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  1. #1
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    Photos of my Rustler VXL FLM build.

    I finally got some photos uploaded for my VXL FLM build, for those who were asking for them. I'll add more as I make more progress, but the build isn't exactly going at the speed of light. Seems I am always waiting for parts, no matter how much planning I do. I always end up needing something I didn't account for!

    Okay, I'll start with the transmission because that was the first thing I built, even though I ordered a complete Fastlane Machine super chassis for the Rustler.





    When stock, my VXL transmission had developed a wobbly slipper clutch input shaft, so I had torn down the stock transmission to have a look see. Some might remember my earlier posts regarding that. As it turns out all the VXL transmissions exhibit this characteristic to some degree. I never paid close enough attention to it when it was brand new, but after 6 runs, I could physcially feel the spur gear floating around as though the shaft was loose inside the transmission. Turns out the problem is caused by the input shaft not fitting snug enough inside the two support bearing's inner races. The bearings have play (from inner to outer race), but an undersized input shaft sort of exagerates this effect. I don't think it's a major problem, but when setting up the pinion to spur gear mesh, it's not ideal to have a shaft floating around free. The best cure, I found, was to add some Traxxas fiber washers to the input shaft. It helps remove some of the clearance or float of the shaft when the FLM case is assembled. The Traxxas part number for these washers is 1985. I ended up using them to also shim the differential. One in front of bearing was all I needed to tighten up some of the play or end float. On the slipper clutch input shaft, I think I ended up using two. Between the aluminum FLM trans case and the fiber washers, things turned out great. Less shaft end float, and a nice smooth and snug fit of the VXL transmission internals.

    Here's a look at the VXL gears in the FLM transmission case.



    A little closer. Notice one fiber washer on the idler. I ended up installing one more on the differential shaft and one or two on the slipper shaft. I don't remember. Best to check how loose the shafts are when you assemble your own transmission. They may be different. In the photo, I hadn't yet added the washers. I found after the fact that I needed them, and had to tear the tranny down again to install the extras. Doh!



    And a different angle....



    Anyway, this transmission case is a beautiful piece! The quality of the Fastlane Machine parts is excellent!

    I give the guy who designed it a lot of credit. When bolted to the chassis, the rear A-arm mounts sandwhich the lower tranny plate between the chassis itself. Very sturdy!







    I'm going to figure out something for a skid plate eventually, but I'll worry about that a bit later!
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  2. #2
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    Nice pics and write up of the build. You might want to check out the new era skid plate. I have pretty much the same setup as you and it fit perfectly for me. The only thing I didnt like about it was that it didnt have a angled front edge, but a file quickly solved that problem.

    Look forward to seeing pics of the completed project when you get the rest of your parts.

  3. #3
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    Looks good so far!
    "I told you a million times not to exaggerate!"

  4. #4
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    Looks awesome, the machining marks add kinda a cool look to it. How are you liking the aluminum so far? I'm sick of replacing plastic trannies, and I've thought about getting an aluminum one.

  5. #5
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    Thanks guys. Eightdayslate, did the New Era skid plate bolt right up to the underside of the transmission? I'm actually a little surprised that it fits around the motor. Most skid plates have a more gentle angle, as they curl around the back of the motor, where as this one seems to be almost a 90 degree bend. Do you have a full FLM chassis too?
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unsullied_Spy
    Looks awesome, the machining marks add kinda a cool look to it. How are you liking the aluminum so far? I'm sick of replacing plastic trannies, and I've thought about getting an aluminum one.
    Loving the aluminum! The parts fit great and I have no complants. I almost consider this a budget build, because I am used to the cost of building a complete aluminum E-Maxx, using UE parts. The transmission is of very good quality! I only had one minor little problem fitting the idler shaft into the bored hole in the trans case. The idler shaft of the VXL is a little to tight to seat all the way into the bore. This made it impossible to fit the trans halves together. The best cure was to polish the inside of the bored blind hole and then also polish the idler shaft with some fine 800 grit sand paper. Then it fit perfect.
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  7. #7
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    Thanks! I'll probably hold off until the next time I bust a tranny (A-Arm mount part, gotta hate those things) to upgrade to FLM, but I definitely like them (except I'd have to come up with something to fit my TRX wheelie bar on it). Aluminum would make high-speed runs less perilous, I'll lose some speed from the weight but it won't fly like my plastic rusty does

  8. #8
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    I do have a full FLM chassis. The only plastic parts I have are the bearing carriers, rod ends. The new era skid is a perfect fit. It does have a pretty abrupt angle to it but is surprisingly longer that it looks in the pics.

  9. #9
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    Very nice.That case is so beautiful,it's almost a shame to have to cake it with grease.

  10. #10
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    looks good.
    Rustler VXL FLM-Pede VXL Slash PE

  11. #11
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    Wow, everything looks very very good so far. I cant wait to see it when you get it together & rippin again.

    Does it feel as though it is gonna be very heavy? Did all the aluminum pieces fit together well?

    Thanks for feeding the need. I have been wanting to see your pics for quite a while now. Well worth the wait Nathan.

    Great Job !! Keep us posted.
    Y-Town Competition Crawlers Team Driver

  12. #12
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    wow! That is beautiful!

  13. #13
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    very nice shelby..can't wait to see the finished pics.
    **I hope there are RCs in Heaven; EMBE + 6S FTW!**

  14. #14
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    Looks great Shelby!
    Run it, break it, fix it, love it :]=~

  15. #15
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    Thank you guys.

    RC Shocker, weight-wise, I do not feel a very big difference from stock, at least not yet. The rear of the truck might be a little heavier now, since the trans case is alum. now, but really, just by holding the truck up with my hand, it doesn't feel very far off from stock. I imagine it is a little heavier, but the extra durability and weight will help the truck hook-up better and be more stable. The VXL system has so much power, I don't think it will know any better.

    The fit and finish of the FLM chassis and parts has been great so far.

    A run down on the little problems would be -

    Stock Traxxas idler shaft fits to tight inside the FLM trans case. Easily solved by polishing the idler shaft with some 800 grit paper. Slid right in afterward.

    I needed to re-tap a couple holes in the FLM bellcranks. The screws didn't want to start. Very easy to fix with a 3mm tap. Not a bad idea to have some metric taps on hand when working on an alum. chassis from ANY manufacturer. Sometimes you just find a little bur here and there. Other people may not have even had a problem like I did.

    Caster blocks - stock Traxxas king pins fit the holes which hold the steering blocks in place, but I couldn't get a C-clip on the shaft because the holes are so close to a machined shoulder on the caster block. I've emailed FLM to see what kind of pins and clips I need to run. They might have their own style. Waiting on a reply. You can see a photo of the caster block and the tight clearances at the bottom of the page.

    These are just minor little thing I was easily able to solve on my own, and all in all, the chassis almost puts itself together! It's been enjoyable so far and it really looks good!

    Here are a few more photos! I need to order an FLM upper chassis plate, as the Integy graphite plate I wanted to use didn't seem to fit. I would have liked to had some graphite to set the alum. off, but I guess the FLM part will fit perfect and work better anyway. The Integy plate also interfered with the servo to bellcrank pushrod, and I am sure I'll have no such problems with the FLM part.



















    Notice how close the hole is to the milled shoulder of the caster block? My stock Traxxas king pins, with the clips in place, would hit the shoulder....
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  16. #16
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    First, very nice truck. Are you going to run it, or will it be a shelf queen ?

    Strange about the hole and shoulder. I'm able to run kingpins/c-clips on my flm caster blocks no problem. Have you tried installing them with the open portion facing the shoulder? If that doesn't work, it might be possible to grind down the c-clip to get it to fit. The other less desirable option would be to hacksaw the shoulder a bit to get the c-clip to fit.

    Chris
    Broken speed limits = broken parts

  17. #17
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    Those might not be the right caster blocks. They look a lot different than the ones I got with my FLM kit. I had no problem with the pins.


  18. #18
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    Dude that truck is ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS!!!!

    If it were mine I would so cringe the first time I saw it do a cart wheel from a bad landing or something.
    BlindMan Racing
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  19. #19
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    Lookin good!

    Are you still using your original rustler? Seems like you bought an entire roller with all those upgrades.

  20. #20
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    Very cool, hope the rest goes more smoothly as I am probably going to do the same thing at some point. Im thinking that after I convert I'll build one for my kid with the old stuff and just buy the missing pieces.
    Rustler VXL FLM-Pede VXL Slash PE

  21. #21
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    Goodness gracious..i'm lost for words here..that thing looks amazing shelb..as noll said..i hope everything else goes smoothly..i can't wait to see the finished product.

    Good Luck.

    Jason
    **I hope there are RCs in Heaven; EMBE + 6S FTW!**

  22. #22
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    Thank you guys, for the kind words! Shelf queen? Probably not. I intend to run it. Thankfully Rustler parts are a lot more affordable, even if they are aluminum. I think it'll see the dirt. It has to! Making the backyard basher more bashable!

    Eightdayslate, do you have the FLM nitro caster blocks on your Rustler? That is the only difference I could imagine. I stuck with the electric caster blocks, but dang, if those are nitro caster blocks you have, that would really make life easier. I should snap a photo of the underside of my caster blocks. They actually have a radius to them, not a flat surface, where the hole is, which means the pin and clip don't really sit against a flat surface. Weird. I'm still waiting for FLM to get back to me. It's been a couple days. I emailed Mike at RC-Monster too, but he hasn't gotten back either.

    Any of you Rustler guys with the FLM caster blocks have the same type as me?

    M3Power, yes, it would seem I'm left with a very bare bones Rustler chassis, that could be considered a roller (sort of). I pulled the gears out of the trans, the motor, the speed controller, the servo, wheels, tires, and some other misc parts like bearings or rod ends, as needed, out of the stock chassis. If I add up the cost of all those items, it would be more expensive then the cost of another Rustler VXL. It's far cheaper to just buy another Rusty then to try to build a complete truck, replacing all the goodies I pulled off the stock chassis.

    One other thing I noticed, while spinning my rear axles, is it looks like my slipper clutch shaft is bent! I can't imagine how, but this might have been the reason my spur looked like it was wobbling around. I'm going to have to tear the trans apart again, I guess and check the shaft. It's got to be bent.

    Thanks again guys.
    Last edited by Shelby VNT; 09-25-2007 at 12:36 AM.
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  23. #23
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    Seems like the XL-5 slipper has some issues with the spur not being balanced. I know the first time I put mine on I had issues with it, I pulled the whole assembly off of the shaft and made sure it all went back in exactly how it should and it went back together correctly, so before you spend all that time taking your beautiful new tranny apart, make sure it isn't something as simple as a little goof in the assembly of the clutch.

    Looking good, I want to see the pics of it when it's done

  24. #24
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    I don't have the clutch installed right now. Just the bare shaft. I can clearly see it wobbling as I spin the axles. I'm positive it's bent. I will have to take it out of the trans, pull the gear from it, and roll it on a flat surface to be sure. Then I will know. Have to order another, I guess. VXL = to much power?
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  25. #25
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    I didnt know there was a difference between the nitro and electric caster blocks until now. I bought mine from rcbros and if you look, they have the same part number for nitro castor blocks and electric castor blocks. flm27000. But if you look at the FLM site they list FLM27500 as part number for electric caster blocks.

    hmmmmmm, interesting.

    I guess I do have the nitro castor blocks. Thanks for hooking it up rcbros !!!

  26. #26
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    I did some checking into the caster blocks, and for sure, those are the nitro caster blocks you have there, eightdayslate. So tell me, are you still running the electric steering blocks and hubs on the nitro caster blocks? Cause it sure looks like you are!

    I figured out a solution to my problem trying to fit the king pins. I ended up re-using the stock VXL pins, which are actually threaded on the bottom end. I ended up tapping a 3mm thread in the lower hole of the electric caster block and now I can use the VXL caster block pins, however I am not completely satsified with the fitment because the FLM electric caster block has a profile milled into it that doesn't allow the head of the pin to sit flush. I guess it doesn't really matter because a pin is a pin and but the VXL pin has that socket head cap screw, like a regular bolt, and rather then using c-clips, it is thread the last 3mm or so it tightens up that way. No clips needed. I'll have to snap some photos later. Of course I found out the hard way that one of my pins was bent! Probably from running into that tree. I didn't even know, till I tried to remove it.

    Anyway, I got my order placed for the FLM upper chassis plate, tie-bar, and I also ordered up the FLM nitro caster blocks to see if they will work better for me. They are only $15, so I figured 'what the heck, I'll try'em.' If they don't work, I'm only out $15.
    Last edited by Shelby VNT; 09-25-2007 at 11:56 AM.
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  27. #27
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    A question 8days...When you placed your order did you place it for all the parts at the same time? What I mean is that they do sell a kit on RC Bros and on RC-Monster that is drastically reduced in price for the following. Not to pick but the Rusty kit should have come with the Rusty blocks.

    Kit Includes the Following:
    - Rustler Chassis
    - Extended Arm Conversion
    - Electric Ruster Rear Shock Tower
    - Front Shock Tower
    - Front Bulkhead
    - Turnbuckles
    - Front castor Blocks
    - All Mounting Hardware!
    Rustler VXL FLM-Pede VXL Slash PE

  28. #28
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    I guess the nitro blocks can be used in place of the electric ones. Looks like RCbros is on top of their game providing the better parts with their kit standard. I bought the super chassis kit for the electric rustler and it came with these caster blocks and didn't mention anything about a nitro conversion. It all bolted up and worked with the stock steering components. Except the turnbuckles provided with the extended arm conversion dont work because the vxl uses a larger diameter thread and rod end. Other than that it was good. I emailed FLM about the turnbuckles and they said they are working on getting hardware that will be compatible with the vxl.

  29. #29
    RC Turnbuckle Jr.
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    Very nice looking build!
    It's a Jeep thing, you wouldn't understand.

  30. #30
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    Thank you!

    Okay, so now that my FLM nitro caster blocks are ordered, I will just run them instead. If they are 100% compatable with the electric steering blocks, I don't know why anyone would want the electric caster blocks. The nitro's design is better, at least from an assembly stand point. Guess I'll find out in a week or so.
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  31. #31
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    I read your post again and looked at my old blocks and pins...
    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby VNT
    ...I ended up re-using the stock VXL pins, which are actually threaded on the bottom end. I ended up tapping a 3mm thread in the lower hole of the electric caster block and now I can use the VXL caster block pins....
    I suspect that the electric flm caster blocks are meant to be used with the stock threaded pin. The nitro blocks use a wider pin and the bearing carriers had to be drilled out a little bit to accommodate the larger pin. I may not have done this right, but when I drilled out the stock bearing carriers, the stub axle ended up rubbing on the pin and this was not acceptable. I ordered the rpm carriers, drilled them out and did not have the axle rubbing problem.

    So if you use the nitro blocks, and the stock bearing carriers, be sure to drill towards the outer edge of the bearing carrier.

  32. #32
    RC Turnbuckle Jr.
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    Are you using red steering links also? That looks real nice! What was wrong with the Integy carbon fiber top chasis?

    Does it fit well on your stock chasis?

    I ask because I'm building a Rustler it has a CF front shock tower and I was looking into the Integy top chasis.

    Thanks TK
    R/C Sith Lord

  33. #33
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    Yes, I will be using the anodized red turnbuckles for the steering on this chassis. Red anodized steering blocks as well. The Integy graphite upper chassis plate fit my stock chassis perfectly, but not my FLM chassis. The holes in the plate didn't quite match the holes and posts of the FLM. Also, if using the stock VXL servo saver to bellcrank steering linkage, the linkage hits the notch in the plate in one direction. This could be solved with a different servo saver (a lower profile one, with multiple holes), I believe. It would probably be fine with a stock chassis and maybe non-VXL Rustler.
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  34. #34
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    OK OK OK OK, first of all, NICE truck.
    Secondly thank you for posting this project up here. The pix, and the descriptions of what you are doing are awesome!! I've been thinking of doing this for awhile now.
    A couple quick questions, maybe three HEE HEE
    1. FLM lists 2 different transmissions... which one are you using?
    2. Is that the stretched chassis?
    3. Are those the extended arms?
    Again, sweet ride, and I can't wait to see more pix, and details of the build.
    2 Slash 4x4's, B/L Rusty, and a Crawler

  35. #35
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    that is peeeerty
    everything i own is brushless and lipo baby

  36. #36
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    Shelby, what can I say... I'm fall in love with your Rusty!!!!

    I'm not sure if you told anywhere before, but I'm so interested about where you buy all this hop-ups...maybe in rcbros.com, or another web store?

    Congratulations Man!!

  37. #37
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    Hi guys,

    Thanks for the replies. It's been kind of dead in my thread because I am waiting on parts now, so I don't have anything new to share.

    Newbie_version1, to answer your questions -

    1) Yes FLM has two different transmissions, but the reason for that is because the each version is designed for a different amount of toe in on the rear wheels. 1 degree or 4 degrees. The Rustler (stock chassis or otherwise) has no provisions for adjustable toe in, so when FLM designed their transmissions they choose to offer 1 or 4 degrees. Toe in generally makes a truck or buggy track straighter under power, instead of the rear end skating around or fishtailing. 4 degrees is tailored more toward the racers, and 1 degree is for the bashers (that'd be me). 4 degrees is no real benefit to a basher. It just wears tires out quicker because they will be scubbing against the surface you run on more. 'Toe in' is when the wheels point inward torward the front of the chassis, when viewed above. I have the 1 degree toe in trans.

    2) Stock length chassis here. I decided to stick with the stock length so that I could run my original body without drilling new holes in it. The extended length chassis would be 1" longer. I also didn't want the truck to end up not fitting bodies as well as it could, but thinking about it now, it probably wouldn't be a big deal. I just prefer the stock length.

    3) No extended arms here either, but I should be careful when I say that because the fronts are naturally extended length. No matter what kit you buy, you get the same front arms and they have two pin holes so you can keep stock width or run the wider width. It just depends where you put the pins for the caster blocks. I'm running the wide holes, myself.

    In the rear, I have stock width arms. The only difference between the complete extended arm kit and the complete stock width arm kit is the rear arms. The front arms are the same, no matter which you buy, but you get the option to locate the pin for the caster block where ever you want. Wider or stock. Rear arms are not adjustable like that.

    I went with the stock width arms in the rear because I liked the idea of being able to buy readily available standard width replacement parts. I know any stock width Rustler part will fit my rear arms, but with the extened arms, you kind of get stuck running FLM's CVDs, or turnbuckles only. Might be a minor point, but if you break over the weekend, chances are better you can find stock Rustler parts to get up and running.

    Nidecker, thank you. I bought every FLM part from Mike at www.RC-Monster.com Some of other goodies, mostly Traxxas upgrades, from Tower Hobbies.
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  38. #38
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    How hot does the tranny case get after a hard run ? Any idea how much the heat sink action lowers the motor temp? I would take a wile guess and say 10-20 degrees lower.

    I love it, that thing could last a lifetime !
    3905 E-MAXX

  39. #39
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    Others have been quoted as saying that the flm tranny case acts as a heat sink and lowers temps by 10 degrees or more. I just got my duratraxx flashpoint today so I will have to report back later.

  40. #40
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    Man, I feel for you. You're gonna put the (admittedly nice) stock body back on that piece of... art? What kind of body can live up to that standard? I'd run only one kind - clear, and watch the whiplash from heads turning, much more so if the sun was brightly shining.
    Alt-248 on the number pad =

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