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1. Higher Capacity/More Powerful Battery (Applies to 2wd and 4x4)
You can get this one of two ways, 7 cell NiMH or LiPo. We recommend going to a LiPo setup, they are a better technology. They also can be good prices. In fact, when I was pricing NiMH packs before I went LiPo, I was going to spend nearly as much for two new NiMHs as I ended up spending on two LiPos and a charger.
The stock ESC DOES have a low voltage cutoff, so it will work with LiPo packs. I used to run LiPo on my stock ESCs, and they would always cut off right around 3.2 volts or so. So don't worry about needing to switch out the ESC if you go LiPo.
NOTE FROM JANG: Jang recommends running a seperate low voltage alarm, as the LVC is a bit low for his liking, probably set at 3.0v per cell. You can get low voltage alarms for cheap from Ebay. The reason for this is running a pack to 3.0v for a cut off will give it the resting voltage of 3.2v, which can cause the pack to lose capacity SOONER than using a higher cutoff.
NOTE ON V2 ECX VEHICLES: Highly recommended to run low voltage alarm, as LVC hasn't been tested on newer ECX vehicles.
NOTE ON VEHICLES AFTER V2 TRUCKS: The initial waterproof offerings were still not LiPo compatible, however, the second generation of waterproof ESCs ARE LiPo compatible with the use of a jumper that comes on the ESC. See your manual for information.
1.1 Upgrade Your Battery and ESC Connector Plugs (Applies to 2wd and 4x4)
If you have one of the very original trucks with the Tamiya plugs on them, it's best to swap those out for some Dean's, Traxxas, or EC3 plugs.
Trucks after that first generation all come with EC3 plugs on them, these do not need to be changed unless you are changing them to use with your existing batteries and chargers.
2. Upgrade Your Drive Shafts (Applies to 2wd Trucks Only)
Early trucks had fragile drive shafts. They could be spun with the stock power system in the truck. If you have these, or if you are having problems with newer drive shafts, there is a sticky in the forum here to show you how to add Traxxas VXL shafts to your truck.
The nice thing is that if you need to, the VXL swap can be done to accommodate metal drive shafts, or any other very beefy conversion.
3. Adjustable Camber and Steering Links (Applies to 2wd Trucks Only)
The stock camber and steering links are locked into one position, aren't adjustable, and many have found that they can lead to uneven wear on the tires. There are many options for getting adjustable camber links. Many use the Traxxas setup. I use Associated links with RPM ball cups. You just need to get two packages of Electrix brand ball studs, the links, and the ball cups and you will be good to go.
If using the ball cups and studs, you will need two packs of studs from Electrix. They can be found on Ebay for a couple of bucks. You need two packs because you need a total of eight, and the packs are sold with six in them.
You will need standard RPM ball cups. I use the ones that are listed for Associated vehicles.
To do the links on a Ruckus, Circuit or Torment, you will need links from an Associated T4. They will be the perfect length.
To do the links on a Boost, you will need links from an Associated B4. They will be the perfect length.
Finding these links can be a bit tricky, because they are generally listed strangely. On Ebay if you search for "Associated turnbuckles" you will generally find them in a set for around $15 or so.
Once you have them, they are an easy swap and pretty self explanatory.
The Traxxas ones are also very straightforward. A set of Traxxas 3745 Turnbuckles should work. They are 59mm, 78mm center to center. You will need to get some longer screws to use them, but that should be all you need. Keep in mind, this Traxxas option will NOT work for a Boost. they will be too long. You MAY be able to use Bandit links on a Boost, but it would be more ideal just to go with the B4 setup that we know for a fact works.
4. Bumpers and RPM Parts for Protection (Applies to 2wd Trucks Only)
If you're using your truck for some serious bashing, you might want a good quality bumper.
T-Bone Racing makes bumpers for the front and rear of the Circuit, front and rear of the Boost, and the front of the Ruckus.
The nice thing about the front bumper for the Circuit in particular is that it actually protrudes out past the body, which means that when you hit things the bumper is taking the impact first...not the body. This should prolong the body life significantly.
TBR bumpers are also guaranteed forever. If you break it, you snap a picture and sent that to them for a free replacement.
If you have a Torment, the TBR front bumper from the Ruckus WILL fit on it, but you MAY have to trim the body, or at the very least raise it up a little bit. You may get lucky and have it just fit, but be prepared to have to do a bit of cutting if it won't fit.
RPM also makes the basic upgrades for the trucks as well. Arms and spindles are currently available, and RPM makes some very nice products.
5. Bodies (Applies to 2wd and 4x4 Trucks)
Many bodies can be made to easily fit onto these trucks, you just may have to adjust your mounting a little bit. Slash bodies easily fit on the Ruckus. T4 bodies can be made to fit the Circuit.
However, if you are like me (and Makeitfly) and like the lines of the stock bodies, the CLEAR REPLACEMENT bodies are MUCH stronger than the ones that come on the truck stock. You can tell that they are made better as soon as you hold onto one. Fly managed to get his micrometer on one, and it came in at a good chunk thicker than the stock one. So those are a viable option if you like the stock lines.
Most SCT bodies should be able to be made to fit the Torment. If you have a Torment, just about all of the bodies will fit with some kind of modification to the body, the mounting posts, or both. Some will be easier to modify than others, so if you've got a body in mind post it up and ask if anyone else is using it with their Torment.
6. Wheels and Tires (Applies to 2wd and 4x4 Trucks)
These will depend very much on what you are doing with your truck, so it would be a bit pointless to try and put a bunch of pointers in one thread. Basically, if you are looking for a tire for a specific type of terrain, that's probably already been covered elsewhere here on URC.
However...I'll touch on a few things.
First off, the trucks use standard sized wheels and tires. The buggy uses standard size tires, but the wheels use a hex which makes them a bit different from other buggies. Wheels from a Losi 22 MAY fit the Boost, but I don't think anyone has confirmed that yet. I have a friend with a 22, and when my Boost arrives I'll check fitment.
With the Ruckus, 2.8" size wheels will be a fairly equal wheel. Put whatever tires you want on those wheels. Make sure you are getting wheels with a 12mm hex, however, as some of those larger wheels are designed for 17mm hexes and those won't work.
With the Circuit, 2.2" size wheels will work perfectly. Again, put whatever tires you would like on them.
For the Torment, most Traxxas style SCT wheels will be perfect. Find one that you like the looks of, make sure it fits a Traxxas truck, and go for it.
When you are ordering wheels for these trucks, you want to keep in mind that the trucks have equal front and rear offset. So if you are buying wheels, make sure to get ALL four fronts or ALL four rears, that way you make sure that you have the same offset all around.
7. Upgraded Motor and ESC (Applies to 2wd and 4x4 Trucks)
The stock ESC can handle most brushed motors that you want to throw at it, provided they aren't super powerful modified brushed motors.
However, to get the most out of the truck, you will want to upgrade to a brushless setup.
Again, there are so many different options here that it would be hard to recommend all of them that should be recommended, so I'll just put a few general tips.
First, if you go to a brushless setup learn how to adjust your slipper clutch correctly. It will help you maintain your stock gears inside the transmission much better.
Second, if you go brushless be prepared to regear if your motor or ESC is running too hot. Heat is the enemy, and you want your motor and ESC running within their factory recommended limits.
Third, try to find a brushless setup that allows you to program the ESC. Turning down the punch can do a lot to help keep those stock gears up and running. Likewise, turning down the brake power can help with that as well. The one time I fried gears in an Electrix truck was with a brake set at 100%. From full speed to full brake stripped the idler gear and stripped it fast. These adjustable settings make things like that much less of a worry.
Fourth, do some research on the different systems out there. Find one that fits with what you WANT to do with the truck, and go for it. If you're going to be racing, find out at the track what kind of limits they may have for your class, and buy a combo that fits into those requirements.
7.1 Break in Your Brushed Motor for More Speed and a Longer Life (Applies to 2wd and 4x4 Trucks)
If you want to keep using the brushed motors, there is nothing wrong with that. There are even some very high quality brushed motors out there that will give you tons of speed and torque, and many of them cost less than upgrading to an entire brushless setup. Even the optional Electrix Dynamite 15t motor will give you noticeably more speed than the stock motor.
If you want to stay with a brushed motor, you may want to think about breaking it in correctly to make sure you get the most out of it, both in terms of power and durability.
If you are using the stock motor or the Electrix 15t motor, follow the "Water Break In" Instructions on this page:
If you are using a different brushed motor, look around for the best way to break it in. It may come with documentation describing the best method. Generally speaking, you can use the water break in method on sealed end motors, but you may want to steer away from it with rebuildable motors.
8. Transmission (Applies to 2wd Trucks Only)
Robinson Racing makes metal gears for the trucks, but they don't have the diff gear. ECX has released an all metal transmission setup that comes with all of the gears including the diff in all metal. They are part number ECX9001.
The ECX9001 metal gears are probably the best option. I have run very high powered brushless setups on the stock gears. As long as you have the slipper set correctly it shouldn't be much of a problem. However, if you do manage to damage a gear, it would probably be worthwhile to upgrade to the metal gear setup, seeing as you're going to be cracking into the gear housing anyways.
If you don't want or can't afford the metal options, you may want to buy one extra set of plastic gears just in case you break yours. Then you can swap them out quickly and be back on the road.
9. Temperature Gun (Applies to ALL RC Vehicles)
If you are running a brushless system, a temperature gun is almost a must. You need to be able to know what kind of temperature your motor and ESC are at, and just using your finger is NOT accurate enough. Temperature guns can be found for under $20 all over the place. Harbor Freight has them, Amazon has them, they can be found on Ebay.
I use one from Amazon that cost me about $18 shipped and it has been really solid. It has helped me make sure that all of my motors and ESCs are at happy temperatures.
I look at it this way. A $20 temp gun might save you a $100 combo...so it's worth it.
10. 2.4ghz Radio System
The first versions of the ECX trucks came with AM radios. It's not a bad idea to upgrade these to 2.4ghz systems. More recent trucks come with pretty nice 2.4ghz systems already installed.
11. Servo and Servo Saver (Applies to 2wd Trucks Only)
The stock servo does it's job, but it isn't quite as good as it could be.
Going for a stronger or faster servo will help the steering of the truck quite a bit. I personally use an MG996R servo that came from HobbyPartz. Cost is around $15 or so. It's much stronger than the stock servo, so it holds the wheels in the position that you want them to be in much better than the stock servo. That extra power also, in my opinion, helps the servo operate faster. See, the MG996R probably isn't much faster than the stock servo if you are holding them both in the air, but with weight on it the extra torque helps it get from one end to the other more quickly than the stock servo.
What I noticed after upgrading the servo was that the truck tended to hold it's line in a turn much better.
You can also upgrade the servo saver to the unit off of an Associated T4. I don't have this done, but reports suggest that it helps with quite a bit of the slop in the sock assembly. You can also reinforce the stock saver with a zip tie.
To reinforce with a zip tie, basically you just put a zip tie around the center piece of the servo saver.
NOTE: The new replacement ECX servo saver kits come with a metal ring in place of the plastic ring. It has been reported that this new kit provides much improved steering.
12. Shocks and Shock Oil (Applies to 2wd and 4x4 Trucks *4x4 Trucks Come with Aluminum Shock Bodies)
The stock shocks are actually pretty solid. They do a good job of doing what they are supposed to do.
The stock shock oil, on the other hand, is a bit thin. It's supposed to be 30w, but it seems a bit less than that. Some people have reported that their shocks didn't even seem full of oil when they went to change it out.
Shock oil is relatively inexpensive, so buy a couple of different weights and try them out until you get to where you like.
For most surfaces where there aren't a lot of bumps, heavier oil is generally preferred. I run 40w all around in my trucks that I'm using primarily on the street.
For jumps and bumpy running, lower weight is best. I run 30w in the front and rear of my Circuit that is primarily used for track driving. It seems to do a pretty good job. I have not yet tried 35w, but may eventually try that in the rear of the truck.
Even if you just go and get a bottle of nice 30w oil and replace the stock oil, you'll probably see a bit of a handling improvement.
Before you just go buy oil, though, know that you MUST use silicone oil. Simply using motor oil won't work. You can get it online or at the hobby shop for a couple of bucks a bottle, and one bottle will be more than enough to do quite a few shocks.
If you decide that you would like to upgrade the shocks, too, then the ECX brand aluminum shocks are actually very nice. They are easily adjustable due to their threaded bodies, and in my opinion they do a better overall job than the stock shocks. I believe it has to do with the fact that they are aluminum means that there is zero flex in them when they are under compression, where even just a tiny amount of compression on the stock ones can cause them to act a bit oddly.
With the aluminum shocks I have noticed that the truck jumps, turns, and takes bumps more predictably than it did with the stock shocks.
From a purely aesthetic standpoint, as well, they look VERY cool.
The aluminum shocks that fit the Circuit/Ruckus/Torment are:
The aluminum shocks that fit the Boost are:
13. Hardware Kits
Many people like to upgrade the hardware on their truck to hex head screws instead of the standard hardware. RCScrewz makes kits for most of the ECX vehicles.
ECX also has a set from Dynamite. Dynamite is also a Horizon company, so you can rest assured that the set will work very well.
Dimensions for the Vehicles
(NOTE: The measurements listed here are taken from ECX.com. I believe the length of the Ruckus and Torment to be inaccurate, as the Torment is longer than the Ruckus with it's bumpers installed. So, although they share the same chassis, I believe that the length of both being listed as the same is a typo.)
(Last edited by Gimpdiggity : 9.11.14 at 11:53 pm)
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Torment, C4rcu4t, Night Vapor, Archer, Firebird Stratos, Power Vee, Bristol Bay, Duck, Volere, Dragon Force Yacht, Springer Tug
Man, good write up sir....throw in the servo saver wire tie thing and maybe the t4 swap out. Till they make a aluminum rack for it.
And maybe driveshaft alternates like the 6852x shafts. just be sure to maintain them b/c they stick all the time. much stronger than the vxl imo.