Review - Element RC Sendero HD 4X4 Crawler

Element RC Enduro Sendero HD

The Sendero HD is a 1/10 scale electric truck that comes preassembled out of the box, including extra tools and parts, the XP130 3-channel transmitter requires four AA batteries. The truck also requires a battery pack and is compatible with either 2 or 3S LiPo batteries with a T-style connector. If you need a battery, Element RC offers the Sendero HD in combo version. Once you add your battery, the Sendero HD is ready for action.

Sendero HD Body

Out on the trail, the Sendero HD is a stunner and features a two-piece cab and caged bed design, which is a nice update over the original Sendero truck and adds a little more utility for adding extra scale parts, scale tools, or a spare tire on the bed.

Two-Piece Sendero Body

The body has a good amount of hard plastic scale accessories included and attached to the lexan body from the inside. The front grill is an excellent example of this, resting over the hard plastic bumper with D-tow rings and a winch fairlead. The headlights come with LEDs already installed.

Sendero Grille

Moving down the Sendero HD body are more hard plastic accessories with the windshield wipers and folding side mirrors that help protect them in a rollover. Element RC used decals for the window trim, blinkers, and door handles.

Hard Plastic Scale Details

For tires, these are the officially licensed General Grabber X3 tires in soft rubber compound. They're 1.9" at 4.65" tall, mounted on the new Ocho beadlock wheel that uses a hex hub.

General Grabber X3 Tires

Roll Cage

The Sendero HD uses a caged bed made from hard plastic tubing with lexan panels attached to the back half of the body. This cage is attached to the body from the inside but only at lower points, giving the body and bed more flex than my liking, although it's adequate.

We found an easy modification to tighten the flex. We removed the cage screws near the back of the cab and attached them from the body's inside. We used a body reamer to make a precise screw hole and added silicone fuel tubing as a spacer to a new, longer screw. The lexan body curve is not ideal for resting a metal screw head, so the silicon is like a protective cushion. We were able to do this on both sides in about 15 minutes.

How we fixed the flex

The cage is a cool scale feature for this body, but there are more included accessories that you could install yourself, for instance, the plastic antennas and exhaust system. These items are paintable if you want to detail them, as are all the other hard plastic bits and pieces. Element RC added another piece to this scale experience, if you turn the box inside out, it's now a scale diorama backdrop for the truck.

Plastic Antenna Included

Plastic Antenna Included

Plastic Exhaust Included

Plastic Exhaust Included

Box Transforms into Display Diorama

Scale Diorama

Decal Sheet Included

Decal Sheet Included

If you enjoy customizing with decals, you'll enjoy the decal sheet, ready for you to cut out and apply yourself. If you want to change the looks, this sheet includes white body panels—we didn't add them to our truck.

Sendero Displayed with Optional White Panels

If you're handy with a 3D printer, Element RC offers the files to print 3D engine parts add to your Sendero—you can find the files here. With these designs you can do plenty to further the scale realism; beyond how the truck comes out of the box.

Click to Zoom

Trail Tested Construction

What about tackling the terrain? The Sendero HD chassis is ideal for the trail and uses realistic axles with diff covers, metal axle shafts, and locked differentials. However, locked diffs reduce steering performance, so the Enduro tackles this in two ways.

Sendero Axle

First, the truck has CV driveshafts in the front axle for wide steering angles.  Second, the Sendero comes with a Stealth X transmission, configured with overdrive.  The overdrive spins the front tires slightly faster than the front, helping pull the rear end around.

CV Driveshaft

CV Driveshafts

Stealth X Transmission

Stealth X Transmission

The stock overdrive is 5.7%, but you can change that to an 11.83% overdrive with the included gear. If you don't want to use the overdrive, the transmission can be configured to a 1:1 setup.

We found the stock 5.7% overdrive to be great on the trail, and the steering is excellent.

5.7 to 11.8 Overdrive

Behind-the-Axle (BTA

One of the coolest things about the Element RC trucks is their use of the BTA steering, the steering linkage is placed behind the front axle for a clean look. The BTA steering also works for those that want to add the optional independent front suspension conversion kit or IFS kit.

Behind the Axle - BTA

The front axle on this truck has a 3-link suspension with panhard bar, and chassis mounted servo, with a second servo mount available for you to add a winch servo.

Sendero Front Axle
Front Axle 3-Link Suspension
Second Servo Mount

In the back, the truck's rear axle is supported by a 4-link suspension with metal links. The driveshafts are telescopic front and rear with aluminum driveshaft splines.

Rear Axle 4-Link Suspension

If we flip back up top, you'll find aluminum threaded shocks on all four corners supported by shock towers attached to the stamped steel chassis rails. The front bumper on the truck is adjustable, as are the adjustable width side guards and the body posts if you want to use a different body.

Rear Axle 4-Link Suspension

Two Battery Boxes

To accommodate the truck's battery, the small battery box fits a shorty lipo, like the 3S ProTek crawler pack that we're using, but there is a second larger battery box for prolonged use.

Two Battery Boxes

Upgraded Electronics


The main reason Element RC called this truck HD is the included electronics. The brushed Reedy SC480X ESC is upgraded and is water-resistant.  It has programmable brake and throttle functions using a program car. The ESC also features two aux power ports for accessories. However, one of the auxiliary ports is used to power the headlights.

Sendero SC480X ESC

Reedy 1523MG Servo

The steering servo is another upgraded item, and it's the Reedy 1523MG, with metal gears and a water-resistant design. The servo pushes about 12.5kg-cm or 173oz-in at 6.0V, and you can feel the power on the rocks where most RTR servos would fall short. Of course, the strength is partly thanks to the included metal servo horn, but whatever the case, this servo is one of the best upgrades included with the HD.

Sendero Reedy 1523MG

Reedy Motor

The Reedy 27430 motor is pretty standard equipment. This 5-slot 16-turn brushed crawler motor combined with the SC480X speed controller is super smooth—as you'd expect.

Sendero 5-Slot Motor

Making Changes

There were a few things I wanted to change on the truck. First, we had some 1.9" tires that will work better at our local park. We used them once before on our Gatekeeper build; they're the Pit Bull Rock Beast XL's, and they are a little taller than our stock tires.

We mounted them to the SSD Assassin Metal Beadlocks in bronze.  Since these tires are a little taller than the stock tires, we experienced more tire rubbing, but trimming the body will fix that. Having the metal beadlocks on these tires also helps give the truck a rugged look and feel.

Pit Bull Rock Beast XL

Even though the truck already comes with lights, we wanted to add more. Lights help 100% on the trail, and they look cool. So, we're going to add a 10-LED aluminum light bar to the roof, it plugs right into the extra aux port on the ESC.

Installing the light bar is easy. We put the mounts on the lightbar to see where our holes needed to be, marked those holes with a Sharpie, and popped them with a body reamer. On the mounts, we added a 2mm spacer to push the mounts more inboard so we could attach it with crush washers on each side of that spacer.

The last thing we added was a hole for the wiring to go through into the cab. We installed the wiring half covered by the light mount, half exposed, and then covered it with a decal. We also taped the wire in the corner so it's hidden.

The result is more impressive trail light and a little bit more scale realism.


Out on the trail, the Sendero HD crawled as good as it looks. The throttle precision from the electronics made it easy to be smooth on the rocks—it's cool to watch the suspension articulate over the terrain.

The stock General Grabber tires rubbed a little on the wheel wells during extreme flexing, but it's nothing a little scissor trim can't fix.