Important Tips: How to build a rock crawler

There are times when we wonder how a vehicle can overcome seemingly impossible terrains. However, one thing is very certain, no one is born with wheeling expertise. Everyone has to go through the trial and error phase and experienced being a failure in the field. This is the reason why we have come up with this article. We aim to give you the basics and important tips in building the best RC Crawlers including the tricks to overcome such difficult obstacles.

Now, we will discuss first the latest rage, the rock crawling. It may have little resemblance to the recreational crawling but there are variety of things which can be pointed out as their differences. Rock crawlers use low gearing and suspension articulation to go over treacherous terrains which allows the rock crawlers to access far flung locations such as camping spots, hot springs and fishing holes which a common driver could never anticipate of reaching. The following sections are the the rc car guide for beginners which tackles driving tips and build suggestions that will help you become an effective rock crawler.

Locking Differentials

This force both tires to turn at the same time and at the same rate irrespective of being in the air or is wedged against a ledge. Selectable lockers uses air or electricity to switch from an open differential to a fully locked differential with the flip of a switch. Automatic lockers live up its name since it does not require additional input from the driver. Selectable lockers can be unlocked for street use or for improved turning but they are more expensive compared to automatic lockers.

Low Gearing

Gearing is as important as the horsepower as it is needed in order to maintain control. This will allow one to overcome terrain without the tires losing traction on the rocks. Crawl ratio can be computed by multiplying the first gear ratio of transmission by the low gear of the transfer case by the gear ratio in the differential. A lower crawl ration can be achieved thorough a lot of ways including lower differential gears, dual transfer cases or using a transfer case with a lower range. Automatic transmissions are ideally set in ratios 75:1 while manual transmissions usually requires closer to 150:1.


Airing down the Tires

30 psi may be appropriate for the street but it results to a rough ride and traction reduction in the rocks. Airing the tires down to lower pressure will allow a wider contact patch and better conformation to the terrain. It is also recommended not to air down the tires to single digits unless it can be back up at the end of the trail and if there are bead locks that will keep the tires on the rim.


Maintaining all four tires on the ground increases stability and safety to the vehicle. Nowadays, it is more recommended and trendy to have a balanced suspension flex front and rear with coil overs, triangulated for links and sway bars.

Keep the Tires on Top of the Rocks

It is very important to keep the tires on top of the rocks to prevent getting high centered or damage the undercarriage. This will allow one to be able to take care of the vehicle’s parts and maintain its performance. This will also protect the vehicle owner’s pocket from spending too much on something that can be avoided in the first place.

Consider Additional Features for Armors

It is also recommended to use additional features in choosing armors such as front bumpers that can accept a winch, rear bumpers which double as spare tire carriers and skid plates which provides for extra ground clearance. Preferably, the tires should be the furthest thing forward and back. Also, forget the flimsy tubular nerf bars and bumpers as they only bend easily and rob ground clearance.

Heavy Duty Axles and Driveshafts

Heavier duty axles are a lot wider and increases stability. However, it is also very important to consider the preferred tire size before regearing or adding lockers to the axles if you think that it may not be enough to withstand the intended use.

Driveshafts are also very essential. Those driveshafts that has larger u-joints and heavier wall ensures that all the torque are transmitted to the axles from the transfer case.

Don’t forget Using a Spotter

Using a spotter will definitely calm the nerves of the driver as it will allow him to see the tires, differentials and rocks from vantage point. It is best that there is a clear communication between the driver and a single spotter to avoid confusions.


Choosing a Wheelbase

This is one of the trickiest part since it really depends on the intended terrains to traverse and their locations. Always remember that whatever works on huge dry climbs on the Southwest part isn’t necessarily recommended for the tight tree-lined trails of the Pacific Northwest. One thing that also should be considered is the drivetrain length. It should also be noted that dual transfer cases and automatic transmissions can contribute to severe driveshaft angles in wheelbase vehicles.

Relax and Take it Easy

Low gears and locking differentials conduct a remarkable amount of torque through the axles. A lot of times, the axles break before traction gives way most especially when trying to force the tires over the ledges and rocks. Normally, the drivetrain will bind and the engine stalls before reaching the breaking point. Instead of forging ahead and attempt a different line before breakage transpires. There are also cases when leaf springs for the rear axle hops as the torque twists the springs which causes for the shock loads that can destroy and kill the axles. This is something that should be avoided at all costs.

Above are the few things that will not only allow one to take care of their individual units but also allow them to save time and money. In addition, this article has discussed a lot of things that will improve the performance of the vehicles and give them boost as they overcome difficult terrains.


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