Wraith Steering Tips

Now that the Wraith’s have been out on the market for a bit. We have had a few people mention that they were getting some bind in the stock steering linkage. So, for this article I will be going over a few simple tips to help smooth out the steering on your Wraith. The biggest culprit for getting steering bind on the Wraith’s is dirt. After a few battery packs off-road dust will work it’s way into your steering and suspension ball studs. Ball studs are the pivot points in any steering or suspension link set-up. The ball studs press into the rod ends, and provide the links the freedom to move as the steering and suspension cycle through their travel. If dirt and debris work their way into the ball studs, it will start to cause bind. Bind in the steering can cause servos to overheat and even burn out, as well as excessive wear in the steering components.

Since there are no super mini micro torque wrenches available for our niche sport, we have to be careful how much force we use to tighten up our suspension and steering links. Especially when is comes to plastic self tapping screws. The Wraith comes with plastic ball studs stock as well. If the screws that pass through them are over tightened, it will distort the ball stud and cause the steering to bind as well as limited overall movement. So, be vigilant in your maintenance schedule, but don’t overdo it when you are checking the torque specs on your plastic self tapping screws. The best thing you can do to help avoid these issues is upgrading to steel ball studs, (Part # AXA1331) which are 100 times more durable then plastic. I am also going to upgrade this Wraith’s steering system with an aluminum servo horn for added piece of mind and strength. Here are a few tips on the conversion.

Here you can see I removed the servo horn from the servo. At this point the linkage should move freely without bind, if it doesn’t, then upgrading the ball studs will fix the issue. Here you can see this one is a little sticky.

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Removing the servo horn revealed that the plastic ball stud in this linkage was in fact crushed down a little.

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To remove the stock ball stud, I use a pair of wire cutters. Squeeze lightly around the neck of the ball stud and pop it out of the steering link.

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Here you can see the old damaged ball stud on the left and the new ball stud on the right.

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Use a pair of pliers to install the new metal ball stud as shown.

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After installing a metal ball stud and aluminum servo horn, you can see the linkage will move freely now. If you still have a little bind, or sticky feel after installing the metal ball stud. Run a couple packs through your truck and everything should seat in and work smoothly after that.

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Now repeat the above steps on the other 3 points in the steering linkage locations, opposite end of the drag link and at the steering knuckles. Then, you should be back in business. Again, if the linkage still feels sticky. Run a battery or two through your truck and the linkage should free up. Sometimes dirt gets embedded in the plastic, so cleaning your steering link holes before installing the new ball studs is a good idea too.

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16 thoughts on “Wraith Steering Tips

  1. hello i just got my wraith, and i was running in some trails, and all of the sudden the left steering hub got loose and lost the screw and the spacer that goes inside the hub..what gives? i don’t think i was abusing my wraith, i was running it under normal conditions and doing some minor rock climbing! and that’s about it. now i have to order a new hardware, for it. other wise nice truck!

  2. That same screw came out on my truck too and it sheared off one of the c hub arms. Upgraded to aluminum hubs and knuckles, sweet but expensive ($50 a pop). One of the bearings didn’t want to seat properly and I ran a flat head screw driver almost through my palm trying to get it to fit. Ended having to grind the bearing face down to get the pin in. Also the upgrade requires exact length 3m hardware which it didn’t come with. Good luck finding 3m anything in WY. Sic truck though, lots of good bashing.

  3. I think the biggest problem with steering bind is not the ball joints but the fact that, out of the box the steering turns farther than the axle is capable of. At full lock one of the pins on the end of the axle can become disengaged from the cup. This causes both the steering to bind and the drive to lock up. Need to turn down the EPA or shorten the servo arm.

  4. The overtravel in the steering is not an isolated issue either. I have talk to 2 or 3 other Wraith owners today that have experienced wheel lock associated with the dogbone locking in the axle stub shaft. I just happened to have it happen while spinning the tires. Now I can’t even get the replacement parts until mid August? Lame!

  5. I love this wraith it is one of the best 4×4′s I have owned I got the truck on the first and I have put over 20 miles on it so far in trails and on hikes, it goes where I go in the woods. Three days ago I went 8 miles round trip with it and not once did I get stuck. Any ways I was reading what problems you guys are having, my truck is A ok, not a problem yet. I wish you better luck

  6. i have had all these problems with my wraith! ordering the after market aluminium kuckles and c hubs helped, but i still had trouble with the dog bone jaming up, so i made a new stearing arm that was a little shorter then the stock one, make the wheels tow in a little and seemed to help out alot with the dog bone issue!

  7. The steering on my wraith is very messed up some how. In the first picture, that plastic piece keeps stripping and sometimes the bolt comes loose. I would like to know if there is a metal one of them or just a way to stop it from stripping out, i am out of the extra one from the bag. Also, every time I turn it will be stuck and I cn’t turn again until I go and situate it with my hand and it is very annoying and I just really need to do something about that problem.

  8. Anibal,

    I just had the same thing happen. I noticed a clicking a full lock steering to the left and a few seconds later the right wheel flopped over. The bushing and screw are now missing and it damaged the C hub carrier.

    Axial,

    Are there any plans to fix this? It is a steering geometery issue, not an abuse issue. I was crawling when this happened, not jumping or anything.

  9. The kingpins screws will work themselves loose over time and use. It is best to check them after each battery, as the steering forces will cause the screws to come loose in plastic. Going to aluminum C-hubs will fix the issue.

  10. Which part(s) did you break? The knuckles and C-hubs on the Wraith are the same as the XR10, so finding replacements shouldn’t be too difficult.

  11. Steering bind is due to the ball joints being plastic, especially if they are over tightened. The problem you are describing is a little different. Installing our CVD axles for the Wraith will eliminate the over steering issue you are describing.

  12. I have eveything on order, but the screws are back ordered. I would suggest ordering some as cheap insurance. I haven’t found anyone with the Axial 3×10 socket head cap screws in stock.

    I must say that Steve Kerkes from Axial tech support replied to my questions quickly and helped locate a dealer with most of the parts I needed in-stock.

  13. Replacing the plastic servo arm with a metal arm will fix the stripping issue. Try to find an aluminum arm that works with Futaba servos, if you are still running the stock servo. Also, add a dab of thread lock to the threads on the screw that ties the servo horn to the servo. We make one that will work for you. Part # AX30836

    It sounds like your front axle is over steering a little, and causing bind in the dog bone and drive cup. Try to turn the steering end points on the radio down for the steering channel. This will help keep the steering at a reasonable angle. You can also upgrade to our Wraith universals in the front which will give you more steering and zero bind. Part # AX30780

    Link to CVD axles:

    http://www.axialracing.com/ftp/ax30780_universal_joint_axles.html

  14. what’s the part number for the CVD Axles for the Wraith? I’m getting ready to order one for myself and one for my neighbor, and we want CVD’s in as soon as we get the wraith so that we aren’t running dogbones that we can break easily….

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