Tips on RC Rock Crawlers
The rage of remote control toys and vehicles has extended to a whole new level with the RC rock crawling jeeps, also known as RC rock crawlers. As the name clearly specifies, RC rock crawling jeeps are specially designed vehicles that can travel on the most undulating rocky surfaces with ease and traction. They are crafted to run through terrains where no other regular off-road cars can reach.
With the increasing popularity of the RC rock crawling jeeps, rock racing has developed as a serious racing event. There is hardly any fun in racing an RC jeep all by your own. A race drives the adrenaline and challenges you to run your rock crawler to its optimum potential. Rock crawling races test these RC jeeps with obstacles spread across the rough racing territory. It is imperative that you participate in races in order to promote your hobby for rock climbing jeeps. Solo running neither informs you of your vehicle’s strengths and weaknesses nor gives you its best performance prospects. Therefore, the best way to start with RC rock crawling jeeps is to race as much as possible.
In order to compete, you need to make sure that your crawler has the best possible setup. Mentioned below are the key elements that you need to look out for while setting up your rock crawling jeep.
Tyres form a pivotal part of any RC vehicle. When it comes to rock crawlers, they are one of the main factors affecting the vehicle’s performance. There is no single best type of tyre; every surface condition has its own suitable type of tyre. Hence, the running capacity of your vehicle’s tyres depends on the terrain. In case of a competition, a softer compound is preferred. The tyres’ foam should be suitable for the vehicle’s weight. It is clear that you will need different kinds of tyres for different racing surfaces. But it is an investment well made for use in future.
Another main formula for rock crawler racing tyres is the bigger the tyres, the better your vehicle will run. Big tyres help the RC jeep with ground clearance and facilitate a smooth run through any kind of surface.
Center of Gravity (CG)
The location of your RC rock crawling jeep’s center of gravity does not matter. What is of prime importance is its magnitude. The CG is required to be as low as possible. The lower the CG, the better your rock crawler will climb and descend.
You can lower your jeep’s CG in many ways. You can first identify the heavier components of your rock crawler. Once you identify these elements, look out for lighter options to replace the same. The battery, for instance, is an excellent way to lower the CG level. A NiMH battery can be replaced with a LiPo battery to make a huge difference in the crawler’s CG. Keep in mind that a bigger battery weighs more and amounts to higher CG. You can also choose to attach two small batteries in place of a large one. Another way of reducing the value of CG is to use heavy wheels. Increasing the weight in the lower end of the vehicle will decrease the CG. You can use aluminium axles to add weight.
Another important point to remember is weight distribution. More weight in the crawler’s front helps your vehicle climb better. A balanced weight distribution is very similar to a low CG. A 60-40 division of weight is ideal for an RC rock crawling jeep.
An important requirement to race your rock crawler efficiently is to create as much ground clearance as possible. That is to say, the obstacles in the racing track can damage your vehicle’s components and you have to make sure it does not. RC rock crawlers have the axles placed at the lowest end of the vehicle. You can use taller tyres to ensure an improved ground clearance. When the height of the suspension is increased, the clearance for the center skid plate is also improved.
Rear Tyre Foams
When the crawler is climbing a steep uphill, the rear tyres usually start twisting while the front ones push up. This is one of the biggest glitches in the vehicle’s setup. The rear tyres often contort themselves when the vehicle encounters an obstacle. It happens due to the softness of the back tyres. All the power that you put into the vehicle to cross the obstacle is directed towards the twisting rear tyres without helping the jeep move forward. The softness of the tyres is helpful for better traction. But when the tyres grip the surface a little too well, it can lead to adverse scenarios. Therefore, it is ideal to attach tad bit stiffer foams in the tyres at the back. These foams should not be too firm, only to reduce the softness.
Steering and Durability
There are many kinds of racers. Some racers can compete so pedantically that they do not break even a single part of their jeep. Some others will need every aluminium hop-ups to enhance the jeep’s durability.
A vital element of the setup in these terms is the steering. The two main aspects that you have to take care of our steering throw and durability. You can increase the steering throw capacity with the use of knuckles and axles with better ground clearance. Aluminium knuckles offer better steering throw than the plastic ones. Axles increase steering throw along with enhancing the durability. The combination of these two items will greatly enhance your vehicle’s performance. Additionally, you can upgrade some parts like aluminium servo horns and links for better durability. Heavy duty gears in the back are also very helpful.
A stiffer suspension allows your RC rock crawling jeep to make better climbs for side hills. It is best to have stiffer suspension for the rear springs in comparison to the front springs. When you add aluminium items, your vehicle’s weight increases and, therefore, it requires stiffer suspension. It is also more suitable to deal with torque twist. It avoids unsolicited weight transfer during uphill climbing movements. A rear suspension without any flex is unsafe during side hilling. Therefore, adding more flex to the rear portion is better preferred.
Apart from the above-listed tips to take care of during assembling your vehicle, you also need to maintain it properly. While RC rock crawlers offer marvellous performances on track, they require as much maintenance off the field to keep them in the best condition. You will get a guide on how to best keep up the vehicle. In addition to that, here are some of the key tips for maintenance of your RC rock crawling jeeps:
Bent or Cracked Parts Should Not be overlooked
A significant aspect of an RC crawler’s maintenance is taking care of its bent or broken parts. If the suspension pins are in a bent condition, it will adversely affect your handling and control of the vehicle. It is ideal to remove the pins from the jeep at regular intervals and check for any bent or crack. When you roll them on a flat surface, any bends will be visible in its rolling. You should replace the pin immediately. Searching for cracked parts is a difficult exercise. But you have to look with a good light in order to avoid cracked components failing at the wrong time and situation. It is a necessary exercise for the vehicle’s maintenance.
Essentially Service the Shocks
One of the most important components of RC rock crawlers is the shock. Shocks work the hardest in rocky and rough terrains. Consequentially, they require the most amount of maintenance regularly. Their efficiency will gradually decrease if not maintained well. You can service the shocks by removing them from the vehicle first and then removing the springs and the cap. You have to drain any fluid that remains in the shocks and note its colour. Different colours of the fluid indicate different conditions. Dark grey means the piston needs replacement. In this case, the shocks have been damaged from the inside coating. Brownish colour signals at a refilling of the fluid with the proper tube.
Maintain the Differentials
Differentials are very specifically constructed parts of an RC rock crawling jeep. They require regular maintenance and check-ups for better performance. Ball differentials are the most common kind of differentials. You must first remove the differential housing and disassemble it all together. Check all the bearings for any damage. You should run your fingernail through a ball differential. If there is an uneven surface, that indicates its replacement. Gear differentials require lubrication and cleaning from time to time. It requires the removal of the differential housing and its disassembling to grease it properly.
Take Care of Driveshaft Repairs
All rock crawlers have universals, CVDs, and dog bones that add to their performance. At the same time, they require proper maintenance to work optimally. You have to clean them periodically. They also require the replacement of lubricants that are lost during the usage. Wear parts like drive pins and center couplings also need replacements. Disassembling them is the best way to clean and grease them. You can also come across broken parts during this task and replace them at the earliest.
Do Not Bathe Your Vehicle
An important albeit less known point about the maintenance of RC crawlers is that they should not be washed. A bath is not only harmful to the vehicle but can also cost you your money. Water erases the paint and affects its components adversely. You can singularly clean its parts with a tad bit water. But you should not wash it entirely. Use a dry and lightly wet towel or cloth to clean any dirt on its body. Air compressors are the ideal way of drying your vehicle after you clean it with a wet towel. Make sure you dry every small inch of it to avoid rusting.
Fun Trail with RC Rock Crawler
Large-scale crawling and racing events are super fun to be a part of. But you can also enjoy a fun rock crawling trail with friends and family on any good outing. The preparation for a fun trail involves a few things.
You have to make sure that your RC rock crawling jeep matches the capacity of your friends’ vehicles. It will, otherwise, be a flop show for you. It is also important that you keep your setup as simple as possible. This is a fun track and it would not necessarily require the above-mentioned elements. Get a full droop suspension setup for both flat and uneven surfaces. Move your battery to the center for low CG. Since it will not be a long run, you can use lighter batteries for reduced weight. Weigh your wheels and balance the weight distribution for a better run downhill. Pack foams for rear tyres to ensure minimum flex during side hilling.
Tips for Preparation
When preparing for a fun crawling trail with your friends or family, you need to make sure you keep all the necessary things. Prepare a fanny pack with tools and spares to avoid spoiling the fun of your racing event. Keep pliers, screwdrivers, small knives, and similar tools. Small spare parts and rod end will also help. Servo tapes, fasteners, glue, etc. are some other things to keep in your kit. If you keep a few sets of spare tyres, you will never have to worry about your racing style. Everyone will have the liberty to race with full pressure in any kind of surface with the availability of extra tyres for replacement. Some toothbrushes are necessary to clean off the dust from your RC rock crawlers. You can then blow off the rest of it with an air compressor.
In the event of a fun trail, you also need to prepare yourself alongside your vehicle. For that purpose, wear hiking shoes and suitable clothing to keep your enthusiasm up all through. A first-aid kit is very important, in case someone’s adrenaline ends up hurting them. Choose a suitable spot for the activity to get the most fun out of it. Keep your senses open to any kind of danger. At the end of the day, you have your rock crawler and your racing skills to have a memorably entertaining time.
Thanks for reading
(The above article is written by Pratiksha, and edited by your webmaster)