Super-Size My Summit
WORDS: Tony Phalen
PHOTOS: Wayne Phalen
PAINT: Kustom RC Graphics
When Traxxas released the Summit there was a lot of buzz about what segment of the hobby this vehicle was aimed at. Most have accepted it as a hardcore offroader but there is still some question about its true rock crawling ability. My focus of this project was to upgrade the key rock crawling areas to take advantage of the features Traxxas implemented on this truck.
Since the Summit comes with some pretty ingenious electronics, I didn’t have any initial plans of swapping them out. That plan lasted about 3 minutes. Yanking everything out (I did keep one of the cute little Traxxas 2065 servos to power the upper/lower gearset), I started up front with a Hitec HS-7950TH servo. With 486oz of torque, this servo had not problem turning the huge 8 ½ inch tires mounted on the truck. Moving on to the go-department, Tekin got the nod with their RX8 1/8th scale ESC and 1550kv brushless motor system. This system can easily handle up to a 6s Lipo, has forward, brake and reverse, and contains a ton of internally adjustable features to make throttle control a snap. I added a pair of MaxAmps 6500 60C Lipo packs, wired in series, for a whopping 14.8 volts of rock-clawing power. To control it all, I used my trusty Futaba 4PK 2.4GHz radio system.
There’s not a whole lot of upgrades for the Summit (yet), so I figured I’d stick with things that might benefit a crawler. On the underside, Team STRC provided a pair of front and rear aluminum skid plates and a complete aluminum servo saver assembly. Up top, Team STRC also added in one of their aluminum front shock towers. I removed the servo setup that controls the T-Lock remote locking differentials. I figured since I was swapping out all the electronics and converting it to a full-time crawler anyway, I might as well just lock the diffs permanently. Small lengths of wire were used to keep the diff-levers in place.
Since I was going to be traversing rocks, logs and brush, I wanted to focus on suspension components that were going to add durability to the Summit. Traxxas sent a full set of their upgrade Tubes and Push Rods. These beautiful units add strength and ease of adjustability to any project. From Team STRC, I added front and rear HD Steering Knuckles. While definitely adding strength, these units also come with a larger, more stout 6x15mm outer bearing.
Body, Wheels & Tires
Crawlers don’t need to be ugly, so I enlisted master painter Larry Genova from KustomRCGraphics.com. He blasted some sick colors on a stock Summit body that totally surpassed my expectations. To protect the paint, I added the stock Summit ExoCage. Even though I hated to cover it up, the cage did protect the body during multiple rollovers. The black chrome Axial Rockstar Bead Lock wheels are wrapped in HUGE 8 ½” Rok Lok 4.0 tires from RC4WD. To soften the tires, I cut the stock inner foam into a star-shaped pattern. Nine ounces of lead weight were added to each front wheel to help keep the front tires planted on any uphill treks. Finally, a Traxxas 4-LED Light Bar was installed on the roof the Summit.
Having never driven a rock crawler before (driving a car on rocks does not count), my first task was to find a suitable location. Not far from my house is a nice, rocky offroad trail that leads back into mountains; the perfect place for testing out my project. After a short drive through the dirt and mud, I was out of my truck and climbing over the rocks with the Summit. There was definitely no lack of power with the Tekin/MaxAmps combo, and the RC4WD tires had excellent grip over the smooth rocky terrain. There was also no lack of durability, as tested by your truly on a few ‘easy’ downhill passes. Mental note: E-A-S-E into the brakes while traversing downhill or you’ll end up tumbling down!
There are some skeptics out there about the Summit being a capable crawler. I think in stock form it works great, especially with the cool T-Lock remote locking differentials and transmitter-operated High-Low transmission. In modified form, it just got better. More power, more traction, more durability and more candlepower. I’ve come to the conclusion that the Summit is a dual-personality vehicle Offroad and on the rocks, the Summit is more than capable of doing both extremely well.
• 4-LED Light bar, #5684
• Tubes, #5338R
• Push Rods, #5318X
• RX8 System, TT2323
• LiPo 6500 2S2P 7.4 Battery Pack, Lipo-6500-74-Pack
• 4PK 4-Channel 2.4GHz, FUTK4900
• Rok Lok 4.0 Comp Tires, Z-T0012
• Aluminum Heavy Duty Front Shock Tower, ST5317FS
• Aluminum HD Steering Knuckle, ST5334R
• Aluminum HD Front Skid Plate, ST5337FMR
• Aluminum HD Rear Skid Plate, ST5337RR
• Aluminum Complete Steering Servo Saver Assembly, ST5344S
• HS-7950TH Steering Servo, HS-7950TH
• Oversize Narrow Rockstar Beadlock, AX8072
• Chassis Lead Weights, #1595
Kustom RC Graphics-
• Killer Kustom Paint!
[as seen in: RC Driver Magazine]