Lets get this straight from the start, everyone has different ideas about upgrades, the need for them, what they should be, what order they should be in. This is my take on the matter and you may not agree or even like it but quite honestly that doesn’t matter. Just take a read and take what you want from this :-)
The vast majority of the information in this post comes from this thread over at URC. Evil Genius Jr. (and the other contributors) did a brilliant job with this thread and it proved a great help to me. I’d like to thank him for letting me use his words in/for this article. I wanted to add a couple of bits to broaden the scope a little bit and add a few UK links, updated alternatives, part numbers but much of the stuff listed will still have to be ordered from the US. So here goes….
The least obvious but possibly most important upgrade you can make and a complex issue to boot. There are many factors (terrain, surface, looks) that influence the decision which, in this post at least, I will not touch on but below are a couple recommendations based on my research and personal experiences. These are all Short Course (2.2/3.0) based tyres and I’ll be linking, where I can, to pre-mounted versions of them but they can of course be found in tyre only form.
Very popular all round tyre, jack of all surfaces – master of non. Probably worst on loose dirt but still WAYYYY better than stock tyres. These are what I run by default – a decent all round tyre.
Pro-Line Trencher SC M2 – Mounted on Black Renegade SC Wheels (2)
Wide motocross style tread, little bit heavy and stiff and often a good idea to soften suspension. These are not for on road or hard surfaces better on soft/loose surface - a decent off road bashers tyre.
Pro-Line Badlands SC Tyres with Closed Cell Inserts
Of course there are lots of other options out there but the above are good “off the shelf” upgrades.
As EGJr. said “For both the front and rear RPM is the way to go.” The consensus is definitely avoid metal bumpers – “good hit and you have a bent bumper”.
“The stock bumper in the front has a support attaching it to the bulkhead, when the bumper is hit some force is transmitted to the bulkhead, sometimes breaking it. the RPM does away with this support making bulkhead breakages less likely.Plus is RPM’s plastic”.
“I’m not sure what upgrades RPM’s rear bumper offers except looks, mud flap mounts, and light mounts. Could someone please chime in on this?”
Ok I’ll chime in. I like the scale(ish) look and the RPM rear bumper offers a better looking SCT in my opinion, especially if you add the mudflaps. I’ll be replacing the stock with the RPM when they break.
Note: RPM parts are available in a range of colours.
”For the front go RPM because it eliminates the bell-crank popping out.
For the back the Pro-Line one is the best because it integrates the rear bumper mount and skid plate into one solid piece”.
Unfortunately it seems the Pro-Line one is no longer available so your left with RPM. I have the rear one after ripping the rear end off on a kerb and breaking the stock rear skid plate and rear suspension mount.
My broken rear skid plate and rear suspension mount.
This completely eliminates the week point in the chassis saving you from breaking them.
Pro-Line Chassis saver
Suspension & Steering
”STRC and FLM are good, the venom one has a 3-piece design that makes it not as strong as the others”.
“If you have a RPM Front bumper aluminium bulkheads are not necessary, they do look good and add some strength and weight to the front”.
I can’t comment here as I haven’t had either but I can say that its a pretty consistent view in the community and I’ve been through 4 bulkheads so far. Just can’t decide which one to get and hoping one becomes available over here in the UK soon so I don’t have to order from the US and pay stupid amounts of tax on it.
A-Arms (Front & Rear):
”I would definitely recommend the Pro-Trac kit, It as stronger than stock and improves handling a-ton. If for some reason you dont want the Pro-Trac kit RPM’s arms are nearly indestructible. Do not use metal. It will bend becoming unusable”.
When my Rear A-Arms broke I replaced them with RPM’s and they are still in one piece. That said its mainly because I now run a wide mod using stock rustler rear arms (all round JANG wide mod) but rest assured if they break it will be RPM’s that replace them.
I have to say though I like the look of the Pro-Trac kit – angled and more realistic…scale(ish) than the RPM stuff so I may try it if I ever build another SCT/Baja type vehicle. That said according to many the protrac kit makes real little difference. JANG on the URC forums had this to say on the matter;
“Going from appropriately tuned stock suspension to appropriately tuned Pro-Trac I didn’t notice a significant difference in performance. I didn’t check before & after lap times, and there may have been a difference, but it wasn’t enough to notice without checking lap times “
The Pro-Line ProTrac Suspension Kit
”Metal is the way to go here, pretty much any manufacturer is good. Whatever you do , don’t buy RPM here it flexes to much and beds your kingpin. The best is STRC or Traxxas”.
I have used both. Traxxas metal ones on my Rustler Based Baja Bug (more to come on that in later posts) and RPM on my pre-jang-mod slash. Personally RPM are better than stock and metal is better than RPM.
”Metal is the best here but RPM is also good, the Pro-Trac kit includes some that are pretty good.”
This is another situation where I’ve used both. Traxxas metal ones and RPM plastic. No personal experience of the Pro-Line product but I will probably try it at some point. ANZA also offer front carriers with either 0 or 5 degrees of toe.
On the plastic front you have options from RPM and Pro-Line (part of the Pro-Trac kit). There are a number of metal options. Personally I run have with RPM plastic and currently use Integy Metal ones (I got them in an ebay parts bundle purchase). There are also Carbon fibre options like the offerings from ANZA. The consensus here seems to be that RPM is the way to go.
”Metal is very good here, Pro-Line makes an upgrade unit that includes the servo saver built in, but it is a little pricey. The stock slash 4×4 one also works.”
I’m running Traxxas metal ones on the Slash and stock elsewhere. Next breakage on a plastic ones and I’ll be trying the Slash 4×4 one I suspect. The Traxxas metal ones are available in a range of colours.
Stock hinge ones are… well rubbish really. I went for an ANZA set myself but as EGJr said in his original article there are options from STRC and Lunsford which are very popular. Here in the UK I can only find Wheelspin that sell Lunsford but they don’t do the kit so you have to buy separates.
EGJr. had this to say on the matter of shocks:
“Well my opinion is that the Stock shocks with new springs, aluminium caps, and Ti-ni shafts. But if you do want better shocks Pro-Line Power Strokes are very good and the Big Bores are decent. Now if your completely insane (you know who you are ) you could put 1/8th scale shock on. Doc has a tutorial stickied for it.”
Shocks seems to be one of the most personal of choices but lets deal with the first sentence by saying that based on my research and experiences EGJr. is spot on. When I first got my Slash the first thing that went were shock caps popping off and the shafts bending. Traxxas themselves do shock caps and Ti-Ni shafts (long for the front and xx long for the rear assuming standard shocks).
These are the links to the Pro-Line Power Strokes mentioned and whilst I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone complaining about their performance the price is a different matter – I won’t spoil the surprise mind you.
I have no experience of the Traxxas Big Bores either but I can say they are cheaper than the Pro-lines, considerably.
The tutorial referred to is that of Dr Isotope, a leading light on the URC forums and an amazingly knowledgeable individual. You can check it out here: Eighth scale size, 8ight(h) scale shocks.
I started with stock springs front and rear, switched to rear ones all around (with aluminium shocks caps) and now run these bad boys on my Slash
These are aluminium piggy back shocks for the Axial Wraith with Ti-Ni shafts and screw adjustable pre-load. I just thing piggy backs are sexy.
The final point I’ll make here is that good shocks is just the starting point – they have to be set up right (oil, springs.etc.) to work effectively.
The stock transmission case is pretty good in my opinion, not infallible but for most uses will serve you well. There are other plastic options though, like the Pro-Line kit, which also includes a sealed, oil-filled differential and redesigned slipper clutch (it better do at the price they want for it). Where metal comes into play is when you want to tackle heat, as EGJr. said:
“Metal is the best here because it will wick away motor heat. FLM is the highest quality but most of the others are good too.”
The stock Slash 4×4 rear shafts are very good but if you want CVDs the MIP and STRC ones are good. Integy and venom don’t seem as popular.
Well that’s it for now. My take on EGJr.s thread. I will be adding more thoughts on upgrades at some date no doubt.
Note: The links in this post go to hobby shops in the UK and US. I don’t get commission from them, I’m just trying to make life easier. They may be me favourites but that doesn’t mean you have to use them.