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"Vintage" Traxxas Bandit Restoration

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  • "Vintage" Traxxas Bandit Restoration

    You can also follow this build on my blog here:

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    I worked at my hometown hobby shop on and off for about ten years. In that time, I bought and sold more R/C cars than I could ever hope to count. On my last stint there, I had a customer come in with an old body style Traxxas Bandit, complete with a mechanical speed control, Stinger 20T motor, and that all-too-familiar 27MHz AM Traxxas transmitter. They decided to buy a new car for their kids, and I bought their Bandit for around $35, if I remember correctly.

    I was happy to have one, as I've got the shop's old store display Rustler, as well as a Stampede I built from spare parts. Since my girlfriend has been working from home on my laptop, I've been spending a lot more time upstairs working and staring at all of my dusty RC cars. Around the time we moved, I threw myself into writing and I haven't even touched an RC car in at least three years. Now that I've been staring at them every day for the past month, I decided to tidy up the clutter and set up the hobby area I always wanted up here.

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    I figured that this Bandit would be a good place to start -- it doesn't need much, and I have most of the parts already. The body is in relatively good shape. The hole for the front body mount post has widened a bit with age, but it's barely noticeable and the body is still tight with the clips in. Besides, this isn't a high-dollar restoration -- this is a runner that will see its fair share of grass and dirt. I don't plan on making this one a shelf queen.

    All this car really needs is a thorough cleaning, fresh tires, and more modern electronics. I don’t have anything against mechanical speed controls, but since I already have an MSC in my Rustler, I decided to treat this Bandit to a waterproof XL-5 ESC I bought from a long-forgotten hobby shop customer for around $20 several years ago. It’s also getting a Titan 12T left over from my 1:16 Rally Fiesta, and some flavor of 2.4GHz transmitter/receiver combo.

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    Digging through my parts stash, I found an ESC mounting plate/chassis stiffener, a pair of front tires, and a wheelie bar mount. I don’t ever plan on mounting a wheelie bar on this car, but the mount does a great job of stiffening up the rear and protecting the gearbox and motor from impacts. I also found a set of red aluminum shock caps that I had purchased for my Stampede before I decided to go with a different color scheme.

    Aluminum shock caps are a terrific upgrade for the stock Ultra Shocks. Incredibly, the ones on this Bandit still hold fluid, so I won’t be rebuilding them yet. Instead, I’ll just fill them with some fresh Team Associated 35w and screw on these cool red aluminum caps.

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    In the next installment, I’ll be disassembling the Bandit for a thorough cleaning, installing some of my new parts, and ordering more parts for re-assembly. Having spent many evenings and weekends at the hobby shop disassembling, fixing, and reassembling 2WD Traxxas vehicles, I’m glad that I decided to start with this one. It’s all coming back to me now.
    Originally posted by Dan
    My name is Edward