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Old 04-05-2016, 06:06 PM   #1
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Default Most essential upgrades / mods?

Just got my ascender rolling, I got it barely used, almost new! I have good electronics waiting to go in (MMP, CC BEC, Holmes revolver, 7950) but I'm wondering what y'all deem the most essential upgrades to the crawler itself? It looks like it needs HD pinion gears, anything else?
I have read through pages of threads here, with many different opinions, and they all seem different, and changing over time, lol, so I'm looking for the current opinion...
I don't really do comps, so I'm not worried about the battery tray, etc.
Thanks!
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Old 04-05-2016, 06:19 PM   #2
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Default Re: Most essential upgrades / mods?

WHat you have should be good electronics wise, HD pinions and driveshafts, Wraith front swaybar setup on rear of Ascender and internally limit all 4 shocks by 9mm (3/8"), drill the shock pistons out with #55 drill bit, refill with 30wt oil, check all fasteners are tight and you should be good to go! Where's you pics?
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Old 04-05-2016, 06:21 PM   #3
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Default Re: Most essential upgrades / mods?

Welcome! I hope you have a lot of fun with your Ascender.

If your truck didn't come with HD pinions (neither did mine) then it probably didn't come with the heavy duty drive shafts.

I went with the MIP Ascender specific drive shafts (part number MIP14295) , but a lot of guys are using the Vaterra HD shocks (part number VTR232079). I have only heard good things about them and they are only $12.00.





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Old 04-05-2016, 06:30 PM   #4
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Default Re: Most essential upgrades / mods?

Im sure most will agree about fitting the HD pinion gears, also replacing the drive shafts and fitting the vaterra brand HD shafts or aftermarket brand shafts. 5mm diff input shafts are available too, so your free to fit any brand of drive shaft.

I replaced the plastic wheels for steel ssd beadlocks and CI foams, the weight of the wheels alone have let me make steeper climbs that were not possible before, so using that logic wheel weights would be even better again.

Also vaterra have a youtube clip now showing tips on loweeing the blazer body, trimming it for tyre clearance and lowering the shocks for improved ability.

Not to mention anything that guys like natdog have done to there rigs, rear swaybar, limiting shock travel etc....
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Old 04-05-2016, 06:51 PM   #5
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Default Re: Most essential upgrades / mods?

Both good advice, except I'm not a fan of wheel weights since it's rotating mass, a good set of aftermarket beadlocks like SSD are just the right amount of weight. Vaterra makes some sweet machined paintable brass brake rotors (wieights) that fit their machined aluminum knuckles for a little more weight down low that is non-rotating. I have not broken a plastic knuckle or C-hub yet on either of mine and I'm not easy on them!
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Old 04-05-2016, 09:14 PM   #6
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Default Re: Most essential upgrades / mods?

Thanks for the tips y'all! I usually prefer knuckle weights to heavy wheels, are there any options other than the vaterra rotor weights?
Oddly, it looks like my front drive shaft is the HD, and the rear is the standard...

Last edited by Turtlejon; 04-05-2016 at 09:54 PM.
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Old 03-05-2017, 08:02 AM   #7
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Default Re: Most essential upgrades / mods?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Natedog View Post
WHat you have should be good electronics wise, HD pinions and driveshafts, Wraith front swaybar setup on rear of Ascender and internally limit all 4 shocks by 9mm (3/8"), drill the shock pistons out with #55 drill bit, refill with 30wt oil, check all fasteners are tight and you should be good to go! Where's you pics?
I've done some searching, especially your threads, and found some of your plans for your shocks. I'm sure by now, you have determined your setup preference. I have the vaterra aluminums. I think all of it's replacement parts are the same as the stock shocks. Do you know if that is true?

If so, what is your setup now (if you don't mind my asking)? Did you settle on soft upper springs? Internal limiter? If so what size? Is an internal limiter placed on top of piston and clip to limit overall extension? Oil weight, drilling of pistons?

Thanks. I appreciate any help you can offer and understand if you don't have the time to at all!
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Old 03-05-2017, 03:07 PM   #8
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Default Re: Most essential upgrades / mods?

I've done the nate dog shock mods to the vaterra aluminum shocks. Seems that the internal shock parts are identical between the plastic stockers and the alum option shocks. So Nate's stock shock mods will work.

Put the spacers UNDER the piston on the shaft, inside the shock. This will limit shock down travel, essentially shortening the shock. Remove the rubber stops that come on the outside of the stock shocks. This will give you more up travel. You will end up with a truck that has a lower cog, and still have almost the same shock articulation.

You can drill out the shock pistons with the drill bit nate mentions above. The piston holes are too small for the 30 wt oil that comes in them. On the front shocks, I drilled them out and used 32.5 wt oil. On the rear shocks I've just swapped to a lower (22.5) wt of oil, and left the Pistons alone. The rears seem to work just fine with lower wt oil. I don't comp, so drilling them may be the ticket for ultimate performance, but I can't tell the difference between the two different ways that I fixed the shock issue. My truck is a good bit heavier than stock so you might want to go with 30 (if drilling pistons)or 20 wt (if just swapping to a thinner oil) for a stock weight truck. I'm still using the original stock springs (medium upper and lower I believe) that came in my kit.

When you remedy the shocks, torque twist will become more apparent. Especially if running 3s, and higher wheel speed setups. The simplest way to combat it is to add a rear sway bar. I made mine from scratch from music wire and some Traxxas 4x4 slash sway bar parts. You can use the axial swaybar mentioned above, but the softest bar that comes in the kit is too heavy. I believe Nate did some modding of the bar to make it less stiff. The problem with using a rear sway is that you lose a good bit of articulation on the rear axle, and it does not look scale... BUT...It does work and improves overall performance greatly.

The other way to combat the tt, is to move the upper rear links, and outboard the rear shocks. It's a more complicated and more expesive mod to do though. I'm not gonna get into how to do it cause I have not done it yet lol. But a very wonderful member here is working on a solution to incorporate the rear link mounts into some killer rock sliders for my k5

Don't know if it was mentioned above but, flip the rear bumper mount, and pull the bumpers in by using shorter spacers, or eliminating them to give better approach and descent clearance angles...
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Old 03-06-2017, 01:03 AM   #9
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Default Re: Most essential upgrades / mods?

I still like the 9mm internal limiters and I leave the external limiters on too. Kinda depends on your setup too. I'm running 30wt oil in my plastic shocks with the #55 drilled piston holes. My set of aluminum shocks feels good the way I got them, but Vaterra may changed the hole size, been awhile since I had them apart and don't recall at the moment. Glad that you're enjoying searching and reading threads, I really enjoy that too, getting new ideas and looking at all the pictures.
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Old 03-06-2017, 03:57 AM   #10
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Default Re: Most essential upgrades / mods?

I've built just a few crawlers but I come here to get them to function their best. Love this place!

Thanks for the responses guys. Exactly what I needed to know.
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Old 03-06-2017, 07:11 AM   #11
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Default Re: Most essential upgrades / mods?

The only stock components I've destroyed are the links. Mine bent like pretzels. Everything else is still stock.

Tires are always another great upgrade especially if you have stock tires.

I do think the MMP and Revolver are overkill so you're going to shred more parts than I have.
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Old 03-07-2017, 04:59 AM   #12
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Default Re: Most essential upgrades / mods?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Natedog View Post
I still like the 9mm internal limiters and I leave the external limiters on too. Kinda depends on your setup too. I'm running 30wt oil in my plastic shocks with the #55 drilled piston holes. My set of aluminum shocks feels good the way I got them, but Vaterra may changed the hole size, been awhile since I had them apart and don't recall at the moment. Glad that you're enjoying searching and reading threads, I really enjoy that too, getting new ideas and looking at all the pictures.
I'm just curious, the purpose of the limiters. Is this to prevent leaning over too far? I have read about the idea of too much articulation but unsure as to it's real effect.
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Old 03-07-2017, 11:34 PM   #13
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Default Re: Most essential upgrades / mods?

I noticed much steeper side Hillingdon after the mod.
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Old 03-08-2017, 03:57 AM   #14
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Default Re: Most essential upgrades / mods?

That was what I suspected.
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Old 03-08-2017, 06:33 AM   #15
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Default Re: Most essential upgrades / mods?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimjam View Post
I'm just curious, the purpose of the limiters. Is this to prevent leaning over too far? I have read about the idea of too much articulation but unsure as to it's real effect.
Internal limiters limit the extension of a shock effectively limiting their overall length. So installing a 9mm spacer inside the shock body will basically shorten the shocks by 9mm while also lowering your ride height by 9mm. This, of course, also limits articulation. The Ascender has a ton of articulation and it's too much without any limiters on the shocks.

Listen to Natedog. He's probably the most knowledgeable Ascender owner on this site.
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Old 03-08-2017, 08:29 AM   #16
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Default Re: Most essential upgrades / mods?

That's pretty clear! Thanks
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Old 03-08-2017, 05:56 PM   #17
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Default Re: Most essential upgrades / mods?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rag6 View Post
I noticed much steeper side Hillingdon after the mod.
Yes, and get all weight as low as possible in addition to this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JatoTheRipper View Post
Internal limiters limit the extension of a shock effectively limiting their overall length. So installing a 9mm spacer inside the shock body will basically shorten the shocks by 9mm while also lowering your ride height by 9mm. This, of course, also limits articulation. The Ascender has a ton of articulation and it's too much without any limiters on the shocks.

Listen to Natedog. He's probably the most knowledgeable Ascender owner on this site.
X2 and thanks! Itali83 did 5mm internal limiting and working great for him, everybody's terrain and driving style is different, so may not be perfect for everybody, but works great for me.
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Old 05-22-2017, 10:59 AM   #18
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Default Re: Most essential upgrades / mods?

Reviving an old thread, lol!
So, I have gotten SSD wheels, pitbulls, opened up the shock holes, limited them, and outboarded the rears. I've made some kydex skids, added a servo winch and light bar. I also upgraded to HD gears.
Soooo.... what's next??
I've heard mixed reviews of the rear upper link risers vs sway bar and / or GCM rear link mount...
I am trying to keep my budget somewhat reasonable, as much as I want the Codyboy axles and steering mods, that'll have to wait....
Any other affordable mods?
Thanks!
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Old 05-22-2017, 01:31 PM   #19
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Default Re: Most essential upgrades / mods?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turtlejon View Post
Reviving an old thread, lol!
So, I have gotten SSD wheels, pitbulls, opened up the shock holes, limited them, and outboarded the rears. I've made some kydex skids, added a servo winch and light bar. I also upgraded to HD gears.
Soooo.... what's next??
I've heard mixed reviews of the rear upper link risers vs sway bar and / or GCM rear link mount...
I am trying to keep my budget somewhat reasonable, as much as I want the Codyboy axles and steering mods, that'll have to wait....
Any other affordable mods?
Thanks!
One thing you can do if your not using your stock battery mount is swap them from left to right and use them as a free link riser.
Ernie
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Old 05-23-2017, 12:55 PM   #20
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Default Re: Most essential upgrades / mods?

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Originally Posted by CODYBOY View Post
One thing you can do if your not using your stock battery mount is swap them from left to right and use them as a free link riser.
Ernie
Awesome! clever use of existing materials!!

So, has everyone switched from the sway bar to the RULR type mounts? or both? and what about that GCM rear mount / truss? Does raising both points reduce the net benefit? I see a lot of comp style crawlers with that mount on the rear axle way up high, does this help with anti-squat? Does raising the front of the rear link achieve the opposite?

Thanks!
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