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Home RC Car and Truck Build Projects Project Scorpion: Budget Build Of The Axial AX10 – Part 5

Project Scorpion: Budget Build Of The Axial AX10 – Part 5

Axial Ax10 Scorpion ModificationsAfter 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
The shocks

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)Axial AX10 Scorpion shock assembly

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.
Axial AX10 Scorpion shock modification

The Wheels
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.Strip of wheel weights

Here is an excerpt from the Axial AX10 instruction manual which shows how to assemble the wheels, tires, and foams.
Axial AX10 Scorpion Wheel and Tire Assembly

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.
Drill holes in AX10 wheels

Here is our modified version of the instructions to show where the wheel weights should be placed.
Weights on Axial AX10 Scorpion wheels

The Axial AX10 Wheel with weights attached to it.
Axial AX10 Scorpion wheels with weights

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.
Axial AX10 Scorpion wheels with weights taped

Tire Foams
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.
Axial AX10 Scorpion tire foams

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.
Axial AX10 Scorpion star cut foam

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.
Axial AX10 Scorpion tire foam cutting

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!)
Axial AX10 Scorpion tire foams before and after star cutting

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.

Project Scorpion
Part 1 – It’s here!
Part 2 – The electronics
Part 3 – The build
Part 4 – Testing
Part 5 – Modifications
Part 6 – 1.9 Conversion


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32 Comments  comments 

32 Responses

  1. I’ve used the stick on wheel weights for mine and it seems to work very well.

    thank for the info will be looking back soon


  2. Jo

    Hi Thank you for putting this together for us I live in Wales UK where no one’s heard of rocking so I’m really happy to have people like your self for help, I have just recived my rear steer kit and I’ve put it on as it says but when I trun right or left they both turn the same way so it eather crabs to the right or left would you know what I’m doing wrong. and thanks again for such good site and info.. Best Regards Jo

  3. Jo, you need a reversing Y harness that connects between your servos and your receiver. What it does is it reverses one of the servos so it will steer correctly in the rear.

    Sort of like this:

  4. veedubdad

    do you have to cut the inside diameter bigger to allow for the weight thickness on the wheels. what about the hole drilled in the wheels, did it get covered by the weights? do you need to drill through the weights?

  5. The weights were the perfect width so there was no need to cut anything on the wheel.

    As for the holes, its not visible in the pictures but I spaced the weights apart over the holes so air could get between them.

  6. petespeed

    Hi quick5pnt0,
    first of all thanks a lot for your nice to read report inkluding some tips.
    But I have one certain question: What is the sense of your way of building the shocks with the spacer inside? Instead of limiting the way of the shaft into the shock body, you get less spring deflection. The shock becomes shorter then. I just built a racebuggy and modified the shocks with additional spacers described like in the AX10-Manual to prevent damage from the oil seal (in form of a cap). Otherwise the long shaft could have pierced the oil seal and even touch the shockbody’s upper endcap. Thank you for an answer and best regards – Peter

  7. Peter, you place the spacer inside the shock so the truck sits lower. Also when a shock on one side of the truck is completely compressed it can build pressure on the opposite side cap. By putting the spacers in you limit this and thus stop the caps from popping off. (which was a common problem with the AX10 shocks before everyone started putting the spacers inside)

    As for piercing the oil seal I haven’t had any problems like that, nor has anyone I know who runs the same setup.

  8. boone

    I have a question about the driveshaft mod.Did you use the steel Axial yokes with the Traxxas shafts?I have purchased the entire setup as you have here.I look forward to your reply.And thank you for taking the time and effort to post what you have so far.

  9. Yep, the stock steel yokes from the Axial and plastic Traxxas Stampede shafts. Haven’t had a problem with them since.

  10. Dave

    Lose the foam infills altogether but don’t drill holes it lets water in

  11. Dave, I had tried that. The problem with doing it that way is that the tires don’t conform to the rocks enough and they are very bouncy. Even with two holes in each wheel I haven’t had much problem with water filling them. (even when submerged!)

  12. JC

    Thanx for the info on the shock mods,will be doin that as soon as i finish here. Some of the mods i have made are mounting the battery on the rear axle for much needed lower weight. I have done the wheel weights to the rims as well. I also mounted small containers to the front axle and filled them with bb’s for some more needed front lower weight.I have also lowered the position of the body to keep the ride height down,where Axial sugessted it to go was way to high so i cut the body up to lower it. I did go ahead and spend the money for the bent links front and rear and they are worth the investment,alot less hang-ups. Again thanx for the info and please let us know of any future mods you come up with.

  13. mj

    in the vid did u cover the servos and everything

  14. Here is what we did to waterproof this truck.

    ESC: Nothing, this esc is waterproof

    Receiver: Covered in a balloon with zip ties and silicone glue sealing the end.

    Servo: Silicone glue over the seams of the case and the screws, and some thick grease around the shaft before installing the servo horn. We haven’t tried it but we’ve heard that also putting an o-ring around the servo shaft (with grease) works good too.

  15. Brent

    Do you have the dimensions of the wheel weights for reference?

  16. Sorry Brent, I don’t have the dimensions of the weights. I suggest bringing a wheel along when purchasing your weights to make sure they’ll fit otherwise you can probably cut them with a set of tin snips.

  17. Brent

    I found these weights on tower hobbies so i’ll let you know how they work out http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXK204&P=M

    Thanks for the reply

  18. Those should work fine, can’t wait to hear how they fit.

  19. How did you mount the power switch/switches for the electronics battery and the ESC?

    Thanks, Migs

  20. The ESC we used doesn’t have a power switch, its plug in and go. Usually when I need to mount a switch in a vehicle that doesn’t have a dedicated spot for it I just use double sided tape to hold it to the chassis or the top of the ESC.

  21. yk

    Hi guys
    you don’t have to buy servo reverse cable.
    open the servo and change servo motor wire and ver resistor live the center wire just change the outside two wire. It make the change way you want it…hihi

  22. slowstang88

    i ran the rock lizards a few times, and ended up pulling them and remounting some pro-line hammers (3 hours, 2 stripped allen wrenches, and 48 stripped allen screws later). what a huge difference!! i havent even cut the foams yet (stupid), or installed wheel weights yet. i will also do the shock spacer thing as well as get some softer springs, and some revo wheel shafts on standby!! thanks for this info!!

  23. Darrel

    Does adding wheel weight tend to break servos or anything else? My AX 10 is stock for now. I know the stock servo is week , just don’t want to help it break it yet.

  24. I found a whole lot of wheel weights online on ebay. Ended up with a whole box of them, but paid less than what i found them for at my local rc shop. Also it is helpful to turn all of your shocks over, it will help to lower the center of gravity.

  25. Dasher

    Hi guys, thanks for this. I’ve just found it having got the ax10 rtc for christmas. The rtc also runs well out of the box but there are things worth noting for anyone contemplating this route. The shocks are much (20mm) shorter. All the green alloy parts are plastic and bendy. The motor’s good (55T axial), the esc is holding up (but not too responsive), the servo is holding up too. Take the set screws out, locktite them and put them back I lost mine within the first hour. I modded the wheels as you (still to drill the hole though). I’ve already picked up a used,rolling ax10 off ebay and replaced the alloy bits. I’ve not switched the shocks yet as it’s a trade off – travel against c of g. Next mods (goat, 7950 servo and novak55 can wait!

  26. John S Wales

    Hello Having run a full size rig for many years there are
    some ideas that you apply but have not been thought out. Wheel
    weights. If you weight the wheels the centre of gravity is mid line
    with the axle (side profile). Hence weighting the axle at its outer
    limits is a better route as you can get the weight lower. Weighting
    the wheels also strains the power train/steering and reduces power
    at the wheels (Two plates mounted either side of axles then add
    remove lead plates mounted on side of axle). The lighter the
    overall weight of the vehicle the better the performance hence move
    the weight you have to a lower position eg. battery/electrics etc.
    Remove anything that is not required. Remember to change your
    sprung to un-sprung weight ratios or you will loose out on axle
    movement. Ground clearance, route to go is lower the suspension but
    increase wheel size (limited by the 2.2 Regs), clearance under the
    axles is where you want it. Unless you are dealing with snow or
    sand narrow, soft compound, high wall, tyres are best.

  27. neil

    hy thanx for the tips too all of you i have a question how much weight do i need on front wheels i dont have a clue whit how much weiht to start off left and right wheel front wheels?? tnx for reply

    • Neil, we used 3.5 oz in each front wheel but it’s completely based on personal preference. You’ll find that some guys run much more weight in their front wheels and even some in the rears while others use none at all. Best thing to do is experiment with varying amounts and see what works best for you.

      Anyone want to chime in with how much weight they use?

  28. Balder

    Have you ever tried removing the foam completely ? me and my friend i doing it and it works even better than any foam modifications we have tried

  29. unknown

    how to cut the foam use what tools to cut it?

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