Nitro Tips and Tricks - RCCanada - Canada Radio Controlled Hobby Forum
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Old 11-17-2010, 08:38 PM   #1
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Nitro Tips and Tricks
Here is what I have read, it really helps me, I want to share it and I hope it comes in handy to others.

If you are buying your first nitro vehicle, choose wisely.

For your first nitro car or truck, you should buy a vehicle that comes with a reputable engine. For example, Traxxas makes good engines to start on, as are Associated's. Don't go out and buy a car with an engine you have never heard of. My first engine was a Force .12 and it was a major pain. Also, it would not be a bad idea to get a kit car and buy a good engine such as an O.S. for it for your first nitro vehicle.

Don't obssess over tuning.

I've seen people who insist they must tune their engine every 15 minutes and then complain about how much tuning they need to do and how hard it is. If your engine is running well and starting easily, don't worry about tuning it. Nitro engines are fairly resiliant.

If the car isn't running well, it isn't necessarily a tuning problem.

I've noticed that when a nitro vehicle isn't running perfectly, most newbies will go straight to the carb and fiddling with all the needles. Much of the time, the real problem lies somewhere else, such as in the clutch, starting system, fuel lines or tank, or air filter. If you have tuned your engine and it was running well recently, then your problem is most likely NOT the carb settings. My car once wasn't moving at all and the engine sounded too rich, but the real problem was that the clutch nut had come loose and prevented the clutch from engaging or the engine from revving.

If the car isn't starting, don't play with the needles.

Same as above. If the car isn't starting, check your glow ignitor, glow plug, starting system, and air filter BEFORE adjusting the needles.

Get a good charger.

You may be thinking, "What? This isn't electric!" However, you will appreciate a good charger that can charge glow ignitors, Rx packs, and 7.2 stick packs for engine starting. My MRC SuperBrain 959 can do all that and it only cost $50.

Perform regular maintenance.

This is fairly simple. Regularly clean and oil your air filter, clean your chassis of dirt and dust, clean your engine, and apply threadlock to ALL metal-to-metal connections.

Get a failsafe.

Buy a failsafe and set it up CORRECTLY. Put the failsafe in between your reciever and throttle servo and set it to FULL BRAKE. Failsafes are a must when running in many areas because they prevent damage to your car, and, more importantly, other people and their property.

Filter it!

There are three ways for dirt to enter your engine: Through the air, the fuel, and the exhaust port (pipe). To prevent dirt from entering your motor, get a good quality fuel filter and air filter and clean them both after an hour of runtime.

Use the right glow plug for your engine.

Cold and hot plugs do not make an engine run colder or hotter. They simply determine the temperature at which the fuel and air ignites. As a general rule, small-block engines need hot plugs and big-blocks need cold plugs.

Here are a couple useful tips from

Don't get dirt in your pipe!

A common cause of dirt ingestion (off road) is through the exhaust. YES the exhaust!

Here is the scenario, you crash or cartwheel the car it stuffs the exhaust stinger into the dirt. The engine stalls, there is always residue fuel and oil in the pipe. It mix's with the dirt, you carry the car and are not careful how you hold the car. The dirt/fuel/oil runs back into the exhaust port!!!

In addition, the pipe has a reverse pulse action [part of what make a tuned pipe work] when running, dirt in pipe ends up in engine!!

One more scenario (off and on road), you blow up your old trusty engine…… bummer you bolt in your spare or even brand new back up. DID you remember to wash the debris out of your pipe from the exploded engine before mounting and starting your new engine!

I have seen brand new engines ruined just spinning them over on the starter box the first time!

Read your glow plug after you have used for the first few times

OS and Turbo glow plugs go gray sooner (easier) than McCoy plugs; this is not necessarily bad. Actually when A new plug wire just goes slightly gray after a 5 or 10 minute hard run it means your very close to an optimal horsepower tune, but be careful the next step is TOO LEAN!

Make a few hot laps then stop engine a pull the plug to "read". General rules to reading a plug are:
1. Wire and surrounding bottom of plug wet and new wire is shiny = rich side of optimum power. About 85% of max performance.
2. Wire and surrounding bottom of plug starting to dry and wire starting to gray = Very close to optimum power. About 95% of max performance.
3. Wire and surrounding bottom of plug dry, wire totally gray but not distorted = optimum power 100%
4. Wire and surrounding bottom of plug dry, wire distorted = slightly lean DANGER!
5. Wire and surrounding bottom of plug dry, wire broken and distorted or burnt up = extremely lean possible engine damage!
Note: You can only "Read" your plug in a nearly new state [Wire like new and shiny] A gray plug can still operate well. But after it has totally gone gray performance can start to fall off. To test just put in a new plug and if there is no difference in performance save the gray one or put it back in. If your engine does not feel or run right tray a new plug before making major tune change's

Breaking in your engine on a starter box

Some methods of break-in require you to put your car on a stand. If you are using a starter box, turn on the box and fire up the engine. Turn off the starter box and follow the manufacturer's instructions with the car on the box. When it is time to shut off the motor, simply press down on the car so that the flywheel contacts the starter wheel and the motor will shut off. This method of break-in is safer and easier than letting your car idle on the floor or on a cardboard box.

Hopefully these things, most of which I learned the hard way, will help you to prevent problems before they come about.
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