Author: Tony Phalen
Photos By: Tony Phalen
In RC Short Course Driver Volume 2, I had the opportunity to compare a stock Traxxas Slash against a fully-modified, race-prepped Slash. As you would expect, while the stock Slash put down some pretty good laps, the modified version was quite a bit faster around our test track. So, for RC Short Course Driver Volume 3, it was only fitting that I do the same comparison…but with the Traxxas Slash 4×4!
For the 2WD comparison, I tested at OCRC Raceway in Huntington Beach, California. This track always has great layouts that feature jumps, dips, berms, washboard sections and a LONG straightaway! This is the perfect place to test the 4×4’s to see what they can do in stock and modified trim.
To get a baseline for the test, I took a look at the lap times posted from the Pro 4 class a couple days prior. Fast laps were in the mid-20 second range with a hero lap being a 19.4. These are the times I’d be shooting for with both trucks. To keep accurate readings of my laps, I installed my AMB personal transponder on the exact same location on both trucks. Now it was time to hit the track!
The Stock Slash 4×4 Ultimate
To keep things relatively fair, I opted to use a Traxxas’ Slash 4×4 Ultimate. The Ultimate version includes softer tires, anti-roll bars, Traxxas’ powerful Velineon brushless system and a plethora of blue aluminum goodies. I charged up the included 7-cell NiMH battery pack and hit the dirt. My initial feeling was that this truck was going to be hard to beat in this test! It’s got a ton of power and surprisingly good traction for the stock tires. The steering wasn’t as aggressive as I like but it was extremely easy to drive. I ran the Ultimate for two battery packs before getting a printout of my lap times.
The Modified Slash 4×4; AKA The Slasher
For the modified build, I started out with a low-end Slash 4×4. I decided on the no-frills version simply because I had a huge modification in mind; a Team RCE Carbon Fiber Chassis! I started by disassembling the entire truck and installing the Team RCE LCG Carbon Fiber Conversion kit. This is, by far, the most beautiful aftermarket chassis setup you will ever see for an RC vehicle. The 3mm carbon fiber upper and lower decks are absolutely perfect and the machined magnesium towers and motor mount are stunning. Seriously, pictures don’t do this chassis justice! Cool features include a “sliding” height design on the shock towers; loosen up the retaining screws and slide the outer part of the towers up or down. The “outer” tower locks in place with the static part of the tower to form a super strong shock mount. This type of design is also built into the upper shock mount on the tower (but it slides in and out). Both of these features basically allow very small incremental changes in the suspension setting for a finer adjustment.
Now that the major work was done, I moved on to the other areas of the truck. The suspension and drivetrain were upgraded with RPM Slash 4×4 suspension arms and front bumper. Both of these upgrades will ensure that my truck stays in one piece as I’m bombing around the track. Chosen for their dual-stage spring setup, Pro-Line’s Power Stroke shocks were installed on all four corners to help soak up all the imperfections on the track. A set of Tekno RC’s Slash 4×4 M6 driveshafts and Robinson Racing Gen3 Slipper Unit were installed to help harness all of the truck’s brutal power.
And what project truck is complete without a full set of raging electronics? To keep the Slasher pointed in the right direction, I chose the Savox SC-0251MG simply for its great price and 222 oz. of torque! Controlling this land-missile might be an issue, so I wanted to make sure I used a radio system I could rely on. With its advanced 2.4GHz DSM2 technology, I chose the Spektrum DX3R for its exceptionally quick response time. Finally, for propulsion, Castle Creations let me try out one of their new 4WD Combo’s that they will be releasing later this year. It’s basically a Castle 3800Kv motor coupled with their Mamba Max Pro ESC. This is a nice, compact combo that should provide plenty of power for the Slasher. To juice that Castle combo, I strapped in a MaxAmps 6500mAh 150c Race Edition LiPo pack.
To beautify this beast, I added one of Pro-Line’s new Flo-Tek bodies. I handed it over to my buddy Roger of Ral DesignWerks to spray on a custom coat of sparkly color. During the mounting process, I opened up quite a few of the aerodynamic flo-holes to help keep the body from parachuting over the jumps. Finally, to pull the Slasher around the track, a full set of Pro-Line’s Suburb tires were wrapped around their Renegade wheels.
As I mentioned before, the Pro 4 SC trucks were setting lap times around the mid-20 second area. After two full packs, my laps with the Slash 4×4 Ultimate rung in at the low-21’s with a fast lap of 20.8. This is pretty good for an out-of-the-box ride on stock tires! To further the test a bit, I installed the Pro-Line Suburbs on the Ultimate and gave it a go (for two more packs). Lap times were now in the mid-20’s with a fast lap of 20.2. This would have qualified me fourth in the Pro 4 SC main.
Now it was time to release the big dog! Pack one on the Slasher was more of a warm-up run but I could tell almost immediately that it was going to be fast. It had gobs of steering and the new Castle brushless system was ridiculous on power. I really liked the combination of the RCE chassis and the Pro-Line Flo-Tek body. In fact, it flew so well in the air that I completely lost the fear of back-flipping due to the typical short course parachute effect.
So, you ask, what were the lap times of the Slasher? Simply put, this project is in another league. Lap times were now down in the high-19’s with a fast lap of 19.3. While that’s only 1/10th of a lap faster (on the fast lap), this was my first time on the track with this truck. A little fine tuning and I’ll guarantee the Slasher will be down in the 18’s!
As I’ve said before, Traxxas has done a good job of getting a short course truck in the hands of the consumers. While these trucks appear quite a bit different in design than the full-blown racers, that doesn’t mean they can’t perform with a few upgrades. Build some killer project like this and you’ll not only have one of the coolest trucks on the block, but also one of the fastest and best handling! Be sure to bring plenty of paper towels to the track; the look alone of the RCE Chassis and Mamba system scream performance, and you’ll have everyone at the track (or in your neighborhood) drooling over your setup.
Traxxas traxxas.com, 800-TRAXXAS
Slash 4×4, #6808
Slash 4×4 Ultimate, #6807
Team RCE t-rce.com, 860-627-0033
RCE LCG Carbon Fiber Conversion Kit, #SL44-LCGKIT
Castle Creations castlecreations.com, 913-390-6939
Mamba Max Pro 4WD Combo, TBA
Tekno RC teknorc.com, 877-857-2872
Front M6 driveshafts and steering blocks – Slash 4×4, #TKR6851X
Rear M6 driveshafts and hub carriers – Slash 4×4, #TKR6852X
Pro-Line prolineracing.com, 800-899-7223
Flo-Tek SC body, #3355-00
Power Stroke shocks (front), #6063-00
Power Stroke shocks (rear), #6063-01
Suburbs 2.0 SC M4 compound, #1171-02
Renegade 2.2 wheels, #2725-04
MaxAmps maxamps.com, 888-654-4450
Hard Case Race Edition LiPo 6500 2S
Spektrum spektrumrc.com, 800-338-4639
RPM rpmrcproducts.com, 909-393-0366
Black A-Arms, #80702
Black front bumper & skid plate, #80022
Robinson Racing robinsonracing.com, 209-966-5937
Gen3 slipper clutch, #7854
Savox savoxusa.com, 855-76SAVOX
SC-0251MG servo, #SAVSC0251MG
OCRC Raceway ocrcraceway.com, 714-892-6699
Ral DesignWerks raldesignwerks.com, 562-810-6821