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Thread: My Cliff Climber, steering and suspension mods, etc

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Old 04-09-2009, 12:49 AM   #1
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Default My Cliff Climber, steering and suspension mods, etc

Here are the few basic modifications I have made to my ARR Cliff Climber.

Electrics
- I am using a Futaba MC230CR ESC that I have rewired with 18GA wire and mini Novak plugs. The battery is made of six Energizer 2500mAH AAs, and the motors are set to run in parallel (have to reverse the polarity of the leads to the rear motor, much like the Clod Buster). The whole radio tray is covered in Velcro, and the bottom of every receiver and ESC I have has matching Velcro, so I can swap things around as need be. O-rings and wire guides and Starbrite liquid electrical tape keeps things neat and tidy.

I've always tried to be neat and tidy with my chassis layouts. It does pay off in the long run, and it's a very calming process to go through for me, almost like meditation.


I am trying to keep the costs down, so I am using what I had left over as much as I can. Seems to work so far, with only a few short run indoors while I wait for the late winter to pass.



Suspension
- In order to fix the massive negative caster angle the stock setup has, I replaced the stock upper links with some Associated 2.620" turnbuckles and Traxxas rod ends that I had in my parts boxes. The new rods are about 10mm shorter than the stock links, which brings it back to around 3-5 degrees of positive caster. The Associated turnbuckles were a little too short to replace the lower links, but Associated offers 2.8" rods which should work. Dutatrax also has some turnbuckles for the Evader ST which should fit as well, and will let you keep it all 'Duratrax' (it's lame, but I like to do that when I can, keep it all in the family).

Clocking the axles back towards the center of the chassis would change the angle of the shocks, which made them very stiff and lifted the suspension too high. I moved the shocks from the outermost hole in the chassis to the innermost hole. This gave the truck some droop, which helped lower it a bit and static ride height, and it softened the shocks enough so that all four shocks will compress at the point where one of the other three tires begins to lift off.

The new turnbuckles and rod ends. Again, stuff I had, but to do this for yourself would be very cheap; The Duratrax or Associated links are under $4 a pair, and Duratrax rod ends (recycles the balls from the kit) are less than $10 for the two sets needed.


This can of Clorox wipes is the same size as the tires, and the suspension still has another little bit to go, but everything bottoms out before another wheel comes off the ground.


Ride height with droop.


Ride height without droop.



Steering
- I am using a standard Futaba S3003 servo. They are cheap and have nearly 60 oz-in when toy look at the 6.0V numbers on the chart. The stock steering can swing all the way, but not with the stock servo arms. You will need to add a longer servo arm, mine is a Kimbrough Ackerman servo saver, to move the wheels all the way. Here I ran into an issue; the new servo arm hit the lower steering link, so for more clearance I ground off the little pads on the ends of the steering knuckles, which lowered the steering link and everything fits. Except now the lower rod hits the flange/lip on the gearcase, which limits the travel, so you have to grind that down or use some offset rod-ends for clearance. After this, everything works great. My last modification was to cut off the top bar of the bumper for clearance; I wanted to keep it for protection and also to help 'ride' up over some obstacles.

Sorry for the overexposure. This shows the larger servo saver arm and the lowered front steering link to make clearance.


Needed to use the flash here, but you can see where I ground down the front edge of the gearbox to clear the tie-rod. And you can see where the new servo arm would have hit the stock bumper.


Full steering, within less than a millimeter of bottoming out in each direction. The stock setup had maybe half this much throw.


Hope this helps you guys. I know I can be 'verbose', but I love to write about this stuff, and I find giving out as much information as I can will help a lot more people who might know the question they want to ask, or might be afraid to sound dumb if they did.

I'll do some more when I get the body painted and detailed, if anybody can benefit from that advice as well.
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Old 04-09-2009, 05:20 AM   #2
I wanna be Dave
 
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Nice job! Enjoyed your detailed write up as well. I had the same problem with stiff shocks on my new stretched chassis when I unclocked the front axle; didn't anticipate that. Still playing around with it; hopefully will come up with final version soon. Keep us posted on future mods!
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Old 04-09-2009, 10:18 AM   #3
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After all my fiddling around, I ended up with something very similar to your suspension setup. I used traxxas turnbuckles to lengthen the lower links in order to clock the axles closer to 0, and used the middle hole for the upper shock mount. I have a little bit less flex due to mounting my upper links on the outside of the axle brackets for motor clearance. I am using the 400 long cans from banebots, and rock crawling prowess was incredible.......until the stump pulling torque ate my counter gear. Oh well, I have to wait for metal gears from tower now.
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Old 04-09-2009, 11:41 AM   #4
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SORRY NEWBIE HERE!!! I have a dumb question! how do you put pictures here??? . I want to post my rig. I made some custom links that I want to share. I like your RIG, very simple upgrade but I bet it will perform better that the stock one.one more question how do you clock the axle? I see alot of people did that here, just no clue how you guys do it?? I want to have steering to be more effective
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Old 04-09-2009, 01:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheCrow View Post
SORRY NEWBIE HERE!!! I have a dumb question! how do you put pictures here??? . I want to post my rig. I made some custom links that I want to share. I like your RIG, very simple upgrade but I bet it will perform better that the stock one.one more question how do you clock the axle? I see alot of people did that here, just no clue how you guys do it?? I want to have steering to be more effective
Thanks for the comments. The weather has been terrible here so I haven't gotten outside to run it, but just crawling over my vacuum cleaner and stuff inside the suspension flex helps a lot. The steering makes a big difference getting around the furniture too.

I host my pictures on www.photobucket.com, it's free, and when you do they will give you a link to just copy and paste on a message board.

Last edited by 3DSteve; 04-09-2009 at 01:44 PM.
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Old 04-09-2009, 04:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheCrow View Post
one more question how do you clock the axle? I see alot of people did that here, just no clue how you guys do it?? I want to have steering to be more effective
This is something that i have been curious about as well. I understand that clocking the axel helps, but dont understand how it is done. if anyone can explain it would be very helpful. im working on a new frame and am hoping to get as much done as i can before i install the new one.

thanks
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Old 04-09-2009, 07:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by furiousgeorge View Post
This is something that i have been curious about as well. I understand that clocking the axel helps, but dont understand how it is done. if anyone can explain it would be very helpful. im working on a new frame and am hoping to get as much done as i can before i install the new one.

thanks
With the stock links, there is a lot of caster. Clocking, or rotating the axle closer to 0 degrees caster improves steering, looks better, and is easier on your servos. It it accomplished by shortening the upper link (as 3DSteve did) or lengthening the lower link (as I did). Either way works fine, and won't affect the wheelbase much, but you will need to move the upper shock mount back one or two holes.
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