Full Option RTR Deadbolt

blog_deadbolt_option

Axial offers several optional upgrade parts for the RTR Deadbolt. Here is a quick run down of what is installed and why you may want to use these items.

A couple photos of the fully option RTR Deadbolt. Axial also offers clear replacement Deadbolt bodies, part number AX04039, for those that want to customize the look of their trucks.
DSC_0092

First option parts that can be seen here are the 2.2 Maxxis Trepador tires in our sticky R35 compound, part number AX12022. We also installed our VMS beadlock wheels, part number AX08061. We will cover more on the VMS wheels later on in this article.
DSC_0096

Body off shot!
DSC_0100

Next option part we installed is a 25t aluminum servo horn, part number AX30836. Axial’s HD aluminum servo horn provides more responsive steering with less chance of stripping the internal splines over the stock plastic servo horn. Clamping style head for secure mounting in high stress applications. Available in 23, 24 and 25 tooth spline counts.

Axial’s HD differential covers, part number AX30829. HD diff covers protect ring and pinion gears from being damaged by rocks, just like their 1:1 counterparts, all while adding a little bling to your ride.

Aluminum axle lockouts are another available option, part number AX30789. Axial’s aluminum axle lockouts are more rigid than the stock plastic lockouts, which will allow the vehicle to track better in all situations.

Another great upgrade is Axial’s aluminum shocks, part number AX30092. Aluminum shocks provide better dampening than the stock plastic shocks, especially when mated with our Delrin shock pistons. Aluminum shock bodies also dissipate heat better than the stock plastic bodies. Oversize 3.5mm shock shafts for rigidity. Great for high power applications and long run times. Axial also offer a complete line of various springs to fine tune your suspension as needed, see the complete parts list below for more info.

Another option part that is hiding behind the HD diff cover is Axial’s HD ring and pinion gears, part number AX30395. HD ring and pinion gears are more efficient than the stock aluminum ring and pinions. CNC machined for precision. Hardened steel for durability. Great for high power applications. Axial also offers hardened steel overdrive ring and pinion gear sets, part number AX30401, for a little extra wheel speed. We also offer an underdrive ring and pinion gear sets, part number AX30402, for a little more torque in binds.

Axial’s HD lower link mounts are another noteworthy upgrade, part number AX30830. Our HD lower link mounts allow users to fine tune ride height and wheelbase by providing more adjustment holes than the stock plastic units.

You can see a handful of options parts in this photo. First option is the aluminum knuckles, part number AX30760. Aluminum knuckles provide more responsive steering and help your vehicle track better at speeds and in the rocks. Another option shown is the Axial Aluminum C-hubs, part number AX30762. Aluminum C-hubs also help your vehicle track more consistently in all situations, especailly when used in conjunction with our aluminum knuckles. Also notice the AR60 universal axles, part number AX30780. Axial universal joint axles increase steering angle to 50 degrees, that’s 60% over the stock dogbone/drive cup setup. These universals provide smoother action for a higher performing, efficient drivetrain. The universal is oversized; typical for 1/8 scale vehicles and made of hardened steel so it’s capable of handling extreme power.

Our intention with this project was to build a solid axled basher that can handle a lot of power. Axial’s Vanguard Brushless System was the perfect fit to supply that power. The 2900KV brushless motor, part number AX24010, is more efficient that standard brushed motors and provides a lot more power for hill climbs and general monster truck style bashing over the stock set-up. Providing control for the brushless motor is our Vanguard ESC, part number AX24260. The Vanguard ESC has an array of features that can be programmed manually or with a Castle Link. Highlighted features include adjustable drag brake, lipo cutoff, traction control, motor timing, etc. Our Vanguard ESC is compatible with both brushed and brushless motors, so it can be run with either configuration. Standard Deans® Ultra Plug® battery connector included.

Another great upgrade is the Wraith Stage One link kit, part number AX30797. This kit is geared towards the Wraith, but also works great with the Deadbolt. Especially if you are going to compete at rock crawling competitions, as the wheelbase falls just under the 12 1/2″ max wheelbase limit. Our Stage One link Kit replaces all the stock plastic suspension links with high quality 7mm diameter aluminum links. Eliminates axle wrap and unwanted axle steer, especially in high power applications. Axial also offers machined heavy duty aluminum straight links, part number AX30790, to replace the stock plastic lower links as an alternative the the Stage One link kit.

Axial’s HD motor plate, part number AX30860. Our heavy duty motor plate is for any vehicle running our AX10 transmission. CNC machined from 4.5mm thick billet aluminum, with integrated heatsink fins to help motors run cooler on those all day expeditions. A must have for any R/C overland adventurist! Axial also offers 13t, 14t and 15t steel pinion gears and an 80t spur gear to give end users an array of gear ratios to choose from. Add more torque for low speed crawling to your Deadbolt by installing one of Axial’s optional brushed motors available in 27t and 55t configurations. Axial also offers a complete steel transmission gear set for even more durability, part number AX30708.

Once again for wheels we went with our VWS beadlocks, part number AX08061. VWS wheels allow users to tune foam set-ups and change tires at will for varying terrain and conditions. Another wheel option offered by Axial is our black 8 hole beadlock wheels, part number AX8097. These wheels offer a little wider overall stance which equals stability at high speeds. For low speed rock crawling you can increase your Deadbolt’s climbing abilities by adding Axial’s 2.2 Internal Weight Rings, part number AX30545. Add even more weight by utilizing Axial’s 2.2 Internal Wheel Weights for the Internal Wheel Weight Rings, part number AX30546.

You can see our R35 Ripsaw tires pictured here, part number AX12015. R35 Ripsaw tires offer both a realistic look for the image-conscious scale crawler and for those looking to up their performance game. This 2.2 Ripsaw offers an aggressive tread design, greater ground clearance, and is made from a R35 sticky compound. The VWS wheels include black aluminum rings, but I swapped those out for our Grey beadlock rings, part number AX08133, just to match the grey colored suspension links.

Complete Deadbolt option parts list:
AX8097 – 2.2 Black 8 Hole Beadlock Wheels (x2)
AX08061 – 2.2 VWS Beadlock Wheels (x2)
AX08133 – Grey VWS Beadlock Rings (x2)
AX08141 – 2.2 Trail Ready Beadlock Wheel – Black (x2)
AX08142 – 2.2 Trail Ready Beadlock Wheel – Black and Chrome (x2)
AX12015 – 2.2 R35 Ripsaw Tires (x2)
AX12022 – 2.2 Maxxis Trepador Tires (x2)
AX12021 – 2.2 BFGoodrich Krawler T/A Tires (x2)
AX30545 – 2.2 Internal Wheel Weight Rings (x2)
AX30546 – 2.2 Wheel Weight Inserts (x2)
AX30797 – Stage One Link Kit
AX30790 – Machined Heavy Duty Aluminum Straight Link 101mm (x2)
AX30469 – Machined Heavy Duty Aluminum High Clearance Upper Links (x2)
AX80057 – XR10 Linkage Set (x4 for all 8 links)
AX30395 – HD Ring and Pinion Gear Sets (stock gear ratio) (x2)
AX30401 – Overdrive HD Ring and Pinion Gear Sets (x2)
AX30402 – Underdrive HD Ring and Pinion Gear Sets (x2)
AX30571 – 13t Steel Pinion Gear
AX30569 – 14t Steel Pinion Gear
AX30573 – 15t Steel Pinion Gear
AX30665 – 80t Spur Gear
AX30708 – Steel Transmission Gear Set
AX30829 – HD Differential Covers (x2)
AX30860 – HD Motor Plate
AX30830 – HD Link Mounts (x2)
AX30834 – 23t HD Servo Horn
AX30835 – 24t HD Servo Horn
AX30836 – 25t HD Servo Horn
AX30762 – Aluminum Axle C-hub’s
AX30760 – Aluminum Knuckles
AX30789 – Aluminum Axle Lockouts
AX30092 – Aluminum Shocks (x2)
AX30780 – AR60 Universal Axle Set
AX24260 – AE-3 Vanguard ESC
AX24010 – Vanguard 2900KV Brushless Motor
AX24007 – 55 Turn Motor
AX24004 – 27 Turn Motor
AX04032 – Clear Ridgecrest Body
AX30223 – Black Springs 1.04 lbs/in (x2)
AX30224 – Purple Springs 1.43 lbs/in (x2)
AX30225 – Orange Springs 1.75 lbs/in (x2)
AX30218 – Red Springs 2.07 lbs/in (x2)
AX30219 – White Springs 2.47 lbs/in (x2)
AX30220 – Green Springs 2.85 lbs/in (x2)
AX30221 – Yellow Springs 3.27 lbs/in (x2)
AX30222 – Blue Springs 3.55 lbs/in (x2)

Bender’s AX10 Ridgecrest – Stage 3

Here is the final installment of my Ridgecrest crawler build, Stage 3. For this stage of the build I will be adding AR60 universals, aluminum shocks, under drive ring and pinion for rear axle, aluminum c-hubs, aluminum knuckles, aluminum lockouts, HD motor plate and a 55t motor. I will also be adding a few hop-ups from Vanquish Products as well. If you have never heard of Vanquish Products, check them out!! Their machine work and quality control is second to none. I will be adding a set of their DH wheels and titanium steering links to this build. So, let’s get started!!

The first hop-up I started with is the under drive ring and pinion for the rear axle. Adding the slower gear set to the rear axle will keep the front axle spinning faster in all situations. This will help with tight turns, and getting the front tires to pull up steep ledges. It can also help alleviate torque twist/chassis roll while on the throttle, which all shaft driven crawlers suffer from. The difference in the gearing between the front and rear after this modification is very slight, but it makes a pretty big difference. The old ring and pinion had a 13t pinion, with a 38t ring gear. This HD under drive combo has a 13t pinion and a 43t ring gear. It may sound like a big difference, but it really isn’t. Original ratio was 2.92:1. The new ratio for the rear axle is 3.30:1.

Since I will be tearing into both axles, I started by removing all 4 tires with my 7mm driver.

After removing the tires use a 1.5mm driver to remove the drive hexes and cross pins.

Now we can remove the two screws that hold the rear axle lockouts in place. Slide the lockouts off the housing, and just let them hang there for now.

Then loosen the driveshaft set screw at the rear axle housing, and set the male half of the driveshaft aside for now.

Next we can pull the differential cover off to access the ring and pinion.

Now remove the plastic bearing retainers using a 2mm driver.

Make sure the axle shafts are pulled out of the differential assembly. Then you can remove the differential. I used a paper towel to wipe most of the grease away, makes working on the assembly a lot easier.

Remove the 4 screws holding the ring gear to the plastic diff housing. Pull the bearing off the ring gear as well.

Now pull the ring gear off the diff housing. Be careful not to rip the gasket that goes in between the gear and housing. You will want to re-use those with the new ring gear.

Set the gasket into place on the new ring gear so the hole pattern lines up.

Now you can re-assemble the differential, and slide the bearing into place on the new ring gear.

Slide the old pinion gear out of the axle housing.

Now slide the new HD pinion into the axle housing. Double check that both bearings are still in place at this time too.

Set the differential assembly into place, after applying a light coat of grease to the ring gear.

Re-install the plastic bearing retainers.

Slide the axle shafts back into the differential assembly. Notice I also installed some aluminum lockouts at this time too.

Next I will install a 55t motor for more torque and better low speed throttle resolution. I will be running this with a small 3S lipo, I have some older 1550mah packs that should work perfect.

Start by unplugging the stock motor from the ESC.

Then remove both set screws that hold the driveshafts to the transmission outputs.

Remove the four screws that hold the battery tray in place. Remember that I moved the battery tray from the back to the front during Stage 1.

Lay the chassis on it’s side and remove the four screws that hold the transmission into place.

With the transmission out of the chassis, you can remove the spur gear cover to access the motor mount screws.

Using a 2.5mm driver remove the motor mount screws.

Remove the motor from the transmission.

Now we can pull the pinion off the motor’s output shaft.

While I have the transmission out on the bench I am going to swap the stock motor plate for our new HD motor plate. The newer plate has integrated heatsinks machined into it to help dissipate heat.

In order to install the new motor plate we will have to remove the slipper clutch/spur gear assembly. Using a 7mm nut driver remove the slipper nut, spring and washers.

Slide the spur gear off the shaft, and remove the drive pin.

Using a 2.5mm driver remove the motor plate from the transmission.

Set the new motor plate in place and attach with the existing 3mm screws.

Next we can bolt the spur gear assembly back into place, don’t forget to install the cross pin first.

Now we can install the new 55t motor. I already installed the pinion gear onto the motor shaft. We just need to set the proper gear mesh and tighten everything down. The easiest way to set gear mesh is by inserting a small piece of paper between the spur gear and the pinion gear. Hold the two gears together with the paper in between and tighten your motor mount screws. Remove the paper and you should have a little bit of play between the two gears, which means you are good to go.

Re-install the spur gear cover next. Now you can bolt the transmission back into the chassis, and re-attach the driveshafts.

Next I will be swapping out the stock plastic shocks for our aluminum competition shocks. The aluminum shocks have a lot more consistent feel to them, and are smooth as silk when properly built.

Here is a link that will give you some tips for proper build up of our competition shocks.
http://www.axialracing.com/blog_posts/1132

A shot of the freshly assembled shocks.

One change I made here was to use the rubber bushings that come with the new aluminum shocks in the shock cap, instead of the plastic ball studs. In order to keep the bushings in good working order, and free to move back and forth a little, I swapped the self tapping plastic screws for machined M3 flathead screws. The finer threads on the M3 screw shouldn’t tear the upper shock bushing like the stock self tapper would over time. I also went with a flathead screw over a buttonhead to let the upper shock cap pivot better as the suspension cycles.

All installed and ready to go!

Next we will address the front axle. I am going to install AR60 universals, aluminum c-hubs, aluminum knuckles and Vanquish Products titanium steering links.

Universals.

C-hubs.

Knuckles.

Vanquish steering links.

Start by removing the drive hexes and cross pins.

Then remove the servo horn and steering linkage.

Remove the four screws that hold the c-hub and knuckle assembly on the axle housing.

Next we need to remove the inner axles. But, to get them out of the housing you will need to remove one screw from each lower shock/link mount. Removing those will allow the flange on the inner axles to slide out with out hanging up on the link mount screws.

Slide the new aluminum c-hubs into place. I clocked them back just a little to help with tight turns. Make sure the c-hubs are oriented correctly, the longer ear on the hubs should be on the bottom of the axle.

Here you can see they are slightly clocked, but not to the most extreme point.

Install the c-hub screws top and bottom for both sides.

Grab the universals next.

Slide the universals into the housing and seat them into the diff assembly.

Now you can re-install the two screws we removed from the lower link mounts to get the stock inner axles out of the housing.

You will need the bearings, king pin sleeves and kingpin screws from the old knuckle/c-hub assembly. So, pull them apart and grab what you need to build the new knuckles up and bolt them into place on the c-hubs.

If you are struggling with installing the new bearings, use the old outer axle to line them up properly and press them into place.

Install the kingpin sleeves into the new knuckles and slide them over the c-hubs. Make sure the kingpins sleeves stay in place.

You will need to replace the old self tapping knuckle screws with 10mm long machined M3 screws. The stock knuckles were held in place by plastic self tapping screws, but you can’t use those screws in the new c-hubs as the hubs have a machined M3 thread in them. So, you will need some M3X10MM machined screws to complete this step. Part number for those is AXA115. There are 10 screws per package, so one pack is enough to do the job.

Next we need to bolt the tie rod arms onto the knuckles. But, you will need to swap the stock plastic self tappers for machined screws again. Luckily they are the same length as the kingpin screws from the previous step, and you will have some leftover to use here as well.

Now we will assemble the Vanquish tie rod and drag link. Pretty straight forward, thread the rod ends onto the linkage and pop the ball studs into place. You will have to fine tune the lengths of both the tie rod and the drag link once they are bolted up, in order to ensure the tires are straight and the servo horn has even throw to both sides.

Next I installed my Vanquish DH comp wheels. They are machined aluminum, and the weight of them alone should be sufficient in most situations. If I find the front is too light I will add some weighted slugs to the front wheels.

A few finished shots of this rig as it sits now.

Mandatory flex shots.

That wraps up Stage 3 of this Ridgecrest crawler build. I am going to try and shoot some video of this stage too, just to see/show the difference in performance over Stage 2. Stay tuned!!

Link – Stage One Ridgecrest Build
Link – Stage Two Ridgecrest Build

Parts list for the three stages of this build.

Stage one
AX30223 Black competition springs (x2)

Stage two
AXA1331 Steel ball studs (x5)
AX30836 Aluminum 25 spline servo horn
AX30829 Aluminum differential cover (x2)
AX30797 Aluminum link kit
AX12015 R35 Ripsaw tires (x2)
AX08061 XR10 beadlock wheels
Vanquish wheel weights

Stage three
AX30402 HD 43/13 ring and pinion gears (rear axle only)
AX30789 Aluminum rear axle lockouts
AX24007 55t motor
AX30860 HD motor plate
AX30092 Aluminum comp shocks (x2)
AX30780 AR60 CVD’s
AX30762 Aluminum c-hubs
AX30760 Aluminum knuckles
VPS03122 Vanquish titanium drag link
VPS03110 Vanquish titanium tie rod
Vanquish 2.2 Aluminum wheels
Vanquish wheel weights (x2)

Busted Knuckle Films presents Rock Rods 3 DVD

Axial recently received the newest video production from Busted Knuckle Films called Rock Rods 3. It documents the “Rock Bouncing” craze that has taken over the 1:1 world in the southeastern US over the last few years. For those that haven’t heard the term “Rock Bouncing”, it is almost like rock crawling meets extreme hill climbing. And when I say extreme, I mean it! Most of the obstacles in this video are nothing short of brutal. All of the video footage was shot on privately owned land as well, so these are not your typical weekend trails. And your local trails are definitely not the place to hone your personal rock bouncing skills either, so please keep that in mind and tread lightly.

If you love the sound of built V8 engines roaring up to redline, the sound of expensive metal components colliding with rock and all around general carnage, this video is for you. The high speed action starts right away with the first chapter, and doesn’t let up for the entire 90 minute video. Highlights include a few south eastern competitions as well as some weekend trail run footage. Most of the rigs in Rock Rods 3 are sporting big block engines, heavily trussed one ton axles or 2 1/2 ton axles, overbuilt custom tube frames, hydraulic steering, huge custom cut tires, 4 wheel steer, etc. The video footage is creatively shot using multiple camera angles by some very brave cameramen who are constantly dodging flying rocks and debris. The drivers in this video are extremely talented as well using a combination of throttle and finesse to clear some jaw dropping obstacles. So, if you even remotely consider yourself a gearhead this video will not disappoint. Order up a copy for yourself, strap into your 4 point sofa harness and enjoy the wild ride that is to come!!

You can check out the trailer for this DVD here:

DVD can be ordered here:
http://www.bustedknucklefilms.com/store-bkf/

NEW SCX10 Body Option!

With the addition of the AX10 Ridgecrest RTR to the Axial chassis line up came a new body. Now just because the description on the tag for AX04032 says AX10 Ridgecrest Body doesn’t mean it can only be used on that chassis. Jamie Seymour, the designer of the Ridgecrest and its body, thought we should see what it looks like on a SCX10 chassis. It sounded like a cool idea so we ran with it!

***Please keep safety in mind when using a Dremel and wear saftey glasses. Paint your body in a well ventilated area.***

P1100586
The body as you will see it in the hobby shop.

P1100588
Everything the body comes with including the plastic front and rear bumper pieces.

P1100591
Masked up and ready to be fitted to the SCX10 chassis. I highly recommend fitting and drilling all holes in the body before paint is applied. This way when it’s all painted up you know without a doubt you’re not going to run into any surprises that may be difficult to overcome once the body is painted. Trying to mark body mount holes on a custom application like this when the body is painted is not easy trust me!

P1100592
First we must remove the rock sliders.

P1100593
Go ahead and remove the stock rear body posts because we will be using the ‘SUV’ body mount that comes in the spare parts bag that came with your SCX10. If you need to purchase one the part number is AX80031 Body Mount Parts Tree.

P1100594
We won’t be needing the front bumper either.

P1100594.2
For clearance reasons it’s best to remove the front bumper mount but it can be modified to work if you so desire.

P1100596
We can now line up the body with the tires and chassis.

P1100597
Once lined up mark with a Sharpie where the body mount holes will need to be.

P1100598
Assemble the front and rear bumpers, line them up, mark the holes with the Sharpie, and drill them out. Be careful not to drill to big of holes because these holes are very close to the edge of the fender wells. I found it very helpful to have a friend hold the bumper in place while I marked the holes. Side note: if you’re planning on installing the light buckets from your Honcho front bumper to the Ridgecrest front bumper you will need to cut out the grill for clearance.

P1100601
We thought the body looked best riding low on the chassis. To get the body riding low it was necessary to relocate the battery tray to the rear. You may find you like the body better a little higher on the chassis at which point the battery can remain in the front.

P1100605
The three very long battery tray mounting screws will either need to be cut down or you can purchase shorter AXA464 M3X8mm Hex Socket Tapping Flat Head screws.

P1100607
Screw the aluminum battery plate back to the tray.

P1100608
Now that the battery is in the rear slam those front body mounts all the way down.

P1100610
With the front end body mount taken care of it’s time to modify the rear ‘SUV’ body mount to get the back end down lower to match the front. Using side cutters I first cut the flange’s off.

P1100615
I followed up with the Dremel to clean things up.

P1100617
Since we had to remove the flange that supported the body two new holes on each side need to be drilled. Insert a body clip into the lower most hole to support the body then use the hole you drilled above it to hold the body in place. Make sense?

P1100620
Using side cutters I cut off the rounded tops from the body mount because they now stick up way too far since we’ve lowered the body.

P1100622
Lastly drill one hole on the lower part of the body mount so when you have the mount lowered all the way down you can clip it in place. I promise this is the last drilling and modifying needed on the rear body mount. Haha!

P1100626
Now that we have the body sitting properly on the chassis it’s time for some paint! I used Tamiya Polycarbonate (PS series) specific paint so all my hard work doesn’t flake away when the body flex’s. The colors are as follows: PS-14 Copper, PS-1 White, and PS-5 Black. I tinted the windows using Pactra’s RC294 Window tint. Before you spray the black lines make sure you have backed the copper heavily with the white so the black doesn’t come through and darken the copper.

P1100702
The body all painted up and fitting perfectly on the chassis since we spent the time before paint to insure a proper fit.

P1100711
I applied the decals before installing the bumpers to the body.

P1100716
Bumpers re-installed.

P1100717
A view from the rear.

P1100720
I folded the lower rockers, using my desk, right at the bottom of the door line for a cleaner look. Plus by doing so they are much less likely to get hung up on obstacles that come between the tires.

P1100721
Look familiar? That’s because the AX10 RTC XC-1 bodies were folded like this as well.

P1100724
All done!

P1100725

P1100726
Ok so Wraith RTR 2.2′s are a little big but she looks like a beast!

P1100727
Mud bogging anyone?

P1100755
A comparison against a stock SCX10 Honcho.

P1100758
A comparison against a stock AX10 Ridgecrest.

For a few more pictures from this project visit Axial’s Flicker.

Bender’s AX10 Ridgecrest Stage 2

It’s time for Part 2 of our Ridgecrest crawler build. For those that missed Stage 1, here is a link to that article in order to bring you up to speed.
Stage 1 Ridgecrest crawler build

Out of the box the Ridgecrest is meant to be more of a basher, rather then a full on crawler. So, for Stage 2 of this build we will cover more tips, and option parts, to improve upon its crawling capabilities.

First thing we will work on for this installment is the steering. Out of the box the Ridgecrest comes equipped with a plastic servo horn, which works fine with the stock steering links. But, I want piece of mind when out crawling and don’t like making repairs in the field. So, I am going to install an aluminum servo horn, and upgrade the plastic ball studs to steel for a little smoother steering action. Some may think that upgrading the plastic steering links at this time is a more worthy modification. But, I actually like a little flex in my steering set-up on my crawlers. Some of you may recall I ran Delrin steering links on my competition crawler for years with good success. It’s really personal preference at this point.

Start by removing both front tires.

Use a 2mm driver and remove the button head screw from the servo output.

After removing the screw, slide the servo horn off the splines.

Now remove the plastic servo horn from the steering drag link.

Using a pair of wire cutters remove the plastic ball stud from the steering drag link.

Now we will replace the plastic ball stud with a steel stud.

Use a pair of pliers to pop the new steel stud into place.

The new replacement servo horn. There are a few different spline counts for the various servos that are available on the market. For RTR Axial vehicles you will need a 25 spline servo horn, which is compatible with Futaba and Savox servos as well.

Install the servo horn onto the drag link.

Now slide the servo horn into place on the servo output. Make sure your servo is centered before tightening everything up. Reinstall the button head screw to hold the new servo horn in place.

These new servo horns have small screws on each side of the head. When these screws are tightened down the servo horn actually clamps onto the servo’s output splines like a piranha. A must have for harsh conditions. Use a 1.5mm driver and gently tighten up both screws evenly.

Next we will pop a new steel stud into place at the opposite end of the drag link. Remove the self tapping screw that ties the drag link to the tie rod.

Pop the old stud out and replace with a steel ball stud.

Now remove the tie rod from the steering knuckles and replace the plastic ball studs there too.

After replacing the ball studs I left one end of the tie rod off the knuckle to access the differential cover. This is for my next modification.

Next we will install Axial’s HD diff covers to add some style, and even more beef, to those AR60 axles.

Use a 1.5mm driver and remove the 4 screws on each side of the stock plastic diff cover.

Remove the cover.

Insert the new diff cover and re-install the diff cover screws. Re-attach the steering tie rod to the knuckle when finished.

Now swap the rear cover out.

Styling!

Next I am going to swap the stock plastic suspension links out for aluminum using our Wraith Stage 1 links kit.

Contents of the links pack laid out.

Start by assembling the 4 lower links.

Using a 1.5mm driver screw the threaded studs into the rod ends.

Make sure to trim any excess flashing away with an X-acto knife. This has no performance gain, it just makes for a cleaner install.

Once you have the threaded studs installed, assemble the lower links. Make sure the rod ends as facing opposite ways as shown in this photo. Pops the ball studs into place last.

Now move on to the upper links.

Repeat the same steps for the upper links. All 4 upper links assembled. Again make sure the rod ends are facing opposite each other.

Remove the lower links and swap them out for the new aluminum lowers.

Now swap the upper links out as well. Pay attention to the orientation of the upper links during assembly so all four are installed the same way.

Here you can see the front after completing the conversion to aluminum links. The aluminum will eliminate any link flex in hard binds, which makes for a more predictable vehicle.

Another mod I want to make for this Stage 2 build is the jump from Tamiya battery connectors to Dean’s Ultra Plugs. I plan on running small lipo packs in this build from here on out, and all my small packs have Dean’s plugs. So, the Tamiya plug had to go.

Snip, Snip!!

First thing I do after cutting the old plug off is to slide the heat shrink tubing for the Ultra Plug into place. Nothing is worse then installing new battery connectors and putting your soldering iron away, only to realize you forgot the slide the heat shrink on first. Doh!!

Strip a little of the wire’s insulation off the ends to be soldered, and twist the ends of the wire to prevent fraying.

Using your soldering iron, tin the ends of the wires a little with solder. Do the same to the tabs on the Dean’s plug as well.

Solder the new connector into place, make sure to double check the polarity is correct before plugging a battery in. Now slide the heat shrink tubing down over the terminals and heat them up with a lighter to seat/shrink them.

Here you can see I have a few older small 2S lipo packs that I will be using for this stage of this build.

Next modification I made was the jump to XR10 beadlock wheels and our sticky R35 compound Ripsaw tires. The difference in traction between these tires and the stock tires is unreal. I couldn’t scrape up a new set for this build so I borrowed my old set off the Project Backyard Basher Ridgecrest build. I also added some weight to the front wheels. This helps keep the front tires planted on steep climbs.

The Vanquish wheel weights slide right into the stock XR10 wheels.

Last modification for this round was a fresh new Ridgecrest body. I kept the paint job simple to show off the body lines a little better. A few shots of this build in it’s current state.

That takes care of Stage 2. I will try to shoot some video of this build as it sits now, before I move on to Stage 3. Stay tuned!!

Link – Stage One Ridgecrest Build
Link – Stage Three Ridgecrest Build

The video is up!!

Bender’s AX10 Ridgecrest Stage 1

As some of you may have seen I recently built up a new Axial Ridgecrest dubbed “Project Backyard Basher”. It was built for all around bashing, trail running and a little light duty crawling without adhering to any rules or specifications. I have been having a lot of fun with it in it’s current state. But, I also wanted to build another one up for entry level competitions. These competitions require your rig to fit certain criteria, like having a maximum wheelbase of 12 1/2″ for the 2.2 comp class. I wanted to do this build in a few different stages starting with some very basic mods and eventually evolve that into a hardcore crawler, with durability in mind. While the Ridgecrest is pretty stout right out of the box, I want to take it even further with vital option parts in key areas. Those modifications will come later though. For now, I want to see how capable I make this rig just spending a little time at the workbench. So, let’s get started!

The new Ridgecrest that was recently liberated from it’s box.

First thing I wanted to do was get as much weight over the front axle as possible. To do that I swapped the battery tray and electronics tray around so the battery will be in front. Start be removing the four screws that hold the battery tray in place.

Once all four screws have been removed, pull the battery tray out of the chassis.

A shot of the chassis after removing the battery tray.

Next we will have to remove the electronics tray. Start by unscrewing the top cap on the radio box.

Now remove the last two screws that hold the top half of the radio box in place.

Flip the top half of the radio box up and unplug the ESC and servo. It is important to pay attention when you unplug everything so you know how it goes back together.

Remove the wire routing tab from the motor wires.

Unplug the motor wires.

Then remove the wire routing tab for the on/off switch.

Remove the power switch.

Then remove the 4 screws holding the electronics tray in place, and remove the electronics tray.

An overall shot of the chassis with both trays removed.

Time to re-assemble. Start with the battery tray and bolt it into place out front where the electronics tray was located.

Re-install the electronics tray next. You will notice the servo wire lead is probably too short to plug back into the receiver now. No big deal, you will just need to spend a few bucks for a servo extension wire. This is basically an extension cord for your servo wire. Plug the servo lead into the female end of the extension, plug the other end into your receiver and you are ready to go. Notice I have already plugged everything back into it’s required place. Route the antenna wire out the top half of the radio box, and run the servo and ESC wires in from the top.

Here’s a shot of the servo extension I used.

I also moved the power switch to the opposite side of the chassis from the stock location, just to keep wires neatly routed along the chassis plates. Use the wire routing tab for the on/off switch and the steering servo wire.

The servo extension plugged into the steering servo.

Now install the first two screws that hold the top half of the radio box. Make sure your wires are neatly tucked in and clear of being pinched between the two halves of the box.

Grab the top cap for the radio box and route the antenna wire through the cap from the bottom.

Secure the top cap with the last two screws.

Plug the motor wires back together and secure them to the chassis plate with the wire routing tab.

Another overall shot of the chassis now that the battery tray is out front.

Next thing I wanted to improve upon is the ride height. I wanted to lower the overall stance of this Ridgecrest to help with off camber obstacles. This was also a simple no cost modification because you can flip the lower link mount/lower shock mounts on the axles to lower your ride height a little. First, remove your wheel and tire from the corner of the truck you are working on. Now you can clearly see the lower link/shock mount.

Remove the screws holding the lower link and shock to the axle bracket.

Using a 2.5mm driver, remove the screws that hold the bracket into place on the axle.

Flip the bracket 180 degrees and re-install on the axle.

Re-attach your lower link and shock to the bracket.

In an effort to lower the ride height even more, I moved the upper shock mounts to the inner most hole on the side plates.

Another inexpensive modification I made was going to softer shock springs. I installed our “Black” comp springs which are the softest we make. This will help the suspension conform to the terrain better.

Last thing I am going to do for this installment is cut the stock tires for better forward bite. The stock RTR Ripsaw tires are quite a bit harder than our soft R35 compound Ripsaw tires. So, cutting the stock tires is an inexpensive way to get a little better performance. I went around all 4 tires and cut the smallest row of lugs out using a pair of wire cutters. A shot of the stock Ripsaw tread pattern.

Use the wire cutters to cut the small center row of lugs away from the tire.

Now do the same for the small outer lugs.

A shot of the tire tread after removing the tread blocks.

You can also cut the existing sipes/grooves in the center lugs deeper with a Dremel and cutoff wheel for better off camber performance.

A shot of the finished tire. Another mod you can make to soften the stock tires is to open up the breather holes in the wheels. I used a 1/4″ drill bit and open up the existing holes to help the tires breath better and conform to the rocks.

Here’s how the stance on this rig sits now.

That does it for Stage 1 of this build. These few mods will help the overall crawling capability of a Ridgecrest right out of the box. Stay tuned for Stage 2 which will be coming soon!!

Link – Stage Two Ridgecrest Build
Link – Stage Three Ridgecrest Build

AX10 Ridgecrest – Stage 1 Upgrades

With the release of the AX10 Ridgecrest, there’s been some chatter about it’s capabilities as a crawler.  Is it staying true to the AX10 name?  Well as part of the Axial design team, I can tell you we worked hard to insure this.  Though out of the box the Ridgecrest may have a bit more speed than a traditional crawler, wider axles and some exterior scale details, following in the tracks of it’s rock racer big brother the Wraith, with a few simple mods, the Ridgecrest can easily be a strong rock crawler.

Here’s the AX10 Ridgecrest as it sits out of the box.

First things first, let’s get the body off and move that battery to the front.  The battery tray is held in place with 4 M3 cap head screws and it’s the same with the electronics tray.

Simply remove all 8 screws and the trays are free.  You’ll have to open the radio box and unplug the steering servo as the servo wire is not quite long enough to reach the radio box when it’s installed in the rear position of the chassis.

At this point you can install the battery tray up front and the electronics in the rear of the chassis.  As for your servo wire you can purchase a servo wire extender for just a few dollars, or I had a junk servo, stole the wire and soldered the wires together to extend mine.

Next, lets get some weight in those wheels.  Using Axial parts I got some interior wheel weight rings, weight inserts, 2.2 beadlock wheels and Ripsaw 2.2 tires in R35 compound.

AX30545 – 2.2 Internal Wheel Weight Ring (2)

AX30546 – 2.2 Internal Wheel Weight Inserts 21g/0.75lbs (2)

AX12015 – 2.2 Ripsaw Tires R35 Compound (2)

AX8061 – Axial 2.2 VWS Beadlock Wheels Set (Black) (2)

I added just three weights to each ring for the front wheels.  Using all 6 weights would have made the wheels too heavy.  We need just enough weight for good traction and stability.

Each front wheel ended up weighing 13.05oz, as compared to a stock wheel weighing only 5.57oz.

Next it was time to work on the shocks and lower the center of gravity.  A simple trick on AR60 OCP axles is to flip the link/shock mount to lower the chassis. Some additional tech.

Utilizing the stock shocks, I disassembled and added aluminum bodies, aluminum caps, Delrin machined pistons and super soft springs.  When reassembling I used 30wt shock oil.

AX30111 – Aluminum Shock Caps (2)

AX30120 – Aluminum Shock Body 12×47.5mm (2)

AX30438 – 10mm Machined Piston – 1.2 (1)

AX30223 – Spring 14x70mm 1.04lbs/in – Black (2)

When installing the shocks, I used the upper mounting hole that lays the shocks back more, inward towards the center of the chassis.

Back together with just a few hours of work and here’s the modified chassis layout.

And here’s the fruits of our labor.  The Ridgecrest looks mean.  Time to take it out for some quick testing to see the dramatic improvement in crawling capability.

The front is planted.  Traction and grab of the front tires is greatly improved and I can get the front way up, with less chance of roll over.  Articulation is great and the suspension articulates smoothly with the new shock parts.  This is only Stage 1.  Next time we’ll add aluminum links, create some more tire clearance and really get this thing crawling.