Well, you asked for it.
2 sets of Ball-X arrived on monday, but I've been waiting until I could actually test drive them before writing this little review. Note that I did not get them for free, I paid the full price, so I'm not doing this review out of some kind of commercial obligation.
I first decided to buy a set after a set screw got stuck inside an outdrive hub of my MIP CVDs. It was the proverbial straw that broke camel's back, because with MIPs I seemed to spend too little time driving and too much time worrying about grub/set screws coming loose and/or retightening them. No amount of red thread locker could hold the little buggers in place. Ball-X seemed like a great alternative because they use fewer parts and have in their construction no pins or grub screws that can come loose.
So... packaging (click to embiggen):
Note that the nice man Ron kindly altered the value on the customs declaration, thereby helping me avoid paying additional ~$75 in taxes
Inside the previous inside:
Yeah, packaging is a little overkill, especially considering that the axles themselves are hardened 5mm spring steel... But to be honest, I like overkill way more than underkill, so no complaints here.
Actual product packaging:
Contents of one package:
That's right, the axles come semi-assembled. What little assembly is required doesn't take more than 10 minutes, and is very straightforward: put dust boot on axle, insert axle into bearing, fasten screw, apply grease, put dust boot over bearing.
Unassembled Ball-X alone:
As I said in another thread, Ball-X does not come in white. I wanted white axles myself, and asked Ron at TVR about them. Apparently the white axles you were the first prototypes that were not heat treated to prevent rusting and corrosion. He also said that if you want white axles, you can simply spray them in white, and then put them oven at around 70-90 degrees C for 20-30 min. The result will be very good and surprisingly resistant to scratching. I have not tried that, nor intend to any time soon, but the option is always there.
Assembled Ball-X next to an MIP Spline CVD:
The diameter of Ball-X is 5.00mm dead. The diameter is consitent throughout the entire length of the axle with 0 variation. MIP Spline CVD, on the other hand, is 4.75mm at the thickest point, and 4.63mm at the thinnest.
For anyone wondering, the dust boots are a very nice and tight fit. They're not exactly easy to put on, but when they are on, they stay in place very snugly. I can't imagine how anything at all can possibly get inside under the dust boot.
The grease included with Ball-X appears to be the same expensive (and probably the best I've ever used) blend that HUDY uses for their Graphite Grease. At least it looks, smells and feels the sam as HUDY graphite grease. You get more than enough of it in one package for both axles.
Ball-X vs MIP Spline articulation:
Virtually the same, and you get more than enough play for any kind of suspension setup. I know, since I have the highest possible ground clearance on my Revo.
Feel and Look.
Amazing. The axles feel and look like a premium product. Nothing about them feels cheap, no corners appear to be cut in production. It's an amazingly-solid and high-quality product all around, something I could never say about my MIP axles.
As an added bonus, Ball-X are 100% compatible with LST diff outdrives. I happened to have a spare LST diff outdrive lying around, and I snapped a photo of the Ball-X and LST outdrives side-by-side:
Ball-X will be a perfect fit with 0 need to modify anything. HPP hubs were also a seamless fit.