Monster Truck Madness – With Some Sway
I’ve always been one to get lost in YouTube wormholes, especially when it comes to classic monster truck footage. I recently stumbled upon a video posted by the BIGFOOT 4×4 team that helps back up a point that I’ve been trying to drive home in this space for years- the absolute importance of sway bars on your r/c monster truck.
The hardcore guys will say “well yeah, duh”, but many of the more casual folk that frequent this site don’t quite comprehend how important a set of sway bars actually is to your monster.
The Achille’s Heel of the Axial SMT10, an otherwise great platform, is that it doesn’t come from the factory with a front sway bar, making the truck handle quite poorly until you install one.
On the other end of the spectrum, the brand new Losi LMT has two amazing, heavy-duty sway bars included, which allows it to handle fantastic right from the first yank of the trigger.
What does a sway bar do, exactly? Specifically in a solid axle monster truck? It keeps the chassis level when cornering, countering body roll. Without sway bars, the shocks will load up under a corner and cause the chassis or body to dive to the side, resulting in unstable handling and, many times, a roll-over.
Full size monster trucks use extremely heavy duty sway bars on both the front and rear of the chassis. Some have been known to run double sways on each end as well, to REALLY stiffen the chassis roll.
R/C solid axle monster trucks do the same. If you don’t have them, the chassis behaves like the full size rigs and will cause them to dump over. This is bad.
So, back to the video I referenced earlier. In the early days of tube frame monster trucks, aka “Stage 3 monsters”, the technology was advanced for the time but still in it’s infancy.
The legendary BIGFOOT #8, which was an absolute revolution when it was developed in 1989, was still very unwieldy when it debuted. What was found out to eventually be the culprit? Sway bars that were not NEARLY heavy enough.
The following video shows testing footage of ‘ol #8 and perfectly demonstrates the importance of sway bars. Notice how wobbly the truck is and the resulting pow-wow of some very smart minds (Jim Kramer, Dan Patrick, Bob Chandler and others!) where they discuss how to fix it.
This is similar to how your solid axle truck will run with bum bars! And hey, even if you care nothing about the tech, it’s still a really cool video of testing footage!