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How to Start your Nitro RC with a Pull Start

Updated on November 28, 2011
Nitro RC from HPI Racing
Nitro RC from HPI Racing | Source

Some time ago I called a buddy of mine to tell him that I had launched a new Radio Control Website. After a long conversation, he later calls me back to tell me that I had inspired him to bring his HPI Super Nitro RS4 Radio Control Car out after 11 years of storage and give it a run. But unfortunately he couldn’t get it to start. More specifically he couldn’t remember how to start it. So I tell him I’d be happy to help, to just bring it over and we’ll start it together. After getting it cleaned up and running he had suggested that I write a Quick Start Guide on How to Start a Nitro RC using a Pull Start. And that I should name it as such. I thought it was a great idea and thought it would be a lot of fun, so I got to writing.

Lets Begin…

  1.   The first thing you’ll want to do of course is to make sure you have fuel in the fuel tank. Be sure to use high quality Nitro fuel with good lubrication and good cooling abilities. I would recommend that you follow your engine manufacturer’s recommendations. And never use fuel near a heat source or near open flames. After fueling, make sure your tank lid is fully secure.
  2.   Next you’ll want to turn on your Transmitter, and then turn on the Receiver in your Nitro car. At this point it would be a good idea to give the electronics a test. Test your steering a few times, and test the throttle a few times as well as the braking. Make sure the servos respond nicely, and smoothly. If you lose control of your Nitro RC because of radio problems, you’ll more than likely damage your Nitro RC. It’s also a good idea to monitor your batteries for both the Transmitter and the Receiver.
  3.   Ok, now you’ll want to extend the antennas and we will gauge the range of the RC. I’ve found that the easiest way to gauge the range of the RC is by walking away from it as your steering left and right repeatedly. When the steering on the Nitro RC stops responding, that would be your safe range of operation.

To Start the Engine…

Typical Nitro Engine
Typical Nitro Engine | Source
  1.   In this next step we will prime the carburetor by forcing the flow of fuel from the fuel tank through the fuel lines to the carburetor. This particular model Nitro RC has a primer button incorporated on the fuel tank. In this example you’ll want to push the primer button a few times while watching the fuel lines until you see the fuel reach the throttle valve at the carburetor or inlet of the engine. Open your Throttle Valve approximately two full turns. Then press the primer button twice more only. No more than two times.Otherwise you risk over-priming (flooding) the carburetor. Now if your car does not have a primer button feature or a fuel line bubble, there is another more common method. The more commonly used method would be to place your finger over the exhaust tip, thereby restricting the air exhaust and turning the engine by pulling the pull start a few times until you see the fuel reach the carburetor. Again be sure not to over-prime.
  2.   At this point I recommend raising the car so that the wheels are not touching the ground. If you don’t have a starter box, you can improvise. You can place the car on a simple box about the size of the Nitro RC’s belly whereas the wheels are free floating.
  3.   Now, attach your Glow Starter heater to the glow plug located at the top of the engine. I have a habit of giving the Glow Starter a little bit of a twist for good measure. Just to be sure it makes good contact. Then pull the pull start cord using quick short strokes. Be sure not to pull the cord all the way out. And the Nitro engine should start.

If the Nitro engine will not start…

If the Nitro RC won’t start, it may be over-primed. This is what you do. First remove the glow starter from the glow plug. Next you’ll have to remove the Glow Plug. Be careful when removing and reinstalling your glow plug. Ideally you’ll want to use a Glow Plug Wrench. They’re very inexpensive, and smart to have around. With the glow plug wrench, remove the glow plug from the top of the engine. Now, while being careful of your eyes from spraying fuel, pull the pull starter a few times with the same quick and short strokes until all of the fuel is removed from the cylinder inside the engine. When the cylinder is empty of fuel, replace the Glow plug using the glow plug wrench. Be careful as to not cross thread the glow plug as you reinstall it. Once the glow plug is reinstalled repeat the priming steps. And your Nitro RC will start.

To stop the engine…

 There are a few different ways to stop your engine.  Either run your Nitro RC until the fuel is depleted or you can restrict the airflow to and from the engine by covering the air intake or by very carefully covering the exhaust.  I do not recommend the exhaust method if you’ve run the Nitro RC for more than a minute as the exhaust will be hot!  And I also do not recommend the air intake method because it requires that you disconnect the air filter system while the Nitro RC is running and particles that can damage your engine may be sucked in, especially if you’re using your finger.  There may be dirt on your fingers.  In my opinion the best way to stop a Nitro RC engine is to pinch the fuel line that leads from the fuel tank to the Carburetor.   This is the best way with regards to the life of your engine.   In this particular case with the Super Nitro RS4 Radio Control Car from HPI Racing, we will simply and safely close the throttle valve. 

 I hope this Article helps and is as much fun to read as it was to write.  Thanks for reading.


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