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  1. #1
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    Best Rustler racing set-ups

    Calling all guys (and girls) who race their Rustlers.

    This is a post I’ve been wanting to do be able to do for some time.

    For the first time ever, last week my (just turned) 13 year son achieved the unthinkable with his race modded Rustler VXL and won the Modified Truck final (and one qualifier) at our local track against a bunch of AE T4s in the hands of more experienced drivers. Adults race with Juniors at our track.

    While his race time was still about 10% off the fastest stadium truck times ever recorded at the track (by a T4), it was nonetheless a victory on the night both for him and for Traxxas. So much was the surprise that the club committee decided to award him an on the spot prize for the achievement (new Lipo). The stunned look on everyone's faces was priceless.

    In an attempt to share some of what we’ve learned over the past 10 months since we started racing our three Rustlers and inspire others to head to their local tracks, I’ve posted full details of his car and set-up at that race meeting and the prevailing track conditions.

    His car (like mine) is still very much evolving and I’m hoping that some other Rustler racers out there can give some advice as to what they would change to make the greatest improvement to the car’s performance potential.

    Improvements already in the pipeline are:
    1. Castle MMP ESC (to allow a little drag brake and punch control)
    2. FLM sealed gear differential (with 50k or 100k diff oil)
    3. TRX SRT front shock tower
    4. 2oz of additional weight at the front

    I think it would also be great if other successful Rustler racers would post their own successful set-ups to share with others – copy the headings below as a template if it helps.

    -------------------------------------
    TRACK DETAILS:
    Layout – One straight (30 yards), one fast sweeper otherwise technical, a few small jumps
    Surface – Hard packed clay, smooth and rutted sections
    Dust level – mostly clean on racing line otherwise very dusty
    Temperature – 68F

    CAR DETAILS:
    Unless mentioned otherwise, all aftermarket parts listed below are those designed for the E-Rustler.

    POWER:
    Motor – TRX Velineon 3500KV
    ESC – TRX VXL-3 (moved to lower chassis)
    Battery - ******* 5000mah 2S 20C (30C burst) Hardcase Lipo (weight 272g)

    DRIVETRAIN:
    Transmission case – TRX stock plastic case with STRC motor plate
    Spur - TRX Jato 32P
    Pinion – Robinson Racing absolute hardened steel
    Differential – TRX stock unsealed
    Driveshafts/output yokes – TRX stock
    Bearings – TRX stock rubber sealed

    WHEELS/TIRES:
    Wheels – RPM Revolver 2.2” front offset rims front and rear
    Tires - Proline Bow-Tie M3 rear, Proline Edge M2 front
    Hub hexes – TRX grey 12mm front, RPM 4mm rear

    CHASSIS/SUSPENSION:
    Chassis – TRX stock
    Body – Proline Desert Rat (no spoiler)
    Shock towers - RPM front, RPM rear
    Rear bearing carriers – RPM
    Bulkhead – STRC aluminum
    Arms – RPM front, TRX Slash 2WD rear
    Hinge pins – STRC with locking nuts all round
    Bumpers – RPM front, TRX rear w/RPM motor guard
    Misc – RPM ESC plate and DIY battery cross bar for chassis strengthening

    SHOCKS:
    Shocks – TRX Ultras with alum caps (plastic mount bushings), TiNi shafts
    Shock oil – AE 40wt rear and 35wt front
    Springs - Losi Silver 2.5” rear and Orange 2” front

    STEERING/CONTROL:
    Radio system – TRX Link 2.4 ghz
    Servo – Hitec 5625MG (torque 130oz/inch, 0.14s)
    Servo saver - Kimbrough #124
    Bellcrank – Venom aluminum with bearings
    Casters - TRX alum
    Front carriers - RPM

    SET-UP:
    Gearing – 14/54 (FDR=10.5:1)
    Shock mounting – outer holes on front arms, third in from outside on rear arms
    Toe–in – front 0, rear 3 (fixed from Slash arms)
    Camber (static) – -2 rear, 0 front
    Ride height – 31mm rear, 29mm front
    ESC – Normal mode (1)
    Transmitter – 15% steering expo
    Last edited by Mr Wolf; 10-15-2011 at 11:17 PM.
    Pretty please, with sugar on top, clean the RC car

  2. #2
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    Nice set up. My only recomendation, since you basically explained my rusler +0r- a few things. Try the JConcepts goosebumps for the rear. Losi razors on the front. I have a track in my back yard and found a significant improvement over the bowties. I used bowties for years and years. The goosebumps blow them away. Very well engineered tires. Congrats to your son. Makes us dads proud.
    Forgot to add. Kyosho 500000 weight diff grease in diff case. Pack it full. It will still be limited slip but posi on the staights. It will help it excelerate at a faster rate without the rear kicking out.
    Last edited by Powerman; 10-15-2011 at 11:43 PM.

  3. #3
    Marshal Dadx2mj's Avatar
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    First off congratulations to your son!!!

    I think the Rusty would benefit greatly from some added rear toe in. There are several ways of doing this all require some new part like different arms or bearing carriers.
    BlindMan Racing
    Rusty - MERV - Pede 4x4-Alias
    SPC Lipo Power

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dadx2mj View Post
    I think the Rusty would benefit greatly from some added rear toe in. There are several ways of doing this all require some new part like different arms or bearing carriers.
    That's interesting Dad. I had thought that 3 of rear toe in from the Slash arms should be enough given the surface is pretty clean (on the racing line at least). I know the 4-TEC carriers can add an extra 1.5 and will have a think about trying those.

    Powerman, thanks for the tire tips. I'll check them out and ask around at the track to see if the've been tried. Most people at the track run Bow-Tie or Calibers (if dusty), some run Double Dees and Holeshots. We just copied them when we first went there and run Bow Ties and Calibers and haven't experimented since.
    Pretty please, with sugar on top, clean the RC car

  5. #5
    Marshal Dadx2mj's Avatar
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    MY bad, sorry I missed the fact that the truck already has rear toe. 3 of rear toe is enough I doubt the truck would benefit from any more.
    BlindMan Racing
    Rusty - MERV - Pede 4x4-Alias
    SPC Lipo Power

  6. #6
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    For the goosebumps I tried them because the was cheap on our favorite auction site. I couldnt find new 2.2 bowties. I also use the caliburs for dusty conditions. Since going with the goosebumps I tend to use them for all track conditions now. Caliburs are a little better for dust. They have excellent clean out properties and they just hook up. Hard to explain how they perform. I run the track in my back yard and keep lap times. With bowties it would take about 1min 35sec to do a lap. I switched tires and laps are down to 1min 20sec. Thats 15 sec off my lap time. Track was slightly damp (no dust) and I tested with both tires on the same day. I have yet to do a test on a dusty track vs caliburs. Caliburs on dust will be hard to top. But on a damp track goosebumps IMO top bowties, and on slightly muddy track they kill gladiators.

  7. #7
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    I gotta say that not having a full Alum tranny case is probably helping you out a TON And VERY surprised your on the stock ESC. That's an achievement in itself. . Does your track not allow 4 pole motors ?

    Have you thought about adding some + toe in the front ? I hear people doing it never done it myself but it makes sense in theory. . All in all VERY happy to see that you guys didn't go to the wall with parts and upgrades. . . Also if you don't mind me asking what's the total width of your truck ? 13" ? or less ? With my wheel wideners coming in soon my truck will be close to or over 14" lol I added 1.5oz to the front of my truck and it made a noticeable difference. I think 2oz. would be even better

    How do you like running the edges up front ? Tried running knobby all around ?

    GREAT thread ! Thanks Wolf and Grats to your son ! ! !
    Last edited by AZ Racer X; 10-16-2011 at 09:34 AM.

  8. #8
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    i would try an "ifmar" or mini pin on the track when its dry or better yet double dee's/holeshots. depending on how loamy the surface is.

    its also been my experience that more then 3 of rear toe starts to hurt more then it helps.

    my setups are all oval and even though im racing 3 different trx cars they are different enough from the rusty that it wouldnt benefit anyone if i did
    FieroMan121|SPC LiPo powered|Vintage TRX collector

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ Racer X View Post
    I gotta say that not having a full Alum tranny case is probably helping you out a TON And VERY surprised your on the stock ESC. That's an achievement in itself. . Does your track not allow 4 pole motors ?

    Have you thought about adding some + toe in the front ? I hear people doing it never done it myself but it makes sense in theory. . All in all VERY happy to see that you guys didn't go to the wall with parts and upgrades. . . Also if you don't mind me asking what's the total width of your truck ? 13" ? or less ? With my wheel wideners coming in soon my truck will be close to or over 14" lol I added 1.5oz to the front of my truck and it made a noticeable difference. I think 2oz. would be even better

    How do you like running the edges up front ? Tried running knobby all around ?
    The ESC is definitely holding him back which is why he's just ordered a MMP which he plans (for the time being at least) to pair with his Velineon. A little drag brake helps on the track and punch control limits mistakes. 4-pole motors are allowed (I run the SCT 3800 system in mine). One guy runs a 8.5T powerhouse in his T4 and it absolutely flies down the straight but power is not king on this (if any) track. The best stock motor guys are only just behind the mod guys.

    We've tried a little toe in and toe out at the front. I prefer a fraction of toe out but he likes it straight ahead.

    Total truck width is 12.5" front and 12.4" rear (measured at the centre axle line on rear due to toe in). We'd like to run a wider hex at the back but due to the width of the rims where the axle goes through we need to use the most narrow hexes we have to get a locknut properly on the stock axles. Does anyone know if longer rear axles are available from other TRX models?

    I know the 2oz additional weight at the front will help as I've already done it on mine. My car is the family's prototype so I get to experiment and risk my cash on upgrades that might not work. If they work, my son buys them too. If not he doesn't. Hey, that's what dads are for right? I already have his planned upgrades (progammable ESC, SRT shock tower, front weights and FLM sealed diff) on my car and nows he putting them on too. The frustrating thing is that he's still about 5% faster than me without them! He's driven my car though and appreciates the difference.

    We've never tried knobblies up front but may try the Calibers when they become too worn for the back to get a bit of wear out of them. Most guys at the track run some type of ribbed tire up front. We've moved from M3 to M2 Edges to reduce wear and haven't noticed a reduction in traction at all. Being more rigid the M2s hold their shape better when cornering which I think must help.
    Pretty please, with sugar on top, clean the RC car

  10. #10
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    I would say after playing with my friends mostly alum cept the a arms rusty that the front shock tower is an ok piece to go alum on. Adds some well needed weight up front and it's not in a high damage area. . at least in my book it isn't I never even cracked the stock front shock tower before I upgraded to the Pro-trac kit. But the rears I went through stock and then RPM got a ton of abuse but never cracked. I would think the added rigidity of the alum front would be useful but the weight definitely.

    I don't have any experience with this but I have heard LOTS of good things about the VXL motor matched with a MMP. Heard it really wakes up that motor. Can't wait to hear about it.

    when they measure front is it from side tire to other side or axle ?
    Last edited by AZ Racer X; 10-16-2011 at 12:25 PM.

  11. #11
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    I really like the TRX SRT front shock tower (part #2518). It is almost totally rigid, only costs $6 and being a Traxxas part it fits perfectly. Other than a few more shock mounting options I don't see an advantage in going aluminum. Also as the tower is thin, there's sufficient space between it and the bulkhead to put some lead weights. I've put two 30g fishing weights in mine - I just long screws through the weights and the tower base into the bulkhead. That way the additional weight is much lower down than it would be with a heavier alum shock tower which helps the centre of gravity. The weights cost about $2.

    I believe the ROAR spec width is measured to the outside of the widest point on the tires. I gave you an axle line measurement due to the toe in. The official width is about 12.6" at the back, still under the 13" legal maximum.
    Pretty please, with sugar on top, clean the RC car

  12. #12
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    I don't know what the weight difference is but I'm sure the alum upper chassis would be heavier then e plastic one. That might be a good investment for more weight over the front tires. my width right now with the pro-trac kit is right at 13" with the stock front wheels. But I have 13mm wideners coming in for all four corners to fit the new beadlock tires gonna be a beast lol.

  13. #13
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. Emaxx2.0's Avatar
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    Upgrade the esc but if the truck won leave it alone until something needs to be adjusted or replaced.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ Racer X View Post
    I don't know what the weight difference is but I'm sure the alum upper chassis would be heavier then e plastic one. That might be a good investment for more weight over the front tires. my width right now with the pro-trac kit is right at 13" with the stock front wheels. But I have 13mm wideners coming in for all four corners to fit the new beadlock tires gonna be a beast lol.
    Are you positive you're no wider than 13" with Protrac arms and front rims?

    I always thought Protrac arms plus front rims would take it over 13" as I read somewhere that the longer arms increased a Slash's width by 22mm (0.87") at the hub. As I run the Slash rear arms and currently sit at about 12.5" wide, such a change should in theory take the width to about 13.4"
    Pretty please, with sugar on top, clean the RC car

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