Traxxas Rustler Suspension Setup: A 5-Step Guide

Traxxas Rustler Suspension Setup: A 5-Step Guide
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Last Updated on October 11, 2021 by Mesbah Sakib

Without a proper suspension, keeping a Truggy stable is a pipe dream. That’s why for extreme bashing, hobbyists sometimes have to set up and tune suspension themselves. 

So, how to do a proper Traxxas Rustler Suspension Setup

First, you’ve to install the tires and set up the camber. When finished, install the shocks. After that, you can position and adjust the shocks and roll center. Lastly, you’ve to set up the sway bars and properly tune the rustler. 

However, this is only a preview of the whole DIY process and doesn’t cover everything. That’s why we’ve discussed each step with details below. 

So, let’s not wait any longer and jump right on the wagon –  

Traxxas Rustler Suspension Parts

The suspension is the most complex body part combined with many smaller parts. Without a proper suspension, driving would be impossible. 

So, how many parts are included in the Traxxas Rustler front suspension diagram?

Traxxas Rustler suspension parts consist of 12 parts. The stub axle and steering block determine a car’s steering abilities. Shocks allow more versatility and ground clearance. Finally, correct shock positioning and the sway bars keep a car stabilized. 

To give you a heads up, we’ve discussed the important components in short – 

  • Stub Axle: This component has a wheel hex that supports the wheels. Generally, a 1:10 and 1:8 scale RC vehicle has a 12 mm and 17 mm wheel hex respectively. 
  • Steering block: The steering block turns the wheel left or right. It’s connected to the stub axle directly. On a 4WD vehicle, it’s called a steering knuckle. 
  • Suspension arm: The skeleton of the suspension system. It supports all the other components such as turnbuckles, stub axles, shocks, etc. 
  • Turnbuckle: A turnbuckle controls the tension of the suspension arm. It’s connected to the pivot balls which pivot the arm upwards or downwards. 
  • Camber Link: The connection between the turnbuckle and the pivot balls. There are two types of links; fixed and adjustable. 
  • Sway Bar: A sway bar is a connection between two suspension arms. It helps the arm stay leveled when cornering. 
  • Shock Tower: Shock towers allow the vehicle to have shock absorbers. It’s usually attached to the upper side of the bulkhead. 
  • Shock Absorbers: The component that dampens the bump by absorbing it. 

These are all the Traxxas Rustler suspension parts that you’ll need to know. We’re going to adjust and set up these parts to suit your needs. 

How to Set Up A Traxxas Rustler? 

We’ve already mentioned the process will be a bit lengthy. However, no need to panic! We’ve simplified the overall DIY into 4 steps and explained multiple options.   

So, let’s keep calm and focus on each step at a time-  

Gather The Necessary Tools 

Here’s a list of all the tools you’re going to need – 

  • Turnbuckle wrench 
  • Camber Gauge
  • Toe Gauge
  • Shock Spacers 

If you have the box that came with your Traxxas Rustler, you already own the wrench and shock spacers. But you can always buy and get better ones.

Step-1: Adjust The Cambers

Camber represents the verticality of a vehicle’s wheels. Cambers are applied to achieve better load distribution while turning around a corner. 

There are three types of camber angles; zero, positive and negative. 

A camber angle is modified by loosening or tightening a turnbuckle. A positive camber has a larger turnbuckle than a negative one.

With that said, let’s get started – 

  1. First, get the wrench and camber gauge. Measure the camber angle. 
  2. Attach the wrench to the turnbuckle and turn it counter-clockwise to loosen it. Do the opposite to tighten the turnbuckle. 
  3. Measure with the camber gauge until you get the desired angle.

Generally, 2 degrees to 5 degrees are both great for positive and negative camber angles. 

Step-2: Modify The Lower Shock Position

Imagine a lever and a fulcrum and there’s a heavy box on it. Now, if the box is closer to the fulcrum, you’ll need less strength to pull the lever upwards. 

Similarly, a suspension arm has 5 shock absorber inputs carved on it left to right. The most inward shock input lets the shock sit closest to the shock tower. 

So, it becomes easier for the Traxxas Rustler suspension arms to easily travel up/down. This results in softer springs and lesser dampening force. 

On the other hand,  putting the shock input near the wheel will cause higher dampening. 

Here’s a small table to save you some time – 

Lower Shock InputSuspension TravelDamping Force Application
Most OutwardLowestHighestRacing
OutwardLowerHigherRacing
MiddleModerateModerateRacing/Bashing
InwardHigherLowerBashing
Most InwardHighestLowestBashing

Now you can adjust your shock position easily according to your need. 

Also, you can soften the suspension which will let you adjust the damping force. 

Step-3: Increase Overall Ground Clearance 

Running a good shock setup requires an appropriate ground clearance/ride height. Usually, ground clearance or ride height is adjusted via shocks. 

So, what’s a proper Traxxas Rustler shock setup

The Rustler comes with multiple spacers that can be used to increase or decrease the height. You can use these to get better ground clearance. But a higher ride height increases suspension travel at the cost of grip. 

Here’s how you can adjust your ride height very easily – 

  1. First, get some shock spacers that you’ve been provided when buying the Rustler. They are also very cheap to get as well.
  2. Pull the spring down and insert the spacer. There are different sizes of spacers you can get. Add multiple spacers if necessary till you reach the desired height. 

Here we’ve made a small chart of what shock setup you may want to run – 

Ride HeightGripCamberApplication
Below Driveshaft HigherNegativeRacing
DriveshaftSlightly HigherNegativeRacing
ArmsSlightly LowerSlightly NegativeRacing/Bashing
Above ArmsLowerZero/PositiveBashing

As you can see, a lower ride height vehicle is better at cornering. On the contrary, more ground clearance offers more space and easier steering. 

So, keep testing different setups and you’ll eventually find the right one for you. 

Step-4: Use The Correct Oil 

The damping force relies on oil as the piston needs to be lubricated at all times. So, choosing the wrong shock oil for your vehicle might result in worn-out shocks. 

So, what is the best oil according to the Traxxas shock oil chart? 

Traxxas recommends using 20-40 wt oil for scale and trail applications. However, you’re better off using 30-50 wt oil for general purposes. Finally, anything between 60-80 wt will do the job for extreme racing or high jumps. 

Choosing the best RC shock oil weight can improve performance significantly. So, we recommend using 30-50 wt oil because it suits both casual and extreme applications. 

Step-5: Adjusting The Sway Bars 

When cornering, inertia causes the chassis to roll away which makes the outward arm go upwards. This causes the other arm to go downwards which causes an imbalance. 

So, a sway bar restricts that movement by linking both arms. When the outer arm goes upwards, a sway bar transfers some force to the inside arm. 

A stiffer sway bar will cause understeering as it creates too much anti-roll effect. 

On the other hand, a softer sway bar will make your car oversteer. 

We’ve added a small table to give you an overview – 

ConditionFront Sway BarsRear Sway Bars
Reduce UndersteeringSoftenStiffen
Reduce OversteeringStiffenSoften
Higher Grip StiffenStiffen
Lower Grip SoftenSoften
Extreme Terrain RemoveRemove

Now, you can set up your sways bar according to your needs.

Even the best RC crawler shocks will perform even better with proper sway bars. So, keep testing until you get the best result.

FAQs

Question: How do you adjust the shocks on a Traxxas?

Answer: Traxxas provides different sizes of spacers to adjust shocks. Pull the spring down and insert the spacer. Add multiple spacers if necessary till you reach the desired height. 

Question: How do you make shocks stiffer?

Answer: There are multiple ways to make shocks stiffer. However, using a thicker oil is the easiest. If you’re interested in tuning then you can change the shock positions. Positioning the shocks near the wheels will stiffen the shocks. 

Question: What is shock oil weight?

Answer: Shock oil weight indicates the thickness of the oil. Racing cars require lesser shock oil weight. On the other hand, bashers require thicker oil to withstand extreme bumps. Doing high jumps with any basher also requires thicker oil. 

Take Away

And that’s all you’ve to do to complete a Traxxas Rustler suspension setup. Hopefully, you’ve found what you’re looking for. 

Remember that all of these require a lot of testing. So, change one thing at a time and take your car out for a ride. 

Finally, best of luck, and may you set up the perfect suspension! 

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