Wednesday, April 27, 2011

RC Can Be An Inexpensive Hobby - Part 1.

$40 doesn't go a long way any more. I've spent more than that buying tires for 1 car! What can you do in this hobby for that small amount of money and have fun? Buy alcohol. Nope. Cruise craigslist and ebay and find an old stadium truck. Stadium trucks have been around since the late 80's. When Tamiya released the Blackfoot in 1986 People realized how much fun an ordinary 2wd buggy could be with really big tires on it. The better the buggy, the better the truck. Since it's a dead simple concept and old as dirt, there are approximately 37 million stadium trucks in the world. My math may be a little off since I pulled that number out of my butt from online research. The point is they are plentiful and cheap. Years ago in AZ I showed some friends my $40 concept and bought some Traxxas/Losi hybrid with vintage Futaba electrics and an unknown motor for $45 with local pick up. This time I went to the bay and craigslist.

The first one is a Duratrax Evader ST. It came as a basket case with no electronics but enough parts to almost build two. I have liked the the Evader since last month when my buddy picked up an Evader EXT2. It was a sweet little truck for $120 RTR. I hate the RTR part but a good truck but nonetheless. Team Associated style gearbox combined with a molded chassis and Losi style suspension arms. I wanted one. I resisted because I'm building a real car too and girls do not like it when you show up at their house with an RC and a bike. Unfortunately the lure of multi-stadium truck bash sessions was too great. At this point I probably should have dug into the collection and found something suitable but I am nothing if not ridiculous so I decided to make a project in the name of RC Street Source. First step was to look on craigslist since I discovered a short time ago that every 3 weeks some sort of Evader pops onto every craigslist in the world.
I stripped it down and rebuilt the front end first. I cleaned everything and disassembled the shocks and refilled them with 40wt oil. I used thick oil since these shocks have no oil bladder. The oil displaced by the shaft going into the body needs somewhere to go so there are inevitable air bubbles. Apparently at some point in it's life it had stiffer red front springs so I reused them. Everything else was fine except the shock tower was broken. I ordered a $5 replacement and moved to the rear.
I rebuilt the rear shocks the same way as the fronts except I used the stock yellow springs. The gearbox was a small problem. It has all metal gears which is a plus for durability but slows acceleration. The diffs were all crap as well. I tried to build a decent one but it kept loosening during the living room test sessions. I eventually solved it by removing the balls and CA'ing it tight. The truck also came with a nice set of CVD's which I reused. I decided to run a set of HPI Geolander tires. These are the best all around tires you can put on a basher stadium truck. They look awesome too.
For power I started with a Trinity Midnight 2 stock motor with a 20T pinion. but it had trouble getting the truck moving. I decided to upgrade to an old favorite, the Kyosho Le Mans 360st and a 17T pinion. That gave it the kick it needed but still kept it close to stock performance.
To round out this package I stuffed ball bearings in every hole and dug up some electronics. I found a generic esc in my toolbox and I have Eurgle receivers all over the place since they're about $7. I charged up a couple GP3300 six cell stick packs and was nearly ready to go.
My final task was to cover it. I was thinking about digging in the pile and finding a new body to paint for it but I decided to work with the stock body since this was a low buck basher project. I first used some scotchbrite and scuffed the outside of the body to tone down the purpleness. I then used a sharpie to make a front window. The next step was the Lexus grille and some random headlights to make up the front end. Finally I used some scrap decals to draw your eyes away from the hideous flames.
I took it out for some bashing but we have another truck to talk about first. Enjoy the photos. Tomorrow I'll show you the other $40 stadium truck.
If you click it, it gets bigger!
RC Can Be An Inexpensive Hobby - Part 2.
RC Can Be An Inexpensive Hobby - Part 3.

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