The truck took longer than expected to get here because of the Christmas Holiday, so when it finally came I was as giddy as a schoolboy. As soon as I got the box home I tore it open and my first impression was ďWOW, THIS THING IS HUGE.Ē The Nitro 6 wheel base is 17" x 31" and the truck is 17" high with the classic cab body installed. This truck will make any 1/8th scale vehicle you have look tiny! After a quick once over I sent George an email letting him know that the truck had gotten to me and was in great shape. The packaging was first rate.
So can a truck with 6 wheels and a .28 engine perform as good as it looks? Letís find out....
OVERVIEW - The Nitro 6 is based on Team Associatedís Monster GT 4.60 SE. The truck itself (from the center set of tires forward) is almost all stock MGT. It features an extruded aluminum chassis that supports the front four tires and suspension. Truck Stop Racing added the rear set of wheels by affixing aluminum ĎLí shaped frame rails and a stout skid plate that runs from the middle diff to the rear diff.
For more strength, there is a polished aluminum top plate that helps to add rigidity and bling.
ENGINE - The Nitro 6 is powered by AEís 4.6 c.i. (.28cc) Big Block power plant and as expected it features ABC (Aluminum piston, Brass sleeve, Chrome plated bore) construction. Air intake is handled by a two-needle slide carb, covered by a two-stage air filter. Spent gasses are then sent on their way via an aluminum manifold into a single-chamber pipe finally making its way out of an included silicone exhaust stinger. The stinger (rubber extension) helps keep the oil and muck off the truck. This is an option on most monster trucks and it is nice to see it as standard equipment. Nice touch.
To add even more good stuff to an already great set-up, the 4.60 has a dual starting system that is a pull starter and drill starter in one. Forgot to charge the drill? No problem! A few yanks on the rope and your ready to go. Now thatís handy! Every Nitro 6 owner is sure to use it at one time or another.
TRANSMISSION - NO DOUBLE-CLUTCHING REQUIRED: All the internal transmission gears are all steel and that will certainly help in hauling around this monster. To add more protection from breakage there is a peg style slipper clutch, so this tranny can handle a beating.
On the front of the transmission there is a big 5.5mm fiber brake rotor clamped by a steel caliper, with a thumb-wheel adjuster that should make adjusting the brakes a snap. Another bonus feature is there is a servo actuated reverse on the truck, so backing out of trouble is as easy as pushing a button.
DIFFERENTIALS, AXLES, TIRES AND WHEELS...WORTHY OF A BIG RIG: The differentials on the Nitro 6 are pretty standard stuff. O-ring sealed and metal geared all the way around. Where it gets interesting is the middle differential. It has a straight through design that is very similar to a real semi-truck. The drive shaft from the middle diff to the rear is the biggest and thickest I have ever seen.
All 6 axles are CV style that final out to metal drive hexes, no plastic to round off here. The wheels are one-piece plastic Maxx sized with 14mm hexes. The tires are huge 6 5/8Ē diameter all-terrain tires, stock Associated MGT rubbers with chevron tread.
SUSPENSION AND STEERING....PLUSH IS THE WORD: The Nitro 6 has a double wishbone and pivot-ball suspension setup that is held to the bulkheads with steel hinge pins. Twelve shocks hold up this beast, and they make for a very plush suspension. It does have full adjustability of camber and toe-in, but I donít think many of these will see track time so a solid setup may have been stronger. We will find out when testing begins.
Steering comes from a set of metal-bushed bellcranks attached to the servo-mounted saver. The servo-saver isnít adjustable but it is stiffly sprung
The Nitro 6 comes with an Associated XP-3 3-channel transmitter that has full control of throttle endpoints and steering duel-rate. It also has a third channel switch for reverse. The transmitter sends its signal to an Associated four channel 27 MHZ receiver that comes with a 27.195 MHZ crystal. The receiver is packaged in a nice radio box.
The included steering servo is an Associated S2008MG model that includes metal gears and has a claimed output of 111 oz-in! Most RTRís come with a weak steering servo, but the Nitro 6 is not one of them. It does a good job of turning the big machine in the right direction. The throttle and shift servos are Associated S1903 standard model stuff. They are both rated at 41 oz-in, which are more than enough for throttle and shift duties.
OTHER STUFF AND ACCESSORIES: Let's start with the fuel tank, it has a dual pickup design that will allow the truck to run upside down, so no more sprinting to your overturned truck to keep it from stalling. It also has an inline primer bulb that is sure to be better than a plunger type.
The included tool kit has most of the tools you will need to work on the truck; in fact I was able to do all of my pre break-in checks without any of my own tools. There is also a nice assortment of preload spacers and shock pistons included in the package.
The body is a semi-truck style but is bigger than anything I have seen and it comes untrimmed and unpainted. Sadly it doesnít come with any window masks or decals. Luckily I had some decals leftover from previous models that will work fine, but it makes it a more difficult job not having the right stuff.
TIME TO PULL OUT OF THE TRUCK STOP AND BREAK IT IN: I broke-in the Nitro 6 according to AEís directions that come with the truck. It calls for four tanks of fuel at a slow pace allowing the engine to cool between tanks. I got all my gear ready and headed for an open parking area for break-in. I got there and realized I forgot my cordless drill, no big deal, Ill just use the pull starter.
The big .28 fired with only a few tugs of the rope and idled fine. I drove around in lazy ovals checking the temp every minute or so. The first tank went great, as did the rest of the break-in. The temps climbed by about 10 degrees with every tank starting at about 200 and the only carb adjustment I had to make was to lower the idle.
The engine really woke up on about the third tank; in fact I had to fight to keep it from shifting to second gear. I could tell already that the extra weight of two more tires wasnít going to slow the truck down at all. After the fourth tank was done I went through one more tank for power tuning, and this truck has plenty of power and was easy to tune. Constant, predictable temperatures were experienced throughout the break-in process.
I did a small amount of road testing with the Nitro 6. I was very surprised with the road manners of the truck. I was only able to roll it if I stabbed the brakes hard in a turn. Thatís saying a lot for the stability of this truck. In hard turns you could see the outside rear tire lift a bit, but for the most part the truck stayed very level in all but the hardest turns.
During the testing I strapped my GPS to the back of the truck to get a top speed. My best run was right at 33mph, which is pretty quick if you think about how heavy the truck is. Acceleration was outstanding. The truck wont wheelie but it gets moving in a hurry.
My biggest complaint is the brakes. Even at full brakes it takes to long to stop. The biggest reason for this is the weak spring used on the brake linkage. I have seen firmer springs on clicky pens. Its an easy fix though, just swap out the spring for a piece of fuel tubing (see picture below, before and after).
SNOW TESTING...TIME TO HIT THE POWDER!: About four days after I broke in the Nitro 6 we got about 3-4 inches of snow. I hadnít planned on doing any snow testing but I couldnít pass up the opportunity.
DAY 1: I took it out the first day and I was very surprised at how well the truck did in the snow. It was cool watching six rooster tails come up from the tires.
The truck handled very well and unlike most monster trucks, the Nitro 6 would not traction roll. I tried my best to get it stuck, going in and out of ditches and up hills, but with six-wheel drive I knew it would be a hard task. After about three tanks my fingers were numb and I hadnít gotten stuck despite my best efforts. I packed it up and decided that tomorrow was another day.
DAY 2: We got another 2-3 inches overnight so I knew I would have a bit more fun. It took about five minutes before I found a hill steep enough to get the truck stuck, and it was as easy as flipping to reverse and I just backed out. I was able to high center the truck on a big clump of snow and couldnít back out. The only complaint I have with the snow driving ability of the Nitro 6 is that the tires are a bit narrow. Thatís not a big complaint because as long as you kept your speed up, the truck was unstoppable.
I ran about 6 tanks of fuel through it before I noticed the acceleration start to slow. My first thought was that the clutch was just heating up and had a glaze on it. I brought the truck home and pulled the engine and clutch bell. As soon as I pulled off the bell I knew I hadnít just heated the clutch up, I had completely cooked it. This is no fault of the Nitro 6 or of Truck Stop Racing as pushing around all the weight of the truck through deep powder is hard work for any clutch. I have no doubt that on dirt this clutch would last as long as any regular monster truckís clutch.
MOUNTAIN CLIMBING: I took the Nitro 6 out to a local airstrip that was having some construction done. There was a huge dirt pile that would work great for some hill climbing. I fired up the engine and hit the hill. It wasnít a smooth hill at all so the truck would high center occasionally, but other than that it was as simple as point and shoot. There were a couple other trucks out there and they didnít stand a chance, one of the trucks was a STS .28 powered Savage. No other nitro truck could climb like this one!
I did have one mishap though. I came down from the top of the hill a bit fast and the truck fell from about ten feet on to its front tire. I broke one of the front suspension arms, but I was able to swap out for a spare and continue testing. I was very surprised that the arm was all that had broken, had this been one of my other trucks it would have at least bent a hinge pin or worse.
I took the Nitro 6 out to a dirt parking lot that was all rutted up from the winter. I expected it to get thrown around like my other trucks when in the rough, man was I wrong. This is THE most stable monster truck I have driven. With six tires digging, it was an easy task for the Nitro 6 to keep plenty of traction on the ground.
BASH TESTING: This is what we have all been waiting for. Can this truck take what BYT can dish out? Well, the short answer is yes. I ran about 3 liters of fuel through this truck and the best I could do was break one arm and the upper body mount. My normal bash spot was un-useable so I had to find an alternate. The best I could find was a few dirt piles that were about 3-4 feet tall. After hitting the mounds for a while and getting some pretty good air, I got board and started to try for back flips. While I knew it would be hard because it is a heavy truck, I thought I would give it a try. I found out really fast that it would take a much bigger jump, or a skate ramp to get this beast all the way around. This is when I managed to break the upper body mount. It wasnít a big deal though because I just pulled out the two screws that hold the mount and removed the broken pieces then put the mount back on.
SURVERY SAYS!: One area that I found to be really lacking was the body. Itís the most flimsy body I have ever seen. I had been talking with George from Truck Stop Racing and he told me that they had beefed up the body a lot. To make it even better he sent one of the new bodys out to me. I can tell you that the trouble I had with the body is a non-issue now. On that note, if you would like any hop-ups to come with the truck, all you have to do is send the guyís at TSR an email and if they can get it, you can have it on the truck. I thought that was great. You could order a totally custom truck right from the factory. I donít think I will be adding any hop-ups to the truck though. It just doesnít need anything to make it stronger. I might swap out to some different tires though. I donít really like the ones on the Nitro 6, I think they are a great all around bashing tire, but for more traction Ill be changing them out. You might find that they work great for you.
The truck costs $849 on the TSR web site. Keep in mind that TSR also offers a conversion kit for existing AE MGT owners. Yes MGT freaks....you too can have a Nitro 6 without having to buy a whole truck. All in all, this is a great truck. I wouldnít hesitate to recommend this truck to anyone that is tired of all the same stuff or needs a truck to climb some monster hills. As a general basher it can take some major hits and not even flinch. If I could own only one RC, the Truck Stop Racing Nitro 6 would be it!
As far as in flight manners this is a great flyer. No matter how bad I launched off the ramp, the truck would still only need minor adjustments to fly level. Thatís not to say it canít get out of shape, but itís easy to correct mid flight. This is a very stout truck and will have no trouble keeping up with any other truck on the market.