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  1. #1
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    Stampede 4x4 Kit - good first truck?

    I've been doing a lot of looking around, and want to pick up an entry-level Traxxas. I've never owned (or even driven) a real RC truck before.

    The Stampede 4x4 Kit grabbed my attention. It's in my price range ($400 max), and I think it would be a blast to build. But more importantly, I think the act of building it will teach me a lot about the truck, so when it comes time for repairs or upgrades, I'll be a few steps ahead.

    I'm planning to get the 5800mAh 2-cell LiPo. Is the kit plus that battery a good setup for someone who has no experience with RC trucks?

    I live up in the mountains, and my intent is to drive whatever truck I end up getting in grass, dirt, mud, and snow. No crazy ramps or anything. And I'm more interested in 4x4 power than insane speeds.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spidrax View Post
    I've been doing a lot of looking around, and want to pick up an entry-level Traxxas. I've never owned (or even driven) a real RC truck before.

    The Stampede 4x4 Kit grabbed my attention. It's in my price range ($400 max), and I think it would be a blast to build. But more importantly, I think the act of building it will teach me a lot about the truck, so when it comes time for repairs or upgrades, I'll be a few steps ahead.

    I'm planning to get the 5800mAh 2-cell LiPo. Is the kit plus that battery a good setup for someone who has no experience with RC trucks?

    I live up in the mountains, and my intent is to drive whatever truck I end up getting in grass, dirt, mud, and snow. No crazy ramps or anything. And I'm more interested in 4x4 power than insane speeds.

    Thanks!
    The Stampede 4x4 is great for the type of driving you plan to do. And even though you aren’t looking for crazy speed, it is still quick enough to be a lot of fun . Just my opinion

  3. #3
    RC Qualifier GotNoRice's Avatar
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    I think that the Stampede 4x4 is an amazing truck to get back into the hobby. It's not at all difficult to put together, but it will require at least moderate ability to follow instructions. I bought my first Stampede 4x4 as a complete truck, but a few years later I built a 2nd Stampede 4x4 from the ground up using spare parts after upgrading so many parts on my first truck.

    One concern that I might have regarding the Stampede 4x4 kits is that they based on the brushed model, not the Brushless (VXL) model. There are some differences between the Brushed and Brushless (VXL) models. Some of those include a Plastic center drive shaft (metal on VXL), Fixed camber-links (adjustable on VXL), and a different gear ratio in the differentials (47t/12t for Brushed, 37t/13t for VXL). There are two kits. If you get the kit that already comes with the electronics, you also end up with a 2056 servo (VXL uses 2075) and of course, the brushed motor (Titan 12t) and brushed speed control (XL5). VXL pre-built model comes with the VXL-3s speed control and 3500kv Brushless motor.

    Even with the kit that comes with no electronics, if you wanted to build it directly into a brushless model (as opposed to brushed), you would still have those compromises that are carried over from the brushed model. The plastic center drive shaft probably won't hold up to brushless power for long, but that is cheap to upgrade. The fixed camber links don't really matter unless you want to adjust the camber, and are also cheap to upgrade. The real annoyance in this matter are the differentials having a slower gear ratio, but if you are willing to open the differentials up and get your fingers greasy then you can upgrade the differential ring and pinion gears to brushless spec easy enough: https://traxxas.com/products/parts/5379X. It would have been sort of nice if they had a kit that was based on the Brushless (VXL) model, but they don't.

    Another alternative is that you could get a Stampede 4x4 VXL "roller" from some place like eBay. These are basically complete trucks where someone has stripped out the electronics and maybe some other parts, and selling everything that is left over. They can be a good starting point also, and if you get a VXL roller, it will already come with the VXL differentials, adjustable camber-links, and probably the metal center drive-shaft also. If you go this route, just keep in mind that every "roller" is potentially different in terms of what parts may have been removed before it is sold; there is no "standard" in that regard.

    The only other concern that I might have is that, even though the Stampede 4x4 is very easy to assemble... it's still nice to be able to simply take a truck out of the box and be able to use it right away. It would be a shame to end up hitting a roadblock during assembly because something didn't make sense, or frustrated afterward because something isn't working right, wondering if it's because you put it together wrong or what. By the time I built my 2nd Stampede 4x4 from spare parts, I could have probably done it with my eyes closed, but a lot of that knowledge came from knowledge I gained while upgrading my main truck slowly over time, with trial-and-error involved in some cases. Building the truck, without already being familiar with it, would almost certainly have been more difficult. Traxxas does have good instructions at least.

    As far as the battery goes. I would decide on the electronics (motor and speed control) that you are going to use first, and then select your battery based on that.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for all the input, there's a lot there to digest.

    I'm not worried about the kit. I downloaded and read through the build manual, and I'm very impressed by how clear and detailed it is. I'll probably recruit my brother too, just so we have two sets of eyes on the build process so nothing ends up inside out.

    I have seen quite a few discussions about the VXL and about upgrading the base Stampede to brushless. But I still don't understand what the real world benefits are. What would I gain as a newcomer to the hobby by going for the upgrades right away? Is it just a matter of max speed, or is there more to it than that?

  5. #5
    RC Qualifier GotNoRice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spidrax View Post
    I have seen quite a few discussions about the VXL and about upgrading the base Stampede to brushless. But I still don't understand what the real world benefits are. What would I gain as a newcomer to the hobby by going for the upgrades right away? Is it just a matter of max speed, or is there more to it than that?
    The bottom line is that Brushless is better in almost every way. The only real reason why you still see brushed models at all is because it's cheaper, and allows Traxxas to offer vehicles at lower price points. Max speed is going to come down to the motor and pinion size that you choose. There are slow brushless setups and fast brushless setups. Brushless isn't inherently faster, just different. Brushed motors use actual metal brushes that wear down over time. With brushless motors, there are no moving parts inside the motor (other than the bearings) that are in physical contact with each other, so they will potentially last forever, unless you damage it from excessive heat or the bearings wear out. Brushless setups are also more energy efficient.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spidrax View Post
    Thanks for all the input, there's a lot there to digest.

    I'm not worried about the kit. I downloaded and read through the build manual, and I'm very impressed by how clear and detailed it is. I'll probably recruit my brother too, just so we have two sets of eyes on the build process so nothing ends up inside out.

    I have seen quite a few discussions about the VXL and about upgrading the base Stampede to brushless. But I still don't understand what the real world benefits are. What would I gain as a newcomer to the hobby by going for the upgrades right away? Is it just a matter of max speed, or is there more to it than that?
    As a newcomer not much since you're not looking for crazy speeds and power. Just that in time you may get bored and want more and end up spending more in the long run then starting with say a VXL model would have been to begin with. It's easier to slow most things down then it costs to speed them up. I like kits in that you can choose what you want to put in them. But if you buy a kit and end up throwing the same electronics and stuff that comes on a brushless or brushed model anyways it's not cost effective.

    You will need a motor, esc, transmitter and receiver along with a battery plus a charger if you don't already have one. The battery and charger you would need even if you bought a RTR model. Add up all the cost of these things vs the price (minus battery and charger) of just getting a RTR model and see if it's still worth it to you.

    There is something and satisfaction though of building something up yourself which may be worth it to you more than just sticking a battery in and go.
    Last edited by Igottabeme; 11-18-2019 at 03:05 PM.

  7. #7
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    Wow, now that I see it's only $20 more for the VXL, I'm definitely torn. I would love the experience of building a kit from the ground up, but as I learn more about the differences, it's almost not worth it.

    Maybe I'll go for the VXL with the 2s battery and just have fun. It seems like the TSM will help me manage the higher power as I learn to drive the thing.

    Thanks again to everyone who took the time to reply, I appreciate it.

  8. #8
    RC Qualifier GotNoRice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Igottabeme View Post
    The battery and charger you would need even if you bought a RTR model.
    Most if not all RTR models come with a Traxxas 6 or 7 cell NiMH pack and simple wall-wart charger. But if the OP wanted to go LiPo then yeah he will have to buy a LiPo battery and a more sophisticated charger.

  9. #9
    RC Qualifier GotNoRice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spidrax View Post
    Wow, now that I see it's only $20 more for the VXL, I'm definitely torn.
    Which model are you looking at? The two Stampede 4x4 kits show for me as $214.99 and $269.99 depending on if you get the kit that comes with the brushed electronics. The Stampede 4x4 VXL is $399.99. Are you looking at the 2wd Stampede VXL at $289.99? Nothing wrong with a two wheel drive vehicle of course, but sounds like your driving conditions would definitely benefit from a 4x4. It's also easy to mix them up sometimes when looking at the product page.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by GotNoRice View Post
    Which model are you looking at? The two Stampede 4x4 kits show for me as $214.99 and $269.99 depending on if you get the kit that comes with the brushed electronics. The Stampede 4x4 VXL is $399.99. Are you looking at the 2wd Stampede VXL at $289.99? Nothing wrong with a two wheel drive vehicle of course, but sounds like your driving conditions would definitely benefit from a 4x4. It's also easy to mix them up sometimes when looking at the product page.
    Oh man you're right, the 4wd is a lot more expensive. I'm glad you pointed that out.

    Well in that case I'll go for the kit. Building it with my brother will be tons of fun, and I'm sure I'll be impressed with the end result. And if I want to upgrade it later, I can upgrade it later.

    Now I just need to decide if NiMH is good enough for now, or if I should jump in deeper and get the LiPO...

  11. #11
    RC Qualifier GotNoRice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spidrax View Post
    Now I just need to decide if NiMH is good enough for now, or if I should jump in deeper and get the LiPO...
    When I first got my Stampede 4x4 VXL, it came with a 7-cell NiMH pack. It's a decent battery. It even felt slightly more powerful than my 2s LiPos when at full charge. Unfortunately with NiMH that "new battery" level of power fades off fairly quickly, and the truck just gets slower and slower until it's eventually down to a crawl. With a LiPo, although voltage does drop as you use the pack, it does not do so nearly as quick. You are able to maintain that "new battery" level of power throughout basically the entire pack (until the Low Voltage Cutoff triggers).

  12. #12
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    OK, I've decided on the Stampede 4x4 kit with the brushed electronics. The end result is good enough for a starter truck, and I'm really looking forward to putting it all together.

    Do you all recommend any immediate upgrades for the build? Drive shaft or tires or whatever else?

  13. #13
    RC Qualifier GotNoRice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spidrax View Post
    Do you all recommend any immediate upgrades for the build? Drive shaft or tires or whatever else?
    IMO get the RPM front bumper and the RPM A-Arms. The stock front bumper is VERY tiny, and really doesn't protect anything, whereas the RPM bumper helps a lot with frontal impacts. It also adds a little weight to the front which helps keep the front tires on the ground (wheelies are fun, but you can't steer when the front tires are off the ground). The stock A-Arms tend to snap easily if you cartwheel or hit an object (like a pole or tree) with one of your tires. The RPM arms have more flex and will simply bend (and bend back) instead.

    Also you should get some Aluminum hex adapters. These are super important because the stock hex adapters are plastic and strip easily. That will end up rounding-out the hex socket in your wheels and ruin them. Aluminum hex adapters mostly solve that issue.

    That is all you should probably need for a while. At some point you might also take a look at the RPM Front and Rear shock towers, as well as the Rear bearing carriers.

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