If you just sit back and take a good look at the RC hobby, it’s amazing how many vehicles are offered and then backed up by a seemingly infinite number of option parts. Traxxas is a company with a large selection of vehicle offerings and the majority of those are supported by after market manufacturers. With so much going on around the TRX offerings, it’s no wonder that Traxxas vehicles are often selected to build projects with. Over the years I’ve built countless Traxxas projects and I don’t think I’ll ever lose the urge to build more, but for now I had to fulfill that need to build a cool TRX machine. That’s when the 1/8-scale E-buggy conversion from STRC caught my eye. It takes a Slash 4×4 Short Course truck and turns it into an electric buggy or a “Pro8” as some drivers like to call converted SC machines. My particular Slash 1/8 E-Buggy build may seem over the top to some, but again, in this hobby you build from mild to wild, I’ll be showing you all the options I can so you can decide what is best for you is part of the job.
Photos Walter Sidas
0.5 deg. toe-in rear hub carriers: ST1952-5R
Slash 4×4 LCG Conversion Kit: ST6822LCG-Custom
Aluminum Steering Knuckles: ST6837R
Multi-Piece Steering Bellcrank set: ST6845R
LW Center Main driveshaft: ST6855BK
E-Buggy Kit: ST6808BK
17mm hex adatpers: ST1654-17GM
Pro-Spec Shocks (Rear): 6308-31
Pro-Spec Shocks (Front): 6308-30
ProTrac Suspension Kit: 6082-00
Phantom Clear Body: 3432-00
Trifecta Black Wing: 6249-03
Big Blox X2 Buggy Tires Mounted: 9048-032
Dynamic 10L 4700kv Brushless Motor: 53550
iX8 Brushless ESC: iX8 Brushless ESC
LiPo 2S 7.4V 5200mAh Comp Hardcase: 430205
4PKS-R 4-Channel 2.4GHz FASST Radio System: FUTK4903
TS-920 Digital 1/10 SCT/4WD Buggy Steering Servo- 922000036-0
Center Diff Gear 53T Hard Steel: 7843
X-Hard 15T Black Steel 32P Pinion 5mm: 8615
So the idea was set; take a Traxxas Slash 4×4 and turn it into a Pro8 type E-buggy with the use of STRC’s E-buggy conversion kit. As I checked out the color options for the kit online, I started to look at STRC’s other Slash 4×4 option parts and that’s when I started to get into trouble. But more on that later! The E-buggy conversion is simple; it gives you everything you need minus body, wheels, tires, a little bit of hardware and a wing to get going. So what it comes with are the wing mounts, bumper, hinge pin pivots, body mounts and hardware. You can also get the 17mm hex hub adapter extension as a combo when you order.
Out of the silver, black, blue and red anodizing options for the parts, I chose black for a cool racing appearance. And upon inspection of the parts, everything looked great and the install was looking like it was going to be fairly easy unless I complicated things…which I did.
You see on STRC’s site, they also offer a low CG chassis kit (note: the version two kit is now available after this project was built) for the Slash 4×4 and since I was building a track-oriented buggy, getting more performance from a LCG chassis setup instantly became part of the plan. This is where I started to get color crazy and ordered up the red anodized chassis kit that comes with the lower plate, a carbon upper deck, front bulkhead and rear hinge pin block, carbon battery plate, motor mount and a bunch more goodies for a complete LCG setup. Then I moved on to dreaming about hub strength and STRC has you covered here too. I picked up red anodized rear hubs and steering knuckles. Toward the front of the machine, STRC’s aftermarket aluminum steering cranks will swing with more precision and better durability than the stock cranks, so on the must-have list they went.
Next, I moved my train of thought to the suspension and that’s when it hit me…Pro- Line offers the ProTrac kit. The kit comes with longer arms and new tie-rods. This is a big handling improvement for the Slash 4×4, which this platform technically is, so I decided to give them a try. The arms are stout and the rods look strong. While on the Pro-Line site, the Pro-Spec shocks caught my eye and looked to be the perfect addition to this all-out build. The shocks are available assembled and I scuffed them up and added oil before bolting them to the buggy. To start, I used 35wt oil and found that the included springs were too light, so I switched to Pro-Line’s Super Hard springs and will probably fine tune more as I lay down some laps. But my modifications didn’t end there; I used RPM towers front and rear on the buggy, as well as all RPM rod ends for maximum durability. Oh wait, there’s more; the caster blocks were swapped out with optional Traxxas aluminum units and the steering knuckles were upgraded to red anodized STRC aluminum units with the rear hubs swapped out for STRC product too. The aluminum will keep the suspension firm so it does its job instead of relying on the stock parts that are designed to flex and lessen the chances of breakage in a hit.
Lots of changes have been made and this buggy barely resembled its original form, but now I’ll go over the drivetrain which has a number of Traxxas parts carried over from the 4×4. The front and rear gearboxes were used on the truck with only a swap over to diff oils instead of the stock grease. The center slipper was removed and a Traxxas center diff was installed with a Robinson Racing steel spur gear. The new diff will help distribute power efficiently to the front and rear end while the new spur will be less likely to strip than the included plastic gears that come with the differential. A Robinson Racing pinion was also used and the only other change to the central driveline was the center shaft. It is now an STRC shaft— simply because I liked the color options that STRC offers— and in this case I chose black.
What to power this beast with? That was the question. With many Pro8 conversions, drivers use their existing SC power systems and I know my local indoor track only allows 2S LiPo/550-size long can BL motors so I turned to LRP for their power offerings. For a motor, I slipped in a Dynamic 10L 5.5T motor connected to an iX8 sensored brushless ESC which can handle down to a 5.5T. For a power pack, I again turned to LRP for a competition LiPo battery pack with 80C rating to handle the power draw. Then for a servo, I had heard good things about the new Turnigy servos and selected their SCT servo to turn the wheels. Imagine that. They say on the box it’s great in SCT applications so you don’t have to determine by yourself whether the servo will work in your application. Then, to control the buggy, I installed my Futaba 4PKS-R radio system and programmed it to an open model.
To finish up my project I again looked to finishing pros Pro-Line Racing for their new Phantom Tekno EB-48 body which fits almost perfectly over the chassis layout. You’ll just need to leave the sides of the body slightly longer than the cut line for a good fit. For paint, the body headed off to Valvenis Paints for the cool racing scheme you see on these pages. Pro-Line’s new Trifecta wing looks ultra cool and has a bolt-on wickerbill for added downforce. Finally Pro-line Big Blox premounted tires on white rims were bolted to the STRC 17mm wheel adapters.
The track was calling this Slash Pro8 conversion project so I headed to a local indoor track for a little fun after the outdoor photo shoot. Indoors, the buggy was a rocket on the straight thanks to the power of the LRP Dynamic 10L motor paired with the 2S LRP 80C battery. Our track limits Pro8’s to an SC type system for safety, but I didn’t see that to be a problem on this buggy. There was some wheel spin as the tires searched for traction on the packed clay surface and Pro-Line Ions would have been better, but I was having fun. The buggy pushes a bit in the corners and that is in part because of the tires, but also in the amount of throw the steering has, its travel doesn’t lock out the wheels, but gets close enough for good turning characteristics and I was able to get around the track with some respectable times. On to the handling, the suspension still felt a bit soft on the track, there was a lot of roll and chassis slap over larger jumps. Back in the pits, I swapped the springs over to Losi springs off of a TEN SCTE and bumped up the oil weight to 45. This felt better and the buggy handled the rough better. Over a few packs, I made a few more changes, to camber and ride height, tweaking and tuning and bumping up the project’s abilities. It was all actually a lot of fun dialing in what used to be a short course machine and turning it into a 1/8-scale E-buggy racer.
So there are a ton of after market parts on this project which often leads readers to think about what they’ve seen on these pages in a few ways. One reaction is, “Oh these guys are lucky, they get to build whatever they want, must be nice.” Another is, “Why on earth would anyone put that much into a car?”
Then there are a few other thoughts that we probably can’t write about, but the one we hope you think about is, “I really like X about this project” We build projects like this to inspire or show you parts available for your machine. You don’t have to go super crazy to turn a Slash 4×4 into a buggy; you can get out the door for far less in comparison to our project. But I’m sure you’ll get the same result, a fresh new take on a machine you may already have that brings much more fun into your RC hobby.
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