Beginners Guide to the World of Nitro Powered Radio Controlled Cars.

The following few pages contains a number of hints and guidelines that will help assist you with using your Nitro Powered Radio Controlled Model.

The Instructions that come with your model should provide adequate information however sometimes people want that little bit extra…..

First of all we will cover the Starting process of the engine.

Starting a Nitro Powered RC Car

Are you having a few problems getting your new Nitro Powered RC Car Started? If so have a read through this…

First up, ensure that the car has fuel in it? I know it sounds obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people miss this one.

Next we want to make sure that the engine is back at it's factory settings that the manufacturer suggests. These are normally shown in the instruction manual that is provided with the car. Some manufacturers also include a DVD that will show you the base settings for their engines. We suggest that the Mixture Screw should be flush with the top of the Needle as a starting point.

Now we have fuel in the car and we have the engine 'asking' for the correct amount, so now we need to get some fuel into the engine. Move the throttle/brake servo so that the throttle is approximately 50% open, then the engine is ready for priming. Some cars have a primer button on the fuel tank - if yours does, then press the primer until you see the fuel running through the fuel lines into the carburettor, and then a further three times once you've seen the fuel go in. If you have no primer button then you need to block the tip of the exhaust and turn the engine over, either by pulling the pullstart or using the electric starter that your kit may have. Again, prime until you see the fuel going into the engine. You can see this through the Fuel Line, then pull the starter another three times, or give a short burst on the electric starter. You can now remove your finger from the tip of the exhaust.

Okay, so now we have fuel in the engine itself we now need to ignite it. Make sure that your glow igniter is fully charged - most will need at least 6 hours charging with the provided charger, but if you are unsure then check the instructions that are provided with the starter, or contact the manufacturer for further advice. Use a glowplug wrench to remove the glowplug from the engine and clip to glowplug into the glowstarter - you should see the coil of the glowplug glow a bright orange colour. PLEASE BE CAREFUL at this point, the glowplug will be hot! Install the glowplug back into the wrench, make sure it's copper washer is in place and then carefully install the glowplug back into the engine, making sure that the glowplug is straight before you start to screw it in. You can turn the glowplug wrench anti-clockwise slowly until you feel the glowplug lift slightly - this will ensure that the glowplug is correctly lined up with the engine head. Now turn the glowplug wrench clockwise and screw the glowplug all the way in.

Your engine now has fuel in it, and we've got something to ignite it with, so there is no reason why it shouldn't start now. Make sure that the wheels of the car are off the ground and set the throttle/brake servo to a position where there is approximately 25% throttle applied. Attach your glowstarter the glowplug and either pull the pullstart or use the electric starter to turn the engine over. It should now start and run. Once the engine has started then you will need to move the throttle back to it's neutral postion to allow the engine to idle.

Having said that the engine should start, there are a few eventualities that may arise:

The engine locks up while you are attempting to start it. 
This is the most common problem experienced by newcomers. There is too much fuel in the engine, and since a liquid can't be compressed beyond a certain point the engine will lock up. Remove the glowplug, put a rag over the top of the engine and turn the engine over a few times. This should clear all the fuel from the engine. Re-install the glowplug and re-prime the engine, then have another go. If you find that the engine floods constantly, then you can loosen the glowplug slightly, so it's not fully tight. This should make the engine slightly easier to start. Remember to tighten the glowplug down once the engine has started.

You're not sure how hard/far you can pull the pullstarter. 
A simple little trick to help here - pull the pullstarter gently out to it's full extension, then use a marker pen to mark the string at about 2/3rds of the length of the cord or about 20cm to 30cm then let it retract into the housing. When you see this mark on string, you know you're approaching the end of the string, so you can stop pulling.

The engine keeps stalling as soon as it's started. 
This is more common during the winter months - new engines are tight anyway, and when they are cold it becomes even harder. Try warming the engine with a hairdryer before starting it and you'll probably have more success.

Whilst this doesn't cover everything, I think that's most of the basics that you'd want to check. 

With any new engine it is important to now run through the break in process.

The Break in Process

The engine has to be Run-in before full-time use. It is very important that this procedure is carried out. Not doing so will shorten the life and reduce the overall performance of your engine.

There are two different methods people use to run their engines in. The first one is simpler and is also safer in that you are less likely to burn your clutch out if you get it wrong. With the second method it is more complicated but if done correctly will give a little more life to your engine.

To run your car in, take your finished model and roll it back and forth to be certain the car’s wheels can turn freely. Place the car in a position so that the wheels are off the ground, for example on a heavy box or brick, and follow the starting procedure which can be found on our help page. Use good quality fuel with around 10 - 20% mix. Its best to break-in the engine using the same nitro content as you plan to use for everyday use. The engine should be broken-in on a smooth hard surface. Try to avoid breaking-in the engine on very hot, or humid days. Ensure that the idle speed is not too high or else you will burn your clutch out or snap the con rod, and also make sure that the brake is not applied.

Always break-in your engine without the body on the car, you want as much airflow as you can get to keep the engine cool. Do not run the engine too lean or you will over heat it and cause permanent damage to the internal components of the engine.

It is normal for the engine to consume a lot of fuel during break-in. This is because you are running it "richer" than you normally would to keep the engine cool and to flush out the engine as the parts "seat" themselves. Because of the richer than normal setting the performance of the engine will be limited. After break-in, you will then lean it out to gain performance.

It's always a good idea to get an extra glow plug (short, cold plug). It is normal to have to replace it after break-in because of the deposits left on in from the break-in process. Glow plugs are a normal item that needs replacing every so often.

Method 1:
Once the Engine starts and is idling slowly place it on the ground and drive it slowly on a flat surface. For the first use do not let the engine run for more then three minutes. Carry on running slowly for short periods until you have gone through 2 - 3 tanks of fuel.

Method 2:
With method 2 start the car in the same way but when it starts instead of placing it on the ground keep it off the ground and let the engine idle through two to three tanks of fuel. Let the engine cool down in between each tank and lean the engine off as needed. Do NOT rev the engine while it is running in and be careful not to lean it off to much or else you will burn your engine which would not be covered by the warranty.

Do not over accelerate at all during this procedure, as it can severely damage the engine. After each idling time, let the car rest for about ten minutes between each tank. Running in makes sure that the engine is operating correctly before you take it out for a proper run. Never accelerate the engine while all four wheels are off the ground, as this will break the con-rod or other important components.

One important thing to remember when breaking in a new engine, it will appear to not run correctly. It will stall, operate very inconsistently, and may even foul glow plugs. Don't get frustrated with it. Just keep working with it and it will become a smooth running engine. These experiences are what can be called "break-in pains". Every new engine has to go through this. When you get the engine started, be sure to keep it running by giving it throttle when it sounds like it's going to stall. Pulling the throttle quickly can also stall the engine. After a couple of tanks your patience will pay off with a very strong, reliable running engine.

Once you have run in your engine following the previous instructions we can start to tune it for maximum performance.

Engine Tuning

The first thing you should check is to make sure that when you pull full throttle the carburettor is fully opening. If you take the air filter off and pull the trigger all the way back it should open completely. You should always keep the engine within its intended operating temperature. Going above these could and most likely will cause damage. As you lean the engine out, it will run faster and faster till you hit a point where it will overheat. When this has happened it will start to stutter, hesitate, or even stall. The engine will over heat very quickly when the mixture has been set too lean. Check the engine often when leaning it out to make sure its not overheating. 

The simplest way to test for over heating is to put a drop of water or spit on top of the engine head. If it boils away instantly shut the engine down and let it cool off. If it takes 5-7 seconds for the water to evaporate away, then the engine is running at a good temperature. 

When you have the mixture set correctly you will hear the engine running smoothly and have a strong-sounding high pitch when you let it wind out. Running the engine a little "rich" is always a lot better then running it to "lean".

Lean = less fuel
Rich = more fuel

The high-speed mixture will affect the way engine runs at mid and high RPM. This is the main needle that you will adjust the most. Once you get you engine running good, this will be the only needle that you should have to mess with. 
Run the car on a smooth flat surface with enough room to let the model get up to top speed. Keep track of the speed as you slowly (1/8 of a turn at a time) lean the engine. You can lean it as long as you continue to have thick blue smoke coming out of the pipe. If the engine gets up to top speed and looses power most likely you have "leaned" it too much. You want the high-speed mixture to be lean enough to get good power and still keep the engine cool. Use a temperature gun or the water test to check the temperature of your engine. Remember, you want the engine to run around 270’ or water to sit on the head for around 5-7 seconds.