Put on a show! Tapping an engine for smoke

Put on a show! Tapping an engine for smoke

Rick Michelena shared a technique he recently used to add a smoke tap to a HobbyKing 52cc Turnigy engine. As he notes, why not try something new this weekend? This project can be accomplished by anyone with reasonable mechanical skills. I crawled into the shop today after receiving a new engine from UPS. Below is a picture of my Swordfish. I originally used an old Quadra 50CC engine that was lying in my shop. The last time I flew the Swordfish, I was not impressed with the engine’s performance. I was only able to achieve 6200rpm using a balanced Top Flite 20×10 Power-Point propeller. I believe the 30-year-old Quadra is a bit tired. HobbyKing 52cc Turnigy

Only certain engine configurations will fit this aircraft.

Turnigy 52 CC electronic ignition

I found this Turnigy 52 CC electronic ignition engine on-line, and I purchased it from Hobby King. It was so inexpensive that I decided to gamble on it. However, since my old Quadra was tapped for SMOKE, I needed to install a SMOKE tap on this new engine. The following photos and instructions should give confidence to anyone who desires to tap any RC gas engine for SMOKE.

Turnigy 52 CC electronic ignition

First, the engine must be disassembled as seen above. The reason for this will be clear in the following photos.

Turnigy 52 CC electronic ignition

I have chosen to tap the engine in this location, but any location is fine. I used a drill press to bore a hole for thread tapping.

Turnigy 52 CC electronic ignition

Once the hole was drilled, I used a 1/4-28 tap for my SMOKE fitting. These fittings come with the B&B Specialties SMOKE System.

Turnigy 52 CC electronic ignition

Notice that the SMOKE tap treads extend into the crank journal. This is not desirable. Therefore, a Dremel tool will make short work of the problem.

Turnigy 52 CC electronic ignition

With the threads ground flush, it was time to blow out all the metal filings and re-assemble the engine.

Loctite 515 flange sealer

I used Loctite 515 flange sealer on all engine mating surfaces.

Loctite 515 flange sealer

With the case together, I seated the head to the crankcase. I was surprised to see two piston rings on this engine’s piston. To re-assemble, always look for the piston ring pin locators and squeeze the piston rings together at those points. I fully lubricated the cylinder walls and the piston rings with 3-1 oil to make assembly easier.

 "Heli-Coil" for thread size 5/16-24

I also removed the factory prop bolt and re-tapped the propeller hub using a “Heli-Coil” for thread size 5/16-24. This happens to be the standard Quadra propeller bolt size for the 35-52CC engine series.  "Heli-Coil" for thread size 5/16-24

This photo shows the standard Q-52 bolt that is already tapped for a spinner. I used the Q-52 drive washer as well. This way, I did not have to drill special propellers for this particular engine. The engine is now assembled with the SMOKE tap clearly visible on the left. I discovered that a G-62 muffler will fit this engine perfectly. I will now order a SMOKE muffler from B&B Specialties.

 G-62 muffler

I built this test stand and will secure it to one of the starting tables at our club field. The SMOKE system is from B&B Specialties. I have used these very reliable systems without fail for the past 24 years.

 G-62 muffler

Since I do not have a SMOKE muffler at this time, I will test the SMOKE system by manually pulling the SMOKE valve open about 1/2 inch. If all goes well, smoke fluid should begin to collect in the small jar positioned between the tank and firewall.

TEST RESULTS: I mounted the engine to one of our starter tables, filled the tanks with gas, and turned the ignition on. The engine came alive within a second of using a Sullivan Megatron starter. The engine ran perfectly throughout the entire range. I only made a small carburetor adjustment at the end of the day in order to “tweak” the high side. When testing the SMOKE system, my collection bottle quickly filled with SMOKE oil. Therefore, both the engine and SMOKE system functioned flawlessly. I settled for 7000 rpm on a 20×10 propeller. I will expect even more as the propeller unloads in the air. This should give me the performance I am seeking for my Swordfish. This hobby is always about trying something new. Do not be afraid to attempt this process. I still remember when I completed my first engine tapping very successfully. Remember to take your time and not leave any metal particles in your engine. You will see that your engine will run great, and you will now join that group of modelers who have taken up “SMOKING” on the weekends!

Updated: July 21, 2015 — 10:02 AM
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