If you are considering buying and getting into Nitro RC Cars, you need to be aware that there are significant differences between electric and nitro RCs. Nitro RCs are fun to have and drive but, they take patience and are also more for experienced hobbyists.
Nitro RCs Cost
Usually, the initial cost of nitro-powered RCs can be high, much like that of brushless electric RCs. The price depends on the type of vehicle you are looking for. In addition to the vehicle cost, you will have to replace batteries, fuel, oil, other fluids, and parts, such as air filter, tires, shocks and probably bodies regularly. If you have a non-pull start engine, you’ll also need additional accessories such as a starter box or electric start system and a power source like batteries or a charger.
Nitro RCs Require Time and Patience
Getting nitro RC cars ready to run involves more than just flipping a switch. You have to fuel them up, make sure they have fresh batteries for servos, receiver and transmitter, double-check air filter and glow plug and check you are tired. It also takes longer to do basic after-run maintenance. Yes, there is maintenance that needs to be done after each run. You’ll also need to be able to devote more time to care and upkeep to you are nitro RC than for electric RCs.
Driving Skills Needed For Nitro
Nitro-powered vehicles run faster and are more difficult to control than most electric RCs. With high-speed driving there is a tendency to crash more often and hitting a wall at these speeds can literally destroy the RC vehicle. Because of the use of poisonous, flammable fuel and the dexterity needed to control such a fast-moving vehicle, they are not a good choice for children.
Nitro RCs Safety Concerns
Nitro-methanol fuel is highly flammable and poisonous. The potential speed of nitro-powered vehicles means, that they can be extremely dangerous to run in crowded areas. More so than the slower running electric RCs. Nitro RC Cars have limitations on the use of them.
For example, fumes from the nitro fuel, the speed and the noise of the engines limit them to strictly outdoor use only. The noise of these nitro engines can be irritating to you are neighbors and others around you, so you will have to limit you are early morning and/or late night runs. Keep in mind that when you are running a nitro-powered RC vehicle, they attract a lot of peoples attention because of the sound of the engine and the smell of the exhaust.
When Buying Your First Nitro RC Vehicle, you should be sure that you are ready to and set on venturing into nitro-powered RCs, I recommend starting with a Ready-to-Run car or truck. An RTR vehicle lets you get up and running quickly and is good if you aren’t intimately familiar with nitro engines and model construction in general. Hold off on nitro airplanes or helicopters unless you are already an experienced RC pilot. Chances are you are going to crash once or twice when starting out.
Starting Nitro Engines
There are a few ways to start a nitro engine. Each nitro vehicle has one or two ways you can start them. The first is the pull start. “If” you are nitro engine is equipped with a pull/start cord, You also will need a glow plug starter. The second is an electric start system. With electric start, you will also need glow plug starter, and field box or charger of some type. Most nitro RC engines come equipped with either a pull/start or electric start starting system.
Shutting Down Nitro Engines
There are a few ways to shut a nitro engine down. Some methods used are better than others. Care should be taken when performing some of these methods or damage can occur. Let’s look at these options. “I” will list them in order, from the best option to the last resort option, They are as follows:
Bump the flywheel: This is the best way to shut down you are the nitro engine. Unfortunately, this is not always an option. Depending upon what model vehicle you have. Some trucks and RTR vehicles don’t have good access to the flywheel and the other two options must be used to shut down the engine. “If” you do have access to the flywheel, Then the best way to shut down the engine is to bump the flywheel with a rubber stopper or piece of plastic, like a toothbrush. All it takes is a quick bump to shut the engine down. The rough surface of the flywheel can and will damage whatever rubs against it. Make sure the engine is at idle, at the lowest rpm and just bump the flywheel quickly and this will shut down the engine.
Pinch the fuel line: By pinching the fuel line shut, you will starve the engine for fuel and it will shut down due to running out of fuel. This is a much better way to shut down the engine, But it can still damage the engine by causing a lean condition. As long as you have a good tuned low-speed needle, the lean condition should not be a problem. As the engine will lean out and shut off quickly. “If” you are running rich on the low-speed needle when you pinch the fuel line the engine will lean out and stay running for a while before it shuts down.
Plug the pipe: This is not the best method to shut you are engine down, however it does work and should be the last resort used. Plugging you are exhaust pipe will shut down the engine. This will end up pressurizing you are fuel tank in the process and end up flooding the engine, making it much harder to start. “If” you choose to use this method, use a rubber or plastic stopper of some sort, not your finger. You can get burnt by the exhaust, as it will be hot from the running engine.
Breaking In The Engine For First Time
There are a few ways that you can break in your nitro engine. here is the main way I like to use.
Inspect the engine for any loose screws. Pay special attention to the backplate and carb. Make sure the throttle trim is adjusted properly. Oil the air filter, then remove the glow plug and add a few drops of after run oil into the combustion chamber. “It” is a good idea to turn the crank over manually, this will ensure the engine does not start dry.
- Install the glow plug, prime the engine til the fuel reaches the carburetor and start the engine. Once the engine is started, let it run for a few seconds at idle. “It” is a good idea to let it run a little on the rich side. Then run the vehicle at low speeds, keeping the throttle no more than 1/4 throttle. Keep the speed low and make wide turns. “After” few minutes of running check you are engine temp. The temp should be around 195F-205F degrees. “If” it is lower than that turn the high-speed idle needle a 1/16 of a turn clockwise. “If” the temp is higher than that, turn the screw counter-clockwise 1/16 of a turn. Run the engine until the fuel tank is just about empty. Make sure you don’t let it run out of fuel, as this will create a lean condition. Once the engine is shut down, make sure it is at bottom dead center (BDC) this is where the piston is at the very bottom of the cylinder. Let the engine cool down for 15-20 minutes.
- Install the glow plug starter and start the engine. Let it idle for a few seconds then run it at low speeds not exceeding 1/2 throttle. “After” few minutes of running, check you are temps. Just like before after 2-3 minutes, temp should be 195F-205F. “If” it is lower adjust high idle needle 1/16 clockwise and for higher temp turn a 1/16 counterclockwise. Run till the tank is almost empty and shut it down. Make sure to set it at BDC and let it cool 10-15 minutes.
- Turn the high-speed needle 1/16 of a turn clockwise to lean the engine. Install the glow plug starter and start you are engine. Let it run a few seconds then run it at mid speed for a few seconds, this time not exceeding 3/4 throttle. Check temp, Temp should be 205F-220F. “If” temp is lower turn high idle needle 1/16 clockwise and if higher temp, turn counter clockwise a 1/16 turn. Run till the tank is almost empty and shut it off. Make sure it is at BDC and let it cool down for 10-15 minutes.
- Turn the high idle needle 1/8 of a turn clockwise to lean the engine. Install glow plug starter and start the engine. Repeat all the previous steps. This time after a few minutes of running the temps should be 205F to 220F degrees. “If” it is lower, turn the high idle needle a 1/16 of a turn clockwise. “If” it is higher, turn the high idle needle 1/16 of a turn counter-clockwise. Run you are vehicle until it is almost out of fuel and shut it off. Make sure it is a BDC and let it cool down for 10-15 minutes.
- Turn the high idle needle an 1/8 of a turn clockwise to lean out the engine. Install the glow plug starter and start you are engine. Let it run for a few seconds, Then you can run full throttle for 2-3 seconds. Go straight and do wide turns. “After” a few minutes check you are engine temp. Temp should be around 210F-225F degrees. “If” not within that range, adjust the same way as before. Shut down the engine when the tank is almost empty and set it to BDC. Let cool off for 10-15 minutes.
- Install glow plug starter and start the engine. Run at mid speed to let the engine warm up. Check temp and verify it is between 210-230 degrees. Do some high-speed passes. Light Blue smoke should come out of the exhaust pipe at full throttle. “If” you don’t see any smoke at full throttle you need to richen the engine. “If” the engine won’t rev up or there is a lot of smoke coming out of the exhaust you need to lean out the engine. Check you are temps frequently, especially while doing high-speed passes. Optimal temps should be between 230F and 250F.
remember when you are tuning you are nitro engine:
To richen the engine, turn the adjusting screw 1/16 of a turn counter-clockwise. All you need is a 1/16 turn at a time, so don’t go crazy with it.
To lean out your engine: turn the adjusting screw 1/16 of a turn clockwise. Again all you need is a 1/16 turn at a time.
Adjusting The Low-Speed Needle
Install the glow plug starter and start the engine. Once it is started, Let it idle for a few seconds. Run at mid speed to warm up the engine. Now let your engine idle for 30 seconds, then peg the throttle. “If” the engine hesitates, lean out the low idle needle. “If” it revs up quickly and no smoke comes out the exhaust, Richen the low idle needle. Richen or lean the low idle only 1/16 of a turn at a time. A good tip for setting the low idle is to pinch the fuel line about 1 inch from the carburetor. “It” should lightly rev up for 2-3 seconds and then dying out. Always adjust the low idle needle when the engine is hot.
Nitro RC Final Thoughts
There you have it! “As” you can see the Nitro RC Cars have a lot more maintenance to them. They are not a vehicle you can just grab and go. You must have time and patience with nitro RCs. Nitro Cars are extremely fun and cool, but there is quite a bit you need to be aware of and things you need to know before you just jump in and buy one.
2 thoughts on “Nitro RC Cars”
Thank you for such detailed information. There really is a lot of time and maintenance that goes into Nitro RCs. Never had one myself, but have buddies that run them. I have always loved to sound of the nitro engine.
Thank you for this article.
Nitro RC Cars really are great RCs. They do however, Require a fairly good amount of time to care for them properly. The sound of the engines is really unique coming from an RC.