B5M Additional Build Tips

Here are some additional build tips for the Associated B5M which are not in the manual.

Tip 1: Buff your Balls


Buff your balls. Everyone knows smooth balls are the key to better performance.
It’ll make your suspension work more smoothly under heavy loads, and any dirt that gets in there will have less of a chance of attaching and wearing out the ball cup.

I chuck them in the Dremel and spin them in a rag doused with polishing compound. Any polishing compound will work. Even toothpaste works.


The steering link was particularly tight in my kit. So I broke it in on the Dremel.

Tip 2: Clock your Spring Cups

Cups aligned.
If the open end of the spring cup faces inward, the cups are less likely to get popped off in a crash.

Tip 3: Dump your Balls

Male element stood up.

When building the ball diff, I set the male outdrive upright on the bench, put the bearing and gear on, and grease it up.

All lined up.

Then I can just dump the diff balls in, straight from the packet. They’ll get caught in the grease instead of bouncing around, never to be found again.

Tip 4: Dip the Cups


The kit ball cups are awesomely tight. I don’t like to hurt them by forcing them on. Dipping them in boiling water for a minute or so expands and softens the plastic, making pushing them on easy.
If you use vaseline or silicone oil instead of grease to lubricate the threads on the turnbuckles, you can dip them in your tea/coffee. No need to get the wife involved.

Tip 5: A Free 12mm Wrench

Free nut!

Don’t have a 12mm wrench handy to hold the hex as you tighten the button head bolt? Grab a wheel.

Tip 6: Line up the Gears

Remember the alignment.

I like to put all the moulding dimples on the not-the-spur-gear-side. That way I can put the gears in the original orientation after a rebuild. Putting broken-in gears in backwards shortens their life and makes the tranny whine.

Tip 7: Don’t Fight a Two-front War

Keep it contained.

The o-ring for the shock collar does not want to get in its groove. Put the collar on the table, this effectively blocks 1 out of its 2 escape routes.

Tip 8: Stack ’em

Stack it up.

Whenever many parts need to stack up, like in a shock or a thrust bearing, I slide them onto a (clean) wrench. Much easier.

Tip 9: Torquing Sequence

Torquing it down.

When tightening large plastic parts with many bolts, don’t tighten them one by one. Go around in a spiral or star pattern, snugging the bolts up ever tighter. This will draw the parts together evenly and smoothly. Disregard this advice, and end up with warped or cracked parts!

Tip 10: Add a Washer

Eliminate slop.

Most kits have a lot of slop in the rear arms. A washer eliminates it. Finding one with a 3.5mm hole might be difficult though.

Tip 11: Body Clip


Drill a hole front to back, you might actually be able to grab the body clip.