There are many manufacturers selling ready-to-run (RTR) rock crawlers which has allowed droves of people to enter into this super fun and challenging segment of RC. Inherent with most RTR crawlers is a relatively low price point at the detriment of reduced performance, especially when compared to a comp rig. If you own one of these RTRs and you want to get more out of it, this article is for you. Below you will find the first 5 essential upgrades for RTR crawlers. The intention here is not to make all these changes at once, but rather use this as a guide as you work on boosting the performance of your rig. You will see that the cost vary quite a bit as well as the amount of performance gain that is achieved.
Spektrum Firma 60A Brushless Smart ESC / 2100Kv Sensored Motor Crawler Combo — #SPMXSEMC08
At the top of our list is a feature-packed Spektrum brushless motor system which is the upgrade where you will instantly see the biggest improvement in overall performance. Obviously with this type of big change there is a higher cost when compared to the other items in this article, however the benefits are so worth it.
The star of this system is the Spektrum Firma 60A brushless Smart ESC that offers loads of options so that you can get the most out of your crawler. This is not like the ESCs from the past that purely regulates power to the motor. The Firma ESC functions like a virtual engineer inside your crawler, thus giving you the crucial operating data to dial in the exact type of performance you want. You can either use the Smart ESC Programing Box or a properly equipped Spektrum radio system to access all the telemetry and make programming changes.
With a compact design, it is ideal for easy installation in most 1/10-scale crawler applications not to mention easy connection with no soldering required. The sensor wire is waterproof with locking plug and gasket, an aluminum heat sink keeps the ESC running at high efficiency, an optional cooling fan is included and it is equipped with an adjustable high-power BEC.
Mated with the Firma ESC is the Spektrum Firma 2100Kv 540L sized sensored brushless motor. Perfect for crawler duties thanks to its hardened steel 1/8” shaft and waterproof sensor port connector. As a combo, you will gain pro-level drag brake adjustment, intelligent speed and torque control for unmatched precision between your throttle input and the motor’s RPM. You will find that your crawler will respond much better to you inputs at the transmitter and be able to smoothly negotiate tough obstacles.
Spektrum S6230 Standard Digital High Torque Metal Gear Surface Servo — #SPMSS6230
Beef up the steering of your RTR crawler by swapping out the stock servo for this Spekturm S6230 high torque servo. The case is constructed of aluminum to help dissipate heat including the mounting tabs. Inside are quality workings that have steel internal gears supported by dual main bearings with a 7075 aluminum hard anodized 23T output shaft/main gear. The wire harness is removable which is ideal in case it becomes damaged or you need to select a harness with a different length. Adding the S6230 servo will give you the power your crawler needs thanks to its 311 oz.-in. of torque that is on tap and protection from the elements with its waterproofing.
Pro-Line Cliffhanger HP Tough-Color Gray Body — #PRO356614
Many of the RTR rock crawlers are sold with large, realistic truck bodies that look great but can hinder a crawler when it is trying to conquer a gate. To address this, Pro-Line developed the Cliffhanger body specifically for 12.3” wheelbase Class 2 and Class 3 vehicles. It order to clear the tires and to lessen the chance it gets hung up on obstacles, the body has a inched front end and a dove-tailed rear end while still maintain a scale appearance.
Pro-Line made the Cliffhanger from a single piece of polycarbonate to save on weight and even has a drop down bed so that scale accessories of your choosing can be mounted. An added feature on this Pro-Line Cliffhanger body is that it comes molded in the Stone Gray Tough-Color polycarbonate. This makes for a faster way to get to your favorite crawling spot since no paint is needed. Along with the body is a stylish black and red factory livery stickers that also include window stickers. Just remove the protective outer film, apply the stickers and mount the body on your RTR crawler.
Pro-Line Hyrax G8 1.9” Crawler Tires Mounted On Impulse Black/Silver Internal Bead-Loc Wheels —#PRO1012813
We are sure it is no surprise that one of the five upgrades we selected are tires. They are one of those make-it or break-it kind of items that can make a basic RTR crawler perform or not. This is why we went with the proven Pro-Line Hyrax G8 1.9” crawler tires and to make it easier, they come out of the package already mounted on the tough-looking Pro-Line Impulse Back/Silver internal bead-loc wheels.
Sold in pairs, these Hyrax tires were designed for maximum grip on the harshest of terrain and come molded in Pro-Line’s legendary G8 material. Pro-Line gave these tires an aggressive and open tread pattern with each tread block containing multiple sipes for awesome tread flex. They even went so far to make sure side-hilling would be improved by highly detailed connected tread on the sidewall. If you look closely, you will see stepped tread blocks for more forward gripping edges. This will give your crawler the advantage where these tread blocks with dig into slick rock.
Coming back to the Impulse wheels, Pro-Line gave them a great scale look and made them to be easy to use by only requiring six screws per wheel to securely mount the Hyrax tires. A unique three-piece wheel design bolts together from the rear and locks onto the tires.
Pro-Line Big Bore (90mm-95mm) Scaler Shocks — #PRO634300
The last of the first 5 essential upgrades for RTR crawlers is one that does double duty. By installing these Pro-Line Big Bore Scaler Shocks, your crawler will stay settled and controlled on the trails while also exuding great scale looks. They are sold in pairs and come out of the box almost fully assembled with all you need to do is add the shock oil of your choice and install them onto your rig.
These Big Bore Scaler Shocks have beautifully CNC machined shock caps, shock collars, bodies and bottom caps. In order to make the shocks operate as smoothly as possible with low friction and no leaks, Pro-Line manufactured these shocks with exacting tolerances and utilized hard chrome coated steel shock shafts and X-Ring seals. Rounding out this shock package are realistic looking and performing dual rate single springs. At the bottom of the shocks are captured spring perches so you will know that they will stay in place.
If you need to make tuning tweaks, Pro-Line offers a Big Bore Scaler Shock Spring Assortment (#PRO634302). It includes one pair of softer blue dual-rate springs along with one pair of more firm red dual-rate springs.
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