Monster Truck Madness – The War Between Wheels and Axles
Hey all, it’s already December and the year is almost over. Time flies, doesn’t it?
I had planned on chatting about something else this week, but I feel I need to follow up on last week’s MTM post in which I answered a reader e-mail who was asking me if I knew a way for him to stop blowing out wheels on the SMT10. You can check that out right here.
I’ve received some feedback where folks think I was taking a shot at the SMT10 for being an un-trusty platform that couldn’t handle abuse. That was not the intent at all and I feel the need to clarify.
First off, the SMT10 is my favorite hobby release of all time, save for the Clod Buster. The moment it was announced in 2016 I put in my pre-order and have been a big supporter ever since. I competed with 3 modded ones throughout the 2018 monster truck racing season and I’m intimately familiar with how a well setup one can perform. My Nuclear Banana Pro-Mod truck has a 6.5t system and has been a tank for me this past year. I love the platform.
My suggestion to Michael, the reader who wrote in, that he needed to tone down his driving style or go and purchase a different independent suspension bashing monster truck was absolutely NOT a dig at the SMT10.
Here’s the thing with all solid axle monster trucks- when machined hop-ups start getting added and the going gets really crazy, the wheels are usually the fail spot. For starters, a 2.6″ tire equipped solid axle truck usually has very big wheels/tires compared to the size of the axle. Using the SMT10 for example, the 12mm hex at the end of the slender AR60 axle can turn into a mechanical punch when the truck lands off-kilter. When you start bulking up the axles to bulletproof them, the increased weight means the punching effect can be more potent.
Most independent suspension monster trucks have A-arm set ups with wide hub carriers. The hexes are larger in most cases as well. This is a much more abuse-friendly setup and is more conducive to safe energy transfer.
Back to the solid axle wheel punching thing- luckily the aftermarket wheels available do a fantastic job of countering this. Both Pro-Line Brawlers and JConcepts Tribute wheels are made of very strong plastic where the majority of hobbyists will never experience getting the centers punched out, even if they are using something like aluminum Vanquish housings.
However, once a mega brushless power plant gets involved and is mixed with copious amounts of big air, well, that’s when the problems can start.
This isn’t an SMT10 issue though, it’s a solid axle monster truck issue. And I don’t just mean r/c! Ever since the full size guys started running 66″ tires in the 80’s, the war between axle and wheel has been waged. This war rages on today, whether you are driving a Wheely King around your yard or Grave Digger in a stadium.
So yes, if you want to heavily modify an SMT10 and bash the daylights out of it then feel free. You can have a lot of fun. Just be prepared for some issues where the wheel meets the knuckle.
Solid axle monster trucks are never going to be easy on wheels and tires. It’s just the nature of the beast! It’s the price they must pay for looking so damn cool. As material technology improves, this will continue to get better. We just aren’t all the way there, yet.
Ok, hopefully this better articulates what I was thinking last week. My post wasn’t meant to dog the SMT10…I just thought that perhaps the right tool wasn’t being used for the job at hand. That’s all.
Solid axle 4 lyf!