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Thread: The Maxx Project - Pt. 2

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Old 11-08-2022, 10:14 AM   #1
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Default The Maxx Project - Pt. 2

Crawling has gotten too easy.... you can just walk into a hobby shop, plunk down some money and walk out with a very capable machine.

Remember back in the day when people were out hitting the trails with whatever they had? There were some funky builds/conversions back then - I call it the TLT era since that's what kicked it of for me.

Anyway, I don't really post builds anymore, my SCX/TRX/Enduro/Marlins are pretty much just like anyone else's. I do like to post out of the ordinary stuff though, and I think this counts. I've been strolling down memory lane a lot lately, and am on a Maxx kick. Not the new Maxx, heavens no. I'm talking 1999 Maxx's, which I've discovered are dirt cheap and all over the place. I've been messing with a 1/5(ish) conversion, just restored a 1999 Pro .15 for fun as it was my favorite nitro of all time, and picked up a third to scratch some of the trail/crawl itch that came up when working on the other two. I picked up the last 2 trucks, fully complete, for all of $240. Not bad.

So anyway, taking full advantage of the "Maxx" Crawlers section on this site, let's build something! It's been a few weeks of "let's throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks" and I've been wrenching on a little of everything. I debated tearing my 1/5 down and rebuilding it closer to standard size, but what fun is that. Enter this filthy animal... late 2000 T-Maxx 2.5 with literally a pound of dirt on it. Anything nitro realted and usable will be stripped off and thrown in my spares pile for the nitro truck, and the rest? Well hells bells, lets get started.

As it arrived. Complete sans radio and utterly and completely filthy. "Nitro grime" is just nasty, this thing was caked so bad, it actually dyed the grey plastics shades of brown. I've never ever let my trucks get this nasty. My wife would never let me bring it into the house!




Tore it all down and gave it all a good long soak and scrub. Turns out that under the muck everything was in pretty good condition - a few bent screws in the bumpers and two bent hingepins, but all in all in pretty good shape. I was debating on a flat chassis, but I wanted to keep a higher breakover, so I bent up a steel plate roughly into the same shape as the lower chassis supports.


A cheap $20 3 gear trans will work, and hopefully bring down the gearing into the trail/crawl zone. I decided to flip it, and it took a little drilling to get the input shaft facing the right direction. I used an old axial mount plate ilo the stock one since it is directional. Gave the gears a good coat of R&T and mounted it pretty much in the center of the chassis. Used the stock spur for now with the smallest pinion I could find, I'm thinking some 32p gears are in my future eventually.



A bit of head scratching trying to get the 5mm outputs to mauch up with the 6mm inputs on the diffs. The stock traxxas trans outputs are 5mm, but they are so big they rubbed the spur. Not to mention I wanted a bigger spur eventually. After some thought, I realized I could jam in pede shafts to the old maxx shafts. So a dab of CA and some press fitting and I've got hybrid shafts. They feel super strong, but we'll see how they hold up.



For the upper chassis, I initially tried to use the nitro chassis... hacked out s spot for the transmission and it all fit - but some of the nitro cutouts were right where I needed some mounting locations, so I decided to bite the bullet and make a new one out of 2.5mm 6061.



Much better! Lopped off where the motor and gas tank would be since it was no longer needed.


Keeps the motor as low as possible too, pretty happy with how it came out.


I needed to tie the 2 chassis plates together, so I found some black ABS rod in my stash....cut out some 25mm sections, drilled and mounted. Very happy with how the chassis came together, it's solid as a rock and fairly low CG.


Enough mock up, it's time to assemble for real. Pulled the chassis apart and did some cleanup/speed holes on the upper plate and just painted the steel plate black.


As of right now, I'm waiting on some parts - diff lockers front and rear, as well as some stock driveshafts - the ones on the axle were fairly twisted, so I splured the $6 and ordered now ones.
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Old 11-08-2022, 11:25 AM   #2
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Default Re: The Maxx Project - Pt. 2

that looks like a really cool project
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Old 11-08-2022, 09:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: The Maxx Project - Pt. 2

Tires, body, so many questions. Looking forward to your build.
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Old 11-09-2022, 07:28 AM   #4
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Default Re: The Maxx Project - Pt. 2

Questions shall be answered.... body is here, tires not so much.

Driveshafts should be here today, so updates coming soon.
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Old 11-09-2022, 04:16 PM   #5
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Default Re: The Maxx Project - Pt. 2

Wow, that poor old truck deserves the love you're giving it. Looking forward to updates.
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Old 11-11-2022, 07:15 AM   #6
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Default Re: The Maxx Project - Pt. 2

Thank you sir! Truck was run hard, it warms my heart to see it. As Jeremy Irons said in one of my favorite movies: "Somebody had fun!"

Made a bit more progress! Front driveshafts came in and I got the front bulkhead reassembled and installed.


I have 10 of these 3Racing CR01 shocks (not sure why I have 10, thinking I lost 2 or they are mounted on something somewhere) and they are excellent shocks. As smooth as big mores imo, and they are the same length as the stockers so on they went. The shocks that came on the chassis were in surprisingly good shape - no leaks, though they were stained after years of grime. These look so much better and are smooth as butter! I apparently lost 4 adjustment collars too, so I used regular spring spacers on 4 of the shocks. I'll keep digging, they'll turn up eventually.


Made a simple tray to hold the battery and it bolts right to the chassis. it's mounted as far front as possible.


And just like that - servo installed (not the best for sure, but it'll get me rolling) and electronics all mounted. I tucked in the servo 1 inch towards the centerline from factory, and it took a bit of tweaking on the steering linkage to get everything moving smooth...


Finished chassis. Still has the ground clearance of stock, but the motor being down on the lower skid makes a huge difference in COG, you can just feel it handling the chassis. It has a decent front weight bias as well, I measured it at 55/45 which is pretty much perfect.


Wheels and tires...believe it or not, I had these PL Mashers new in package, I've had them for a long time. Mounted on some also new stock wheels. Very Maxx looking! Not sure if I want to stay with Maxx sized wheels or maybe look into something narrower. They are decently grippy and do have a contact patch the size of Rhode Island, so I've got that going for me which is nice.


Steering of course sucks. Knew that going in.... I have a few ideas though.


And just for fun... my workbench always looks decently clean in pics. It's all BS. I just shove all the tools and crap off to each side when I take a pic. It's an absolute mess right now. I didn't take a shot of the other side, it's piled with T-maxx leftovers.
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Old 11-14-2022, 11:34 PM   #7
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Default Re: The Maxx Project - Pt. 2

Very cool, canít wait to see it in action!
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Old 11-15-2022, 07:00 AM   #8
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Default Re: The Maxx Project - Pt. 2

Thank you - me too! It's been a fun project and has really come together quickly.

Body time! Tried out a few and nothing really looked right with the big wide suspension... Finally settled on the Cliffhanger which looked the best imo. It was previously mounted on my TRX4 so it has some holes on the hood, but it's not a show truck or a scaler, so why not?

First issue, the shape of the bed didn't work at all with the shock tower in the back. I could have mounted it with the stock mounts, but it would have been as high as Colorado on new years eve.



I was determined to use this body, so out came the dremel and I hacked out the body to clear the shock tower. Since I could not use the body mounts, I had to come up with plan B.... After an hour of futzing around, I came up with this. I took an old skidplate, cut out the top and shaped it to fit the body, then bolted it it to shock tower... it works perfectly. The body slides in and is trapped there, and the front is held on my pins. I tried to keep the TRX logo as I thought it was a nice touch.


Moved on to bumpers...I used the shorter front mounts both front and rear and just took some stock bumpers in questionable shape and cut them down. Good enough.



Body mounted, and ready for paint!



I have so many bodies to paint... easily my least favorite part of the hobby. Time to suck it up and get to work!
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Old 11-16-2022, 07:17 AM   #9
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Default Re: The Maxx Project - Pt. 2

Couldn't resist a little test before painting. I had planned to paint, but found my brine tank vomited all over the floor, and I've got the Bonneville Salt Flats in my basement. Before I got down to cleaning that mess, I went out and had a little fun.

Wasn't sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised. After some adjusting on the slipper, it actually wheels around pretty good. The truck is actually somewhat light compared to its nitro stepbrother and a single motor does fine. The Holmes 45t 550 is what I had to get started, and its geared low - it has gobs of torque, but almost no top end. I played with the gearing a bit, but the motor just doesn't have the RPM I'm looking for. Looking into some other options...


The legendary Maxx suspension. Tons of travel, even stock. Just as effective now as it was back in '99. It's a very different drive than a solid axle rig....it just floats across the yard, it's somewhat softly sprung and damped, so the suspension is hyperactive and the wheels are moving all over the place while the chassis is steady. Very cool to drive. It rocks back and forth under acceleration and braking as well, and just looks badass as it rumbles around.


Can it crawl? Well, yes. I just did some quick testing and the COG is extremely low. With the wide stance, steel lower plate, and the low motor mount, it's very, very stable. Not to mention the tires have contact patches the size of Rhode Island and are decently grippy, so I got that going for me which is nice. This truck is a sidehill champ, wasn't even working hard going around my "test tree"



It's not all popsicles and BJ's though, the steering is terrible as expected. I was debating 4WS like it's big brother, but decided not to go that way just yet - I can always adopt it later but I've got a few ideas on that first. Also, the Maxx shafts are pretty tough but I doubt that they'll make it though a full on trail run. There's some big tires and a lot of toque going on here. an upgrade to 3.3 specs might be worthwhile. Not to mention the usual drawbacks of independent suspension.... but I like it! Definitely worth the time invested, I love taking something designed for one thing and modding it for another.

Off to clean up salt.
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Old 11-16-2022, 07:27 AM   #10
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Default Re: The Maxx Project - Pt. 2

Thanks for sharing the project, itís cool to see something different!

Looks like it will be a fun rig


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Old 11-16-2022, 07:32 AM   #11
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Default Re: The Maxx Project - Pt. 2

Man, that Cliffhanger body looks great on there! It looks like it was meant to be on there! Great job on rigging up the rear body mounting and can't wait to see paint on it! Yeah my least favorite part is painting too!

This looks like a cool project and look forward to seeing more of it!
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Old 11-19-2022, 02:28 AM   #12
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Default Re: The Maxx Project - Pt. 2

Makes me miss the simpler times of a tmaxx with proline mashers and an abandoned rock quarry to play in. oh and cheap nitro lol. Looks great man, Body choice is nice fit and way different than anything you normally see on one of the emaxx\tmaxx platforms (not that you ""normally" see them anymore)
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Old 11-19-2022, 08:16 AM   #13
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Default Re: The Maxx Project - Pt. 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by 350TacoZilla View Post
Makes me miss the simpler times of a tmaxx with proline mashers and an abandoned rock quarry to play in. oh and cheap nitro lol.
Boy, that's the truth. Ordered a quart to play with his nitro brother and almost fell over at the price. Yikes!

Fully restored 1999 with a few options I had laying around, rebuilding this got me in the mood to build a crawler...it's been Maxx month here at the OSRC shop!


Paint comes today for both. Hopefully I'll get them sprayed this weekend.
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Old 11-25-2022, 10:15 AM   #14
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Default Re: The Maxx Project - Pt. 2

Finally broke down and did some painting. Knocked out 2 bodies, all simple schemes. The Crawler Maxx got some blue and black treatment, it fits right in with the rest of the fleet.



This was originally a 2.5 version, and these came with the Wide Maxx setup. Being so wide is what makes thing a sidehill killer....but I lose quite a bit of center clearance.


Compared to its nitro sibling with a standard 1999 suspension...it's about 1.5" narrower. Hmm....


I never throw anything away, and sometimes it comes in handy. Digging in my Maxx parts pile, low and behold, the original 1999 suspension! I upgraded mine back in the day to a wide setup and kept the original arms just in case. first time out of the box in what? 20 years?


Can see the width difference right away.


A few screws later, and its converted to a narrow Maxx! I'm sure I'll lose a bit of sidehill, but I like the look much, much better. It did change the shock geometry and it's quite a bit stiffer than before. Not sure if I want to mess with it or not. Think I'll see what it does out on the trail before swapping out springs. It's probably a good thing TBH. Nevermind the front bumper, I forgot to put the screws in before taking the pic.


I set the ride height to sag about 1" - that gives me about 3" of center clearance. Should be good.


Steering still sucks. I removed some material around the pivot balls, but there's just not much more to be had. Definitely thinking 4WS sometime in the future.


Took out the 45t Trailmaster and put in a 12t Crawlmaster. The smoother startup should come in handy, and it has a bit more RPM. Best of both worlds.


Just waiting on some turnbuckles - I had the arms, but the turnbuckles for steering and rear tow are long gone, used on a myriad of crawler builds over the years... I remember bolting them to my TLT frame back in the day. I found them for $6 a set, so went ahead and ordered them instead of fabbing something up.

Group photo! Recently restored (and freshly painted) Pro .15 T-Maxx and its crawler oriented sibling (I now call it the C-Maxx ). Once the 1/5 version is rolling again, I'll have to get a group pic.
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Old 11-25-2022, 11:03 PM   #15
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Default Re: The Maxx Project - Pt. 2

Those are a sweet pair of retro-Maxxes!

Way back when I was into fast R/C vehicles, I bought one each of the T and E Maxx, right when they were released...

Lost them and about a dozen other R/Cs ages ago in a fire - but below was how I had the E-Maxx kitted out last few times I drove it - don't mind the pic quality, this was a long time ago:
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Old 11-27-2022, 08:56 AM   #16
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Default Re: The Maxx Project - Pt. 2

I think everyone who has been in RC for along time has had at least 1 Maxx... they are definitely a cool platform! Sorry to hear about the fire, that's one of my greatest fears in the shop.
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Old 11-27-2022, 08:58 AM   #17
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Default Re: The Maxx Project - Pt. 2

Finally a trail day! I haven't been out since spring, some woods therapy was just what I needed.

Packed up some projects I haven't wheeled in a while, all 2.2 or larger. It's leaf season here in the NE and the trails are covered in leaves... the 2.2's have a much better time of it than the 1.9 rigs. Packed up the C-Maxx, Jato's old CR01, and my Crawler Yeti on its final outing.


The C-Maxx did fantastic. There were some guys leaving the trails when I arrived, and I ran into them as I was heading out. They looked at me like I had 3 heads when I came rumbling in with a Maxx truck, but after watching for a few minutes they were convinced. This beast just owned the woods, I had an absolute ball with this thing.



I have never get up this ledge with a 1.9, there's a small lip at the top that kicks you every time. The C-Maxx not only clawed it's way up using just grip (well, once, but I consider that a win) but I could hit it at 1/2 throttle, launch off the top, and let off the throttle - the truck evens out and just lands like it's on pillows. The Maxx suspension soaked up everything like marshmallows. It's has a great COG and balance too, so it can easily creep it's way back down.



Couldn't have picked a better rig to dig through the leaves. These big tires just evacuated everything under the truck.



I spent quite a while here jumping the truck.. the gearing is a bit tall so it was somewhat speedy. Plenty of oomph to get up some speed and jump off rocks. Watching this sky off the rock, square up and land plush never gets old. Kudos to Mr. Holmes, even though it was geared a bit tall, it had plenty of low speed resolution for crawling and the single 12t motor on 3S had no trouble launching the truck when needed. These Crawlmaster motors ae fantastic.


Not even a challenge.


This is our local "test rock" - I run all my trucks up and down this thing as a benchmark comparison...right side is tough, left side is all but impossible. A stock TRX4 won't make it up either side, it's more challenging than it looks. The easier right side was no problem, and it almost made the harder side... it will tip over backwards, but it's very predictable and gives you plenty of warning.


Winter screen saver...


So, the IS wasn't nearly the issue I thought it would be. It's a totally different drive than a solid axle, this truck just floats over the woods. Very cool to watch, and super stable all around. All I had to do was crank down on the slipper and I added a bit more preload to the shocks otherwise it help up great to nearly 2 hours of wheeling. I didn't get pics of the hill climbs per-se, but it did excellent there too. I've got another IS crawler in the works and this was definitely some motivation to keep wrenching in it.

Steering sucked as expected. Not a problem at all going down the trails, but if you need to make a tight cut while crawling, forget it. Definitely lave to keep it in mind when picking your line.... It's the only thing hindering this truck... not sure if I want to do 4WS or not. I think a touch of toe out in the rear will help as the rear tended to push the front quite a bit. Later I ran Jato's CR01 which has 4WS (and crappy steering...dogbones FFS!!) and it made all the difference.

To do list - debating an StealthX swap to give the front a bit of OD. There was a few times when I thought it would come in handy. OR maybe a 2 speed, not sure, I need to chew on it a bit. I've also been looking for some new tires...I'm torn on that one though, it's not a Maxx truck without those big meats hanging out there, and frankly they had much better grip than I expected. I mean, they are 3+ inches wide! Not quite sure what I want to do there yet. Also the shocks give me too much down travel and the driveshafts are rubbing the arms at full droop - not good. Easy fix though.

Last edited by OSRC; 11-27-2022 at 09:21 AM.
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Old 12-02-2022, 01:55 AM   #18
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Default Re: The Maxx Project - Pt. 2

Man, it looks like that big fit did quite well. I’d try the transmission swap before the tires and I agree, the big meats hanging out is just part of it.
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Old 12-02-2022, 07:02 AM   #19
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Default Re: The Maxx Project - Pt. 2

I did find some wheels, no mean feat for a T-maxx. Exceed makes some 2.8 crawler wheels and tires that should easily clear the knuckles and be decently grippy. I might order some to mess with if a set comes up on the cheap, but I do like the stock size.

I looked into the 2-speed and the orientation is not right, so the Element trans it is. Definitely put it on the winter build list.
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Old 12-02-2022, 08:45 AM   #20
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Default Re: The Maxx Project - Pt. 2

since the steering sucks why not go with a dig set up or would the trans shaft position be wrong for that too
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