• ABC's to building a modified Clodbuster monster truck

Always wanted to build your own replica monster, but unsure of all the steps required?  We've written out a step-by-step process outlining all the main components that go into building and running one of these beasts!  Whether you have a stock Clod you want to modify, or just start a build from scratch, this guideline is a great resource tool!

1.  Axles:

One of the most important parts to building your truck!  Whether you choose to purchase a brand new Tamiya axle set (http://www.crawfordperformanceengineering.com/product_info.php?products_id=465) or supply your own, the axles are what makes your truck tick!  Clodbuster axles are designed to have the motor installed directly to them, so you will need one motor per axle to complete your truck.  One of the most effective upgrades when building your axles is to purchase a set of bearings.  A complete set of bearings will have 24 bearings included (http://www.crawfordperformanceengineering.com/product_info.php?products_id=473).

2.  Chassis:

Now that you have your axles we'll move on to the heart of your truck, the chassis!  Clodbuster chassis come in all shapes and sizes, but are a critical part of your overall truck.  The chassis design takes into accounts things like proper 4-link placement and suspension design, as well as allowing easy installation and access to your electronics used to control your truck.  Chassis kits like the Terminator (http://www.crawfordperformanceengineering.com/product_info.php?products_id=51) are designed to maximize your truck's performance and handle everything from backyard bashing to competitive racing.  These complete kits contain all of the components you need to install your Clodbuster axles to the chassis including things like steering systems and suspension link mounts.

3.  Shocks:

With your axles and chassis assembled, it's time to move on to adding shocks to your truck.  The stock Clodbuster comes with eight friction style shocks.  These leave a lot to be desired as far as performance.  Most aftermarket chassis kits are designed to use four shocks.  Oil-filled shocks are a huge performance improvement and the numerous shock oil and spring combinations allow you to tune your truck to suit your driving style.  Chassis like the terminator are designed to accept and 3" to 4" long (80mm to 100mm) shocks.  http://www.crawfordperformanceengineering.com/product_info.php?cPath=10&products_id=601  We have also had good results using Traxxas aluminum big bore shocks as they operate very smoothly.

4.  Wheels:

If your stock Clodbuster already has a set of wheels, there's no problem using those.  The Clodbuster axle uses a 12mm hex that inserts into the back of a pin-style drive hub.  It's this hub that aligns with the back of the Clodbuster wheel to transfer power from the axle to the wheels.  There are a few wheel options available (http://www.crawfordperformanceengineering.com/index.php?cPath=7_91).  If your wheels are old/damaged, or if you need wheels, the stock chrome Tamiya plastic wheels are a great looking and lightweight option.  For the ultimate in scale realism, beadlock wheels replicate the look of the full-size monsters!

There are also a few wheel options available (http://www.crawfordperformanceengineering.com/index.php?cPath=7_91).  JConcepts Tribute wheels (pictured below) eliminate the need for the adapters above, and come with different offset hubs depending on the width you want your truck.  For the ultimate in scale realism, planetary hubs and beadlock rings are also available that replicate the look of the full-size monsters!

5.  Tires:

Again, the stock tires included with the Clodbuster will work fine.  You can also upgrade your truck with a number of different tire options (http://crawfordperformanceengineering.com/index.php?cPath=7_32_139).  For hardcore carpet racing, the JConcepts Renegade (pictured below) provides great traction.  If you want to race or run outdoors on hard dirt/gravel, the Imex Puller or RC4WD Rumble tires are great choices.  For deep grass or muddy conditions, we recommend using the RC4WD B&H or Mudslinger (pictured below) tires.

6.  Body:

Now that you have a rolling chassis completed, it's time to personalize your truck!  Almost any lexan body designed for the T/E Maxx or Savage will work on your Clodbuster as well.  You have the option to either paint the body to your liking or to use decal kits designed to replicate the full size monsters seen performing today (http://www.crawfordperformanceengineering.com/index.php?cPath=4)!  If you decide to paint your lexan body, be sure to follow the manufacturer's painting instructions and to use a paint that is designed specifically for lexan/polycarbonate bodies.  Not doing so may lead to paint flaking off the body and ruining a perfectly good paint job.

7.  Motors:

The stock Clodbuster included two 27T "silver can" motors.  These stock motors can still be used, but they leave a little to be desired in the performance category.  When building your Clodbuster, you have two basic motor options for your truck, brushed or brushless motors.

- Brushed motors are becoming harder to find, but often allow for an inexpensive way to build your truck.  Since the Clodbuster uses two gearcases, with the rear gearcase reversed, you need to ensure you either purchase motors with zero timing (or adjustable timing), or purchase a motor set that includes a reverse rotation motor.  This reverse rotation motor will be installed on the rear gearcase.  For a zero timed motor, simply reversing the positive and negative motor leads will reverse the direction the motor spins.  With a race clodbuster, we recommend using brushed motors in the 10T to 15T range.  http://crawfordperformanceengineering.com/product_info.php?cPath=11_19&products_id=1019  The lower the number of turns, the faster your truck will be.  The motors will also require more maintenance as the higher current draw wears brushes faster.  A higher turn motor will be slower but will have more torque for climbing/crawling.  The Clodbuster axle uses a 32P gear system, and we recommend the use of an aftermarket 13T steel pinion gear (http://www.crawfordperformanceengineering.com/product_info.php?cPath=11_19&products_id=61).

- Brushless motors are manufactured using the latest technology and do not require the typical maintenance that brushed motors require.  Brushless motors also provide a smoother power curve, while producing more power than their brushed counterparts.  There are many options available for brushless motors, but the Clodbuster works best when using "sensorless" motors http://crawfordperformanceengineering.com/product_info.php?products_id=1091.  For a racing Clodbuster, we recommend using brushless motors with a 4000kv to 6000kv rating.  For brushless motors, the higher the kv rating, the faster the motor.  Again, a good starting point for gearing is to use an aftermarket steel 13T, 32P pinion gear (http://www.crawfordperformanceengineering.com/product_info.php?cPath=11_19&products_id=61).  Castle Creations also offers a complete Motor/ESC package we recommend for these trucks.  http://crawfordperformanceengineering.com/product_info.php?cPath=11_19&products_id=557

8.  Electronic Speed Controllers:

The original stock Clodbuster kits were issued with a mechanical speed controller.  The latest models have been upgraded by Tamiya to include an electronic speed controller (ESC).  An ESC provides a huge leap forward in both performance as well as the ability to control the speed and smoothness of your truck's power.  Upgrading to an ESC is one of the best changes one can make to a stock Clodbsuter!

- When using brushed motors, you can use a single ESC to control both motors.  The Traxxas EVX2 or Castle Creations Sidewinder (http://www.crawfordperformanceengineering.com/product_info.php?cPath=11_18&products_id=556) are both good ESC options.   For optimal performance, ensure that both motors are wired in parallel (diagram below).  Typically, motor 1 is the rear motor, with wires running from the rear motor to the front motor (motor 2).  Note:  When running dual motors in parallel on a single ESC, you need to realize that the number of turns each motor has is essentially cut in half.  For example, when running two 20T motors wired in parallel, the current seen by the ESC is equal to running a single 10T motor.  Keep this in mind if the ESC you're using has a motor turn limit. 

- When using brushless motors, you need one ESC for each motor.  Again, the Castle Creations Sidewinder (http://www.crawfordperformanceengineering.com/product_info.php?cPath=11_18&products_id=556) or Mamba Max Pro are both great options.  When using dual ESC's, simply use a Y-harness between each controller and plug the single end into your radio receiver.

9.  Servos & Batteries:

We're almost all the way to a running truck now!  Since we need a way to power and steer our truck, lets take a quick look at requirements for the servo and batteries needed for your truck.

Servo:  Due to the size and weight of your Clodbuster, we recommend use of a hi-torque, metal gear servo (http://www.crawfordperformanceengineering.com/product_info.php?cPath=11_18&products_id=2)  Typically, a servo rated at 150 in-oz or higher will work well with your Clodbuster.  In racing applications, servos with faster response or transit times can make or break your race!  We also recommend the use of a "servo saver" (http://crawfordperformanceengineering.com/product_info.php?products_id=666).  This is an arm that attaches to your servo that uses an internal spring to absorb shock through the steering system.  While not installing one allows the maximum amount of torque to be used, it can also damage the gears in your servo should you crash into something.

Battery:  There are two main types of batteries, NimH and LiPo.  NimH batteries have been around for years, and are typically what most people have readily available from older R/C vehicles they've used.  This style of battery has been surpassed in performance by the LiPo battery however.  LiPo batteries both outperform and are lighter weight than their NimH counterparts.  Specifically for the Clodbuster and its dual motor design, we recommend using a single 2S (7.4v) LiPo battery with a 50C+ discharge and a 5000+ mah rating.  http://crawfordperformanceengineering.com/product_info.php?cPath=11_18&products_id=1092  The discharge rating is how much current the battery is able to draw, while the mah rating describes how long the battery will last on a charge.  In either case, a higher number equals more power and/or a longer run time.  Dual batteries can also be used, but will add weight to your truck.  Note:  We always recommend using a hard-shell or hard case LiPo in your off-road vehicle.  Failure to do so may lead to battery damage and possible loss of your vehicle (and its surroundings) due to a battery fire!

10.  Radio System:

The radio (or transmitter) is your only control over your Clodbuster.  Radio functions vary greatly depending on their cost and number of channels, but all radios will control the steering and throttle for your vehicle.  We highly recommend the use of a newer style radio featuring a 2.4ghz frequency (http://www.crawfordperformanceengineering.com/product_info.php?cPath=11_18&products_id=279) as these are much less prone to interference compared to the older AM style radios.  You may also choose to install and operate your Clodbuster with rear steering.  In many cases, a radio having a 3rd channel will allow for control of the rear steering.  Some radios are designed and pre-programmed with different rear-steering functions, while others allow you to control the rear steering completely independent from the front wheels.  One our race Clodbusters, we do not use rear steering in order to maximize stability at high speeds.

Hopefully this guideline has been a helpful resource for you in determining the path you want to take with your Clodbuster!  If you have any questions regarding your specific build, feel free to contact us using the "contact us" form on the website or directly via phone during the office hours listed.  Thanks!

Crawford Performance Engineering

ABC's to building a modified Clodbuster monster truck

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