LIVING LARGE – Exploring the Trails with Axial’s Monster-Sized SCX6 Jeep JLU Wrangler

LIVING LARGE – Exploring the Trails with Axial’s Monster-Sized SCX6 Jeep JLU Wrangler

It is said to build something up better, sometimes you need to put it through its paces and break it down first. In the case of Axial’s SCX6, I had a hard time breaking it down—even after running on some rougher-than-rough trails. In fact, I was unable to manage the feat even when I ran it on a 1:1-scale trail. Instead, I decided just to bypass the breaking-down part and fully lean into building it up.

I had put relentless hours of trail time on my SCX6 JLU Wrangler in its completely stock form. After some major trail runs and bash sessions, the large vehicle hasn’t flinched a bit. I didn’t break anything on it, but it had plenty of trail rash and has waded through its fair share of water crossings, so an overhaul was much needed.

LIVING LARGE - Exploring the Trails with Axial’s Monster-Sized SCX6 Jeep JLU Wrangler

Seeing as how I was going to tear it completely down for maintenance inspection anyway, it was an ideal time to add a bunch of upgrades from Treal Hobby that I’ve been meaning to install. I have used their parts in the past on smaller-scale vehicles, and I was curious if the more substantially sized SCX6 parts would be as good. Spoiler alert: They are awesome. Check them out in the accompanying hop-up guide.

Bigger is certainly more impressive and in many ways more realistic looking too.

GIANT CRAWLER

At an impressive 1/6 scale, the ready-to-run SCX6 Jeep JLU Wrangler brings a whole new size to RC crawling. Perfect for fans of full-size Jeep vehicles, rock crawling, large-scale models, overlanding or all of the above, we think you’ll be excited to see the amount of realistic detail and high-performance functionality Axial packed into it.

The SCX6 JLU measures nearly three feet in length and 15 inches tall and has a presence that’s as powerful as the performance it dishes out. The SCX6 chassis is engineered for extreme durability and performance and is equipped with AR90 axles for overly capable crawling characteristics. The Jeep’s durable, three-piece axle housing is reinforced by a molded truss up top and extra triangulation below, making this a solidly built, rugged design.

The SCX6’s stock Spektrum electronics were augmented with a couple of Reefs RC’s servos.

The SCX6’s stock Spektrum electronics were augmented with a couple of Reefs RC’s servos.

The SCX6’s scaled down yet fully-capable BFGoodrich KM3 tires are wrapped over 2.9’’ Treal beadlock CNC machined wheels.

The SCX6’s scaled down yet fully-capable BFGoodrich KM3 tires are wrapped over 2.9’’ Treal beadlock CNC machined wheels.

The chassis also has a three-link Panhard front and four-link rear suspension setup. The front suspension has been optimized to reduce bump steer, while the rear four-link reduces torque twist. It also helps with steep off-camber climbs by having the proper amount of anti-squat and roll characteristics. The four-link system also aids against suspension wrap-up in high-power applications. All the links, including the steering units, are made of metal.

The transmission offers high and low gears out of the box, with a Spektrum S614 Metal-Gear Servo installed to manipulate the two-speed linkage. While the SCX6 is large, it still fits conveniently into the trunk of your real-life Jeep, car or truck for easy transport to anywhere you want to crawl it. We recommend taking it out to rock gardens and hiking trails to really give it a good run. It’s not hard to admire how well the scale Jeep JLU Wrangler body reproduces its full-size counterpart.

Suspension is key to crawling and the SCX6 comes equipped for some serious trail runs thanks to its factory-installed adjustable coilover shocks. The oil-filled shocks have aluminum threaded bodies and a single coilover spring. The shocks are tunable for achieving the best dampening rate. The large bore size creates more fluid volume for better performance. Additional mounting points allow you to further fine-tune your suspension settings.

“The SCX6 chassis is engineered for extreme durability and performance...”

“The SCX6 chassis is engineered for extreme durability and performance…”

Functioning LED headlights and taillights built into the Jeep add even more scale realism and let you keep running even after it gets dark. Massive, 7-inch-tall officially licensed BFGoodrich KM3 tires come factory stock and provide excellent grip and ground clearance for dirt, rocks, and all other off-road surfaces. They’re mounted on licensed Black Rhino “Primm” injection-molded, three-piece beadlock wheels so that the tires can be removed and replaced easily without gluing.

A Spektrum DX3 radio comes with this RTR Jeep. Together with the installed Firma Crawler 120A Sensored Brushless Smart ESC, it also comes ready to deliver the telemetry advantages of exclusive Spektrum Smart technology. Installing a Spektrum Smart LiPo battery allows you to view vehicle battery capacity on the transmitter’s voltage level indicator. If you’d like even more information about how your SCX6 is running, an optional Spektrum BT2000 Bluetooth module can be installed in the radio. In conjunction with the free Spektrum Dashboard app on your smart device, you’ll have access to Smart real-time telemetry. If almost feels like there’s more tech in the scaled-down JLU than the real thing.

Just like a real Jeep, the 1/6-scale Wrangler is fully capable. Just admire that suspension flex.

Just like a real Jeep, the 1/6-scale Wrangler is fully capable. Just admire that suspension flex.

THE PLAN

Back to my Wrangler upgrade plan. Initially the build plan for the SCX6 was to give it the cool topless Jeep look that everyone goes for, maybe shaving some weight along the way. Well, that quickly went out the window. I randomly stumbled on a Facebook post by a great fabricator named Elio Dianda. He was selling his awesome overlanding-style JLU body to move on to a different look. I scooped it up, and Project Livin’ Large was born.

Having a large 1/6-scale truck allows details that would otherwise be too small to include in other scales. Elio custom welded a rack, light bar, ladder, rock rails and flat tube fenders out of stainless steel. He also custom painted the body an OD green and added an awesome driver figure and roof-top tent complete with solar panel and camo fabric. This body is seriously detailed.

The upgrades seen here include Treal Hobby’s brass diff cover and aluminum axle housing.

The upgrades seen here include Treal Hobby’s brass diff cover and aluminum axle housing.

This SCX6 features Axial coilover shocks that are mounted to Treal Hobby shock towers.

This SCX6 features Axial coilover shocks that are mounted to Treal Hobby shock towers.

The SCX6 is not lightweight, weighing in at 25 pounds from the factory. Fully loaded with all the new upgrades, dual batteries and the custom Elio body, the already-heavy SCX6 now weighed in at 49 pounds. It carried enough weight to make the foam-filled tires seriously looked aired-down like a real rig’s would be. The extra weight does give the JLU a more realistic look as it moves over rough terrain. It acts exactly like a 1:1-scale overweight trail rig, making full use of all the suspension travel and with all the body roll, complete with disconnected sway bar and squeaky bushings.

LIVING LARGE - Exploring the Trails with Axial’s Monster-Sized SCX6 Jeep JLU Wrangler

UPGRADED

With the essentially flat tires and about 25 pounds sitting on top of the front axle, the stock servo just laughed at me when I tried to steer in any direction. Luckily, Reefs RC must have known I was going to do something dumb (or brilliant, depending on how you look at it) like building a 49-pound trail rig, and already produced a monster servo called the Beast 2000. This servo deserves its own review, but let’s just say the name is fitting. It truly is a beast. Built for 1/5-scale vehicles, the Beast 2000 boasts a max torque rating of an incredible 2,000 ounces when powered by 16.8V. Along with the Beast 2000, a Reefs RC 422HDv2 servo was also installed to help handle the SCX6’s two-speed shifting duties.

Our SCX6 conquered muddy trails without any issue.

Our SCX6 conquered muddy trails without any issue.

With all the other electronics onboard being the factory stock Spektrum loadout, I opted to add a first-generation Spektrum LiPo battery that is equipped with a balance port so I could run direct power to the Reefs Beast 2000 servo. Running power directly to the servo eliminates having to run a BEC or anything additional to extract full power from it. Running two batteries isn’t necessary, but I don’t want to carry 49 pounds of rig back to the car or have an additional battery in my pocket, either. Besides, the additional battery also helps balance the Jeep out.

LIVING LARGE - Exploring the Trails with Axial’s Monster-Sized SCX6 Jeep JLU Wrangler

Speaking of electronics, you will notice that the SCX6 has an array of LED lights on it much like several other vehicles in the Axial lineup, like the SCX24 Ford Bronco we featured in the previous issue. The lights are bright and the additional Pro-Line light bar mounted above the windshield easily lights up the trail when you’re making your way back to base camp after dark.

LIVING LARGE - Exploring the Trails with Axial’s Monster-Sized SCX6 Jeep JLU Wrangler

FINAL WORD

All in, this Jeep is pretty dialed and really capable. It will be part of the events roadshow RCCA is doing this year and can be seen in person at both of the Axialfest events as well as Pro-Line By The Fire 2022. I’m looking forward to building another one… maybe a lightweight version the next time around.


Text and Images by Leigh Guarnieri
Source:
Axial Racing axialracing.com
Horizon Hobby horizonhobby.com

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Updated: September 2, 2022 — 1:42 AM
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