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Modding the Kyosho Mad Crusher

Modding the Kyosho Mad Crusher

The Mad Crusher (MC for short) is the latest version of Kyosho’s solid-axle truck, and I tested the nitro-powered beast back in the April 2018 issue. Fun truck, but once that review was done, I wanted to make some modifications to improve its performance and durability. After messing around with the platform a little, I came up with the modifications that you see here. Check it out!

I like the look of the body that came with the Mad Crusher, but it’s pretty big and that extra Lexan along with the injection-molded parts on it raise the truck’s center of gravity. I put the stock body aside and replaced it with a Ford F-250 body from Pro-Line. It’s much lighter, and I really like how it looks. I trimmed the body, and while it was clear, I marked the body post holes along with the engine holes so that I could cut them out without damaging my paint job.

The MC’s 5-link suspension is a big improvement over the 2-link setup of the past, but it’s more complex than it needs to be because the parallel links don’t keep the axles centered under the chassis. To do that job, the MC gets a Panhard bar on each axle. To simplify the suspension, I removed the Panhard bars and triangulated a pair of links for each axle. To do this, I swapped the front axle’s suspension mounts and attached the upper links to the outside of the mounts, and triangulated the lower links to keep the axle from moving side to side. A few 1/4-inch spacers between the link and chassis and the link and axle mount were all that I needed. On the rear end, I simply triangulated the lower links. A nice thing about the front suspension mod is that it tucks in the links and provides more steering clearance for the front tires. The one downside to this mod is that you can’t use the optional Kyosho swaybars to keep the chassis flat under acceleration because the links and swaybar rods interfere with each other.

See that bar going across the front of the Mad Crusher? That’s a Panhard bar, and it’s there to keep the axle from moving from side to side.

I triangulated the lower links to elimi­nate side-to-side movement, and that let me remove the stock Panhard bar.

The Mad Crusher wheelies like a funny car, and the included wheelie bar gets a workout. It’s effective, but nonadjustable and rigidly mounted. Kyosho’s optional version allows the wheel to be angled down for reduced wheelie height, and the arm that holds the wheel is spring-loaded via rubber O-rings to improve control when the wheelie bar slams into the ground.

Here’s the stock wheelie bar.

Kyosho’s optional wheelie bar looks great and improves wheelie control.

The MC uses dogbone driveshafts throughout the drivetrain, which work just fine. Run ’em until they wear out, then get Kyosho’s optional universal-joint versions (or just get them now, like I did). They operate more efficiently and last longer than the dogbones, and the center units are rebuildable.

The universal-joint shafts are easy to install.

When testing the Mad Crusher, I found that the brakes work very well—almost too well. If you’re not careful when applying the brake, the truck can actually tip up on its nose. The brake lever itself is pretty short, and the reduced throw applies the brake quickly. I softened the feel of the brake by lengthening the brake lever as far as it would go. The longer throw required to apply the brake will increase the brake range and, therefore, make the brakes less aggressive.

A longer brake lever is all you need to smooth out the feel of the brakes.

The MC’s air filter is shrouded to keep water splashes from getting into the engine. Since I don’t plan on driving through puddles, I cut away the shroud with body scissors to fully expose the air-filter element. While I had the air filter apart, I cleaned and re-oiled the foam element.

The stock filter (left) has a cover to keep water from getting in the air filter but reduces airflow. The fully exposed filter (right) assures maximum airflow.

The MC’s stock plastic shocks feel fine but can be a weak point under hard use—and this truck is all about hard use. The plastic bodies can weaken from flexing, and the caps can pull off in a crash more easily than with metal shocks. I replaced mine with Kyosho’s aluminum units. In addition to greater durability and longer service life, the anodized shocks score extra trick points with piggyback reservoirs built into the caps. The reservoirs are functional and give the oil displaced by the shafts someplace to go when the shock compresses. They also look much better than stock, and you can never go wrong with parts that look great.

Kyosho’s Mad Crusher comes with plastic threaded-body shocks (left) and they get the job done, but the optional Kyosho aluminum dampers (right) are more durable and very smooth thanks to their reservoirs.

Kyosho |
Front C-universal shaft—MAW016, $42
Rear C-universal shaft—MAW017, $42
PBR oil shock set—MAW018, $89 (pair)
Universal swing shaft set—MAW019, $56 (pair)
CNC wheelie tire set—MAW020, $100

Pro-Line |
2008 Ford F-250 clear body—3252-00, $37

I was a fan of the Mad Crusher in stock form, but now it’s even better. The hardest part of this transformation was figuring out how to 4-link the suspension; in the end, the effort was worth it. Eventually, I’ll work on making a custom swaybar for the truck to keep that chassis a little flatter. The shocks look great and perform well, the brakes are much easier to control, and the truck has more power and is able to deliver that power more efficiently. And how great does that new body look? I couldn’t ask for anything more.

TEXT & PHOTOS BY Kevin Hetmanski

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Updated: November 7, 2019 — 9:39 AM

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