After completing Part 4 of Project scorpion we wondered whether there were any cheap mods we could do to our truck to improve it’s performance. Sure we could have went out and started buying aftermarket parts for the AX10, but we thought it would be much more interesting to see what low cost modifications were possible and to document their performance improvements for all to see. In this installment of our project truck build we’re going to do just that. Follow along with us as we add weight to the front wheels, modify the shocks for a lower stance, and star cut the tire foams for better traction.
Part 5: Modifications
By far the easiest modification you can do to your AX10 during assembly is moving the lower shock spacer, which Axial calls a “shock damper”, (part #AXA1358) from the lower part of the shock shaft to inside of the shock just under the piston. The result is a lower ride height and lower center of gravity. If there is one definite in rock crawling it is that a lower center of gravity will lessen the chance of rollovers increasing your chance of getting up that big rock wall.
Here is an excerpt from the Axial AX10 instruction manual for shock assembly. Note where the spacer is located. (between the shock body and lower end link)
Now check out our modified version of the instructions. As you can see the spacer is still located on the shock shaft but under the piston inside the shock body.
For the most part rock crawlers tend to crawl better with a front weight bias. The problem is that the AX10 is balanced 50/50 front to rear. The fix is as simple as adding weight to the front of the truck somewhere. As we stated above the lower the center of gravity (COG) the more stable it will be on the rocks so putting the weight up high wouldn’t make much sense. The trick is to add the weight to the lowest part of the truck possible, the wheels. There are various ways you can accomplish this. Some people add ball bearings (BBs) to the inside of the tires but there are problems with that such as the weight constantly shifting inside the tire and the annoying sound of a baby rattle whenever the truck is moving. Our preference is to use stick on wheel weights. In full size automotive applications there are varying types of weights that are used to balance the tires. Clip on versions are common but for custom wheels most use stick on wheel weights which is exactly what we’re going to use. The problem comes in finding these types of weights because most auto parts stores don’t carry them. Instead you’ll need to visit your local tire shop to score a few strips of weights. (Thanks to Jack Williams Tire Co. in Honesdale, PA for hooking us up) These weights come in 3 oz strips that are separated into 1/4 oz squares. On our truck we used 3.5 oz to each wheel which adds up to almost a half pound of extra weight to the front of our rig.
Here is what you’re looking for. A 3 oz strip of stick on wheel weights. You’ll need at least three strips of these to complete your front wheels. You may want to pick up extras incase you decide you to add more weight in the future.
Here is an excerpt from the Axial AX10 instruction manual which shows how to assemble the wheels, tires, and foams.
Before assembling your tires/wheels with the wheel weights we suggest you drill two 1/8″ holes, one in each side of the wheel (arrow) to allow air to escape from the tire. This prevents the tires from being too bouncy and allows the tires to conform to surfaces better.
Here is our modified version of the instructions to show where the wheel weights should be placed.
The Axial AX10 Wheel with weights attached to it.
It is suggested that you add a few layers of electric tape around the weights. This is just an added layer of security so the weights stay in place.
Another cheap (yet time consuming) mod we suggest doing is star cutting your tire foams. The idea behind this mod is that less area of the foam is in contact with the tire making it easier for the tire to conform to various surfaces.
Here is a stock AX10 tire foam.
To get the star pattern to be equal on all sides we start by using a fine tip black marker to draw lines across the tire in equal proportions. We started by creating a cross, then adding lines between those lines, and so on. In the end you want 16 equally spaced lines.
Next week need to make equal Xs between each one of our original lines. When this is done you now have the star pattern you need to cut out. You can get a better idea of what I mean by looking at the images below.
Here is the before and after. How to actually cut the star pattern is personal preference. We have had numerous people suggest that we use a razor blade but we found that using a fine tooth hacksaw blade worked best. Once you get the hang of what you need to do it only takes a few minutes to cut each foam. All that’s required now is to reinstall them in your wheels (hopefully with new weights and holes drilled!)
That’s it for now. In the future we plan to keep you up to date with any other mods we decide to do to Project Scorpion.