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Traxxas Nitro 4-Tec 3.3 Review

Updated on August 10, 2009

The Traxxas Nitro 4-Tec 3.3 is a car capable of 70+ mph. So what? I hear you say. Well you may not be aware that this sedan is only 17 inches (432mm) long. For a radio controlled car to do 70+ mph is truly amazing and it shows just what technology and power is now available in high performance nitro powered radio control cars like the Nitro 4-Tec 3.3 for the serious radio controlled car enthusiast.

Traxxas, located in Plano Texas, has been making radio control cars since 1986, and have a reputation for excellent “ready-to run” models which can be taken out of the box and after a little basic setting up, can be driven without the time consuming assembly process which used to be normal for high performance models. So, the fact that the Nitro 4-Tec 3.3 is already assembled means that very high performance nitro radio control is now available to everybody, without needing years of experience race tuning miniature nitro engines.

Nitro 4-Tec 3.3
Nitro 4-Tec 3.3

Nitro 4-Tec 3.3 Safety Warning

Before we look at the detail, though, be warned that the Nitro 4-Tec 3.3 is not for everyone. This car is capable of rapid acceleration and very high speed and is meant for experienced drivers only. If you don't have previous experience with nitro powered radio control models it is likely that you will struggle to control the car and could wreck it in no time at all. It is essential to have a very big space free of all obstacles as a running area where there will be no traffic or pedestrians. Hit somebody with a 70 mph projectile and it will cause serious injury. To reinforce the skill and experience required Traxxas give the model their highest skill level rating of “five” for expert drivers only.

Stunning Appearance And A Robust Chassis

Nitro 4-Tec 3.3 Side Profile
Nitro 4-Tec 3.3 Side Profile
Nitro 4-Tec 3.3 Chassis
Nitro 4-Tec 3.3 Chassis

TRX 3.3 Nitro Power

In detail, this very high speed has been achieved by installing the TRX 3.3 nitro racing engine. If you're not familiar with radio control, nitro engines are miniature internal combustion engines running on special nitro fuel containing nitro-methane which gives exceptional power. The TRX 3.3 nitro engine provides 60 per cent more peak power when compared with its forerunner, the TRX 2.5. The overall power available “under the curve” is almost 50 per cent greater which results in a smooth, linear power output. A powerful nitro engine is no use if it's challenging to start and tune, so the 3.3 nitro racing engine has a Traxxas EZ-Start electric starting system and a straight forward two-needle composite slide carburettor for simple tuning. Traxxas have made starting as easy as possible with their Smart Start technology which monitors all the important starting functions, and automatically senses and then diagnoses possible problems for hassle-free starting.

Design Features

Having all this power available is frustrating if the Nitro 4-Tec 3.3 cannot be controlled precisely, and at 70 mph, precision handling is absolutely critical. Some of the features which achieve stable handling at high speed are:

  • A ball-bearing fitted bellcrank steering system that tightens the response for precise handling.
  • An extra wide rear drive belt is fitted to cope with the power output from the 3.3 nitro racing engine. Oversized pulleys are also used to give that Nitro 4-Tec 3.3 that 70+ mph top speed.
  • The fuel tank is mounted centrally to give the best balance conditions, and by fitting it as low as possible for a low centre of gravity, handling doesn't change as the fuel level decreases.
  • Steel turn-buckles with robust captured rod-ends give full adjustment of camber and tow-in. This adjustability give the greatest choice of set up options for virtually any on-road conditions.
  • Bearing supported differential shafts are supported by the housings, rather than the output shafts> This prevents failure of the internal components of the differential due to belt tension.
  • Rubber-sealed, low friction, ball bearings are used throughout to provide long-lasting, precise and smooth performance, and to reduce maintenance to a minimum.

Watch The Nitro 4-Tec Video - Appreciate The Awesome Speed!

These are the main technical features to give high speed precise handling but the Traxxas Nitro 4-Tec 3.3 also has the style to go with it's performance. It is finished with fresh new body graphics that reflect the performance of the underlying chassis.

And new grey parts and springs finished in white, brighten the chassis and highlight the precise engineering that underpins the performance. Undoubtedly, the most exciting visible feature for many owners is the big nitro TRX 3.3 finned cooling head thrusting up above the bodyshell. It certainly looks ready to take on all-comers

Nitro 4-Tec 3.3 Specification Summary

To summarise the Traxxas Nitro 4-Tec 3.3 specifications:

  • Length 17 Inches (432mm)
  • Front Track 7.64 Inches (194mm)
  • Rear Track 7.8 Inches (198mm)
  • Weight (no fuel) 65.25oz (4.08lb) (w/4AA's)
  • Height (overall) 4.38 Inches (111mm)
  • Wheelbase 10.16 Inches (258mm)
  • Engine (nitro-powered) TRX® 3.3 Racing Engine with EZ-Start®
  • Transmission Auto Two-Speed Differential Type
  • Gear Ratio (1st Gear) 3.00
  • Gear Ratio (2nd Gear) 2.16
  • Planetary Drive System Belt-Driven AWD
  • Brake Type Disc
  • Front Wheels 2.0 Inch Nylon Mesh
  • Front Tires Pre-glued with contoured inserts
  • Rear Wheels 2.0 Inch Nylon Mesh
  • Rear Tires Pre-glued with contoured inserts
  • Steering Bellcrank
  • Chassis Type 2.5mm Plate, 6061-T6 Aluminium
  • Fuel Tank Capacity 75cc
  • Radio System Traxxas TQ (2-Channel)
  • Top Speed 70+mph
  • Price: About $350 (June 09)

The Traxxas Nitro 4-Tec 3.3 is a remarkable piece of miniature engineering - believed to be the fastest, readily available nitro powered radio control car. So if you cannot afford a full size high performance sports car, for a few hundred dollars you can still own an impressive, record breaking, very fast car - if only in miniature!

(All Traxxas trademarks and images acknowledged for this article)


Submit a Comment

  • bigmikeh profile image

    bigmikeh 7 years ago from UK

    Hi rcgal, it's difficult to recommend anything specific, depends a bit on your budget and previous experience with RC. I suggest you go to your local hobby store and get their advice, or ask for help on some of the rc forums.

  • rcgal profile image

    rcgal 7 years ago

    Thanks for this thorough review of the Traxxas Nitro 4-tec 3.3. Traxxas makes some nice toys. What do you recommend in radio control cars and trucks for hobbyists who are new to nitro?