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Old 06-25-2015, 10:46 AM   #1
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Default Natedog's Vaterra ASCENDER

As my two runners sit currently!








It was about time for me to post my Ascender, still mostly stock but lots of fun. I love kits, but bought the RTR for several reasons:
Short on time these days
I like the stock red with white roof paint job (I need new airbrush too and can't decide which one to buy )
Wanted to try out the Vaterra waterproof esc (all my other crawlers use Tekin FXR)
RTR tires can be baked off to install beadlocks

RIght out of the box, this truck is 100 times better than any Axial! It's got all the options that I've spent tons of money on for my Axials already incorporated! The fit and finish is way better, no sloppy rod ends, plastic links, wobbly knuckles and c-chubs, loose sloppy transmission input shaft that floats up and down and walks in and out on the topshaft bearings, shocks that don't leak, tires and foams that don't fold over to the rim on sidehills....I could go on but you get the idea. Plastic is much sturdier and more precisely molded too. There were a few screws little bit loose (better than stripped), that was easily fixed during my initial pre-run once over. The front end had a little kinda wobbliness to it during sharp turning that others have mentioned, I found the front axles (CVDs) were out of phase with each other. If you turn the wheels all the way to either side and look at the CVD pins and barrels they were 90* off from each other. Simple and quick fix, pulled a steering knuckle off, pulled axle (CVD) out slightly to disengage it from the spool (ring gear), rotated 90*, pushed the CVD back into the spool, and reinstalled the knuckle with C-hub attached. Torque twist is not really noticeable until I put the big tall Blazer body on, but it doesn't hinder performance much. I lowered the ride height by loosening spring pre-load adjusters (with suspension un-loaded, wheels off the ground) until the springs just touch the adjusters.

This thing crawls great!

Mine came with HD driveshafts and pinion gears already installed, need to take a peak inside the diffs and see if the heavy duty pinions are there too, but I bought spares when I bought the truck just in case.

Installed the HR aluminum diff covers, nice pieces. As soon as the SSD Diff Covers were released, I replaced the Hot Racing with SSD Diff Covers, which are much stronger, thicker and nicer looking little machined aluminum works of art.
Black:
http://www.ssd-rc.com/rock-shield-di...-ascender.html

Silver anodized:
http://www.ssd-rc.com/rock-shield-di...-(silver).html

Spools, Axle Gears and Shimming:
I've been beating mine hard too and so far everything's holding up just fine. Even did some forward reverse full throttle the other day, just to see if the diffs would blow and it's still on original set of HD pinion gears and drive-shafts. Also been letting everybody drive it, hopping and bouncing at full throttle on steep climbs, steering full lock in both directions, lots of tumbles mostly on 2S, but some 3S.

Shimming the diffs (spools), my Blazer came with both shims on the wrong side in the front diff and the rear had one on each side, so I swapped both factory shims to the side to push the ring gear closer to the pinion. I read on here somewhere that somebody added a third shim to the same side. The stock shims are about 0.004" thick or just under, the CRC (Calandra Racing Concepts) 8mm shims I bought are about 0.006" thick, I added one to the stack for total of three shims about 0.014" total thickness. The diff still spun smoothly, but it barely had any backlash so I took one of the stock thinner shims and moved it to the opposite side (away from the ring gear) which gave me just the right amount of backlash. This ended up being 0.010" thick on the ring gear side and 0.004" on the side opposite the ring gear. Added a little extra grease to the gears too.

CRC (Calandra Racing Concepts) shims, IIRC I bought shims at LHS RC Country in Sacramento, but I see A-Main Hobbies has them online and they are good source. Shims for ring gear (spool) and pinion, I bought steel Calandra Racing 6mm shims for the pinion and 8mm for the ring gear...just in case they needed tightened up a little (only the spool needed shimmed).
https://www.teamcrc.com/crc/modules....category_id=79


Shock Springs:
Vaterra Ascender Upper Shock Spring Set Soft,Med,Hard(2ea.) PART NUMBER: VTR233029. According to Horizon, "The RTR and Kit come with the "medium" rate springs. These can be identified by the Silver mark on the spring itself. The firm springs are identified with a green mark, while the soft spring is identified with a Yellow mark." I want to soften the short upper springs to get ride height down little more while still maintaining spring contact with the adjuster and bottom spring cup at full droop, the soft springs should do the trick!

Lower Shock Spring Set Soft, Medium, Hard (2): ASN VTR233030, these are color coded same as the upper springs.

RTR Ascenders come with silver (medium) upper and lower springs on all four shocks.


Batteries:
I usied Turnigy 1300 and 2200 3S smaller packs in it to start with, because it's what I was using in my SCX10 Honcho and Wraith, but have since bought several good hardcase shorty packs that fit the stock battery tray very nicely.

Turnigy 1300mAh 3S 20C Lipo Pack
Turnigy 1300mAh 3S 20C Lipo Pack

Turnigy Heavy Duty 2200mAh 3S 60C Lipo Pack
Turnigy Heavy Duty 2200mAh 3S 60C Lipo Pack (US Warehouse)

Switched to Team Orion Carbon Pro 4500 100C 7.4V Shorty Pack, I like the low speed control of 2S without swapping pinion.

I bought several SMC Batteries Factory Spec 7.4V Shorty 4400mAh 60C Inboard (Product Code: 4460-2S2P)
http://www.smc-racing.net/index.php?...product_id=121

Current LIHV batteries run for 3-4 hours
https://www.amainhobbies.com/protek-...116-19/p846216

Transmission and 2-Speed (Two-Speed) Option:
Will install two-speed tranny later so 2S should be fine, may go hotter motor later too.
Batteries :: Lipo :: Competition :: Carbon Pro 4500 100C 7.4V Shorty Pack - Team Orion


Body Height and Mounting:
I lowered the body two post holes front and rear, trimmed 1/4" off front and rear of body, the sides still have about another 1/4" between them and nerf bars. Looks better and can go down one more hole front and rear on the mounts, I've already trimmed the front and rear of the wheel openings to clear the stock tires with the body lowered. Only trimmed off about 1/8" at front and rear edges of wheel wells to clear with lowered body, I think the body looks pretty good at this height, but am tempted to go one hole lower front and rear...leaving as is for now. It's easy to cut more, difficult to put it back. Might trim the front wheel openings at the tops to clear during full flex travel and turning as it still has very minor occasion rubbing there and I like the look of the body.


Tires:
Vaterra TSL listed as 4.5" tall, but I haven't measured them, the size is perfect for the Blazer body. They are pretty sticky once cleaned with Simple Green and water, driving them more helps too but not as quickly. They work very well on all terrain, including mud, loose dirt, sand and rock and clean out all except the stickiest clay mud. With more horsepower, they should clean out even sticky clay mud.


Foams:
Vaterra Swampers on RC4WD 6-lug White Steel Wagon Wheel beadlocks are using Crawler Innovations Deuce's Wild Single Stage 1.9 Pitbull Rock Beast Foam
https://www.rpphobby.com/product_p/cwr-3001.htm

http://crawlerinnovations.com/deuces...ast-foam-pair/

Vaterra Swampers on SSD beadlocks on K10 are using 1.9" Single Stage Closed Cell Rock Crawling Foam Inserts for Pro-Line 1.9” XL Tires
https://www.prolineracing.com/foam/1...-foam-inserts/


RTR Steering Servo:
Spektrum SPMS605, 9KG Servo, WP, Metal, 23T
Gear Type: Metal
Servo Type: Digital
Speed: .24 sec/60 degrees @ 6.0V
Torque: 161 oz-in @ 6.0V

Current servo in all my Ascenders, HS-7955TG High Torque, Titanium Gear, Coreless Ultra Premium Servo
Part No: 37955S
https://hitecrcd.com/products/servos...7955tg/product

Stock plastic servo horn and servo are hanging in there for months, but I have replaced it with Hitec HS7950-TH servo, second RTR gets the Hitec HS7955-TG which survived my Wraith, but wanted more power there. Dynamite aluminum servo horns are on both trucks, they fit very snugly on the servo output splines, are perfect length using the outermost linkage hole, have survived on my SCX10 through Axialfest, and are inexpensive. These are available in black, blue and red. They are nice and compact, the lower arm profile allows me to get full suspension up-travel of the shocks and just touch the arm at full compression (stock plastic arm and many clamping horns do not). Clamping horns are unecessary on most RC, a good quality metal arm with Loctited screw and washer is all that is required.


Part Number: DYN2561
1/2 Machined Aluminum Servo Arm: HRC Black
http://www.dynamiterc.com/Products/D...ProdID=DYN2561



Body looks sweet on my Wraith but probably have to cut too much to clear the tires. Ascender front end peaking out of right side of pic on workbench, need to get some of my trail pics.




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Good links!
------------
How to convert Ascender transmission to two-speed (2-speed)
http://www.rccrawler.com/forum/vater...two-speed.html

Things to know before you start building your Ascender
http://www.rccrawler.com/forum/vater...-ascender.html

Ascender photo archive
http://www.rccrawler.com/forum/vater...o-archive.html

Last edited by Natedog; 08-15-2019 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 06-25-2015, 11:55 AM   #2
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Default Re: Natedog's Vaterra ASCENDER

I think they are great trucks, Mine is proving very capable. I just bought a second one for a shorter WB build.
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Old 06-25-2015, 11:58 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OSRC View Post
I think they are great trucks, Mine is proving very capable. I just bought a second one for a shorter WB build.
Yes, me too, I love mine! My SCX sits on the workbench with a bent and twisted frame at the moment and I'm having very little desire to fix my Axial because I'm enjoying my Ascender! My Wraith is boring me with it's too wide track too and I even considered parting out or selling my Wraith, but may do a 1.9 with some Ascender axles.

Update: Sold my Wraith axles!

Last edited by Natedog; 11-11-2015 at 12:29 AM.
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Old 06-25-2015, 02:42 PM   #4
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Default Re: Natedog's Vaterra ASCENDER

I agree with you Natedog. While I was looking at the Ascender I weighed the cost of the kit verses the RTR and it just made since to go ahead and get the RTR. It came with a lot of stuff I had to buy as upgrades for my SCX10.

My TF2 is going to hit the auction block. I just can't get into the 1.55 scale.
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Old 06-25-2015, 02:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcbeatty View Post
I agree with you Natedog. While I was looking at the Ascender I weighed the cost of the kit verses the RTR and it just made since to go ahead and get the RTR. It came with a lot of stuff I had to buy as upgrades for my SCX10.

My TF2 is going to hit the auction block. I just can't get into the 1.55 scale.
Yes, RTR had stuff I wanted and can always use a spare radio so buddies without scalers can crawl with us and get a taste of the fun too! Although I'm more apt to drive this and let them use one of my other crawlers.

I really love the look of the TF2 and D90, but they are fragile and hard to get parts for imo. Heck most any body can be mounted on the Ascender chassis, but so far I love the old Blazer look and the detail of the grill with lexan body...I know I would destroy a hardbody, but they look nice. 1.55 is also a little small for me too.
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Old 06-26-2015, 01:11 AM   #6
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Default Re: Natedog's Vaterra ASCENDER

Look for the TRA2820 on Hobbyking... 2200mAh packs, 2s.

You can mount 2 of theses in parallel on the tray for a 4400mAh pack.

This is what I run.
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Old 06-26-2015, 10:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilmarilS View Post
Look for the TRA2820 on Hobbyking... 2200mAh packs, 2s.

You can mount 2 of theses in parallel on the tray for a 4400mAh pack.

This is what I run.
Thanks, those are nice and compact, I've used many of their lipos, but haven't tried the Nano-Tech.

Turnigy nano-tech 2200mah 2S 40~80C Lipo Pack (TRA2820 Traxxas compatible 1/16 models), PRODUCT ID: 9210000008
Specs:
Capacity: 2200mAh
Voltage: 2S1P / 2 Cell / 7.4V
Discharge: 40C Constant / 80C Burst
Weight: 119.6g (including plug & case)
Dimensions: 87 x 19 x 34mm
Discharge Plug: Traxxas compatible plug




I've been running these in my Honcho, nice packs but little bit longer.

Turnigy Heavy Duty 2200mAh 3S 60C Lipo Pack, PRODUCT ID: T2200.3S.60
Features:
Wide tabs with copper coating for superior power transfer
Super high 60C discharge rate
Perfect for high performance models
Heavy duty silicone wire leads
Specs:
Capacity: 2200mAh
Configuration: 3S1P / 11.1v / 3Cell
Constant Discharge: 60C / 120C (Burst)
Weight: 198g
Dimension: 107 x 27 x 34mm
Charge Plug: JST-XH
Discharge plug: XT60
Wire Gauge: 12AWG
Turnigy Heavy Duty 2200mAh 3S 60C Lipo Pack

Last night I opened the diffs and found that mine came with HD pinions already installed. The front diff had both shims on the wrong side and the rear had one on each side, so I swapped them both to the side to push the ring gear closer to the pinion. I read on here somewhere that somebody added a third shim to the same side. The stock shims are about 0.004" thick or just under, the CRC 8mm shims I bought are about 0.006" thick, I added one to the stack for total of three shims about 0.014" thick. The diff still spun smoothly, but it barely had any backlash so I took one of the stock thinner shims and moved it to the opposite side (away from the ring gear) which gave me just the right amount of backlash imo. Added a little extra grease and installed Hot Racing aluminum diff covers, the driveline is now super smooth and should be a little stronger.

It was late and I forgot to check that both front CVDs are in phase with each other when I reassembled it.
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Old 06-26-2015, 11:09 AM   #8
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Bought a 2S Orion shorty pack last night to try out, I like the stock battery tray and am going to use it.

Team Orion 2S "Carbon Pro" 100C Li-Poly Shorty Pack Battery w/4mm Tubes (7.4V/4500mAh)
http://www.amain.com/rc-cars/team-or...i14066/p276944

Last edited by Natedog; 06-26-2015 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 06-26-2015, 03:50 PM   #9
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I'm using the Dynamite Reaction 4000 mah 50c single battery.

I have had less than stellar success with the Turnigy 5200mah in my other trucks. The first issue was with the soldering of the wires. These bat's, had 2 of them, had problems with the aluminum lead wires breaking at the connector. I have a problem with electronic components making a copper connection to aluminum wire. One of my 2 failed open and I sold the other one.
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Old 06-26-2015, 06:24 PM   #10
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Thanks for the input and yes aluminum used for any electrical connection is cheap xxxx, although I've had pretty good experience with Turnigy soft pack lipos.

Last edited by Natedog; 07-16-2015 at 12:51 PM.
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Old 06-27-2015, 05:21 AM   #11
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Lets see some more pics NatedogYou brought up my old Ascender kit thread from last sept last week I Ran it some but in December bought a RTR and find I prefer it for that cool scale factor and great performance.
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Old 06-27-2015, 04:40 PM   #12
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Hello everybody, this is my first post. If you get those SSD beadlocks Natedog, could you tell me if they work with the stock ascender tires and such? Thank you.
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Old 06-27-2015, 08:15 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by truckbob View Post
Lets see some more pics NatedogYou brought up my old Ascender kit thread from last sept last week I Ran it some but in December bought a RTR and find I prefer it for that cool scale factor and great performance.
Will do, thanks. I liked your thread, did you add your RTR to that thread, new thread or? You just liked the pre-painted body or?

EDIT: The SSD wheels work with the stock Vaterra tires.

Quote:
Originally Posted by radendafox View Post
Hello everybody, this is my first post. If you get those SSD beadlocks Natedog, could you tell me if they work with the stock ascender tires and such? Thank you.
Hi and welcome to the board! According to Harley's build thread a a couple other peeps on here they work. I will post up if I get them.

Went crawling at the lake yesterday after work, lots of blasting around on 3S and 2S, nohting broken yet lol. Love this truck looks great and crawls great especially for box stock RTR! I'm preferring it on 2S because that first startup step is smoother, slower and more controllable for realistic scale driving. Stock esc and radio don't have concave throttle profile like high end stuff, but works very well.

Last edited by Natedog; 01-12-2016 at 04:37 PM.
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Old 06-27-2015, 08:34 PM   #14
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Not gonna lie i am liking the look of the wraith axles under the truck. Makes the body look normal size for once.
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Old 06-28-2015, 03:19 AM   #15
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HD pinions!
























Last edited by Natedog; 03-05-2018 at 05:10 PM.
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Old 06-28-2015, 10:08 AM   #16
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Killing me! I'm out here working (CA), the scenery and terrain is killer, your photos are awesome! Didn't dare pack one of my rigs given the crap I went through once bringing one to TX. No place that matches your crawl spot at home in southern MI!
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Old 06-28-2015, 01:16 PM   #17
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@Joe122, pm'ed you.
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Old 06-28-2015, 05:02 PM   #18
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I'm deciding on new lower links for my Blazer, stockers are not bent yet but I know that's just matter of time...even my Wraith bent some VP ti lower links lol. The Ascender stock links are aluminum and even thinner than SCX stock links, which I bent....they turned into self made high clearance links after awhile.

I've seen the Hot Racing and Vaterra aluminum knuckles, c-hubs and rear lockouts at my LHS, they are both pretty nice. Vaterrra are definitely nicer looking and beefier, but HR is about half the cost. I'll go with the Vaterra when it's time due to the quality.

I'm thinking about lowering Blazer body on mine too. Looks like most peeps are cutting the sides about 1/16" above the bottom of the doors or?

Any problems with the larger Axial clamping servo horn hitting links on supsension compression?
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Old 06-28-2015, 05:37 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Natedog View Post
Any problems with the larger Axial clamping servo horn hitting links on supsension compression?
I've seen a few guys running the axial horn on the Ascender, but it was too close for comfort when I tried mounting mine. Basically rubbing on the panhard bar, so I went with the stock plastic one for now. I'm sure I will have to replace it eventually.
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Old 06-28-2015, 06:27 PM   #20
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That's what it looked like was going to do, LHS was temporarily out of the Vaterra aluminum clamping servo horn that has more clearance. I'll wait for it to come back in stock or hit up RPP Hobby. So far knock on wood my stock plastic horn is holding up lol.
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