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Old 04-19-2020, 12:18 AM   #1
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Default The Black Cat 'hops up' the Rey, Baja style

This Cat is back from the desert, and he brought (or, is that "bought") a new friend. Even though Scale Nationals got postponed, and my Class 3 Capra is taking a siesta, I still headed to Sin City, and, while there, I made a lil trip to the best LHS in town, with the friendliest staff, Friendly Hobbies (two locations - Las Vegas & Henderson). Looking around, I spotted a VERY special box...one of only 500 in existence - the Losi Baja Rey Raptor Mint 400 Limited Edition...so, into the back of the car it went.
However, not wanting to ruin the body (it's impossible to get a replacement...I even called Horizon Hobby, in a defeated attempt to obtain one), I hatched a plan to not only replace those three pieces of Lexan, but to also beef-up whatever else could be done. So...we start at the very beginning, it's a very good place to start...with a stock Baja Rey.
Oops...right Baja, wrong Rey.Much better...well, except for the photo being inside-down (it's right-side up in my phone's gallery)...and, no offense, George: 33 years later, I thank you, and THX-1138 thanks you.

Ok...time to get serious. As anyone who's owned a Baja Rey (or it's cousin, the Rock Rey) knows, it's not exactly 'perfect'. Although Losi claims it can run on 3S, you'd have to be crazy to attempt it without certain upgrades. Since the Baja Rey is an RTR, this isn't a "build" thread...call it a "build-up" thread. Also, before I continue, huge thanks go out to everyone who's posted about the upgrades they've done...those of us just getting started are learning from your mistakes, as well as your successes.

There's no particular order that I've planned on installing things...it's truly going to be a completely disorganized, mishmash, mess. By the time I finish, this mess will (hopefully) be untangled. After upgrading certain areas, I'm sure I'll have to disassemble them again, to install other upgrades. Case in point, the front lower A-arms. For these, I had two options - Metal Concepts, and Vitavon Racing - and I purchased both...not because I needed to, or wanted to, but for another reason. While both are "works of art", as well as "bulletproof", I preferred the design of the MC lowers...plus, they appear to be just slightly better in design. However, before installing them, I disassembled them, covered the pivot balls in a light layer of Maxima Waterproof Marine Grease (the same waterproof silicone-based grease I use when building transmissions, and when greasing the ring & pinion gears inside axles), and then reassembled them.
Next, I moved to higher ground...namely, the front upper A-arms. While MC does make front upper A-arms, the Vitavon uppers are a considerably better design. This is the primary reason I bought the Vitavon uppers & lowers...I wanted the pairing specifically for the uppers. Honestly, they almost look like they should have been paired specifically with the MC lowers.
Best of all, if anything ever happens to the MC lowers, I have the Vitavon Racing lowers to install in their place (hopefully, nothing happens to the MC lowers...but, "better safe than sorry").

For those taking closer looks at the photos, I'm sure you noticed there's no front sway bar. That would be because I forgot to order the necessary Team Associated parts...so, once they arrive (ordered them this afternoon), as hinted at, above, I'll have to partially disassemble the front end, remove the lower A-arms (and other parts getting to the lower A-arms), install the sway bar, and reinstall everything. No worries...such is life...I've disassembled & reassembled two Capra rigs so many times, it'll be good to finally do the same on something else.

After working on some front-end stuff, I figured I might as well stay working her rear...starting with the trailing arms. While there are only a few A-arm choices, there are several options for rear trailing arms. In trying to decide, I felt that the Vitavon trailing arms had the most bulletproof design...plus, being incredibly nice looking kinda helped. Note: The rear upper links haven't arrived, so those will have to be installed at some point in the very-near future.
As most BR/RR owners have discovered, the stock steering servo is of highly-questionable quality & power...so, out it went, with an SR Mode-capable Futaba servo taking it's place.
Of course, when installing an SR servo, and operating as an SR servo, that means an SR-capable receiver needs to be installed. While I hadn't intended specifically to go with an SR servo, it was always my intention to replace the Spektrum Tx & Rx with Futaba (I like using my 7PX for all my vehicles). The receiver of choice - the Futaba R334SBS. This replacement was a fairly easy process, and prepared me for replacing the servo mount.
That's it for this first installment, as I also wanted to get my new ProBoat SonicWake into the water for her maiden voyage (ok, 'voyages', as I went through 2 pair of batteries). In upcoming installments, other upgrades will include the rear axle, bearings, front bulkhead, differential cases, etc, etc, etc...plus, a few surprises. By the way, in regards to the SonicWake...for those who might be wondering, wonder no longer.....


~ More peace, love, laughter & kindness would make the world a MUCH better place

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Old 04-20-2020, 05:33 PM   #2
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Default Re: The Black Cat 'hops up' the Rey, Baja style

Looking good! Really like how the vitavon racing parts look.
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Old 04-21-2020, 06:18 PM   #3
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Default Re: The Black Cat 'hops up' the Rey, Baja style

Before I get into today's installment, I just want to say, no Star Wars jokes...I promise. As a matter of fact, there will be no jokes today, whatsoever...none...nothing, nada, zip, zilch zero. Today's installment will be nothing but pure seriousness.

To kick things off, I thought I'd pick up where I left off. Yes, I know I said I'd be jumping all over the place...but, since I left off with the servo, I figured I could start there today - namely, the servo mount. Yup, that means more metal. In any vehicle, one usually had to remove the servo in order to replacement the servo mount. With the BR/RR, while you still have to undo the 4 screws holding the servo to the servo mount, technically, you don't have to completely remove the servo from the vehicle, as can be seen by the second of the first two photos.
With something done on the front end, it was, once again, time to move back to the rear. This time, we'll be working around those long, hard things. No, NOT 'those' things. I'm referring to the rear trailing arms, and rear upper links...specifically, the rear bulkhead mounts. Before I get into the actual replacement, take note that each has a nut that's well-seated into a hole...talk about a "tight fit". You'll need to remove the nuts from the plastic pieces, as they'll be used with the aluminum replacements.
The easiest way to get the nut off (ok, gentlemen, get your mind back on-track...we're talking RC vehicles here, not you-know-what) is to lightly screw the nut (hey, what did I say?) from the outside, and pull hard (ok, I give up...guess that's what happens to the mind after working the Renaissance Faire for too many years).
The best way to not lose your nuts (did someone say "squirrel"?) is the screw then into the new pieces before installing them onto the chassis. Then, when you go to reattach the upper links, or trailing arms, remove the screw, insert the upper link (or trailing arm), and then hold the nut in-place while inserting the screw, tighten lightly by hand, and then use your tool to finish tightening the screw.
Now that the upper link mounts are in place, time to replace the trailing arm mounts. Once again, after removing the plastic pieces, remove the nuts using the method described, above. For some strange & unknown reason, I decided to do one side work the vehicle right-side up, and the other side work the vehicle upside-down. Don't all why...honestly, I don't know.
To close out today's upgrades, this will not involve adding any metal...in fact, it involves removing metal. This is one of those parts that, when I get to other upgrades, this will have to be removed & reinstalled. The part - the center chassis brace. The material - carbon fiber. The look - FANTASTIC!!!
While this does remove a little weight, it's not the reason for installing it. The stock center chassis brace isn't just 'stiff'...it's 'too stiff'. For those of you who've run various on- & off-road race vehicles, I'm sure you understand. A center chassis brace needs to stiffen the chassis...but, at the same time, it should have just a little "give", and a carbon fiber chassis brace should perfectly for the bill.

After removing the stock chassis brace, I looked at it, and noticed something "interesting" about it. Take a good look, and see if you can see what I saw. The 'answer' will kick off the next installment. Until then, "Do you see what I see?"

~ More peace, love, laughter & kindness would make the world a MUCH better place

Last edited by Panther6834; 04-21-2020 at 06:23 PM.
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Old 04-22-2020, 06:38 PM   #4
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Default Re: The Black Cat 'hops up' the Rey, Baja style

Today, not much happened...at least in regards to the Baja Rey...although, to be honest, I hadn't planned on working on it at all today, as the box that arrived today wasn't supposed to be here until tomorrow. So, what was in the box? (My inner voice told me that someone would be asking that as they read it) The answer: Three things - Incision rear upper links, SSD front bulkhead, and Exotek steering assembly, of which only the first got installed today. In regards to the other two items, those were the final parts I've been waiting for that use bearings, so I can finally put my bearing order together.

When building links...any links...the first thing you want to do is lay all the pieces out, line then up as perfectly as possible, and then take a glorious photo to share work others, so that they can "ooh & aah" at the wonder that is metal & plastic. Next, you insert some (but not all) of the pivot balls into the rod ends, line everything up, and take another glorious photo, so that more "oohs & aahs" can take place. For those of you who quality, here ya go:

Ok...you can stop now...it's not that spectacular. Moving on, it's time to put them together - the 'magical number' is 149mm eye-to-eye. As these aren't turnbuckle-style links, it's highly recommended to get them to the proper length before installing them, as you can't adjust their length while installed...if you goof, ya gotta remove them, adjust, and reinstall. Used a digital caliper, get it right the first time...and then, line them up next to the old plastic parts, and take another photo (because people love photos).

For those who've installed the Incision rear upper links already know, the pivot balls are narrower than the stock link's pivot balls, by 1mm (7mm vs 8mm), so you have two options. You can use a 1mm shim/washer, and out of on the inside, or the outside...or, as I did, you can use 0.5mm washers, with one on each side. The advantage of using 1mm shims is that they're easier to maneuver into position while inserting the screw though the pivot balls. The advantage of using 0.5mm washers is that you keep the links in perfect alignment...but, they're nearly impossible to hold in place while inserting the screw. The solution: CA glue. Start by placing one washer onto the screw. Next, put 2-4 evenly-spaced tiny dots of CA on each side of the lookout ball, thread the screw though it, place the other washer onto the screw, and press the washers together, making certain to not get any CA onto the screw (makes it a little difficult in pulling the screw out). Repeat this process for the other three pivot balls, and set aside for the CA to completely dry...say, 15-30 minutes. If done properly, you should end up with something like these:

Now that the links are ready to install, follow the next step - install them. Don't they look purrrrdy?

That's it for today.

Oops...almost forgot something. In my last post, the final photo was of the center chassis brace, and I asked if anyone noticed anything. If you disregard the top (what is actually the front) end, as well as the bottom (ie. rear) end, and concentrate on the rest, you might see Jesus on the cross.

~ More peace, love, laughter & kindness would make the world a MUCH better place

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Old 04-22-2020, 07:03 PM   #5
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Default Re: The Black Cat 'hops up' the Rey, Baja style

Okay, I saw the Jesus cross but was thinking you were going to reference something out of Star Wars.
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Old 04-22-2020, 07:18 PM   #6
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Okay, I saw the Jesus cross but was thinking you were going to reference something out of Star Wars.
Star Wars, not everything is...Star Trek, there also is. Until "The Rise of Skywalker", I had seen every official SW movie on opening day (I don't count "Rogue One", or"Solo" as 'official'...they're 'side stories')...and, yes, that includes the original, in May 25, 1977.

Seriously, though, while I am a huge SW fan, there's a LOT more to me. When it comes to movies, sci-fi & fantasy are my two biggest favorites, but I'm also a huge James Bond fan. And, please, don't ask which Bond was 'the best'. I do have a specific answer, but let me just say that, for different reasons, they were all good, EXCEPT for George Lazenby ...he REALLY sucked. First "Rule of Bond": NEVER cast an Australian as Bond.

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Old 04-22-2020, 09:38 PM   #7
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Default Re: The Black Cat 'hops up' the Rey, Baja style

Instead of using washers to shim pivot balls that are too narrow, you can buy a pack of "Jato" rod ends (Traxxas #5525) which come with 4 wider balls, then pop those into your Revo rod ends.
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Old 04-22-2020, 11:26 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by TheLetterJ View Post
Instead of using washers to shim pivot balls that are too narrow, you can buy a pack of "Jato" rod ends (Traxxas #5525) which come with 4 wider balls, then pop those into your Revo rod ends.
Thanks. I do seem to recall that having been mentioned in the main BR thread. Just can't remember who said it (probably multiple people), or how far back. Honestly, I don't mind using shims/washers...it allowed for adjustability. In my race vehicles there are adjusting that can be made, depending on the positioning of shims. Using the rear as one example, the angle of movement of the rear A-arms can be adjusted, depending on whether shims are placed above, below, or on both sides of, the rear carrier. Anyway, I'm ordering TRA5525, but will consider them my "backup option" for the rear upper links...however, I do have another use for some of them.....

I'm also looking to replace the stock steering links with Ti turnbuckles. This is where a few of those Jato rod ends could come in handy. Unfortunately, this is also where I have a problem, as I don't know what length turnbuckles are needed. The eye-to-eye length of the stock links is 85mm. Since I don't know the "center of the pivot ball, to the end of a fully-screwed-in turnbuckle" measurement, I can't correctly determine the needed length of the turnbuckles. Do you...or, does anyone else..know what the "center of the pivot ball, to the end of a fully-screwed-in turnbuckle" measurement is for TRA5525?



, if using the same TRA5525 rod ends (or different rod ends, which I'll explain in a minute), does anyone know what length turnbuckles are needed for the steering links? Maybe I should word it this way: Using the Jato rod ends, what length turnbuckle would create an 85mm steering link? This is the actual Of course, if I did used the Jato rod ends for the steering links, I'd need to use shims on the outside ends, as the stock pivot balls on the outside are either 9mm, or 10mm (already packed everything up for the night, and can't remember which is the correct measurement). Earlier in this paragraph, I indicated "or different rod ends". That would be because of the wider 9mm/10mm pivot balls on the outside ends. I believe the inside end still uses 8mm wide pivot balls.

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Old 04-23-2020, 04:14 AM   #9
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Default Re: The Black Cat 'hops up' the Rey, Baja style

Are you going to lock the rear diff like the gen 1’s or leave it open and put some thick fluid in it?

I could have bought one of these from Horizon's trailer when I was at the Mint this year but seeing as I flew in from Va, getting it home would be a challenge. Since I already have a BR 1st gen, it was a hard sell on just a body, some blue springs, and an open rear diff.

I run by BR on 3s right now and the only mods I have are the Incision rear upper links and an RPM front bumper. Everything seems to work fine but I know I am on borrowed time on the pinion bearings. I converted mine to the Black Rhino Wheels Raptor version including the wheels.

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Old 04-26-2020, 11:42 PM   #10
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Are you going to lock the rear diff like the gen 1’s or leave it open and put some thick fluid in it?
No locker on this one...I'll be going with what's behind for #2. I picked up 3 of the Exotek diff cups, and will be filling each appropriately...as for what that is, you'll have to stay tuned for that particular updates (I know, but can't spoil the spoils). Besides, other parts arrived yesterday, so need to take care of those, first.

--------------------

Ok...it's update time. Don't think anyone will find today's update shocking. As with previous installments, I worked a lil on the front, and a lil on the rear.

First, I tackled the sway bar. For this, according to Metal Concepts (maker of my lower A-arms), as the original sway bar mints can't be used, I needed to get the Team Associated 91820 (B6.1 Ball Ends) & 91821 (B6.1 Sway Bar Mount). Ok...second surprise (the first was the CF center chassis brace)...several BR/RR owners have 'complained' that they feel the front sway bar is "too stiff", but there's nothing that they can do about it, as no one makesa "sway bar tuning kit", unless you count the Hot Racing kit, which can only be used with the HR lower A-arms (and also requires the HR sway bar mount)...or does it??? On a whim, I ordered the HR Sway Bar package. Looking over the sway bars included, I had a strong feeling I could modify the 'low' (ie. black) to match the shape of the stock bar. Using 2 pair of pliers, and working very slowly (don't want to weaken the metal), I was able to almost duplicate the shape (the front section is approx 3/32" wider, but that's ok. Next, as each end was too long, I snipped them off, matching each end to the original.
Next came the sway bar mount. Initially, I tried using the shortest-length rod ends & short link.
As there's no 3mm ID 4mm ID pivot balls, I had to improvise. Thankfully, I had an old partially-used Pro-Line Universal Shock Mounting Kit (from another project I've been working on, converting a Traxxas Rustler 4x4 into a shortened 1/8 eBuggy)...so, taking a couple of the mount instead, and my trusty Dremel, I shortened the length to match the opening in the A-arms, and I 'narrowed' the 5mm "ball" down to a 4mm "tube". Inserting them into the sway bar mount rod ends, and voilà.
Or, so I thought. Unfortunately, after installing the new sway bar, and reattaching the driveshafts & upper A-arms, I discovered that my mounts were too tall, and we're hiring the driveshafts...so, I disassembled everything again, removed the sway bar, removed the mounts, took the regular sway bar mounts from the Team Associated kit, reinstalled everything, and voilà (and xx this time, I mean it).
Now that the (known) sway bar problem was resolved, onto the next item for today...the shocks (shocking, eh?). For this, I went with the tried-and-true Pro-Line PowerStroke Rear (for the front), and PowerStroke XT (for the rear). The first thing anyone should do when purchasing pre-built shocks is completely disassemble them, and act like it was a kit.
True to most people's understanding, the O-rings were bone-dry...time to pull out the trust 1up Racing Blue O-ring Grease. Been using this stuff on ALL shocks since I built my second race kit (for those not familiar with 1up Racing's products, I HIGHLY recommend them (https://1upracing.com/ ...and, no, I have no affiliation, sponsorship, or any other connection, other than being a customer).In building the shocks, I discovered that the pre-installed pivot balls were too wide to slide into the lower A-arm & rear trailing arm slots, so, I'm attempting an experiment (might not find out for several weeks whether it's successful, it not). Obviously, the stock pivot balls are the right width...but, they're not the same diameter as those in the PowerStroke rod ends. So, even though the stock shock shafts are 3mm, and the PowerStroke shafts are 3.5mm (I'm sure those reading this have already figured out what I'm doing), I've decided to slightly 'stretch' the stock 3mm ID rod ends onto the PowerStroke's 3.5mm shafts...which lead to realize the next problem.

While the overall length of both rod ends are the same, internally, the stock rod ends are shorter. This problem was resolved by adding additional internal limiters (something else I ALWAYS advise people to do - it raises the piston off the bottom, and eliminates "suction" during quick compression...obviously, crawlers don't experience this). To be specific, adding 5.5mm in the front shocks, and 8mm in the rear, allowed the shocks to achieve the desired lengths (101mm front, 122mm rear). Additionally, I moved the external limiters (those orange "bumpers") to the PowerStrokes, although I did cut the front ones in half. With this setup, the front have a full compression length of 74.5mm (26.5mm of compression), and the rear 93.5mm (28.5mm of compression). Now that they were rebuilt, it was time to juice them up - 35wt up front, 30wt in the rear.
Time for some "rebound". Choosing the front springs was easy...red on top, yellow on the bottom. As I've said with other things in the past, aren't they purrrrdy?Unfortunately, as those who've used the PowerStroke XTs in the rear are already family with, the included springs - even going with the stiffer uppers & lowers - are a bit on the soft side. Why Pro-Line never released a spring tuning kit (as they have with the two smaller PowerStroke sizes), we may never know. Thankfully, I just happened to have ordered the rear spring tuning kit. As I used the yellow lower springs for the front shocks, I had all the other springs sitting there, staring at me, asking, "What about us? Don't you like us?". I said, "Sure I do. Let's see how I can put you to work"...and, an idea popped into my head.

The shock bodies of the XTs are quite a bit longer than the 'long' bodies...so, I wondered what the possibility might be of using two different weight 'lower' springs, still retaining the dual-rate compression. First, I had to determine if they would fit, be too short, or be too long...thankfully, it appeared they could work, depending on the during rates selected, and as long as the preload ring remained all the way up. After testing multiple combinations, red 'lower' on the bottom, and blue 'lower' up top, appeared to be the best combination...so, (here goes that word, can again) voilà.

Thus ends another day, working on this Baja Rey.
Tomorrow, I might work on it again. Will this upgrade thing every end?
Then again, tomorrow, maybe I won't.
As there's another RC, it's called a boat.
SonicWake is it's name...here's to hoping it doesn't rain.

~ More peace, love, laughter & kindness would make the world a MUCH better place

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Old 05-01-2020, 05:26 PM   #11
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No updates? You must be working on the boat!
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Old 05-01-2020, 07:26 PM   #12
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No updates? You must be working on the boat!
Yup...and nope...lol

Over the past 4 days, I did take the boat out, and I did spend one day building a PVC "cage" to go inside the boat carrier...but, I did spent today working on the BR. I'll have an update posted in a bit.

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Old 05-02-2020, 09:51 PM   #13
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People ask...people receive. Yesterday started out with not much planned - temporarily installing the machined front shock tower...a simple 5 minutes 'procedure'.Looks good...ok, I'm done for the day. Still waiting for the bearings, so can't do much else.

Oh, wait...I received notice that the bearings would be delivered...so, I decided to disassemble the front bulkhead, rear axle, and transmission. Next, I disassembled the differentials, and completely cleaned all parts. If you're planning on replacing the diff cases, you might as well, make all its internals "nice & shiney".With all three diffs disassembled, I laid out the individual parts, and awaited delivery of the bearings (a mixture of 5 different bearing types - Ceramic Metal, Revolution Aura, Ceramic Revolution, Ceramic Metal Aura, & Metal Oiled - from Avid RC).Once the bearings arrived, I started with the best place to start...the middle. For those who can't read "between the lines"...or, in this case, between the 'front' and 'rear'...that would be the center. With the center diff reassembled, I reassembled the transmission, reinstalled the transmission, and reinstalled the motor (for now).Oops...did I happen to forget about mentioning something? Nope...didn't forget. Did it on purpose...SURPRISE...thanks to Vitavon Racing, the plastic transmission housing had been replaced with a seriously-nice machined housing.

Ok, enough of the middle ground. Time to take the lead, or move to the rear - I choose 'lead'...so, to the front bulkhead we go. While the front & rear diffs are slightly different than the center diff (ring gears, as opposed to spur gear), I'll skip front/rear diff photos, focusing on the rest. For the bulkhead, I chose the SSD version over the Exotek version, as the larger bearings should give it an 'advantage'. It went together easily enough, although I was somewhat surprised to discover it only uses 1 screw to hold it together (the stock bulkhead uses 2 - one above the dogbone, and one below).However, before I could reinstall the front bulkhead, the steering had to be taken care of. Some machined aluminum pieces here, a few new bearings there, and the new steering was ready to be installed, along with the bulkhead.At this point, the midsection is almost finished, with the front end at approximately the same level of completion. Everything looks as if it's coming along extremely nicely. Honestly, I'm not one who usually addsa lot of aluminum. If your were to read my posts over on the Traxxas forum, you'd find that I'm a big proponent AGAINST excessive use of aluminum. Not only that, but, I've been quite vocal in the past against the use of aluminum A-arms. However, that's typically in responding to people who plan on extreme bashing - ridiculous jumps, flips, etc. The Baja Rey, obviously, won't be used for anything close to that, plus the parts for the Baja Rey have already been proven (by others) to be quite 'beefy'...so, aluminum, it is.Is she starting to look like she's actually ready to compete (a scale version of) the Mint 400...or, maybe, the Baja 1000?

Coming soon...working the rear (axle, that is).


~ More peace, love, laughter & kindness would make the world a MUCH better place

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Old 05-03-2020, 01:07 PM   #14
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Default Re: The Black Cat 'hops up' the Rey, Baja style

Front end looks great! I installed the Vitavon gearbox case yesterday, myself. Nice piece of kit, glad I pulled the trigger on it. It seems like it'll be necessary for my 4s plans. I already had front and center Exotek cups, and I have one for the (locked) Vanquish rear on the way. I went with Traxxas GTR shocks as I've heard they are very reliable...and way cheaper than Powerstrokes.

I'm curious why you decided against the camber-adjustable MC upper front arms?
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Old 05-03-2020, 06:49 PM   #15
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Default Re: The Black Cat 'hops up' the Rey, Baja style

Today, it's all about that bass, about that bass, about that bass...uh, oops...wrong "bass". Butt (oops, did I let that slip out?), before I start today's installment, I forgot to mention something about yesterday's - the front & center diffs were both filled with 15K diff fluid. Ok, back to today's bass...I mean, rear end.

I know, for those who've rebuilt their rear diff, and for those who've replaced their locker with a diff, most have mentioned filling with 100K, or higher. Why, I don't know. 100K is already so thick, it's close enough to being a "locker"...and, as for higher than 100K, you're, essentially, 'locking' the rear diff. I'm thinking, those people should have just left the locker in (for those who upgraded), or switched to a locker (for those who rebuilt their diff). I mean, seriously... WHY spend the extra money on "upgrading" from a locker, or rebuilding your diff, if you're just gonna lock it work a bunch of goo?

That's why I decided to go with 80K diff fluid, turning the rear diff into something between a "limited-slip", and a locked diff...call it, if you will, an "extremely limited-slip" rear diff. Of course, this leads to one of the two primary reasons why I didn't do this yesterday - I had (temporarily) misplaced all of my 25K, and above, diff fluids, and had to find them (e other reason being that it was getting to late to continue working). Now that the thicker diffs fluids have been found, I can get to that rear axle.

Speaking of the rear axle (before I get to the diff), I was interested in the Vanquish axle, which has since been discontinued, and was searching all over the internet to find one. While visiting my family in Vegas, I happened upon a small LHS that had one...but, they were in the process of moving to a new location, and had EVERYTHING packed up...oh, well. Then, I found one up for auction on eBay, but got outbid at the last second (technically, that "winning bid" came in 15 seconds AFTER the auction ended, so something seems 'fishy')...c'est la vie. Finally, I found a shop in Florida that had two...except that it turned out to be an "inventory error". So much for obtaining one from VP...frak', finding a VP axle is a PitA.

Vitavon Racing to the rescue, once again. Knowing Vitavon did one, knowing the quality...and, realizing that my chance of obtaining the Vanquish version was "slim-to-none"...I ordered one. Unfortunately, they only had silver, and, for the rear axle, I really wanted black (I had a plan to 'protect' it)...so, I messaged them before placing the order, and inquired about obtaining a black anodized axle. They said, "no problem", and asked me to message back with the order number (once placed), and they'd black anodize one for me...which they did. Upon receiving it, the first thing I noticed was the super-tight tolerance between the axle & third member.The first thing to do was install the "protection", which comes courtesy of T-Bone Racing...except that there was an immediate problem - the TBR rear axle skid was designed to work specifically with the stock axle. To be more specific, the rear upper link mount is attached to the axle via 4 screws, 2 of which (the outer-most) are also used for attaching the skid (the skid kit includes two longer screws for this purpose). As the upper link mount is built into the machined axle, I had to devise an alternate method of attaching the skid. So, I did what all mostly-sane RCers do in a situation like this...I turned to our favorite adhesive - E6000.

Now, the skid is made up of three pieces - the skid, a (top) mounting piece, and the back 'connector'. I wouldn't be able to user the E6000 on the skid piece, as this would prevent the third member from being removed/reattached, so I decided that the whole "contraption" would be adhered to the axle via the top & back pieces. As the skid & top piece attach to the back piece with two screws (each), by removing the bottom two screws, I'd be able to access the third member. With a dab here, a dab there, and a couple of dabs somewhere else (plus waiting 24 hours for the E6000 to completely set), and the skid was attached.To be completely honest, I completed all of this a few weeks ago, giving the E6000 PLENTY of drying/hardening time. I couldn't help myself in taking one more photo of the axle with the T-Bone Racing skid attached...but, only because it's just SOOOOOOO cute.Honestly, when's the last time you heard someone refer to an axle as being 'cute'? Probably never. Well, this one is. Moving on..........

Last edited by Panther6834; 05-03-2020 at 07:07 PM.
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Old 05-03-2020, 06:57 PM   #16
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Default Re: The Black Cat 'hops up' the Rey, Baja style

Time to stop "playing around" with the rear axle's exterior, and get to work on it's interior. Which means, only the next problem - how to fill the rear diff with fluid. Unlike the front & center (yea, I could have put in a joke about that one, but I'll leave it alone) diffs, the rear diff isn't completely sealed. It sorta-kinda is, but only after the axle shafts area inserted. So, it becomes a matter of figuring out how to add the diff fluid, without it starting to drain out before being installed inside the axle. Sure, I could have gone the "easy route", and just packed it full of grease, but, where's the fun in that? No 'challenge'. Besides, if Losi can figure out how to do it, so can I.

So...here's what I came up with. I packed the bottom of the diff case (where the axle shaft enters the case) with a little silicone & lithium-based waterproof marine grease (Dynamite, if you must ask...the same grease I use on my boat's flex cable), and then (temporarily) added a piece of electrical tape, as 'backup'. I also added some of the grease to the ring gear, in the same location, but without the electrical tape. Here comes the 'interesting' part:

Normally, when building an axle, you completely build the diff, place the diff inside the axle, install the third member, and then go about installing the axle shafts & end caps. With this crazy design, it's gotta be done in a different order...so, allow me to sightly backtrack...but, before I do, the order in which I'm building the rear axle isn't the only thing I'm doing out-of-order. Normally, for each entry, I do everything, then I take the photos, then I type the words that everyone will be reading. With the rear axle, I'm doing a little, typing a little, taking photos when/where I can, doing a little more, typing a little more, and so forth. After all, gotta make sure I don't miss, it miss describing, any part of it, cuz building this rear axle is one strange cookie.

While I did prep the diff, including placing the O-ring, washer, & large gear, into the bottom of the cup, and the O-ring, washer & gasket into the ring gear, that was the extent of prepping the diff.The next thing I did was prep the axle shafts - got all the parts in alignment, and partially inserted into the axle, just awaiting insertion into the diff.With the diff filled, and the ring gear attached, still holding the diff in the "cup right-side up" position, I placed the diff into the axle, removed the electrical tape, pressed the leftt-side axle shaft (and bearings) upward, into the diff, and screwed the right axle end cap into place. Next, I inserted the left side axle shaft (and bearings), pressed it down into the ring gear side of the diff, and attached the left axle end cap. Voilà...rear axle mostly assembled.

With the rear diff assembled, & filled with the 80K diff fluid, it sat very nicely into the Vitavon axle. Normally, one doesn't get to see the axle shafts inserted into the diff, as diffs usually have outdrives. This is the first time I've seen a non-sealed diff. Anyway, time to close her up with scalpel & sutures...uh...I mean screws & hex drivers. The stock third member uses two 5x10x4 bearings for attaching the rear driveshaft. The Vitavon axle, on the other hand, uses two 5x13x4 bearings.

Last edited by Panther6834; 05-03-2020 at 07:06 PM.
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Old 05-03-2020, 07:01 PM   #17
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Default Re: The Black Cat 'hops up' the Rey, Baja style

Before I forget, for those of you who are interested in upgrading your Baja Rey / Rock Rey, there's something you SERIOUSLY need to know - when using Loctite to attach the rear driveshaft to the transmission & rear axle pins, as well as in attaching the outdrives to the front bulkhead & transmission spur gear, Losi went WAY overboard. You will NOT be able to remove them without some heat, as extreme heat is the only thing that'll loosen the Loctite. You'll need something like a BernzOmatic S12200 Detail Torch.And, no, I do NOT use it for "extra curricular activities" (I do NOT do ANY of those things). It was purchased solely for hobby & household use.

Once again, moving on..........

The final install on the rear axle was the Exotek Rock/Baja Drilled Stainless Steel Brake Disc Hex Kit. Originally, I had planned to remove the flimsy plastic "disc brakes"...and then, I discovered these. There was another "disc brake" option (I forget who makes them), but these lookeda lot more realistic.That's it on the rear end...for now. I still need to replace the rear driveshaft, but I don't have anything. I was planning on using one from another kit, but it's too short...so, back to the MIP and/or Supershafty site I'll go.

I also decided that I couldn't 'just' work on the rear axle. For those who've been following along (whether you've commented, or not), you learned to understand that, when I work on one end, inevitably, I have to work on the other. Since I was installing new bearings, and the Exotek disc brake hexes out back, I figured. I might as well install them up front today. As an old saying goes, "Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today"...so, I did.I could have left good enough alone...but, since I still had some time to spare, I decided it was time to install the new power connectors 'holder'. Out went the piece designed to hold the IC3/EC3 connector, and, in its place, courtesy of Primo R/C Engineering, is a power connectors holder for an XT60.That's right, folks. The IC3 connector on the ESC is gonna go bye-bye soon, and following it out the door (or into my spare parts collection) will be the ESC & motor. Of course, anyone reading this had either known, from the beginning, that this was coming, or they (correctly) assumed as much.

Ok...NOW I'm done for today. Phew, that was a l-o-n-g one.
---------------
Quote:
Originally Posted by elRayRay View Post
Front end looks great! I installed the Vitavon gearbox case yesterday, myself. Nice piece of kit, glad I pulled the trigger on it. It seems like it'll be necessary for my 4s plans. I already had front and center Exotek cups, and I have one for the (locked) Vanquish rear on the way. I went with Traxxas GTR shocks as I've heard they are very reliable...and way cheaper than Powerstrokes.

I'm curious why you decided against the camber-adjustable MC upper front arms?
Personally, I didn't like them. I felt there's a reasonable possibility that the rod ends could get pulled out and/or the threaded pins holding them could get bent. I like the design of the Vitavon upper A-arms. As for the camber behind adjustable, I like the camber as it is. I will, however, be be replacing the stock steering links with adjustable links, so that I can increase the toe-out.

~ More peace, love, laughter & kindness would make the world a MUCH better place

Last edited by Panther6834; 05-03-2020 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 05-04-2020, 09:22 PM   #18
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Default Re: The Black Cat 'hops up' the Rey, Baja style

Great update! I was looking at the vitavon transmission case but was going to hold off for now until i decided to upgrade the motor/esc. How long did it take to get since its coming from overseas?
Also, did you try heating up the screws with loctite using the tip of a soldering iron? I have motor bell screws for my quadcopters that have some strong loctite on there. Without heating them up, you'll bust the screw heads off. After heating them up with a soldering iron they'll usually come of without too much of a fight.
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Old 05-04-2020, 10:21 PM   #19
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Default Re: The Black Cat 'hops up' the Rey, Baja style

Today's update is a very short (meaning, what was done...not my (lengthy) words), and very minor, one...but, it's also because my Baja Rey is going closer to completion. The only thing done today was installation of the new front bumper, courtesy of T-Bone Racing...specifically, the 'XV4 Front Bumper - Losi Baja Rey - Ford Raptor Body Version'. Call this "a word of warning", or "a word to the wise", but, for those interested, be prepared for a little confusion. I say this, not to scare you away, but to prepare you.

First, know, ahead of time, that NO directions are included. This isn't just for this item...I suspect this is with ALL T-Bone Racing products (I've ordered their products for a few different vehicle, including the rear axle skid I installed on the Baja Rey, and none came work instructions). Second, understand that the install 'directions' found on the product page (as nothing more than an image you can zoom in on, or download) don't match what you'll receive. Although the 'sheet' states it's for the Raptor version, I'm suspecting it's actually for the standard version, as one part number listed on the 'sheet' doesn't match the part number for the same part that you'll receive. Additionally, in regards to the screws, the sheet, and what you'll receive, are y'all different things. Now that everything you'll need IS included...it just doesn't match the "install instructions" showing on their website.

Ok, enough jibber-jabber...let's get this puppy installed. You'll need four of the screws from the original bumper, but two of them will be used in different locations. While the kit does include two screws for attaching the front of the cage to the bumper "mount", is recommend using the screws that Losi installed. Also, the stock "mount" is attached using 4 screws - 2 attaching the "mount" to the skid plate, and 2 attaching the mount to the front of the front bulkhead. The 2 factory screws attaching the bumper mount to the bulkhead will be used for attaching the mount to the skid plate. As for the remaining screws (6 of which replace 'stock' screws, as they are longer), they're included.

If you can understand everything I've written about the upgrades I've done so far, you can easily figure out how to put the bumper together...especially considering T-Bone Racing has already put most of it together for you - the front upper & lower bars are already attached to the skid plate, and the skid plate mount is already attached to the front 'mount' piece (note: while the stock 'mount' is a single piece, the T-Bone mount is a 2-piece...you'll figure it out).

To put the bumper together, attach the front 'mount' to the rear 'mount' using 2 buttonhead screws, then attach the completed mount to the bumper/skid-plate using 2 flathead screws & 2 Nylock nuts...it's that simple. Next, you install the completed contraption to the vehicle. While the directions indicate using four M3x18 flathead screws to attach the skid plate thigh the chassis, and into the bottom of the front bulkhead, I'd recommend using two M3x16 for the rear-most. As for attaching the mount to the top-front of the bulkhead, user the included M3x20 buttonhead screws...but, for the front holes...the holes attaching the mount to the original skid plate (which you need to leave attached, as it's also what holds the hinge pins in place, as well as the front sway bar) will be held in place by the two buttonhead screws that originally held the stock mount to the front bulkhead.

Like I said, installation is simple. Once finished, you'd end up with something looking like this:
At this point, she's all but finished. The only updates remaining to be done on the vehicle, itself, are the rear driveshaft (which has been ordered, but not yet shipped), the adjustable steering links (I've got the Revo rod ends, but I haven't yet ordered the turnbuckles), the ESC (I have), and the motor (also, I have). The wheels & tires arrived two days ago, and I'm start working on those within the next couple of days. After that, the only thing remaining is the replacement body (which is being worked on), and two other surprises.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amanc96 View Post
Great update! I was looking at the vitavon transmission case but was going to hold off for now until i decided to upgrade the motor/esc. How long did it take to get since its coming from overseas?
Also, did you try heating up the screws with loctite using the tip of a soldering iron? I have motor bell screws for my quadcopters that have some strong loctite on there. Without heating them up, you'll bust the screw heads off. After heating them up with a soldering iron they'll usually come of without too much of a fight.
When dealing with Loctite, there are two ways of find about it - mini torch, or soldering iron tip. In this case, since there was no plastic super-close to the metal needing to be heated, I chose to go with the mini torch. It was needed at three specific points -where the front outdrive exits the front bulkhead, where the rear driveshaft attaches to the rear transmission output, and where the rear driveshaft attaches to the rear axle.

However, if I had been dealing with plastic that was too close, then, yes, I would have used the soldering iron tip. I do have a soldering iron, which could be used...but, setting it up takes a bit of time. If I had needed to go that route, I would have still used the mini torch, but I would have attached the soldering tip to it.

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Old 05-09-2020, 01:09 AM   #20
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Default Re: The Black Cat 'hops up' the Rey, Baja style

She's sooooo close...but, she's not quite finished. Today involved the second-easiest update, and we'll add the hardest. A smart person would have some the hardest first...but, that's not me.

The eat shock towers finally arrived...so, first thing this morning (ok, second thing, as making coffee came first), I opened the package, and went to it. Except for having to temporary uninstall the rear upper link mounts, installation was fairly simple.Next up...the hardest upgrade - the electronics. If I had gone with a Castle motor, or something from Holmes Hobbies, things would have been a LOT easier (both come with wires already soldered to the motor, and bullet connectors for the ESC already soldered onto the wires). However, I just had to have that Tekin ROC412 HD, which meant I had to do all the soldering. Next 'complicated' move - I decided to solder the motor directly to the ESC, eliminating additional resistance caused by additional connections. Three hours later (my soldering skills aren't exactly the best), the motor & ESC were ready to be installed. Then came the 'complication' of installing them, due to no bullet connectors between the motor & ESC.For mounting the Mamba X to the Baja Rey, I used the Mamba X mount from RPM, which is intended for the Traxxas Slash 4x4. Yes, I took a chance...but, the spacing of the screw holes on the BR just happened to be 100% identical as the hole spacing on the Slash 4x4.The kit came with an On/Off switch case, which is designed to be mounted onto the ESC mount. Instead, I mounted it in a location similar to where the stock On/Off switch was mounted. I also used zip-ties for holding the steering servo's cable in place. Finally, since I replaced the stock EC3/IC3 battery connector with an XT60 connector, I also replaced the connector mount with a 3D-printed unit.At this point, the only remaining upgrades are the rear driveshaft, wheels & tires, front & rear lightbars, and the body. The body is at least a few weeks away from being ready, but it's coming. The person painting it is finishing up a couple other commissions, and mine is next in his lineup. As for the other upgrades waiting to be done, I'll be putting them on hold for at least two weeks - I'm heading back to Vegas for another 1-3 weeks. So, no more updates until after I return.

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Last edited by Panther6834; 05-09-2020 at 01:17 AM.
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