RC On Road Nitro Cars Discuss all aspects of on-road nitro rc cars here

So I wanted to/planned to buy a nitro on-road car, but now I am not so sure...

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Old 07-01-2016, 02:49 PM
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sturmgrenadier
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Default So I wanted to/planned to buy a nitro on-road car, but now I am not so sure...

Well, I'm a beginning r/c enthusiast and have been out of the hobby for a really long time..... I used to own a Nitro TC4 that I bought from an online hobby superstore (I don't know if I'm allowed to mention specific stores here-it doesn't matter which), but no longer have it. I was very frustrated, and could not get my nitro to start back in 2008. But I found out about a local hobby store, and the folks there were great about helping me to start it. After that, I really only found one suitable place to drive my car (it was the very large parking lot of a local community college, and I had some fun just driving it around for a few months). Then, I pursued other interests, life got in the way, etc.(I'm sure everyone on this forum can relate to time demands and the twists that life can take....)

Fast forward several years, and I got the brainstorm of getting back into r/c I've had my heart on getting another nitro car for a couple of weeks. I'm not wealthy by any stretch. I have an OK paying job, and I had budgeted about $500.00 to get myself started this summer. I thought that I would finally be able to do so: Friday (today) arrived, and I eagerly went to the same local hobby store as in 2008. I happened upon the owner of the store who was working on a plane. I explained that I've been out of the hobby eight years. He smiled and told me so many things have changed in that time. 'No more telescoping (long) antennas on the controllers, everything is 2.4 now'. I explained to him my enthusiasm for getting another nitro car. I told him my only reservation was that some of the posters on r/c forums I've read lately say that nitro is dying out. I asked him if there is any truth to this. He was circumspect and nuanced in his reply. He told me 'nitro isn't dying out (you can still get parts and fuel without any trouble), but electric has certainly become very popular, especially with the advent of the new batteries that have longer run times (paraphrasing him).'

I thanked him and then went over to actually look at some of the nitro cars. Anyway, to wrap up this story, both of the store employees who specialize in ground vehicles (cars, trucks, etc.) told me not to do it (buy nitro). They said to go electric, because there are just too many things that can go wrong with nitro. 'It could you take you three minutes to get your engine started and tuned or it could take you three hours and you run out of time/don't get to drive it at all' they reminded me. They told me that electric batteries can now give you 30-45 minute run times per charge. Another customer came into the store and inquired about nitro (actually gasoline was the word he used, but I think he meant nitro). He ultimately bought an electric truck. The employee who had been helping me(answering my questions) said to his co-worker, 'Boy I'm glad that I was able to steer that guy into buying electric [instead of nitro].'

I wasn't expecting such a rebuke of nitro I left the store empty-handed, unsure about what to buy for myself. I guess I was expecting the store employees to say, 'sure. we'll help you make a good choice and to get you started with nitro' Instead, all I heard was the praises of electric. For me, even though I have little experience with mechanical things like a car, and cannot be described as 'handy' (i can change a tire, that's about it) there is something engrossing about seeing that smoke shoot out of the car and the roar it makes But maybe I need to grow up in a sense, and get with the times by going electric? (I'm 42). I know that past experience is the best indicator of future experience (and I admittedly had some challenges with getting my nitro car up and running long ago). And maybe these guys were just trying to save me from more of the same aggravation. Anyway, thanks for letting me share my rambling story. I know this a nitro on-road forum, so I doubt I will find any nitro-haters here. But can anyone else empathize with having 'growing pains' trying to learn nitro, but still being drawn to it for some reason?
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Old 07-01-2016, 03:35 PM
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So nitro is becoming a little less popular for a couple of reasons, but one of the biggest is the demographic that is currently getting into rc cars, ie 15-25 year olds. Many people in this age bracket are in the mindset of "it works or it doesn't" meaning that they aren't as interested in tinkering and fixing. They are interested in playing which i can kinda understandable since you end up paying $500 for any decent car. Trying to explain the hobby to someone that isn't into fixing things usually looks at you like your an idiot for "wasting" so much money on something that you spend just as much as, or more, time working on it than playing with it. That being said i love taking my kyosho fo-xx out to spew some nice blue smoke but i do hate the hassle of everything that is involved. With electrics you charge a battery and play until it dies or breaks and then you take it home, hose it off, and replace anything that broke and put it away. With nitro you have to have an eye for little details especially with after run care. Most people are too rush rush to take the time to deal with an hour or two of deep cleaning and after run engine checks and maint. Also the big allure to me is that electrics are far more water resistant than nitro or gas. If you dunk an electric it likely wont care and keep going, do that to a nitro and the piston, sleeve and Carb, at the very least, are done for. I find myself running my electrics way more than the nitro just because the care i have to take when running (i'm in a very wet state). One of the biggest cons for electric is that the lipo batteries can be quite dangerous if handled incorrectly so do some research on that before you decide either way (need a lipo safe or ammo can to store and charge them). Another thing is that the speed of the electrics out does nitro for the most part these days unless you modify the bejesus out of it. One last thing there is normal gas models exist now like the losi lst xxl2 or the losi 5ive-t were they take 2 stroke gas rather than nitro. I think it comes down to what you enjoy the most. Either type will make you happy since you have nitro experience so it more comes down to if you want something familiar or new (to you).

As far as the hobby shop steering people away from nitro, that really doesn't surprise me. Nitro are less reliable resulting in a higher return rate at the shop counter and a lot more headache trying to teach people things that can be learned on the internet but isn't due to laziness. I would rather teach something once rather than 50 times but that's just me lol.

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Old 07-02-2016, 01:20 AM
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Mr. Saylor, Thanks for taking the time to post. I appreciate your having shared your experience and giving me some useful perspective on my situation (re-entering the hobby and all, etc.). I think that you make a good point about the younger generation wanting a hobby where they can just plug something in/turn it on and go. I know it is cliched and has been said/observed many times, but a lot of younger folks expect instant gratification when they take up a hobby/pastime (video games, etc.). I guess it takes a lot of patience to work with nitro (and as you point out,a real desire to actually learn about it). Ironically, upon learning that I had bought a nitro r/c car in 2008, even my retired electrical engineer father was skeptical of my choice: 'you should have gotten an electric-powered r/c car' he told me, before I had even unpacked it! Thanks for the head's up about the hazards of Lipo batteries. I will definitely do a Google search to read up and understand more about this consideration.

Wow, I admit surprise in that I didn't even realize that battery-powered cars now hold the speed records over nitro (I just read up more on this). By being absent from the hobby for nearly a decade, I feel like I have stepped into a time-machine of sorts: technology has transformed so much. And there is just SO MUCH information online (almost TOO MUCH - more than once, I have found myself spending a whole evening reading up on topics like nitro vs. electric, troubleshooting, which car to buy, etc. on forums such as RCUniverse. At some point maybe researching may actually become counter-productive (the diminishing returns effect, etc.) because it can feel overwhelming to absorb/process so much information! For example, when I read even a moderately- 'busy' r/c thread, I find that there can be five or six (or more) overlapping/conflicting opinions or 'takes' on the subject!! And the original poster's question often gets lost. So I think that it might behoove me at this point to be a bit more selective about what/how much research I do online (and to reflect on what I have already read)? I've got some soul-searching about what direction to take with r/c this time around (lol: I know that electric or nitro is not a life and death matter, haha). Thanks again for sharing!
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Old 07-05-2016, 12:47 PM
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Ya i know what you're going through with the over researching. I usually try to make a running pro and con tally. Since there will always be lemons here and there i try to look for a pattern for failures, IE ten people have complained about a diff that always breaks or weak drive lines ect. Just because one guy had a failure doesn't mean it a bad car by any means (these toys break sometimes). Also i pay attention to reviews were people have contacted the manufacturer for help to see how the vendor takes care of the customer, that way if you do have an issue you know that you are safe. Its not like how it used to be were there were no returns on anything, now people return because they didn't care for the color when they saw it in person lol. The ones that i tell people to be wary of is traxxas. Usually they are pretty good for plastic parts but will be a pain about electronics more often than not. Ya the electrics smoke the nitros. People are getting them up in the mid 100s to nearly 200 for the world record holders if i remember right.
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Old 07-05-2016, 02:02 PM
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Hey Mr. Saylor. Thanks again for your reply. I went again to my local hobby shop on the 4th, and purchased (I can almost hear you and other readers groaning,haha) a Traxxas Stampede While it wasn't an impulse purchase (I had been researching and mulling things over for a while now), I don't envision this being the only r/c vehicle that I purchase.this year. I just thought it would be a decent, entry-level 2WD vehicle to give me some off-road driving experience (to hopefully have some fun with). I guess the more initiated here call it 'bashing'? If I can get access to some decent places to drive, and have fun with it, I figure that I can buy a more robust, 4WD vehicle down the road. This particular model was modestly on sale at my local hobby store. Along with an AC adapter I bought and tax, my total bill was about $210.00. Not chump change, but not an enormous amount for me (I'm neither wealthy nor destitute).

Frankly, I almost 'had to try a Traxxas, because I find this brand so 'intriguing' to me; it seems to be like the 'Dallas Cowboys' of the R/C world in that their brand is so polarizing: people either sing the praises of them or absolutely hate them. I just find very few people who do not have strong opinions about Traxxas. I want to see for myself what kind of experience I have with them. So I went out and bought one Will it prove to be wise or foolhardy-I guess I will find out. Anyway, hopefully I can get started with setting up my model and getting out there this coming weekend. (I've opened my Stampede, but I haven't gotten up and running yet (need to set the speed control, etc.). I am studying the full owner's manual very carefully: I'm one of those old-school,slow-learners who tries to read and re-read, absorbing as much as possible before making the leap into actually doing. (Incidentally, I lament having to download the owner's manual: I much prefer printed documentation, but I guess that is a dated paradigm: companies just don't include instruction hard-copies with their products these days!

As I've mentioned, I'm kind of slow (at learning new things). One thing I was not clear on is whether to leave the plastic-wrap around the nimh battery pack that was included? But then i read on a forum that I google searched that you are supposed to leave it on. Speaking of batteries, after researching some (maybe too much), I am not comfortable at this time with purchasing/using the Lipo batteries. I am not so fearful of them that I would rule out upgrading to them at some point. But I can do without burning down my rented home or mother's home, or worse (LOL: it's the worrying about it that gives me pause). I don't even know if renter's insurance would cover fire damage originating from a hobby battery. But for now, with my limited experience, my current living situation, and knowing my personality, I have to be content with using Nimh. I understand that I will only get about twenty minutes of run time per charge and that power drops off gradually as they discharge (unlike Lipos which have more steady output, if I understand correctly). But I'm OK with that. If I really like driving my r/c truck around, I'll just invest in a second nimh pack for convenience. I'll be sure to post to let you know how i get on with my new Stampede.

One other r/c vehicle I am looking at buying is an HPI (electric on-road) Mustang, but apparently it doesn't come out until August, so i'll just have to wait and see. What kind of electrics do you run (in addition to your nitros)?
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Old 07-05-2016, 02:18 PM
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There is nothing wrong with getting a stampede! I find that truck to be a great starter truck! I actually almost bought one for my wife when she started getting interested in the hobby but we ended up building a kit. I totally understand were you are coming from with the rep from traxxas. I don't personally care for them as a company but the slash is still one of my favorite bashers if not THE favorite so it's a trade i suppose. The pede is a tough little truck so i'm sure you will get a lot of fun out of it! Starting with the nickle packs is a good idea. You will get bored of them eventually but it will help you to ease in without the massive repair bills that the rest of us had when we started. The wrapping on the nickle pack is meant to stay on there, i know you found that out already. The lipo can be intimidating but once you get a safe system for handling them they will make you happy. Also i'm a real estate agent and (at least in my state) you would be covered by renters insurance if something were to happen but i know that isn't much comfort, my pets have always been my biggest concern with a fire. There are tricks to keep safe, i charge inside my oven so that if it does decide to go off it can't hurt anything (a lot of guys charge outside in an ammo can). The electrics that i have are the Slash 2wd vxl, A vintage losi truggy, Yeti rock racer kit, and i just bought an associated 8.2 1/8th 4x4 buggy (supposed to arrive at the end of the week, very excited lol) The only other one on my "future list" is building a two stroke powered 1/5th scale losi 5ive-t from a roller.
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Old 07-10-2016, 03:00 PM
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Hey, Mr. Saylor. I finished thoroughly reading and re-reading my Stampede's full instruction manual Friday l. I know some users probably just jump right into driving their new r/c vehicles, but I'm more cautious (for better and for worse, I guess). I stopped by my local hobby store Saturday morning and one of the 'techs' assured me that my antenna was installed correctly (I wasn't entirely clear from the diagram how it was actually supposed to be set up) and that the truck was ready to be driven. The house I rent is in too busy of a neighborhood to race around, but I go to my mother's house each weekend. The street she lives on has a nice straightaway and is on a dead end (pretty sparse traffic). Wanting to follow the break-in instructions, I drove my Stampede on relatively level ground at moderately fast speed, but with no 'full throttle acceleration from rest' during my first battery charge. Again, any readers might be snickering at my overabundance of caution,haha. Maybe half or more of what they tell you in the instruction manual is not really so/necessary? At any rate, it was fun to drive my Stampede for the first time. I took a turn too hard at one point and it completely rolled over and than back to right side up in one motion. I guess i have been 'initiated' now (I understand everyone crashes or rolls their r/c vehicle at some point).

This morning, I took the Stampede to a local school that has a decent size parking lot and a walking trail, ball field, etc. The instructions caution you not to drive the Stampede on high grass, but I found that mine did fine on moderately tall grass. It would sometimes pop a wheelie at first on starting up in grass, but that was actually kind of 'cool' to see. There were a few people parked at the school, and a couple of cars drove by me, but nobody objected to my using the parking lot and environs. I took some time to drive off of some curbs and to 'hop' up onto embankments by driving head-on at reduced speed.

My impressions of the Stampede is that it doesn't handle very well at moderately-high speed. It really wants to roll (and you hear the screeching, feel it wanting to pull up) when you try to turn it going at much speed. I guess that is just a function of it being a truck and having a higher center of gravity than car models and being rear-wheel drive? I didn't hit any curbs or fixed objects at more than moderately high speed, but my Stampede was not damaged in any of the collisions I put it through. So I think it is probably fairly tough. Driving R/C is as fun as I remember from earlier years. But the biggest challenge for me is going to be finding more places in the region I live that are well-suited for driving r/c. (I'm sure driving around the same school parking lot, etc. will get boring after a while). I stopped by a local county park, but I judged it too be much too crowded today for me to give it a go. I have researched and found that my suburban county's parks do unfortunately specifically prohibit r/c driving, but I hear other local r/c enthusiasts have been mostly not bothered as long as they are respectful. I'm going to try to check out other parks next weekend. I'm an early riser, so hopefully there will be few people out. Anyway, what kind of places do you drive your vehicles on? Can you relate to the having a hard time finding locations where you can 'bash' as they call it?
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Old 07-11-2016, 10:55 AM
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Glad to hear that you are enjoying your new stampede! With a high center of gravity like that truck flip overs will be a constant occurrence but luckily that truck is pretty hard to break unless you are trying to. From what i have seen break in is not necessary for electric systems but it cant hurt anything to take it slow. As for were i go i started like you and just kept my eyes out for any area that looked fun and that wasn't restricted. My favorite bash spot is a failed shopping/industrial area that was partially worked on and then ran out of money. The end result was nice roads and untouched hills and dirt piles to play on, i meet at least a couple more rc drivers out there to play with. I have been frequenting an out door track up in the city lately and that has been a ton of fun, it has also honed my driving skills quite a bit. Its been fun to advance my skills against people that are better than me. If you do start looking for tracks then i advise looking for public outdoor ones, sanctioned ones can be a little less welcoming if you know what i mean (not true of all of course but it is an unfortunate trend) . If you start searching online for a track make sure you pay attention to activity dates as a lot of tracks have gone away in the last 5 years.
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Old 07-23-2016, 11:31 AM
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Mr. Saylor, Hey. I drove my Stampede at the local school yard again last Sunday, the day after it rained heavily. LOL, I didn't expect so much debris and moisture to get stuck to the underside of the chassis, on the inside off the tires, etc. I guess it's common sense, but I didn't realize that you have to spend a lot more time and effort to maintain your vehicle when running it on wet terrain. I tried using paper towels, compressed air and such to remove the 'gunk' but it's pretty futile trying to do so. As the instruction manuals state, one has to disassemble much of the vehicle in order to clean and dry out the vehicle. LOL, I am the most un-handy person to own an r/c vehicle. If I tried to take the wheels off, open the speed control and dissasemble the vehicle for spraying in WD-40, I would end up with extra parts when I try to put it all back together again Moral of the story, I'm sticking with running my truck in dry weather/terrain. Hopefully, my truck won't rust from my having run it once wet. Anyway, I thought you might get a kick out of my clumsiness/lack of mechanical savviness,haha. Cheers.
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Old 07-29-2016, 09:00 AM
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One thing you can do for that situation (i run in the wet a lot since the rain here is constant) look at a chassis cover from outerwears. I'm sure they make on for the pede. They are super fine mesh that keeps everything out, even most of the water itself but air can get in. I got tired of the two hour cleaning routine as well. Also i know some people might scoff at me for doing this but i hose my traxxas stuff off outside with a pressure nozzle when the gunk gets in, always have. Just try not to force water into the wheel bearings. once done hit the wheel bearings and screw heads with a shot of wd-40 and let dry. Cut my cleaning from 2 hours to 4 minutes not including dry time, but if you have an air compressor then dry time can be cut way down. I know its scary to put electronics underwater like this but i have yet to damage anything doing this with traxxas models in the last year of doing this hobby. Also stock screws rust no matter what you do, water does make it happen faster but i can assure you all the screws on that truck will be red in a year or less. Get some anodized ones if it really bothers you but its really not necessary as the rust you see is all surface and really doesn't weaken the hardware much if it does at all. Mechanical savvy comes from messing it up and learning from it lol. What i do is i take a part off and then put the screws that just came off back into their prospective holes until i'm ready to go back together that way i know everything is going were it needs to be and i wont be screw hunting. If that isn't possible then i set the screws down in "batches" based on the are they came off of the truck. It gets really easy the more you do it (i was nervous as hell to take apart my shiny new toy the first time i got one but you get over it. And if you mess it up real bad then that's we are here for!
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Old 08-07-2016, 10:42 AM
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The fastest nitro car I know of went 120mph.
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Old 08-08-2016, 08:53 AM
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They go faster now but are crazy specialized. there are electrics doing double that nowadays. kinda pointless since after 2 seconds you can no longer see them but the wrecks are quite epic lol
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Old 04-10-2017, 05:15 PM
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Hey, Mr. Saylor. I don't even know if you still read/post on these forums. It's been about eight months since I last posted here. My Stampede has been idle for several months (My 'retreat' was a combination of being discouraged about not finding any newer/better places to drive it and life just getting in the way: dealing with things like health problems, etc. I suppose we can all relate to the challenges we encounter in our lives, though). I hope you are doing well. Did you ever get to start/finish that latest 'build' that you talked about earlier?

Anyway, without digressing too much, let me explain that I recently got the 'urge' to take my Stampede out and run it again. LOL, I had to get rid of some dust and cobwebs, but everything was still in good shape. I still haven't found any good places to drive it, but I just felt the pull to get out there and 'bash around' as best I cab. I've been back to the school yard/baseball diamond/etc. and the street in front of my mother's house (not too noisy so no complaints from neighbors).

Just this past weekend, I was driving my truck at the school yard/parking lot when I figured out that by braking at even moderate speed, it causes my Stampede to fishtail and do a '180 degree turn'. And then by accelerating before the vehicle comes to a stop, I can make the truck do a 'mean wheelie'. That's the coolest thing, seeing it pop a wheelie Anyway, I did this several times while racing around. Later when I let the vehicle come to a stop. I realized that I had broken it: the motor sounds/looks like it is still spinning fine when I accelerate, but the rear wheels don't engage. I can spin each rear wheel independently (they feel pretty loose). Again, they just won't turn in sync with the motor anymore.

This might sound incongruous, but I'm actually pleased in a way to have broken my truck for the first time I feel like it's some kind of initiation into the world of rc, haha. You play for a while and then it breaks. Then you have to figure out how to fix it so you can drive it some more I suspect that if I unbolt some of the screws on the chassis, I am going to find some broken parts. I'm kind of nervous about doing so, because I'm not technically-savvy and pretty ham-fisted (I usually wind up with 'extra parts' after trying to follow written assembly directions for products-screws that don't fit, etc.), but with the help of folks like you on this forum, I'm sure I will eventually get my Stampede running again.

I can also take my Stampede to the local hobby shop where I bought it last year. If I ask, maybe they will diagnose the problem, and recommend the parts and tools I will need to fix it. (I think this will be a great opportunity for me to learn about the inner workings of my vehicle.

Do you have any suggestions on how I should proceed on repairing? From what I've described to you, does it sound like a blown-out transmission? Popping wheelies in the way I described is fun, but maybe doing this is a big no-no (will break your vehicle every time)? I would like to know if there is a safe way for me to get my 2WD Stampede to pop wheelies?

Sorry for the ramble and all of the questions. But thanks for any help/ideas you can give me. Cheers!

P.S.-I have been researching and trying to find out a good rc car or truck kit . I want to build a vehicle that I can then drive. I think that would be the coolest thing to do. Do you have any suggestions for a first project? Unfortunately it doesn't seem like there are many kits out there on the market-about everything is RTR Any suggestion for me?
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Old 08-11-2017, 02:03 PM
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I can see the wisdom in having an electric around for those "grab n go" moments, but Ive recently gotten into Nitro after 2 stints in electric only and im hooked! The experience is just more visceral and i think worth it if thats what you have your heart set on. I have spent alot of time just getting it running properly (older used buggy) but thats been fun and Now that ive got the hang of tuning and such, i can mostly just start the car up and resume bashing.
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