Water and snow and mud, oh my! Adverse conditions to some–playground to RC truckers. Luckily for us, a lot of vehicles are now coming waterproofed right from the factory. Manufacturers, such as Traxxas, are mostly doing this for two reasons. First, they want you to be able to have fun when and where you want. Second, water damage is one of the absolute top reasons for product service. Little Timmy swears, “It just stopped.” But, the manufacturer ends up almost always finding water inside the speed control or receiver. After a manufacturer solves a few thousand of these “mysteries,” it becomes apparent that it is just easier to make the stuff waterproof.
So, does waterproof mean you can now run your truck into the lake, chase some fish and then back without worry? Not really. Well, sort of. Let me explain. The electronics are now waterproof and they will survive the dunking. It’s the rest of the truck you still have to worry about. Metal still rusts and grease still gets contaminated.
So, does this mean that even though the box says waterproof, you can’t actually blast through puddles, blow donuts in fender-deep snow or bury your truck in mud? Not at all. You just have to be prepared to do a little follow maintenance.
Below are some essential tips for have the whole truck survive a solid dunking.
> Remove the wheels and body. Clean and dry these off by hand.
> Remove the battery and dry it by hand with a clean paper towel.
> If you have access to an air compressor, blow the whole vehicle off. If your compressor doesn’t have a water trap, you should definitely add one, so you don’t make the problem worse and spray more water on your truck. Always wear eye protection.
> After you have removed most of the water, spray the vehicle with WD-40. Let the lubricant sit and then spray it with the compressor again.
> If you don’t have an air compressor, clean the entire vehicle with a rag or paper towel soaked with WD-40. Wear proper gloves.
> With the tires and body still removed, wipe down any exposed metal parts with WD-40.
> Certain parts such as shock shafts, screws, bearings and hingepins require special attention. Remove bearings if needed and make sure you completely dry and wipe down the screws and other metal parts with WD-40.
> Eventually bearings and gear boxes will have to be serviced. Keeping them clean will help, but if you are submerging your vehicle, water will get in. Bearings may eventually need to be replaced and transmissions may need to be rebuilt.
> Completely dry the motor or motors and clean with hobby-specific motor spray. Use a light oil on the bearings and bushings. Bearings require lighter oil and bushings work best with a little thicker oil.
The important bottom line is that just because the electronics are waterproof, you can put your vehicle away wet and expect it to perform like new.
To learn more about waterproof electronics and waterproofing, go here.