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Team Durango DESC10 Review

Brute Force Short Course Racer!

This article was originally published in RC Driver’s July 2015 issue.

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Photos: Walter Sidas

The new Team Durango kits are making their way hobby shop shelves and we grabbed one of the first DESC10 short course truck kits available to see what these new platforms are all about. All eyes are certainly on Team Durango right now as they’ve taken a new approach for an RC racing company by primarily focusing on the “club racer” and using factory support to assist the majority of racers rather than funding a big pro team. We think the approach is as interesting as the approach they’ve taken with their new line of vehicles. Their kits, like the DESC10 shown here, share many of the same parts. In fact a lot of the parts on this truck interchange with their 1/8-scale buggy line, the DEX8 and DNX8. Sounds interesting, right? Lots of exciting stuff happening with Team Durango, now let’s dip into this kit to see what it has to offer on the bench and on the track.

AT A GLANCE
WHO MAKES IT:Team Durango
WHO IT’S FOR: Intermediate to Advanced Driver
PART NUMBER: TD102034
HOW MUCH: $449.99
BUILD TYPE: Semi-Kit

PROS
• Many tedious build steps already com- pelted by the factory
• Innovative stationary motor mount with adjustable diff
• Mount for mesh adjustment
• Heavy-duty components make for a durable racer or basher
• Refined suspension geometry makes it easier to set up
• Handles great with nimble feel which is great for all types of racer

CONS
• 17mm SC wheels may be difficult to find at tracks
• Shock and diff oils not included


REVIEWER’S OPINION

It’s obvious that Team Durango has been hard at work on the drawing board as the new DESC10 does not resemble TD’s previous 4WD short course offer- ing in any way. We like the fresh approach of using their 1/8-scale platform and modifying it for SC use. The result is a great handling race truck with plenty of support to back it up.

TOOLS AND ACCESSORIES INCLUDED
• No tools or accessories included so you
must supply all oils, glues and tools to build the kit

ITEMS NEEDED
• 7.4V LiPo Pack, LiPo charger, Radio System, High Torque Servo, Electronic Speed Control & Motor, Tires & wheels, Paint, Body

ITEMS USED
• Futaba 4PX, FUTK4905- Since we plan on racing this DESC10 this coming outdoor season, it only makes sense to set it up on a radio that can do it all and the 4PX is a radio that can do just that. There are plenty of tuning functions on the 4PX; it’s super comfortable to handle and easy to navigate.
• 
 Tekin RX8 Gen2 ESC/ Pro4 HD 4300Kv Motor Brushless Motor, TT2301/ TT2518- Plenty of drivers turn to Tekin for their high power, smooth, efficient brushless systems. The Gen2 RX8 graces quite a few of my race machines and the DESC10 gets another along with a powerfully Pro4 HD motor, this thing rips.
• 
TrakPower 7.4V 5mm 5600mAh 90C LiPo Battery, TKPC0616- SC trucks are known to suck plenty of power out of your electronic system. So going with a high dischage rated pack will keep your electronics working for the run. The TrakPower pack can handle large power draw thanks to its efficient design and 5mm bullet connectors.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS USED
• Futaba BLS471SV HV Servo, BLS471SV
• Pro-Line Racing Holeshot 2.0 SC tires, 1180-02 Arrma Senton Wheels, AR510068
• Pro-Line Racing Evo SC Body, 3413-17
• Kustom RC Graphics Paint

FEATURE BREAKDOWN
The chassis may look familiar if you’ve been perusing the Team Durango new vehicles parts lists. The 3mm thick, hard-anodized aluminum plate is shared with the DEX8 buggy. The chassis is milled to reduce weight, its sides are press bent to increase rigidity and it features the Team Durango Star etched onto the plate for extra flair. Overall the chassis looks great, acts as a solid foundation and there is plenty of arm clearance both front and rear. Attached to the chassis is a fixed motor mount for the electric motor. The mount can fit 1/8 or 550 can motors. To adjust gear mesh, you loosen the diff mount which sits on a thin aluminum plate,  and the chassis brace screws and move the center diff assembly rather than the motor. Team Durango opted to shift the driveline to adjust gear mesh because the driveline is lighter and less likely to move in an impact. It also has more screws to secure it than a motor; interesting and effective. Buggy style mud guards help keep the chassis clean of debris and plastic braces are used to shore up the chassis front and rear. Big, heavy duty, multi-piece bumpers protect the front and rear of the truck; the size of the front skid-style bumper appears menacing and looks like it could destroy whatever it hits. The battery tray bolts down to the chassis and can be shifted in or out on the chassis as you shift the gear mesh. The battery tray accepts most popular battery configurations thanks to its adjustable battery stops and pack clamps that are secured with Velcro straps.

The steering on the truck consists of a 1/8- scale style bell-crank setup and ― oh happy day ― it comes pre-assembled from the factory. The cranks are composite plastic with a servo saver assembly on one side. The cranks pivot on ball bearings with steel center posts. The drag link is also aluminum and features four Ackermann locations. Attaching to the cranks are TD’s hefty tie-rods and ends that come preassembled, too. Your fingers will thank you for buying this kit knowing the bulky steering links are prebuilt.

We’re going to talk driveline right now and I’m going to skip right to the cool part. The DESC10 is equipped with quick diff removal gearboxes. In all honesty, the diffs on the SC truck are not as quick to remove as the buggy because the SC bumper supports need to be removed to get to the diffs.

But what I like here is that when you do remove the diffs for maintenance, you don’t have to remove any of the suspension pivot plates; nice. So the diffs come pre-assembled but need to be filled with diff oil once you get them. They are a standard, six internal gear setup with pin guides to support the cross pins. Steel gears are the theme here and the steel outdrives have been cut to reduce their weight. Lightweight universal driveshafts are used for the center diffs, but CV style driveshafts are used to drive the wheels. At the end of the axles are 17mm grey anodized aluminum hexes with black wheel nuts with etched Team Durango logos. Back inboard to the center diff, it’s much like the front and rear diffs but with a composite spur to keep things quiet. The driveline spins on rubber-shielded ball bearings.

Interesting; Team Durango went with a pivot ball style front suspension system, which is a total design departure from their previous SC truck. Word on the street is that companies are finding the pivot ball style front ends to be more consistent on most styles of tracks. Good, we like handling consistency. The arms, both upper and lower, are very stout and have little flex. The arms only have one hole for the shock mounting location, but the inner hinge pivot is highly adjustable with included optional inserts that support the large hinge pins in the aluminum hinge pin plates. Big, thick, aluminum shock towers support the large bore, oil-filled coil over shocks. The shocks have plastic pistons with identification on them to indicate hole size and dual seals keep oil sealed in as the thick shock shafts go through their strokes. What stood out here is that the shock can be built as a vented bladder cap or as a foam compensated shock. It’s all up to your tuning and driving skill to determine which shock setup is best for you. There are also plenty of adjustments for the camber rod locations front and rear. Again, there is plenty of tuning, but it is simple tuning with the limited shock angles.

As you look over the truck there are a number of other unique details that stand out. For example, the body mounts are highly secured to the shock tower and very rigid to withstand a lot of abuse. The swaybar has a cap to pinch it down and keep it secure. The outer rear hinge pins are a screw pin style to keep the rear hub secure. A large ESC tray includes wire guides to help keep the ESC’s wires out of harms way. At the front, the servo mounts in a simple servo stand and connects to the cranks with included servo horns and a stub link. Across from the servo, the RX box features a rubber seal and a foam seal for the wires to pass through. The only detail missing that I would like to see is that the shock ends need a locating tab to keep the shock perch keyed to it.

The instructions are well detailed and Team Durango does offer additional help online if you find you need building assistance. You can also check out our build photo gallery here: rcdriver. com/team-durango-desc10-2/ along with some build tips. But since many of the kits parts are assembled, you’ll find this is a fairly easy kit to build and a great step for anyone going from an RTR to their first kit. Just keep in mind that you’ll need all the tools, oils and support gear in your shopping bag before you leave the hobby shop to get your build going quicker.
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ON THE ROAD

The Team Durango DESC10 short course truck is designed to tackle whatever style of RC driving suits you best. So if you want an all-out aggressive brute force truck for bashing, this SC truck can do that. Or if you want a competition ready machine with nimble handling characteristics, this truck can do that, too. And although I do like to have fun and bash, I’m a racer at heart so I build this truck to run at the track with its low Pro-Line Racing EvoSC body, Tekin BL system, Futaba radio and PL Holeshot tires. A trip to our standard test facility, Wolcott Hobby and Raceway, was in order for some track time.

ACCELERATION & BRAKING As with most of our vehicle tests, the first taste of the DESC10’s performance was acceleration. This truck accelerates hard, the tires had great bite and the truck took off with minimal wheel spin on the groomed track surface. The DESC10 does have some weight to it, so this weight translates to planting the truck in key areas like acceleration. The Tekin BL system didn’t have any trouble spooling the truck up on long straights and it pulls hard out of the corners. Under braking I felt a bit of push as the truck slowed up, but it did slow up square so I was able to adjust my braking points to enter corners at a better speed to attack the apex.

STEERING With plenty of weight on the front wheels the DESC10 had plenty of off power steering to redirect the truck in tight corners. When entering the corner, you can see the front of the truck dip and the weight transfer to the outer corner to plant the tire and help carve the turn. On power, I was pleasantly surprised and the truck has a lot of bite to help keep up corner speed. The lighter rear diff oil really helped drive the rear of the truck and rotate it around the corners as I grabbed more throttle.

JUMPING & HANDLING This truck jumps so smooth. Analysis complete. No seriously, I was very impressed how sure-footed the DESC10 felt as it hit the jumps then just seemed to effortlessly glide over the jumps and land with a smooth plush feel. The truck did not feel as light in the air as other trucks I’ve driven so I pushed its limits by jumping some obstacles on the track that other trucks were rolling. Over the rougher rutted areas, the suspension worked hard at keeping the truck lined up without kicking out. The suspension damping stroke was spot on and kept the chassis level and under control, the driving feel is smooth and nimble.

DURABILITY During the build process, I did have a small issue of a shock bladder having a pin-hole leak which is obviously a very rare fluke. But otherwise, this truck was a brute on the track and handled any tumbles and crashes without incident. I keep talking about the weight of this truck, but weight is a good thing. Weight keeps the truck planted when you are driving hard and weight means bulky parts that can take abuse. Team Durango did an excellent job creating an all-encompassing short course truck that will serve any drivers’ SC needs.

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The chassis plate is shared with the TD DEX8 electric buggy and is specific to the electric platforms. If you look at the spur gear area you can see the slots where you move the center diff mount to adjust the pinion to spur mesh.

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SPECS AND TUNING OPTIONS

DIMENSIONS
LENGTH: 21.5 in. (546mm)
WIDTH: 11.6 in. (294mm)
WHEELBASE: 12.7 in. (324mm)
WEIGHT: 7.5lbs (3.4kg)

BODY, WHEELS AND TIRES

BODY: Not Included
WHEELS: Not Included
WHEEL ADAPTER TYPE: 17mm SC
TIRES: Not Included

SUSPENSION

TYPE: Pivot ball front, H-arm rear
SHOCK POSITIONS: 3 on tower, lower single hole
CAMBER: Adjustable turnbuckle
ROLL: Optional inserts or rear points on tower and hub
WHEELBASE: Adjustable at rear hub hinge
RIDE HEIGHT: Adjustable shock preload
MISC: Adjustable anti-squat, anti-dive and rear toe

STEERING
TYPE: Dual crank with servo saver
TOE: Adjustable turnbuckles

CHASSIS

TYPE: Stamped plate
MATERIAL: Aluminum
THICKNESS: 3mm

DRIVETRAIN

TYPE: AWD
TRANSMISSION: Shaft Driven
DIFFERENTIAL: Three fluid filled gear differentials
CLUTCH TYPE: None
GEAR RATIO: Adjustable with optional pinions
BEARINGS: Rubber shielded

RATING TALLY

Opinion: 9
Performance – Acceleration: 9
Performance – Steering: 9
Performance – Handling: 9
Performance – Durability: 9
Feature Breakdown: 9
Overall Value: 9

WRAP UP
Once the Team Durango DESC10 was built and I showed it off to other racers at the track and once it laid down some impressive lap times with an easy drive, there was one common word to describe the truck and that word is “whoa.” The DESC10 is well built with quality materials and the heft behind this truck makes it worth your buck. Its easy to work on, has the makings of great support with Team Durango’s new club- friendly racing support program. Whether you’re serious about competing at your best at the track or want a truck that is not afraid of punishment, the DESC10 can deliver.

LINKS
Arrma
, distributed exclusively by Great Planes Model Distributors, bestrc.com, (217) 398-3630
Futaba, distributed exclusively by Hobbico, futaba-rc.com, (800) 682-8948
Kustom RC Graphics, kustomrcgraphics.net
Pro-Line Racing, prolineracing.com, (909) 849-9781
Team Durango, Distributed exclusively by Great Planes Model Distributors, www.gpmd.com, (217) 398-3630
Tekkie, Inc., teamtekin.com, (208) 634-5559

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