Are you the type of person who loves
smoke and noise?
Do you have a passion for extremely fast cars?
Well, you might
just be obsessed with nitro RC vehicles and must feel a bit stumped especially
when you’re new to the nitro RC world. It’s not much of a fuss as long as you
follow the necessary precautions and avoid the most common mistakes beginners
make. Check out the following tips on starting a nitro powered engine.
- Avoid pulling the pull
starter if the engine is flooded - Much like the pull start mechanism on a
lawnmower, a pull cord is attached to the nitro engine and you will have to
pull the T-handle attached to the starter cord assembly to spin the flywheel
and start the engine. But when the cord becomes difficult to pull, don’t force
it. This just means that the engine is flooded, and pulling it will just snap
the line. If this happens, remove the glow plug and turn the car upside down
then pull the starter twice to remove excess fuel. Remember not to pull the
pull start cord out more than 20 cm as this may bend the spring and/or snap the
- Never restrain the wheels –
Always start the car with the wheels off the ground. Let the wheels spin freely
and make sure the brake is off, otherwise it will result to overheating and
will melt the nylon drive gears.
- Ensure the brake is off
before starting the car – Try pushing the car forward and if it gives a bit of
resistance, chances are the brake is on. Make certain you turn off the brakes before starting the car. Failure to do so might cause the clutch to overheat
and will melt the nylon drive gears.
- Don’t replace the nylon
gear with a metal gear – The nylon gear will provide a safety margin of 60
degrees since they melt at about 220 degrees Celsius while the aluminum clutch
bell will break at 280 degrees. Metal on metal also wears out very quickly when
not lubricated and lubricating gears often may wear it out even more as
lubricants attract too much dust and dirt. The lighter the car, the quicker it
is and metal gears are way heavier than nylon ones and it will most likely
impede the car’s ability to accelerate.
You may be interested in
getting a nitro RC vehicle and you certainly want to know how it works first and
the basic setup involved in obtaining one. These following steps will help you
prepare, start and break-in your nitro engine.
- Charge glow igniter – This
is mainly the first thing you need to do once you open up your starter kit.
Without it, you will not be able to even start the car. After charging your igniter you should make sure the glow plug
igniter is not left on the glow plug too long else it will burn out.
- Install radio batteries –
put 8 batteries into the transmitter and 4 into the receiver (nitro cars only)
and make sure for rechargeable ones that they are fully charged before
installing them. Once the batteries are in, first turn on the transmitter, then
the receiver. If you ever turn on the receiver on the car first, it won't have
a signal from the transmitter to follow, and may go out of control.
- Fill the tank - Pour some
fuel into the starter kit's fuel bottle. Fill up the fuel tank with nitro, and
make sure all fuel lines are connected to their ports. Make sure you are using
proper high quality Hobby fuel with correct nitro percentage (20 – 30% nitro),
unless stated otherwise in the manual. One thing you have to remember is not to
bend the fuel lid right back. This will result to bent spring in the lid and
will not pressurize the fuel tank.
- Install your air filter –
Some models may already have the air filter readily installed. If not, just
install yours onto the carburetor. It may come with a zip tie that you can use
to secure it to the engine.
- Standing your antenna up -
Antennas are important in RC car setup. You will have to insert the wire first
through the antenna mount of the car, and then right through the tube and
finally the tube goes into the tube mount. But in case of longer wire, let the
line hang freely and don’t cut it.
- Turning on your transmitter
first - Remember: transmitter always goes on first, and off last.
- Check for proper operation
of servos – While engine is not running you can check if steering, throttle and
brake servos are working correctly with the use of the transmitter and
receiver. RC servos are used to provide actuation for various
mechanical systems such as the steering of a car. Ensure that the wheels of
your vehicle are off the ground so it can spin freely if you want to test how
the servos are operating. When you apply the throttle, it opens up the
carburetor and when the brakes are applied, the carb is closed almost all the
way, and the brakes are then engaged.
- Checking the radio range -
Make it a habit to always test your range before you drive your car and ensure
you’re free from any radio interference particularly with the 27Mhz frequency that can be caused by power lines or 2-way radios that transmit on a similar frequency. To do
a range check you can walk 5 meters away from the car with the models aerial
fully extended and the transmitter aerial fully down. Turn on the radio system
and check that all servos are working correctly. Do not attempt to drive your
car if you notice any radio problems or interference and see to it that the
batteries are strong and fully charged.
- Prime the engine with fuel
- This is simple, just put your finger over the exhaust port and pull the cord
a few times until you see the fuel go through the line and into the carburetor.
Once the fuel reaches the carb, stop or you will flood the engine. Cold engines
require more priming than hot engines.
- Starting a nitro engine –
Don’t start your engine unless you have fully read and understood the
directions. Assuming you’ve gone over everything and now that the engine is
primed, it’s ready to run. Clip the igniter onto the glow plug and pull on the
cord. Make sure you do short, quick pull.
- Keep the engine running –
The first time you start it, chances are it won’t stay running and you may not
be able to run it like you want to. You have to break it in and set the mixture
correctly to make the engine last longer. You can try turning the throttle trim
dial on the transmitter to keep the engine revved up. If the engine stalls, you
may have to adjust the idle and slightly raise it.
- Proper engine break-in -
Before you start to run the car as much as you want, it is very important
(crucial, even) that you break in the engine. You may encounter stalling and
inconsistent runs but these are all normal until you get to break in the engine
and set the mixture. If you do it properly, it will help you achieve the
highest possible performance and reliability.
- Break-in procedures -
Basically all you do is run the car at low speeds for a few tanks of gas. Keep
in mind that the wheels should be off the ground and the brake must be off.
Simply idle 3 tanks of fuel, allowing the engine to cool down between tanks.
Remember to always check your car for loose nuts and bolts. After the first
run, go over your car and make sure all the screws are tight, especially the
engine bolts. You can try using a Locktite (like a soft glue) to help keep the
nuts and bolts in place, since they tend to come loose due to vibration. After
the third tank, check the gap between the metal clutch gear and the nylon drive
gear. There should just be a really small gap that could allow 2 pieces of thin
paper between the 2 gears. If the gap is bigger than what’s necessary, you may
adjust by undoing the screws and sliding the engine closer. For your succeeding
tanks, you can gradually increase how hard you run the engine. Soon enough you
can do it however you want.
- Break-in mixture settings –
Most engines are pre-set with the default mixture settings from the factory.
This should be good unless you would need to adjust the setting for different
conditions. When you need to change the mixture settings, record the factory
settings. Count and record the turns so you can wind them back to default.
- Running the first tanks in
the car – You may have broken in your engine at this point and hopefully you
did it correctly using this guide. Try a smooth surface first on your first run
and check the steering trim to make sure it’s properly adjusted.
- Engine tuning - When it
comes to RC vehicles, tuning is essential in order to achieve more speed or
power. The overall performance of the engine greatly depends on how you tune
the mixture. We have the rich and lean setting; both terms are used to describe
the amount of fuel entering the carburetor. Lean means less fuel while rich
means more. If you want to have a leaner setting, turn the carburetor needles
clockwise, while counter-clockwise would help you achieve a richer setting.
Make sure you’re not running too lean as this may damage your engine. Engine
life should be operating around temperatures 104-115 degrees Celsius or 220-240
- Fine tuning – This
would mean adjusting slowly the low-speed mixture and idle screw. Note that if
the engine splutters, it is too rich and when it tries to cut out, it has a
lean setting. You would have to listen to the way the engine revs from idle to
determine your current setting.
- Installing the body clips -
Putting on body clips on an RC car is easy. You just have to align the holes in
the body with the body mounts. Then clip the pins on through the holes and you
can pretty much adjust the height of the body by lowering the clips.
- How to stop the engine –
You can stop the engine by either blocking the air using your fingers or squeezing
the fuel line to the carb.
- After run maintenance -
Make sure the fuel tank is empty. You can attempt to run the engine until all
the extra fuel is burned up. Lastly, remove the glow plug and put a few drops
of after run oil into the engine.
Now that you know most of
the things that you need to learn when it comes to a nitro RC vehicle, you are
all set. Remember to do the maintenance tip after every run. Love your model
and it will let you have more fun in driving! Well, enjoy and it better make some
smoke and noise.