Yes, we know. The idea of stuffing a brushless motor in an E-Maxx
has been around for a long time and done many times and many ways. The
simple fact is that BYT has never done it. And now with the Castle
Monster Combo and so many other killer E-Maxx parts on the market,
we feel this is the perfect time to whip one of these missiles up from
|THE FOUNDATION (GorillaMaxx G4 Race Chassis)|
The real appeal of the G4 to BYT was the lowered transmission mounting,
lighter weight and overall lower stance. This truck is going to
be a ballistic missile and we wanted the main foundation to help promote
stability and strength. The main chassis deck is 3/32” thick
and the upper deck and servo mount plate are 1/8” thick!
The layout provides lots of mounting options for the electronics of
your choice. In fact, GM gives you mounting holes for single,
dual or Novak EVX ESC's. Nice, even though we are not going the
Novak route, many people use them in E-Maxx's.
Another thing we liked about the G4 chassis is the lack of traditional chassis braces underneath. This gives you some idea on how much GorillaMaxx really did to reconfigure the entire drivetrain layout for a low center of gravity. The entire chassis is 15% lighter weight than stock, made from 6061 aluminum, and you get a set of infamous GorillaMaxx Velcro battery straps (super nice straps!). GorillaMaxx claims it to be “stick pack or lipo ready” and we agree. You have room for two packs. We fit up dual 6 and 7-cell NiMh stick packs with no difficulties. If you go the route we did with one large lipo pack rather than two separates, know that you’ll be limited to a 5S pack. If you want more than 5S, go with two smaller packs, one on each side, and run them in parallel.
You’ll need to assemble the G4 chassis and a nice set of instructions
come as part of the package. Assembly is a breeze and when completed,
you are left with one serious looking chassis. It feels lightweight
yet incredibly rigid. We liked the upper deck concept as everything
from the transmission to the front plate where the steering servo(s)
mount is extremely well laid out and easy to work on. In fact, everything
on the truck is easier to work on with this chassis. We love it!
|PUTTING THE POWER TO THE GROUND (GARC diff cases and bulkheads, FLM upgraded diff cups, MIP and Traxxas CVD's, 3905 Emaxx tires, 3905 E-Maxx transmission)|
We knew that handling the power of the Castle Monster Combo would be a chore. The drivetrain would need to be built-up substantially if it was going to even get half a chance of surviving!
DIFFERENTIALS – We started
with a set of Great
Assembly aluminum differential cases to eliminate case flex and
keep our gear mesh right where we wanted it. The differential
cups were upgraded to Fast
Lane Machine (part number: 51500) which
are made from 7075 aluminum and have been modified to utilize 3mm screws
to attach the ring gear to the diff cup. NICE! Without
this addition, we would have been doomed to a future of sheared off
screws and/or busted cups. The two brands fit together tight. Tight
enough that we had to use a thin sheet of gasket material between the
case halves to get the mesh right. Not a big deal but something
to make note of.
SHAFTS: MIP Shiny CVD’s (part #: 1525)
were selected to transfer the power from the diffs to the wheels and
we used a set of Traxxas Steel CVD’s (part #: 5151R) down the
middle. The rubber boots on the Traxxas CVD’s are a nice
touch and should help keep them running smooth for a long time. We
would love to see MIP and others go the rubber boot route as this will
most certainly add life to the joints. Keep the dust out!
TRANSMISSION: Thanks to Traxxas for coming out with the 3905 “Generation II” Emaxx with improved design and gearing inside the transmixxer, strong enough to handle brushless power. There are some aftermarket gear upgrades for even this tranny but we though we would give the stocker a whirl first and see how it performs….and it has performed extremely well. Note that the new 3905 transmission and the original transmission are not interchangeable. The old style has 8 mounting screws and the new style has 4 larger screws. The G4 chassis is setup for the new, 3905 transmission.
WHEELS & TIRES: Nothing overly fancy here. A good deal was found on a new set of Emaxx wheels and Chevron style tires on good ol’ ebay. We snagged them. Our terrain has everything from mud, snow, water, sand, dirt and pavement. The Chevron tread works nicely in all environments and should serve our project well. We also picked up some yellow dish wheels with step pins for some hard packed dirt runs.
|SOAKING UP THE BIG STUFF (ProLine PowerStroke shocks, RPM Axle Carriers, FlexTek suspension arms, Lunsford titanium hinge pins, FFRC shock towers)|
SHOCKS: While the Pro-Line Power Strokes are no longer in production, you can still find these in good used condition or at some LHS’s here and there. E-bay is probably your best bet and/or keep your eyes on the Buy/Sell/Trade area of the BYT Forum (where we found ours). We chose these as we’ve run them before and they are truly our favorite Maxx shock. They are ultra-plush and super reliable.
They are not your traditional shock set. Included are four “traditional” coil-over shocks and four “bypass shocks”. All eight shocks are machined from 6061 aircraft aluminum and anodized for a durable finish
The coil-over shocks have the following features:
The by-pass shocks have the following features:
SUSPENSION ARMS: There is simply one suspension arm set worthy of running on this truck, it had to be FlexTek. FlexTek Titanium Suspension Arms are engineered to absorb large amounts of energy on impact without transmitting that energy back into the frame of your vehicle. There is nothing else out there that comes close. No need to get into too many details on these arms as we have already reviewed them about 4 years ago on another Maxx build we did. Guess what? These are the same arms! We took them off our other Maxx truck for this project. 4+ years old and still ticking! You can check out our original review on the FlexTek Maxx arms here.
We had one impact in particular with the left front wheel while
the truck was clipping along at a decent rate of speed. The
impact involved a brick! The arms flexed at impact, pulling
the hinge pin through the front of the bulkhead, popping the
rear e-clip off. The arm then got semi-lodged in the steering
mechanism. Amazing! We put the arm and pin back
in place, replaced the e-clip and everything was as good as
new! You’ll see this impact in one of the videos.
AXLE CARRIERS: RPM
Products hit a home run when they released the oversized axle
carriers for the Maxx trucks. Huge bearings and RPM plastic
makes for a super tough carrier. One of these bad boys
on each corner of the truck delivered trouble-free operation
despite numerous high-speed rollovers, cartwheels and fender-benders.
|POINT ME IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION (Airtronics 94162 steering servo, ProLine Maxx steering saver, Lunsford turnbuckles)|
Going fast is only part of the equation right? If you can’t steer your truck in the right direction, you might as well stay home and take up knitting.
STEERING SERVO: We started
off with a Tower Pro servo running on 7 volts via a Castle
Sadly...the servo torched in 3 runs. So out with that! While
shopping for a new transmitter, we noticed a nice deal on a
Airtronics 94162 for $20! It delivers 154 oz/in of torque at
6.0 volts and has proven itself to be able to handle our truck
with ease. In hind sight, at that price we should have done
a dual setup but even with the single servo, it performs quite
well. Note that some of the pictures throughout this project
page show a Castle
BEC being used. These pictures were taken
early on when we were running separate 7-volt power to the Tower
Pro servo. The BEC was not used in the final project setup.
TURNBUCKLES: The obvious
choice here is Lunsford.
BYT uses Lunsford on
every truck we own. Why? The quality, durability and performance
are unmatched. Sure, they cost a little more than some other
options out there but knowing that your chances of a turnbuckle
failure are slim to none makes them worth every penny. Hey,
if you actually manage to break something that Lunsford makes,
give yourself a pat on the back. You are a SERIOUS basher (and
perhaps a really bad driver).
|POWER TO THE PEOPLE (Castle Monster Combo 2200kv, Zippy RC 5000mah 5S lipo pack, Deans plugs and wires, Castle 6mm bullet plugs, Traxxas single motor mount and gear cover)|
word......nuclear. Simply…….nuclear. There
is no other way to describe this thing. The 2200kv,
4-pole Monster motor from Castle is powerful beyond comprehension.
Talk about a Hemi powered go-cart! You should need a special
license to run something like this. It propels the B-Maxx like
the little Mamba's propel 1/18th scale Losi Mini-T's.
ELECTRONIC SPEED CONTROL: The
V3 Monster ESC is truly a tower of power. It features
massive 6.5 mm gold plated female bullet plugs and a high
efficiency heat sink with a built-in fan that will automatically
turn on at 150F. Of course it is Castle Link compatible and
we were able to program our Monster ESC exactly how we wanted
it and fine tune it as we learned how powerful the motor/ESC/battery
combo was. Being able to adjust the punch control and throttle
curves is a huge benefit when running big power rigs like this.
You can really make a somewhat overpowered system more drivable
with some simple tweaks to the ESC setup.
BATTERY POWER: We went out
on a limb and tried a new battery manufacturer this go around.
There was a lot of buzz on the BYT
Forum about Zippy packs so
we decided to give them a try. We picked up our Zippy 5000mah
5S1P (20-30C) Li poly pack from HobbyCity.com
(about $105 + shipping) .
Our recommendation here is to use the upgraded shipping. It
would be worth it. We chose the slow shipping method to save
some bucks (bad move) and it took like 3 weeks for the pack
to arrive. Too slow! :)
PLUGS, WIRES and CONNECTORS:
We used Deans
Ultra Plugs (our
favorite plugs) , Deans
12 ga Ultra Wire and Deans
Racing Solder throughout. The
Ultra Wire 12 Gauge silicone wire features 660 strands of pure
copper. On the motor and ESC hookups, we used the Deans wire
and 6.5mm bullet plugs from Castle. Some shrink wrap to seal
things up and we had a trick, heavy duty set of juice carrying
cables! We picked up all of our bullets from Holmes
great prices and fast shipping.
GEARING: Castle offers some
additional pinion options separately and they should fit most
Our final project gearing: 19/68
The stock 3905 E-Maxx uses .8 Mod (Module) gear pitch so we picked up a Robinson Racing Products 19T steel pinion for the job. They are about $8 and built tough like all RRP stuff. For spur gears, we used stock Traxxas plastic gears. Our slipper was kept pretty tight. If it was left loose at all, the power from the motor would whip it into a frenzy! Be sure to check out the spur gears you are running to determine if it is .8 Mod or 32P. Normally, it is printed/molded onto the face of the spur. We suggest this as over time, some gear can get replaced with non-stock setups and trust us, if your gear pitch or mesh is off with a motor like this, you might as well toss them in a food processor (not recommended by the way) because they will be shredded FAST!
This gearing setup lets you pull wheelies when you want to and also keep things under control when needed. We felt it was pretty fast and by some rough calculations, it should be in the 35+MPH range. Overall the low end punch and top end speed seemed to be nicely balanced for general purpose bashing and some fun speed runs.
SINGLE MOTOR MOUNT & SPUR
a better looking setup and for more room on the chassis,
we opted for the Traxxas
single motor mount (part number: 3997X)
gear cover (part number: 3977X). Initially
this was not going to be added to the truck but once
it was installed, it made everything look so much better
and more professional. It looks "factory" baby!
And it will do a much better job of keeping dirt and junk
out of our gears. It also moves the motor towards the
center of the truck (better balance) and makes room
for big batteries on both sides of the chassis. The
single motor mount plate and cover were about $13 total
at Tower Hobbies...money very well spent.
FFRC Aluminum Bumpers:
We added a set of FullForce
RC aluminum bumpers to our rig, front and back. We like using aluminum
bumpers in conjunction with the stock plastic mounts. The stock mounts
still provide some cushion and the bumpers themselves can take a major
league beating with minimal wear and tear. On our 8th or 9th pack, during
a high speed pavement run, the truck got out of hand and we experienced
a full speed cartwheel convulsion. It seemed to roll, flip and spin
for minutes, even though it was just a few seconds. During this acrobatic
display, we were waiting for parts to come flying off in every direction
(it was pretty ugly) but alas, the only damage incurred was a small
bend to one of the bumper tubes. The bumpers did an awesome job of protecting
the truck during this feat (and the numerous other impacts we had) and
were virtually unscathed by the event. These are some tough bumpers.
Not to mention they look SWEET! The knurling on the ends is a nice detail.
|REMOVING THE GUESS WORK (Eagle Tree V3 Data Logger System)|
We can all guess at speed, motor RPM, motor and
battery temperatures etc but unless you can accurately capture
that data for review, it is nothing more than a guess. Eagle
Tree has what we feel is the ultimate system for gathering that
data and much more. The Eagle Tree system gathers data
from various sensors while you are driving your truck (or car,
plane…whatever) and stores it for download.
|TIME FOR A BEAT RUN|
Zippidy-do-da! When the Monster ESC chirps out 5 beeps
(indicating it has a 5S pack in the system), it is really hard not
to smile like a lotto winner in anticipation of what is to come. When
you pull the trigger, prepare for an even bigger grin. One that will
make your mouth stretch and your face hurt. This truck launches and
launches hard. The low center of gravity, stability, and responsive
handling combined with the smooth, seeming endless power of the Castle
Monster System will make even a staunch nitro head think twice about
all the time he or she spends tuning their smoke machine.
Wheel nuts: Yes sir,
these suckers like to fly off randomly and at the worst possible times!
When it happens (and it will), make sure you have extra hexes and hex
pins on hand because they will get launched into outer space. It was
bad enough chasing a 40MPH tire bouncing down the street! We used brand
new elastic locking wheel nuts but they still came loose. Some (blue)
medium strength threadlocker seemed to help a little (a small drop of
CA glue might also help), but the simple fact is that we had to tighten
these up after every single battery pack. Be prepared!
The low stance of the truck combined with the ProLine shocks keeps it exceptionally well planted on curves. When the truck found itself on its lid, it was normally caused by an overexcited trigger finger. The chassis and suspension setup is simply awesome and this is by far the most stable and predictable Maxx series truck we have ever owned and beat. It drives more like a REVO than a Maxx. The pictures clearly show the stance is low and aggressive. Even with it being slung low, we had zero problems with ground clearance and the truck handled anything a standard Maxx could do, and then some. If the ground is loose or wet on the slightest, it is easy to get some 4 wheel drifting going with this rig, even with the Chevron tires.
The Mamba Monster Combo with the Zippy 5S pack is a great marriage. Even while running this thing hard, our battery and motor temps were always well under 150 F and we have yet to hear the Mamba ESC fan turn on. Run times are OK at 10-15 minutes but it is tempting to add another 5S, 5000mah pack in parallel to boost the system to 10,000mah (or getting another 5S, 5000mah pack to swap in when the first one dies). Getting 20-30 minutes of run time would be super nice addition.
After the first set of differential spiders gears was replaced, there have been no further incidents. Other than that one failure, the drivetrain has been very smooth and solid.
The truck drives extremely well and with instant nitrous like power on hand at all times, it is a treat to drive on the street, dirt, grass or basically anywhere. The electric truck convenience of just flipping on a switch and piloting a missile is also a big plus. When bashing time is limited, we’ll reach for this truck rather than spending time starting and tuning a nitro engine.
Here's one quick video we did of the first few runs on the truck. It was getting a fairly light beating on the first few runs just to make sure things like gears were meshed right, all the hardware was in place etc. The first few runs of any project give ideas on the reliability, performance and handling of the truck. Nothing overly exciting but it gives you a taste of what this thing can do. We'll be adding more footage now that Spring/Summer is finally here so stay tuned!
All in all, we are extremely pleased with all
aspects of this project truck. Minus the transmission, most
of the truck was upgraded with pieces that performed and lasted
better than the stock items. The dramatic change the G4 chassis
delivered really give this truck a unique look and feel when
driving on the ground, or flying through the air. Winner winner
chicken dinner on the combination of the FullForce RC shock
towers, FlexTek arms and Pro-Line shocks. What a nice setup. The
truck rides plush and soaks up bumps like a Shamwow soaks up
soda out of carpet.
This project would be blah without the rocket-like power from the Castle 2200kv Monster Combo. Castle just keeps coming out with more and more top-notch brushless systems and now, they have one for almost any sized car or truck on the market. Not only are their products at the top of the heap, their service can not be beat. From technical questions & assistance to repairs, nobody beats Castle. It's why Castle is chosen again and again by BYT to handle our brushless needs!
RC comes through yet again with some killer shock towers
and bumpers for the Maxx. We also used their 12.9 black oxide
screw kit on our entire truck as we have found their hardware
to be the best out there. We simply can not seem to build
a Project truck without finding at least one or two sweet
items from FFRC to add to the mix.
A special thanks goes out to jholthus,
a BYT Forum member and Supporter. Jholthus painted up the project
body and donated it to BYT. He calls himself a beginner painter
but we beg to differ. The shell is killer and the painter is
an outstanding guy. We owe you one buddy!