Slow motion video, long wheel travel, wheels tucking up into a Trophy Truck body mixed in with off road bashing is a lot like attempting to say “NO” to that last cookie in the cookie jar. It’s fair to assume that cookie didn’t stand a chance, just like this video had to be watched. If you’ve been following JPRC’s YouTube page you’ll notice he’s a fan of Trophy Trucks, if not, make sure to take a few moments and check out his page.
Whenever I get a new vehicle, I like to take the first couple weeks to just drive it in box-stock form to learn about its traits; how it handles, any quirky nuances, etc. During this time I also take some time to review any hop ups that might become available, giving me an idea on how my long-term upgrade process is going to play out. Thankfully, the SCORE Trophy Truck shares the same platform as the Yeti Rock Racer, which means that there are a slew of performance goodies already available. Armed with a bag of aluminum bits, I decided it was time to install them prior to getting this rig all dirty. Not only did that make it a lot easier to deal with (read: no dirt!), it also looks much prettier in pictures. Time for an Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck Full Option Build!
Here are the parts I’ll be installing in this article. I’ve got quite a bit of work ahead; shocks, gears, machined parts and turnbuckles. A full list of the parts I installed is included at the bottom of this article.
Since I’m going to need to remove the center transmission for upgrades, I disconnected the motor wires from the ESC. Pay attention to how the wires connect; if you have a photographic memory, you’re good to go. If not (like me), you can mark them to keep things straight. I put one silver mark for the A wire, 2 for the B and 3 for the C.
I’m going to be working on the front end of the SCORE TT first. I started by removing the top deck support brace. It requires the removal of 10 screws in two different lengths so, to keep things organized, I put them back in the holes after removal.
Once the top deck support brace has been lifted off, removal of the front clip is easy. There are 4 screws underneath the chassis and the two hinge pin screws. I also disconnected the fixed-length steering turnbuckles as well – I’m replacing them with adjustable ones.
Separate the gearbox from the shock tower by removing the 4 screws holding them together. I’m only working with the differential at this time so I set the rest of the front clip assembly aside. Note the orientation of the diff in the gearbox. You’ll want to make sure you re-install it the same way.
Next, I removed the differential and bevel gear assemblies from the gearbox. I’m replacing them with the AX30395 Heavy Duty Bevel Gear Set shown in the picture. One thing to notice is that the assemblies have straight cut gears; this design is pretty strong and easy to machine. The new HD versions are helical cut, or machined with a slight angle in them. These are great for high-torque applications like crawlers or, in this case, hardcore trophy trucks! To replace, remove the 4 screws on the diff to release the gear, set the new gear in place and re-install the 4 screws. If you’re the tinkering type, you might think about adding some optional fluid to the diff prior to putting it back together (I did, 1000wt). The HD bevel gear is a one-piece unit so replacing the stock part is a simple pull-and-replace operation. One final step I performed was to remove the rubber stops that are installed in each diff outdrive. If you hold the diff on its side, you’ll see them down inside there. These are used to keep the dogbones tight and prevent them from ejecting during a hard crash, however they hinder the up and down suspension movement slightly. Since I’ll be replacing the dogbones with universals, they’re not needed anymore.
I’m ditching the stock dogbone setup for a set of Axial’s AX31135 94mm Universal Axle Set. These come as a pair, are pre-assembled and slide right into place.
I re-assembled the front clip – the new shock tower to the gearbox and the front bumper to the tower. I left the shocks off for now since I was replacing them with a full set of Axial’s Icons. You can also see the aluminum upper shock mounts that are included with the aluminum shock tower.
For strength and additional tuning, I’m adding a full set of front adjustable turnbuckles (AX31249 Yeti Turnbuckle Set). This kit includes an excellent build sheet, so assembly is very easy. Just build the turnbuckles to the appropriate lengths and you’re good to go. I would suggest keeping them separate during the build so you don’t mix up the steering links with the camber links; the two are different.
Before attaching the front clip back on the TT, I need to do a little work on the transmission. I pulled it from the TT and removed the gear cover, motor, plastic backing plate and plastic motor mount.
I installed Axial’s AX31156 Machined Adjustable Motor Mount, a 2-piece unit that includes the main mount that attaches to the gearbox and a mount that attaches to the motor. The motor mount part swivels to adjust the gear mesh and uses an upper clamp to keep it securely in place. Because it’s aluminum, this system is SUPER strong and helps pull unwanted heat away from the motor. I re-attached the plastic backing plate followed by the spur gear assembly (I used Axial’s AX31161 32P 64T Steel Spur Gear and AX31164 Machined Slipper Plates in place of the stock parts). These upgrades look awesome and should make the gearbox virtually bulletproof. After I tightened everything up, I went ahead and re-installed the gearbox into the TT.
Time to get the front back together, so I started by sliding the front clip onto the chassis and securing with the 4 screws from underneath as well as the two hinge pins. I made sure to key the center universal into the outdrive located under the transmission. It’s a little tricky, so I would suggest rotating the transmission gears (using the back tires) until you see the slots in the outdrive; this will make it easier to key the universal. Next, I slid the front axles through the steering blocks, attaching the wheel hexes to keep them in place. I installed the steering and camber links, making sure to key the axle bones into the outdrives. A little care has to be taken here to make sure the axle bones stay inside the outdrive.
Now that the front is back on and looking good, it was time to move on to the rear clip and the installation of a lot of performance parts. The first thing I needed to do is separate the rear clip from the rest of the chassis; front cage screws, rear cage screws and the 4-link mounts. If you did it right, this is what you should be left with.
My first plan of attack is the rear differential. To extract it, I needed to remove the diff cover, the straight axle hub carriers and the axles (just pull them out slightly). I also removed the two plastic diff-capture plates that hold the diff in place. Note the orientation of the diff gear inside the housing.
Replacement of the diff gear and bevel gear is the same as the front. Once completed, re-assemble by inserting the diff gear, diff-capture plates and axles (key and slide back into place). I installed the optional AX30789 AR60 OCP Aluminum Straight Axle Hub Carrier.
I also installed Axial’s AX31245 Lower Link Plate Set. These also bolt right on using existing holes in the plastic links. I would suggest installing and tightening the two end screws while leaving the centermost pair loose. They can be tightened up when you re-install the shocks and anti-roll bar.
Here is the rear clip assembled with all of the aluminum parts installed. You can see I’ve also added the AX31166 Machined Shock Mount Plates, AX30830 AR60 OCP Machined Link Mounts and AX31167 Machined Sway Bar Clamps. The Machined Sway Bar Clamps are a little hard to see, but I’ve added some additional pictures at the end that help show their install. When re-attaching the rear clip back to the chassis, add some threadlocker to the screws that secure the aluminum 4-link mounts. This will help prevent the screws from backing out when you’re out having a good time.
While I loved the look of the King shocks, I couldn’t pass up installing a full set of Axial’s Icons. Per the included instructions, I built a set of front and rears and installed them in place of the Kings. I have an additional set of shocks to create a dual-shock setup, but I’m going to give it a whirl with the single shocks first. The dual-shock install (and tuning) will be for a later article. As you can see from the pictures, the aluminum parts look awesome and will provide additional strength as well as give the truck a bit more of a ‘factory’ look. Time for me to get outside and get this thing dirty!
RENO, Nev., USA—Helping to promote the new generation of desert racers, SCORE International has released the current SCORE Dirty Dozen–the ‘Young Guns’ of the 2015 SCORE World Desert Championship. All less than 30 years old and regulars in this year’s series, the SCORE Dirty Dozen represents a cross section of the next generation of SCORE desert racers that have made and continue to emblazon the world of desert racing with their flamboyant skill and dynamic persona. SCORE, the world’s foremost desert racing organization, features Pro and Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, UTVs, motorcycles and ATVs. The SCORE Dirty Dozen represents several of the categories of classes with four who race in SCORE Trophy Truck, the marquee SCORE racing division for high-tech, 850-horesepower unlimited production trucks. In addition to a full eight-page spread in the current SCORE Journal, issue No. 7, links to special videos produced by Telly-award winning BCII TV of SoCal, the 2015 SCORE Dirty Dozen young guns are available on the SCORE website at… http://score-international.com/presenting-the-2015-score-dirty-dozen-part-i/
Aaron Ampudia – Age 22, Class 1600, Ensenada, Mexico, No. 1636 Papas & Beer Racing Alumi Craft-VW Aaron Ampudia, is a second-generation desert racer who started going to SCORE Baja races at three years old to watch his dad, and later his brothers race. Aaron Ampudia started racing dirt bikes at four, and later transitioned to a Trophy Kart. He has spent the last two years racing as a co driver in SCORE Class 1/2-1600 where he finished second last year in season points including his first victory at the SCORE San Felipe 250. This year, Aaron Ampudia has taken the role of driver of record with great success. He won Class 1/2-1600 in both the SCORE Baja Sur 500 and the SCORE Baja 500 and finished third in the season-opening SCORE San Felipe 250 and currently has a commanding point lead in his class.
Justin Davis – Age 21, Class TT, Chino Hills, Calif., No. 85 Green Army Motorsports Chevy Silverado Davis, started racing in Class 1/2-1600 when he was just 15. He has since raced in Class 10, SCORE Lites, Class 1 and now SCORE Trophy Truck. While he has a lot of experience, Davis does not consider himself a flashy driver. “I’m not the most radical driver, I am more conservative,” says Davis. “If you don’t make it to the finish line it does not matter how fast you were. I conserve my truck for the end of the race, rather than be the fastest in the first 100 miles.” Davis won the SCORE Class 10 point crown in 2010 and the SCORE Class 1 season point title in 2011 before moving up to SCORE Trophy Truck in 2014. He also has two class wins in the SCORE Baja 1000.
Mark Samuels – Age 25, Class Pro Moto, Pioneertown, Calif., No. 5x ox Motorsports Honda CRF450X Mark Samuels got his start in Motocross when he was just three years old. He began racing seriously as a amateur in his teens and turned pro at 21. With second place finishes in the SCORE San Felipe 250 and SCORE Baja Sur 500, Samuels is off to a great start to in the 2015 season and is currently in third place in the Open Motorcycle point standings. Samuels credits lots of practice for his success this season. “My favorite part of SCORE Baja racing is the places you get to race through at the high speeds we achieve. I also like all the awesome people you get to meet while you’re down in Baja.”
Brandon Walsh – Age 28, Class 7, Encinitas, Calif., No. 701 Homemade Motorsports Toyota Tacoma Walsh began racing at 19 when he took a stock Toyota Tacoma, put in the required safety gear, and raced in Sportsman Truck at the 2005 SCORE Baja 500. He had no radio, intercom or GPS but he was determined to race anyway. Walsh has learned a lot about racing in the past few years. “I learned the hard way. I absolutely sucked for a couple years. I was very young and had an attitude,” says Walsh. “It took me awhile to learn that going slower is faster. Not trying to beat everyone in the first 100 miles is the way to go. ” Walsh is currently in third place in the Class 7 after three races in this year’s series.
Cody Reid – Age 23, Class 10, Apple Valley, Calif., No. 1068 RPI Racing Custom-Chevy Reid, whose bother Shelby is driver of record in SCORE Class 1, started his racing career at age 16 in a Class 9 car. In 2014 he won the SCORE Class 10 championship, and this year won Class 10 in the inaugural SCORE Baja Sur 500. “My driving style is to keep the car wheels down” says Reid. “I take it a turn at a time and drive what I can see. I don’t charge hard in the dust, where others do. I push myself and the car to what I feel are the limits, and hope for the best.” Reid is currently second in the 2015 SCORE Class 10 point standings.
Eduardo “Lalo” Laguna – Age 24, Class TT, Mexicali, Mexico, No. 17 RPM Racing Chevy Silverado Laguna is a soft spoken desert racer who won his first race in SCORE Trophy Truck in only his second attempt when he won the Inaugural Bud Light SCORE Baja Sur 500 in April. Laguna is driven by goals and his his hope is to claim the number one plate for the RPM Racing SCORE Trophy Truck as the season Champion. Laguna is currently fourth in SCORE Trophy Truck season points. In the other two races this year he finished seventh in San Felipe in January and 17th in Ensenada in June.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: (Mission Viejo, CA) February 25, 2015.
Axial R/C Inc., A subsidiary of Hobbico Inc., is proud to announce Axial as the Official R/C Vehicles of the Baja 500, Baja 1000 and SCORE International.
So much focus in the R/C industry is placed on short course off road racing. It makes perfect sense, as it is easy to gather lots of people into a confined area to experience off road racing vehicles. What many people don’t know is that short course off road racing was born in the desert. What short course promoters are attempting to do is bring desert racing to the masses. What is lost in this process is the adventure. In true Axial style, we are all about chasing adventure. In this case, Axial R/C has partnered with SCORE International to support further growth of the off road racing that started it all.
The Baja 500 and Baja 1000 are two of the most recognizable off road racing events on the planet. The machines, the people and the experiences of these and all of SCORE’s events are the inspiration for many of today’s off road enthusiasts. Axial fans and consumers are driven by adventure, getting out there and experiencing the relationship of man and machine in the wild. Axial will be taking an in depth look at what drives all of these individuals to push themselves and their machines to the absolute limit to conquer Baja.
Founded in 2005, Axial R/C, Inc. has quickly became a global brand leader of hobby grade radio controlled products as Axial is a company of enthusiasts for enthusiasts. We manufacture chassis and accessory products predominantly for the Rock Crawling and Overland Adventure segments, with design emphasis on rugged construction and scale realism. Axial is regularly involved in local and national events which allow us to keep our finger on the pulse of R/C culture, thus earning us awards year after year, including “Best Truck”, “Most Innovative”, “Best Engineered Product of the Year”, and “People’s Choice.” For more information on Axial and Axial products please visit www.axialracing.com • twitter.com/axialracing • facebook.com/axialinc • youtube.com/axialvideos
About SCORE International
The World’s Foremost Desert Racing Organization, SCORE International was founded in 1973 by the late motorsports innovator Mickey Thompson and continues today under the ownership and director of former SCORE Trophy Truck racing champion Roger Norman. The five-race, internationally-televised SCORE World Desert Championship features 35 Pro and six Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, UTVs, motorcycles and quads. The series is televised nationally on the CBS Sports Network with international syndication for each of the one-hour programs. The flagship event of the SCORE World Desert Championship is the iconic SCORE Baja 1000, the granddaddy of all desert races. The 2015 SCORE Baja 1000 will air as a two-hour special on the CBS Sports Network. For more information regarding SCORE International, visit www.score-international.com