An Intro to Upgrading Your Scale Crawler

Dave Beebe's SCX10 Deadbolt at the 2018 KNK Top Truck Challenge in Ohio.

As scale crawling has quickly become one of our customers’ favorite R/C hobbies, it’s time we have the talk... about upgrades that is!

With so many different options out there, it can be hard to decide what to get. And depending on what model vehicle you have, that will change the types of upgrades you can make and the availability of upgrade parts.

I recently planned on attending the KNK Top Truck Challenge down in Ohio to run their Stock Class 2 -  for trucks with minimal upgrades, but just enough to make it a more capable trail truck. (That means no XR modded axles or brushless motors, among other heavy modifications.) My goal was to start with a stock truck and make only the necessary upgrades.

Axial SCX10 Deadbolt Gen. 1 (discontinued)

My vehicle of choice in this case was the SCX10 Deadbolt Gen 1 (now discontinued). Yes, I know there are plenty of other vehicles with better attributes out of the box, but I wanted to save a little money. Plus, the event had an awesome food truck where I could spend that extra cash. 😉

Anyway, the SCX10 Deadbolt Gen 1 and the SCX10.2 Deadbolt have one thing in common: plastic links. The first thing I did was replace the lower links with something stronger. I went with Delrin links from D-links. Why? Because they’re stronger then the plastic stock links, they handle rocky terrain very well and above all else, they were affordable. I also had D-links make me a set of steering links to eliminate the plastic steering setup.

The next important upgrade for any crawler is tires. You can either de-glue the stock tires off the stock plastic wheels to keep the truck lightweight or you can purchase a set of beadlock wheels. Either way you go, choosing a good set of tires is one of the best upgrades you can make. With this truck I went with 1.9 ProLine Hyrax Tires and decided to spend a little extra and get some nice Vanquish KMC 1.9 Bully Wheels to mount them on. I felt the wheels would give me enough weight down low to help keep my truck stable.

Dave Beebe took 7th Place in Class 2 with his "Nankin Hobby Shop Truck!"

With just the upgrades mentioned above, I attended the KNK Top Truck challenge and placed 7th with the truck.

Another part I’d recommend upgrading on an SCX10 or SCX10.2 Deadbolt would be the servo. The Savox SW-0231MG Tall Waterproof Metal Gear Digital Servo is a decent upgrade with a price of $36.99. With 208 oz-in of torque, metal gears and being waterproof, it's great for trails in any weather condition.

If you're looking at entering more competitions, the Savox SA-1230SG Tall Digital Steel Gear Servo, or the Savox SV-1270TG Digital "Monster Torque" Titanium Gear Servo is what I’d recommend upgrading to. Priced at $69.99 and $83.99, they both push around 500 oz-in of torque and feature all metal gears. Although technically not fully waterproof, that’s an easy fix. There are other companies that have similar spec servos, so you can definitely weigh your options before making a decision. These just happen to be the servos I have personally used and can confidently recommend.

Thanks for reading!

Mentioned in this Post:

Axial SCX10 II Deadbolt

Pro-Line Class 1 Hyrax 1.9" G8 Rock Terrain Truck Tires

Vanquish 1.9 Aluminum KMC XD127 Bully Beadlock Wheels

Savox SW-0231MG "Tall" Waterproof Metal Gear Digital Servo

Savox SA-1230SG Tall Digital Steel Gear Servo

Savox SV-1270TG Digital "Monster Torque" Titanium Gear Servo (High Voltage)