Sunday, May 10, 2015

Parts, upgrade and general information for the WLtoys L959 RC buggy

After wading through 50 pages and counting of people discussing the WLtoys L959 buggy, I've decided to summarize the thread so that others don't need to do the same.
Note I am not dissing the RCGroups community, without which this list would not exist.  However, the information is - at best - organized ad hoc and is very difficult to read and understand. Hopefully this version is more immediately useful.

This information is not intended to be very pretty, and Blogger is actively preventing me from cleaning it up.  But I've tried to include every relevant link, picture and posting that I could find.

If you know anything I don't, I would appreciate a post to the comments, and I will update ASAP.   I appreciate all contributions and I think others will too.

Any use of this information is at your own risk; I have not confirmed the vast majority of this and cannot take any responsibility for the accuracy of the information.  Obviously certain parts may or may not work for your application.  You use at your own risk; thank you for your understanding.


General Information

Pros:  Entry-level RC cars.  Very fun for beginners and kids.  Ridiculously fast.  Good value.  Easy to fix, mild upgrades available.  L959 goes about 25 MPH / 40 km/h top speed, L969 about 36 MPH / 60 km/h (mfg rated speeds).

Cons:  Not high end, defects are common, parts break relatively easily.  You should be looking at it as a toy, and if it breaks, it breaks (but can be fixed).  Some call the cars "basher grade".  Not on a par with "race" models.

Dimensions:  See here

  

Promos, action videos and advertisements:  YouTube: (1)Banggood (1), (2) (scroll to bottom)KevinMillard, all others from YouTube     


Waterproofing

Despite the "Wave Runner" name, and videos and ads showing the L959 on beaches, in snow, in the ocean and in mud notwithstanding, and the L959 is NOT waterproof

Until about 2015, the receiver box was also not waterproof, leading to near-instant destruction of motor driver FETs on exposure to even small amounts of water.  This has occurred with standing water, driving through wet grass, etc.  Those with SMD soldering experience could replace the FETs, but the parts often cost more than a new receiver box.

As of 2015-ish, WLtoys upgraded the receiver box to fill it with stiff epoxy glue.  This provides about 90% coverage of the PCB, making it almost waterproof.  (Video description here.)

Waterproof receivers usually have four transistors (MOSFETs) actually sticking out of the top of the receiver box (can be seen here and here).  These "through-hole" parts represent an upgrade to the older, smaller, lower-profile "surface-mount" parts, but require extra height.  Both boxes are totally compatible and there is no indication the through-hole FETs provide any performance advantage at all.

The receiver box can be additionally waterproofed by adding more material, such as glue or silicone sealant.  This can be a messy process.

For L202 and other brushless versions, it is unknown if the ESC motor driver (not found on the L959) is waterproof, but likely not.  It can probably be waterproofed with tape, sealant, or glue, but this is not confirmed.


The motors themselves do not appear to be particularly sensitive to water, but will be sensitive to sand and debris; same for the wheel bearings and other moving parts.


Known related models

-  Brushed:  L959, L969, L979
-  Brushless:  L202, L212, L222
-  Other:  Litehawk Blast, Brute

 Notes:

-  The L959 and L202 share 90% of their parts.  L202 owners can buy L959 parts, they will fit.  The L959 is also sold as the LiteHawk Blast.

-  The L959 (car/buggy), L969 (truck/truggy) and L979 (rally car/rally truck/truggy) are also 90% the same, differing mostly in wheels, bodies and axles.

-  However, there may be some other unknown difference: for example, my L959 has a JST connector and a bare motor, while my L969 has a T-plug connector and a heatsink on the motor.  This means the receiver box is NOT the same between the L959 car (part L959-38, easy to find) and the L969 truggy (part 969-18, hard to find).

-  It appears some L959s come with the heatsink, and some do not, but heatsink-equipped cars might actually be L202 brushless versions incorrectly identified as L959s.  Some appear to come with motor covers, others leave the motor bare.

-  By extension, the brushed/brushless and car/truck/truggy models are therefore generally compatible.

-  The Litehawk Blast is reportedly identical to the L959; the Litehawk Brute is reportedly identical to the L969.  Litehawk has a Canadian store with modest markups over Banggood and Tmart.


Differences between L959 and L202

L959:
-  Less expensive
-  Slightly slower, but not so you'd notice (25 MPH/40 km/h)
-  Less complicated since it doesn't need the electronic speed controller (ESC)
-  1500 mAh 2S1P battery
-  Battery uses JST connector (B3 on this diagram), and not the T-plug used on most other related models.
-  Receiver box is part 959-38 (JST connector version)
-  Wheels use bushings, not bearings
-  Plastic axles (a.k.a. "dogbones")
-  Can be upgraded to brushless with conversion kit (see bottom of this post)

L202:
-  Considerably more expensive
-  Somewhat faster, but most agree getting the power to the ground and/or retaining control of the car at full throttle is impossible.  (theoretically: 36 MPH / 60 km/h)
-  More complicated since it requires an electronic speed controller (ESC) to handle the brushless motor
-  1800 mAh 2S1P battery
-  Battery uses T-plug (B1 on this diagram), not JST connector like L959. 
-  Receiver box is part 969-18 (T-plug connector version)
-  Wheels use ball bearings, not bushings
-  Metal dogbones
-  Tends to eat gears/gearboxes faster than L959

See both motors together here.

Which to get

FWIW, my opinion is get a brushed-motor first.  If you don't enjoy it, you've saved money.  If you do, you can always upgrade it.

Use the saved money to buy a L969 truck, which is a bit more expensive but IMHO is more fun anyway (see videos of the truck version).  I have both, and the truck handles better, handles bumps better, jumps better, and is just generally more fun, in my opinion.

Also, the L202 does tend to break more often since the brushless motor upgrade tends to over-stress the standard gears, leading to a very short lifetime for driveline parts.  I expect the same may be true for the truck versions.  This could make it frustrating for the first-time owner.


Known deficiencies and limitations

-  Some cars come defective.  Transmitters can also be defective.  (Banggood will normally replace anything defective; other China-based vendors may do the same.)

-  L959 rear tires are very soft and severely concave, leading the car to ride entirely on the outer edges.  When combined with poor shocks (see below), this leads to very poor rear-end traction and lots of spinning / poor control.   See here for an illustration.  See section on "Tires" below, for more on this.  (L969 does not have this issue due to fat tires; L979 is unknown.)

-  Car has a 1 second pause before you can put the car into reverse.

-  Speed reduction gears are plastic.  Slamming car into reverse (i.e. for braking) can shred the gears, especially on L202.  (Possibly the reason for the reverse delay noted above, but as there is no reciprocal delay changing from reverse to forward, this is uncertain.)

-  Front wheels set to excessive toe-out from factory (can be adjusted).

-  Car can be tail-heavy (especially brushless L202) and can sometimes be difficult to control.

-  Stock shocks grossly underperform at controlling springs.  Stock rear suspension allows car to bottom out at rear while promoting bounce, which is bad for rear traction.

-  Transmitter may have a "dead spot" where car is not moving forward but won't go into reverse either, because the car thinks it is in forward motion.  (Easy to fix via trim buttons.)

-  L202 brushless upgrade is about the limit; stock gearbox and other parts can't really take any more power than that.  Upgrading beyond a certain point may be pointless since nearly everything will have to be changed out at some point.  

-  Brushless owners that drive the cars hard may break parts quite often.

-  Running car offroad for extended periods (more than 1-2 batteries) without a cool-down period may result in motor burnout on all models.  (Personal experience:  smoked L969 motor after 3 batteries on dirt/grass in 28*C weather.)

Specifications

Public specifications

Scale: 1:12
Size: 348 x 230 x 115 mm
Wheel Base: 250 mm
Wheelspan: 170 mm
Diameter of tire: 76 mm
Width of front wheel: 30 mm
Width of rear wheel: 36 mm
Speed: 40 km/h
Remote Distance: 100m
Charging Time:  approximately 3h
Car Battery: 7.4V 1500mAh
Transmitter Battery: 4 x AA (Not Included)
Car Weight: 821g

Other specifications

Dimensions / size comparison:  See here

Battery connector:  JST (L959) or T-plug (most other related models)

Transceiver IC: BK2423, same as WLtoys V2x3 quadcopter series (See "Transmitters" below)
ESC FETs: CET 904 CEP83A3

Motor size:  380 (brushed models) / unknown (brushless models)

[For reference only:
540 motor has a diameter of 36mm.
380 motor has a diameter ~28mm.
280 motor has a diameter of 24mm.]

Motor shaft diameter: 2mm

Front & rear shock size: Hole to hole: 65mm, end-to-end: approx 74mm, 10mm diameter
 Note:  Shocks are usually measured hole to hole, not end to end, but there are exceptions.

Springs:  14mm diameter, about 8 turns in the front, about 11 turns in the rear.  35mm when mounted on the shocks.

Hex nuts:  12mm hex, 6mm thick
Hex pins:  10mm x 2mm diameter
Axle: 5mm

Battery compartment:  Usable space 97mm x 38mm x 18mm maximum
  Without side ridges:  97mm x 52mm x 18mm maximum

Transmitters

-  Transmitters from other related models (above) should work.

-  You can run multiple L959s simultaneously as long as you bind the transmitters one at a time.

-  Transmitter from L959 confirmed to work with L202 receiver, which is part of the brushless upgrade.

-  Transmitter from WLtoys V2x3 quadcopter series  MAY work (V202, V212, V222, V252, V262 or JXD 385)

Others:
-  V911 transmitter:  Does not work
-  V922 transmitter:  Does not work
-  Devo 7E: works
-  Flysky:  Does not work


Chargers

-  Most cars purchased from Asian sources come with chargers that have mainland European plugs.  They will work in North America with the correct adapter

-  It is a fact of life that half-decent third-party chargers are half the cost of the car itself.  (Costly accessories are synonymous with the pastime called a "hobby".)  However, the stock charger is fine if you are not in a hurry.

-  I recommend the Imax B6 with the SEPARATE power supply.  This way, if the charger breaks, you just replace the charger, which is less $$$.  If the adapter, breaks, same thing.  If they're integrated together (like this) you need to toss the working half of the system if the other half breaks, which is more $$$.  (You can also replace the power cord on the separate brick to adapt to your country.)

-  If you have a power brick, it needs to be 5A or more and have a 5.5mm plug.

-  Again, most IMax B6 and other chargers/power supplies purchased from Asian sources come with European plugs.  They will work in North America with the correct adapter


Parallel charging (see guide here)

-  T-plug parallel charging board: Banggood

-  JST-to-Tplug adapters (needed for L959 JST-connector packs only): Banggood

Note: the parallel charging board has every plug in parallel.  So it does not matter which plugs you connect your packs to.

SAFETY NOTE:  My parallel charging PCB came with an internal short-circuit which destroyed one connector.  Check the boards with a resistance meter BEFORE plugging in your first battery!

Notes:
-  Charging time at 1C is about 90 minutes for a fully depleted pack.


Initial Adjustments

-  Break-in is optional, some people report good success
-  Notes:  there is no known "right" way to do the water break-in, so maintaining scrupulous accuracy to any given method is probably unnecessary.  A single 1.5V battery should last more than long enough for a break-in.


-  Units equipped with a heat sink may have heat sink poorly fitted, and/or not have any heat sink grease or thermal pad between the motor and the heat sink.  This will severely limit the ability of the heat sink to function well.


Maintenance

-  Motors and tires wear out often; they are easy to replace.

-  It is common for most of the screws (including those internal to the gearbox) to back out over time.

-  Some people disassemble the gearbox and add extra grease.  (Photos)


Common Issues

The cars really only have a few parts of major interest:
-  Motor
-  Receiver box
-  Electronic speed controller box (brushless L202/L212/L222 models only)
-  Steering servo
-  Gearbox

-  Steering but no forward/reverse:  Motor burned out (replace), motor driver MOSFETs on receiver burned out; often happens due to water / snow / dirt (replace receiver), stripped gears in gearbox (replace gearbox).

-  No steering, no forward/reverse:  Car not on (turn on), transmitter not on (turn on), transmitter did not bind correctly (turn both off, then both on), car or transmitter batteries dead (replace), receiver module defective (replace), transmitter unit defective (replace).

-  Forward and reverse are backwards (usually brushless L202/L212/L222):  Swap any two wires on the ESC unit

-  Car stops suddenly:  Battery is dead (car stops automatically to avoid overdischarge), broken receiver (replace), radio reception is poor (reorient antenna), transmitter batteries weak/dead (replace batteries), stripped gears in gearbox (replace gearbox).

-  Car runs for 1 minute or less and stops, turning off and on will repeat:  Battery is dead (recharge battery)

-  Forward/reverse, no steering:  Steering servo broken (replace)

-  Car moves forward/backward without trigger being moved:  Transmitter trim is out of adjustment (adjust via trim buttons), receiver FET dying and allowing current when off (replace receiver)

-  Forward and steering, no reverse:  Transmitter trim out of adjustment such that the car is actually in forward gear without actually moving; when car is in forward gear, reverse cannot be engaged (fix via transmitter trim buttons).

-  Car drifts to one side:  Road is curved/crowned to one side (i.e. car follows the slope), transmitter trim is out of adjustment (use trim buttons), front tires out of alignment (steering arm can be moved in/out to different points by removing/replacing screw)

-  Car flips on cornering:  Rear tires set too far in, car is no longer stable (move rear tires out via spacers, fatter tires, or lowering shocks).  (Note: not usually an issue with stock setup and tires.)



Batteries

The battery bay is approximately 100 x 39 x 20mm. (Photo 1 , Photo 2)

Update:  Measurement show the absolute maximum usable space is  97mm x 38mm x 18mm maximum.  If you cut off the side ridges, 97mm x 52mm x 18mm maximum.

The L959 has a JST connector, while most of the other related models (see above) use a T-plug connector.  This means battery packs for the L959 are not compatible with the L202, and vice versa, unless adapters are used.

For those unfamiliar, the T-plus and JST are the red two-pin connectors.  The smaller, white plug is the "balancing plus", intended to assist in battery charging.  The T-plug is heavy-duty and is better for high-power applications, hence its use on the higher-torque brushless and truck models.

 Batteries:
-  Upgrade: Turnigy nano-tech 2000 mAh (HobbyKing (USA), Vosges Modelisme (France))
-  Upgrade:  Zippy Compact 2200 mAh (unverified) (HobbyKing (USA))

Notes:

-  Upgraded batteries may require you to snip off the ridges inside the battery compartment or other plastic features so the battery will fit.  Turnigy nano-tech 2000 seemingly does not require such mods.

This battery from Banggood will fit only the L202 and other models with a T-plug connector.  The L959 uses a JST plug, so this will not work on the L959 without an adapter.

-  Original batteries may be unable to effectively deliver peak current, at least to brushless models.  This is only a concern if you're looking for he absolute top-end - most people find the cars are plenty fast as-is.  However, a larger 2000 mAh battery with a 20C-30C discharge rate is recommended for peak performance.

SAFETY NOTE:  Some have complained that Banggood batteries have the JST connectors wired up in reverse. Check the polarity matches the car/charger before connecting.


Wheels/tires

General

The fronts are generally regarded as more than adequate for the car.

Rear tires are very soft and severely concave, leading the car to ride entirely on the outer edges.  See here for an illustration - it can be seen that the vast majority of the tire doesn't actually touch the ground unless the surface is extremely compliant (i.e. sand).  This makes the effective tire width < 5mm, which is obviously not good.  Spinouts and poor handling due to the rear end are common complaints.

Rear traction can be improved with better shocks and rear tire upgrades, both of which are described below.


Front tire upgrades

None known.   Front tires do not use "standard" hexagonal nuts for mounting.

Rear tire upgrades

Rear wheels use a "standard" 12mm hex mount.  As there is no such thing as a "standard" anything, this should be taken with a grain of salt, but it is definitely 12mm.
 
For those unfamiliar, this just means there is a six-sided (hexagonal) hole in the wheel hub on the inner side of the wheel.  This hex hole is 12mm.  You can see an illustration here, and a better view of the rear hex hole on this broken wheel.  The hex fits into a hex nut on the axle, making the wheel spin when the axle spins.

Pictures of the setup (from other cars, NOT L959) are here, here, and here. The little stubby rod is the axle, which actually rotates.  The "nut" on the axle spins with the axle.  The wheel fits on the "nut" and therefore spins with the axle.

It's actually much simpler than it sounds.  The key thing is you need wheels with a 12mm hex.


Upgrades include:

-  Traxxas 2478R - Tracer wheels and Anaconda tires, preassembled, originally for Traxxas Bandit (Photos 1, Photos 2, Review with photos):  Amazon (Canada),  HobbyHobby (Canada)

-  Traxxas 2472 Tracer wheels, originally for Traxxas Bandit:  Traxxas (USA)Amazon (Canada)

-  Tamiya DT-02 (unconfirmed) (Photos):  Rears fit, fronts do not fit: Fighter-Cup-Shop (Germany)

-  Tamiya Rock Climbing 96mm 1:10 (Review with photos):  eBay (USA), eBay (Canada): fopower 6030-7006 (item, sellers store)  

  -  Notes:
  -  My personal experience is these fit fine with the stock setup.  However, others state that different spacers may be required (i.e. Redcat Racing 102042:  eBay (USA))
  -  Other spacers may work:  eBay (USA), eBay (Canada), eBay (Canada)HobbyKing (USA)
  -  HobbyKing spacers are theoretically adjustable.  eBay versions are also available with the set screws, which theoretically make them adjustable.
-  eBay tires (unconfirmed):  Type 1
-  HSP 66010-66030:  Only the rears fit (unconfirmed), fronts do not (confirmed)  (AliExpress)

Litehawk Brute tires PLUS Brute axles:
-  Tires: Litehawk (Canada)
-  Axles:  Litehawk (Canada)
Notes:
-  I personally have a L969 truck, which is reportedly identical to the Brute, and the L969 truck tires do not fit the rear of my L959 with stock axles.  Axle replacements are required, but as they come from a "sister" model to the L959, the new axles will fit.
-  By extension, parts from any of the following models will work.  They have not been verified but come from related models:
   -  Rear tires plus rear axles from L969, L212, or Litehawk Brute, OR
   -  Rear tires plus rear axles from the L979 or L222

HobbyKing 1/10 Gekkota:  HobbyKing (USA)
  -  Note:  may require different wheel hex spacers: HobbyKing (USA)eBay search for similar items 
  -  Other spacers may or may not work:  eBay (USA), eBay (USA), eBay (Canada), eBay (Canada)


Rear tire fitment

-  The buggy is 1:12 scale, but "most" 1:10 scale rear wheels will fit.

-  But not all, since the axles on the car are relatively short.  With some wheels you will need to also install longer axles, such as those from the car you stole the tires from.  For example, L969 truck tires will not fit the L959.

-  Some wheels may be narrower and require either spacers or adjustable wheel hex nuts (HobbyKing (USA)) to push the wheels further out.  The axles are relatively short, however, so we're only talking a few mm of difference in most cases.

-  Having the rear wheels set too closely will cause the car to flip on hard cornering.  However, any grippy rear tires might cause flips on awkward jumps and/or landings.


Rear tire mounting

-  Tires must be glued to rims.

-  What to use:  anything that works

-  What has worked:
  -  CA (cyanoacrylate glue / superglue / Krazy Glue)
  -  5 minute epoxy

 -  What has not worked
  -  Glue for bicycle tubes


Rear tire foam insert modification

-  Some people have put foam into the stock rear tires to improve grip:  Video (Russian, skip to about 7:00)KevinMillard video

 -  Most replacement tires come with foam, either separate or pre-installed.

-  Foam mod is not recommended due to the inexpensive nature of replacement wheels/tires (~$20) and the extreme difficulty of getting the stock tires off of the stock wheels (see below).

-  If you must do it, there is nothing at all special about the foam used.  Any soft open- or closed-cell  foam will do as long as it fills the tire volume.  It's not a science.


Rear tire removal

-  Basically:  Don't do it.  Buy new ones instead.  See elsewhere in this guide for recommended replacements.

-  Some people recommend boiling the tires off.  This is not recommended since it barely works and can melt everything.

-  Some people recommend an overnight soak in acetone.  This may work but may melt your wheels as well.


Parts

Parts lists






Sources

Banggood:

Tmart:

MyRCMart:

Litehawk (Canada):

  -  All WLtoys parts (not necessarily for L959)


Commonly needed parts


Notes:

-  Traxxas Titan 380 motor fits but performance is reportedly worse than stock motor.  To date, nobody has tried any other alternative brushed motors; everyone opts for the factory brushless upgrade instead.
-  Some replacement motors come with a 14-tooth pinion (gear); original motors have smaller 12-tooth pinion (this has been verified).  Using a 14-tooth pinion version may cause motors to wear out prematurely, causing the car to go through motors quickly.  Unfortunately, both the 12 and 14 tooth gears appear very similar on casual inspection, so always compare the new motor to your old one.  You can assemble the gearbox using the 14-tooth pinion but it will feel stiff and require quite a bit of torque to get it to spin.  Using a replacement speed reduction gear along with the new motor may correct the issue, or it may not.  You can move the original 12-tooth pinion to a new motor, but only if you have a good-quality 1.5mm hex wrench handy to remove the set screw from the pinion.
 -   Cleaning with electronics cleaning spray / motor cleaning spray / electronics contact cleaner helps remove dust.
-  Brushed motors are 2-wire, brushless motors are 3-wire.  They are obviously not interchangeable,  See the difference between brushed motor and brushless motor here (brushed = 40 km/h, brushless = 60 km/h) 

To prolong motor life:
-  Motor break-in procedures: Normal, water break-in (DESOLDER PCB FIRST)
  (Note that there is no known "best" way to break in a motor, so don't fuss over the details too much,  Just run it for a short while (15-30 minutes) at a low speed (1.5V-5.0V) and it should be OK.)

-  Add heat sink

Heat sinks reported working on L959/L969 (not personally confirmed):
-  Passive:  Banggood 1, Banggood 2   
-  Active (with fan):  Banggood 1,
Not reported working: Aliexpress search, Futaba (Aliexpress)    
 Note:  many of the heat sinks that include fans are for 540-size motors, not 380-size motors.  They also obviously require power and the fans are subject to breakdown.

Heat paste:  Banggood (search)    

Thermal pads:  Banggood (1mm thick), Banggood (5mm thick)  (
-  Note that the stock heat sink that comes with some L959 and L969 cars does fit rather closely when properly mounted, so a pad is not needed to fill the space.


Speed reduction gears: Banggood
Notes:
 -   There are no known metal gear replacements for these.  Some argue that allowing the easily-replaced reduction gears to shred is preferable to having harder-to-replace transmission parts break instead.
 -  Putting PTFE grease or other lubricant in the gearbox may help it last longer.


Receiver: The receiver differs between the L959 car and L969 truggy because the battery connector is different.

L959 (part 959-38): Banggood, Litehawk (Canada) (from Blast)
L969 (part 969-18):  Litehawk (Canada) (from Brute), Aliexpress (search)    
Notes:
 -  Older receivers were not waterproofed.  Newer ones are mostly waterproofed by being filled with glue, but there are gaps in the coverage, so water still might kill them.
 -  Replacement waterproofed receivers may have glue in the plugs that needs to be cleaned out with a needle or X-Acto knife.


Front tires:  Tires are different between car and truggy (duh)
L959:  Litehawk (Canada) (from Blast), Banggood 
L969: Banggood   

Rear tires:  Rear tires also not the same across models.
 L959:  Stock L959 rear tires are garbage.  See above for replacements.  If you must have originals, look in "Sources" above. 
 L969:  Banggood 


Wheel spacers (12mm size x 6mm):
-  Stock:  Banggood
-  Upgrades:  see below


Upgrade parts

Note:  The L202 has many - but not all - of these already.  In fact, several of the L959 upgrades come directly from the L202.

For rear tires/wheels, see above.

Sources

  Banggood:

  Tmart:


Brushless upgrade kit


Notes:
-  Kit includes ALL parts needed to convert L959 to L202, including axles (dogbones), bearings, ESD, motor, and L202 receiver.
-  It is not known for certain if the kit also upgrades an L969 to an L212, but it should.  (No responsibility on me if it doesn't, caveat emptor!)
-  The L202 ESC is advertised as plugging directly in to the existing L959 receiver, but this does not always seem to work.  It is best to get one specific for the L202.  The kit linked above includes the new L202 receiver, or get it here: (Banggood)
-  The upgrade kit uses the 969-18 receiver, which has the T-plug battery connector.  If you're not using T-plug batteries already, you may need new ones.  Alternatively, you might need to cut off the T-plug and solder on a JST plug.
-  L202 ESC is compatible with 3S (11.4V) lithium-polymer batteries.
-  Brushed motors are 2-wire, brushless motors are 3-wire. The brushless motor requires an electronic speed controller (ESC) and cannot simply be plugged in to the standard L959 receiver.  (An ESC would be called a motor controller in electrical engineering circles.)
-  See the difference between brushed and brushless here (brushed = 40 km/h, brushless = 60 km/h) 


Axles (Dogbones)

L202 metal dogbones:  Banggood


Shocks

Trackstar Tamiya CC01:  Hobby King (USA)
Notes:
-  These are 70mm, and therefore longer than the stock 65mm.  However, the L959 has three possible lower mounting points for the rear shocks, so mounting slightly longer shocks without significantly raising the rear may be possible.
-  Requires "longer screws to attach to the upper mounting points".  Details of this are not known. 
-  Handling is reportedly much improved.

D90 SCX10 (eBay (USA))

eBay shocks :  Version 1
Notes:
  -  You must know your stock shock length before ordering:
    -  Fronts: unknown
    -  Rear shock size (hole to hole): 65mm
    -  You can measure while mounted on the car - the car has no natural pre-load on the shocks.  But turn it upside-down before measuring.
  -  You may need to re-use the stock springs, as these shocks come with stiff springs
  -  This vendor does not seem to have our length available

Version 2:  Does not fit because the upper mounting point lacks a ball joint.  (eBay listing "102004 Blue Aluminum Shock Absorber 2 Pieces for 1/10 Scale RC Car", seller "texascornerstore".)

Xtra Speed XS-59578 (Photos):  rcMart (HK) 

Shock oil:
-  Trackstar 450 silicone shock oil


Motors only

L202 motor:  Banggood
Notes:
-  The L202 motor is reportedly a 2848 (28mm diameter, 48mm length, 2mm shaft) (specs unverified).
-  The brushless motor requires an electronic speed controller (ESC) and cannot simply be plugged in to the standard L959 receiver.  (An ESC would be called a motor controller in electrical engineering circles.)
-  See the difference between brushed and brushless here (brushed = 40 km/h, brushless = 60 km/h) 

Alternatives:  Amazon (USA)
  Notes:
  -  Alternatives are not necessarily compatible with L202 ESC.

Tamiya Sport Tune 380 motor: is 38mm long and does not make adequate torque, according to one tester.


Gears

No metal gears known.  It has been noted that using metal gears might just transfer stress to other parts of the system, causing them to break.
 

Gearbox

-  HPI E-Firestorm (reported, not confirmed): HPI Racing (USA)


Ball bearings

  -  9x5x3 ball bearings
  -  Less resistance, more speed


Wheel hex mounts

These space the rear wheels out from the axles/hubs.  You can get them fixed length (non-adjustable) or adjustable.



 -  Note:  Not all upgrades may be the same width (thickness) as originals.  This may make the wheels sit further in or farther out than the stock position.


Light kits
  -  Lights only kit:  Banggood

  -  Kit with housings:  Banggood


10 comments:

  1. Hello! THNX for the thourough sum up.
    I want to contribute one bit.
    You said:
    L969 truck, which IMHO is more fun anyway (see videos of the truck version). I have both, and the truck handles better, handles bumps better, jumps better, and is just generally more fun, in my opinion.

    Well, I suggest 979 is even better! You know why? It's harder to kill. See, 979 has BUMPERS and also wheels don't protrude from under the body. This is why it jumps, hits, falls, but wheels and axles stay undamaged.

    Also, I didn't have the tire contact problem you said you have due to fat tires.

    Hope this helps a bit. Thanx again fellow RCer!

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  2. Oh one more thing
    you provided a banggood link, where the LIPO battery is somewhat expensive @ $10.70

    2 days ago I received 2 batteries via aliexpress, somewhat cheaper
    @ 9.10... 18.2 for two
    http://www.aliexpress.com/item/2-PCS-Lot-Free-Shipping-WLtoys-V913-RC-Helicopter-Spare-Parts-7-4V-1500mAh-2S-30C/32220098027.html

    maybe the difference ain't big but still it's useful to have alternatives!

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  3. From Spain, thank's for the job, very usable

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  4. Many thanks as well! I currently have the L979 and it's awfully fun to drive....both myself and my 7 year old kid simply love it...

    And I just bought a Wave Runner (L959) brushed version such that I can compare the handling and both drive one against each other...

    eheh

    Cheers from Germany!

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  5. Hi
    Thanks for the info I´m Adakar (xtra speed shocks pictues) Actually I use a 65mm front and 70mm rear
    Don´t use the original metal dogbones they destroy the cups, use the hsp 63mm dogbones, fits better.
    Actually running a 3000kv brushless, only mesh 1 set of gears but the differential is not made for brushless :(
    Don´t use hard rear springs, to improve traction on dirt need medium springs, with hard ones just get spin on dirt and fail in the curves.
    Also can use fs racing linkages.
    Cheers

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  6. Hi there, bought 2 x Blasts. Both started having problems. We ran them a couple of minutes and they stopped moving forward or backward but steering would still work. Replaced battery and esc unit. Think it might be worse with the newer esc unit and blue battery compared to old set up with black one. HELP! Litehawk has been really good and send new units out but same problem. My kids are crushed. Anyone have these issues? We really like the Blasts or do I need to buy Traxxas? Thanks, any input much appreciated

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  7. Hi,

    I have the A959 buggy which I bought parts to make it brushless.
    I had purchased the L202 receiver (L595-P-06 was the model name) but I am unsure how to bind it with my stock A959 transmitter, because they are supposed to be compatible.

    The usual procedure is to turn on the transmitter then the ESC, but if I try that with this receiver, the receiver doesn't respond, where as if I turn on the receiver first and then the transmitter, the flashing light on the receiver becomes solid.

    Right now, I am in the process of figuring out if my ESC is defective, because the motors won't turn at all

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    Replies
    1. The ESC only gives you the forward reverse function, the direction servo works?? if not is not your ESC is a bind problem
      Honnestly I don´t remember how to bind the original transmitter cause at the end I replace all the electronics.....

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  8. Extremely comprehensive guide and description. Thank you

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