring you the best products we can. We all know that R/C vehicles are scale representations of full size vehicles, so isn’t it natural that Axial would want to work with full size companies to make their products as accurate as possible? There are obviously components that can not be made to scale, due to the abuse that an R/C vehicle will see, which is way more intense than a full size rig would endure. Take an R/C car and let it tubmle off a 10′ rock, which would be scaled to a 100′ rock in full scale, where a full size vehicle would be literally totaled and made into scrap metal; your Axial rig keeps on ticking. So as you can imagine, not all components scale out just right. The theory however, when it comes to suspension geometry and suspension tuning crosses over extremely well. The Axial staff recently ventured out to Riverside, California to have a technical chat with Dylan Evans and company at ICON Vehicle Dynamics so I tagged along to bring you the scoop!
ICON Vehicle Dynamics is a very unique company staffed with some of the most talented suspension development experts in the nation. Headed up by SCORE off road racing champion Dylan Evans, who also knows rock crawling through his membership of the Poly Goats Four Wheel Drive Club of Cal Poly SLO; Evans and company know a thing or two about how to deal with rough terrain at all speeds. As the name implies, this company focuses on the unique characteristics of each vehicles dynamics (forces causing motion), and how to improve that vehicles ability to tackle rough terrain while significantly improving ride quality.
ICON Vehicle Dynamics is further unique due to their manufacturing process, which all takes place “in house” at their Riverside, Ca facility. The ICON Vehicle Dynamics philosophy demands the use of the highest quality raw materials available, construct the products in the USA and deliver to the consumer the best mix of top-shelf product and customer service. This philosophy has made ICON Vehicle Dynamics stand out in a sea of aftermarket companies and has them labelled as the place to go if you demand the best available.
Cool ICON Decal!
Here is a short video they have as an introductory to their company, check it out!
We started out our visit with ICON Vehicle Dynamics in their large meeting room, where we met with the marketing staff, the general manager, and the engineering staff. This gave both companies an opportunity to discuss the similarities between the two companies. It is amazing how we share the same customers and the same passion for the off road lifestyle
After the meeting, we were off to the warehouse and shop area to check out where the magic happens. I made a few pit stops on the way out of the offices to snap a few pictures of some cool stuff I saw laying around.
Very high tech Bypass shock for off-road racing
Our Axial EXO proudly on display!
The SCX10 Honcho articulated in the office
The line-up of Axial vehicles featuring ICON branding
I decided to peak out the windows from the upstairs office and sneak a few shots of the facility from a bird’s eye view.
Check out all those CnC machines!!
Our shop tour started in the warehouse where they house some of the stock, getting ready to be shipped out, It was amazing to see how many different products they stock, and to hear about how the shelves get refilled almost every day as product is shipped out.
The manufacturing side is what really had us drooling! These guys make some really impressive components.
Everything about ICON Vehicle Dynamics, from their design process, to the manufacturing all the way to packaging, is top notch! We were really looking forward to checking out the shock department, as these guys are known for mastering the ride quality as well as performance.
shock shafts for days!!
Bypass shock bodies freshly welded
Mounting sets ready for assembly
Resivoirs ready to be added
Here is Dylan discussing shock tuning with Axial’s Jeff Johns, Matt Kearney, Brandon Coonce and Jamie Seymour.
Not sure if you caught our blog on the SCX10JK where we installed the ICON suspension system (If not click here to read it), but we were running and testing some of their compression clicker shocks. We figured since we were here, we should go ahead and remove them to see how they were doing, as well as make a slight valving adjustment. We pulled the SCX10JK up in the shop, and Adrian (shock building master) got to work.
The first step was to remove all of the shocks
Once the shocks were off of the vehicle, Adrian set up the shock dyno, yes I said shock dyno! This is where these guys take technology to the next level to put their experience into scientific numbers.
The numbers from the shock are then placed on a graph in real time on a computer screen
The objective of the change was to make the shocks 25% lighter on the compression valving to make the clickers more effective through their range of adjustment. We found that the SCX10JK never went above 6-clicks even in the harshest of terrain. We had the pleasure of watching Dylan and Adrian work their magic on the Dyno and out in the shop as they dissassembled and re-assembled the shocks for the adjustments. We will let the pictures tell most of the story…
The shock pistons look quite a lot different than the average R/C shock piston. These pistons have valve shims that are designed to flex out of the way of piston holes to let fluid pass. The one unique feature of full size ICON shocks is their very drastic difference in tunability between compression and rebound settings. Were we would normally make changes in the R/C world with oil viscosity, these guys make changes with shims. They have been doing it long enough to know what shim stack will make the desired change, and only have to tear them down once and get it dialed in perfect!
The seal heads are similar to the R/C versions, here is a cut away version of the ICON seal head
Once the shocks are completely reassembled, it’s back to the dyno for a comparison check from the original numbers
Dylan fires up the dyno and then checks the graph on the lap top and confirms they are good to go!
While Adrian re-installs the shocks on the SCX10JK, Dylan, Brandon and Matt discuss some of the suspension tuning Dylan has been doing on his Axial EXO and Wraith. Dylan is also an R/C enthusiast and really gets into the deep technical theory conversation with Matt and Brandon.
It was extremely cool to be a fly on the wall while the head of R&D from both of these companies exchange theories and ideas. It will be very interesting to see where this corroboration leads in the future. One thing for sure, with Partners like ICON Vehicle Dynamics, there will not be an issue gathering insight into the full size world when developing the next Axial vehicles.
Thank you Dylan and Crew at Icon Vehicle Dynamics, we appreciate your hospitality, and look forward to future visits!
Please check out ICON Vehicle Dynamics on the web here.
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.
Dremel and cutoff wheel used.
A stock uncut tire before we get started.
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.
Next cut the smaller center lugs out on the same row.
Here is how that same tire looks when the first round of cutting is complete.
A profile shot after the first round with the wire cutters.
A photo of all the lugs removed from the 4 tires.
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 tireÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s carcass. Here you can see it grooves before I modify them.
Position the Dremel over the lug to be cut and follow the existing groove to make it deeper.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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″.
A shot of the link set-up.
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.
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.
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.
A few shots with the newly cut body.
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.
Over the holidays I found some time to start adding scale details to the step by step Wraith kit build. I still have a little more work to do, but I wanted to update the blog with what I have done so far. Most of my time was spent detailing the rear “cargo” area of the Wraith. My intent with the scale details was to give this Wraith the look that it was out for a day long trail run. So, there are no tents, kayaks, firewood, etc., just what you would see loaded up for a day trip. I also added a driver figure to the cab. After some extensive searching for a normal looking guy, that actually fit the scale of the Wraith, I ended up going with the Sam Fisher action figure from the popular “Splinter Cell” line of video games. So, when the wife asked what I wanted for X-mas, I told her Sam Fisher!! She didn’t seem all that impressed, but like the wonderful wife she is, she searched it out and bought it for me. Thanks babe!
On to the details…….a few shots of the rear cargo area. I added a couple Pro-line scale accessories like the Hi-lift jack, axe, cooler and gas can.
Next, I fabbed up some panels out of styrene and painted them black to box the rear lower portion of the cage in. I attached the panels to the extra holes in the rear shock tower, and added our scale battery from the EXO kit. It is sitting on a shelf for now, but I will be making a battery strap for the top, and I plan to add wires going to the terminals as well. Another thing you will see is I added aluminum panels to the rear of the cage. These are the inserts from the wings of the Honcho bumper, Part # AX30530. I held the aluminum inserts from the bumper in place on the cage, then scribed the hole location using the hole in the cage gusset as a guide. I used a punch to mark the center of the hole, then drill it out to .100 diameter. I tapped the holes for M3 screws, and attached them to the cage with M3 flathead screws. Last thing you will see is I added our Lexan gas tank from the Honcho, Part # AX80046. I cut just the gas tank portion out of the Lexan flatbed, and attached it to the shock tower/chassis brace.
Moving on to the back of the cargo area. You can see I added the radiator from our EXO kit as well. If you remove the rear lights from the bottom of the cage, you will see the hole spacing is perfectly matched to the radiator. I used our long M3 set screws to attach the bottom of the radiator. I did drill the cage and radiator mounting holes for M3 screws though, so you may need to open them up slightly before the set screws will thread in. To cap the top of the radiator off I cut a section of Honcho cage, Part # AX80046. The piece I used butts up against the back of the Honcho cab, it is the bottom bar. You will notice the hole spacing is perfectly matched to the radiator as well. I used a couple M3 self tapping screws to tie the tube to the top of the radiator. Then bent the ends of the tube in to try and match the profile of the existing Wraith cage. One last detail on the radiator is the radiator hose. I used an 1/8″ drill bit to drill a shallow hole in the top right corner of the radiator. Then, bent a small piece of 1/8″ solder at 90 degrees and pressed it into the hole. Last thing needed was some black nitro fuel line, which slides over the solder perfectly. Next, I added some scale mesh to the rear tailgate area of the cage. That mesh started life as a business card holder, the scale is perfect for this application. I made a cardboard template to fit the rear first, then used that to cut the mesh to size. A little Shoe Goo is all that is needed to hold it in place. Of course, I added one of my old Colorado vanity plates to the mesh as a final touch.
A few shots of Sam himself. In order to get him in the drivers seat without his head hitting the cage, I had to remove the lower portion of the Wraith seat. Sam is basically sitting on the Lexan floor pan of the Wraith. I drilled and tapped the back of the seat, used a little Shoe Goo, and attached it to the Lexan floor pan too. Some flat black shoe laces we used for his lap belt. Last thing needed was to lengthen the steering column. I just cut the steering column in half and found some rubber hose that fit over the OD of the steering column. I cut the hose to the length needed, and re-attached the steering wheel.
Next thing I wanted to address was the hood on the Wraith. Those that have seen this build-up know I moved the battery to the front. But, it can be a pain to change batteries when using the stock screws to hold the hood on. I have seen a few guys use the cable tie downs as hood latches, then install a couple body posts, and use standard body clips to hold the hood down. I like that idea, but wanted a more scale look. After checking out few set-ups, I got a chance to see Scott Hughes dad’s set-up. He used magnets to attach the hood to the chassis. Bingo, perfect! Thanks for the idea Don. After a quick trip to Ace hardware I was on my way back home with some 3/4″ round magnets and 1/4″ cable tie downs. After debating for a few, I decided to hinge the hood backwards so the hood isn’t in my way when making battery changes. I had to trim the lower part of the grill so it would clear the tube chassis when it was opened. Once I installed the hinges, I looked around for the best place to mount the magnets. After some measuring I found a spot for them right beside the stock hood mounts. I had to use an X-acto to trim the plastic tubing away a little so the magnets would sit properly for this application. Once I could press them in between the tube work, I need something underneath the magnets to hold them from pushing down and eventually out of the tube work. I ended up using our 2/3A cell carbon fiber battery mounts for the AX10 axles. I drilled the existing hood mount holes all the way through the tube. Using a couple flathead self tapping screws I attach the battery mounts from the bottom of the cage. For added security I used Shoe Goo again to hold the magnets in place. Next, I dropped the 2nd set of magnets in place on top of the set that is now tied to the chassis. This set will also be held in place by Shoe Goo. Once I had the hood marked where the magnets need to be, I secured them to the hood with a couple more dabs of Goo. Make sure the polarity of the magnets is correct before securing them with Shoe Goo, otherwise it’ll be tough to close the hood.
A few action shots……..
I am even adding scale rock rash to my diff covers.
That covers this round of detailing, stay tuned for more.
One modification that I wanted to make to the Wraith kit build I did here on the blog is 4 wheel steering. Driving a rig with four wheel steering is extremely fun, especially on a scaler that will see a lot of technical terrain. So, I recently gathered all the parts I would need to make this mod. In this article I will cover the parts used and give a few tips for making this conversion as simple as possible. Let’s get started……
Parts list for 4ws conversion:
AX80073 – AR60 OCP Steering Linkage
AX30777 – AR60 OCP Servo Plate
AX30078 – Zero Ackerman Steering Plates
AX30780 – Wraith CVD’s
AX30760 – XR10 Aluminum Knuckles
AX30762 – XR10 Aluminum C-hubs
AX30450 – Steel Flange Pipes
AX80072 – Servo Post Parts Tree
AX30524 – Grey 91mm links
AXA1221 – 5x11mm Bearings
AXA1230 – 5x15mm Bearings
AXA1417 – Grey 5mm spacer for steering
AXA1428 – Grey 55mm standoff
AXA1331 – Steel Flanged Balls
AXA465 – M3x10mm Self tapping Flathead screws
AXA434 – M3x8mm Self tapping Buttonhead screws
AXA119 – M3x20mm Buttonhead screws
AXA115 – M3x10mm Buttonhead Screws (x3)
A few photos of the major parts required:
Steering plates for knuckles
Steel flange pipes
Steel flanged balls
Before we get started there are a couple things I need to mention. One, I stretched the wheelbase of this Wraith already by replacing the stock rear lower links with our XR10 94mm lower links. This moved the rear axle back just over 6mm, or about a 1/4″. To extend the upper links to match the newly lengthened lowers, I used our long curved XR10 rod ends at the chassis instead of the short curved rod ends. You can see the new lowers and longer rod ends on the uppers in this photo.
Another mod I made was to flip the plastic rear upper shock mount/chassis cross member upside down. This lowered the rear of my Wraith a little, which lowers the overall center of gravity. I also added a grey 55mm threaded standoff between the shock mounts for a little extra beef. I will explain why in a minute.
One thing I notice right away when I tried to mock the rear servo up, is the lack of uptravel in the suspension due to the servo case hitting the bottom of the tube chassis. The servo case hits the chassis almost immediately when you try to cycle the suspension. To fix this I removed the rear plastic lower chassis brace and replaced it with one of our 91mm grey lower links from the SCX10′s. I bolted the 91mm link into place where the widest part of the lower chassis brace normally sits. You could also cut the stock plastic chassis brace, and just use the long section to tie the 2 halves of the tube frame together. The aluminum link will provide a lot more rigidity though, so I went that route. Here you can see the brace I removed.
Look carefully and you can see the new 91mm link just below the upper links in this photo. Adding that 91mm link and the 55mm standoff between the shock mounts seems to replace any lost structural integrity from removing the stock rear lower chassis brace.
After the lower rear chassis brace is removed/replaced you can mount the servo plate to the rear axle and attach the steering servo. I am using Futaba’s S9157 servos for steering duties on both axles. Here is a shot of my rear servo and servo plate before installation. I used the short self tapping M3x8mm buttonhead screws to attach the servo tabs to the servo plate. I will use the M3x10mm self tapping flathead screws to tie the servo plate to the axle. Then, I will use the M3x10mm buttonhead screws to attach the servo to the tabs.
If you haven’t already, remove the rear wheels, drive hexes and cross pins. Next remove the rear plastic straight axle lockouts, and inner axle shafts. In order to remove the inner axle shafts, you will need to remove one of the screws holding the lower link/shock mounts in order to get the inner axles out of the housing. Replace the straight axles with the new CVD’s, attach the C-hubs to the axle, install the bearings into your steering knuckles, bolt the steering plates onto the knuckles using four of the M3x10mm buttonhead screws, insert the flange pipes into the knuckles and slide them into place over the C-hubs. Secure the knuckles to the C-hubs with four more M3x10mm screws. Then re-install the cross pins and drive hexes. Next we can install the rear steering link. One thing you will notice is the steering link has to be run upside down to clear the differential cover. Not a big deal, but you will need to drill the existing .100 diameter hole in the tie rod that the drag link secures too, all the way through the linkage. Then use one of the 5mm spacers between the drag link and tie rod with the long M3x20mm buttonhead screw to tie everything together. I will eventually trim the plastic boss hanging below the steering linkage, I left it there for now so people can visually see what I am talking about.
A shot with everything buttoned up and ready to roll. Don’t forget to re-install the M3 screws you removed to get the rear axle shafts out too.
Here you can see at full compression of the rear suspension, the servo sits perfectly in the rear cargo area without any interference from the chassis. Since I stretched the wheelbase a little, I did have to trim the cage a little where the plastic chassis brace attaches to the back of the tube frame. If you are still running the stock rear upper and lower links this shouldn’t be an issue.
One last adjustment I made was to zero out the caster angle in the rear steer to make life on the rear servo a little easier. To do this I added a 3mm grey spacer (Part# AXA1415) to the lower links at the rear axle.
It is hard to see in this photo, but the rear steering kingpins are now perpendicular to the bench my Wraith is sitting on. This means the caster is set to zero degrees. Adding positive or negative caster will put more stress on the rear servo, and it will struggle to center itself in hard binds.
Overall stance now…..
One thing to keep in mind when adding rear steer to any vehicle, you may need to add a Castle BEC to your system, depending on the torque rating on the servos you use they may overload whatever ESC you are running. I am sporting a Tekin RS Pro ESC, Tekin 10.5t motor, Thunder Power 5300mah 2S lipo and dual Futaba S9157 servos. To my surprise after driving for a few hours with this set-up, the ESC was only overloaded a few times while trying to throttle out of a bind and steering with both axles simultaneously. I am going to try and gear my Wraith down a little to help alleviate that issue. But, in order to have smooth performance at all times installing a BEC is the only way to go.
Another thing to keep in mind is you will need at least a 3 channel radio, with a 3 position 3rd channel switch, to have independent control of your front and rear steering set-ups. I am using my Futaba 4PK radio with my Wraith. The 4PK allows me to set the rear steer up for 5 positions, center, 50% right, 50% left, 100% right and 100% left. Some radios will only allow you to steer the rear from center to full throw left or right. Only a dual stick radio will give you full proportional control of both steering set-ups. Now, you can run a 4ws set-up on a 2 channel radio as well, if you use a Y-harness to plug the servos in to work together. But, that set-up will give you 4ws all the time, there is no way to control the servos separately. Just a few things to keep in mind before you dive into converting your Wraith to 4 wheel steer.
Now that the EXO Terra Buggy has officially been announced, I want to take some time and highlight a few of the features. For this post I want to cover how to swap the batteries and show a couple of the subtle but cool details on the EXO battery tray assembly. Our patent pending quick release battery tray makes swapping the battery in the EXO really easy to do, with minimal down time between runs.
A few photos of the battery tray with the body and cage removed.
Here you can see the rubber battery straps lock into the battery tray tabs securely. The straps have steel pins pressed into the ends of them, the ends of the pins are what tie into the battery tray tabs.
Grab the tab on the end of the rubber battery strap, pull down and release the pins from the battery tray tabs to remove the battery. No body clips or threaded nuts required. Notice the battery tray is two separate pieces too. I will explain why in a minute.
To aid in removing the battery, the battery tray tabs fold down out of the way. Once they are folded down, the opposite end of the tabs help lift the battery out of the tray too.
Notice the M3 screws and slots in the battery tray as well.
I grabbed one of our 2S lipos to show how easy it is to make adjustments to the battery tray. Here is where the two piece tray is key. I set the battery into place first to see where it sits.
Once you install your battery into the tray you can adjust the two halves of the battery tray to fit the battery as needed. The two halves of the tray are mounted to the chassis with M3 screws as I mentioned earlier. Because the battery trays have slots built into the mounting tabs, you can adjust the size of the tray to fit most batteries. Here you can see that the tray is a little too long to hold this battery properly right now.
I backed the M3 screws off in the battery tray halves and snugged them up to the battery before tightening them up again. Now you can see the tray fits this battery like a glove.
Another cool feature to this battery tray is the the rubber straps. There is adjustments built into those as well. You can fine tune the straps to fit different height battery packs if need be too. A close up shot of the stationary side of the battery strap, and it’s different mounting options. Three holes in the strap and two holes in the battery tray give you a handful of options to fine tune the straps.
Here are a few more photos showing how to change the battery with the cage and body installed.
The passenger side of the EXO has 2 body posts and clips that hold the side panel on. Remove those 2 body clips, pop the side panel off and you have access to the battery.
As I mentioned earlier, grab the tab on the end of the strap, pull down and release to remove the battery.
Fold the battery tabs back to pop the battery up out of the tray.
Then remove the battery.
Grab a freshly charged battery.
Slide the battery into place.
Secure the battery using the rubber straps.
Then reinstall the passenger side body panel.
Time to go tear it up!!
That covers the EXO battery tray, and it’s adjustments. Keep an eye out for more blog articles covering different features on the EXO in the near future too.