Speed Upgrade on the New Grave Digger Power Wheels Ride-on Toy




Introduction: Speed Upgrade on the New Grave Digger Power Wheels Ride-on Toy

About: I love working on and modifying toys for kids both big and small. Follow me on here to see my latest completed projects or follow me on instagram to see sneak peaks of what's brewing in the workshop!

Today we're going to upgrade the motors and pinions on the new Grave Digger ride on toy from Walmart. Common complaint on these cool little rides is that they are too slow. The stock motors are only 14,000 RPM @ 24v, so replacing them with the Traxxas 5675 motors will provide a big speed boost. Expect the speed to increase from the stock 5mph to between 8-9mph after this upgrade.

This is a relatively simple job. You're just going to be removing the rear wheels and axle, pulling off the gearboxes, putting the new motors in, then reassembling the rear axle/gearboxes/wheels. You'll also need to upgrade the fuse to 40a and the self-resetting breaker to 40a, as these motors draw a lot more power at startup. If your kids are bigger (>50lbs) or your riding area is grassy/hilly, you might experience issues with blowing fuses. We solved this issue by installing an ESC kit.

Between this and the soft spring upgrade, our Grave Digger has become a lot more fun for the kids.

Step 1: Gather Tools and Parts

Materials Required:

2x Traxxas 5675 - 775 series 10turn 16.8v Motors

2x 13-tooth 32-pitch 5mm-shaft Pinions

40a Cartridge Fuse - (might want to get a spare or two, but your local auto parts store should have them)

40a Self-Resetting Circuit Breaker

Various Crimp Connectors - (a kit like this is nice, if you don't already have a bunch laying around)

Tools Required:

1/2" Sockets

2mm Hex key

Philips screwdriver or drill

Crimp Tool

Wire cutters/strippers

Step 2: Remove Rear Wheels, Axle and Gearboxes

Lift the rear of vehicle with jack stands or a milk crate or whatever you have laying around that can support 100lbs or so.

Unscrew the 1/2" nut off each wheel. Pull the wheels off, then tap the axle out of it's raceway.

Disconnect the wires from under the seat that lead to each motor. They're simple click-fittings.

The gearboxes are held onto the frame with two philips screws. Remove those and pull the gearboxes off the vehicle.

While you have the boxes off, now is a good time to run a round file around the hole in the body where the green conduit carries the wire to under the seat. The stock holes fit very tight around the conduit, but having a little play in there will help them slide if you choose to upgrade the springs later on.

Step 3: Disassemble Gearbox Covers and Remove Motors

There are six philips screws that hold the the two sides of the gearbox cover together. Remove those and the gearbox will come right out of the cover. It might help to remove the three screws holding the green conduit piece on as well.

There are two philips screws that hold the motor into the gearbox. Remove those and the motor comes right out.

Step 4: Modify Motor Wiring and Attach New Pinions

The new motors come with male bullet connectors. You'll need to cut the harnesses off the stock motors, then crimp a female bullet connector onto the cut end. Connect these to the new motors. The new motors have dual plugs for r/c application, so cap the second wire with shrink wrap or another bullet connect that isn't connected to anything.

Check your new pinions vs the stock pinions to ensure they are exactly the same pitch and tooth count. (You can likely use a 14t or 15t pinion to increase top speed further, but I've yet to test that). The pinions just slide onto the shaft of the new motor and are tightened with a set screw. I like to use blue loctite threadlocker to prevent them from coming loose during driving.

Now install the new motor into the gearbox with the two screws used to hold the stock motors on. Spin the wheel adapter on the gearbox to make sure the motor turns freely and there is no grinding. If it won't turn, you might need to adjust the depth of the pinion on the shaft to make sure it lines up with the gear inside the box.

Then reassemble the rear axle, gearboxes and wheels, which is just the reverse of step 1.

Step 5: Modify the Battery Fuse and Circuit Breaker

IMPORTANT: This modification will require that you periodically check the vehicles wiring and motors' temperature during use to ensure safety. Grassy, hilly yards with heavy children will cause more strain on the electrical system than hard, flat surfaces with lighter children. Warm weather will also further overheating issues. Your application is unique and you need to monitor this for your childrens' safety. After this modification, I only allow 1 child at a time to ride the vehicle to keep the stress on the electrical system to a minimum. If the motors or wires are too hot to touch, they are being over-stressed and you need to stop usage, allow them to cool and then change your riding conditions (less weight + flatter surfaces = easier on motors).

These motors draw a lot more current at startup than the stock motors. They will instantly blow the 30a fuse. Unscrew the factory fuse holder, cut the wires and splice in a 40a cartridge fuse. Do not exceed 40a and do not eliminate the fuse entirely. The fuse is for your child's safety.

You will also need to replace the auto-resetting circuit breaker. It is located on the underside of the vehicle. There is a plastic strip that covers the wiring channel. Remove the strip and find the breaker (small black rectangle in the picture). Wire in the 40a circuit breaker. Make sure to note the line (wire from battery) and load (wires to motors/accessories) and attach them to the correct side of the breaker. Replace the plastic cover on the wire channel.

Step 6: Upgrade Other Systems (Optional)

Batteries: Consider upgrading your batteries while you're performing this mod. The stock 7.2Ah batteries have a pathetic run time with stock motors... and these beastly Traxxas motors exacerbate that. The stock battery will only have a 10~ minute run time with the new motors.

I've installed dual 20Ah batteries to increase the ride time to 30~ minutes. 22Ah batteries would be better, but I had one 20Ah laying around already, so I only had to buy one more.

Shocks: The stock springs on the shock absorbers are too stiff to function properly. I've upgraded to softer springs that really put some bounce into the ride. You can get a set from MLToys.

ESC: Adding an Electronic Speed Controller to any power wheels is a great way to add advanced features like variable throttle, separate brake pedal, parental remote kill switch, soft start and the ability to safely increase voltage without destroying your gearboxes. For ESC kits done right, check out www.EastCoastPowerUp.com . Their customer service is top notch. We've added the East Coast 1000w DIY kit to our 24vGD and I highly recommend it.

Step 7: Go Play!

You're all done! Now go have fun with this monster of a ride on!

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18 Discussions

Contact the manufacturer and ask for new shifter switches. A short in the shifter switches is a common issue and easily fixed.

Any idea where I can get replacement #1 gears. Mine where slightly damaged since I bought the gearboxes used and with the new motor upgrade they were damaged beyond repair.

1 more answer

You're actually the first case I've heard of breaking the gbx on this model. My kid has beat ours very, very hard and burned up a couple motors, but the gbx seem to be stout on this one. I'd guess the damage was from slightly mis-aligned pinion gears.

To answer your question, there's no resellers for individual gears for any power wheels gearboxes. I just stockpile used boxes from salvage rides and piece things together as needed. That said, 24vGD is a newer model and there are not a lot of gbx available for it now. I've seen used pairs of gbx for it going for $50-100. You can search for 24v MotionTrendz Grizzly gearbox and find some replacements,but they're around $50each when you can find them.

Another option would be going to chain drive, but that's a whole other can of worms. One I'll be opening soon as my son wants even more speed.

you should try using a cheap brushless system that run about 50,000~ rpm then you can use put two 12 volt batteries in parallel and since its brushless it is more efficient meaning mer run time. Ive seen systems for 30 bucks on amazon.

I modded my son's grave digger buy ordering all the parts from this tutorial. It keeps poping the 40 amp fuse as soon as he presses the pedal. What should I do

1 more answer

First thing I would test would be running the motors with no load. Raise the rear axle on jack stands and press the pedal. If it's still popping the fuse, you probably have a shorted or crossed wire somewhere.

I would also check that the pinions are properly meshing with the gearbox gears. You should be able to turn the wheel driver hub with by hand. It'll require some force to get going, but should turn freely. If it's not moving, you might need to adjust the depth of the pinions on the shaft (or space the motor away from the gbx with washers/shims). Stuck gearboxes can draw a lot of start up current.

Another thing to consider would be the vehicle's payload. We had issues with popping fuses with anything over 50~lbs of kiddo. Two kids made the fuses pop fairly often. Although even my 200lb self could ride for 10-15ft before popping the fuse, so I'd suspect there's another issue with yours that's causing it to pop instantly.


8 months ago

Nice project!

I put a 12 volt battery in my son's 6 volt vehicle without any mods and boy would that thing scoot. The thing would go over a mile before needing charge which was plenty as it would allow for a nice walk/jog for the other kids. Never did burn it out. Never occurred to me to upgrade the motors. Great idea.

1 reply

Some 6v models were "Super 6v". Those stock motors do very well on 12v and are usually as fast as a 12v motor on 18v. You might've actually made it slower if you changed the motor.

This project benefits from a new motor because the stock motors are extremely slow to keep the ride to 5mph on 24v

Chainsaw Motor. Love the smell of premix.

Haha, I did something similar for a motocycle (more a tryke) for my son. I replaced the stock motor with an old one from my RC car. The speed boost is amazing. He is now a bit afraid of it :(


8 months ago

What happens to a 12 V power wheel when you make it 24 V?

3 replies

Unless you use an ESC (electronic speed controller), you're going to destroy the gearboxes pretty quickly. 18v is the highest you can reasonably go with a stock vehicle. Upping a 12v to 18v is still pretty fun though.

I want to do this just for fun but I think that I will put a throttle, basic brakes, and a gas motor. Plus rubber wheels.

The motors usually burn out after a few minutes / hours / days of use. A 12V DC motor can usually handle 24V DC for a short period of time, but not indefinitely. Eventually you'll fry the windings of the electromagnets from all the excess heat being generated. How long it lasts greatly depends on how rugged the motor is.

This is so awesome!!!

Awesome project!