Breathing new life into a tired old Bandit — and a hobby I once loved.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You can follow along with the build on the Low Class Yuppie Forums! Be sure to join up and say hi!