Thousand-Buck Comp Truck

A comp truck for a grand? Surely you can’t be serious?

I am serious, and don’t call me Shirley…

Picture this: You’re in the pits, your truck’s up on axle stands while you talk smack with your mates and fellow competitors. The sun is shining and a rag-tag collective of family members, support crews and Facebook-professional-drivers watch every wheel placement, near roll-over and slick-driven line with awe. Motors roar, tyres spin and winches whine away through the day and long into the muddy night-stages of this nail-biting comp. One thing though: this ain’t Tuff Truck. This is your local R/C crawler event, and your rig is next to drive – hope you’ve got the right stuff between the chassis rails.


Back in Issue one of Red Dirt Diary magazine, we got well and truly carried away selecting the right R/C crawler platform for our ‘work meetings’ – you can read that article HERE. We ended up picking up an Axial SCX10ii and right from the get-go realised we were morons that were going to strip this thing to bare bones and go loopy on the mods. We’re not normal, but we’re also not sorry.

Here’s a look inside a thousand- buck comp truck and what makes it tick.

DIG Transmission

We’ll kick off with probably the wildest mod on the truck: the transmission disconnect/lock up unit, known as dig. With this unit, we’re able to freewheel, lock or power the rear wheels as needed via a servo. Locking the rear wheels allows for super tight ‘drag’ turns on the course, while freewheeling assists on a steep climb or line where the rear wheels have too much traction and are trying to wheel-stand the rig.

Billet Diff Housings

Billet housings are not only stronger than plastic, but being steel they’ll slide over rocks rather than dig into them. We also upgraded the steering knuckles to brass for added weight on each corner. More weight down low, equals better stability and less roll-over risk.

High Clearance Titanium Arms

Not nearly as expensive as you think, titanium arms replace the heavier steel arms and once again help shift the COG lower in the chassis. The banana design of the arms keeps them clear of rocks and obstacles and their design lessens the chance of the arms touching and binding.

Sticky Rubber & Beadlocks

Proline Hyrax tyres are known to be the Sticky Treps of the R/C world. They’re so damn good it’s almost cheating. We fitted a pair in 1.9XL (oOversize), to a set of heavy, (COG again) billet beadlock rims. Real, fair dinkum bead locks with a LOT of tiny little bolts.

King Coilovers

Flex is a fine line to walk. Too much and your wheels will fall into every hole in the trail, too little and you’ll find yourself on pretty wild angles with wheels in the air. 100mm shocks gave the best of both worlds, and in conjunction with limiting straps on the front, allow the rig to walk any obstacle. In twin locked R/C trucks, you’d rather lift a wheel over a hole than flop into it.

4-Link Front

Converting the suspension to a 4-link front did away with the Panhard which also allowed us to run a SOA (Servo on Axle) steering setup. More lock and more power through the steering gives an effect similar to full hydro on a full size rig, turning those wheels when lesser setups would bind up.

WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION Front/back and up/down weight distribution is incredibly important to the success of an R/C crawler. When you’re only a few kilosKG in weight, every couple of grams here and there makes a difference.


Ideally, most of your weight should be as far forward as possible,. kKeeping the nose down on a steep climb, and in a tough set of rocks where the front may want to lift.


A low COG (cCentre of gravity) is absolutely the winning factor for keeping the rig off its lid. Wheel weights, heavy rims and a low ride-height will maximise the rig’s potential on the rocks.


- High torque steering servo

- Front and rear remotely operated winches

- Billet shock towers

- Custom mappable motor controller

- Custom length driveshafts to accomodate DIG unit


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