Thursday, March 30, 2023

3 Upgrade Ideas Thursday – Traxxas Ford Fiesta ST Rally

I have always been fascinated by full scale rally racing cars. The thought of an overpowered 4WD monster barreling down a windy course barely large enough for the vehicle at ridiculous speeds has always intrigued, and frightened me. I could never get enough of the racing when is was on TV, and grabbed every rally inspired video game I could while I was growing up. Rally in RC is in a certainly tricky spot, the vehicle must look like an on road car, but handle off road terrain easily or they will not be that fun to drive. I particularly enjoy the Ford Fiesta model from Traxxas, it handles decent on and off road and looks the part while doing so. While the vehicle runs great out of the box, there is certainly room for improvement that will aid in making sure you have the best time when you are out bashing or on the track. Let’s dive in and see what we can improve on this Traxxas Ford Fiesta rally car.


Traxxas 1/10 Scale Ford Fiesta ST Rally

1. Traxxas Velineon VXL-3s Brushless Power System
I am sorry, but the brushed XL-5 system has to go. I always envision rally cars as being way overpowered, and want my RC version to mimic this. For Traxxas vehicles usually the easiest path to brushless power is to drop in a Velineon VXL system. The are super easy to install and have a great balance of low end torque and plenty of high end speed. I think this is the perfect starter brushless system, because it is not too uncontrollable on NiMH or 2 cell LiPo packs and can grow with the user by stepping up to a faster gear ratio or 3 cell LiPo. If it is still too fast it has a beginner mode, just like other Traxxas ESCs and cuts the power in half (which still should feel quick). They also happen to be waterproof, so don’t worry about hitting that realistic mud in your rally car.

Manufacturer: Traxxas
Part: Traxxas Velineon VXL-3s Brushless Power System
Part Number: 3350R
Price: $169.99

2. Traxxas LiPo Battery and Charger Completer Pack
I always recommend that a brushless system should be powered by a LiPo battery when possible. Brushless systems need the current that usually only LiPos can provide, so they tend to really “wake up” the system if the user only has experience with NiMH prior. Thankfully Traxxas has put together an easy to use package that has both a 5800Mah 7.4V LiPo pack and an EZ-Peak plus with the Traxxas iD system. The Traxxas iD system will ensure that there are no errors when charging Traxxas LiPos which make it super safe for those new to the hobby or just LiPo technology in general. The charger will be able to be used for other packs that you have a Traxxas connector for, it is capable of 2-3 cell LiPos and 5-8 cell NiMH packs. It also will charge your stock pack much quicker than included wall chargers with most kits so it is a worthy investment in the long run.

Manufacturer: Traxxas
Part: Traxxas LiPo Battery and Charger Completer Pack
Part Number: 2992
Price: $99.95

3. Traxxas Center Differential Kit
The Fiesta Rally car really could use an upgrade to a center differential in order to improve handling characteristics. Without a center differential, the power from the motor is distributed between the front and rear of the vehicle equally. While this may sound beneficial, once you add some serious power it can become a hindrance. With a brushless setup like the Velineon system the rear tires will break loose quite easily, and without any extra power being diverted to the front wheels, the car will constantly drift or even try to pull a wheelie. With the Traxxas center differential kit installed, extra power can be sent to the front wheels and will pull the car out of any sticky situations.


Manufacturer: Traxxas
Part: Traxxas Center Differential Kit
Part Number: 6814
Price: $22.79

While these upgrades are a bit pricey, I promise that they will transform your rally car and add to the experience all around. The car should be able to travel over grass easier with the extra power (in the form of the battery and the brushless setup), and have crazy acceleration when playing in the street. With all that speed, some extra control is needed, and the Traxxas center diff kit should give a very noticeable bump in handling ability in all conditions. No matter what upgrades you go with, the Traxxas Fiesta Rally will feel more like the real thing!



  1. How fast is the Ford Fiesta St Rally after this Tuning?

    • I’m running a 3S LiPo + Center Differential used for the Slash 4×4 (something beefy) Model# 6780 + bandito street tires + 19t pinion (3949X) and I’ve topped out at an estimated 54 MPH on flat 1/4 stretch of road near my house. I’m actually going to swap out the 6780 with the one mentioned here (had it in another car so really no reason not to try it) to see what that will do.

      My goal was a 50+ MPH car, and I hit that. The idea of upgrading more isn’t necessarily on my radar… well, for now. 😉

      3S LiPo: Traxxas 2872X
      19T Pinion: Traxxas 3949X
      Differential Kit, center (complete): Traxxas 6780
      – GOING TO REPLACE IT WITH 6814 and put the 6780 into my Slash 4×4 VXL
      Tires: Bandito ST
      – NOTE: Going to replace these as well. They are actually a bit too big for the body and instead of cutting my body, I’m going to go back to the stock tires. In another forum, I did see someone using the Hoons from Arrma (the DBoots if I’m not mistaken).

      • I saved your comment as a template for future upgrades to my Fiesta, but I wanted to ask – did you swap the speed control unit as well to accommodate a 3a battery? I’m new to upgrading this sort of thing, so maybe this is a dumb question, but it doesn’t show in the manual that the stock unit can handle anything more than 2s. Thanks for the post!

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