Project: Traxxas Summit Crawler Build
Tuesday , 25 January 2022

Project: Traxxas Summit Crawler Build

Project: Traxxas Summit Crawler Build

Super-Size My Summit

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.

Project: Traxxas Summit Crawler BuildElectronics
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.

Project: Traxxas Summit Crawler BuildSuspension
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.

Project: Traxxas Summit Crawler BuildBody, Wheels & Tires
Crawlers don’t need to be ugly, so I enlisted master painter Larry Genova from 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.

The Drive
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!

Final Thoughts
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.

Project Summit Crawler Chassis

Parts Used
• 4-LED Light bar, #5684
• Lightweight Tube Turnbuckles, #5338R
• Aluminum Push Rods, #5318X

Team Tekin
• 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

Team Associated
• Chassis Lead Weights, #1595

Kustom RC Graphics
• Killer Kustom Paint!


About Tony Phalen

Tony Phalen - As an avid RC enthusiast, Tony has been building, bashing and racing RC Cars for over 25 years. He has raced everything from 1:18th scale trucks to 1:5 scale motorcycles and everything in-between. He's also worked on both sides of the industry fence; working at and with many major manufacturers (as well as being a sponsored driver) to working for a high-profile industry magazine. During this time he has learned many tricks, tips and techniques and has transferred that knowledge to CompetitionX - the most informative RC website on the internet!

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  1. Great stuff! How did you weigh down the tires? I have a summit myself, but want to make it a more able crawler, right now it just won’t go where I want it to.

  2. There are a few ways to weight down the tires…both are pretty simple. One is to find some weight sticks (Team Associated has some here: Weight). They have a sticky material on the back side. Simply remove the sticky tape cover and attach to the inside of the wheel (between the wheel and tire). You’ll have to experiment with how much to put.

    Another way is to put a couple pounds of BB’s into each wheel. This is easier to accomplish and easier to tune, but doesn’t give as good results as the tape weight.

    This is a good question. I think I’ll do a how to on it and put it in the How-To section of the web site! Thanks.

  3. When you swapped out the original steering servos did you bother to cover the opening on the chassis, since now you only have one servo? I run my summit in various weather conditions and I would really like to place some type of cover over this servo opening. Does Traxxas make something for this, I could not seem to locate anything but that doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t exist. Thanks! By the way, killer rig!


  4. Hey mate
    Found this site and love it you have totally inspired me to get some work done on the summit. Theres heaps of info here but do you have any more info on this project? I am thinking of starting with the wheel and tyre combo you have however i was wondering if it would be possible to put them on without upgrading the steering servos? Anyway nice rig man that body looks awesome.

  5. Nope. I figured even if I made little plastic cover, any debris would probably just go up and over the chassis anyway. Plus, I didn’t want to make it look, ummm, junky 😉 As far as I know, there is nothing available that covers the hole. You could use a thin piece of Lexan or have a cool custom cover made out of aluminum.

  6. Sure…what other kind of information are you looking for? As for the servos, I’m not 100% sure the stock unit will be able to handle the HUGE tires on this thing. While they don’t really add that much weight, they do put quite a bit more stress on the servo. You could always give them a go and if they servo fails, you can get another one.

  7. Nice Summit… If you wanted to cover up the gap left by the servo part # 5326X might fit. I’m going to give it a try in my BL E-Revo.

  8. I’ll look into that. My Summit has become quite the beater now and is in serious need of a rebuild so this is a good thing for me to check. Thanks Kenny.

  9. As much as I know I should have, I don’t have any video of the Summit in action. It would have been cool to show this truck roosting both the dirt and water!!!!

  10. With the push rods did you use the progressive rockers if so which ones?

  11. Hey Zach,

    I used the stock push rods. I didn’t think I would get much advantage over the progressive ones.