Team Associated Monster GT – Long Term Test
I bought my Monster GT in august 2004, 14 gallon of fuel burnt later, I think I have enough experience with my truck to write a good long term review. My Monster GT began has a basher and during the 2004-2005 winter I began to transform it into a racer. I didn’t transform the truck into a full blown race truck because I don’t think it’s necessary to be competitive. I just fixed few minor problems and added few Factory Team parts.
I had to replace the stock steering servo because end points were not adjusted correctly (my fault). However the stock servo was doing his job very well. I installed the Factory Team steering kit because it includes an integrated servo saver, it offers better steering, for durability and for a bit of bling bling. I also grinded the front diff case because the turnbuckle hits the diff case and I grinded the knuckles where the pillow balls goes throw to add few extra turning degrees.
No wear, all steering components still operate flawlessly.
No special or extra maintenance is required for the steering. I had to pay attention to the pivot balls caps that loosen once and a while. I used blue threadlock to fix the problem.
Nothing broke or bent except for the steering servo but this was my fault.
All my suspension still stock and original except for the Factory Team shock caps I installed because a shock cap popped out once. I frequently check my shocks oil, so I prefer to have aluminum shocks caps, threads are stronger and will last longer. I raced with a red/gold springs combo with 40wt oil on each corner. I also installed a 10mm internal limiters to limit body roll and increase corner speed. I never had to rebuild the shocks and they still smooth. If I race my MGT next season, I’ll try 4 1/8 buggy shocks setup.
I also tried different hopups. I did few track tests with the Pro-Line PowerStroke with extra firm springs specific for the MGT and I went back to the stock shocks, not because they weren’t good but I prefer the stock shocks.
Rear turnbuckle’s ends wear out fast, I changed them many times but this is part of the maintenance routine. I installed washers to prevent them from popping out.
Pay attention to the hinge pins, sometime they loosen. Also inspect the rear turnbuckle’s ends for any wear or loose.
I broke a rear shock tower and a shock cap popped out after a really hard landing.
The drive train is certainly the most abused part of any monster trucks. Monster GT’s drive train is composed of two diffs, a transmission and cvd’s everywhere. The first upgrade I did was to remove the reverse by installing the Forward Only Kit. I saved a lot of rotating masses and weight. Removing all those gears and servo lightweight the Monster GT by 219 grams (almost 1/2 pound) and also make the truck accelerate faster…. Really faster, great for racing.
I broke few cvd’s pins, I prefer to break a cvd’s pin rather than cvd’s bone or a gear in the transmission. I secured all cvd’s setscrew with blue threadlock. The transmission cups need to be inspected frequently because they will wear and cause slop in the drive train. Slop will cause excessive stress for the diffs and transmission when landing from jumps or simply when accelerating or braking. Replacing the transmission’s cups only cost 12$.
The transmission is bullet proof, I only opened the case once in 13 gallons and this was to install the forward only kit when the truck was new. The only problem I had with the transmission has been the 2-speed shaft that broke in two after 13 gallons of intense bashing and racing. Not bad for the original Monster GT’s .21 transmission. I never had to adjust the second speed screw, the shifting point was perfectly set for me.
I replaced the stock grease in the diffs with 7000wt in the front diff and 1000wt in the rear diff. This is the only modification I did to the diffs, I never shimmed them and they still in a perfect condition.
In the clutch department, I only had to replace the shoes and springs. I didn’t go with aftermarket parts, I reorder the same shoes and springs for Team Associated.
To save few grams of rotating masses and for the look I installed the Factory Team hex’s kit.
Thread lock all cvd’s setscrews and inspect them frequently,
Prevent backlashing, inspect the drive shafts and transmission’s cups frequently.
Few CVD’s pins
2-speed shaft in the transmission
My Monster GT is from the first generation so it came with the .21 engine. I ran this mill for 5-6 gallons before I replaced it with an Ofna/Picco 26 engine. The AE .21 engine still have good compression and it still in my toolbox as a spare engine. I ran my Monster GT with few different engines. As stated earlier, I first ran my Monster GT with the stock .21 engine. I also ran it with an Ofna/Picco .26 engine. To begin 2006 season, I installed an Ofna/Picco .28 engine and in the middle of the season I replaced it with a Team Associated .28 engine. I really like to start my Monster GT with my cordless drill and I keep the pull starter in case I forget the drill.
I replaced the stock header and the tuned pipe with a Factory Team side header and a XTM Mammoth tuned pipe. It’s a common combo and it performs really well. The stock engines performs well too and are reliable. I didn’t break any one way bearing and I never had to seal Team Associated’s engines for any air leak.
The dual element air filter did his job perfectly. I used OS #8 or R5 glow plugs with 30% XP Fuel Car Formula. The engines best perform in the 220-250F range, they were easy to adjust and they all kept their settings with excellent idle.
Clean and oil air filter
Fill the tank and have fun !
The stock tires are huge and are great for bashing. For racing I used and tested many different tires/wheels combo. I began with Pro-Line Maxx size offset Velocity wheels with Pro-Line Bowties tires. I also tried with Pro-Line 40 Serie Velocity wheels with 23mm Hex and Bowties tires. I finished my season with Pro-Line Velocity offset wheels 14mm hex with Pro-Line Crime Fighter MT tires with extra firm inserts.
If you install different tires, don’t forget to change your clutch bell and/or spur gear. You need to gear up to have the same top speed and acceleration. I use a 18T clutch bell with a 49T spur gear most of the time. To prevent 14mm hex’s from stripping, I use two nuts per wheels to secure the wheel.
The stock body is a bit thin but have the advantage to be light, in fact the stock body is half the weight than most of the aftermarket bodies. Lightweight body equals lower CG. No matter what bodies you use, cut the driver’s windows for fast refuel and cut a hole in the windshield for an optimal airflow for your engine.
I can’t imagine what I can say about the chassis, this is certainly the strongest chassis on the market. A nice looking Factory Team chassis is available if you want to save few grams. The skid plates protected the steering components and the diffs.
I replaced the spring on the brake linkage with a piece of fuel tubing to increase brake strength. I installed the Factory Team Robo disk brake to also increase brake power. With or without this option, the Monster GT brakes strongly and no sign of fade even after a 30 minutes A-Main. The only maintenance I had to do was to remove the disk brake and clean it with a 300 grit sand paper.
During the last two years, I bashed and raced my Monster GT. Driving the truck has always been a blast. I didn’t break much parts, some guys broke more parts than I did but I always drove my MGT on a race track and I’m not the kind of guy who will abuse of my trucks or do stupid things with them.
On the track I had consistent lap time and I never had any DNF, it’s also an excellent racer with excellent attitude on a race track and this means cornering, jumping, braking and general handling. The Monster GT is durable, reliable and will finish any races. Working on the MGT is easy, don’t need to disassemble all the truck to work on it. All major components are easy to reach for repair or for maintenance. I will never hesitate to recommend a Monster GT to anyone interested in a great truck for bashing or racing. Team Associated’s parts are available everywhere in any hobby shop. All this review is based on my own experience. Hope you like it.