RC Basics: Top Ten Tips Before You Go Crawling Or Trailing
When it comes to RC crawling, the road to becoming a veteran can be a long one, filled with brick walls and busted trucks. Check out these ten tips to minimize your share of headaches and heartbreaks.
Pictures yourself here: a beautiful crisp Monday morning. It's perfect weather in the beautiful rocky mountains and your heading out to do some trailing. You drive an hour and a half to get to that one sweet spot you have been dreaming of. When you pull into the location there is not a single car there! With butterflies in your stomach in excitement, you turn off the car, grab the camera, and head to the trunk. You start to load up your gear and just as you open the back, your mind quickly whizzes all the way back to the city into your apartment to a vision of your trucks transmitter sitting on the counter where you left it!
There can be a lot of work involved in having fun in the sport, but trust me it's all worth it. Getting back to the fun side of things, let's start off by saying the number one best thing about crawling and trailing is all the great people you'll meet! Some of the folks you meet on the trails will actually be some of the best friends you'll have for the rest of your life! So let's take a look at the top ten tips in my opinion that will keep you from ripping out your hair on every turn!
Tip 1: Do a physical or mental checklist of what you're going to need for a successful trail day.
One of the worst things that could happen is that you forget to bring something incredibly important to actually getting your rig to move, like your batteries or transmitter. Make sure you take stock of what you'll need for the day!
Tip 2: Bring some form of protection, and make sure to inform someone of your plans!
If you're like me and you like to go into some seriously deep trails, don't forget to bring some kind of protection like bear mace. Also make sure to inform someone else where you're going for the day. Taking precautions is always a good course of action. Better to know you have some form of protection than to not have it when you need it!
Tip 3: Charge Your Batteries!
Leaving them at home is one thing. Bringing them and realizing you forgot to charge them the night before is another. I usually bring about 5000Mah packs per 5 kilometers depending on the surface. If there is lots of snow or sand, bring more batteries.
Tip 4: Spare parts are your best friends. Bring them along!
I tend to bring a full armada of parts with me just because I've basically broken everything you can break on a trail. An extra drive shaft, a few screws and bolts, hubs or knuckles are good things to start with. You can survive for a while by mooching off your more well-equipped friends, but if they don't have that part, be ready for a long hike home carrying your truck!
Tip 5: Get used to how your truck drives.
Once you're out on the trail, be ready to tackle the obstacles ahead. Figuring out ahead of time how your truck crawls and what it can/can't do will save you some bucks if you break parts. Its no fun when your rig just sits on your shelf. Finding your rigs limit is just going to make it run smoother. Crawling in a scale form is not just flooring it over the rocks (although it can be fun sometimes). It's precise control over an impossible surface. So understanding what it can and cannot do is essential for both you and the rig.
Tip 6: Try to keep your weight low.
When crawling, keeping your rig on the ground can be tricky so keeping your center of gravity low and truck heavier will keep all four wheels on the ground. Some folks add weights to their stock rigs by putting weights inside their wheels to keep them stable or by even loading up on aluminum parts like axles and beadlock wheels to keep thier weight low. You can move your batteries up front to increase the weight on the nose of your rig. If you choose to opt out of adding weight you can lower your shocks and shock tower mounts not only for more flex on the trails but to keep that chassis low. A lot of parts from Boom Racing are made to increase durability and weight, giving you the perfect chance to hit two birds with one stone.
Tip 7: Set your drag brakes ahead of time!
Having drag brakes in a speed controller is crucial to any crawler. The ability to let off the throttle and not go crashing down a hill backwards is a must. Even for going downhill, you want to go down slowly and not coast upside down into the bushes.
Tip 8: Instant reverse is one of the best features you can get in your ESC.
When climbing a hill and a back flip disaster is coming, pump that reverse and you’ll save your rig from flipping over.
Tip 9: Waterproofing will save you more times than you can count on both your hands.
This is a big one if you want to be able to run your rig all year round in water, snow, and mud. You'll need to protect your investments. Products like plasti-dip, liquid electrical tape, silicone, or even a couple balloons will prevent any electrical malfunctions. No matter how you waterproof your rig just do it twice for added insurance!
Tip 10: One of the most important thing to remember is going to be regular maintenance.
Keeping your motor clean, your axles lubed and your truck free of debris will extend the life time of your rigs. Let's also add that you should make sure you test your rig before leaving the house. Nobody likes to see a breakdown within two feet from your car.
So once these tips are all in place, get out there, take some pictures, have some laughs and don't worry if you break anything on the trails or rocks. Make sure to check out my YouTube Channel and Instagram Account for videos and pictures of my scale crawling adventures!