Lifting the Traxxas TRX-4 Bronco RC Crawler

Spring is here and we survived the overblown Snowpacalypse in the Pacific Northwest. The weather is getting nicer with gorgeous sunshine, tolerable drizzles, and breezy cloudy days, which means it’s the perfect time to break out the RC crawler for play time. Despite spending a lot of time inside during the winter, the Traxxas TRX-4 Bronco received some sweet upgrades courtesy of Amain Hobbies—a lift kit with bigger wheels and tires.

As mentioned in the initial story on having RC crawlers as a project car alternative, it has a lower KV / high-torque motor to give it that slow, yet powerful feeling that can power through anything with tons of torque, especially mud and water. When Traxxas showed the long-arm lift kit for the TRX-4 at SEMA 2017, I knew it was an upgrade I had to have.

Traxxas TRX4 lift kit

It’s a complete lift setup that includes longer shocks, links, extended driver shafts, new servo mount, and everything needed to give all TRX-4 chassis vehicles over an inch of ground clearance. Traxxas offers the kit with links in red, gray or blue. I opted for the red because I like the color the best.

The kit took an hour and a half to install and required completely disassembling the axles. Since some versions of the TRX-4 have servo-controlled locking differentials, the kit requires replacing the cable controlling the differential lock with a longer cable. This was also the one part that was difficult in the kit, because the cable requires finesse and proper adjustment to maintain use of the lockers.

Lifted in the back, stock in the front Traxxas TRX-4
Lifted in the back, stock in the front.

Instead of trying to adjust the cable properly, the lockers and servos were eliminated. While locking differentials are a fun novelty, and still have present in my TRX-4 Defender, I wanted a more simplistic setup in the Bronco, which means the less electronics and items to break, the better. Luckily, Traxxas sells a replacement spool that eliminates the lockers (TRA8297) and I was set.

The rest of the installation was straight forward because the suspension links came preassembled. The shocks required some assembly and oil, which the kit ships with, but you must manually get all the air bubbles out, which is an easy process and requires moving the shock up and down to push all the air bubbles out, then putting the cap on.

Before lift and after lift on Traxxas TRX-4
Before (above) and after (below)

Typical RC crawlers use 1.9-inch diameter wheels with 4.73-inch diameter tires, but the lift kit looks and works best with larger 2.2-inch wheels and matching tires. I’m a fan of SSD RC beadlock wheels and opted for a set of 2.2-inch D Hole wheels matched with Pro-Line BFGoodrich All-Terrain K02 tires, which also match the tires I put on my 2004 Dodge Durango. The Pro-Line tires have a diameter of 5.43-inch for more ground clearance.

Once everything was installed, I took the Bronco out to one of my favorite places—Kobayashi Park in University Place, Wash.. The improved ground clearance helped it wade through streams without breaking a sweat.

I also ran it through the mud pit after the Top Truck Challenge was finished and the extra ground clearance made the mud put almost too easy to run through. However, that’s the feel I wanted to achieve with my TRX-4 Bronco—understated power and the ability to play in mud and water in a leisurely manner.

Traxxas TRX-4 Bronco in the mud

Overall, the TRX-4 long arm lift kit is a sweet package that includes everything you need to lift your RC crawler. Most of the kit is easy to install, but the differential lockers require some finessing to get working, which I didn’t bother with. Sure, you can piece together your own lift kit with aftermarket parts, but the official Traxxas kit is an easy way to gain more ground clearance without scouring through threads on RC Crawler or Facebook groups to try and research every part needed and ensuring compatibility. That extra peace of mind is worth it for the kit.

Ford Bronco Traxxas TRX-4 in the water

As for the wheels, I’m a big SSD RC fan and love the styles available. The 2.2-inch D Hole wheels are no different. It’s a simple style that goes well with old and newer vehicle styles. Pro-Line tires are my go-to as well and having tires that match my actual vehicle is a detail I very much appreciate. The tires also handle mud and dirt quite well, too.

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