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1/8 Scale Nitro Monster Truck:

HPI Savage XL 5.9 (Radio Controlled Model Review)


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History, Info (and How To Set-up Tips) for the HPI Savage XL 5.9:


  Introduced by HPI (Hobby Products International) in 2010, an upgraded Savage XL 5.9 (Extra Large) - # 104246 - was produced with a 2.4Ghz radio system and a third version of the Savage XL 5.9 - # 112601 - was produced in 2014 with improved gearing and "Big Bore" dampers.

  The HPI Racing model is shaft driven, on a 3mm TVP vertical frame chassis, with gear type differentials, 8 x coil spring over oil filled dampers, dogbone drive-shafts, 3-speed transmission and a full set of ball bearings.

HPI Savage XL 5.9 - 1:8 Nitro Monster Truck
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  To race the HPI Savage XL 5.9, it must be fine tuned to improve handling, provide responsive steering and give you the grip to cruise around corners at high speed, without slipping off the track. Small adjustments can make a Big difference and our step by step procedure, will guide you to the best Set-up for your individual driving style.

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★ HPI Racing Savage XL 5.9 Chassis ★
HPI Savage XL 5.9 Chassis - 1:8 Nitro Monster Truck

★ HPI Racing Savage XL 5.9 ★
HPI Racing Savage XL 5.9


Buying a Used HPI Savage XL 5.9
Monster Truck (and What to look for)


   Buying a used HPI Savage XL 5.9 Nitro Monster Truck, or any used RC Model, has a number of advantages. It is generally cheaper than new, ready built and may come with a variety of expensive hop-ups already installed. Cheap, pre-loved bargains are always becoming available. However, depending on the age of your purchase, it may need a little tender loving care before you can take it out on the back yard.

   The one thing you will always need is an instruction manual. If not supplied with your purchase, they can often be downloaded from the HPI website, or purchased separately on eBay. With an instruction manual, any problems with your model Monster Truck you may discover can easily be fixed.

Dampers
   When you receive your used HPI Monster Truck, make a general visual inspection of the chassis, front and rear wishbones, suspension shock towers etc, for any broken parts that may need to be replaced. Then, take a screwdriver and box spanner and check each self tapping screw and nut for security, taking care not to over tighten.

   Next, for those HPI models with oil filled shock absorbers, remove them from the chassis and dismantle the coil springs. The damper shafts should push in and pull out with a smooth action. If you feel a jolt as you change direction, this means the oil has leaked out and must be topped up. At the same time, change the O-Ring seals to prevent more leakage. Also check the damper shafts for damage. If they are scratched, change them as soon as possible.

   If the body shell of your HPI Savage XL 5.9 is broken, ripped or damaged in any way, this can be easily repaired with rubber solution glue. Also, for added protection and if available for your Savage XL 5.9 model, fit an under guard to stop dirt and gravel entering the chassis.

Titanium Turnbuckles
   Examine the drive shafts for wear and replace as required. If possible, change them for titanium. The steel shafts wear and bend too easily.

   If you intend to race your Savage XL 5.9 Monster Truck model at a competitive level, I would also recommend you obtain and fit titanium pivot shafts, turnbuckles, tie rods and steering rods.

   The gearbox of your used Monster Truck should be opened up to check for gear wear and lubrication. A thin coat of grease is often used on internal gears and although this is fine for basic running around on the back yard, if you intend to race your Monster Truck at a higher level, this should be removed and replaced with racing oil (ZX1 or Teflon Oil). Of course, this should be reapplied after each race meeting.

Spur Gears
   Gears are a weakness on all Monster Truck RC models. Head on collisions can easily damage the gear teeth on nylon and plastic spur gears. Heavy impacts can also loosen the nuts or self tapping screws that hold the Nitro Engine in Position, allowing the pinion gear to pull out of mesh slightly and rip the tops off the teeth on your spur gear. To minimise this possibility, fit bolts with locking nuts to the Nitro Engine mount and remember to check them for security after every two or three runs.

   Ball joints always cause problems. For top level Nitro Monster Truck racing, the plastic ball connectors should be checked and if deemed necessary changed after every meeting. A simple thing like a loose fitting connector popping off could easily end your race, so better safe than sorry.

Servo Gears
   The Savage XL 5.9 steering servo is also prone to damage. In high speed crash situations, the fragile gear teeth of the servo can be broken off, rendering your expensive servo useless, so be sure to obtain a good quality "Servo Saver". Check out my Servo Information article.

   If body roll on your HPI Savage XL 5.9 is a problem, handling can be improved with the use of stabilizers, anti roll or sway bars, stiffer tuning springs and, or, thicker silicone oil in the dampers.

Ball Bearings
   If your used HPI Monster Truck comes with plastic and sintered brass bushings (ring type bearings), check the shafts that run in them for wear. Dust and grit can get into these bearings and abrade the shafts. Therefore, you should replace them all with shielded ball bearings. If the model has been run with ring type bearings, you may have to change all the axles and driveshafts. For more information, take a look at my article, How to get the best from your Bearings.

   Finally, good luck with your Savage XL 5.9 model and good racing.




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Manufacturers and Brands Catalogued and Listed by RC-Scrapyard.


   At present, the RC Model Manufacturers, Brands and Distributors covered by us are: ABC Hobby, Academy, Acme Racing, Agama Racing, Amewi, Ansmann Racing, ARRMA, Team Associated, Atomic RC, Axial, AYK, Bolink, BSD Racing, Capricorn, Carisma, Carson, Caster Racing, Cen, Corally, Custom Works, Durango, Duratrax, ECX - Electrix, Exceed RC, FG Modellsport, FS-Racing, FTX, Fujimi, Gmade, GS-Racing, Harm, HBX, Helion, Heng Long, Himoto Racing, Hirobo, Hitari, Hobao, Hong-Nor, Hot Bodies, HPI, HSP, Intech, Integy, Jamara, JQ Products, Kawada, Kyosho, Losi, LRP, Maisto, Mardave, Marui, Maverick, MCD Racing, Megatech, Mugen, New Bright, Nichimo, Nikko, Nkok, Ofna, Pro-Pulse, Protech, PTI, RC4WD, Redcat Racing, RJ-Speed, Robitronic, Schumacher, Seben, Serpent, Smartech, Sportwerks, Step-Up, Tamiya, Team-C Racing, Team Magic, Thunder Tiger, Tomy, Top Racing, Traxxas, Trinity, Tyco, Vaterra RC, Venom, VRX Racing, WLToys, X-Factory, Xmods, Xpress, Xray, XTM, Yankee RC, Yokomo, ZD Racing and Zipzaps.

   This is an ongoing project, with new and "lost in time" RC Model Brands being added as they are found and although most of those listed above have been covered in relative detail, some are still being researched and will be completed in the near future.


















Hints and Tips

Ackerman

   So What is Ackerman?

   If you place your car on a table facing away from you and turn the steering to full lock to the left, you will notice the angle the left hand wheel has turned is more than that of the right hand wheel. That is the Ackerman effect.

   Moving your car to the edge of the table, with the wheels still on full lock, push it round a complete circle. What you will notice, is the diameter of the circle made by the inside wheel, is smaller than that of the outside wheel. This is a good thing.

   Consider what would happen if both wheels turned to the same angle. In this example, the inside wheel would have a tendency to drag sideways, making the car unstable and difficult to drive.

   The standard kit setting on the majority of RC Model cars, are generally pretty good for beginners, but when your experience increases, you will find out just what tuning your Ackerman can do for your driving style and why it can be helpful when setting up your car for any particular track.

   Some of the cheaper RC Models have fixed position steering links. Others have various methods to change Ackerman settings, like changing shims under the ball connector etc. These days, most modern cars allow you to adjust your Ackerman by lengthening or shortening the links by simply removing two screws and repositioning the links in relation to the front suspension arms.

   Lengthening the links, by adjusting the pivot points of the steering arms back towards the centre line of the rear axle, will give you Less Ackerman, providing you with more aggressive steering as you enter a corner. Useful on slippery tracks, to counter when the car tends to slide to the outside of the corner as you first turn into it.

   Shortening the links, by adjusting the pivot points of the steering arms more forward of the centre line of the rear axle, will give you More Ackerman, making cornering less aggressive, more predictable and improving car stability, better for high grip tracks, with smooth sweeping corners.

   How to implement these adjustments varies from model to model so you will have to refer to your manual for full instructions.

For More Setup Information check out my Hints and Tips page.







Hints and Tips

Tire Inserts

   Once upon a time, all RC model tires were equal they were all trash. None of the old tires had any kind of internal support, because the hard compound they were made of didn't need it. But that was before the newer soft compounds were developed. These new tires were so soft that if some kind of insert was not used they would just lay flat under the weight of the car. Thus, the new science of tire inserts was born.

   The basic soft foam inserts that come with many off-road rubber tires can be in one of two types. They can be basic rings of sponge, or the cheap and nasty strips of sponge. Both will often need some work done to them before they are inserted into the tires.

   Most of the top off-road drivers will carefully trim the edges of each sponge where they make contact with the inside of the tires. The idea is to reduce the effect of any hard edge when the tire hits the ground. If this is beneficial is debatable, but those I talked to said it does improve grip when cornering.

   On-road cars on the other hand have the luxury of only having to make the choice between hard, medium and soft, molded sponge or rubber inserts that fit snugly inside the wheels and I can testify, the effect of these inserts can make a big difference on the track.

   When you get to the race track, the first thing you check is the track temperature. This gives you an insight into which tire to try first. In my hay day, I would use three compounds, soft medium and hard, each prepared, glued to the wheels with soft, medium and hard inserts, so a total of nine sets of wheels with tires and inserts. Depending on the track temperature, my first practice session would be with the medium insert, then depending on the grip I got from those, I would either stick with them or for more grip try the softer insert. If the car had too much grip and a tendency to over-steer I would move on to the harder insert. Once the right tire and insert combination is found, only then I would try other settings to improve the cars handling. Remember, one change at a time.

For More Setup Information check out my Hints and Tips page.










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