Stretched Mini Summit Dressed For The Trail
There has been an RJ Speed Jeep Scrambler body sitting in my shop for a couple of years just waiting for the perfect chassis to come along. I have always loved the scale style and who doesn’t like Jeeps? Yes, it would fit some existing kits, like the Stampede or one of the Axial scale rigs that have become popular, but I decided to create my own by repurposing a project from a few years ago. I had started with a Traxxas 1/16 Rally and turned it into a street truck by stretching the chassis to better fit a 1/10-scale truck body. It only took me a few minutes to determine just what was needed to make that chassis work with my Jeep body.
I started this with the main objective to use the RJ Speed Scrambler, but after getting started I was curious to see if I could make a stretched Traxxas mini chassis work well as a 1/10-scale truck. I had already proven that it works great as a street vehicle when I did a project in September 2011. That same vehicle is the foundation for what I am calling a Trail Racer.
To make the chassis long enough to accommodate a 1/10-scale wheelbase, I started with two chassis. I cut the back off one and the front off the other to create a wheelbase increase of a little over an inch. I used sections of aluminum angle stock and epoxy to hold the two sections together. Prior to joining the chassis, I soaked them in red RIT fabric dye to produce the brownish color. This increased the length of the battery compartments so I also had to lengthen the battery doors by using an additional set. These were cut to size and joined with epoxy and Gorilla tape. I sanded the embossed Traxxas logo from the doors to help to conceal the seam.
The center driveshaft also needed to be lengthened. This was accomplished by using a spare shaft. I used the female section to create a sleeve and I used the splined male section to add length (see photo on opposite page). The width of the 1/16 Rally car was just about dead on for the street truck of the original project but much too narrow for what I wanted to accomplish this time. The obvious solution was to swap the narrow suspension arms out for a set of stock 1/16- scale Summit arms. After a quick trip to the Moose Caboose for the arms and a few other supplies, I was at the bench pulling the old arms off. I was also considering using the Summit wheels/tires but I wasn’t liking the way they looked with the Scrambler. I have another Axial project in the works that isn’t going to use the tires and wheels that came with the SCX10 kit, so I put them on the newly stretched chassis, hovered the Jeep body over it and I heard the choir sing… this was better looking than I had thought it might be. After mounting up the Mini Summit body posts I was able to put some holes in the body and get it mounted.
The Summit bumpers were not working with the new scale so I decided on the front bumper from a Traxxas Stampede 4×4. It is mounted only to the Rally car’s lower front bumper support. Not as solid as I would like but for
scale appearance it was working for me.
Gearing had to change to accommodate the larger tires so the stock Summit gearing was installed, along with a Robinson Racing spur gear/slipper unit.
The shocks will need some tweaking to stiffen the ride a bit. I did not alter the original Rally setup. They were pretty soft and would allow the body to rub the tires when turning hard. But after a little practice it wasn’t an issue. There is plenty of power and speed on a single 2S LiPo pack. I know I call it a Trail Racer but in reality, it will be bashed like my other trucks. I had a blast tearing up the dirt piles around my ongoing patio project. Maybe this is why the patio is slow going. Don’t tell my wife.
I am really diggin’ the whole look of my Trail Racer. This could make a cool production kit, don’t you think? Jeep bodies are one of my favorites and I liked having the chance to do a project with the RJ Speed Scrambler.
Photos: David Baker & Stu Cazares