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RC4WD D44 Aluminum Axles Test

By Ty Giebel
This article was originally published in RC Driver’s August 2016 issue.

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It’s a new generation of crawling and we are far beyond the limitations we all once knew. No longer do we have to settle for plastic axle housings that break and cause us to pack up and head home. No more aluminum lockers, pot metal gears, and pede shafts. RC crawling has become one of the most aftermarket supported sections of radio control and we all knew it was only a matter of time until RC4WD Knocked another one out of the park. The D44 machined aluminum axles not only look amazing, but, for lack of a better term, are BEEF!

THE GOODS
As I pulled the axles out of their individual boxes I was blown away by the quality of the housings, very clean and realistic looks paired with enough metal to make sure they will last forever. They had me dreaming of a maintenance free vehicle for years to come. Of course that is never the case, but I knew I would never have to worry about breaking an axle ever again. You ever hear the phrase “you get what you pay for”? While these axles will set you back a little on your paycheck they are truly a piece of breathtaking quality that RC4WD took their time on. My one grievance is that while they can use Axial bearings, lockers, ring and pinions they can not use SCX10 designed CVDs; RC4WD shifted the pivot point of the CVD on the C hub, only allowing for their designspecific CVDs to be used. While I have no issues to report with their CVDs, having the support of aftermarket companies like Vanquish products at your disposal is like a warm blanket, and you better believe I want to be warm all the time.

THE PROJECT
The minute I opened these axles I was in love, while I have a bone stock SCX10 sitting on the shelf, I couldn’t just put these on anything. They deserved more, and that’s just what I had for them. I built a full metal buggy a few years ago, dubbed “The Raisin” and have been driving it hard for season after season. I came to a point where I needed to freshen it up and wanted to change the look a little. I cut the top of the chassis off and redesigned it for no other reason than aesthetics. After some fresh metal and paint I mocked up the axles and had to head out and scavenge some parts from my local shop, The Crawl Space. It’s a great place to brainstorm and find all those little parts to get a rig finished up. After filling my arms with parts it was time to get the Raisin running with the flashiest axles I have ever touched. Swapping from stock SCX10 axles to the D44s was a simple process, aside from the panhard, the Raisin uses an axle mounted servo for steering. After a little bit of fabrication I had a servo mounted and she was ready for a test drive. Pretty quick build, huh? The chassis still has SCX10 frame rails so aside from all the metal mounted on top it’s a pretty simple vehicle.

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THE TEST
I had to escape the cold of Colorado. I just couldn’t handle it anymore, so a buddy and I headed to Vegas to soak up the rays and escape reality for a couple days, we raced 1/10 buggies, flew FPV quadcopters and of course we drove our scale rock crawlers. There are hundreds of spots to drive crawlers between Las Vegas and Denver, but we could think of none better than Cedar City. A few years ago the RC Scale Nationals was held in Cedar City, Utah. We knew the spot and knew the terrain was endless. We jumped right out of the car, threw the rigs on the ground and started driving. It didn’t take more then 20 feet before we were driving on some of the best rock in the country.

It was my style of terrain, slick rock that went on forever, no shortage of traction, steep climbs and anything else you could think of. As I threw my crawler on the ground I took in the endless terrain. Pulling up to rock face after rock face, the Pitbull Growlers gripped onto the rock and the axles performed their task, spinning the tires and allowing the CVD shafts to steer into every obstacle I could find. As I began to get braver I began to make mistakes, occasionally loosing grip and watching the Raisin tumble down the rock until it reached a resting spot. Often a quick blip of the throttle was enough to settle the rig back on its wheels and begin to climb back from the abyss to which it fell. Aside from the occasional hanging up of the axle housings on the grippy rock it was a flawless performance that could have lasted days or even weeks if I didn’t have to get back on the road.

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VITAL STATS
MANUFACTURERRC4WD
PRODUCT PART NUMBERS: Front: Z-A0114 Rear: Z-A0112
PRICE: Front $199.99 Rear $179.99
WIDTH: front: 7.197 in. (182.8mm) Rear: 7.165 in. (182mm)
WEIGHT: Front: 9oz. (255g) Rear: 7.51oz. (213g)
COMPATIBILITY: SCX10 width, 12mm hex, 5mm output shaft

WHAT WE LIKED
• Bolt on addition to an Axial SCX10
• Tough as nails • Beautiful scale appearance
• Increased steering over stock Axial

WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED
• Optional on the axle servo mount

PARTS USED FOR TEST

RC4WD
• RC4WD D44 Narrow Rear Axle (Z-A0112)
• RC4WD D44 Narrow Front Axle (Z-A0114)
• RC4WD D44 Link Set (Z-S1072)

AXIAL
• SCX10 Ladder Frame (AX30525)
• SCX10 Transmission (AX30487)
• SCX10 1.9 Beadlocks (AX8087)
• SCX10 Aluminum Shocks

PITBULL
• Growler 1.9 tires (PBTBB9006NK)

TRAXXAS
• T-Maxx 2.5 Drive Shafts (4951X)
• Revo Rod ends (5347)

CRAWLER INNOVATIONS
• Dual stage foams (CWR-2022)

ELECTRONICS
• RC4WD Hitec HS 7980TH Servo (37980S)
• Holmes Hobbies BRXL ESC (HHBTMBRXL-WP)
• Tekin 45t Motor (TT2114)
• Castle Creations BEC (010-0004-00)
• Turnigy 3 cell 850MAH 45c Battery (N850.3s.45)
• Futaba R2104GF Receiver (FUTL7616)

CONCLUSION
RC4WD is the original crawling company going back through over ten years of crawling history, and innovating from the minute they opened the doors. Their evolutionary process has covered every aspect of scale and crawling, from simple helical gears to ready-to-run crawlers. It’s no surprise that RC4WD has become the industry leader in scale looks and rock solid parts. While these carry a hefty price tag they will be some of the last axles you ever buy. They’re tough enough to handle the weekend basher, and attractive enough for a double-take when you share your photos on social media. As you watch your rig tumble down the rock face you probably shouldn’t have been driving on the first place, the last thing you will have to worry about are your axles.

LINKS
RC4WD rc4wd.com
The Crawl Space thecrawlspaceco-com.webs.com
Axial axialracing.com
Pitbull Tires pbxrc.com
Crawler Innovations crawlerinnovations.com
Holmes Hobbies holmeshobbies.com
Hitec hitecrcd.com
Tekin teamtekin.com
Castle Creations castlecreations.com
Turnigy hobbyking.com
Futaba futabarc.com
Traxxas traxxas.com

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