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  1. #1
    RC Qualifier FlyingTigerDad's Avatar
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    My Wife's "Spare Parts" Rustler Track Build

    As the title indicates, I'm building a Rustler for my wife out of the spare parts that I've accumulated over time. Just to give you a little background, I have a racing Rustler build thread going https://traxxas.com/forums/showthrea...ng-Long-Read!) for the last 6 month's or so, and as I've made my modification/upgrades I wound up with quite a few extra parts left over from my trucks XL5 beginnings. I've also done a bit to my son's 2WD Slash over the last year and a half that has added to the pile of extras as well. So, one day after I posted a recent list of everything that I have done to my truck, it hit me that I had almost enough parts on-hand to build a entirely new truck. When I mentioned this to my wife in passing, she said "Can you build a truck for me?" Well, Duh! there's an open invitation if I ever heard one! Not only have I been very fortunate that she has supported my love for this hobby, but even more so that she has expressed an interest in participating in it with me.

    While the goal is obviously to build a track worthy truck for my wife, the purpose of this separate thread is to hopefully help and/or inspire those out there that either have a similar pile of parts sitting around, or that want to be able to piece something together that they can enjoy for minimal cost. The advantage here, for those who don't have the $200-$300 up front to purchase a complete truck, is that you get to "pay as you go".

    One final thing I want to clarify before I get to the truck itself. This is not going to be a "race truck" build. It is being built to run at the track, because that's where I run, and that's where my wife wants to run as well. While my wife enjoys the atmosphere of the track, she has no interest whatsoever in the thought of actually racing. That being the case, I am not building a duplicate of my truck. This build is going to incorporate many things that will be quite different. The only real similarities will be the "shared" wheels & tires that we will use, and the basic suspension settings to make it handle well.

    So, now on to the truck... Last weekend i rummaged around and got all of the pieces together in one place that I knew I had. I needed to see them so I could figure out what I was missing and would need to purchase to complete a truck. Once I got that done I just started putting things together until I couldn't go any further. What I found was that hardware, of all things, was what I lacked the most. I was able to get most of a "roller" together and most of trans as well, but I lacked the proper sized screws, nuts or washers for certain locations to finish an assembly to install on the truck. on the first day I managed to get this far...
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    As I made my list of the various hardware I needed to order, I also came across some other odds and ends that I had never replaced on my truck, so didn't have extras of - like shock caps that weren't plastic, front axles, rear axles, etc. So before I placed my order I though I would step outside the "minimal expenditure" box and splurge on just a bit of bling for her. Since I needed aluminum shock caps & castor blocks, I decided to get some of the new Traxxas "Pink Edition" ones - and while I was at it (for only a few bucks each) I got a pink front & rear bumper and wheel nuts as well. My wife has been more than generous with things I've wanted for my truck, I figure the least I can do is make hers both a little special, and something she'll be proud to take to the track - not just a "junkyard" build.
    Here's the next phase I was able to complete...
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    You'll notice that it has an XL5 ESC & titan motor - I'm starting with that since I have 2 of each leftover from mine & my son's truck builds. As she gets better I'll upgrade to some type of brushless system, but in the meantime if anything happens to either, I still have backups for both.

    So, that's about as far as I've gotten to date. I still have a some assembly to complete while I wait on a few more small items to arrive. Once I get to a more complete state with the truck, I'll post some setup info as well as a few particulars in the things that I've done.
    Last edited by FlyingTigerDad; 01-11-2017 at 05:24 PM.

  2. #2
    RC Qualifier FlyingTigerDad's Avatar
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    I got a bunch of hardware the other day and had some time to finish putting a few things together.
    [IMG][/IMG]

    Among those were, getting the transmission in, the shocks on & the front body mount installed. You'll also notice that I got a few "extras" in the pile of hardware - one of those being an STRC hardened hinge pin set, so I could replace the factory screw in pins that have a tendency to back out all the time, and the other being some RPM arms. Now I had an extra set of RPM stock replacement arms from my build before I replaced them with the wide arms conversion, but I wanted to try something different on this truck. I went with the 2WD Slash rear arms and the new "offset compensating" front arms to do the (sort of) narrow mod. I say sort of, because the Traxxas Lite wheels have much less offset than either the stock front or rear wheels- thus widening the truck considerably. With the narrower arms the truck should still be a good amount wider than the stock 12.25", but narrower than the well over 13" of my truck with the wide arm conversion - I estimate somewhere between 12.5"-12.75", which should be perfect. I wanted the truck a little wider for some added stability, but not over 12.75" to make it a tad easier for my wife to negotiate the tighter turns.

    Since I purchased an RPM gearbox for her truck as well (on sale for $13!!) I was able to use the 0 degree toe blocks and maintain 3 degrees of toe-in from the RPM Slash arms, as well as having the added benefit of an aluminum motor plate for heat dissipation.

    I'm still waiting on some wheel hex pins (only had one extra of those - weird) to be able to mount the wheels and do some alignment. Also need to come up with a steering servo to steering linkage rod to complete the steering set up - I have a bunch of short titanium rods from my old Losi race trucks, and a handful of Traxxas rods ends, so that should be pretty simple.

    With the arrival of all of the needed hardware, I did also use some to replace all of the phillips head screws with the black hex head - really don't like the phillips hardware. So, that's where the truck is at today - much further along and only lacking a radio & the ability to mount wheels & tires...
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    Last edited by FlyingTigerDad; 01-12-2017 at 10:54 AM.

  3. #3
    RC Turnbuckle Jr.
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    Sounds fun


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  4. #4
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    Great progress! My wife would probably get mad if I brought home another car haha.

  5. #5
    RC Qualifier FlyingTigerDad's Avatar
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    Yeah, I hear ya! I feel for the guys in our hobby that don't get the support from their better half that I do. I'm extremely grateful to have the best track buddy a guy could ask for. lol.

  6. #6
    RC Qualifier FlyingTigerDad's Avatar
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    Well I received the last little bits an pieces that I needed the other day and had a chance to work on the truck last night and this morning. I got the wheels and tires mounted, did all of the alignment adjustments, made a steering linkage rod and put the Traxxas radio out of my truck into my wife's truck. With all of that done, I got to take it out on it's first run on the street to test everything out. It ran and drove really well. I did make a last minute gearing change to 19/86, so it was actually quite fast with the 7 cell NiMh battery I used for the test run.

    Setting my truck and hers side by side, it really surprised me how different they really are, considering they're the same kind of truck. Despite this they do drive and handle very much the same, since they do share very similar setups in terms of suspension settings. I do have some details to go into about some of the particulars on her truck, but that will have to wait for the next update. For now here's the latest pics...
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    And one side-by-side comparison shot.
    [IMG][/IMG]

  7. #7
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    Lookin' good! What are you doing for a body? Custom or the pink edition Rustler one?

  8. #8
    RC Qualifier FlyingTigerDad's Avatar
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    Thanks Infamous. Funny you should ask - I just painted a body for her today! It's a nice custom job, but I think you may recognize the paint scheme.

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    Last edited by FlyingTigerDad; 01-15-2017 at 10:30 PM.

  9. #9
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    I like it so far. Are you keeping the Titan or going brushless? I like my daughters rustler with the Titan on 2s. It kept up with a brushless rusty.
    Traxxas E-Revo,Traxxas Rustler VXL,Traxxas T-Maxx

  10. #10
    RC Qualifier FlyingTigerDad's Avatar
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    Thanks, SandSlinger. I'm going to keep the Titan in it for the time being, until she gets used to driving on the track a bit. I still have another extra XL5 & Titan motor combo from my son's Slash, so if anything happens to it I'm covered for awhile. At some point in time I'll get a decent brushless system for it, but that will be a ways off. And I definitely agree about the speed - with any of my 2S LiPo's it's really plenty fast enough for her.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingTigerDad View Post
    Thanks Infamous. Funny you should ask - I just painted a body for her today! It's a nice custom job, but I think you may recognize the paint scheme.

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    Very nice! I might need to send you a body for paint!

  12. #12
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. JerrysMaxx's Avatar
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    Nice job FTD! I have always liked those rims, may have to look for a set for mine.
    T/SportMax/Slayer Pro/Bandit
    Stampede/Rustler

  13. #13
    RC Qualifier FlyingTigerDad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by InfamousRusty View Post
    Very nice! I might need to send you a body for paint!
    Thanks man, always will be glad to help another Traxxas Forum member/Rustler fanatic out, but I'm far from an expert with the painting thing. All of my body's are just done with rattle cans and masking tape - never bothered to get an airbrush, to much hassle. Besides, I always figured they just get beat up on the track anyway.

  14. #14
    RC Qualifier FlyingTigerDad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JerrysMaxx View Post
    Nice job FTD! I have always liked those rims, may have to look for a set for mine.
    Thanks for the kind words Jerry - much appreciated. And yeah, I think the Traxxas Lite wheels are some of the best looking dished wheels out there too.
    Last edited by FlyingTigerDad; 01-16-2017 at 08:08 PM.

  15. #15
    RC Qualifier RCMad72's Avatar
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    Very nice!! I wish my girlfriend would support the hobby, but she doesn't so what can I say. Here's a couple pics of my recent spare parts build.

    http://i1320.photobucket.com/albums/...&1484621618041

    http://i1320.photobucket.com/albums/...&1484621618041

    After I put a wood bed in it.


    http://i1320.photobucket.com/albums/...&1484621618038

  16. #16
    RC Qualifier FlyingTigerDad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RCMad72 View Post
    Very nice!! I wish my girlfriend would support the hobby, but she doesn't so what can I say. Here's a couple pics of my recent spare parts build.

    http://i1320.photobucket.com/albums/...&1484621618041

    http://i1320.photobucket.com/albums/...&1484621618041

    After I put a wood bed in it.


    http://i1320.photobucket.com/albums/...&1484621618038
    Thanks RCMad. I love your spare parts build. I think what I like the most about these types of builds is not just putting to good use parts that would otherwise just be sitting around doing nothing, but the amazing innovations people come up with when doing them.
    Very nice truck too, by the way. I've always liked the Proline "66 pickup body - nice job on the wood bed!

  17. #17
    RC Qualifier RCMad72's Avatar
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    Thanks FTD, the '66 Ford is one of my favorite trucks ever built, so I figured why not build a car just for that body. If you haven't figured it out it's a Jato frame and front end with a Slash tranny, wheels, and front hubs.

  18. #18
    RC Qualifier FlyingTigerDad's Avatar
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    While I have few minutes I thought I would go into some of the details about this build that contained some things that are different than those on my truck. The first being the selection of the control arms - going with the "narrow" mod, instead of the wide mod. As I mentioned earlier, I used RPM 2WD Slash rear arms, and RPM's new offset compensating front arms. I wanted to see if these would widen the truck overall from stock with the Traxxas Lite wheels, as well as keep things an even width from front to rear. Now that everything is mounted up & aligned, I'm happy to report that this is exactly the case. I measured front & rear track width and they are exactly 12.5" wide - one quarter inch wider than stock and the same front to rear.

    Another difference in our trucks is the diff. Since I replaced the stock diff in my truck with a Hot Racing sealed unit, the stock diff is what I had to use in her truck. But, I didn't want to put it in completely stock. I've had an idea kicking around in my head that I wanted to try on my son's stock Slash diff, but just haven't had the time to try it out, so this was the perfect opportunity. Many people (particularly the 2WD Slash guys) have tried all sorts of fluids or lubricants in the stock diff, and there are just as many mods that people have done to seal the stock diff as well. I wanted to try my version of these and see how they worked. Since I work in the automotive industry, I used a fairly thick synthetic based wheel bearing grease in the diff. The reasoning being quite simple - on a full sized car, this grease is extremely heavy duty, high temperature stuff & doesn't break down or thin out. Therefore, the likelihood of this to easily leak out is pretty slim. Not wanting to rely just on that though, I also used an automotive RTV high temp silicone sealer to seal the diff. I put a bead around the two case halves where they meet and around the screw heads/openings as well. The only thing I didn't do in the sealing process was the output stub shaft o'ring mod that a lot of guys do. It just seamed like a great deal of effort to do that and wind up with a barely better sealing/mating surface than the stock setup. Maybe with an actual "fluid" instead grease this would be beneficial, but for a pretty thick grease it just doesn't seem necessary. With this done and now in the truck, my initial impression is that this is the way to go on a stock diff. The diff action is just as good as the sealed diff in my truck just by "feel", and in the way the truck drives and handles - at least during my test runs on the street. I've run the truck fairly hard to do a thorough shake down and make sure it's good to go before I let my wife take it to the track, and so far the diff mod shows no signs of any problems and/or leaks. Time and track torture tests will tell, but if it works as well as I think it will, then I'll be doing this setup to my son's Slash too.

    I did move the ESC off the center mounting plate to the left side of the chassis for better weight distribution when I put the radio gear in - I just never cared for having those mounted so high. To me it always seemed to make more sense in terms of side-to-side balance with the opposing receiver on the right, as well as keeping the center of gravity as low as possible.

    Setup-wise, everything else is pretty close to the same as my truck, with the exception of the rear shocks. I went with 37.5wt Losi shock oil in both the front and the rear, instead of the 37.5wt front, 35wt rear on my truck. The purpose of that is to help offset the heavier rear-biased weight using primarily NiMh battery's in her truck for now. I will put up a complete setup list in a future post, once the truck has hit the track and any final fine tuning adjustments have been made. I do have a few last minute things to do before that - I purchased a Traxxas 2518 fiberglass front shock tower (only $4.99 - you really can't go wrong!) that should arrive today, and when I get that in I want to play with the roll center adjustment a bit.

    Here are some pictures that don't have anything to do with this post - I just like the way the "family team" paint schemes look
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  19. #19
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. JerrysMaxx's Avatar
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    Lucas Red and Tacky is all I use in my diffs. Thicker than any automotive grease I used from our shop.
    T/SportMax/Slayer Pro/Bandit
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  20. #20
    RC Qualifier FlyingTigerDad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JerrysMaxx View Post
    Lucas Red and Tacky is all I use in my diffs. Thicker than any automotive grease I used from our shop.
    I haven't used that one for anything yet, but every Lucas product I have used has been great and top notch.

  21. #21
    RC Qualifier FlyingTigerDad's Avatar
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    I received the SRT fiberglass shock tower and got it installed on her truck today - pretty straight forward and no real surprise there. It just fits & works really well.
    [IMG][/IMG]

    What was a surprise what I found out afterwards.... Just out of curiosity I decided to see what the truck weighted in a mostly stock configuration, since I never did that with my truck until after I had done a number of modifications. Imagine my surprise when I saw this....

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    Yes, that reads 1,606 grams empty! I knew the XL5 Titan motor combination was lighter than any brushless system, but I never imagined that it kept the truck this light. Makes me really wonder how the Rustler got such an undeserved reputation as being heavy.

    Just for the fun of it I weighed several battery's - one 2S LiPo and one 7 cell NiMh, and the truck with each one in it.

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    Now all I really need is the rain to stop on a weekend so my wife and I can get to the track for some fun!

  22. #22
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    nice build ! I'm doing one just like that I have a xl-5 , and I have a old one that I'm building for fun

  23. #23
    RC Qualifier FlyingTigerDad's Avatar
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    That's awesome! I love these kind of builds - the possibilities are just endless. Let me know if I can an answer any questions you may have, or be of any help.

  24. #24
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    Cool man will do ! Just joined the Page , a lot of helpful people. That's nice to have around. Other forums are bull**** ! I'm trying to post pic's. ? Info on how too ? Thanks

  25. #25
    RC Qualifier FlyingTigerDad's Avatar
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    Well, welocme to the Traxxas forum. You'll find a lot good info & great people here. Here's a link to the picture posting tutorial - https://traxxas.com/forums/showthrea...sting-Tutorial

    Essentially, you'll need a "host" to post pictures, like Photobucket or Picturetrail, you can't post pictures directly. I use Picturetrail myself - it seems pretty user friendly.

  26. #26
    RC Racer
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    Exciting build. Curious how this run on the track. You guys running on like clay or loose outside dirt tracks?
    Traxxas E-Revo,Traxxas Rustler VXL,Traxxas T-Maxx

  27. #27
    RC Qualifier FlyingTigerDad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SandSlinger View Post
    Exciting build. Curious how this run on the track. You guys running on like clay or loose outside dirt tracks?
    It should run pretty good on the track - the suspension setup is almost the same as mine, which does really well. We have both types of tracks near us that I run on - indoor clay & outdoor dirt. I've been running more indoors these day, but my wife is a little claustrophobic , so she wants to run primarily on the outdoor dirt track.

  28. #28
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    Ok soo question :: So u got this old rustler , got a xl-5 esc and titan motor , put it in my truck. The receiver is a old 2019 traxxas one. Hooked everything up , light goes to red on the esc , The truck only last about 5 mins before the battery dies ??? *** is going on ??? Do I need a xl5 receiver ? Thanks. Sry for the noob question

  29. #29
    RC Qualifier FlyingTigerDad's Avatar
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    The receiver function won't have anything to do with a separate issue of run time - it either will function any relay the command signals, or it won't. So, it sounds like the receiver is working fine. I see in the other post you have you mentioned that you are using a 3000mAh NiMh battery and that you ran some "speed run gearing", and that it got pretty hot. The XL5 speed control appears to be working properly and setup correctly with the red light on - this indicates that the Low Voltage Detection is off - which is what you want with NiMh battery's. With your gearing, you probably activated the Thermanl Protection function, which will shut things down if it gets too hot, then turn itself back on once everything cools. It could be that the battery got damaged form overheating, but I don't think so - NiMh battery's are pretty resilient, unlike LiPo's that are far more sensitive to overheating. Again, I think the Thermal Protection function probably saved things. I would suggest changing your gearing & testing things out to see if the problem is corrected. Also would suggest in investing in a temp gun & keep an eye temps when making any gearing changes.

  30. #30
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    yeah I did change it back to stock gearing , I charged it lastnight and it ran a better about 13 mins of play , I used to get like 20 plus of them , I just have the 4amp charger that it came with ,,, I'm just goin to order new batterys and one lipo , now I have 2 trucks to use ... thanks for the help

  31. #31
    RC Qualifier FlyingTigerDad's Avatar
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    Well, my wife and I (actually the whole family!) finally made it to the track this past weekend, and were able to get in a shakedown run. We went to the outdoor dirt track near us and had a great time. Due to the recent rain though, she wasn't able to practice driving her truck before going, so this was not only her first time on the dirt, but one of the first times driving an RC ever.

    The track was quite busy when we went and she was a bit intimidated to run on it, but fortunately, they actually have two tracks there - the regular off road track, and a separate dirt oval track. The oval track was empty, so she decided to run there and practice her driving skills unhindered.
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    She managed to do quite well, being able to practice her driving without having to worry about getting in anyone's way and had a blast with her truck. My oldest boy stayed with her to turn marshal for her, while my younger son & I were on the off road track. Here you can see my older son enjoying the track the only way he knows how - on his phone playing video games lol
    [IMG][/IMG]

    I had the truck in "training mode" for her, which she appreciated, as she learned quite a bit about control. I did take it on a test run myself, however, just to make sure the setup was good. And it's is every bit as good as mine for off road running - plenty of steering, good speed with the gearing in it (off of training mode, of course), and a nice plush suspension.

    We wound up staying most of the day - I think she was having too much fun to even notice the time. She got us lunch and we had a little picnic in the pits, then kept going. The truck survived without incident, as she has no accidents of any type being able to run on the "flats" by herself - so I couldn't have asked for a better first experience for her and her new truck.
    [IMG][/IMG]

  32. #32
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    Sweet-very cool thread. I enjoyed reading it.
    T-Maxx 2.5R /Stampede brushed/ Slash VXL brushless

  33. #33
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    Can u tell me the name of that Rustler body for your wife. I really like the look of that body & can't find it after searching proline electric rustler bodys.
    T-Maxx 2.5R /Stampede brushed/ Slash VXL brushless

  34. #34
    RC Qualifier FlyingTigerDad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob68Traxxas View Post
    Sweet-very cool thread. I enjoyed reading it.
    Thanks Rob, glad you enjoyed the thread. I know I've certainly enjoyed the journey from a pile of parts to watching my wife enjoy herself with a "new" truck.

  35. #35
    RC Qualifier FlyingTigerDad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob68Traxxas View Post
    Can u tell me the name of that Rustler body for your wife. I really like the look of that body & can't find it after searching proline electric rustler bodys.
    That's actually a stock Rustler body (Traxxas part# 3714) with a custom paint job that I did for her.

  36. #36
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    I keep finding myself going to the rustler forum lately. I have a brushless slash, a converted brushless t-maxx & a brushed stampede. Since i have a 4wd t maxx monster truck, I don't really have a need for a 2 wd monster truck & the stampede just sits. Your thread has inspired me to turn my Stampede into a rustler. It will be brushed since i have my "blue" xl-5 esc which has low voltage protection from my slash so i can use lipos. I love the look of the rustler bodies u painted & the traxxas lite rims. My wife has a duratrax evader, which is sorta like a Rustler & I've always liked the way it handles. I want a Rustler cause i want something a little more nimble than my slash & t maxx.
    T-Maxx 2.5R /Stampede brushed/ Slash VXL brushless

  37. #37
    RC Qualifier FlyingTigerDad's Avatar
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    That should be a pretty easy conversion - I'd check eBay for a stripped roller to keep it simple & keep costs down. I've seen them there for as little as $30 that should have everything you need to change your Stampede over. If you're looking for something a little more nimble, you'll definitely like the Rustler - my youngest son has a 2WD Slash and both mine & my wife's Rustlers are just that - much more nimble and light on their feet.
    I also think the stock Rustler body is a "looker" with the right paint job - never could get into the Traxxas ProGraphix paint schemes. The one's I did for mine & my wife's are my simple take on an older Proline race truck scheme - probably why you thought they were Proline bodies.

  38. #38
    RC Champion lektro's Avatar
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    I have a question for anyone who can answer. If I extend my antenna on a rustler, will i get more distance or do I need some kind of booster?
    Choose Life !!!

  39. #39
    RC Qualifier FlyingTigerDad's Avatar
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    I suppose my first question would be what do mean by "extend"? The antenna wire coming from the receiver is "trimmed" to an exact length for the best possible reception for the frequency it's on. Adding wire or shortening the wire will destroy your reception altogether, as will adding any kind of "booster". The range on these things is pretty far reaching - generally beyond the ability to even see it well enough to control. So, if you're having a range issue, I'd say you must have something wrong with either the receiver or the transmitter itself. Check the transmitter batteries first, then the antenna wire from the receiver - if it's broken or cut in any way then you'll need to replace the receiver. Also may want to check the connections of the speed control and servo where they plug into the receiver.

  40. #40
    RC Champion lektro's Avatar
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    You did A great job on yours and your wife's Rustlers. they are sweet! Actually I meant to put in a longer one. I am rebuilding a rustler now, it's been a slow process buying parts here and parts there. Looking for the right parts. Very rewarding, now that its done. I just finished it last night. I ordered a new Rustler body and saw the hole for an antenna. Thought maybe I could extend it after seeing the hole in the body. Maybe the hole is for an older rustler? As soon as I figure out how to post I would like to send pics if anyone is interested. Only thing I have not done is paint my bodies. I have a clear rustler and bulldog body. Not that fond of the bulldog but will live with it. I also have a stock body, already painted. the red...Can't wait to get back out with it. I appreciate your input and hope you don't mind the question.
    Choose Life !!!

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