John Schultz’s Winning Deadbolt

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Fresh off the tarmac from the 2015 No Limit RC Monster Truck World Finals held at Dennis Anderson’s Diggers Dungeon in Poplar North Carolina, John Schultz, Axial Ambassador, dropped off his custom built Deadbolt Monster Truck conversion at Axial HQ for a closer look.  It’s important to note, Solid Axle was the biggest class in attendance, 70 trucks raced and a total of 80 trucks present, many of which featured Axial’s AR60 axles.

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Upon first peek it might be hard to spot the Deadbolt backbone, but upon a second glance it’ll be more obvious, as will the dusting of Wraith and Yeti parts. We’ll be featuring a more in-depth build report on the truck shortly. In the meantime, here’s a quick parts list and detailed photos of the truck. Lets not forget photos, CLICK HERE for more photos.

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Axial Parts List:

AX31109 – Yeti™ Rear 4 Link Set, F&R

AX30782 – Wraith Rear Sway Bar Set (Soft, Medium, Firm)

AX30781 – Wraith Front Sway Bar Set (Soft, Medium, Firm)

AX30708 – AX10 Locked Transmission – Complete Metal Gear Set – Steel (3pcs)

AX30829 – AR60 OCP Machined Low-Profile Differential Cover (Hard Anodized)

AX30830 – AR60 OCP Machined Link Mounts (Hard Anodized) (2pcs)

AX30836 – Aluminum Servo Horn 25T (Hard Anodized)

AX30780 – AR60 OCP Universal Axle Set F&R

AX30789 – AR60 OCP Aluminum Straight Axle Hub Carrier (2pcs)

AX30395 – Heavy Duty Bevel Gear Set – 38T/13T (Rear Axle)

AX30401 – Heavy Duty Bevel Gear Set – 36T/14T (Front Axle, Overdrive)

AX30760 – XR10 Aluminum Steering Knuckle (Black) (2pcs)

AX30762 – XR10 Aluminum C-Hub Carrier (Black) (2pcs)

Other Parts:

Tires – 10114-02 – Pro-Line Racing Destroyer 2.6” Solid Axle Monster Tire F&R

Wheels – Clod Buster Rims and Adapters F&R

HPI – 88055 - Wheelie King Axle Wideners F&R

HPI – 6589 - Wheelie King Red/Soft Springs

HPI – 87600 – Wheelie King Differentials

Body – 3252-00 – Pro-Line Racing Ford F-250 Body

Graphics/Paint – BKT Ride Truck Graphics

ESC/Motor – 3087 – Novak Electronics – Crusher ESC w/4PHD 4X4 SCT BL Motor

Battery – DTXC1964 – Duratrax – 2s 5000mAh 35c LiPo

Servo – Savox – SV1271SG

Brandon’s Axial EXO RTR Terra Buggy goes Baja Bug!

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.

Browsing Pro-Line’s website I found quite a few Baja Bug bodies.  After talking with them it looked like the Volkswagen Baja Bug Body 3283-62 was the best fit.

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

Installed:

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:

2.2 3.0 Raceline Renegade Wheels – 34mm (Chrome/Black) Part Number: AX08106
2.2 3.0 Hankook Dynapro Mud Terrain Tires 34mm Part Number: AX120107

Getting close!!

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.

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Ahhh, my Turnkey V8!  Axial Part Number: AX04031

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.

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.

Axial Wraith Sway Bar Sets

Axial Wraith Sway Bar Sets

Front – AX30781

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Rear – AX30782

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Is your Wraith set-up for high speed rock racing, or G6 style events? Then this is the option part you have been waiting for: the Axial Wraith Sway Bar Kits. Designed for high speed this system will let you soften up your suspension for jumps, while keeping torque twist and body lean to a minimum during acceleration. A sway bar’s main function is to control body roll, yet still allow your shocks to move vertically with the changing terrain. What does all this mean? It means more stability at high speed. A must have upgrade for any would be rock racer.

CNC machined for precision.

Black anodized aluminum sway bar arms.

Each kit includes three different steel sway bars for fine tuning body roll and suspension articulation (soft, medium and firm).

Laser etched Axial logos.

All required hardware is included.

Simple bolt on application.

Kits available for front and rear separately.

 

Wraith Kit Build – Scale Details

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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A few action shots……..

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I am even adding scale rock rash to my diff covers.

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That covers this round of detailing, stay tuned for more.

Add 4 Wheel Steering to Your Wraith

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 linkage

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Steering plates for knuckles

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Servo plate

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Aluminum knuckles

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CVD’s

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Aluminum C-hubs

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Steel flange pipes

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Steel flanged balls

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Overall stance now…..

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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.

Step By Step Wraith Kit Build In Action

I finally got a chance to shoot a few action shots, and video of my Wraith kit build. I don’t have the video edited yet, because I have been too busy working on the Exo release, but it’s coming soon. For this first shakedown run I used a 5300mah 2S lipo, and it gave me a good combination of wheelspeed and torque, with barely any noticeable “cogging”. Next I plan on dropping a 3S pack in it to see which set-up I like better. Here’s a few of the better shots I got, it’s tough to drive and shoot pictures and video at the same time. Still fun though!!

On to the photos……

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There’s a few teaser photos for you guys, hopefully I can get the video edited soon.

Step By Step Wraith Kit Build – Part VII – Electronics Install

Here is the final installment of our 7 part Wraith kit build series. For this post I will cover the electronics I am using, and placement in the chassis. Wiring this truck is a little tougher then normal, because of the tube chassis and interior tray. Proper planning is needed to pull off a clean install. My first objective with this wiring job was keeping it clean. I didn’t want to see a bunch of electronics or wires while the vehicle is running, it takes away from the overall scale look. The plan was to shoe-horn as much of the electronics as I could under the interior. Here is how it all played out.

For the motor and speed control I went with Tekin’s RS Pro ESC, and 10.5t brushless motor. This combo should give me a decent combo of wheel speed and torque with a 2S lipo. I am using my Futaba 4PK receiver and radio, as well as a Futaba S9452 servo for steering duties.

I used the ESC for mock-up to see where it would fit under the interior before I started wiring everything up. It took a few tries to get it properly positioned so it would fit without interference. I ended up using an AX10 servo mount for the ESC mount. I attached it to one of the holes in the top of the transmission. Then used double stick tape to attach the ESC. Once I finalized the ESC position, I soldered everything up as needed.

A few shots of the transmission and electronics before installing it back into my Wraith.

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The wiring……

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The ESC shelf……

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For the receiver mount I used the stock Wraith electronics box, but modified it a little to work with my set-up. I moved the battery up front, so it is now positioned behind the dashboard. I did this to put more weight bias out front, which will help in technical rock sections. In order to mount my battery up front I knew I would have to fab a battery tray of some sort. After staring at the front of my Wraith for a while it hit me…………just modify the stock battery tray instead. I basically ended up cutting the stock tray in half lengthwise, and bolting it into position where the stock ESC would normally sit in an RTR Wraith. Then added a few pieces of foam to fill any gaps between the tray and battery. I was even able to use the stock battery straps, which was a nice bonus.

A shot of the newly revised battery tray.

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You will have to cut away a lot of the interior out front for the battery and tray to clear without issue.

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The tray installed…..

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A few photos with the battery in place. You can also see the new hole I added to the lid of the receiver box, this just made the wiring job a tad easier, and it moved my servo wires away from the battery tray as well.

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Time to re-install the body panels, and it’s ready to go!

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I will have action shots and video soon, so stay tuned!!

Axial Wraith Kit Build Series

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

Step 5

Step 6

Step By Step Wraith Kit Build – Part VI – Final Assembly

For the final installment of our Wraith kit build series we will turn this beast into a roller. We will finish the chassis assembly, marry the chassis to the transmission and axles, install the body panels, mount the tires to the wheels and bolt them up to the axles. Start on page 34 of the manual, at step 34.

Find bag F in your remaining parts supply.

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All the parts required to complete step 34.

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Starting with the rear shock tower, bolt it up to the left chassis plate with the supplied hardware.

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Then move forward to the lower part of what will be the windshield area.

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Next cross member.

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Last one at the very front.

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Now we can move to step 35 and install the top of the cab.

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Step 36 will complete the main chassis structure. Everything needed to complete this step.

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I started at the rear shock tower again, install the supplied 3x12mm self tapping screw. At this point we need to just start assembling the cage at all the points required.

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Rear frame cross member.

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Upper cage area.

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Lower cross member in the rear, under the battery tray.

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Rear cross member again.

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Front A-pillar area.

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Top of the cab again.

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Front shock tower and cross member.

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Next I installed the second support for the front bumper.

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Tighten up that second bumper support, and the last frame cross member in the front.

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Complete chassis.

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Install the last few screws to secure the interior.

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On to step 37, and page 36 in the manual. Everything needed to complete this step.

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Start by installing the plastic LED retainers on the backside of the big light buckets.

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Flip the light buckets over and snap the clear lens into place.

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Snap the light guards into place.

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Install the light buckets into position on the front bumper.

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Attach the plastic LED retainers on the backside of the small round light buckets.

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Snap the clear lens into place.

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Install the light guards next.

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Bolt the small light buckets up to the front grill’s tube work.

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Step 38, and everything needed.

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Set the front grill tube work into place, and attach using the supplied 3x12mm screws.

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Set the front bumper into place next.

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Install the supplied 3x18mm screws.

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Step 39, attaching the chassis to the skid plate and axles.

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Set the chassis into place over the skid plate, and attach using the supplied hardware.

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Next we will bolt the shocks up to the shock towers. I deviated from the instructions a little here too. I moved the upper shock mounts in towards the center of the Wraith. I did this to lower the ride height a little, and to soften up the shocks.

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Shocks all mounted up.

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Time to move on to the tires and wheels.

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First thing I did was open up the breather holes in the wheels. I chased the existing holes with an 1/8″ drill bit. This will help the tires conform to the terrain a little better. Stock on left, modified on right.

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Next tuning tip I will throw out there is to trim the edges of the inner diameter on the foams. This will let the beads of the tire sit in their natural position. It also makes gluing the tires a little easier, as it stops the foam from working it’s way into the bead seats while you are trying to glue your tires.

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You can see here that you don’t need to cut much, keep your cut about a 1/4 – 3/8″ wide max.

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With the foam installed, you can see there is no interference between the foam and the tire’s bead seat.

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Next slide the wheel inside the tire, and seat the bead properly. I usually glue my tires little by little, with “stitches” of glue. Add a dab of CA to the bead seat, and seat the tire into place. Then spin the tire 180 degrees and add another stitch of glue, then let the tire sit for a few minutes. Then, repeat these steps until the tires are glued all the way around the inner and outer beads.

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All glued up. I love the looks of these wheels in black!

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Next we will move on to step 43. Find bag G in your dwindling parts stash.

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Everything needed to bolt the wheels up.

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Thread the small M3 set screws into the drive hexes part way.

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Slide the drive pins through the outer axles.

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Install the hex into place over the drive pin, and tighten down the M3 set screw.

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Bolt the wheels and tires up to the axles.

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It’s a roller!!

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Here’s a little sneak peek at a part not yet released from the Axial arsenal, aluminum diff covers. Sexy!

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Now we can ream the holes out in the body panels and mount them. Wallah!

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Close-up shots of the hood, side panels and interior.

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Mandatory articulation shots.

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There you have it, a complete step by step build of Axial’s Wraith Kit. I will be doing more articles with this particular build in the near future too, like electronics install, hop-up parts, tuning tips, etc. And of course there will be video too, so stay tuned!

Axial Wraith Kit Build Series

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

Step 5

Step 7

Step By Step Wraith Kit Build – Part V – Chassis

Next step in our Wraith kit build is the assembly of the chassis. Flip to page 26 in the Wraith kit manual, start with step 25.

Find bag E and the corresponding parts required from the various parts trees.

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We will start with the light buckets, grab everything you will need to complete this step.

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Grab the first light bucket and mounting bracket.

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Insert the light bucket, part number AX80045B-5, inside the mounting bracket, part number AX80045B-2.

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Install the LED holder, part number AX80045A-1, on the backside of the light bucket with the supplied 2x6mm screws.

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Tie the bucket and bracket together using another 2x6mm screw.

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Now snap the light bucket lens into place.

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Repeat the last few steps for the second light bucket.

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Grab the remaining parts needed to complete step 25.

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Install the light buckets to the bottom of the rear frame cross member, part number AX80077-001-2.

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Tie part number AX80082-1 to the rear frame cross member assembly.

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Now install the battery tray as directed with the supplied 2.6x8mm flat head screws.

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Jump to page 27 and step 26. Lay everything out needed for this step.

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Tie the lower part of the tube frame to the upper left side of the chassis.

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Install the left shock mount next.

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Last thing we need to do for step 26 is install the front bumper support and radio box base.

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Step 27 is next, lay everything out you’ll need to complete this step.

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Assemble the right side just like you did the left side. At this point I installed the battery tray on the right side chassis plate, even though the instructions say to mount it to the left side chassis assembly. Either method will work fine, it has no bearing on the assembly process.

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Next we will prep the radio box.

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Start by applying the thin strip of foam to the top half of the radio box.

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Then install the other foam strip on the top cap of the radio box.

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Attach the bottom half of the radio box to the frame support.

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Flipping to page 30 you will see it’s time to start on the body panels. All the panels laid out like a blank canvas. Make sure you wash the inside of the body panels with soap and water before painting. Regular dish detergent will work fine. This will help the paint stick to the panels properly. It’s a bummer to spend time painting a body all up only to have the paint flake off during your first rollover because you skipped this step. The instructions suggest cutting the panels out first, then washing them and paint last. I washed the panels first, then paint and trim last. Again, either method works great, it’s just personal preference.

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The theme for this build will be black on black!! Here you can see the painted roof and dash panels.

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Next I trimmed the dash per the instructions.

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Dressing up the dash with some decals. An X-acto works great for applying small decals.

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For the Wraith side panels and hood I am going to do something a little different. I am going to use the over spray film as a paint mask. I am going to paint parts of these few panels on the outside, and the inside, to get a gloss black on flat black effect. Keeping it simple I laid out the paint job as desired on the outside of the body panels with electrical tape.

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The hood.

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I am even going to carry the paint job into the interior a little, with one flat black strip on the transmission tunnel.

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Now use your X-acto to cut the desired areas to be painted on the outside of the body away.

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Peel your cut areas away very carefully. If your cuts aren’t nice and clean, when you remove these pieces it may pull up the rest of your over spray film at the same time. Patients is key here, take your time.

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Next I painted the inside of the body panels black.

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While the paint dried I moved on to assembling the Corbeau seats.

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Slide the back rest of the seats into place.

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Move the seat back into position, and secure using the supplied 3x12mm self tapping screws.

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Using my X-acto knife again to position the seat detail stickers.

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Both seats assembled and detailed.

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Back to the body panels. Now that the inside of the panels have been painted with a few light coats, it’s time to paint the outside. Take a minute to do one last visual scan to ensure the over spray film isn’t pulled up in an area it shouldn’t be. Then paint the outside of the panels. I use very light coats of paint to get the desired coverage needed, and to keep the paint a consistent color. Once this coat of paint on the outside is dry, you can remove the over spray film.

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Subtle but cool!!

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A couple shots with the flash directed at the body to show the contrast.

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Interior.

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Next I rough cut the panels out with Lexan scissors close to my final cut lines.

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Then I go back and cut the panels to size as needed. Cutting the body twice takes a little extra time, but your body lines will be a lot cleaner using this method compared to cutting it on the body lines the first time.

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It’s best to use a body reamer to cut the front grill area cleanly for the chassis tubes that will hold the front bumper. Use a reamer to punch the holes in position, then cut the remaining body out with scissors.

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Simple sticker scheme for the side panels.

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Time to add some detail to that interior. Using your body reamer, punch all the holes needed in the interior tray to finish detailing it.

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After applying the interior decals, we can add the cool scale bits into the driver’s compartment.

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Attach the shifters to the proper spots in the interior.

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Finish building the dashboard.

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Finish the interior by bolting in the seats and dash.

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Now we will attach the interior to the left side of the chassis assembly. Once I set the interior into place I noticed that it wasn’t sitting square to the chassis. Closer inspection exposed the culprit. There is a boss molded into the roll cage that allows you to bolt the body panels on. This tab was hitting the interior floor pan before I could get it into position. So, a little trimming with the body scissors was in need. I just had to elongate the scallops on the sides of the floor pan beside the seats and everything fit fine after that.

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Install the supplied 2.6x6mm self tapping screws into the floor pan and roll cage.

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That wraps up this installment of our Wraith kit build series. Next steps will be the last to make it a complete rolling chassis. We are getting close!!

Axial Wraith Kit Build Series

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

Step 6

Step 7