By Mike Garrison
Whether it's wheel nuts, wings, tools, tracks, trinkets and/or anything in between, the LiveRC staff gives their testimonial and review of each every Thursday morning!
In the game of 1/10-scale 4wd off-road racing, Team Losi Racing offers one of the few belt driven platforms on the market; the 22-4. Since the original 22-4 release, the buggy has undergone a 2.0 version update and has seen a wide range of success on local, regional, and national championship levels. While there is no doubt the car is capable of winning races, like most cars it has a “weak point” here and there. One “weak point” of the 22-4 2.0 has been the plastic front pivot mount, as under a heavy hit it has been known to split or break where the hinge pins are held. In an attempt to handle the heavy hits without breakage, Exotek Racing released their new 22-4 2.0 extra heavy duty machined 7075 alloy front pivot mount. Did the new aftermarket option do the trick? I got my hands on one to find out.
Exotek Racing 22-4 2.0 Extra Heavy Duty Machined 7075 Alloy Front Pivot Mount
Exotek Racing is known for their alloy, Titanium, and carbon fiber aftermarket parts, conversion kits, colorful bling, and accessories. The new 22-4 front pivot mount is machined from 7075 alloy, and weighs a claimed 17.6 grams (17.0097 grams by my scale). It is designed to be a direct replacement for the stock plastic pivot mount, and includes two M3 set screws to lock down the hinge pins in the mount.
- Weight – .6 oz
- Material – 7075 alloy
- Colors Available – Black
- Fits – TLR 22-4 2.0 1/10-scale 4wd buggy
(Left - Exotek alloy pivot mount brace, Right - TLR stock plastic pivot mount brace)
Often times aftermarket alloy option parts are very flashy with shiny bright colors that carry a sign waving “LOOK AT ME!”. The 22-4 2.0 alloy pivot mount offers a clean, sleek, and stealthy gloss black appearance – which I prefer. Unfortunately, unlike a hard-anodized part, when driving on an abrasive track surface the track the shiny gloss black anodizing begins to lose its shine and show through to silver alloy where it takes the most abuse.
To keep the alloy pivot mount lightweight, and add a bit of creativity to a rather mundane looking piece, Exotek added their signature “fins” to the underside. These fins look good and shave weight, but also collect a bit of dirt. A little extra cleaning, however, is well worth the price of admission to have the confidence the pivot won’t break in my opinion.
The Exotek pivot mount is also drilled and threaded to accept M3 set screws to hold the hinge pin in place (set screws are included). I personally have never been a fan of running set screws on hinge pins, as I have found that it simply adds another point at which the pins can bind up. It’s important that your suspension is as free as possible, and therefore I have always skipped out using set screws unless mandatory. The stock plastic pivot does not offer a place for set screws, and combined with my theory of keeping the suspension free, I simply added the set screws to my collection and chose not to use them.
Exotek labels this as a direct fit part, which depending on the part and brand, it can be very difficult to make a truly exact to stock spec part while still fixing a problem. Exotek nailed it. The pivot mount fits flawless, the hinge pins slide in and out freely, and it seals to the top of the diff case as perfectly as the stock part.
Alloy is heavier than plastic in most cases, however, the minuet difference between the stock plastic pivot mount and the Exotek alloy pivot mount was unnoticed in the car’s handling on the track.
Aside from the stock plastic pivot mount splitting/breaking, plastic over time on any car is going to wear out and create slop. There is a difference in making sure a car is “free” and just plain "sloppy”. While I’m sure over time you will see some wear on the alloy pivot mount holes and diff holders, the alloy has proven already to wear far less and remain free, but not sloppy, compared to the plastic in relatively the same amount of time.
(Stock plastic pivot break)
Anytime you replace a “weak” part with something stronger, such as replacing plastic with metal, during a crash the impact is going to eventually be re-directed to the next point at which it can break. I was able to break one a-arm, however, the impact that did it was a head-on collision with a wrong way short course truck. I am going to stand (or sit in my case) confident that impact would have broken the a-arm regardless, and most definitely the plastic pivot mount too. The broken arm in this situation was no fault of the alloy replacement.
- Eliminates the threat of the front plastic pivot mount breaking – a common problem for some racers.
- Lightweight and did not alter the car’s handling or performance.
- Excellent fit and a direct replacement for the stock plastic counterpart with zero modifications needed.
- Drilled with the ability to use optional set screws (included) to further secure the hinge pins.
- A boost of confidence in durability that many TLR 22-4 2.0 owners have been searching for.
- The glossy black anodizing looks gorgeous, however, because this part of the car is exposed to the racing surface below, the underside anodizing loses its shine and some color when racing on more abrasive track surfaces.
I have personally owned a TLR 22-4 platform buggy since its original release. The 22-4 was a great car, the 22-4 2.0 is a better car. The “weak point” of the 22-4 was the front pivot brace, in which Exotek released a beefy alloy fix for that. The 22-4 2.0 eliminated the weak pivot brace, but has seen weakness in the plastic pivot mount instead. The Exotek 22-4 2.0 alloy pivot mount is the first of any brand, that I am aware of, to solve the plastic mount breakage. While I am surprised it has taken this long for someone to release a more durable metal replacement, I cannot applaud Exotek enough for what they have done. A superb fit, superb durability, superb quality, and finally a superb solution!
You can't win a race if you don't finish, and Exotek certainly helps make easier. I think the final word on the Exotek 22-4 2.0 alloy pivot mount is best summed up by a customer Bob’s review posted on the Exotek Racing website which reads:
“You guys at Exotek are Awesome! This is the reason I sold my old 22-4. I'll buy another one in a heartbeat [with this part now available].”
Rating: 5 of 5