Traxxas Rustler Upgrades: How to Beef up Your Traxxas Rustler XL-5

The Traxxas Rustler is a great RC truck, but with a few tweaks, you can make it even greater. We take a look at the very best Traxxas Rustler upgrades.

Remote control cars have been hugely popular ever since they first appeared in the 1960s. In fact, the remote control car made number 54 on Time magazine's list of the all-time 100 greatest toys.

For RC truck aficionados, these are so much more than toys. Leading brands such as Traxxas offer powerful RC trucks such as the Traxxas Rustler XL-5 that can handle some serious punishment.

And whilst the Rustler is fast and solid, the beauty is that you can upgrade the parts to make your truck even tougher and even faster.

So read on as we take a look at some great ideas for Traxxas Rustler upgrades.


If you're going to take your Rusty off-road or over jumps then one area that's going to take a serious beating is the suspension.

The original suspension of the Traxxas Rustler XL-5 can handle a lot. But with a few tweaks, you can make it even more capable of handling whatever terrain you throw at it.


The Traxxas Rustler XL-5 comes with composite Ultra shocks.

And whilst these are fine for general use, if you want to put your Rusty through its pace you should consider upgrading to the Traxxas Big Bore shocks. These are made from machined aluminum with a hard-anodized finish for extra strength. The Teflon-coated shock bores make for a near-frictionless response.

Whilst you're at it, it's worth upgrading to high-quality machined aluminum shock towers to provide even more strength. STRC make some that will toughen up your Rusty as well as making it look way better too. And the looks are just as important, as the performance, right?

Caster Blocks

Whilst we're going aluminum, let's upgrade those caster blocks too.

The TRA3632A caster blocks are made from 6061-T6 aluminum, which is so tough that they use it in aircraft fittings. It adds a whole new level of durability to the shocks. They come in either anodized red or blue, so they look pretty damn sweet too.

Axle Carriers

If you like the look of the anodized aluminum caster blocks, then you should probably opt for the stub axle carriers too.

Made from the same 6061-T6 aluminum, they seriously toughen up your Rusty. They include large 5x11mm ball bearings for beautifully smooth performance. The axle carriers are also rubber-sealed making them very low-maintenance.

Steering Blocks

Round out the anodized aluminum look with a set of steering blocks.

They come in the same choice of fire-red or brilliant-blue. They also include four of the large 5x11mm ball bearings. They will help to provide durability and control to the front of your Rusty.

Axles and Tires

Now you've toughened up your suspension it's time to upgrade those axles and tires.

You may be planning to take your Rustler off-road (of course you are) so you'll need some parts that can handle the beating they're going to take. Here are a few of our recommendations.


If you're okay with adding some non-Traxxas parts to your Rustler then you might be tempted to upgrade your axles.

The MIP C-CVD axles will fit your Rustler XL-5 perfectly and can provide some much-needed solidity. These hardened high-strength alloy axles offer serious durability and include a screw-on capture ring that keeps the drive pin in place.


Depending on where you drive your Rusty, you might want to get a couple of sets of tires: one for use on the roads and one for off-road.

If you're looking for a good tire to deal with both situations, then the Pro-Line Dirt Hawgs are a solid choice. They fit any Traxxas 2.8 wheel and have large durable lugs that will last whether you're on or off the road. The tread pattern gives you great forward and sideways traction, too.


To get the most out of your Rustler, you'll want to get as much power to the wheels as possible.

Upgrading some of the stock components of the drivetrain can help you do this. It will turn your Rusty into an even more powerful beast.


The Traxxas Ball differential includes dual ball bearings, carbide differential balls, and a metal thrust bearing ring.

The kit comes with a 45 tooth main differential gear and a 60 tooth main differential gear. It also comes with all the output shafts, cap screws and washers you'll need.

And the beauty of this upgrade is that you can make trackside adjustments without the need to strip down your Rusty.

Drive Yokes

To add extra toughness, it's worth upgrading the drive yokes from the stock parts to the hardened steel versions.

They come with the U-joints preinstalled making them a breeze to fit. The hardened steel means that you can give your Rustler a serious pounding without worrying about them failing.


Finally, we're going to make a few upgrades to add a little protection from the inevitable beating your Rustler is going to take.

First up some STRC front body posts add strength as well as giving you more body height adjustability. STRC also make a CNC machined anodized heavy-duty aluminum rear motor guard. It not only keeps the motor better protected but also toughens up the rear of your Rusty at the same time and comes in a pretty sexy anodized green.

The last part we would add is the RPM wide front bumper. It adds more than an inch over the stock bumper for added protection from front knocks. Made from a nylon blend it will protect you from those head-on collisions without adding any noticeable weight to the front end.