RCU Review: Redcat Racing Avalanche XP


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    Contributed by: Nathan Maat | Published: November 2007 | Views: 72915 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon

    Web: redcatracing.com
    Sales: sales@redcatracing.com
    Tech: support@redcatracing.com


    Contact Info

    Tel. 602.454.6445

    Fax. 602.626.3543


    HITS

    • Suspension
    • Speed
    • Durability
    • Adjustability
    • Product Support


    MISSES

    • Body Not Finished
    • Small Fuel Tank
    • Instructions


    In the last year, Redcat Racing has brought to the market a wide range of vehicles from 1/16 scale all the way to 1/8 scale nitro. They have also included in their line four 1/10 scale electric vehicles, making your selection even more abundant.

    Since everyone knows the bigger companies in r/c vehicles and the quality often associated with them, I was looking forward to seeing what Redcat brings to the table. They have very tough competition and will need vehicles that are affordable and can take abuse in order to compete.

    The 1/8 scale Avalanche XP is the big dog in their line, being slightly larger than the earthquake. My first impression is good. I like how it looks, the wide stance, it looks strong and has beefy components. I'm excited to see it it's as fun and strong as it looks.

    Let's go have some fun.


     

    Model ...................................... Avalanche XP
    Price ....................................... $359.99
    Type ........................................ 1/8 Monster Truck
    Length .................................... 20"
    Width ...................................... 16"
    Height ..................................... 10"
    Wheelbase .............................. 15"
    Ground Clearance ................... 3"
    Weight .................................... 7.25 lbs
    Engine ..................................... .M28 P3
    Transmission ........................... 1:17.7 Single Speed
    Differentials ............................ Metal Gear
    Clutch ...................................... 3-Shoe Aluminum
    Chassis..................................... 2.5" 6061 Aluminum
    Shocks ..................................... 4 Adjustable Oil Filled
    Brakes ..................................... Dual Steel Disk

    Fuel Tank .................................

    125cc
     
     

    The first impression is when you lift the top off the box for the first time. The big bright and colorful body is the first thing you see. It looks great and the paint scheme is pretty cool. It's noteworthy to mention if the colors of this body are not to your liking, Redcat offers 3 different paint schemes you can choose: blue/yellow, red/green and red/yellow. The website also mentions a grey body, but it doesn't look to be available.

    The next thing I saw after opening the box was the decals. Saving the buyer a step, Redcat Racing has pre-applied the stickers. For guys that want to simply get out and run, it's great. For guys like me, particular with what goes on the body, It's not so great. The stickers are not applied straight in some cases and not all are applied in places I would want them. There is no decal sheet, so you're limited to only what they pre-apply.


    TRUCK BODY NO ENGINE OPENING BODY TOUCHES EXHAUST

    As I was critiquing the decals I noticed the body was not completely finished. The body mounts are pre-drilled as is the antennae opening. However, it looks as though I will have to cut the opening for the engine, and make room for the exhaust. I enjoy working with truck bodies so this will be kind of fun, and it only takes a few minutes with the right tools and we'll be ready to roll. Here's how I did it.

    ROTARY TOOL FINISHED OPENING EXHAUST OPENING

    I started the opening with a hobby knife and a new blade, cutting the rough shape where the engine is located. This step involves mounting the body to the chassis several times to ensure I don't under or over cut the opening. I want it to be centered on the engine and not too large.

    Once I have the rough shape finished I took a variable speed rotary tool and a drum sander attachment and slowly smoothed out the rough cut. It's really easy to melt the plastic, but working at a slower speed and using very light pressure I got a nice smooth finish. I won't be able to start the truck with the body installed, but the opening should provide the engine plenty of cooling.

    The exhaust also comes into contact with the body, but preventing that is simple. I took the same rotary tool and drum sander and hollowed out the section where the exhaust tip exits the body.

    The result is a very clean look.


    AVALANCHE XP TRANSMITTER

    The transmitter included with the package is better than average. In fact, it's a nice addition to this truck. In many cases, when the transmitter is included it's very ordinary and plain. Redcat Racing included with this package a transmitter equipped with an LCD screen and several options allowing for quick adjustments.

    The power switch is on the side of the case, to the left of the LCD screen. It's out of the way and never to be accidentally turned off. Very nice. The antennae is nicely angled and balances well with the rest of the transmitter. The grip is comfortable and the transmitter itself light.

    The main edit keys are on the right side of the wheel, opposite the LCD screen. Directly behind the wheel you'll find 2 digital trim keys. The top left key (DT1) is for throttle and the top right (DT2) is for steering. It took me a couple minutes to remember which was adjusting what function, but now that I've got it adjustments while driving could not be any simpler. Also available are trim keys DT3 and DT4 which adjust dual rates for steering and throttle ATL.

    All this makes for a decent transmitter that offers easy to use functions while driving.


    WORK STAND RUBBER FEET & BALL BEARING BODY CLIP MAGNET


    For this review, I also picked up Redcat Racing's Work Stand I saw them using to display their cars at the iHobby expo in Chicago. You can find it on their website here.

    I've had a few stands and this one by far is the best I've owned. It's anodized blue metal which gives it a very solid feel. It comes with a pad to both protect your vehicle from scratches and hold it securely to the stand. If you'll also notice the picture of the underside, the stand sports padded feet to avoid slippage and a ball bearing so the plate that holds your vehicle spins freely. As a result It's an incredibly smooth stand and extremely sturdy for just about any vehicle. You'll also notice it has a magnet for body clips. Very cool.

    As you can see, it holds the Avalanche so the tires are just off the ground. Perfect. Whether you're a Redcat Racing vehicle owner or not, this is a great work stand for only $20 and you owe it to yourself to pick one up!

       


    CHASSIS STEERING HUB STEERING HUB

    You will notice the Avalanche shares it's chassis with other models in the Redcat lineup. However, it benefits from bigger tires, stronger shocks and towers. It's what I would call a small 1/8 scale monster truck or a big truggy. Regardless, it looks as though it will take some punishment as it should with the monster truck designation.

    The hub assembly is very robust and I'm not sure it can be broken, it looks that strong and well built. Based on my experience, I think this truck's steering components will be able to take a lot of torture. The turnbuckles look strong and don't appear will be prone to the effects often encountered with strenuous driving.


    SHOCK TOWER SHOCK ADJUSTABILITY ONE OF FOUR SHOCKS

    Take a look at these pictures and notice the strength with which this truck was built. It comes with 4 adjustable oil filled shocks and the adjustments you can make to them seem endless. My favorite suspension test is to drop the truck from chest high and see if it bottoms out. The shocks do a great job in this case to secure the truck to the ground, not letting it bottom out and not letting it bounce. This gets me excited to see how it jumps. The suspension feels stiff enough to load up on a jump and send it flying, yet soft enough to let it land softly and under control. I'm looking forward to seeing if that's true with the Avalanche.

    SHOCK TOWER REAR CHASSIS BRACE FRONT CHASSIS BRACE

    Helping convince me this is a monster truck is the strength to which it appears to be built. I keep talking about it because it's noteworthy and differentiates the Avalanche in the Redcat lineup. The shock towers are remarkably easy to disassemble when you need to get at the differentials or make adjustments of any kind.

    Securing the towers are two braces, front and rear. It reminds me of a cross-member in a full size car, the sole purpose is to lend rigidity and reduce flex in the frame. These two braces are thick and will do exactly what they're suppose to do in keeping everything together and strong for those high jumps and potentially destroying impacts we all seem to encounter. I like it when I feel the chassis of a vehicle will keep up with my expectations of what it should do. So far the Avalanche's design is making a believer out of me.

    SH M28-P3 MUFFLER SPRING 3-SHOE CLUTCH

    Next, we can look at what makes the Avalanche tick. The engine is a .28 big block from SH Engines, anodized in the same color blue as the chassis. When the trigger is pulled and the engine comes to life, applying that power is handled by a robust 3-shoe clutch. The clutch on this truck works very well, it grabs slowly and confidently as you ease into the throttle. It also grabs instantly when you let it rip from a stand still. The Avalanche means business when the trigger is pulled back and you better be ready.

    The muffler is secured by wrapping a spring around the engine, a fairly common practice with car engines. Keeping the header sealed to the engine is a firm rubber grommet. While the muffler can be moved around, the rubber seal and spring combination seem to hold the muffler to the engine securely.

    I'm not too excited about the muffler. There is no doubt it will do what it's suppose to do, but It's definitely screaming for an upgrade. The coupler holding attaching it to the header is held on with two zip ties blew apart under hard acceleration. I secured it with two more zip ties, pulling them as tightly as possible and it has not come apart since. If it happens again, I will sand the ends of the header and muffler and flare the edges a bit so the coupler has something to grab onto. That will definitely hold it together. Either that or I will upgrade the whole thing.

    Holding the muffler in place at the tip is a wire attached to the chassis The factory location of the wire causes the muffler to rub against the fuel tank. The combination of vibration and heat will surely damage the tank over time, sending you to the local hobby shop for a replacement. Instead, before you even start the engine, adjust the spring wire so the muffler is safely away from the fuel tank. A simple fix to a simple problem.


    BRAKES DIFFERENTIAL CAMBER & TOE ADJUSTMENTS

    Now that you've got the Avalanche tearing up the grass with that big block, you need to keep the power going to the wheels. Taking on that task are the metal front and rear differential gears. Redcat Racing is serious about the strength and longevity of this truck it appears.

    It's great the truck is fast and durable, but you will eventually need to slow down. Stopping the Avalanche are front and rear brakes! Sweet! What's even better is both brakes are fully adjustable so the driver can tune the bias toward either the front or the rear for whatever action you're trying to achieve. Awesome!


        



    Before I begin breaking in the engine, I flipped through the manual and found very little information I feel is useful. For the beginner, this manual is inadequate. For guys with a little experience, take what you've learned on prior vehicles and apply it to the Avalanche. I would rather you check out RCU and Redcat's support forum to learn how to break in an engine if you're unsure about anything. I wouldn't recommend following the instructions included with this truck.

    On a side note, the support team on Redcat's forum are great. They're fast to answer questions and they know the Redcat line of products inside and out. From what I've read, no question has been asked too many times or is too simple for them to answer. Good support is one of the things I look for before I spend money. As of this writing, Redcat earns my business with their top notch support.

    I guess after that ringing endorsement for the instructions you're wondering how I broke in this engine. The first tank I ran at idle, checking the temperature to ensure it wasn't overheating yet still getting warm. It idled well the entire first tank and never got warmer than 230 degrees. After the first tank, I let the engine cool for about a half hour and did the same a second time. After the second cool down, I ran a third tank through it as I drove around the yard, accelerating in short bursts to clear out the excess fuel and driving around at lower throttle. Plenty of smoke was visible and the temps seemed to top out at about 200 degrees. After letting the engine cool once again, I started to get on the throttle a bit more with the fourth tank.

    The factory needle settings were not set very well for the cooler weather we're having, so it took a couple more tanks to tune the engine for rapid acceleration and strong top end speed. It was probably around the 6th or 7th tank of fuel the engine started to come into its own and running strong, though I'm still working on getting the rapid acceleration dialed in. It seems once I get it accelerating off the line on one tank, the next tank it needs to be adjusted slightly. Cooler weather brings with it some challenges when it comes to tuning a nitro engine and the SH was no exception. It's an engine that is really strong in the Avalanche, but it will take patience to tune for optimal performance. That said, it's also probably one of the best idling nitro truck engines I've ever run. It will hold a smooth idle for days it seems.

    Since it's a monster truck, I wanted to see how it would handle more situations than simply running at a track. I found a great sand bowl behind my house that has become a proving grounds of sorts for these reviews. The Avalanche handled it like a champ. Because it's light, powerful and uses a single speed transmission hill climbing here is a breeze. Once you crest the hill with sufficient speed it's easy to launch the truck too. The truck is extremely responsive in the air. The big tires, strong steering servo and dual brakes make staying right side up really easy. Unlike most of you, my jumps are not always the best so I greatly appreciate the Avalanche's ability to help me correct itself in the air. It's impressive and a lot of fun in the air.

    It was about now I began to realize the tank is probably smaller than it should be. I'm not sure how to fit a larger tank on this chassis, but it's too small for the demands of this thirsty big block. I found the run times had me stopping for fuel about every 8 minutes give or take a few. Of course I was running fairly rich, so that doesn't help run times either.

    I also really like the suspension. It's a very simple truck to drive whether in the grass, on pavement or in the sand. In the yard even under hard acceleration and a strong turn the truck did not have a tendency to go up on two wheels thanks to it's stance and suspension. In the sand, the suspension digs the tires into the sand for a strong off the line start and lands softly on jumps. It's a good balance.

    The dual brakes are great. They really work well and compliment the truck. No matter how hard I run, the brakes remain strong. They are also extremely helpful in balancing the truck in the air. In the times it's needed, push the throttle back to hit the brake and the truck will help you balance for a smooth 4 tire landing. Well, most of the time anyway. I occasionally miss the mark, but that has to do more with the driver than the truck. The Avalanche makes jumping pretty easy.

    Finally, while the body looks great it's not too surprising it was unable to keep up with my driving. One or two less than perfect landings was all it took to separate the fenders from the rear of the truck. On the positive side, I no longer have to remove the body to start the engine. Bonus! And quite honestly, most truck bodies don't make it all that long, so I don't consider it a strike against the Avalanche.

    NOTE: Action pictures will be coming shortly as weather allows.


       

    The Avalanche is not without it's flaws. The body needs some work before you can have some fun, a few minor adjustments elsewhere are also needed prior to starting it, the fuel tank is too small to feed a .28 big block, the instructions are useless, the engine is proving to be a bit on the sensitive side and the muffler could be upgraded.

    However, it also has a few things going for it. It's competitively priced with other trucks in its category, it's a strong truck, it's fast, it's light, it flies great, it can be driven almost anywhere and it's easy to assemble and disassemble for fixing or cleaning. The other thing that comes with this truck is Redcat Racing's support team. Not only can you call the company directly, you can get help 24/7 by visiting their support forum on RCU. If you have questions, need help, can't figure something out, don't know how to upgrade a part or whatever your reason to contact Redcat, they are quick to help and chat with you about your cars. That kind of dedication to the customer and their products will keep me coming back for more of their stuff for years to come.

    Overall, the Avalanche has been a fun truck to drive and it will continue to give its owner quite a few smiles along the way. I look forward to the next bashing session.


        
        

    Comments on RCU Review: Redcat Racing Avalanche XP

    Posted by: Defmeq on 01/17/2008
    This things worth the money! Don't listen to all the crap people say about Redcat. This thing destroys most 1/8 trucks.
    Posted by: littlebitcrazy on 09/26/2009
    This truck is a great deal of fun to own......but like any rc if you dont take care of it the thing will be crap...no matter what brand or how much it coasts.
    Posted by: cab1993 on 03/06/2010
    i have seen this truck in action, do not think about the other brand that are $200 more this will do the same stuff just as fast and durable. get it.
    Posted by: cab1993 on 03/06/2010
    i have seen this truck in action, do not think about the other brand that are $200 more this will do the same stuff just as fast and durable. get it.
    Page: 1
    The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.

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