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.
Last edited by ignis; 05-19-2013 at 05:58 AM.
The biggest problem with Ball-X is that they are not compatible with Tekno carriers. They go in all right, but due to the design of both Tekno carriers and Ball-X axles, the wheel axles will not come all the way out of the carriers, making wheel hub installation impossible. It's this part here that does it:
As you can see, Ball-X has much more "grip area" on the outer carrier bearing. Normally it would be a huge advantage for both axle and bearing durability, but Tekno carriers have a much more "cramped" design inside, which causes the aforementioned problem.
Ball-X, however, are 100% compatible with stock and RPM carriers.
The second problem, which is rather minor, is that there is no screw pins to attach outdrives to diffs included in the package. I had to improvise and use 4x13mm screw pins from stock wheel hubs (part #5189) which were a perfect fit, but it would still be nice to see those pins included with Ball-X, especially considering how much they cost.
In the wild.
It rained all week here in Norway, so I had to wait for almost 5 days after installing the axles before I could finally test-drive them. The place I usually drive my cars is a rock and gravel quarry, which claimed many an RC car's life and caused many a broken part. Pretty much an RC car death zone.
I've put the car through 2 sets of batteries (2x7600 and 2x5000mAh) yesterday, and the axles have been amazing. Towards the end of the second set of batteries I had a bad landing from a 15 meter jump which culminated in a rather loud cracking sound. Upon surveying the damage, I discovered:
- A broken front carrier (stock)
- 2 broken rod ends on the turnbuckle (stock, turnbuckle itself is fine)
- Cracked front bulkhead
- Bent Lunsford titanium hinge pin (I didn't even know it was even possible to bend those things)
The axle on the same side of the car was perfectly fine. Nothing bent or broken, the screw pin holding the outdrive hub still firmly in place. If that's not evidence enough of Ball-X quality, I don't know what is.
TL;DR: Ball-X are awesome axles, much better than stock or MIP. A fantastic upgrade if you have the dough, but won't work with Tekno carriers.
Feel free to ask any questions.
Last edited by ignis; 05-19-2013 at 06:00 AM.
Well it sounds like they're a good product. So he said you can paint and bake the rods, can you then dye the boots like you would the chassis or would that overheat and melt or distort the boots? Also, where was the additional 75 in shipping? I load it up and it adds 15 for two pair of them?
Good, Fast, Cheap; You can only have two
I'm sure many of us were waiting for this, finally a in depth review about them. But please keep us updated about the durability, are they really worth the price, even after 1 year? We'll see . But the certainly look top notch in your pictures!
By the way, i think you still need to do some modding to fit the ball-x with LST diffs. The stock lst cup is very small(the Ball-X cups stick out a bit further), so the length of the axles could be too short resulting in the axles popping out. I think you will need to cut stub axles(or get pre made RC monster output shafts) to use in the lst diffs and then mount the supplied Ball-X cups(or RC monster), or it wont work.
Last edited by WesleyK; 05-19-2013 at 04:11 PM.
From what I can tell though, the LST outdrives would stick out approximately as much as Ball-X outdrives, ±1mm.
Hi, Thanks for the review
Do those work on a Summit 1/10?
Great review. And for something so rare.
I have 2 things to comment on:
1. Be glad that its 5mm. The traxxas are 4.5mm and they bend easily. The losi are true 5mm and they bend but really harder.
2. for that price i d go losi again... you could get 2 diffs, axles, even add a little and buy integy alu bulks. Or at least losi axles+bigger bearings on the knuckles=tougher than ball X but not as flashy :P
good purchase and good review have fun
<3 Traxxas~Align~Ducati~Lib-tech~JacksonGtrs <3
Id love to try a set of these. My Trx CVDs are still holding up for me tho.
E-Revo MMM-2200 6s
wwhere did you purchase them?