Dipping my toe back into the RC world

Illustration for article titled Dipping my toe back into the RC world
Photo: Who gives a rat’s ass?

During college and grad school I got big into hobby grade RC vehicles. I was into both nitro and electric stuff. I bought, beat on, modified, fixed, and flipped/sold dozens of them over a couple year span. I sold all of that stuff I had left 15 years ago, while I was student teaching, to pay for gas. About a month into student teaching I had $200 to my name, and was spending $60/week on gas to get there and back. Thankfully I was able to live and eat at home for free. I probably could have asked my parents for gas money, but instead I sold everything on eBay.

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Fun fact: not only do student teachers not get paid, they are still paying tuition to their college that semester.

Anyways, I bought one electric RC truck after I started working. I honestly don’t even remember what it was. It was a Traxxas something or other. It was neato, it had selectable locking differentials, but it was also very top heavy and flipped over a lot. Between starting my teaching career and getting married and buying a house, I probably only used it half a dozen times. I traded it for a nice Matco torque wrench and some cash.

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I’ve only recently starting itching to jump back into the hobby. This was triggered by a buddy of mine buying an RC crawler, and the street outside my house being torn up and turning it into the perfect RC truck bashing playground. I hemmed, I hawed, I bought nothing.

For Father’s Day though, my wife bought me a Traxxas La Trax Teton. It’s an entry level 1:18th scale truck, complete with battery and automatic smart charger. I have been beating the crap on it. It’s a lot of fun, it’s quick, it climbs gravel piles well, and it has held up very well. I did have an axle bearing freeze up, so I bought a $15 sealed bearing kit, only bothered to replace the bearings on the axle that had seized, and went back to it.

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My wife also bought for my daughters a pair of the red truck on the left there. I don’t know who makes them or what they are. They’re a lot cheaper, but they came with two batteries of unknown specification and USB-based smart chargers. They’re 2wd and a lot slower than the Teton, but honestly they’re pretty darn good toy grade vehicles. They have also taken quite a beating. They remind me of my favorite childhood RC truck, my Tyco Baja Bandit. That’s a pretty high complement.

Today I had to glue the tires onto the wheels of all three of the new trucks, because they’ve all been ripping them off the rims :)

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On the back of the workbench is my old Losi Mini LST with a Baja Bug body. That’s the one thing I never sold. It was one of the very first batch of those delivered when it came out, and it was the last Christmas present my grandmother ever got me. It’s a fun little truck that I had upgraded all the diffs on before I put it away, and it was worth jack squat anyways when I sold off my stuff, so I just kept it.

Illustration for article titled Dipping my toe back into the RC world
Photo: Some jackass
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My wife got me a couple batteries for that too, so I could get it going as well. The front shocks were completely dead, so I filled them with oil. Then one of the shocks totally fell apart. I order a cheap set of universal fit 1:18 shocks off Amazon, but I need to get some more hardware to mount them. I was able to get one mounted with the couple screws and nuts I found at my closest (but small) Ace Hardware. The stock hardware is too thick, and the hardware I ordered from McMaster-Carr is too thin. So, I need to make another run to the bigger and only slightly farther away Ace Hardware.

So that’s what I’ve got going. Hopefully between my two little trucks, at least one of them will always be running. My daughters are enjoying their little guys too. It’s been a fun father-daughter activity.

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I’d love to get an E-Revo VXL or something like that, but I’m way too cheap to spend that kind of money right now.

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