Exo Terra Sand Buggy – 2WD Conversion

By Axial Staff on Nov 30, 2012

Axial Exo Sand Buggy

When the Axial EXO was first announced I found myself going back to the web page over and over again just to look at it. Axial really nailed scale appearance with this rig and I knew I had to have one. So whilst daydreaming about what I wanted to do to my EXO, I began to kick around the idea of making a sand car. This vehicle would make an awesome sand car, it looks like those 100K sand cars flying around Glamis sand dunes. I began researching the drivetrain and what it would take to make this into a RWD sand buggy. Axial is great at using common gear train in their vehicle line up, so I was hoping to see the same gear sets in the EXO as their other vehicles. They did not disappoint, the differential components were the same as previous Axial vehicles with an open diff. This meant the parts would already be available to lock the center diff and make this a RWD sand buggy. The process to convert the EXO to RWD is very simple, have a look.
I elected to build this into a sand car while building the kit for the first time, so these steps can be followed exactly if you are building a kit from scratch, if you already have a running EXO and want to do this, simply remove the center diff and start here.

Step 1- Secure Axial part number AX30390, the Differential gear set.


Step 2- Build center diff according to instructions, or open the center diff if EXO is already built


Step3- You are going to lock the center diff by simply placing an extra spider gear in the diff which will not allow the diff to function. You will be using one of the 2 smaller gears in the diff gear set to accomplish this.


Step 4- I have found that grinding down the outer diameter of the extra gear to be added to the diff really helps for ease of installation


Step 5- Install the extra gear into the diff housing as shown


Step 6- Seal up the differential and reinstall it into the EXO chassis. Be sure the differential housing sits flat against the spur gear, you may need to adjust the position of the extra gear a few times to get it to seat properly. If there is extra space between the gear and the diff housing, do NOT use the bolts to try and seal the space, the bolts will pull through the gear before you get a seal. Take your time and make sure everything lines up nicely before final tightening.


I elected to remove the front axles and run some Pro-line Mohawk SC front blade tires for a proper scale sand car look and performance. I also elected to run the Pro-line Sling Shot SC rear paddles, as these tires are awesome in the soft stuff. If you wish to run 4 paddles you can leave the front axles in place, the locked center diff will help tremendously with the traction in the sand either way, and will offer the option of pulling and keeping the front wheels off the ground. Who doesn’t like wheelies…. Right?

Here are a few more shots of the Exo Sand Buggy in the studio!

Notice we just had to get the light bar working with LEDs

and of course add some lights to the rear!

We cant wait to hit the sand with this bad boy!






  1. Default_avatar Justyn Markland Posted on 2012-12-17 19:03:30

    Wish the vid was longer.

  2. Default_avatar Jackson Lock-yin Posted on 2012-12-18 10:51:13

    This is awesome, just ordered the parts to do this to my exo. Just wanted to know if you only locked the centre diff or did you lock the rear as well?

  3. Default_avatar Mason Posted on 2013-01-02 18:09:08

    what kind of wheels are those?

  4. Default_avatar Todd Posted on 2013-02-23 10:59:08

    Is there a way to do this that makes it easy to switch back and forth from 4wd to 2wd? My son and I were contemplating buying a 2wd buggy to run along side our Exo but then we thought we’ll just convert this one when we want to go 2wd. But it looks like you have to take the roll cage off then change out the diff. every time you want to go between 2 and 4 wheel drive. I tried just taking out the front dog bones but then the car won’t move and I tried holding the front diff but there was too much strain on the car. Or would it be easier to get a whole new center diff. then lock it and switch it out with the unlocked diff? Any thoughts?

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