The Cen Genesis 46 LE may offer up feelings of déjà vu to anyone who has driven the original version of the truck. It certainly gave me that very feeling for me, once I pulled it out of the box. However, despite the facts that things appear the same, there are some significant differences that have been incorporated with the truck this time around. Most of the changes are rather subtle, but they all seem to address areas that Genesis fans wanted to see changed.
The Genesis gained a fan base in the summer and fall of 2004 shortly after its introduction. The ability to have the biggest nitro-powered truck in the neighborhood appealed to many, while others just liked the more unique approach Cen had taken. Because of this, very few people don’t know anything about the Genesis. If you fall into that category, or just want to read up on the original platform before reading about this version, you can read my previous review of the Genesis on RC Universe.
I’m definitely curious to dive into this truck and see what all Cen has changed. There were a few areas I wanted to see changed the first time around, so it’ll be interesting to see how Cen responded to what I, and others, thought about the truck in its original form. So grab a jug of nitro, and a fistful of courage. The big boy of the monster truck world is back, and ready to rumble!
Model Name: Cen Genesis 46 LE RTR
Part Number: 9504
Price: $580 (Average Retail)
Type: 1/8 Scale Four Wheel Drive Monster Truck
Length: 23.1″ (587mm)
Width: 18.4″ (467mm)
Wheelbase: 15.63″ (397mm)
Weight: 17 lbs. (7.7 kg)
Ground Clearance: 4.0″ (102mm)
Suspension Travel 8 Shocks): 4.4″ (112mm)
Suspension Travel 10 Shocks): 5.0″ (127mm)
Wheels: Chrome Spoke-Style 5.2″ (132mm)
Tires: Chevron-Style 7.5″ (191mm)
Suspension: Independent C-Hub
Shocks: Aluminum with Plastic Preload Spacers
Center Drivetrain: Front Shaft-Plastic Sliding, Rear Shaft-Dogbone
Chassis: 2.5mm Aluminum Twin Vertical Plates
Engine: Cen Racing NX76 .46 (7.7cc)
Brakes: Vented Stainless Steel Disc With Fiber Pads
Fuel Tank: 220cc with Stone Filter
MX-3 FM Radio
Very Capable Suspension
Consumes Fuel Quickly
Plastic Steering Linkage
Needs Better Looking Bumpers
Additionally Required Items
4 AA Batteries or Receiver Pack (5-Cell Receiver Pack Recommended)
Air Filter Oil
Since I have covered this vehicle in my previous review, I decided to focus more on the areas where Cen had made some changes rather than covering the same things I had before. After all, the real goal here is to see what is different between the two versions of the Genesis. That puts the information regarding the truck back into your hands, helping you to make an informed decision about the truck.
There are two changes that stand out more than anything else when it comes to the Genesis. The Limited Edition body is one of these. The Genesis 46 LE only comes with a gray body shell, which looks nearly identical to the original. Close to the bottom of the body, it’s emblazoned with “Limited Edition”, in case there’s any doubt as to what version of the truck you have. Below that, there’s another line regarding the included MX-3 radio that replaces the AM unit that used to be packaged with the truck. However, the radio itself is something we’ll cover in more detail a little later.
The last time around I didn’t have an actual copy of the manual, as it was missing from my box. So I just printed one from Cen’s website. This time around a manual was included, and it is very well laid out. Not too many manufacturers print their assembly and instruction manuals in color, but Cen is one of them and it really helps when looking at the assembly details. Some other sheets cover general tasks associated with the operation of the truck, and I couldn’t help but notice that the break-in procedure has now been shortened from what it was previously. Considering the lengthy procedure from the last time around, this is a welcome sight!
Many of the accessories that come along with the truck are similar to what was seen the last time around. However, there was one notable change from my original review on the ARR (Almost Ready to Run) version of the truck. This is the inclusion of a rechargeable glow igniter, and a standard wall charger for it.The igniter is included in the standard RTR version of the Genesis as well, but was not included with the ARR version.
The chassis layout of the Genesis is the familiar twin vertical plate design that has gained popularity in the past couple of years. This approach offers a tremendous amount of strength, although it can make some areas of the truck a little tougher to access at times. Slung to the outside of the chassis, on the left-hand side, is the pipe that handles the exhaust duties. On the opposite side of the chassis, the fuel tank hangs off towards the rear of the chassis.
The majority of the components for the Genesis are housed within the twin 2.5mm vertical plates. This offers the components a substantial amount of protection, and allows them to help increase the rigidity of the chassis as a whole. You may notice that, after looking at the pictures above, this time around I received the RTR (Ready to Run) version of the Genesis. So the servos and receiver are already installed. Last time, these components were not included and I had to choose my own. The RTR route is certainly the way to go, if getting up and running in a hurry is a priority.
When viewing the truck from the underside, everything appears to be as it was before. Dual stainless steel disks are pinched by stainless steel calipers and fiber pads to provide you with plenty of stopping power. The familiar rear hardened steel dogbone, and plastic sliding front driveshaft, is still being utilized with the Genesis 46 LE. Skidplates with countersunk screws protect the lower side of the chassis, while the truck spends it’s time in the off-road environment it was designed for.
If you have a sharp eye, you may notice that the rollbar/handle seems to be a bit heftier than the Genesis was originally equipped with. Your eyes certainly do not deceive you. Where the standard bar was only 1.5mm thick, the Genesis LE sports one that’s 3mm thick. In my first review I noted this as a major weak point, but that appears to have changed substantially. Cen has certainly stood up and taken notice, providing a rollbar/handle that appears to be much more suited to the truck it is designed for.
Next, let’s start focusing on the drivetrain of the Genesis LE, as most of the changes can be found on those very items. When it comes to the differentials of the Genesis, they were built ready to take the abuse that the big block motor could dish out. First run models of the Genesis used plastic differential housings, although later ones saw a change to an aluminum housing. The LE continues in this tradition and supplies an aluminum differential housing along with the straight-cut ring and pinion gears.
Once you crack open the differential assembly itself, you’re greeted with a dramatic improvement over the previous differential units in the standard Genesis. That improvement consists of a complete six gear setup, with four spider gears and two output gears. The standard Genesis only comes equipped with a four gear differential, and Cen opted for a tougher setup when assembling the Genesis LE. Big block motors can be rough on the differentials, and a six gear setup has proven to be much more durable in both the buggy and monster truck genres of the hobby. Any Genesis fan will definitely be stoked by this upgrade!
The transmission itself is something that didn’t get as much attention, as the rest of the truck, in the previous review. With the fact I wanted to crack open the center differential, of the Genesis LE, this provided the opportunity to showcase its internals extremely well. The internal gears are housed in a two part plastic case, which has braking assemblies positioned at each output shaft, giving you true front and rear braking. This also provides you the capability of setting the bias between the front and rear brakes independently of one another.
Close to the top of the transmission, you can see the two-speed hub which controls the shift between first and second gear. These are the two gears visible from the outside of the transmission. Third gear, and its shifting assembly, is tucked away inside the transmission case. The Genesis LE still provides reversing capabilities, which is what the smaller rod exiting the transmission controls. To eliminate any confusion, Cen is now placing warning stickers on the transmission telling the user to come to a complete stop before shifting into reverse. While this should be common knowledge, it serves as a good reminder.
While the rear driveshaft of the Genesis uses a dogbone, the front uses a large plastic slider approach. The end of the slider that attaches to the transmission, functions more like a CVD, in that the plastic driveshaft cups the ball end on the transmission. A 3mm pin with e-clips secures the assembly together.
Once you open the transmission, you get to the impressive hardware of the drivetrain. We’re talking full-on heavy metal here, with steel gears and shafts to transfer the power from the engine to the front and rear axles. There’s no plastic link to the gearset at all. Now that we’re looking inside the transmission, you can also get a glimpse of the third gear that was mentioned earlier, and the shifting hub that controls it. Just below the third gear assembly, you’ll find the components that control the reverse gear. This is an impressive package indeed!
The beefy internals don’t stop once you pull out the center differential either. Once pulled out, and opened up, you’ll quickly see that the center differential has six-gears just like it’s front and rear counterparts. The standard version of the Genesis arrived with the center differential locked, which made it function more like a standard monster truck. With the capability of using diff oil to tune the center differential, you gain a substantial tool in regards to the adjustability of the truck as a whole. As a side note this will put you in the truggy, or unlimited, class at many tracks. However, with the larger engine size, you would have likely been placed in something outside of a production class anyway.
However, if you still want to throw the same power down to both the front and the rear, Cen does provide you with the center lock kit. You can use this assembly inside the center differential to lock it, preventing a variable bias of power to each axle. Unless you’re doing a lot of climbing though, you’ll probably find it much more useful to leave the differential locking kit in the box. That way you can take advantage of one of the strongest points this type of drivetrain has to offer.
Continuing our way around the truck, but still focusing on the transmission for the moment, an interesting item appears at the throttle bell crank. In fact, this item is the throttle bell crank in a sense. Cen has abandoned the stem-like bellcrank in favor of a beefier design that reduces flexing as the linkage is operated. In addition, this brace also supports the shaft the spur gears ride on as well. A bearing is housed inside the brace for the transmission’s shaft to ride in as it spins.
I covered the motor fully in my previous review, but since it’s such a vital part of the truck a quick run is certainly essential. The motor itself comes in at .46 cubic inches, and is dubbed the NX76 by Cen. The high speed needle is easily reached, as is the idle adjustment. The low speed needle is a little tougher to get to, as the fuel tank makes things a little tight. However, adjustment is still possible and after it’s initially adjusted it usually won’t need to be touched. Just as with the basic Genesis I reviewed before, the Limited Edition is equipped with a pullstart. While Cen does offer a rotary starting unit as an option, they recommend you use the pull start until after you are well past the break-in phase due to the high compression of the motor.
The clutch mounted to the NX76’s motor is a four-shoe big block style clutch. Each shoe is equipped with its own spring, and the whole clutch assembly is housed within a vented clutch bell. The clutch bell itself is home to two pinion gears which mate against the spur gears on the transmission.
As the spent gases exit the large motor, they are provided ample room as they flow through a large header and pipe assembly. This assembly is the same setup that graced the previous version of the Genesis I reviewed, which worked well. The front end of the exhaust system is secured tightly to the chassis using a very well built hangar mount.
The shocks themselves are laid out the same way on the Genesis LE, as they were with the standard version of the truck. You have two shocks at each corner of the truck, with a horizontal shock helping the dampening further at each end of the truck. The horizontal shock helps to offset the heavier weight of the truck, and connects to the suspension arms via a set of rods that run to the suspension arms.
I did notice one difference with the shock configuration this time around. This is the small bumpstop installed on the shock’s shaft. This bumpstop appears to be nothing more than a small section of fuel tubing, but its overall impact is not to be ignored. Once the compressed shock reaches the bumpstop, the travel will become much harder to compress. This cushions the shock during hard landings, and also provides somewhat of a progressive feel to the suspension when fully compressed. With a truck as heavy as the Genesis, any extra approach like this is certainly beneficial.
While the electronics in general may initially seem similar for many who bought the RTR version of the Genesis, there’s a distinct difference from the ARR version I reviewed previously. This is the fact that they are there! Since the ARR version of the truck comes without electronics, I was required to install my own. This time around, things are much different because Cen has installed high torque metal gear servos to handle the throttle and reversing duties. These servos provide 144 oz/in of torque at 6 volts, and should have no problem at all in handling the braking and reversing functions. This extra torque will come in very handy when it comes time to stop the powerful and heavy Genesis LE.
You may also notice another item that rarely makes an appearance on an RTR truck. This item would be a failsafe, which will return the throttle to a preset position should the truck have signal-related problems. It will also take over if the on-board battery becomes weak. Since the Genesis is a 17lb. truck, a failsafe is a very welcome sight. It could easily cause some damage to persons or property, if it were to pick up a stray signal. Not to mention the fact that the truck itself could be damaged after such an occurrence.
The steering is also handled by a Cen 144 oz/in metal geared servo. However, given the rather large tires of the Genesis, I think a stronger replacement servo would not be a waste of money if you’re looking for upgrades later. When steering around a 17lb. truck, with the tires the size of the ones the Genesis has, I’m not sure there’s much that would be considered overkill in regards to a steering servo. Despite this, this torque it does offer will certainly be put to good use, as will be the metal gear drivetrain.
Of all the vehicles I’ve tested, the Cen Genesis LE is easily within the top few models in regards to included radio equipment. While my previous review focused on the ARR Genesis that comes without the electronics, I am aware that many people did not like the basic AM setup that was included with the Genesis RTR. With the addition of an Airtronics MX-3, Cen was certainly listening to the thoughts of their customers.
The MX-3 offers many features that are simply not found on most stock radios, such as dual-rate, adjustable endpoints, and subtrim. It also provides these features in a digital format, so you don’t have to worry about them being knocked out of adjustment when the radio is off. The radio is also capable of being used with a rechargeable transmitter pack, and provides a charging jack to make prepping the radio that much easier. While the MX-3 isn’t synthesized, nor is it the most advanced FM radio on the market, it will easily be enough for all but the most discriminating owners.
The Genesis LE RTR doesn’t have an extensive list of tasks that are necessary to prepare it for action. However, there are a few items that you’ll find necessary. So I started by readying the receiver’s antenna. The antenna wire for the Airtronics receiver was a great deal shorter than the included antenna tube. So I clipped the tube to an appropriate length, and then slid the antenna wire through it. The wire slid in easily, and without any effort. However, if you should encounter difficulty, a little baby powder sprinkled on the wire will help you get it through.
Once the antenna is pushed through the tube, install the tube in its resting place on the chassis. It’s located just beside the receiver box. Use the supplied rubber cap to secure the wire at the top of the antenna tube.
Even though the Genesis comes equipped with a bronze in-tank filter, I wanted to install an external filter as well. After all, you can never be too careful in regards to contaminants in the fuel, and an in-line fuel filter is very cheap. So I grabbed a red Dubro filter, and installed it between the tank and the carburetor.
I’m not a fan of using AA batteries on a nitro-powered vehicle, and seeing how AA’s struggled last time around confirmed my stance regarding this. So I opted for a receiver pack right out of the gate. I chose to use a hump-style pack I constructed from some Venom 2/3A NiMH cells. The pack dropped right in place of the stock battery holder, making it a direct fit.
The last items of preparation involved the Airtronics radio itself. I found the collapsible antenna with the included accessories. I inserted it into the top of the radio and then turned it clockwise to secure it. I then threw a set of AA batteries in the radio, to power it, and replaced the cover.
Since I have originally reviewed the Genesis, Cen has reworked their guidelines for break-in. This was a welcome sight, due to the large chunk of time it took to idle through the five tanks. Cen now states that you should idle through three tanks instead. So this cuts down break-in tremendously. However, since I had followed the manufacturer’s recommendation the first time around, I opted to explore a different route. In short, I saw this as a good opportunity to experiment.
So for the break-in procedure, I used the heat cycling method. The procedure went relatively uneventful, once I adjusted the motor to reach a temperature of around 200°. Keep in mind though, that if you’re new to nitro, I’d recommend sticking with the procedure in the manual.
Once the motor had been broken in, I set about tuning for performance. It became obvious that I would need to adjust the shift point of second gear, as the change occurred extremely early. This is something I didn’t really have to mess with the first time. However, it wasn’t a difficult task. The one difference with the Genesis is that you have two grub screws to adjust, as opposed to just a single one on most other trucks. Soon I had the first to second shift occurring at what I felt was more acceptable. Later I would find out, due to the transmission still shifting a little too early while bashing, that I needed to adjust the first to second shift a little more.
After adjusting the first to second shift point, I then found it necessary to address the second to third shift. Even with the motor being properly tuned, the shift to third didn’t occur. So I adjusted the shifting mechanism to allow the shift to occur a little earlier. Once the adjustment was made, the Genesis shifted through the three speeds with ease. Now I was ready to get down to business.
Since I had previously tested the Genesis, the backyard area I often use for testing had been expanded tremendously. The Genesis made good use of this, as it needed a large area to run with its ability to build up speed rapidly. In fact, on several occasions, it was very easy to misjudge speed and distance which would result in a collision or a close call. However, that just made running the truck that much more fun and challenging!
It was hard to resist the urge to pull off some dusty doughnuts, so I succumbed to the temptation and laid into that behavior almost immediately. The NX76 motor was laying down some very mean power, making it easy to break the vehicle loose. Once the backend started working itself around, the truck would begin to shift its weight around. The motor’s power simply wanted to lift the inside wheels up so badly, that I had to keep the throttle in check to avoid ending up on my top. Once I did this a few times, I was performing doughnuts and then sticking one or two wheels in the air, keeping the truck balanced, while the airborne tires ballooned like crazy. I was one heck of a sight!
After I had my fill of a few doughnuts, and creating the dust storms that accompany them, I began to drive the Genesis around the track I have laid out in the backyard. The first thing that became apparent was that the first to second shift was still a little too early. Even though I wasn’t running wide open I could hear the truck chattering some, as it switched in and out of first and second gears, struggling to find a suitable range to stay in when I ran at part throttle. So I pulled it over, and adjusted the shift point once more. This seemed to tame that condition down some, although at times I could still hear it as I altered my cornering speeds throughout the course of the day.
My personal backyard track isn’t complicated or technical by any means, but it works well for some general fun. It also does a good job of putting a vehicle through a workout. One of the first things I did to alter the handling of the truck, was to remove all of the preload spacers in the shocks. This gave the truck a much more level stance, lowering the center of gravity some. The 17lb. truck is still heavy, but a lower ride height did help lessen the top heavy feeling as I ran the truck through the corners.
I also felt as if the stock grease was allowing the differentials to unload a little too much as well. So I took the time to open them all up, and put some differential oil in them. I filled the front with 30,000 weight, the rear with 10,000, and used 20,000 in the center. I was hoping that this combination would strike a better balance, and reduce the tendency of the differentials to unload as frequently.
The change to differential oil helped considerably, as now the truck pulled itself out of the corners in a more controlled fashion than before. Before the backend felt as if it was really loose coming out of the corner, but now it felt like it was simply following the lead of the front tires. This made the Genesis much easier to drive overall.
While running around the track, and encountering the small jumps on it, the truck did try to stay fairly level most of the time. However, jumping at low speeds did cause the truck to take a nose-down line of flight. A little throttle in the air would easily fix that though, and just as with my previous Genesis experience, the truck seemed much more nimble than it initially appeared. In fact, the shocks themselves seemed very well suited for the terrain once I had adjusted the preload setting making the truck’s stance level. Even knowing how heavy the truck is, one still has a tendency to feel as if the suspension is too stiff when pushing down on it. However, once the Genesis is being driven, watching it in action showcases how well it works better than simply examining it at a standstill. The setup works well for bashing, as it supports the truck while jumping and still offering good handling characteristics.
One factor had reared it head though, and it was something I had seen before in the ARR version of the truck. The steering servo was simply having problems handling the large tires of the Genesis. Often while turning, I could see the servo having a tough time keeping the wheels turned and pointed in the right direction. This gave somewhat of a sloppy feel to the steering overall. It was a livable condition, but in the long term, I’d definitely be looking for a replacement.
The servo really came as no surprise, as the Hitec 5645 I had used before was struggling some, and its torque was rated a little higher than the stock servo included with the Genesis LE. This simply shows that the truck will make use of about any servo you equip it with, so the stronger the better. When it comes to a truck of this size, it’s hard to say any servo is overkill.
The control of the truck with the Airtronics MX-3 was great, and I found the radio to be a good match for the truck overall. I liked the way the radio fit my hand, and the fact that it was FM made me feel a little more comfortable than if it were AM. I also tested the factory equipped failsafe a few times, by shutting the radio off while moving forward at part-throttle. The truck came to a quick and graceful halt, as the preset points in the failsafe took over and applied the brakes. No adjustment was necessary on my part, as it worked perfectly right out of the box. Overall, the electronics package of the Genesis LE is a hit.
After spending a little time on the backyard track, I opted to pull out my ramp and get the truck airborne in a manner that smaller dirt jumps simply cannot do. After moving my wooden ramp into position, I started making several runs to the ramp, increasing my run distance and speed with each pass. The amount of air the truck was getting at times was insane, given the weight of the truck. It still simply amazes me that this 17lb. truck can push itself into the air the way it does.
When jumping at higher speeds than I was previously, the Genesis takes to the air with its nose up high. If you back off the throttle, the nose quickly comes down, requiring very little braking action. However, as long as the throttle is open, the front continues to hold itself up. It was at this point, that I remembered the thicker rollbar that the Genesis was now equipped with. So I decided to see exactly how well it would stand up to a few bad upside-down landings. I used the throttle and brake to flip the truck upside-down a few times, landing the truck with the wheels pointed up on several occasions. These jumps were usually in the 7-8 foot range, and afterwards the rollbar showed no visible damage at all. The motor did shift slightly at one point, requiring me to readjust the gap between the clutch bell and spur gears. However nothing was broken or damaged in any form.
When landing correctly, the suspension Cen equipped the Genesis with soaked it up in style. You knew by the sound of the truck smacking the ground that it had landed. The sound of the tires coming back to earth was unmistakable. Despite the sound, the suspension never bottomed out when it landed, and that was with all of the preload spacers removed. The 10 shock setup of the Genesis simply shoulders its responsibility with a sense of pride!
I have to admit that, given the fact I broke a few parts last time around, I was surprised nothing broke as I pounded on the Genesis this time. I was really anticipating the steering linkage would fail again, as it was not an area that Cen addressed with the round of upgraded parts they had installed on the Genesis. So I’m still keeping this in the back of my mind as a potential weak point. However, the truck held together perfectly, and in the end the truck was still running without a hitch with only minor damage to the lexan body.
Cen has certainly done their homework and equipped the Genesis LE with some parts that their customers wanted to see upgraded. While the rollbar and the radio ranked high on this list, other items, such as the six-gear differentials, add to the overall appeal of the truck as well. Quite honestly, the Genesis LE should become the main staple for Cen. I see no reason to even continue the basic Genesis line, with the production of this more rounded and tougher version of the truck.
The main area that I would still love to see improved is the steering linkage. While it gave me no problems this time around, it did the first time. The part is still the same, and vulnerable in some situations. So you may want to pick up an aluminum replacement early on. As of this writing, I know that New Era makes an aluminum replacement, and some other aftermarket manufacturers are likely to follow suit.
I would also recommend swapping the steering servo as well. While Cen provides a servo that will work well in most situations, I still feel it’s a little underpowered for handling the Genesis. A super-sized monster truck needs a super-sized servo in regards to torque. So I’d look for a replacement with at least 200 oz/in of torque, along with a metal gear drivetrain. The Hitec 5998TG would be a good recommendation for this task.
Simply put, if you want the biggest truck in the neighborhood, then the Genesis LE is the truck for you. The combination of a twin vertical plate setup and heavy-duty components make it one tough and mean looking truck. The center differential, and three-speed transmission, gives you the best of both the buggy and monster truck worlds. Genesis fans should rejoice, because your favorite ride has just stepped up to the next level!
1800 E. Miraloma Ave., #F
Placentia, CA 92870 USA
Phone: (714) 792-1923
Fax: (714) 792-1968
3585 Cadillac Avenue
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Phone: (714) 850-9342
Products used: Air Filter Oil
480 Bonner Road
Wauconda, IL 60084 USA
Phone: (732) 635-1600
Products used: Fuel Filter
1100 Klein Road
Plano, Texas 75074 USA
Phone: (888) 872-9927
Products used: NiMH Receiver Pack Charger
Trinity Products, Inc.
36 Meridian Road
Edison, NJ 08820 USA
Phone: (800) 848-9411
Fax: (732) 635-1640
Products used: Monster Horsepower Fuel (20%), After Run Oil
10312 N. Taryne St.
Hayden, ID 83835 USA
Phone: (800) 705-0620
Fax: (800) 705-6021
Products used: 5-Cell Receiver Pack (Built From 2/3A 1200 Mah NiMH Cells)