Go Back  R/C Tech Forums > General Forums > Oval, Larger Scales and More
Baja 5B SS - Long Term Review - 11 Years On >

Baja 5B SS - Long Term Review - 11 Years On

Like Tree6Likes
  • 3 Post By Horatio
  • 1 Post By targetingxmod
  • 1 Post By Troopermaniac
  • 1 Post By slick2500

Baja 5B SS - Long Term Review - 11 Years On

Old 06-05-2020, 05:27 PM
  #1  
Tech Elite
Thread Starter
 
Horatio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 3,353
Default Baja 5B SS - Long Term Review - 11 Years On

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

In July 2009, I took possession of one of the biggest, most anticipated parcels that I can remember. I had just imported the HPI Baja 5B SS from Stormer Hobbies in to the UK. It was a great build - the full details of which can be read Here: Build Sequence

I really liked the machine that I now had before me and I knew that this was going to be a keeper. Even before the engine had been fired. Bone stock, it was just such an impressive buggy - like a large scale hybrid of a Tamiya Rough Rider and Kyosho Scorpion - but modernised. Super cool.



Now of course, there are many variations of the Baja - possibly the most cloned RC buggy of all time. But what is it really like to drive and live with?

If you're thinking about diving in to Petrol RC Off Road, you might want to read on. 👍 What I'm about to surmise is 11 years of ownership in just one post. I'll try to make it as concise as I can.

First run - wow. This thing is loud! If you have neighbours, fear not. If you have one of these, they'll soon move out! It was pretty clear, that I wouldn't be zooming this machine up and down the cul de sac. This was multiple times louder than a typical nitro machine. Think MX bike loud. Thankfully, this just added to the appeal. But I totally understand how others may not be as keen.

At this stage, what I had was a 1/5th scale RWD buggy, full of promise. In comparison to typical 1/5th scale buggies at that time - like FG Marders and Leopards, this really did seem like a shot in the arm. Longer throw suspension, long stroke shocks and classic looks.

ISSUES & UPGRADES

So, blasting this machine around, during the first few weeks, saw a number of frustrating setbacks. The first one being a sudden failure of the spark plug. It wasn't something I was prepared for. So, after a second plug failure, I bought 10 plugs. Thankfully, from plug 3 onwards, they seemed to last forever.🤔

Next - the comedy clutch carrier and clutch bell. No matter which way you slice it, it just wasn't fit for purpose. The stock clutch bells simply weren't round so they quickly destroyed the plastic carrier by killing the bearings, spinning them in the housing, melting the plastic, then destroying the spur. $$$. This happened twice. HPI sent the replacement parts FOC, but it just wasn't feasible. So, enter: The Turtle Racing enclosed clutch system. Problem solved. 100% essential.


The TR enclosed clutch. 11 years on. Nuff said.

Rear tyres - these simply don't hook up on grass. Hostile MX transformed the traction, cornering and powering out of turns. For general use, on mixed surfaces or running on tarmac - the King Motors tyres you see in the picture above are fine.

Shock Shafts and Shock Ends. If you break a shock end you have to replace the whole shaft. Really? 🙄 Thankfully, Dark Soul had the solution with stronger shafts and ball ends that screw on. They also had better seals. Phatdad also sold similar items.

The RX battery pack has to be a good one. Apparently, the one I used wasn't. The steering servo drew more current than it could cope with - even when freshly charged. How did I know? When the Baja 5B SS took off and went rogue, that's how. I lucked out - the Baja 5B carried on 200 yards into an area of scrub. This was cured at the time by getting an Intellect 5000mah pack. But not before fitting a Killer Bee kill switch. This should be mandatory on all Petrol RC cars. Lesson learnt.

Brakes. We'll mine worked pretty well, with a Hitec 5925 servo. But the brakes aren't what you'd call rock solid. So, upgrade time. Turtle Racing One Piece Brake Assembly. Brake Pads? Believe it or not, I use the Rovan/King Motor pads.
​​​​

Rovan Pads/KM pads work brilliantly, but require inserts in place of the missing friction material.

Unlike the original pads, which use friction material across the whole caliper, the Rovan/KM ones have a notch at either end. For use with the TR one piece brake mount and brake springs, inserts needed to be popped onto the pins - in place of the missing friction material - so the springs can work. Also - the pads have a greater amount of friction material, with a higher percentage of copper. This resulted in brakes that are permanently locked solid! 😂 So, the pads need to be filed down by about 0.75mm. The results are brakes that can be locked up on any surface at any speed Thus can be dialled to the conditions of the day at the radio.


Protek 170TBL takes care of braking in 2020.

The steering servo. The one supplied with mine still works like a champ, but it was a tad slow and was rated at 23kg.

In it's place, I used a Savox SV 0236, which is rated at 40kg and feels quicker and more responsive.


The Savox is a drop fit. And it has orange bits!

THE WAR ON GRASS

Grass. In the UK, most Baja 5B's run on grass. It gets into everything.


Grass - it's not just an inconvenience....

...It will kill your engine by over heating it.

The engines cooling system is very basic vacuum system, sucking up grass along the way, through the crankcase, flywheel, ignition system and head shroud. What you're left with is no cooling system at all if you're not careful. Or no ignition. Frankly, the latter is better because at least you can't overheat your engine if you can't start it!😁

So, you have to mesh mod the engine. In my case, I mesh mod and use an Outerwear Crank Cover.


Mesh mod on Crank Case

Mesh mod on pullstart.

Outerwears Crank Cover - 'Belt and Braces' approach

The engine not only runs better, but cooler. The thing is though, preventing the engine becoming full of grass doesn't mean zero maintenance - you still have to remove muck off the Outerwears.

MAKING IT PRETTY

So, people often asked me 'what's with the orange/green/white colour scheme? I claim that it was my tribute to Castrol R and I'm sticking to it!

Following a big overhaul in 2017, I realised my proline undertray was badly split and needed to be replaced. Proline Baja undertrays were not the easiest to source, so I decided to run without one.

Then I rediscovered the joy of side pods full of grass. Grass boxes! 😂 So, it was time for a rework.


New side pods - how to stop them becoming grass boxes


Mesh mod on side pods

My Baja was being made as grass proof as possible. Next, windows and side skirts. The side skirts are simply lexan strips that go down each side of the chassis, also supplied by Uber RC.



Windows fitted - these really help prevent muck getting on your airfilter too!

With all the attention given to the prevention of grass getting into the engine, it makes perfect sense to protect the shocks as well. Shock socks are a quick win to improving the life of the Shock seals.


Easy to fit!


Ready for 2020 and onwards..

HOW DOES IT DRIVE?

So what do I make of this machine? Was all the effort worth it? Answer:Totally!

Over the years, I've run 26 different model Cars from 1981 onwards and raced competitively through the 90's til about 2005. I really wished I'd kept them all. In 2020, I have 3 keepers - the Baja is one of them.

Let's discuss the handling and driving side of things. We all know, that RWD is more challenging to drive than FWD or 4WD. If you want to drive something that feels dialled and planted, than 1/8th Truggy might be for you. These Bajas however are beasts to drive, because they are effectively rear engined as well. Think 1970's Porsche 911, with zero driving aids. Braking has to be done in a straight line, preferably not on the loose stuff, bearing in mind that only the rear tyres are braking. Throttle has to be applied progressively and sensibly. You quickly come to realise that getting this car around a track means using the throttle to steer. Jumping has to be done in a way that launches the buggy without the rear somersaulting over the front. But these are all traits that made buggies like the RC10 and Losi XXX so popular. They were superb fun to drive.

The Baja 5B in all it's forms is an engaging and challenging machine to drive right. But, once you get the feel for it, you start to realise all the stuff it does so well. Get the setup right and the Baja's ample suspension travel really shows. It soaks up rutts and bumps that would throw other cars (especially smaller scales) into the weeds.

A NOD TO THE EPIC COMPETITION

FG Marders and Leopards were the only common or garden 1/5th - 1/6th scale off road car at the time the Baja 5B came out. They were well engineered cars for sure, with Zenoah engines and proper exhausts but they weren't the most elegant or plush when it came to suspension.

When the Baja 5B came on the scene, this was the market share it was eating into.

MCD 4WD buggies were also being raced at the time, but they were much more expensive/exotic. MCD are heavily promoted here in the UK by KCR. They are superbly designed machines with an eye wateringly high price!


At first glance, you'd think it's a 1/8th buggy. But look again! 2626 and it's yours!

THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM - CLONES

​​​​​​So, now in 2020 we have lots to choose from, but HPI are basically on hiatus, so if you want a Baja, you'll either be buying a clone or a second hand item. HPI were not happy with suppliers that traded clone versions of the buggy. Suffice to say that clones are not going away and if it weren't for them, we wouldn't have seen such a boom for upgrade parts for Baja.

Regardless of how you feel about the rights or wrongs of it, the Rovan and King motor bajas are very good. You can pick up new ones, with engine and RTR for 400.

They look very similar.

Main differences are that the plastic parts are slightly chunkier, which would suit bashers.

With HPI, the buggies work out slightly lighter with thinner roll cages and A arms.

Conclusion:

The Baja 5B SS is a satisfying build and a definite keeper. It's really fun to drive and looks awesome. The fact that it's rear engined and rear drive means it's a real driver's car. Despite everything my Baja has been through, the original engine still rips!

FUEL

I've been using Silkolene Pro 2 stroke full synthetic, 98 Octane Premium Petrol mixed 32:1. Definitely works for me👍

25:1 tended to foul up the plugs, resulted in a richer mixture and just seemed excessively oily. 32:1 has worked so well, I have zero concerns with it. In very hot conditions, you may want to stick with 25:1.

Premium fuel in the UK is usually 98 octane. The general concensus is that our basic 2 stroke engines cannot make more power using it. However, an often overlooked, seldom discussed point is that these higher octane fuels also have additives in them that make for a cleaner burn, helping to keep the internals cleaner. At just a few pence per litre extra, it seems like a no brainer to me.


The little mill after everything it's been through still runs like a champ! This CY engine has stood the test of time. It's even had a re-spray.

RADIO & ELECTRONICS

With so many RTR buggies out there, be mindful of the fact that this is an 11kg machine and it should only be used with an appropriate radio system (minimum 3ch, 2.4ghz) with failsafe/kill switch.

Not all radio signals are equal. Futaba 2.4ghz systems have a range of over 1000yards. This can be halved with certain other brands - look into it. For racing, it's not normally an issue, but bashers with a vehicle this size, it's all too easy to drive out of range in a wide open space. Make sure you run a Kill Switch/Failsafe. The Killer Bee cuts the engine for low voltage and no signal as well as giving a way of cutting the engine remotely using your 3rd channel.

WRAP UP

If you feel like dipping your toe into large scale, the Baja is the no brainer way in.

I hope this is useful for some of you out there. Stay safe!



​​​​

​​​​​

Last edited by Horatio; 06-06-2020 at 05:39 AM.
Horatio is offline  
Old 06-07-2020, 08:36 AM
  #2  
Tech Elite
 
targetingxmod's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Europe - Portugual
Posts: 2,372
Default

And now in 2020... i am the proud owner of one also a Real HPI 5B SS... cost me 280€ in second hand.
It will be brushless...come with no engine! :P Like i wanted! lol
I will make some sock shocks to!
Horatio likes this.
targetingxmod is offline  
Old 06-08-2020, 12:36 PM
  #3  
Tech Initiate
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 41
Default

Hate to say it but I have a cloned baja 5b. Wanted to get a HPI but I just couldn't afford it and I really wanted a 5th scale. I do not regret my choice at all. I dont feel there are any reasons why HPI cant re-release an updated 5b that's cheaper, they would almost single handidly make a strong comeback if they did this but I cant justify spending $1000 on a 5b when the dbxl is cheaper or even $1300 on the 5sc when the losi 5ive t is superior in almost every way and the same price while being 4x4

btw I'll definitely be doing the mesh mod good idea.
Horatio likes this.

Last edited by Troopermaniac; 06-08-2020 at 12:59 PM.
Troopermaniac is offline  
Old 06-09-2020, 07:26 AM
  #4  
Tech Elite
Thread Starter
 
Horatio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 3,353
Default

Originally Posted by Troopermaniac View Post
Hate to say it but I have a cloned baja 5b. Wanted to get a HPI but I just couldn't afford it and I really wanted a 5th scale. I do not regret my choice at all. I dont feel there are any reasons why HPI cant re-release an updated 5b that's cheaper, they would almost single handidly make a strong comeback if they did this but I cant justify spending $1000 on a 5b when the dbxl is cheaper or even $1300 on the 5sc when the losi 5ive t is superior in almost every way and the same price while being 4x4

btw I'll definitely be doing the mesh mod good idea.
In the face of the hard times that have befallen HPI, we can all be glad in a way that there are so many clones out there - in a twist of irony, they are the HPI Baja 5B's saving grace! Who'd have thunk it?

Hopefully HPI will get going again before too long. Perhaps they'll develop the Baja, or bring out a 1/5th 4WD to compete with MCD and Losi.

I totally agree though, why would any body pay twice as much than they have to for anything?
Horatio is offline  
Old 06-12-2020, 11:22 AM
  #5  
Tech Elite
Thread Starter
 
Horatio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 3,353
Default

Originally Posted by targetingxmod View Post
And now in 2020... i am the proud owner of one also a Real HPI 5B SS... cost me 280 in second hand.
It will be brushless...come with no engine! :P Like i wanted! lol
I will make some sock shocks to!
I've seen some awesome brushless Bajas. Including one with direct drive brushless motors in the hubs. With a good selection of Hobbywing brushless motor combos, I suppose 8s would be reasonably powerful for an 11kg machine?

Please post your pics here as you progress - I'd love to see how you convert it. 👍😁
Horatio is offline  
Old 06-15-2020, 08:28 PM
  #6  
Tech Master
iTrader: (1)
 
slick2500's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Rapid City SD
Posts: 1,076
Trader Rating: 1 (100%+)
Default

Man now I really really want a 5th scale
Horatio likes this.
slick2500 is offline  

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.