Many people who buy their first rc nitro car struggle to get it started, often believing that the car is faulty and sending it back, frustrated! These engines need tuning, and running in before they’ll run smoothly, and there’s a bit of a knack to it, but once you’ve mastered the process, you’ll be running all manner of nitro engines with no problem.
Here we go:
1. Fill the fuel tank and check that the fuel lines are fitted properly, tightly and free of kinks which might impede the flow of fuel.
2. Prime the engine with fuel, the best way is by putting your finger over the exhaust or air intake and then pulling the starter cord until you see the fuel reach the engine. Once you see the fuel reach the engine pull the starter another couple of times to pull the fuel through the engine. If you can’t get the fuel into the engine make sure all the screws around the engine and manifold are properly tightened and that the lid on the fuel tank is closed. If it still will not prime take the end of the fuel line that connects to the exhaust off and blow down it which should force fuel into the engine.
3. Attach your glow starter to the glow plug, this is in the hollow part of the top cooling head of the engine.
4. Pull the starter cord with short quick jerks. Avoid pulling the cord 100% of its length as this could damage the spring. If the pull start becomes very hard to pull then it means the engine is flooded. If this happens you mustn’t pull the start again until you have de-flooded the engine or you could break it. If the engine is cold you may need to open the throttle a touch to help it start, also you may need to pull the start a good few times; the technique is quickly and consistently. If it is still stiff you could try unscrewing the glow plug half a turn and then when it starts tighten it up again.
5. If the setting are correct the engine should start. Disconnect the glow starter as soon as the engine is running.
The main needle adjustment is used to adjust the fuel to air mixture when you are accelerating. Once the engine is run in if it is spitting fuel from the exhaust you may want to turn the adjustment screw a little clockwise just a millimetre or so. Do not over tighten it though as this will overheat the engine and could melt the parts. When you make a change to the adjustment screw the changes will not take effect until after a couple of minutes running.
If after all this you still can’t get it started, there’s a couple more things you could try.
Remember that nitro engines need three things to work.
1. Good air flow through the air filter.
2. A fuel tank with fuel in it, it might seem obvious but…
3. And an ignition source, the glow plug.
Even if the glow plug glows that doesn’t always mean its working well. So it’s worth trying another one, just in case.
Be cautious of flooding the engine with fuel as you try to start it. Conversely make sure you don’t have the high speed needle too lean, thus not giving the engine enough fuel, effectively starving it.
If its cold outside try to warm up the engine with a hair dryer or whatever other heat source you like. Engines start much easier when they are near 120*F/49*C
Air leaks in the engine itself can cause issues as well. Common locations are the base of the carburetor, the back plate, and the front bearing.
And of course make sure your fuel tubing is good and flowing fuel.
Hopefully by now your engine will be humming sweetly!
In a later blog post we’ll discuss running or breaking your engine in.