Before you know it, Axialfest will be upon us and the last thing you want to worry about is preparing just a few days before you embark on your adventure. You want to have your adventure vehicle ready to go and ready to take on the terrain without failure ahead of time. Yes, Axial vehicles are built tough, but taking the time to have your rig ready will ensure more fun on the trail. We’ve gathered up a number of tips to help get your rig ready from what hardware to use, to driveline tips and things you may need along the way.
Set-Screws- Set-screws can be a headache in the RC world, they are used in several areas on just about any rig. The most common is the pinion gear. If the set-screw goes into metal, it’s a good idea to add some blue thread locking compound to it before installing it. The thread locking compound is a measure to ensure the screw doesn’t back out during use.
Lock-nut- Early SCX10’s used standard nuts in several locations and perhaps you’ve installed a nut or two along the way while working on or customizing your truck. Consider swapping out all standard nuts with ny-lock nuts. These nuts have a plastic insert ring that helps prevent the nut from backing off of the screw.
Machine Screws- Machine screws have a much finer thread than a self-tapping screw. This finer thread often offers more “bite” into a part for extra security. Consider using machines screws wherever you can. And like that pesky set-screw, always use blue thread-locking compound on machine screws that go into metal so they don’t vibrate out while in use.
Screw Pins- Screw pins are often used to secure the universal yokes to the axle drive pinions, if your rig doesn’t have them and you have a through-hole in the bevel pinion shaft, go with a screw-pin instead of a set-screw. This will ensure drive instead of a set-screw that can back out and slip. Use thread-lock here too of course.
Universals- We’ve seen some torn-up universals in our day. These components take a lot of abuse. Replacing the cross-pins before your many Axialfest adventures can be a good idea. At the very least, check your universals for binding or regrease them if they look dry.
Bearings- Do you want to be “The Squeaky Guy?” Bearings take a lot of abuse and as they get covered in dirt or submerged in water, you risk the chance of bearing failure. If you hear squeaking, consider cleaning your bearings, blast them with a cleaner and re-oil them. Some go so far as to repack the bearing with grease. A bad bearing can eventually wreak havoc on your driveline on the trail. Fix it before it causes other possibly more expensive problems.
Gears- This is an important topic here. Many of crunchy transmissions have been heard along the trails at Axialfest. During your pretrip check, take a look at all of the gears. Do any look sharp, missing parts of their teeth, is your gearcase full of metal dust? Don’t leave it to a trail run to find our you needed to replace gears. In the axles, make sure the gear lash is correct between the bevel pinion and ring gear. Shims may be used to adjust gear lash. Inside of the center transmission, make sure your gears are well lubricated with grease. If you do have plastic internal gears, on your SCX10, consider upgrading to the metal gears, here is the link for the upgrade: HERE And finally, your pinion and spur. Make sure your mesh is correct, not too loose that your gears can skip and not too tight that it binds.
Slipper- Your slipper clutch is often the line of defense to protecting your transmission. When your rig gets caught up in a gap in the rocks and you pin the throttle, the slipper will slip rather than the gears skipping. You want the slipper tight enough so you get through gnarly obstacles, but you do need that slip for protection. A little trial and error works here in terms of setting. Always lean toward the loose side to start with.
Grease- As mentioned above a number of times. Grease, grease grease. Grease the gears, consider greasing the bearings, add grease to metal shafts inside of the axles, grease universal joints. Grease will keep these parts smooth and offer some protection from the elements.
Specific Electronics- Axialfest is known to have some water encounters and as you know water and electronics don’t mix. Most ready to run electronics are waterproof or water resistant but if you’re running something from an older build date or have swapped out your electronics for something non-WP, you might consider taking some precautions to waterproofing your equipment. Seal the servo case with silicone, put a bead of grease around servo output shafts. ESC’s are a bit more difficult to waterproof using silicone as the heatsink area is an area where water can get in. Brushed motors can get wet, just prep by oiling the bearings or bushings.
Radio Box Sealing- The radio box is often the home for items that can be damaged by water or debris. The receiver, lighting module or winch controller are often placed in radio boxes. But water can still get inside unless you seal it up. Use a bead of silicone or grease to seal off any gaps that will allow water to enter the box.
Light It Up
Why You Need Them- Some of the best adventures on the rocks at Cisco Grove happen at night. The night driving element is very challenging and you’ll see drivers out on the rocks until all hours of the morning. You’ll want to consider adding as much lighting to you and your rig as possible.
Options- Headlight and taillight kits are obvious and selecting the right one really depends on the type of body you run. The other option are light bars. Light bars are a pretty simple bolt on light system to install and many plug right into the receiver for power. Another option to consider are well lights. Those are lights in the wheel wells so you can see exactly what type of terrain your rig is going over. There are plenty of lights to choose from in the Axial options list. You can find more on lights: HERE Then there are the lights for you. A head-lamp is a great source of light to blaze through the trails. Some fashion flashlights to their radios with tape or rubber bands. Get creative with your lights, but whatever you choose, make sure it’s enough to light the way for long periods of time.
What To Carry
Parts Supplies- Beyond prepping your rig for the trails, you should prep for those what if moments. What if a screw falls out, what if a part breaks. It’s a good idea to carry a small parts bin of hardware with you at all times. Pack the bin with an assortment of screws, nuts, set-screws, body pins, flanged bushings for the steering knuckles, axles pins and washers in case something falls off on a run. Next you’ll want to carry some more substantial parts like a spare shock, some spare links, a spare center universal set-up. An extra servo horn or even and extra servo.
Tools- You know those little bags of allen wrenches and the box wrench that came with your kit? They make great lightweight travel tools and can fix most of the issues you’ll have to deal with on your rig. Now granted hand tools make the job easier, carry the basics, 1.5mm, 2.0mm and 2.5mm hex drivers; 5.5mm and 7.0mm nut drivers, long nose pliers, scissors and cutters can also be useful. Place them in a bag and put them in your backpack during your adventure.
Survival- Drivers can spend hours on the trails. Always carry water with you for hydration. Cisco Grove is at a higher elevation and having water on hand will keep you hydrated during your hikes. Also have some nutrition with you. Some power bars, trail mix or other foods can take the edge off your hunger while completing some of the long trail layouts. It’s also good to have a small first aid kit in case you get a scratch or scrape on the trail. Keep your cell phone with you, lights and a suitable back-pack to carry extra batteries is the best way to take on Axialfest.
Prep For Fun
With rig prep out of the way, you should now be able to relax and enjoy the driving and scenery on the trails instead of being concerned your rig can handle the trek. If something does happen along the trails, don’t be shy and ask another driver for help borrow a tool or even a part to keep you going. The attendees at Axialfest are among the best enthusiasts in the industry and meeting new people in the camps or on the trails can turn into new friendships. See you at #AXIALFEST