- A nitro engine is sophisticated and capable of turning in excess of 40,000 RPM.race car neon sign image by MAXFX from Fotolia.com
A nitro engine is powered with a fuel mixed with nitromethane and methanol. A nitro engine is sophisticated and capable of turning in excess of 40,000 RPM. This tends to generate a lot of friction between the engine components. Most nitro engines are two-stroke devices, meaning the piston travels downward on the first stroke and sucks in a mixture of nitro and oxygen. On the second stroke, the piston moves up, compressing the mixture. Caring for a nitro engine requires skill, patience and experimentation.
- Use a high-temperature gasket or silicon sealants throughout the engine to ensure peak performance. Break the engine in when first installed. RCCarTips.com recommends you run at least three tanks of fuel after installation. Maintain engine temperatures between 140 to 160 degrees. Vary your engine speed but stay away from the top speed. Fuel kept at the correct temperature will prep the engine for a lifetime of maximum performance. After the break-in period, keep the engine at between 200 to 210 degrees when running. If your need more power, take the temperature up as high as 225 degrees.
Reading the Glow Plug
- Glow plugs indicate the correct fuel mixture. Ron Paris developed a tuning method referred to as "reading" the glow plug. The glow plug uses a combination of compression, heat and a catalytic reaction between platinum and methanol to create combustion in the engine. Finding the right glow plug may be a challenge. Small-block engines use a warm to hot glow plug; big-block engines use colder plugs. After installing a new glow plug, monitor the time it takes to turn gray. If the plug turns color after a few tanks of fuel while running your car at peak speeds, the fuel mixture is good. RC Hobbies claims this indicates a mixture "close to ideal." If the plug stays wet and shiny for a few tanks of fuel, the mixture is still safe. If the wire on the plug distorts or breaks, the mixture is too lean. This is a sign of an engine in trouble.
- The head shims are gaskets that sit between the cylinder head and the piston sleeve. A nitro engine works by compressing air, mixing it with fuel and then igniting it. The thickness and number of shims determines the amount of compression. Replacing shims with thinner ones will increase engine compression. Make changes incrementally to minimize the risk of damage to your engine. Don't install shims that are so thin they allow the piston to hit the cylinder head.