Traxxas Spartan upgrades
Here is the good news: the Spartan is easily capable of the 50+ mph that the manufacturer claims. The bad news is that it isn't going to happen with what is in the box. I had to make some changes to the boat in order to get it to run fast without burning it out on 6s worth of LiPo batteries. Thankfully, none of the upgrades I did were terribly expensive. 50+ mph can be had for an investment of $30. For around $50, you can get 60+mph easily, reliably, and without having to worry about smoking the ESC or the motor.
This is the Spartan's Achilles Heel. The stock cooling arrangement is too narrow to allow much water to go through it, and since it is arranged in series, rather than in parallel, the motor ends up being 'cooled' with hot water. The silicone cooling jacket on the motor just makes things worse, because when hot water is forced into it under pressure, it leaks, which fills the interior of the hull with water. The first fix that needs to happen is to bore out the water pickup and the outlet. I step drilled the pickup and the nipple at the top of the rudder out to .096". When that was done, I drilled a hole in the outlet wide enough to fit a piece of 5/32" brass tube through. This will allow water to easily enter and exit the boat. Next, I stopped by the LHS and picked up 3 feet of 5/32" I.D. Tygon tubing and a pair of 'T' fittings. The Tygon tubing is a little stiffer than the silicone, so it is less prone to getting kinked. I drilled out the hole for the cooling line just enough so that I could get the larger tubing through, and used small zip ties to secure the ends of the tubing to the fittings. This is where the 'T' fittings come in. Once the tube is inside the hull, hook up a fitting so that fresh water will enter the speed controller and the motor separately. Use the other fitting to join the lines just before the outlet. I tried using RTV silicone to seal the stock cooling jacket to the motor, but this failed in short order and the jacket started leaking again. Realizing that a half-assed fix wasn't going to get the job done, I went out and bought an aluminum cooling jacket from OffshoreElectrics.com. It fits perfectly, and it keeps the motor from overheating. You will know the cooling system is working properly when you see water streaming from the outlet while you are running the boat.
To augment the stability of the boat at speed, I purchased and installed a set of trim tab adjusters. The trim tabs will help to alter the pitch of the boat, but at high speeds, you may see the nose of the boat start to bob up and down. The trim tab adjusters will help offset this by preventing the trim tabs from flexing while the boat is running.
I went ahead and sharpened the turn fins with a bench grinder and purchased an aftermarket prop, and that is about it.
One other final tip, glue a piece of foam to the underside of the hatch. The hatch lacks positive flotation and it will sink if it comes off. Don't ask me how I discovered this.
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