A classic monster is reborn with four-wheel drive
For as long as the wildly popular Traxxas Stampede has been around (which is a long time), there has been an almost constant clamor for a 4WD version of this classic 2WD monster truck. Many resourceful hobbyists have even resorted to making their own using a mix of creative fabrication and a myriad of parts. Now, just when we thought the only topic in RC was short course racing, Traxxas reminds us that monster trucks still rule the hobby with the surprise introduction of the Stampede 4X4. It’s just what the name implies—it’s a Stampede and 4WD. The only question is: Was it worth the wait?
We won’t need to adjust much on the suspension of a basher, but the options are there on the Stampede 4X4 VXL. The shock towers have multiple shock mounting positions and multiple inner camber link positions. The suspension arms offer more than one mounting option for the shocks. The truck is set to use optional swaybars. In addition to being adjustable, the Stampede 4X4 VXL uses plastic-bodied, fluid-filled coil-over shocks and lower A-arms with adjustable 4mm thick camber links for a suspension setup.
Traxxas definitely had ease of maintenance in mind when designing this platform. Even though it’s 4WD, which can make for a complicated vehicle, the Stampede 4X4 VXL is welcomingly easy to wrench on. A few screws removed (four to be exact), and you can slide the front or rear differential housings clear from the main chassis.
Traxxas knows the Stampede 4X4 VXL will be beat on, so in addition to the front bumper, each shock is protected by molded composite plastic shock guards that bolt to the lower suspension arms (yes, they’ll also work with the Slash 4X4).
Like the chassis, the Stampede 4X4 uses the same drivetrain design as the Slash 4X4. Front and rear differentials have metal bevel gears and are sealed. The setup is pretty simple, and there isn’t a complicated center transmission. Instead, the motor, via a pinion gear, spins a spur gear with a built-in adjustable slipper clutch. The slipper clutch is a Revo-Spec Torque-Control unit with three large fiber slipper pads. An aluminum shaft connects the slipper to the front differential. As you’d expect, the drivetrain spins on sealed, rubber-sealed in this case, ball bearings. The axles are plastic two-piece slider universals.
Electronics and accessories
As the VXL designates, this Stampede is brushless powered. The motor is the sensorless Velineon 3500 (that’s 3,500kV and rated as equivalent to a 10-turn brushed motor), and it’s wired up to a Velineon VXL-3S speed control. The system is waterproof, requires next to no maintenance and can handle 3S LiPo packs. It’s worth noting that the VXL-3s is fully compatible with sensored brushless motors. The steering servo is also waterproof and puts out 125 oz.-in. of torque, which is plenty strong. To control this truck, Traxxas includes its 2.4GHz TQ radio system. The radio features many adjustments, and since it’s 2.4GHz, no crystals are needed and you’ll never have to worry about anyone being on your channel. A 7-cell NiMH battery is included, and Traxxas includes a no-frills wall charger to get new users started. Traxxas includes some simple small tools, an optional 17-tooth pinion for higher speeds (stock is 11-tooth) and a taller battery hold-down for bigger LiPo packs.
The Stampede 4X4 VXL’s chassis is similar to that of Slash 4X4, only shorter and narrower. The waterproof receiver box sits in front of the servo, and the battery compartment is only long enough to fit a 6-cell size flat pack or a 7-cell hump pack, as included by Traxxas. The sides of the chassis are taller than on the Slash 4X4, which creates more of a tub look. The bottom of the chassis is smooth and everything is well protected. Traxxas threw the legions of Stampede fans a bone and designed the body mounts to work with existing Stampede shells.
Tires, wheels and body
The Stampede 4X4 VXL includes a prepainted ProGraphix Lexan pickup body. The styling of body and the graphics has a contemporary look, and the body comes already stickered. Traxxas throws in a full sticker sheet, so you can add your own personal touch. The tires are
Traxxas all-terrain Talon tires that include foam inserts and come preglued to black-chrome All-Star 2.8-in. wheels with 12mm hexes.
An upside-down servo connects to a dual bellcrank steering setup that features a built-in servo-saver. The steering links are “captured” at both ends for added strength. Like the camber links, the turnbuckle steering links are steel 4mm. The rod ends are also heavy duty. Bump steer is also adjustable.
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