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  1. #1
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    Longtime RC'er, first time crawler

    As my (somewhat aged) collection of vehicles is all Traxxas save for one, it seemed logical-- at least staring at my phone, unable to sleep at around 3am on a Friday night-- to buy a TRX4. Then to start modding it like it was my new mission in life... and then to start building my own crawler park in the backyard. As one does. I mean, up until just a few years ago my backyard looked like this:


    The upkeep just became too much. The crawler park is going to be significantly smaller and require a whole lot less work to keep the weeds at bay. So far, I'm having a blast.


  2. #2
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. Greatscott's Avatar
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    WELCOME TO THE CLUB!!!

    Its really a different mindset, and a different set up people in the crawler scene vs the go-fast scene. I enjoyed racing, but too many people were just a little too intense about playing with toy trucks. Crawlers a lot more laid back, and a lot more communal.

    Awesome track, but I fully understand how something that big to take over your life. It will be fun to see what you come up with for your crawler.
    Submarine Qualified, Chief Inducted, Navy Retired

  3. #3
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. Squeegie's Avatar
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    Looks great... backyard and rig.

    I hear you... I’m thinking that the next rig I get will be a crawler (TRX4 Sport Kit). Easier to run in my own backyard then my Slashes! My MERV is fun at home as well!

    Have fun!
    Creativity is intelligence having fun. -Einstein

  4. #4
    RC Qualifier Edgemoulic's Avatar
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    Welcome to the Slow Poke RC. But definitely a fun thing to do also in the RC World. Mine is on project as well


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  5. #5
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    [QUOTE=Dr. Isotope;6575188]As my (somewhat aged) collection of vehicles is all Traxxas save for one, it seemed logical-- at least staring at my phone, unable to sleep at around 3am on a Friday night-- to buy a TRX4. Then to start modding it like it was my new mission in life... and then to start building my own crawler park in the backyard. As one does. I mean, up until just a few years ago my backyard looked like this:


    Wow! absolutely amazing !!! I'm new to crawling also and my TRX-4 plan & build is my most happy time! Good for you man ��

  6. #6
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    Had some helpers today, so I managed to move a lot more dirt, rock, and miscellaneous concrete debris than I would have thought possible. Still a whole lot more to go. Hopefully up next: some bridges.




  7. #7
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    get a big light post in the center so you can play late

  8. #8
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    More dirt, more rocks, more cinder, some logs, and of course... the bridge.




    The bridge is 1/4" poly rope and 1 1/2" grade stakes. Only had to buy the rope, for like $3. The "lower" anchor point is the open stand from an old Delta bandsaw. Thoughtful placement of log, rock, and brick gives me three sides of approach to the bridge tower. The approach from the south is terrifying, as I get to do a bit of side-hill on the "shore" of a two foot deep pond.

    Hopefully up next, getting some 1/2" poly line so I can use the pond pump for it's intended purpose: pumping up to a waterfall, and building a stream under the bridge and back into the pond.

  9. #9
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    Too lazy to go to the hardware store for pipe. So... skybridge(?) it is then.


    This is a mixed result. The angle is fine, it is climbable-- or would be, anyway. What I did though, was used cut length of fence pickets ripped to 2 1/2" wide, and a length of 2"x2" for the spacing. So a 2 1/2" board, a 1 1/2" gap, and it just repeats all the way. As it turns out, this almost perfectly matches my wheelbase. So all four tires are either in a gap or on a board, resulting in near-zero traction. I kinetic-strapped it up a few times, but I think the only solution is pulling out the literal box worth of screws and changing the spacing. So it goes. Live and learn, I reckon.

  10. #10
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    Or you could get smaller piece and put them in between the gaps

  11. #11
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    I fiddled with board and spacer placement for easily an hour. Couldn't get it to go. Then the wife-- who claims it's only because she has an "outside perspective," but I think we can all agree is smarter than me-- provides the fix in less than 30 seconds. She just picked up a strip of plywood and said, "drive up this." Every time I would make it to the top, she'd tilt the board a little more, until I couldn't climb it. Measured the angle with the little digital level that's hiding in every smartphone and boom, there it was.

    A combination of laziness and working too fast had me set all of the angles to 45, or to put it in grade terms, 100%. The ol' Defender can climb some steep stuff, but when it comes to fence pickets, 35 is a whooooole lot more manageable. To punish myself further, I'm doing one of those jangled up piles of wood chunks on the upper section. Because everyone loves the risk of plummeting off of a five-foot-high platform, right?

  12. #12
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    Today was definitely chop saw day.



  13. #13
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  14. #14
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    Pretty sure I found the limit of what my Defender will do before it tips over.

    Mud is awesome, and Showdowns are more awesome.

  15. #15
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    The day after renting a Makita AVT Demolition Hammer to bust up the (I hope) last three sections of hidden/buried concrete left on the property, I mustered up the gusto to move the broken up bits into place-- probably only a ton or so. Moving the debris was a breeze compared to muscling that 70lb jackhammer around for four hours-- even though some of the slab chunks were 5" thick and weighed close to 100lbs. That was easy to break up, at least. Some of the "trashcrete" was just terrible. Who puts chicken wire in cement? Seriously.


  16. #16
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  17. #17
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    Eddie, my neighbor to the west, picks up and drops off roll-off containers all day. Sometimes, the shallow washout containers full of busted up concrete. He was nice enough to drop three Bobcat buckets of it over the fence for me, so Dry Bone Valley got about 50% wider, 30% taller, and 80% more difficult.



    Some of the lines are tough.

  18. #18
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    Spent around a week running the Duratrax Showdown + steelie beadlock combo, and they're... pretty decent. They're competent at crawling, and I'd say above average on loose surfaces. Wrenching on the truck this morning, I swapped back to the Pit Bull Growler A/Ts + Injora aluminum beadlocks... and it's not really a fair comparison. The Growlers are better at pretty much everything. On rock and hardpack, they're in a completely different league.

    Is it better sidewalls? More tread width relative to the carcass? I dunno. I just know they work. If (more like when) I pick up another set of tires to try out, they're gonna be Pit Bulls.

    Dropped in one of those $60-Amazon-sourced alloy gearboxes today, attracted by the metal two speed mechanism, and I am not disappointed. The shifting is significantly smoother than stock, and gear noise is only slightly increased (I retained the stock plastic spur, I don't run a metal spur on anything,) the finish is very good, and the fit is OEM-level. As noted in the reviews, it is absolutely mandatory to pull the box completely apart, grease everything, and reassemble with threadlock on all fasteners. Most of the gears inside were bone dry. All metal-shielded bearings on the inside, which is a plus.

  19. #19
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    Featuring the increased width and height of Dry Bone Valley. Even larger than when I posted the last pic of it.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Isotope View Post

    Dropped in one of those $60-Amazon-sourced alloy gearboxes today, attracted by the metal two speed mechanism, and I am not disappointed. The shifting is significantly smoother than stock, and gear noise is only slightly increased (I retained the stock plastic spur, I don't run a metal spur on anything,) the finish is very good, and the fit is OEM-level. As noted in the reviews, it is absolutely mandatory to pull the box completely apart, grease everything, and reassemble with threadlock on all fasteners. Most of the gears inside were bone dry. All metal-shielded bearings on the inside, which is a plus.
    How do the gears look in the aftermarket transmission? Do they look to be the same quality as the Traxxas gears?

  21. #21
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    The gears appear to be well cut and they mesh well. Teeth are uniform, and the slots for the cross pins fit tightly, no wiggling. They're not sintered like the stock Traxxas gears. If they're cast, the finishing is very good. The gears are definitely straight-cut, there's a bit more gear noise overall (I'm guessing as some of the grease has been pressed out from between the meshing teeth.) I can't say enough good things about the metal shift fork. Shifting from low to high with the stock box would often result in a little lurch as the dog would engage. The metal box is equally smooth in upshift and downshift.

  22. #22
    RC Racer 2023Leftylp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Isotope View Post
    As my (somewhat aged) collection of vehicles is all Traxxas save for one, it seemed logical-- at least staring at my phone, unable to sleep at around 3am on a Friday night-- to buy a TRX4. Then to start modding it like it was my new mission in life... and then to start building my own crawler park in the backyard. As one does. I mean, up until just a few years ago my backyard looked like this:


    The upkeep just became too much. The crawler park is going to be significantly smaller and require a whole lot less work to keep the weeds at bay. So far, I'm having a blast.

    I just got my first crawler as well. ive had lots of traxxas cars and that course looks awesome. good luck with modding, the only mods I have done are new wheels and a new esc
    "The fun begins when the trail ends"

  23. #23
    RC Racer 2023Leftylp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Isotope View Post
    after seeing your video I would look into getting a lighter shock oil or just removing it completely. dont really reccomend removing it completely as much because it tips easier but it will look more realistic when crawling
    "The fun begins when the trail ends"

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2023Leftylp View Post
    after seeing your video I would look into getting a lighter shock oil or just removing it completely. dont really reccomend removing it completely as much because it tips easier but it will look more realistic when crawling
    I'm going to have to pick up a set of red pistons, as I'm already running 20wt, and my prior experience with lighter oils has shown that they really love to seep out.

  25. #25
    RC Racer 2023Leftylp's Avatar
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    I run 10wt and it works perfect you can really see the difference and it just overall crawls more realistic in my opinion
    "The fun begins when the trail ends"

  26. #26
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    Small(ish) but significant performance improvements were had today. I found my old shock box, and sourced some real soft Associated truck springs-- 2.75" uncompressed, 1.9lbs/in for the green and 2.1lbs/in for the silver. Downside, the shocks are not seriously over-damped with 20wt, upside, the lighter springs do absolutely everything better. I'm used to having to tune a suspension for jumping (my "big" truck runs Losi 8ight truggy shocks,) so this is kind of a pleasant change of pace. Lighter weight oils as well as red pistons are on the way.

    Also swapped out my MKS servo for a Holmes SH500v3, as a 3S-capable servo allowed me to move the MKS and Castle CC-BEC to my AE SC8.2e, which desperately needed a beefier servo.



    I also think I've found the perfect bumper for the Defender. IMO, the bumper having holes for the pins on the body are mandatory, so I don't even look at any other options. SSD makes one like this as well, but this is the Injora. The fitment is perfect. I'm running my body two holes higher due to clearance for the front magnetic body mount, which allowed me to raise the rock sliders 7mm, and run the rear bumper at it's highest position. The departure angle is as good as it's gonna get with a bumper installed.

  27. #27
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    Convinced a buddy to buy a TRX-4, and he came over to drive it on Friday. In the short time I've had mine (and my inability to stop changing parts) I was kinda blown away by how capable the truck is out of the box. My truck went on an immediate diet, shedding 14oz of brass and assorted bits. Also made a hybrid out of the aluminum gearbox, retaining the heavy-duty metal 2-speed mechanism, but putting in the OEM Traxxas gears and re-shimming like... everything. Again, after hearing the near silence of a box-stock truck, it really struck me how loud the aluminum case and straight cut gears makes the truck.


  28. #28
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    Wow nice video !

    I do like the 'ride' - thanks

    For the weight, imho, every adding weight higher than the axle and every adding rotating weight - should be evaluated deeply, because it can easily compromised overall performance. The adding weight gain could be added but the drawback also overcome the gain.

    Saying that, the drawback could be gain again by - swaping, for example, for better suspension, better brushless motor, etc.

  29. #29
    RC Racer sarthetrx4's Avatar
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    Dr - I'm very envious of your crawler course! Great stuff!
    Stephen
    An Englishman in France
    Vallee du Loir.

  30. #30
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    More footage from yesterday. Today it's rainin'.


    Tried to get some working time on the new sections today in between rainstorms, but only got in about an hour. Hopefully the rain will set the dirt in on the jeep trails, because any softer soil out there gets reclaimed by the weeds in what feels like a matter of just a few days.

  31. #31
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    The squeak. More like a chirp. It would come and go. Was it coming from inside the gearbox? Unsure. Was it coming from the front end? Was it a bearing? Well, I only have one way to go about these things, which is just to dive in. Took it all apart. Rebuilt the gearbox. Rebuilt the diffs. Regreased all of the portals. And you know what? Still chirpin'. Pulled off the front driveshaft, and it went silent. Turned out the pivot where the shaft attaches to the front diff... rusty. Drop of synthetic, wiped the parts down, dead quiet now. Sigh.

    Much to my own surprise, managed to successfully remove all four Canyon Trails from the stock wheels, and it didn't take an eternity. The key turned out to be heatgun+ BSI Debonder. The Debonder on it's own did absolutely nothing, and the heatgun did... a little. It was enough to put a crack in the armor of what is certainly the best glued set of wheels I've ever encountered. As soon as a millimeter of bead would lift, I'd squirt the Debonder in there. A few minutes later, and that whole bead would just peel up. I'm still amazed even now.

    Fun fact, none of the Traxxas foams are even remotely the same size. There's 7mm between the widest and thinnest foam. These are going towards my "run through mud and puddles, I ain't care" wheelset, Canyon Trails + hairbuns + dirt cheap Amazon beadlocks. Gonna do the tread cut and sipe, why not, I'm in this far.

  32. #32
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    As DJ Khaled would say (loudly) ANOTHER ONE!

    Upgrade-itis left me with a box of so many stock and take-parts, little was required to complete a Sport build. Only this one has a two-speed-- well, it will as soon as I get a mount for the shift servo, because the OEM Traxxas part is discontinued and pretty much out of stock everywhere.

    Heat-bent a piece of 1/8" Kydex for the battery tray, which still has a lot of finishing work remaining, but I need the shift servo in place to do most of it, so it sits as is. Running front body posts and mounts front and rear, which fit remarkably well with the Injora Cab +Cage hardbody from Amazon-- my first ever hardbody, and I'm pretty happy with it. The JConcepts Creep is out of stock apparently globally, and I am stalwart in my boycott of ProLine, so choices for a pickup body were getting slimmer by the minute.

    The body + cage for an Element Sendero is over 90 bucks, so the Injora at $70 seemed like a bargain (no painting!) and it went together well, and fits, as I mentioned, great. Absolutely worth the money.



    Also zero complaints about the $25 "25kg" servo from Amazon. It's quiet, and plenty strong and fast enough for a barely 7.5lb rig-- under 6lbs without the body, and that includes aluminum beadlocks and chunky knuckle weights.

    I'm sure the rig will end up with a lexan shell on it at some point, but the Injora is great, and will serve for a good while. Heck, I haven't even started the masking on my Defender body, and it's been hanging on the pegboard in the shop for at least 6 weeks now.

  33. #33
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    Looks like you're having a great time and I love the course that you've made. If I had the space I'd do the same thing but alas, I'm stuck running on my neighbors landscape stones, creek beds and through the woods. I still have a blast every time. FYI for much better performance check out the Hobbywing Quicrun Fusion motor/ESC combo. I put it in my Bronco and it's a world of difference.

  34. #34
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    Made little bit more progress on the yellow truck. Got the exact front bumper I wanted and an STRC bumper delete for the back. Had to heavily modify the mount to get the bumper to sit as high and tight as I wanted it, but it's pretty much exactly what I was going for. Also fabricated a rear body mount to better hold the bed/cage, sticking with magnets for the front, they're working fine.

    Bought the wrong light bar (too wide) so I just servo taped it directly to the roof, no brackets. wiring for that is nowhere near completed. Got the shift servo installed, so I'm running a 2-speed but with Sport gearing, so 2nd gear absolutely RIPS. I really need to pick up another 45T spur, though.

    Also put in some shock keys and swapped the long-travel GTS shocks off of my Defender to this truck, and sent the regular GTS the other way. Both trucks like the setups better. The long travels are fresh built with red pistons, 10wt, and soft springs. The droop is real.



    FLEX.

  35. #35
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    A couple of upgrades and even more parts swaps for the Sport. Finally got some decent foams for the Showdowns (Crazy Crawler) so I tossed those on the Defender, and they are EXCELLENT. Stock foams just not up to the task. Swapped the Pitbull Growlers over to the Sport, as it's like half the weight, and it likes that better as well.

    Also popped on some Samix high-clearance links, and oh, out with the bulk of the Hardbody (we hardly knew ye!) and in with the definitively non-heft of the JC Creep. All black, magnet mounts (so much fabrication!) and I think I love it. JC should not just say the Creep fits the TRX-4, unless you intend on having the bottom of the body 2" above the frame rails. I have it sitting as absolutely low as I could without changing out or significantly modifying parts. Kinda hard to see in the pics, but the rear shocks are even with the top of the bed rails. Some decent sized cutouts to get that to happen. No chance of using the stock rear body mount position as a result.

    Does it drive great? Boy howdy does it. Gonna try a winch controller on this one, it's in the mail as of this post.





  36. #36
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. Squeegie's Avatar
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    Looks great!
    Creativity is intelligence having fun. -Einstein

  37. #37
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    Wow.. that's quite the playground!

    Sent from my moto z4 using Tapatalk

  38. #38
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    More yard work tends to lead to more course work, as I seem to be endlessly moving one type of material or another from one place to another. I ordered way too many bags of Quikrete for pouring some footings, but I knew I'd be able to put it to good use. Same for the pallet of breezeblocks. So far, just a dozen or so sacks put into place, mixed in with whatever loose is lying around. It's tricky work, really, making lines challenging enough to be fun without being just outright impossible.




    Then while clearing out the "side drive" that accesses the back section of our property, I ran smack into... the pile. You see, back in the days when the whole 110' x 60' area was a big off-road R/C track, we didn't want rocks. No need or use for 'em. So I sifted the dirt through a 1/2" mesh shaker table-- and I mean tons of it. All of the sifted rock got dumped in a pile. That pile is probably 80 cubic feet. So I started putting it to use.




    I use a technique very similar to mixing up concrete-- the soil here is pretty heavy with both sand and clay (and rocks!) so it really holds it's shape. I mix with water, getting about the same slump as a sack of Quikrete, and bucket it into place. Within a couple of days, the dirt is rock-hard, but offers significantly less traction than rough concrete. Doesn't last nearly as long either, but hey... it's free. And I've barely made a dent in that pile.

    Some other lines I've just been "steepening," by pulling material from the bottom and moving it higher up the slope. Amazing what moving just a few pieces can do. I guess if the bodies are covered in dents and scratches from rolling over all the time, the difficulty level most be fairly decent.

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