Traxxas offers a huge array of upgrade parts and accessories to boost performance, add new capabilities, and trick-out your rig to suit your style. To show off what you can so with a TRX-4, we’re building three custom off-roaders with choice parts from the Traxxas catalog. Up first: Project Ultimate Trail Truck (UTT for short) a loaded ride that delivers super-scale style and enhanced off-road capability.

Let’s start.



What you need

The Body

If you want to transform the look of your ride, a body, wheel and tire swap will instantly do the trick. And in the case of our Ultimate Trail Truck mission, it’s also an opportunity to add some softer rubber and a full LED light kit. But first, the body. All of the TRX-4 models are great-looking rigs right out of the box, but we’re looking to change things up since we’re in Project mode. We went a much easier, faster way by going with the 8011A Defender Edition body in orange (you can also get it in green). In addition to giving you a different color than the metallic red and silver looks of the RTR Defender, the Adventure bodies get clear windows and a black hood and roof.

adventure_body adventure_detail stainless-options

Rims and Rings

Traxxas offers Method replica beadlocks in black chrome (8173) and charcoal gray (8173A). We went with black chrome. To contrast with the orange body, (8169X) blue beadlock rings got the nod. If blue’s not for you, you can also get the rings in red, green, silver, and black. The beadlock design makes it easy to mount the tires, just be sure to pay attention to the rotation arrow on the tires. The beads just slip into the rings (it’s an easy fit), then the rings fit over them to hold the tires. Each ring takes 12 screws, so you’re looking at 96 screws to mount all four tires. We knocked the job out in 30 minutes with the Traxxas ratcheting driver tool set (3415). The rings’ screw holes are countersunk to face smooth-side out, but they also be flipped to reveal recesses between the screw holes. If you like the look, go for it. As you install the screws, note that they just need to be snugged up, not tightened hard against the rings. The rings hold the tires by capturing the tire beads, not by pinching them.

rotation Smooth_face_ring Recess_face_ring

Light kit


This is the 8030 light kit, which includes headlights, taillights, amber front lights, and rock lights (those are the LEDs that tuck into the fender wells). The kit also includes a regulated power supply, so you get the same bright-white light no matter what kind of battery you use in your TRX-4.

Traxxas_driver Rock_lights bar_mounted

You’ll need to remove the wheel wells, fender flares, and light housings to install the LEDs. Again, the Traxxas ratcheting driver really helps speed things up. The LEDs fit just like the non-lit parts, and are marked right-front (RF), left front (LF) etc., so it’s goof-proof. The rock lights are daisy-chained together, and the wires lengths from light to light are short where the wires jump the width of the body, and long where they run across the doors. It’s hard to goof up. The light bar attaches to existing holes in the roll cage, using included screws.

Ream_hole bar_hole Wire_guide

The only modification required to install the light bar is a single ¼” hole, so the wires can pass inside the body. A body ream is the best tool for the job.

LED Module

The separate plugs for the light bar, rock lights, and headlight/taillights fit into a single “3-in-1” connector, and that goes into the “LED module” which installs on bosses molded into the chassis. The module plugs into the speed control, and a receiver plug is routed under the battery tray into the receiver.

3_in_1_plug LED_module

Power up the TRX-4, and the lights come on. And they are bright. Photos don’t really do them justice, you need to see them in action for yourself. Rest assured, you’ll have no trouble seeing the trail, and the rock-lights make it easy to see what the tires are up to. The switch on the light bar selects High and Low brightness for the entire system. It’s more like “bright and brighter.”

Bright_lights Rear_lights High_low_switch


While the fenders were off for the LED install, we added a graphic to the body. Some mid-80s Defenders got a multi-width stripe graphic, which is easy to recreate with “trim tape” from the RC airplane department at the hobby store. Use a ruler to cut the stripes, then remove the waste material between them. Then use painter’s tape to transfer the stripes to the body with their perfect alignment intact. You can even create the stripes with colored electrical tape if your hobby store doesn’t have trim tape. For the most factory look, put the stripes on while the fenders are off, then install the fenders on top of the stripes.

Tape_stripe Body_tires_mounted

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