Recently I upgraded to brushless power in the WL Toys 14401 as you can see in this article:
WL TOYS 144001: ULTIMATE BRUSHLESS UPGRADE GUIDE
Performance is so much better than stock and battery life has increased by over 50%. I much prefer this smaller brushless that the larger 3650 size that are usually limited to on road and speed runs. The install is fairly straightforward but you need to slot the motor mount to set the mesh on the smaller 17t pinion gear and this can be tricky. Good news though, I've found a workaround where no machining nor tricky gear mesh setting is required.
The 144001 uses a 0.7 modulus gear pitch and is very rare for pinions. We are typically limited to the very large stock 27t pinion (way too big for this application) or the 17t pinion from the WL Toys A959 / A969. The 17t pinion offers an excellent ratio for the 2838 and 2845 motors but you need to mod the motor plate as mentioned in my original brushless upgrade article.
Good news though, I've found that using the stock 380 motor mounts on the motor plate you can use a 15t pinion gear. Up until recently these have been impossible to find but I've done a LOT of testing and have found three options for you.
Option 1: 15t from Hobbyking
Hobbyking still have some old stock of a 15t 0.7m pinion that we used on certain helis but it is not a bolt on option - as it has an oversize 5.0mm bore. Because of this you need a 5mm to 3.2mm reducer which is available here. You may also need to file down the grub screw a little if it fouls on the mount.
The larger bore means the pinion collar is larger. It fits but the grub screw needs reducing in length just a little.
Option 2: 15t from Aliexpress 2.3mm bore
This pinion is a nice fit but you will need to increase the bore of the pinion from 2.3mm to 3.2mm. This can be done easily with the appropriate drill bit such as this cheap 3.2mm bit option here. The other option is to run a motor with a 2.3mm shaft like the one below
This is what it looks like in the car and what I am running presently. Virgin motor mount with no slotting!
Option 3: 15t from Aliexpress 3.2mm bore
This option will bolt up directly and requires no modification whatsoever. They are a little more expensive because I think they are a specialist item but no mods are needed for this whatsoever. Make sure you choose 15t and 3.17mm
Update: Although the pitch is correct this pinion is too long as reported by a user. Unfortunately mine was lost in the post before I could confirm. I'll work with this supplier to see if they can make a bolt on option but at present I would recommend the above 15t gear and drill out the shaft.
This should be the minimum work option but is the most expensive. I've ordered one to try but have not yet received. Will report back here once I have confirmed it is working as expected. Update, see above note.
Final mesh is just a little tighter than I'd like (although 14t is too loose after extensive testing). It does settle down after less than half a pack and I can now feel the the backlash is spot on. Understandably top speed is a little down on where the 17t was but still faster than the stock motor. acceleration is bonkers and due to the relatively low load on the motor battery life is crazy, even on the stock 2s lipo.
Given this is little undergeared, it really opens up the opportunity to run 3s where this should be capable of fairly ludicrous offroad speed. I want to do some more testing in this space around durability so please watch this space and I'll update later on with my experiences.
Although the 17t pinion is probably more suitable for the 2838 4500kv motor I'm running, it takes a lot of work and fiddling to install. Using the one of the 15t gear options I've recommended above will make it a little slower but the install is so much cleaner and probably more robust in the long run. It also makes it more viable for a 3s battery upgrade for some serious power. All in all I'd recommend this over the 17t as per my first brushless upgrade article not because of the out and out performance but because of ease and long term durability.
More power? Yep. More efficient? Yep. Longer life? Yep. Lastly, check out the difference in weight...
Summary of the full recommended parts list to upgrade the WL TOys 144001 from stock brushed to 2838 brushless:
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