WLtoys 1/18 A959 A969 A979 A959B A979B upgrade paths. Part 1: the basics

This is the first of three posts that describes how to upgrade your WLtoys 1:18 RTR RC cars cleverly, without a waste of money, and thus getting the best out of your purchase.

Part 1: the basics, drives you through the very first things you should consider even before buying a WLtoys 1:18 car. If you already bought it, good enough, you are in the right place anyway!
This post’s topics are the following:
0) Metal differentials, drive shafts and outcups (latest B versions have it stock)
1) install bearings, get rid of bushings (improves both speed and runtime)
2) rear wheel hubs (stocks are so weak)
3) front wheel hubs (stocks are weak, but not as rear ones)
4) metal steering line (needs point 5 as well..)
5) metal adjustable rods (..and you’ll finally run straight!)
6) metal oil filled shocks (..and your tyres will stick on the ground!)
7) better tyres with metal rims and hex adaptors

0) Metal differentials, drive shafts and outcups (latest B versions have it stock)

That’s why I really wish you landed here before buying a Wltoys 1:18 car! Differentials metal gears, metal box, metal outcups and metal drive shafts are critical if you are willing to upgrade your car in the future, and for stock car’s durability too. If you consider that upgrading such components would cost around $50, and that a non B version is around $50 while a B version is around $80, there is no reason you should buy a non B, unless you’re willing to keep it 100% stock. Keeping stock plastic differentials means having a weaker and less durable car, and even with just stock 390 motor and li-ion battery from the non B models you will be able to destroy rear differential while, for instance, drifting hard on dry asphalt or other grippy surface.

The ball bearing installed in the metal front cup on my A979B, and stock bushing in the stock plastic cup below

1) install bearings, get rid of bushings (improves both speed and runtime)

This is really the first thing you should do with your Wltoys 1:18 RC car. Don’t wait, because running with bushings instead of bearings it’s really a shame. Projecting it this way was a almost a crime. Many cheaper cars have stock bearings nowadays. With ball bearings the car will run faster, and the battery will be more durable, as you reduce friction this way. Must have.

A broken rear plastic (stock) wheel hub from my A979B. Broke the first in less than a minute of its first run.

2) rear metal wheel hubs (stocks are so weak)

When it comes to durability, those Wltoys RCs results really weak. This basically makes half of their bad reputation. Because most of the customers buying an RC car these days don’t even know what dynamic modeling is. They just want to turn it on and play. And Wltoys are cheap, but obviously not the right purchase for who doesn’t want to hold a screwdriver for a minute in a lifetime. This is even more true for B versions, with such overpower they tend to an effect I call “ninja star”. 540 motor is usually found in 1:10 cars, and those 1:18 weight is around 600grams. I will soon record a video about it to show you what happens and how you can possibly avoid it. Basically, “ninja star” will lead to rear wheel hubs, and front ones too, to break very easily.

The difference in weight for stock tyres, A979 on the left and A959 on the right.

3) front wheel hub (stocks are weak, but not as rear ones)

Should you have to choose the cheapest possible upgrade path, front wheel hubs are less important than rear ones. I have broke totally 7 plastic ones, before moving to metal hubs for all my A9x9, and I broke 5 rear, 2 front. Regarding the exact car model, the A979 is more prone to break hubs than A959 and A969 because of the tyre’s weight. They are 41 grams each, vs 21 of the A959. Due to how “ninja star” works, the heavier the tyres, the faster the spin. The harder the car will hit the ground. I broke 4 times a hub of A979B and 3 times a hub of A959B, but I’ve run the second one much more than the first one.

Detail of stock servo and arm into upgraded gray metal steering drive shaft and blue metal rods on A979B.

4) metal steering line (needs point 5 as well..)

The second half of the Wltoys A9x9B bad reputation is due to the fact that those RC cars just can’t run straight when stock. That’s obvious at an expert first look. When I unboxed my first one a few details came promptly to my attention: the first was the enormous play of the front tyres. You can have one tyre straight while the other one is turned right by 15 degrees. That’s obviously not acceptable for almost any dynamic model I’ve ever played with, imagine what happens with a six-hundred-grams-fiftyfive-kilometers-per-hour-bullet like those. That’s really a toy grade component on a wannabe hobby grade product. The metal steering line is the first component that helps you avoid this huge play. Even if you don’t plan to further upgrade the car’s speed, it’s a must have for B versions.

The front left side of the A979B details the metal drive shaft and the metal adjustable rod.

5) metal adjustable rods (..and you’ll finally run straight!)

So in order to fight this ugly behavior, your RC car needs both upgrades described at point 4 and 5. While a good metal steering line hugely reduces the play of the front tyres, you will also need to be able to tune both chamber and convergence in order to let it run straight. That’s supposed to be your goal, if you want to try to control such a fast RC car! That’s the job for the adjustable metal rods. Remember to unscrew them completely and put some threadlock before use. Links to the product I use are down at the end of the post.

Detail of the upgraded metal shock absorbers for WLtoys A949 A959 A969 A979 A959B A979B.

6) metal oil filled shocks (..and your tyres will stick on the ground!)

Well, regarding B versions, they will stick on the ground as it’s possible with such overpower… I can’t stress enough how important that is. Springs only shocks are not even properly definable “shock absorbers”. I’m a cars fan before an RCs hobbist, and I can’t really tolerate some YT reviews about the blue shocks you can see in the A959B pic below. I’ll write a dedicated post about it. Please take a read at this and this references. Then if you, like me, bought those, just trash ’em. Stocks are way better. The right upgraded shock absorbers you have to buy for your Wltoys A9x9(B) is the gray ones you see in the A979B picture above. They have tunable springs, and can be filled with oil. For small cars, it’s almost the best you can find. If you know better shocks, maybe with metal foot, please comment or contact me. Shock absorbers have to be made of a spring and an oil chamber in order to be considered such. If they lack the oil, if their piston lacks hole(s) to let the oil go through the other side, they are missing the hydraulic part, they are not shock absorbers.

The awful no dampening spring only blue shocks on my A959B.

7) better tyres with metal rims and hex adaptors

Once they can finally hit the ground thanks to proper shock absorbers, good, soft, glued tyres will make a big difference. But let’s start from the basics here too. If you don’t plan to further upgrade your engine, avoid metal rims. Why? Because of their extra weight, and the impact it will have on the speed of your RC. If you followed my upgrade path, you don’t need ~100 grams more for your car to be controllable. You have spent the minimum possible amount of money to have it running fast and in a really enjoyable way. Buy soft tyres with plastic rims. If you plan to go brushless, ok to buy metal rims. Depending on the tyres you choose you might need 12mm hex adaptors. If this WLtoys A9x9 is your first RC car, you are really close to have full fun out of your purchase. You just need some more Lipos and a decent charger!

The Wltoys A949 in stock form.


You may think I forgot about A949, I didn’t. A949 has different roadway (132mm vs 170mm of the A959 and 180mm of the A979) due to front and rear suspensions differences with her sisters 959 969 and 979. You can decide to adapt the sister’s suspension arms and brackets but you would definitely turn it into a 969. The behavior she’s got when you drive it is due to the reduced roadway, so I decided to keep mine stock. I will soon elaborate and write a different upgrade path for her. (As it sounds, I like her it).

The A949 is ~40mm less wide than A959 A969 and A979.

Please note that in the pictures of all cars you see other upgrades too, it’s because I didn’t bought all this stuff in the order I’m suggesting here. It’s been my mistakes, those that I want you to avoid.

If you like my jobs please click my links, they are at the end of each post, they are my only return for this work, I’m not sponsored by any shop and that’s your warranty that I’ll always be 100% unbiased.

I really wish you enjoyed the first of three posts: “Wltoys A959 A969 A979 A959B A979B upgrade path”. You’re welcome to comment below, I’ll reply asap!

In the next post I’ll discuss upgrade path 2, we’ll come to Lipo, ESC, engine, controller, servo and full metal gears.

Buy on Amazon the tools and products I used!
Dremel 3000: amazon.it amazon.co.uk amazon.de amazon.fr amazon.es
Bosch IXO 6th gen: amazon.it amazon.co.uk amazon.de amazon.fr amazon.es
Caliber: amazon.it amazon.co.uk amazon.de amazon.fr amazon.es
Third hand: amazon.it amazon.co.uk amazon.de amazon.fr amazon.es
Threadlock: amazon.it amazon.co.uk amazon.de amazon.fr amazon.es
Solid gear grease: amazon.it amazon.co.uk amazon.de amazon.fr amazon.es
Spray gear grease: amazon.it amazon.co.uk amazon.de amazon.fr amazon.es
If you use these links it helps this project grow and it’s 100% free of charge for you!!

If you are not yet a Banggood customer join through this link and get $20 bonus!
You will find any upgraded part showed above in their shop.

Buy WLtoys cars on eBay:

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