How to Tune Your Nitro RC Car Engine

How To Tune Your Nitro RC Car Engine

The first thing you should know about nitro engine tuning is that it’s very important for the life of your motor and total power output.So you want to know how to tune your nitro RC car engine, but you don’t really know where to start. Not to worry I got you covered.

This page will serve as a basic but informative way on how to tune your nitro engine for supreme power. Ok so let’s get started!

You can also check out other how to rc articles –rc car reviews or see our rc car article directory.

Tune For Maximum Power!

how to tune your nitro rc car engine

Time To Break In That Nitro Engine

The most important thing you can do when learning how to tune your nitro rc car engine is breaking in the motor. If you do not do this step of breaking it in, well… you risk your engines long term life span and total potential.

What happens when you break in a nitro engine?  Basically a few things happen…

  • You’re nitro rc truck or car engine is going through natural heating cycles
  • The piston and sleeve are expanding which in turn contract together

Are You Looking For A Selection Of Nitro Engines & Parts?

You might want to check RC Planet (Global) for your RC car and truck needs.

Read the comprehensive RC Hobby Shop reviews for more detailed information and to simplify your search. Or you can check out where to buy rc cars and trucks for sale.

Follow Instruction Manual When Breaking In Your Nitro Engine

All rc nitro engines that you buy come with an instruction manual on how to safely break in and tune your rc nitro engine. Read and follow these instructions, I know most of us, me included often skip over instructions. If you decide to skip the instructions on how to tune your rc nitro engine you risk killing it essentially.

You can also learn how to clean and maintain your brushless motor if you’re into electric rc trucks and cars.

Ok so the first thing you want to do is run the engine on the rich side – this will let that baby heat up nice and warm – try and get it to about 158 degrees.

When your nitro fuel runs out and the motor has been at a steady operating temperature you can let that baby cool down for a good 10 minutes before doing it all over again.

Once you are done running it through about 2-3 cycles (full tanks of nitro fuel) you can then start making carburetor adjustments. Why? Because this will help you tune your nitro engine to the best it can be. She’ll be out performing your buddies Nitro engines in no time.

Carburetor Needles – How To Tune Them?

The carburetor needles are responsible for your air to fuel ratio. This is in part controlling pretty much all of your nitro engines power capacity.  So basically if you have more air to fuel (lean) mixture your nitro engine will get way more power then if it’s running a rich mixture (fuel to air).

High Speed Needle

how to tune your nitro rc car engineOk so you’re ready to start tinkering with the needles, first things first always start with the high speed needle. This is because if you make any adjustments on the high speed needle your low speed needle will be affected.

When tuning your gas powered rc car engine you’ll spend most of your time on the high speed needle. You want to lean your nitro engine in very small steps or turns (about a quarter turn each step).

Do this until you get optimum engine acceleration at high rpms. This step can take a lot of practice, but just like anything the more you do it the better you’ll be at it, have fun with it!

Low Speed Needle

Ok so you got your high speed needle ready to go and tuned to perfection.. what next? It’s time to get crackin on your low speed needle.

What’s the purpose of the low speed needle? This needle affects your idle rpm and your acceleration off the starting line. Tuning the low speed needle is an important part to getting your nitro engine to wicked performance.

Ok so… the low speed needle will be at factory settings by default unless you’ve already tried tuning it. You want to lean it out very slowly in incremental steps like before. Do this step until you get max acceleration off the race line. You can run into a couple problems on this step… here they are…

  • If the nitro engine drops to low rpm when you’re in neutral you’re mixture is to rich.
  • Moreover, if you’re too rich or too lean they can seem the same. Start messing with the needle until you see it work better.

Don’t Get Flustered

It’s hard sometimes if you’re new to tuning a nitro engine. Try to not get frustrated (easier said then done I know, I’ve been there). Just like your mom used to tell ya… practice makes perfect!

Tune Your Nitro RC Engine With These Tips

Get The Right Glow Plug

how to tune your nitro rc car engineGlow plugs are an important part of getting the most power when tuning your rc nitro engine. There are lots of different size engines and they all require different types of glow plugs such as…

  • Smaller Nitro Engines usually take hot or warm glow plugs
  • Larger Nitro Engines usually take cool glow plugs

However it is said that a larger engine can provide way more power with a warm glow plug. But just because you add more power, does not mean you don’t risk the safety of your nitro engines overall lifespan – This kinda thing always comes at a price.

Up Your Nitro Fuel

One of the coolest things you can do while learning how to tune your rc nitro car engine is upping the nitro fuel percentage. You can go from 15 % to 25 % and this can give you a significant jump in overall power.

how to tune your nitro rc car engineOf course with great power comes  great responsibility and you must make small adjustments accordingly.

What kind of adjustments? Well you’ll need to make your mixture a lot more rich or else you risk your engine getting chaffed… running it more rich will keep your internals better lubricated.

So all I gotta say is just be careful when doing this, take the appropriate precautions and you should see a jump in power.

Seeing & Hearing

Tuning a rc nitro engine is all about your senses… kind of like karate kid or Jean Claude from bloodsport when he was wearing the blindfold.

The more you practice sights and sounds the better you’ll be able to tune your nitro engine. You’ll know when the engine is running lean and you’ll know when it’s running rich, pretty cool hey? You’ll be so good that just by looking at the color of the exhaust you’ll know what’s wrong or right. Here check it…

  • Exhaust is thick and blue during acceleration? You’re running the engine too rich.
  • Engine sound like it’s under water – gargling? Probably running to rich.
  • Engine sound dry and can’t see much exhaust? Probably running to lean, richen it up!
  • Do you hear a loud screech followed by your name? Probably your girlfriend man…time to spend some quality time.

So like I was saying, you’ll be a pro in no time – all you gotta do is start mastering sight and sound  –  young grashoppa hehe.

Where Will You Be Racing/Bashing?

When you’re tuning your nitro engine make sure you know where you’re going to be running your beast. If you’re rc car racing then there’s a couple things you need to think about.  Most rc cars these days are not meant to run at high rpms for long durations.

Here are a couple tips…

  • If the track or area is small you can go lean on the high speed needle. This will give you more power.
  • If the track is long and you plan on running full bore then you need to make sure your high speed needle is set to rich – otherwise your nitro engine goes bye bye.

Also, you can tune your nitro engine with different types of pipes to increase power. Here’s what you need to know…

  • Short pipes = more power at low rpm
  • Long pipes = more power at high rpm

This is a great type of tip for getting more power without hurting the integrity of your nitro engine.


how to tune your nitro rc car engineAnother tip for getting more power out of your nitro engine is getting a better clutch with stiff springs. The clutch you choose will help with acceleration and lots of power coming out of corners and on the line.

Here’s the improvements you’ll notice…

  • More power
  • Better acceleration
  • Additional torque

Don’t Worry About Head Temperatures

One tip here… don’t rely on head temperatures… instead tune your nitro engine for performance and use head temperatures as a general guide.

In Summary…

Learning about tuning rc nito engines is a feat in itself, but you get total contol over your rigs total power. Who knows maybe after your tuning you will have a fast rc car.

Source Of Article – rc car action – Click Here.

Nitro Tuning Videos

Are You Looking For A Selection RC Cars and Trucks?

You might want to check (U.S.) and RCPlanet(Global) for your RC car and truck needs, but it is recommended that you read our Tips For Selecting RC Cars and Trucks Onlinebeforehand.

Read the comprehensive RC Hobby Shops reviews for more detailed information and to simplify your search.

Also check out:

For more information about other services and products choose from one of the following links:

[Gas Powered RC Cars] [Electric RC Trucks] [Traxxas RC Cars] [Discount RC Car Parts] [RC Cars] [Electric RC Cars] [HPI Racing]

Latest RC Car Articles

Bugatti Veyron RC Car
Check Out This Little Electric RTR RC Car. The Bugatti Veyron Radio Control Car is inspired by the real full scale sports car. You can drift, go fast and even do jumps – the Bugatti Veyron remote control car looks very slick and is super easy to use. Meant for collectors or the absolute beginner RC Enthusiast!

How To Clean And Maintain Your Brushless Motor
In this 11 step article you will learn how to clean your brushless motor as well as maintaining it. There are some supplies you will need to complete this little project, but at the end you will have prolonged the life of your brushless engine.

Traxxas Slash 4×4 Short Course Truck
Check out the all new Traxxas Slash 4×4 Review. You can also read up about the 2WD, VXL, Ultimate and Platinum editions. New bodies, Kits, hop ups, upgrades, pro’s and con’s.

HPI Savage X 4.6 Review
The fairly new 4×4 Nitro Monster truck from HPI Racing – This is a crazy basher that is super durable and capable of high speeds for a 1/8th scale nitro monster truck – check out videos and pictures.

Traxxas Rally Review 
The Traxxas Rally VXL is a 1/16th Electric RC Car. Great for RC Car drifting, sharp turns, fast maneuvers and good ol racing fun. It takes on the new type of racing called Gymkhana.. check it out!
Traxxas Slayer Nitro Review
Looking for a Nitro 4×4 RC Short Course Racing Truck? Looks no further guys – this one’s got all the good stuff. Torque, Power, Durability are just a few things it possesses.

Traxxas Summit Electric Monster Truck
Check out the Traxxas Summit Electric Monster Truck Review! This baby has a BIG engine that can tow small kids behind it – 3 Videos to prove it! Tons of upgrades, parts and hop ups! check out pro’s and con’s as well.

Cheap Gas RC Cars For Sale
Cheap RC Cars For Sale – Are you on a tight budget? Curious where to buy rc cars online? Check out this article, it should help you buy remote control cars & trucks without breaking the bank!

Nitro RC Trucks For Sale
RC Trucks For Sale – This article is all about nitro and gas powered RC trucks for sale. Plenty of 4×4, used gas RC trucks to choose from. You will learn about electric, and Cheap RC Trucks – Questions like Electric Or Nitro? 4×4 or 2WD? What scale/size is best? Traxxas or HPI Racing?

Best RC Cars
The best place on the planet, right here on the web providing up to date information about the best rc cars and the best rc trucks.Fastest RC Cars
Latest information of the fastest rc cars on the planet including the fastest electric rc car, all at one location

How to Build an RC Car Track
How to build an car track with some of the best rc car tracks and all of the features necessary for a great racing experience.

How to Build Your Own RC Car
Here’s how to build your own rc car. A step to step guide to building your own custom rc car.

HPI Savage
Hip and happening HPI Savage hop ups for HPI savage radio controlled cars such as Savage 4.6 SS, Savage X SS and Savage X make them ideal for racing conditions.

Traxxas Revo
Traxxas Revo is any persons dream RC monster truck. It outdoes any other RC truck, and with many parts and hop ups available and the TRX 3.3 engine, the Traxxas Revo is hard to beat. Pictures and videos included.

More Articles…

Didn’t find something? See our FAQReviewsSite Map or Article Directory

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *