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Harley 06-27-2011 03:16 PM

Wraith Beginners Guide
This thread will walk you through many questions that are common with the Axial Wraith. It will cover many of the different options and upgrades that I suggest. This thread will assume you are starting with the Wraith RTR, when a kit is released I will update based on that as well. The nature of this truck is more scale than anything, therefore options and opinions will vary greatly. This will just help to give you direction so you can pick and choose what fits your budget, style, and preferences.

I'll keep updating this slowly as I have time.

Harley 06-27-2011 03:16 PM

Wraith Beginners Guide
For a list of bulletproof mods, see this thread: http://www.rccrawler.com/forum/axial...of-wraith.html

Also a breakdown of stages of upgrading your Wraith.


Originally Posted by Harley (Post 3697398)
Upgrades (assuming RTR) in order of importantance.

Stage 1:
Axial Universals
Lower links
Upper links
Steering links

Stage 2:
Transmission gears
Diff covers
All bearings

Stage 3:
Transmission Top shaft and slipper
Axle housings
Axle truss
Axle Gears
Bearing caps
Lower link/shock mounts

Stage 4:
Transmission housing swap to AX10 style
Heavy duty outputs
Swap driveshaft ends for 6mm revo style
HD rear axle shafts

Harley 06-27-2011 03:17 PM



The RTR version of the Wraith comes equipped with the Axial AE2 ESC, a 20t motor and a metal geared servo rated somewhere in the 120 oz/in range. To get your truck up and running you will need to add your own battery.

The Wraith has a very large battery box located in the rear of the truck. This box was built around a standard “stick pack” sized battery. The stock electronics run best on 2 cell (2c) LiPo or 6 cell NiMH, I suggest staying with LiPo. I have run the stock electronics with 3 cell (3s) LiPo batteries and the ESC and motor do just fine however adding an external BEC will be a must do mod if you plan to run with 3s. Be aware that running 3s will shorten the life span of your stock motor.

What battery to buy depends on what your intentions are for the truck:
If you plan on trail driving through the woods than I suggest getting a high capacity 2s LiPo, something in the 5000mah range. That will give you long and dependable run times.

If you plan on trying to get the best rock crawling performance out of your truck than a smaller, lighter weight battery would be a good choice. Moving your weight bias towards the front will help you most while crawling. You can accomplish this by using a smaller battery in the rear and adding weight up front or you can do some customizing and move the battery under the hood and relocate the stock electronics to the stock battery location. Now exactly what battery you chose for these applications is up to you, something in the 1300-2200mah range would likely be a good start.

If you decide to change out the stock motor and ESC then you will need to make sure you select a battery that is fitting. Higher performance motors and ESC’s can pull a lot of amperage, you need to be sure that your battery is capable of this otherwise you may damage your packs.

Harley 06-27-2011 03:17 PM

ESC and Motor

For a much further in depth discussion read this thread: http://www.rccrawler.com/forum/axial...ing-added.html

Stock ESC
The stock Axial AE2 ESC is a good unit that performs well. It lacks the tuning capabilities of some of the higher end units but for a RTR ESC it is a nice piece. During testing I ran this ESC completely submerged. Axial does not advertise it as waterproof but I had no issues using it as such.

Manual: http://docs.axialracing.com/instruct...01-ae2-esc.pdf

Stock Motor
The stock 20 turn brushed motor is just a cheap brushed motor. Nothing too special. The life span of the stock motor will likely be limited, but depending on how you use it will have the most effect on the life of it. I spent the first 30 minutes of driving my Wraith bombing around in dirty creek water, as I would have expected the motor did not last very long doing that.


Replacing the motor will likely be on the list of things to do for most people, either by choice or by necessity. When doing this again you should look at what you plan to do with the truck and what you would like to spend. Some choices will require you also replace the stock ESC.

Motor - For Speed
If you are after some speed then a brushless system would be a great choice. Sensored brushless systems will give better low speed control then sensorless systems. A system between 2200 and 3600kv would be my suggestion. After running a 3700kv system in my wraith of nearly a month I have determined that the amount of wheel speed is overkill for anything other than a strictly go-fast basher type rig that will likely not see much if any trail use.

Motor - For Crawling
If crawling or trail riding is your goal then there are lots of options too. The cheapest option is to just replace the stock motor and utilize the stock ESC. I would suggest a motor in the 25-45 turn range depending on how much wheel speed you would like to have. If you would like a little more tuneability or the option to run higher voltage or more demanding motors than you may also want to change out your ESC. There are lots of options for this and depending on the features you want, many factors to look for are things like size, cost, voltage limits, motor limits, waterproof, and programming interface. You can also run brushless systems for this type of driving. It is very important to find a sensored system if you plan to do any sort of crawling.


There are several reasons to change the stock ESC but as covered before, it's not a necessity out of the box. Most of the reasons will depend on what you decided you wanted to run for a motor and what you wanted to use the truck for (bashing/speed or crawling or a mix).

Some things to consider in a new ESC is what voltage limit it has, if it is waterproof, how is the programmability, whatís the cost, and if it has crawling friendly features. The two brands I would highly suggest sticking with are Castle Creations and Tekin. These two companies make ESCís that work fantastic for crawlers and you will find a wealth of knowledge on both them here on RCCrawler.

If you have room, the Mamba Max Pro would be a fantastic choice. It will run almost any motor you can fit in this truck, can go up to 6s LiPo and gives you the ability to run sensored brushless motors if you ever decided to change. It is NOT waterproof but precautions can be made to protect it in those situations. Another good choice would be the Holmes Hobbies BRXL which can be purchased in a waterproof version. The BRXL can also run 6s LiPo but has a better internal BEC and some special crawler specific programming. Both of these ESCís use the Castle Link computer interface to program via your PC.

Harley 06-27-2011 03:17 PM



The stock servo is a metal gear servo that puts out 130 oz/in of steering power at 6.0 volts. It works well when basing at speed but when you slow it down and try crawling with it the servo struggles to steer the big 5.5Ē tall Ripsaws. If you plan to run the stock ESC on 3 cell you will be required to run an external BEC, a Castle BEC is the hands down choice for this.

Servo Ė High Torque:

While the stock servo does do fine for bashing, upgrading will still be noticeable even for that use. For a rig of this size with 5.5Ē tall tires I would suggest a servo with 300 oz/in or more. If that is out of your price range, try and get as close to you can to that number. While there are servos that are a better value for the money, in most cases you get what you pay for. With any high power servo you will also be required to run an external BEC, just pick up a Castle BEC. The more power your servo has the better within reason. However unless you upgrade your tie-rod and drag link you will never get all the benefits of your new high power servo, more on that later.

Harley 06-27-2011 03:17 PM



This was my first experience with the new 2.4 ghz radio that Axial is supplying with their RTR vehicles. The quality of the radio is actually very decent for an RTR system. This radio will suit most people just fine as long as you donít plan on adding any extra features in the future. It would have been nice to see an End Point Adjustment (EPA) setting available for the steering however.


There are lots of reasons to upgrade your radio system. For this write-up I am going to stick with pistol grip style radios. If you plan to add a winch or dig then a new radio is a must and if you want to add both there is options for that as well. Upgraded radio systems will give you the ability to adjust your EPAís, add accessories on separate channels, run multiple different vehicles off one radio, etc.

The upgrade that I would most highly suggest is a 4 channel radio. This will give you the most options down the road. For the minor cost difference you will be happy you donít have to spend the money again down the road. I suggest the Futaba 4PL as it is a fairly budget friendly radio and has special crawler related programming built in the radio for things like 4 wheel steering as well as special MOA programming for competition crawlers. It will allow you to run a dig and 4 wheel steering, or a dig and winch, or winch and 4 wheel steering. There are other brands available as well that offer 4 channels such as Airtronics and Traxxas.

The most basic radio upgrade I would suggest is a 3 channel radio that allows for 3 positions on the 3rd channel. This will give the option to run a winch, dig, or independent 4 wheel steering. However you should also make sure to check that the system has EPAís which some of the cheaper radios do not have. This is important especially if you plan to run a dig.

Harley 06-27-2011 03:17 PM


Stock Internals:

The internals of the Wraith axles will be familiar looking to many crawlers. The ring and pinion gears as well as diff cup and locker are the same as what is used in the AX10/SCX10, with the exception of the pinion gear shaft which has now been drilled to accept a cross pin for the driveshaft. All ring and pinion sets that are advertised to work for the AX10/SCX10 will work in these axles. The locker in the axle is the sintered HD locker that Axial has been using for some time now.

The axle shafts are the same design as the AX10/SCX10 but the lengths of both sides are different. The design uses a dogbone and drive cup. This design is cheap and easy but doesn’t offer a great amount of steering. If you do not limit the steering so that it does not steer past the limits of the axle shafts you will likely cause a broken knuckle.


The axle gears do not need to be upgraded to increase strength. I suggest checking them to make sure they are well lubricated but other than that they are nice and strong. If you plan on running a lot of power, such as a brushless system, then you will likely need to look at upgrading your diff cup and locker or at least keeping a spare around.

As of right now no axle shafts are currently available although several have been in testing. Axial will be releasing a universal style axle similar to their XR10 shafts that is sure to be a great upgrade. RC4WD and SDS customs have also been working on shafts that hopefully we will see soon.

Stock Externals:

The Wraith axles are a mix of old and new. They utilize knuckles and C’s from the XR10 along with completely new one piece housing. The rear straight axle adapters may look familiar to the XR10 however the Wraith versions are longer. The housing features and offset pumpkin that has a removable diff cover to access and install the axle gears. Everything on the axle is made from plastic and this is where we start to see weak points. There are several ways you can break a knuckle but the most common method is from the wheels over-steering and popping out of the drive cup. Trying to flip yourself back over while upside down is how this happens most of the time.


The first upgrades you should make to your axles are knuckles followed shortly by C hubs. I would strongly recommend upgrading both at the same time if possible however. Upgrades from Axial and Vanquish are both great products. Axial’s knuckles are aluminum replacements, exact same as stock. The Vanquish knuckles eliminate the unused rear arms and move the steering arm mounting up higher for more clearance. The rear straight axle adapters are not in immediate need up upgrading but if you are just looking to make your axles as tough as possible then pick them up too.

Stock Steering Linkage:

The stock steering linkage is flimsy. This is fine for a beginner RC as it helps reduce breakage, but bottom line is that it makes the truck feel squishy in all situations. This MUST be replaced in my opinion.


More and more options will soon be rolling out for this area. Vanquish and Chaotic Crawlers currently have titanium upgrades for the drag link and tie rod. You will need a new tie-rod and drag link when converting from the stock links. Axial is sure to follow with an aluminum upgrade that will likely be more budget friendly.

Harley 06-27-2011 03:17 PM


Stock Internals:

The transmission in the Wraith is a modified version of the AX10/SCX10 transmission. It uses the same gears but incorporates a new rear case half and steel outputs. The new rear case and output shaft are in preparation for the new dig unit that will be released from Axial. For this reason not all upgrades listed for the AX10/SCX10 will work with the Wraith however. The center and final gears in the transmission are plastic and are the most prone to failure inside your transmission.

Stock Spur and Pinion:

The stock spur (80 tooth) and pinion gear (20 tooth) are standard 48 pitch gears. The gearing is aimed more for speed than for crawling.

Upgrading Internals:

Replacing the gears inside the transmission is not immediately required unless you plan to run big power. If you are just trying to make your truck tougher, than by all means pick yourself up a set of Robinson Racing hardened gears. Make sure that when you chose the final gear that you do not get a unit with the outputs machined into it, this will not work for the Wraith since the rear output is longer. Just buy a metal gear that is exactly like the stock gear.

Upgrading/Adjusting Spur and Pinion:

For Crawling
For better low end control while crawling I suggest going with a setup in the 84-87 tooth spur gear range with a 14-18 tooth pinion range. This will help take stress off your motor and will inevitably make your equipment last longer. Going any larger than 87 tooth will require you to remove the spur gear cover that came on the transmission.

For Speed
The stock gearing is great for speed. However if you put a lot of power in this truck you will likely end up stripping the smaller 48 pitch spur. A worthwhile upgrade is to replace both the spur and pinion with 32 pitch gears. The stock gearing of 80/20 equals a 4:1 reduction. I would suggest staying with something in that range when you upgrade, something like 56/14 approximately. Be conscious of the overall diameter of the gear you select, going too large will require you to remove the spur gear cover that came on the transmission.

Harley 06-27-2011 03:17 PM


Stock Driveshafts:

Axial came out with a completely new style of driveshaft for this truck. The new driveshaft uses an all metal CV joint that attaches to a plastic center section. The CV joints connect to the outputs of the transmission and input of the axles using a 3mm cross pin. No more worrying about set screws coming loose and spinning on the shaft. The new shafts are very smooth even at high angles and high RPMís. These driveshaft do well until you run more power. This is an area where you wonít need them out of the box but upgrading them down the road may be a good plan. Axial also includes a couple spares in the box so make sure you keep these in your parts box when out running the trails, or better yet attach them to the truck.


Since the Wraith has a 13.75Ē wheelbase not every AX10/SCX10 driveshaft will work. The best currently available driveshafts are MIP for AX10 without dig. These are driveshafts are long enough to give proper engagement and are extremely strong. The only issue that come with these is attaching them to the outputs. As mentioned above the stock shafts use a cross pin to attach them, the stock pin is 3mm and the MIP uses 4mm set screws. The included set screws will secure the driveshafts but I have found it best to use 4mm cross pins that come in Traxxas Maxx shafts and HPI Savage shafts. This Traxxas part should be what you need: Traxxas #5145 Screw Pin 4x15mm Revo (6)

Link to the driveshafts I recommend: CLICK

Harley 06-27-2011 03:17 PM


Stock Links:

Much like the steering linkage the suspension links are too rubberlike. The problem is that after a short time they lose their ability to return to their original shape. Again the links are fine for a beginner because they minimize breakage but make the truck feel soft and unpredictable both at speed and on the rocks.


We are likely to see lots of options in upgraded links. Again, Vanquish and Chaotic Crawlers currently have titanium links available. Titanium is not cheap but the strength is far greater than aluminum and these links are made to work with more durable rod ends then Axial’s 3mm rod ends. Axial has announced that they will have aluminum upgrades but they have not been released yet. Making your own links is also an easy project for those of you that want to dive into a DIY project. There are countless threads on building links which will cover all of the different methods and materials involved in making your own links.

Stock Shocks:

The shocks that come on the Wraith are a standard 4” shock. They are a decent construction for being on a RTR truck. The stock springs are very stiff however. Axial rates them at about 2 lbs. This is another piece on the truck that does not need upgraded. Just a little tuning can make these shocks all you need.


Like mentioned above, these shocks do not need to be replaced. If you want to replace them any way, just about any standard 4” shock will work. If you want to lower your ride height, instead of changing to a shorter shock simply flip the mount that bolts onto the axle upside down. To soften up the ride get a softer spring, something in the 1.0 to 1.5 range will do well in most situations. Once Axial releases their sway bars then a soft spring will still work very well at speed.

Harley 06-27-2011 03:17 PM

Wheels and Tires

Stock Wheels and Tires:

The stock wheels that come with the Wraith are a plastic non-beadlock design. The wheel face is designed after one of the Raceline fullsize wheel company’s designs. They come vented to allow air to flow out for a less bouncy ride. The tires that are Axial’s Ripsaw tires however they are NOT the R35 compound that you can buy in stores. They are a harder compound that does not offer the same level of traction. The tires are glued to the stock wheels.

Here is a tip on removing the stock tires from the stock wheels. Be careful and do this at the risk of your wife/mom/roommates being pissed at the slight odor of smoking rubber. The tires and wheels all come out perfectly fine after this process.
  • Place 2 tires on cookie sheet covered with tinfoil.
  • Preheat oven to 325
  • Bake tires for 30 minutes.
  • Remove tires from oven, leave on cookie sheet.
  • With oven mitts or protection of some sort, break the tires off the bead on the side facing up.
  • Flip the tires over and place back in the oven for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and finish removing the tires from the wheels.
EASY! Please be careful! I had some water in my tires and the steam that was coming out could have been pretty dangerous.

Upgrading Wheels:

Rock crawling and bashing both put a lot of stress on stock plastic wheels. The heavier your rig gets the worse it will be as well. I personally suggest upgrading to some aluminum wheels. Aluminum wheels will have a much stronger hex area, this will keep you from “spinning” the hex area due to excessive torque. Another key feature is beadlocks. These allow you to change tires without using glue and more securely hold the beads of your tires.

I have used wheels from most manufacturers but, like many others will say, I have never found a wheel as nice as the offerings from Vanquish. For the Wraith, I would suggest any of the SLW or SSZ wheels, in 1” width. A 350 hub will get you a nearly stock track width SLW’s. With SSZ’s you need to slightly grind the end of the stub axle to fit the wheels with these 350 hubs, or you can step up to 475 hubs which is what I personally run.

Upgrading Tires:

Compound is key. The stock tires just aren’t “sticky” like we want on the rocks and trails. When looking for tires you want to look at these features and specs:
  • Height – a shorter tire will effectively lower your gearing and top speed if you don’t adjust your gearing elsewhere. I suggest staying with a tire that is 5.5” tall for the wheelbase on the Wraith.
  • Tread – An aggressive lug pattern will work well in most terrains, such as rock and dirt/mud. The tread depth comes into play as well, there is trade off for too deep or too shallow.
  • Compound – You want a tire that is soft enough to conform to the terrain but not so soft that it rolls under the truck when trying to turn or sidehill. A lot of this comes down to foams as well.
  • Foams – See if the foams included with the tires are getting good reviews. If they aren’t you may be forced to spend another $20-40 on foams which may not be what many people want to do.
I personally prefer the Axial R35 Ripsaws. These tires do well on the trail and on the rocks, a great tire for most terrains. Another popular choice is the Proline TSL Swampers. Do some looking around and see what you like, tires are a big part of both the aesthetics AND the performance of your rig so chose carefully!

Harley 06-27-2011 03:17 PM

Crossover Parts from AX10-SCX10

Axle Gears - AX10/SCX10
Trans Gears - AX10/SCX10 except for one piece final gears. The Wraith uses an extended output shaft on the rear.
Trans Case - Wraith only (the front half of the transmission case is different then the AX/SCX as well.
Knuckles - XR10 (stock geometry only, VP XR knuckles will not work with the stock wheels)
C-hubs - XR10
Rear Lockouts - Wraith only
Axle shafts - Wraith only
Upper links - XR10 Uppers or AX10 Bent Lowers
Lower links - Possibly XR10 with certain rod ends
Steering linkage - Wraith only
Driveshafts - AX10 driveshafts will work but the Wraith comes with a CVD style shaft
Shocks - Fairly universal

Harley 06-27-2011 03:17 PM

Wiring Diagrams

Note: None of these diagrams show the stock lighting controller. It only requires a 4-6v power supply so any open port will work or you can direct wire it off your BEC (as long as you are running appropriate voltage) or your ESC's red RX wire.

Standard stock setup WITH BEC.
Note that you need to pull the red wire out of the plug from the ESC so that you do not burn up the internal BEC in the ESC. Just pull it back and tape it, you will need to be able to reconnect it to program it via a Castle link or Hotwire if your ESC is compatible with that (stock ESC can use a Castle link).


A typical 2 servo system.


MG200 06-27-2011 03:30 PM

Very nice guide"thumbsup"

jeepinkeller 06-27-2011 03:35 PM

Very nice!

4ONDFLR 06-27-2011 03:36 PM

great info as usual Harley! "thumbsup"

Danboard 06-27-2011 04:10 PM

Very informative!

This should be made into a Sticky!

YJesse 06-27-2011 04:30 PM

Good info, any idea what Kv brushless would be equivalent to the stock 20t? I'm aiming at a sensored motor with about the same top end but with more control on the low end.

BIGJOEDUCKSLAYE 06-27-2011 06:17 PM

I burned up my stock motor with 3cell battery in about 3hrs easy running, I put bec before I even ran it, I put upgraded servo at about hr 3 also. I ran mine with a wornout 35turn brushed motor, lost a little topend but gained crawl ratio. It did real well at awcc g-6 I had to leave sat. night but it finnished 1st and 2nd courses pretty easy.(it was my 1st g-6)
I also put 2.2 tsl's on wider wheels. This car is sooooo much fun. if the pics are up from g-6 mine is the blue one.

Harley 06-27-2011 10:14 PM


Originally Posted by YJesse (Post 3160956)
Good info, any idea what Kv brushless would be equivalent to the stock 20t? I'm aiming at a sensored motor with about the same top end but with more control on the low end.

The stock motor should be around 3200 kv approximately. "thumbsup"

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