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Word to the Wise

Word to the Wise

Old 02-16-2012, 06:14 PM
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So, as newcomers, potentially to RC, it might seem like a great idea to save money by buying used. As a newcomer that doesn't yet know how everything works, or what to get, you probably also thing that getting an RTR (Ready To Run, just add battery) is a good idea.

Both of those are not bad ideas...however you need to be VERY careful when doing so. I'll use my recent purchase as an example.

I bought a 2WD Slash with a few upgrades on it, expecting to use it to teach my wife how to drive on the track (and make sure I still could, some 15 years since I did it last). It seemed like a reasonable RTR (almost) deal...until I got it and started checking it out. I knew that a bearing carrier was cracked and I was going to replace it (part came with it).

What I didn't know is that it had been run with no gear cover and essentially a transmission and diff full of sand (and a little grease to make sure the sand worked in there good). It had a warped slipper. The shocks are upgraded big bores...but they're bone dry with no oil in them. That it would be missing screws to mount the servo and motor... You get the idea, I won't laundry list more.


This wasn't a deal on rctech, but the seller had pretty reasonable rating on the site I got it from and good pictures (that were of the item itself)...so...how can you really protect yourself?

1) Never use anything but paypal (NOT as a gift), unless you know the product, have thoroughly checked it out, and have it in your position...I could, if I wanted to, dispute the purchase and send the truck back. To me that hassle isn't worth it though since it was such a cheap transaction.
2) If you don't know enough to put it together from parts, you probably don't know enough yet to know if you're being ripped off, or if a specific upgrade is actually good to have. If you want to go the easy RTR route, make sure you do it either with a new RTR from the factory (and run it a few times at the shop, asking if everything seems right) or from somebody LOCAL that you can meet at a hobby shop (and often the shop will be happy to look at it and tell you what you'd need to do for maintenance on it).
3) If the deal seems too good to be true, or to make sense, it probably is. Scammers are showing up more and more often...sometimes they just don't do anything but scam for money, other times they scam you by peddling off crap (broken, abused, about to break, flooded but still works for now) as almost full price.
4) This is a big one...there are basically 2 kinds of driving...racing (of which I'll include crawling), and bashing. Several types of vehicles (especially Traxxas), have a much higher tendency to be used as bash vehicles. Generally, raced vehicles are maintained to a tighter control to shave off a little bit around a corner or jump, while a bashed vehicle is more often maintained when a part breaks and there is no other option, since bashing is generally much harder on the vehicle anyway. Expect something like a Slash, Stampede, Bandit, etc to have been bashed, and to need more maintenance sooner, even if the advert says it was only raced once at half speed on a small dry indoor track of fluffy clouds that magically fix cars as they run.

In short, KNOW what you're buying if you want to buy used. It'll save you major investments when you don't know why it was broken and you could've payed full price for a new one by the time you fix and replace everything...not to mention the time you'll loose.

That being said, if you are handy with tech/mechanical things...look close at used listings and try to buy a roller. You can save some money, replace a part or two (or get a second roller of a different config for parts), and then put in the major items that you research to know you want.
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Old 02-19-2012, 07:40 PM
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Very good post. This should be a must read for anyone new that is thinking of buying used.

A little backround on myself. I was heavily into RC, both racing and bashing, along with a bit of flying, about 6 years back. At that point I had been into it for 5-6 years. So I felt I know a little.

Well fast forward to present, I bought a few new trucks, and a couple used ones that my son really wanted. This was the outcome of those used trucks.

1) 2WD slash, did not know when I sw it listed as a roller it came with brushed XL5 speed control and 12T Traxxas motor. I bought it from a local guy at a local track. I looked it over, and it ended up being a great deal.

2) T4 with a Mamba brushless set-up. This too was a pick-up deal, but not very local but I was willing to drive to get it to save shipping. I did not look the truck over very well, and after doing a bit of work to it, noticed to make it right it would need all new arms, bulkheads, tranny rebuild and a few other things. All in all, a new truck would probably be cheaper. But my son still races it, but is always behind by a few laps due to too many things, being too loose to get a good raceable set-up. Yes I paid too much to make it worth putting all the parts in.

3) B4 buggy, that in the pictures looked pretty bad, but it was only $40.00, with extra parts. Again this one was loose, and worn. But it came RTR, minus battery. This buggy with a few parts, is a could be a race winner. If only my son would get a little more practice. But at this price, it make sense to spend a bit to fix it right.

My point is, just as yours, do a bit of research, and if your not sure plan on doing some parts replacement, add up the cost, and if its still less than 60% of new, then go for it. If the research doesn't make sense or adds up to more than 60% of new, look and save up for a new truck/car.
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Old 02-20-2012, 04:24 PM
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Yes this is a very good post and EVERY newcomer should read this. I am acually looking into getting into this Hobby and I have looked over websites and websites comparing everything to get the best deal. but I AM buying NEW RTR.
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Old 02-22-2012, 07:01 AM
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New is always nice.

I've been picking up a few vehicles also.

Picked up a great 1/8 scale buggy and saved quite a bit of money. Very clean and a nice paint job to boot. Best used purchase by far.

XXX-SCT that I picked was a little rough but the guy through in 3 lipos so it was still a deal.

I'm still waiting on one more buggy to arrive but I think it will be my last used purchase for a while.

It's nice to get some extra stuff and save money but I'm going to show some love to the local hobby shops. It's nice to have a place to go where I can pick up a part in a hurry so I'll pony up and pay a little more for the service.
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Old 02-27-2012, 02:29 PM
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I have been in it for two years now. Im loving it. But to me heres where the problem comes in. How much do you think going to enjoy it? Its always hard looking from the outside looking in.
What I did first was look what was in my area, types of vehicle used, watched at couple weekends,found out about here an my local site. Then I got a nice offer for a used buggy at the track, at first it didnt seem to be that great of a offer, cause of the rough times I had buying a roller kit used. Not knowing really what other hardware had to be added. But after a year with that same roller(2.0). I decided I wanted to go a different way. An what made this story go right back to the good. The guy that sold me the roller. Hes son bought it back. I havent left the sport just made changes. So looking back it was a great lesson learned with out going new..
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