The two-wheel drive Traxxas Rustler is often the first RC truck a new driver buys. I love my Rustler and think its an absolute blast to drive. However, RC truck owners love to hop-up their vehicles to make them perform better than the stock version, and this post is all about Rustler upgrades!
So which Traxxas Rustler 2WD upgrades should you install on your truck? Let's take a look at which upgrades will give you the most performance gains per dollar!
Traxxas Rustler 2WD Parts : What You Should Upgrade
This first section will cover what I think you should upgrade on your 2WD Traxxas Rustler. The sections below will take a closer look at the best parts you can add to your Rustler to boost performance.
Upgrade The Suspension
First off, If you are upgrading your 2WD Rustler on a budget, I recommend focusing on the suspension. When you upgrade the suspension of any RC car, you improve the handling and ability to hit larger jumps. Everyone starts out bashing their car around the backyard, but eventually, you want to start hitting jumps. It's a natural progression for every RC driver.
Upgrade The Motor and ESC
If you are looking for speed improvements, you should replace the stock brushed motor with the Velineon brushless motor. A brushless motor will produce way more power than the stock motor and run more efficiently. The efficiency gains will prolong your battery life and get you a few more minutes of run time per battery pack.
If you do decide to upgrade to a brushless motor, you will need to also purchase a brushless electronic speed controller (ESC). The motor and ESC are closely tied together, and you must always consider these two parts as one unit. If you don't get a compatible ESC, the motor will not function properly and could break your electrical system.
Always remember to double-check the ESC's amp rating and discharge limits and only use a compatible LiPo battery with your motor and ESC.
Upgrade The Gearing
The last item to consider when upgrading the motor is the gearing. Since the brushless motor puts out more power, the gearing should be upgraded to handle the increase in power. Luckily a pinion and spur gear are not very expensive and will provide huge performance gains when paired with the brushless motor and ESC.
Upgrade The Steering Servo
To finish this section, consider upgrading the steering servo. The steering servo may not sound too important, but you will need the extra torque to turn the front wheels when you start upgrading the motor and producing more power. Luckily, steering servos are also affordable, although there are some expensive versions on the market if you want the best of the best.
Recommended Traxxas Rustler 2WD Motor and ESC Upgrade
The Velineon 3500 VXL brushless motor is perfect for hopping up your 2WD rustler. This motor produces 3500 RPMs and is huge upgrade over the stock Titan12T 550 brushed motor. You can also run a 3S 11.1 volt LiPo with this motor. You will notice a higher performance boost when you move up from a 2S to a 3S LiPo. But, you need to get the right motor and ESC to run a 3S system. Please be aware that the Velineon 3500 is NOT compatible with the Traxxas 3355X ESC.
So which ESC do you need to pair with this motor? I recommend the Velineon VXL 3S electronic speed controller. It is designed to work perfectly with the Velineon 3500 brushless motor.
So, you will need these two parts to upgrade from a brushed system to a 3S brushless system:
You can buy the parts separately, or pick the bundle that includes both components on Amazon.
Traxxas Rustler 2WD Gearing Upgrades
Traxxas recommends swapping out both the pinion gear and spur gear if you upgrade to the brushless motor. The stock Rustler comes with a 16-tooth pinion gear and a 90-tooth spur gear.
The recommended pinion and spur gears are :
25 Tooth Pinion Gear
The 25-tooth pinion gear is the smaller of the two gears. It attaches directly to the brushless motor. The spur gear is the larger of the two gears and attaches to two rear drive shafts. These two gears mesh together and power the Rustler's rear wheels.
83 Tooth Spur Gear
The 83-tooth spur gear will mesh into the pinion gear and provide power to the two rear drive shafts. When you increase the number of teeth on the pinion gear, you may need to decrease the size and number of teeth on the spur gear. The spur gear below is a great fit for the larger 25-tooth pinion gear recommended above.
Traxxas Rustler 2WD Suspension Upgrades
There are many different suspension parts when looking for Traxxas Rustler 2WD upgrades. I will cover what I believe are the most beneficial for your two-wheel drive Rustler.
Aluminum Shock Caps - Traxxas Part #3767
If you only upgrade one part on your shocks, make sure it's the shock caps. Adding aluminum shock caps will help keep the shock cap from popping off. The plastic shock caps are known to pop off when you have a hard landing. If the cap comes off, all your shock oil spill out of the shock body. If this happens, you are done driving for the day.
Traxxas Big Bore Shocks - Traxxas Part #5862
Next, you will want to look at upgrading from the stock Ultra Shocks to a set of Traxxas Big Bore shocks. These shocks have a larger bore than the stock shocks and will improve the truck's landings when hitting jumps. Also, the big bore shocks come with metal shock caps, so you shouldn't need to purchase any additional shock caps.
Heavy Duty Suspension Arms - Traxxas Part #3655
Heavy duty suspension arms are stronger than stock suspension arms and are flexible in cold weather. By upgrading the suspension arms, your truck will have a rigid feel while driving, but flex enough when hitting jumps and landing hard. The best part about this upgrade is you only need to remove three screws for each arm to complete the installation. Put a drop of Loctite on the screws to get that warm and fuzzy feeling and confidence the screws will stay in place.
Traxxas Rustler 2WD Steering Servo Upgrade
Let's talk about steering servos and torque. If the back-end of your truck starts to break lose and spin out, you need to counter steer to keep the truck from completely losing control.
By installing a higher torque steering servo, you can counter steer faster and power through turns without losing control.
A high torque steering servo will have a faster response and give you a more "locked in" feeling when you turn the steering wheel on your transmitter.
The Traxxas 2075R steering servo is a great upgrade from the stock steering servo. I have this on my Rustler, and it has been solid for about 40 battery packs so far.
Traxxas Rustler 2WD Upgrades FAQs
What is the best Traxxas Rustler 2WD upgrade?
The best performance upgrade for the 2WD Traxxas rustler is the Velineon 3500 VXL brushless motor and VXL 3S electronic speed controller.
What upgrade shocks should I buy for a 2WD Traxxas Rustler?
The Traxxas Big Bore shock kit is the recommended shock upgrade for the Traxxas Rustler. The kit includes shocks for the front and rear and metal shock caps.
Do Traxxas Adjustable Shocks Fit The 2WD Rustler?
According to Traxxas, only the Big Bore shocks fit the two-wheel drive Rustler, and these shocks can only be adjusted by adding additional spacers to increase the spring preload.
Traxxas Rustler 2WD Upgrades Conclusion
The 2WD Traxxas Rustler is a great RC truck. It is fast, durable, and fun to bash around the backyard. But, you can make a few performance upgrades to make this truck scream!
If I had to pick three parts to upgrade on a 2WD Traxxas Rustler, it would be the motor, ESC, and gearing.
Of course, all the parts listed in the post are big upgrades from the stock parts. But, I suggest focusing on the drive train first and then working on upgrading the suspension and steering components.
Make sure to research the parts you want for your Rustler to ensure they fit your model. Happy driving!