When I got the Triple Wheels and Maxx Traxx in the mail, coming out of the same box, it was clear that they were identical twins, if perhaps separated at birth. While the stealth fighter chassis are identical aside from a color swap, the Maxx Traxx replaces boring old wheels with Power Treads! This is one of the “paperweights” I mentioned in my previous post- until I find a remote for it I can’t really test it out. However, one side of the Triple Wheels’ gearbox was sticking an grinding, so I wanted to open it up and get that side turning smooth.
Easier said than done! Despite the open look of the car, taking apart the gearbox requires a complete teardown. First, I removed the 4 screws on the bottom of the chassis. 2 of them were behind stickers, so I used a Qtip with rubbing alcohol to gently peel back the decals enough to get at the screws. I was able to remove the body, and then I removed the screws from the 2 braces connecting the gearbox to the chassis.
I wanted to clean everything, so I also removed all of the electronics, but you might be able to do quick repairs with things half dangling. I removed the screws holding the gearbox halves together, then used the same Q-tip and rubbing alcohol trick to lift up half of each Tyco sticker before gently separating the whole thing.
One thing I noticed right away was that the gears for the top and bottom tires were different, which I assume is to account for the difference in tire size. The Maxx Traxx’s rear tires are both the same size, so I’m guessing that the gearboxes are not interchangeable (although you could probably use Maxx Traxx gears on a Triple Wheels, the Triple Wheels gears would make a Maxx Traxx’s treads bunch up).
OK, so with the gearbox open, I was looking fo the source of the grinding- a grain of sand, a missing tooth.. and then I noticed one of the wheel shafts was bent. I straightened it as best I could by folding it in a rag and playing with it in my vise.
I cleaned and oiled everything up (a MUST for the front axle!), put it back together, using my Maxx Traxx as a reference, and it’s spinning much freer now. It’s not perfect, but it’ll do. The stickers were tacky enough to be reapplied, although I may beef them up with adhesive and protect it with clear shipping tape some day.
Here’s the finished result. This is only Phase 1, as I still have to find a radio and repair the splitting tires. I may also waterproof this one, as it would be fairly easy to do.