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Thread: Do you need the upgrades?

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Old 06-12-2016, 03:37 AM   #1
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Default Do you need the upgrades?

Hello,
This is my short story to anyone with a Wraith Spawn RTR who may be wondering if the upgrades are really warranted. My answer: not so far as I can see. Recently, I've got my very first RC car: Wraith Spawn RTR. I did a lot of research and it served me well. I live in the woods. I am frightening deer, murdering moss, stripping the hillsides of dead foliage, and exposing bare-roots every day. I've been looking at the upgrades: titanium "this", hardened steel "that", alloy "for-the-other", and no upgrades under 30 bucks! In this upgrade-research I ask myself: am I mounting all this rigid gear onto plastic? Will not the remaining plastic parts take more stress with each rigid part introduced to the system? There is strength in flexibility. This Wraith Spawn RTR has barrel-rolled down the hillside several times already (hitting roots, logs and standing trees all on the way down). After settling at the base of the hillside this Wraith climbs right back to the top. The plastic flexes and gives and if something breaks—it's dirt cheap to replace! The most expensive, single component on this truck is the Spawn body. The same money in a complete, Vanquish-brand axle can buy a tackle box full of spare plastic and powder metal parts to rebuild most of the rig twice. Each one of these cheap parts are holding up and performing fantastically right now. I do like different motors, different gearing (with plastic gears/cheap pinions), different servos, winch accessories, two-speed tranny upgrades; But when I experience this excellent performance from plastic linkage, plastic gears, plastic axle housings, etc. should I invest time and money into "beefy" parts I essentially already have? Or would I rather set my mind on which sweet toy I will own next: the RTR RR10 Bomber or the RTR SX10 or the SCX10 II Kit or the RTR Yeti? This can be a simple hobby that does not require a small loan to progress with. All the cheap, durable parts for these vehicles make it very appealing to me. I will soon have a completely awesome array of RCs with a shop-full of spare parts. I don't want complicated cars whose upgrade parts are too costly to stock. This car is a lot of fun, durable and drives fantastically with cheap, flexible parts since the day it arrived Ready to Run. I expect the same with the next one—which ever it may be!

Last edited by Rybroca; 06-12-2016 at 03:40 AM.
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Old 06-12-2016, 10:32 AM   #2
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Default Re: Do you need the upgrades?

Personaly and where possible, I enjoy making my own upgrades; it keeps the cost down and really extends the "off the course" fun factor with the design and fabrication aspect of it. Obviously this only applies to simple items like links, lowering kit, battery tray, etc.

As far as, are upgrades required, its all relative to the "how" and "what stresses are applied where", but you are correct in your assumption. When you beef up one component/system and remove the flex from it, the adjascent components and systems will normally see an increase in their loads applied.

The trick is to balance out the loads to a point where you upgrade only what is required to acheive longer service life and performance without affecting the rest of the system.



On my Wraith the following are the upgrades I would redo as a minimum and the justification for each (see bellow) and this total is not in the thousands.


- Steering servo - The RTR one was barely strong enough to turn the wheels on anything but flats ground or only at speed, also it died within a month of usage (magic smoke). To go with a bigger servo a BEC will be required.

- Lockers - A tight fit between the locker and the axle shafts will remove the shocks loading and impact stresses to the gears, bearings and axle joints. Lots to choose from here, but HR seems good and low cost. I have the Locked Up RC FI ones.

- Beef Tubes - Adds solid points to screw the C-hubs and lockout to; no more stripped plastic axles housings. Also the added rigidity in the axle housing will help keep the ring and pinion aligned, thus increasing their service life.

- C-hubs, lockouts and knuckles - Combined with the Beef Tubes, you keep a good alignment of the axle shafts, hence longer bearing life and less harmonics in the powertrain. I went OEM copy and installed STRC; the fit, finish and quality is great.

- Steering linkage - As a minimum the link that connects both knuckles together, you want your wheels to turn at the same time, nuff said! You can keep the plastic link that goes from the servo arm to the knuckle as a servo saver if you feel like it, but with a 400oz + servo, its not really required for crawling, high speed bashing maybe. Either STRC or make your own, its fairky easy.

- Drive shafts - No MIP or other expensive solution like that, just do the piano wire mod or stronger still, what I did: I treaded the male splined section for 5/16 UNC and blue Loctite a length of treaded rod (imagine a giant set screw) to reinforce it instead of just gluing a piece of piano wire. This has a lot more surface area due to the thread profile, therefore a lot harder to deform/twist under application of torque than just plain piano wire and is removable (in theory) since I cut slot in the exposed end with a hacksaw.

- Bead lock wheels - I have the RTR Wraith, it comes with glued-on tires, therefore non re-usable wheels. As a minimum one set of Axial bead locks wheels will permit you to try out different wheel weights, tires, foams, etc. No need for aluminium wheels and for the price of one set of alu wheels, you can buy 4 of the Axial ones, kind of a no brainer if you ask me.




Last edited by valheru; 06-13-2016 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 06-13-2016, 02:11 AM   #3
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Default Re: Do you need the upgrades?

You can also look at it the other way.
Do you want to keep replacing the same part every time, or just invest once in a upgrade and probably never replace it again?
Stock most is plastic, but because of reliability I think some parts do need to be upgraded to metal versions, for example the steering link as valheru mentions.

What I did on my bashers was drive until something breaks, and then replace with an upgrade part when possible.
Most people with bashers do not replace everything with metal parts but keep some of the critical parts plastic to keep flex in the parts in case of a crash.
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Old 06-13-2016, 02:21 AM   #4
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Default Re: Do you need the upgrades?

Many Hop-ups offer performance benefits. They could be the difference between taking that crawling line or not. And if you compete they can give you the edge. One day you will tumble down that hill and break a mundane part everyone else toughens up and think....darn....now I see why! We all been there.
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Old 06-13-2016, 10:27 AM   #5
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Default Re: Do you need the upgrades?

But in the end, and what make this hobby great is summed up in the signature block of Eddie from Crawler Innovations:

- Give 20 people the same chassis & axles, & they'll build a crawler 20 different ways. -



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Old 06-14-2016, 12:09 AM   #6
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Default Re: Do you need the upgrades?

All depends on what you are doing, crawling or bashing? Like the others said, beef up whatever breaks, you don't have to break the bank, unless you want to.
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Old 06-16-2016, 01:30 PM   #7
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Default Re: Do you need the upgrades?

I prefer to run and not worry about stupid crap breaking and ending my day. These will never be unbreakable but Mines pretty damn close. Mip cross pins are my enemy right now.
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Old 06-16-2016, 03:52 PM   #8
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Default Re: Do you need the upgrades?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyberhog05 View Post
I prefer to run and not worry about stupid crap breaking and ending my day. These will never be unbreakable but Mines pretty damn close. Mip cross pins are my enemy right now.
I just bought MIP drive shafts... What's wrong with MIP cross pins?
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Old 06-16-2016, 04:18 PM   #9
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Default Re: Do you need the upgrades?

Ive have my wraith for 3 years,only thing ive broken is a front bumper support, i have upgrades but not anything that i "really" need.. Most is cool factor stuff
Vp ti link kit, vp nuckles, stock plastic c-hubs,.. But i also dont beat on mine,just slow crawling... All depends on what you are having fun doing
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Old 06-17-2016, 03:50 PM   #10
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Default Re: Do you need the upgrades?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan-S View Post
I just bought MIP drive shafts... What's wrong with MIP cross pins?
I'm running a tekin roc412 with a rc4wd ax2. There's so much slop in the ax2 it's causing cross pins to break constantly. I've had better luck making my own cross pins out of music wire. $7 for 4 pins or $6 for 120 cross pins.
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Old 06-21-2016, 11:22 AM   #11
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Default Re: Do you need the upgrades?

Well... I may not be buying hop-ups, but since I posted this short story I have built my own battery-forward tray with the esc/on-switch up front (Surprise! The stock esc position sucks!). Now the rear-end is bouncing around. The receiver box has been mounted next to the driver. It's so light; Do you think it will make any difference for weight distribution if I were to move the receiver box all the way to the back of the empty battery tray? And thanks for the feedback! This is a fantastic area of the RC hobby! Totally my style.
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Old 06-21-2016, 11:31 AM   #12
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Default Re: Do you need the upgrades?

Seems like all the crawlers are in Canada! Beautiful country. Cogent points you have shared, Valheru. My stock servo died two days ago. I've got a waterproof saxox to replace it. It's got less torque than stock so I think the hobby shop will be seeing me again soon. And I think we need different designations! If you are a "newb" and I am a "newb" why did I only understand half of the terms you used?
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Old 06-21-2016, 01:12 PM   #13
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Default Re: Do you need the upgrades?

I thought you did't need the mods? Drawing on what i've learned with my twin hammers, i put the battery in behind the transmission. This is the ideal position if you don't feel the need for the scale interior - as low as you can get it, and doesn't wreck the for-aft balance. A few zip ties and job done. I may make a proper tray to take a shorty pack battery.
My next job is to make a nice mount down there for the esc, and the rx box on the right.

Last edited by Dbx; 06-21-2016 at 01:15 PM.
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Old 06-21-2016, 02:34 PM   #14
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Default Re: Do you need the upgrades?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rybroca View Post
Well... I may not be buying hop-ups, but since I posted this short story I have built my own battery-forward tray with the esc/on-switch up front (Surprise! The stock esc position sucks!).
Congrats on your DIY, nothing more satisfying than creating something yourself.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Rybroca View Post
Now the rear-end is bouncing around. The receiver box has been mounted next to the driver. It's so light; Do you think it will make any difference for weight distribution if I were to move the receiver box all the way to the back of the empty battery tray?
If you are running the stock springs (the red ones), this may be why your back end bounces around, with the weight of the battery now in the front, the overall weight distribution should be aroung 60 Front/40 Rear, meaning your rear suspension is now over sprung and under damped (same thing), change you spring to the Axial blacks (1.04 lbs) and it should solve this issue. The 30Wt oil is fine, but you can go up to 50Wt if you want more dampening.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Rybroca View Post
Seems like all the crawlers are in Canada! Beautiful country. Cogent points you have shared, Valheru. My stock servo died two days ago. I've got a waterproof saxox to replace it. It's got less torque than stock so I think the hobby shop will be seeing me again soon.
Stock servo for the fail... So far I love my Hitec HS-7955TG and running it at 7.4V, it outputs 403 oz/in.

I waterproofed it; internally with MG conformal coating and externally with Plastidip.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Rybroca View Post
And I think we need different designations! If you are a "newb" and I am a "newb" why did I only understand half of the terms you used?
Since March 2016, I spent on average reading 2-3 hours every day on this and other forums, and Youtube channels like Harleys everything there is on the Wraith and crawlers in general.

Kinda of a fast track learning course...




Last edited by valheru; 06-21-2016 at 03:52 PM.
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Old 06-21-2016, 09:55 PM   #15
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Default Re: Do you need the upgrades?

Who doesn't like mods? *Chuckles* The interior is the perfect spot for equipment isn't it? I've got plans for scale stuff though. How are you enjoying the T.H.? I've been up in the air about it. Seems like fun. Some people say the limitations make it undesirable. Then others say the limitations are what make it fun! Having a Wraith as well: what are your thoughts about that two speed off-roader?
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Old 06-21-2016, 10:02 PM   #16
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Default Re: Do you need the upgrades?

Thanks for being so specific! I assume "red" and "black" mean the red dots on the end of the grey springs. Awesome! I'll try it.
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Old 06-22-2016, 12:33 AM   #17
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Default Re: Do you need the upgrades?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rybroca View Post
Who doesn't like mods? *Chuckles* The interior is the perfect spot for equipment isn't it? I've got plans for scale stuff though. How are you enjoying the T.H.? I've been up in the air about it. Seems like fun. Some people say the limitations make it undesirable. Then others say the limitations are what make it fun! Having a Wraith as well: what are your thoughts about that two speed off-roader?
The TH is great. It's a hard act for the Wraith to follow. We don't really do much real crawling (there are no competitions here in the uk), but the TH is very capable. You do NEED some mod though! The stock steering is hopeless, and the stock battery position means you spend most of your time turning it back onto it's wheels. I re-packaged everything, and now she's great fun. I was originally drawn by the small size, but the Wraith is proving to me that bigger is good too.
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Old 06-22-2016, 05:50 PM   #18
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Default Re: Do you need the upgrades?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rybroca View Post
Thanks for being so specific! I assume "red" and "black" mean the red dots on the end of the grey springs. Awesome! I'll try it.
Yes, most manufacturers, either color code the whole spring (i.e. Losi) or mark them with a stripe or a dot (i.e. Axial, Traxxas, Proline, etc.)

The stock springs on my RTR Wraith are the red springs (2.07 lbs/in) which I promptly switched to the blacks (1.04 lbs/in) and the rear sway bar.
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Old 06-22-2016, 07:44 PM   #19
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Default Re: Do you need the upgrades?

Have you any pics of your T.H. mods? What's wrong with the stock steering?
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Old 06-22-2016, 07:46 PM   #20
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Default Re: Do you need the upgrades?

Is your battery still in the rear? How does it crawl with soft springs all the way around?
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