Editor’s Note: We take an in-depth look at an RCCA Reader’s Ride and its owner. Peter Lundberg’s journey back into the RC hobby is a fascinating one, he shares his story with us directly.
My RC journey started way back in 1996 with a pair of Tamiya classics—a Clod Buster and a Grasshopper. I spent two years building and modifying those rigs and really enjoyed them. When I went off to college I sold them and kind of lost touch with the hobby.
Fast-forward nineteen years: now married with two kids, I came across an issue of RC Car Action magazine. I was so impressed with how far the hobby had come since back in the day that I read the magazine all the way through twice and found myself hooked all over again.
I went to my local hobby shop and asked for their recommendations on a starter RTR rig that was built for speed. The guys at the shop recommended the Traxxas Stampede 4×4 VXL. I took it home, charged the batteries, and let it rip! I spent the next year upgrading it and eventually got it to reach 60 mph on a 3S Lipo.
In 2017, I came across some crawling competitions on the internet and decided I wanted to put the speed game aside and try out the crawling scene, as I have always been into hiking trails and mountain biking. I have also had a lifelong love of Jeeps so I decided the Axial SCX 10 II was what I needed.
I ordered the RTR version from Tower Hobbies and tracked that package every day, feeling like a little kid again. When it arrived I was stoked! I live close to the beach where we often take our trucks, and that provided me with plenty of inspiration. Many of the Jeeps you see out there have amazing modifications on them; that helped shape the vision I had for this particular project.
I was stoked! I live close to the beach where we often take our trucks, and that provided me with plenty of inspiration. Many of the Jeeps you see out there have amazing modifications on them; that helped shape the vision I had for this particular project.
During the year that followed I came up with a plan for modifications to help the Jeep handle any terrain or weather it would encounter here in New York where I live. Those initial mods included Vanquish Incision driveshafts, Vanquish links, Boom Racing axles, new bumpers, a Warn winch, a light kit by Mytrickrc.com, a bunch of scale accessories from Yeah Racing, a lift kit, and a set of RC4WD tires.
With the Jeep set up like that, I decided to submit it to the Reader Rides section of RC Car Action and it was featured in the September 2018 issue. That was a huge accomplishment for me having just recently gotten back into the hobby, but rather than stop there and call the Jeep finished, that Reader’s Ride spotlight inspired me to take the project further and build my ultimate Jeep crawler.
About that time I also decided to create an Instagram page to document the Jeep and other builds I had since started working on. I put a lot of effort into creating quality content for the page and that paid off when I picked up my first sponsorships from Reef’s RC and CowRC for products I used with the Jeep build. More recently I have also partnered with Gens Ace Batteries, DSM Off-Road, Treal Hobbies, and Carryall RC—all brands I believe in and actually use—and which helped me take the Jeep to the next level.
For inspiration for my ideal crawler I looked at numerous full-size modified jeeps online and in person—especially out on the beach. My plan was to build a lifted, reinforced Jeep with no top that would be trail and competition capable. I started with a green Jeep body that I found on eBay and I began to lay out the plan of modifications.
I wanted to be systematic so I reviewed my notes from the previous year and even watched videos of my Jeep on the trails to figure out exactly what parts needed to be reinforced. I knew I needed more torque as the Jeep struggled on some climbs, and it definitely needed reinforced sliders, higher clearance, a better steering servo, and more solid aluminum and steel parts.
I wanted more top speed as well. I upgraded the servo to a Reef’s RC triple 4 and also added their sliders to protect the chassis. I went with a Futaba 3PV radio for more precise steering adjustment. To give me more hill-climbing torque and better top-end speed I upgraded to a Castle Creations crawler motor paired with a Mamba X ESC, along with a steel spur gear. To keep the tires planted better I installed a set of Pro-Line’s Pro-Spec shocks.
With all of these upgrades the performance on the trail is much better and I am very happy with the overall progress of this build, but I’m not done yet! Next on the list are a Reef’s RC 299LP servo winch and some new wheels and tires.
The Last Word
This industry is fast-paced and ever-changing. My advice to people getting started (or re-started!) in the hobby is pretty simple: Get out there and do it. Build rigs, break rigs, ask questions, join Facebook groups, follow Instagram pages (including mine at Rc_Teamzone), attend local competitions—learn while having fun at the same time!
Text and Images by Peter Lundberg