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  1. #1
    RC Qualifier Panther6834's Avatar
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    Introducing the Traxxas E-Jato: A Rustler 4x4 VXL "Reimagined"

    I finally finished the conversion of my 4WD Rusty...well, almost finished, as there are still a few things remaining.



    Anyway, going backwards by almost a year, I returned to RC after a 35+ year absence. To kick off the "addiction" (you'll understand very shortly), I picked up a Rustler 4x4 VXL last December. With that one vehicle, the RC bug bit me pretty good, and in these past 11 months, I've acquired several additional vehicles, and partial-vehicles, all but two of which (the first two in my list) are kits: Slash 4x4 VXL roller, Rustler 4x4 VXL roller, TLR 5.0 SR, TLR 8ight-XE, TLR 22T 4.0, XRAY T4 (2019), Axial Capra (just finished building), RC4WD Trail Finder 2 'LWB' Chassis Kit (was just delivered a few days ago), plus two soon-to-be delivered kits (Axial Twin Hammers, & SSD Trail King Pro). I have a few additional vehicles in mind (including a second Capra, although it will be a 'hybrid' in a similar manner to what I've done with my first Rusty. So...when I say the RC bug bit, you now have a good idea as to how "hard" it 'bit'.

    Getting back to Rusty-Frankie (just as Rusty is short for Rustler 4x4 VXL, Frankie, short for Frankenstein), this is a project that has been slowly coming together over the past 5 months. I've briefly made mention of in other Rustler 4x4 threads...something I've referred to as my Rustler "conversion"...but now it has a thread of its own.

    Last edited by Panther6834; 12-02-2019 at 03:47 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Please delete. Didn't mean to interrupt thread, and problem resolved.
    Last edited by ati; 12-02-2019 at 03:52 PM.

  3. #3
    RC Qualifier Panther6834's Avatar
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    Technically, I could say all of this started less than a month after purchasing the Rusty, as that's when I did the first upgrade (replacing the stock Traxxas servo with a Hitec servo). Once the servo had been swapped, the following upgrades took place shortly thereafter:

    1) Turnbuckles were replaced with Lunsford Titanium turnbuckles
    2) Shocks were replaced with Pro-Line ProSpec Big Bore shocks w/ Associated springs
    3) Driveshafts (F&R) were replaced with Traxxas CVD driveshafts
    4) Traxxas slipper, & pinion gear, was replaced with a Robinson Racing Slipper Unit (56T), and Robinson Racing Hardened Steel pinion gear (14T)
    5) Stock wheels & tires were replaced with 2 sets of SCT wheels & tires (one set for street use, one set for indoor clay track use)
    6) Carriers, C-hubs, & steering blocks were replaced with Traxxas aluminum parts
    7) VG Racing chassis brace was installed



    I wish I had photos to share of all these upgrades, but I forgot to take them before I disassembled (sorry Johnny-5) everything for this project. I will state that all of the above-mentioned upgrades were done long before I decided to convert the Rustler into a "true" stadium truck (I say "true" because the Rustler body looks more like the illegitimate offspring between a stadium truck, and a NASCAR vehicle).
    Last edited by Panther6834; 12-02-2019 at 03:48 PM.
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  4. #4
    RC Qualifier Panther6834's Avatar
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    When I decided to do this "conversion", the biggest problem, and, thus, the first step, was deciding on a body. This wasn't because the body was the most important part of the project...it was because of the Rustler's wheelbase - trying to find another vehicle with a wheelbase similar-enough to the Rustler's was difficult enough...finding another Traxxas vehicle with a similar wheelbase was even more daunting.

    Initially, I was only looking into other electric vehicles, but, once I started checking nitro vehicles, I discovered the Jato. It's wheelbase was close enough, I figured I could probably make it work...even better, it was also a narrow-bodied vehicle. Unfortunately, the stock Traxxas Jato bodies come with the hole for the heatsink head already cut out, so a Traxxas Jato body wouldn't work. Searching high & low, far & wide, I eventually discovered the Pro-Line Crowd Pleazer 2.0 body...except that it had been discontinued.

    Thanks to a couple of sellers on eBay, I was able to acquire four Crowd Pleazer 2.0 bodies. I am still searching for other possibilities...if anyone has other suggestions (Jato bodies, or any other narrow-bodied RC bodies with a wheelbase similar to the Rustler), I'm open to them, and would greatly appreciate it. My ONLY "rule" for suggestions is that, if the suggested body is for a nitro vehicle, it can NOT have a pre-cut heatsink head hole.



    Now that I had a body (to start with), it was time for the real work to begin - determining all of the parts needed for the "conversion". I started with the drivetrain, specifically the front & rear differentials. While the stock Rustler/Slash/Stampede/Rally diffs are "good", I wanted "better"...actually, I wanted "best", and that's what I got, in the form of the X0-1 diffs (Traxxas published how to 'upgrade' to the XO-1 diffs...here's the link:

    TRAXXAS XO-1 DIFF URL [insert link]
    https://traxxas.com/news/slash-4x4-differential-upgrade

    With the front & rear taken care of, i decided to also upgrade the center diff. While the Robinson Racing Center Diff Unit was "good" (actually, very good), I wanted "extremely good". Thankfully, Traxxas recently released a new all-metal center diff (#6780) that's compatible with the Rustler, Slash, and Stampede 4x4s (while it comes with a 56T spur, there is an optional 54T spur, #3956X,which I am still considering). The 'down' side of this is that it's factory-filled with 2M diff fluid (for "bashers", this is probably a good-to-great thing, but, for racers, it's horrible), which, after disassembling the diff, and cleaning everything, I replaced with 80K.



    I will (eventually) upgrade the F&R driveshafts, but, for now, I'm holding off. This is partly due to cost, partly due to other projects, partly due to my job (we're about to enter the busy (but short, at only 3 weeks in length) "corporate holiday party" season), and partly due to not yet deciding what I want to go with (I'm open to suggestions/recommendations). Right now, the "choices" are the Traxxas XO-1 driveshaft conversion (as with the F&R diffs, Traxxas also published a 'how-to' on this: https://traxxas.com/news/slash-4x4-driveshafts), Tekno 'Race Duty', MIP, or a Tekno/XO-1 'hybrid' (someone, within these threads (probably the Slash 4x4 threads) have steps on the 'hybrid' option).

    This vehicle is NOT for "bashing", so please, do not suggest/recommend any "heavy duty" driveshafts...while Frankie will see some street use, its primary "purpose" is to see plenty of use on an indoor clay track. Once again, just as I'm open to body suggestions, I'm also open to F/R driveshaft suggestions. I'm also open to center driveshaft replacement suggestions, as replacing that is also a possibility). Last I was aware, I think there was only one aftermarket option (tho, right now, I'm blanking on who makes it).
    Last edited by Panther6834; 12-02-2019 at 03:49 PM.
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  5. #5
    RC Qualifier Panther6834's Avatar
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    Next on the list was replacing the Rusty's "latch" body-mount system with a more traditional mount, which meant replacing the stock shock towers. While knowing this was 'simple', determining what was actually needed proved far more difficult, and time consuming, then I could have imagined (to give you an idea, from my initial idea, to what actually worked, took approx 3 months, 4 different shock tower configurations, and 3 different sets of shock towers).

    My initial inclination was to go with the JConcepts Suspension Conversion Kit. Since the vehicle would mostly see indoor clay track use, the CF towers would have been perfect, as they're strong, extremely lightweight, and would have helped lower the CoG. Unfortunately, they proved too tall (considering they require using the XXL (ie. Slash/Rustler rear shocks) GTRs on all 4 corners, it's no wonder), as there was a huge gap between the top of the chassis & bottom of the body. Next, I tried the traditional front/rear Slash 4x4 towers, with the standard Long GTRs up front, and the XXL GTRs in the rear. Unfortunately, this still proved too tall, especially in the rear (the 'gap' was approx 1cm at the front of the chassis, & 1.5cm at the rear).



    After more searching, I discovered that the XO-1 used the Slash 4x4 front shock tower for its rear tower, and an even shorter (but slightly modified) version for its front tower. So, I purchased a front XO-1 tower, moved the front Slash 4x4 tower to the back, and installed the XO-1 front tower up front (although I flipped it, so as to mount it perfectly upright (in its normal mounting position, it's angled towards the rear, and sits slightly lower). With this tower configuration, I also swapped the XXL shocks in the rear for Long shocks (ie. the same length shocks on all 4 corners). The body was still too high (flush with the top of the chassis at the front, & approx 0.5cm above at the rear), but I could see I was finally in the right track.

    What finally worked is probably going to sound strange...very strange...to some, but, as I just indicated, it finally worked. Seeing how the XO-1 front tower, when flipped, finally got the body to an almost-perfect height, an idea hit me. I purchased a second front XO-1 tower, and mounted it 'flipped' in the rear. Then, I removed the front tower, flipped it (to its normal XO-1 mounting position), and reinstalled it. Sure, it was now angled slightly towards the rear, and I would need to use longer screws, and longer spacers, to mount the shocks to the tower, but it allowed the front body mount positions to be lower than the rear.

    Last edited by Panther6834; 12-02-2019 at 03:49 PM.
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  6. #6
    RC Qualifier Panther6834's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, my shock tower "solution" created a body mount "nightmare". I won't go into the details of solving that problem, other than to say it involved more failed-solutions than the shock tower problem did. All that matters is that, in the end, a solution was figured out...well, almost, as I am still fine-tuning it. As you'll notice from the photos, the rear body mount position is fairly-perfect, but the front body mounts are too far out to the side.



    I also wanted to protect the bottom, as the "textured" bottom, screw holes, including the 'Traxxas' logo, can collect a sizale amount of dirt/clay. Thankfully, T-Bone Racing had a solution...actually,. they had two...in the form of their TBR Chassis Skid, and TBR XV4 Front Bumper:



    Of course, what good is a new front bumper, without a new rear bumper to match. unfortunately, T-Bone Racing doesn't (at least currently) make a XV4 rear bumper for the Rusty 4x4, so I decided to get 'creative', by removing the stock rear bumper, chopping a good portion of it off, and then remounting it upside-down. This gave it a very "unique" appearance.

    Last edited by Panther6834; 12-02-2019 at 03:50 PM.
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  7. #7
    RC Qualifier Panther6834's Avatar
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    The final step in this "conversion" was the electronics. First up, a Futaba R324SBS Rx, to be controlled via my 7PX Tx.



    Next was the ESC & motor. As I've been going back & forth between HW & Castle ESCs, and just happened to have a powerful-enough HW XERUN XR8 Plus, that became the 'brains'. As for the 'braun', that comes via a HW XERUN 3652 G2 4300kV motor, mated to a Robinson Racing 14T pinion, and kept cool through a Castle Blower Fan Shroud for 15XX motors.



    While I was at it, I also replaced the stock (plastic) motor mount with a (blue) Kin Headz aluminum motor mount (thanks go to Squeegie for suggesting this one). Of course, one can't run a vehicle without wheels & tires...so, DE Racing to the rescue, in the form of their Speedline 2.2" stadium truck wheels (black for 'street', and blue for 'track'). As for the tires, I'm using Pro-Line Trencher T 2.2" all-terrain tires for the street, and, for the track (once they're mounted), I'll be using AKA 2.2" Chain Link tires up front, and AKA 2.2" Crosslink tires in the rear.

    Last edited by Panther6834; 12-02-2019 at 03:51 PM.
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  8. #8
    RC Qualifier Panther6834's Avatar
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    This is my first time taking a vehicle, and turning it into something else, so, I am curious as to other people's thoughts. Technically, this project isn't 100% complete. First, over the next 1-2 months (thanks, in-part, to my job entering its "slow period"), while I will be testing Frankie with the front body mount position as-is, I will also be working towards moving them closer together. By my (very rough) estimate, each side probably needs to be moved closer together by 0.25-0.5". While I expect it to take even longer, I will also be continuing my search for more Crowd Pleazer 2.0 bodies, especially the clear (ie. not the pre-printed design), as I already know they fit. Additionally, I will continue my search for other body options (again, suggestions are welcomed, but they need to have a wheelbase similar to that of the Rusty 4x4).



    So...what do "the people" think? Good job? A total joke that I should scrap? Great job? A 'decent' job that should be revised? An outstanding job? Honestly...good, or bad...I can take it. I will mention that, while I was completing the Rusty-Frankie 'conversion', I was also building my first crawler, an Axial Capra, which I also did "something different" with (for those who've never had a crawler, and are interested in getting one, the Capra is an excellent '1st crawler' - it's positioned somewhere between a "trail buggy" & "rock racer", and can easily do both).

    While everyone else appears to have just taken the included Lexan interior, painted it, and installed it, I decided to go all-out, cutting out the "driver" and "navigator", installing my own 'people', and giving the entire vehicle a theme. For more info, check out the Axial Capra section in the RCCrawler forum, and look for a thread titled "A Black Cat, and a White Goat". Here's just a 'little taste' of how I built mine:


    Last edited by Panther6834; 12-02-2019 at 03:52 PM.
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  9. #9
    RC Qualifier Panther6834's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ati View Post
    Please delete. Didn't mean to interrupt thread, and problem resolved.
    Either I don't know how to delete the comment, or it's not possible. Either way, it's no trouble. Anyways, it took a while, but it's all up, and photos have been fixed (guess that's what happens when I'm accessing via a combination of a desktop browser, and TapTalk Pro on my cell phone...lol
    Last edited by Panther6834; 12-02-2019 at 04:07 PM.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panther6834 View Post
    Either I don't know how to delete the comment, or it's not possible. Either way, it's no trouble.
    Usually a moderator does it.

    Anyway, amazing post and great job with the Rusty. I hope you have fun with it and get to take it out soon.

    Seems like you chose very quality parts and thanks for sharing your new found knowledge!

    Also, Ask TBR - they’ve been pumping out products and take customer feedback. I’m sure they could make an xv4 bumper happen.



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  11. #11
    RC Qualifier Panther6834's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ati View Post
    Usually a moderator does it.

    Anyway, amazing post and great job with the Rusty. I hope you have fun with it and get to take it out soon.

    Seems like you chose very quality parts and thanks for sharing your new found knowledge!

    Also, Ask TBR - they’ve been pumping out products and take customer feedback. I’m sure they could make an xv4 bumper happen.



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Thank you...and, yes, I did spend a considerable amount of time researching possible part choices, and determining what should work best. In the matter of the shock towers, I "failed" a few times, but that's ok, as I'll have use of the unused parts on another Rusty 4x4 (which, in the end, will be something totally different), as well as a Slash 4x4, both of which are currently 'rolling chassis'.

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  12. #12
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. Squeegie's Avatar
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    Glad to see that your homework and patience has paid off!
    Now time to have some fun and get it dirty!
    Creativity is intelligence having fun. -Einstein

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    Have you already tried the J concepts 0042 body for the 2wd rustler? In my recollection it is a very low slung body in the rear and if I ever get my act together I was going to try it with my 4wd rustlers with Sl4sh towers.

    Great look rig by the way.

  14. #14
    RC Qualifier Panther6834's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squeegie View Post
    Glad to see that your homework and patience has paid off!
    Now time to have some fun and get it dirty!
    Thank you...and, already have. Took it with me to Vegas for Thanksgiving week (visiting parents). I haven't had it on the clay track at NorCal Hobbies yet (obviously, since those tires aren't glued yet), but the street/dirt tires work great on the street, and on a dirt track my stepdad discovered over in Henderson. Haven't decided whether to still with the 56T spur, or get the optional 54T (which only works with the center diff)...additionally, haven't decided whether to stick with the 14T pinion, or switch to the 12T, or 16T. Even on 2S, the 4300kV is quite fast.

    Quote Originally Posted by TwoBelugas View Post
    Have you already tried the J concepts 0042 body for the 2wd rustler? In my recollection it is a very low slung body in the rear and if I ever get my act together I was going to try it with my 4wd rustlers with Sl4sh towers.

    Great look rig by the way.
    Thanks to you, as well...even moreso considering some of the info used came from you. As for the JConcepts body you mentioned, no, I haven't...didn't know about it. Being completely honest, I totally forgot to check 2WD Rusty bodies. Thank you, again, for "enlightening" me on the possibility. Sometimes, my brain is as sharp as a tack...and, at other times, it's as dull as the Thorazine shuffle. Will check into it (and other 2WD Rusty bodies).

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