Traction is key for RC crawlers. They need to be able to grip the terrain and power over and through it.
The key to setting up your crawler is weight distribution. But where do you put the weight? And how much do you add? In this post, we'll discuss the basics of RC crawler weight distribution, and show you how to get the most traction for your vehicle!
Most RC crawlers are setup with the following weight distributions settings:
- 60/40 weight distribution from the front to the rear of the vehicle
- 50/50 weight distribution from side to side
- Low center of gravity by adding weight to the wheels
Weight of RC Crawlers
It is important to understand the overall weight of the crawler and how that weight is distributed across the system. Does this mean a heavier crawler have more traction? The answer is - it depends. You can add more weight to your crawler in all the wrong places and you won't every gain more traction.
Most RC crawlers will add weight to the front of the vehicle and try to place the weight as low as possible. That means adding weight to the wheels using wheel weights or adding strips of lead.
You don't want to add weight high up on the crawler because this makes the rig top-heavy and it will tip over easier.
The weight you add to your RC crawler will depend on the terrain you are driving on. If you are looking to crawl over rocks logs, and hard dirt, a heavier crawler will be more beneficial. The extra weight will help the crawler grip the surface and to slowly power over obstacles.
If you are looking to crawl through mud or sand, you may want to lighten the load a bit. Lighter weight may help your crawler float on top of the mud or sand, and make it less likely to get stuck.
Balancing Weight on an RC Crawler
Once you have decided how much weight to add to your crawler, you need to decide where to put that weight.
There are several considerations when it comes to balancing weight on an RC crawler. The first is the center of gravity. You want to make sure that the majority of the weight is located in the center of the crawler so that it is evenly balanced. Ideally, the weight should be distributed evenly from left to right/right to left. That means you don't want to add more weight to one side of the crawler or the other.
The second consideration is the distribution of weight across the axles. Most people find adding more weight to the front axle gives the crawler more traction. This is because the front axle is responsible for steering, and the extra weight helps the crawler grip the terrain and turn.
Ideally, you should try to set up your crawler with 60% of the weight over the front tires and 40% over the rear tires.
Third, consider the wheelbase. The wheelbase is the distance between the front and rear axles. A longer wheelbase will provide more stability, while a shorter wheelbase will make the crawler more maneuverable.
Finally, you want to make sure that the tires are sized appropriately for the weight of the crawler. If the tires are too small, they will not be able to grip the terrain, and the crawler will slip. If the tires are too big, they will not be able to make tight turns, and the crawler will be less maneuverable.
Tire size depends on where you are planning to drive your crawler. The key takeaway here is to plan ahead and maybe pack an extra set of tires and your toolkit when you head out crawling.
How to Add Weight to an RC Crawler?
If you have decided that your RC crawler needs more weight, there are several ways to add it.
The most common way is to use lead weights. Lead weights come in a variety of shapes and sizes so that you can find the perfect fit for your crawler.
Another way to add weight to your crawler is to move the battery to the front of the vehicle. Move the battery as forward as possible, keeping a low center of gravity. Similarly, you can also move the ESC and other electronics to the front of the vehicle.
You can also add weight by mounting metal plates to the outside of your crawler. Be careful not to add too much weight, as this will make your crawler difficult to control.
Another way to add weight is to use aftermarket wheels that are heavier than stock. This is a good option if you want to maintain the maneuverability of your crawler but still add some extra weight. However, rotating weight can have an effect on handling, so be sure to keep that in mind.
Sometimes adding weight to the rims of the wheel can also give more traction to the crawler by adding more contact with the ground. This also keeps the center of gravity at the lowest possible.
You can also add weight by adding ballast to the body of your crawler. This is a good option if you want to maintain the original look of your crawler but still add some extra weight. Be sure to use high-quality ballast so that it does not damage your crawler.
How To Improve Traction After Adding Weight
There are a few other ways to improve the traction of your RC crawler without adding weight.
Tires With Deeper Threads
Use aftermarket tires that have deeper treads. This will help the crawler grip the terrain and power through any obstacles. These aftermarket tires have deep treads and should fit Traxxas and Axial 1/10 scale crawlers.
A softer tire will also have more grip than a harder tire. This is because the softer tire will deform more and make contact with more of the surface area. Softer compound tires will grip the terrain better than harder compound tires.
However, softer tires will wear down faster than harder tires, so it is important to find a balance that works for you.
Wider tires will also provide more grip than narrower tires. This is because wider tires make contact with more of the surface area. Wider tires will also provide more stability than narrower tires.
Another way to improve traction is to use a differential lock. This will lock the front and rear axles together, so that they turn at the same speed. This can be helpful when crawling over obstacles or climbing steep hills.
The downside of using a differential lock is that it can make your crawler less maneuverable.
Using a softer suspension will also help improve traction when crawling slow. A softer suspension setup will keep the tires in contact with the ground when going over rocks and boulders.
To soften up your suspension, you can user lighter weight shock oil, upgrade to adjustable shocks to reduce the spring preload, or install softer springs.
Check your shocks for spring load clips. If you have too many clips installed, you could stiffen up your spring too much and prevent the shock body from doing its job
RC crawler weight distribution is important if you want to achieve optimal performance. By adding weight in the right places, you can help your RC crawler get better traction. This can make a big difference when you're out crawling on the trails.
However, adding weights is not the only way to improve traction. You can also try different tire compounds or add a set of differential locks to your axles.
Experimenting is the best part about RC rock crawling. There are many ways to adjust your vehicle. So get out on the trails and see what works best for you. Most importantly, have fun crawling!