Review: One Year With The RC4WD Gelande 2 D90

Review: One Year With The RC4WD Gelande 2 D90

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year already, where has the time gone? While technically the D90 has been in the FotoGuy garage for a year and 2 months (Purchased in mid-June of 2016), once you factor in the build time and actually getting it out on the trails, we’re fairly close to that one year mark. You’ll forgive me, right?

Anyway, some may remember I had originally pre-ordered the Axial SCX10.2- but with the huge response it received upon release and the subsequent backorders, I canceled said pre-order and purchased the RC4WD Gelande 2 D90 Kit instead. Sorry Axial, I was impatient and the timing just wasn’t right. As a consolation, I did eventually end up with that SCX10.2 though!


If you’ve ever purchased a RC4WD kit before, then you know how nicely packaged they arrive. Inside the beautiful box art, all the major pieces are laid out in foam trays stacked on one another. Plastic bags clearly label the various sized screws, along with plenty of spares.

I assembled the kit over the course of two days, carefully following the easy to follow instruction manual. A member on the RC4WD forums, New2Rocks, was kind enough to put together an amazingly helpful guide on the Gelande 2 (, so be sure to have that bookmarked if you plan on purchasing or even if you already own one and haven’t read it yet. He’s covered everything you can imagine on this rig- from things to look out for, to the best upgrade options. I have referenced it many times over the course of my G2 ownership.

One of the biggest things with these kits, make sure you thread lock EVERYTHING. Well, everything you wouldn’t want backing out and falling off of the rig that is. I missed/forgot to apply thread lock to a few of the screws when I assembled, and after a few runs found those screws MIA. Thankfully the plentiful amount of spares meant it was an easy 30 second fix and not an extra trip to the hobby shop.

This kit comes with the axles already pre-assembled but I, like many others, ended up taking them apart anyway as they come with little to no grease in them. Again, New2Rocks guide mentions this as well, but it’s just something to check on as soon as you get your kit. I personally use marine grease in all my rigs.


Out on the trail, in stock form, the rig as you can imagine is fairly top-heavy with the D90 body. I’ve run a D90 body on an SCX10 in the past, and that was a disaster- with how light those chassis are it just wanted to flop over on every slight incline. Thankfully the Gelande 2 chassis is all metal- so all the weight down low helps keep the rig planted but the extra weight up high does force you to pick your lines a little more carefully. However, that’s what scale crawling is all about, right? The G2 handles realistically, and it’s easy to get caught up watching the scale suspension work it’s way over the terrain in front of it with matching body roll.

One other point about the D90 body- I find it a slight PITA to install onto the chassis with it’s interior once you have a battery mounted. Even though I’m using a hardcase pack that is less than 1″ thick, it’s still a fight to get the mounting holes lined up and bolted in. So if you only have batteries that are thicker than 1″, don’t plan on running the interior without modification of some sort.

Personally I wasn’t a big fan of the stock Dirt Grabber tires; now I’m not sure if it was just a matter of not giving them enough time to properly break in or what, but for me they just didn’t seem to want to grab onto much of anything. I ran the D90 in it’s stock form at a comp held at Route 106 (terrain was primarily rock and sand) where the tires struggled and were a big factor in holding the rig back from it’s potential. I eventually replaced them with a set of Pit Bull RC 1.9 PBX A/T’s and these have greatly improved the rig’s capabilities.


Breakage on this rig has been very, very minimal over the past year. Besides a few screws backing out where I had missed applying Thread Lock, the stock drive shafts only lasted a couple runs before biting the dust and needing replacement. I installed the Punisher v3 scale drive shafts and have had zero issues since. The only other piece that has failed was the front passenger shock. While wheeling at Bolton Valley Resort with the RCEC guys during their 48 hour challenge, the lower portion of the shock shaft stripped out from the rod end and the spring was lost somewhere along the trail. At that point I just replaced all four with a set of RC4WD 80mm Superlift shocks.


Overall I’ve been very happy with this rig and makes for a great scale trail truck. Originally purchased mainly for scale trail rides and scale photo/video work, with the recent popularity of SORRCA events and the new Ultimate Scale Challenge series, this rig will be seeing a lot more duty in the near future at the comp level as well. In addition, with all the different modifications and add-ons available for the G2/D90, it allows for endless customization opportunities to suite your style and needs. As an added bonus, if kit’s aren’t your thing, RC4WD now offers the G2 D90 in RTR form featuring a 45 turn motor, Twister High Torque Metal Gear Servo, Outcry II waterproof ESC, 6-cell 3000MAH NiMH battery, and peak charger. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and hit the scale trails today!

Current Electronics and battery-

Additional Mods-


(Above photo by Trevor Rushford. Below, photo by Chris Rylant)


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