It is always nice to see the scale aspect of our hobby get some love, and Vaterra has always been looking out for us. The Vaterra Ascender was released about a year ago and since then has been a huge hit. There are multiple versions now available with different bodies, all super scale and officially licensed as Vaterra always does. The Vaterra does an admirable job of crawling out of the box, but every RTR crawler I have ever seen responds amazingly well with just a few aftermarket parts. Don’t let the slow operating speeds fool you, crawlers take an absolute thrashing due to their oversized wheels, high torque motors and brutal environments. Check out some parts below that can help improve the crawling potential and durability of the Vaterra Ascender.
Link To Buy: http://amzn.to/2xqMMnN
1. Interco TSL SX Super Swamper XL 1.9″ G8 Mounted on FaultLine 1.9″
One of the first things I always upgrade on most my vehicles are the tires and wheels. The stock Acender shoes aren’t bad, but there is room for improvement. I would recommend slapping on a set of Pro-Line Interco TSL tires mounted on their FaultLine beadlocks. Beadlocks are great for crawling, they allow for tire swapping without the need for glue, and the extra weight is always great to reduce the chance of flipping. You can even add weight in the form of BB gun pellets and and since you aren’t gluing the tires you can try different amounts of weight without any ill effects. The Interco tires are taller and wider than past designs, and offer gobs of grip to make your way up or down the trail.
Manufacturer: Pro-Line Racing
Part: Pro-Line Interco TSL SX Super Swamper XL 1.9″ G8 Tires, Mounted
Part Number: Front or Rear 1197-10
Price: (2) $70.51
Link To Buy: http://amzn.to/2xqMnSj
2. MIP X-Duty™ C-Drive Kit, All Vaterra Ascender, K105/K5/Ford Bronco
With the extra traction that the new tires will provide, we need to ensure that the drivetrain is up to the challenge. The center drive axles will be the first to notice the strain when taking the power from the motor, so let’s address that. MIP makes an insanely strong center drive kit that will not flex, and more importantly provide extra durability during tough rock crawling sections. These are made from high quality steel, and since MIP been the expert in similar products for decades, you know these are a perfect drop in with no hacking required.
Part: MIP X-Duty™ C-Drive Kit, All Vaterra Ascender, K105/K5/Ford Bronco
Part Number: 16180
Link To Buy: http://amzn.to/2xrrOFA
3. Hitec HS-7985MG High Torque, Metal Gear Coreless Digital Servo
We ask a lot out of our steering servo during rock crawling. Not only does the servo have to have the power to turn giant, heavy, and over sized wheels, but it often has to do this under static conditions. Try turning on one of your RCs and turning the wheels without moving forward and then while moving and you will notice that it struggles a bit while not moving. This is the main reason that crawlers need some of the best servos on the market and we look no further than Hitec products. The HS-7985MG of course includes metal gears, but we are looking at this servo for the hefty 172 oz of torque at 6 volts. This should have no issues turning the wheels, but you may want to invest in a BEC to ensure the servo gets a consistent 6 volts.
Part: HS-7985MG Servo
Part Number: 37985S
Link To Buy: http://amzn.to/2wDfGm3
As you can see, where barely scratched the surface of the potential within the Ascender platform. We haven’t even touched on scale add-ons yet! But these upgrades are what I consider essential for this vehicle, and is often what I upgrade on any RTR to start. With the extra grip, turning ability, and driveline strength your Ascender should see much better rock crawling ability.