Keep your Engine Happy

Keep your Engine Happy

Our readers are constantly coming up with great ways to maximize their enjoyment of the RC  hobby. Whether it is a simpler way to solve a recurring problem, or a better way to save some cash, our Shop Tips mailbag is always full. Here are a few tips for keeping your RC engine happy.

Clean Carbs

Model Airplane News - RC Airplane News | Keep your Engine Happy

Gasoline engines usually are very user-friendly. If however your engine starts to act up, becomes more difficult to start or won’t transition smoothly from idle to full power, chances are the internal fuel filter in the Walbro pumper carb is dirty or clogged. To get to it, remove the side cover on the carb that has a single screw in the center, remove the screw and carefully remove the cover without damaging the gasket. Use fresh fuel to flush away debris or if the screen is badly clogged, go to a small engine shop and buy a carburator rebuild kit and replace the inlet filter screen. Now is a good time to check the condition of the gaskets and replace any questionable ones. Replace the cover and screw it into place and you’re good to go!

Walter Watkins, Aiken SC

Heat Treatment for Engines

Model Airplane News - RC Airplane News | Keep your Engine Happy

Do you have an engine that has been stored away and has been out of service for a while? How do you get it back in service when you find it is locked up tight? Well, there is a quick and easy solution to free up the engine. Place the engine in a 200 oven for about 10 to 15 minutes. Then, using a dish towel or an oven mitt, turn the engine over. 99% of the time the oven heat will break the engine internals free so it can be turned over. Take the engine out of the oven, and load the engine down the intake and through the exhaust with some penetrating oil such as Marvel Mystery Oil or 3-In-One. Flip the prop a few more times and the engine will be nice and free ready for use. Just be sure to back the needle valve out four or five turns the first time you run it so that it starts up slobbering rich, then let it run that way for a few minutes to give any stuck ball bearing balls, etc., a chance to free up.

Clarence Lee, Engine Clinic

Updated: April 18, 2012 — 10:58 AM


  1. Is this heat treatment suitable for different types of RC engines (4-cycle, 2-cycle, gas)? The 4-cycle engines I have seem to be the most difficult to get moving again.

  2. I keep an old toaster oven in my shop just for things like this and replacing bearing. This works fine for nitro powered engine, two and four stroke, but I would never consider putting a gas engine in. Considering how volatile gas it, thats just a bad idea IMO..

  3. Sometimes one forgets the mechanics basics. Thanks for remembering. Nice…

  4. I’m a control line racer and speed flier, friend said the truth R/C guys just want cheap fuel could care about their engines most wouldn’t even change needle valve setting from the factory. So at least locally they said that glow engines are unreliable and all went electric

    1. That’s a shame that your friend thinks so little about RC pilots/modelers as they dominate the hobby in modern times. Nationally I think the thoughts are different. RC pilots have a vested interest in maintaining their equipment. And if you are suggesting the electrics are another step down from glow power, then again i would say the thinking is badly out of date. thanks for your comments

  5. Heat gun can do the same job.

  6. I do the same but I always remove anything plastic and the o-ring at the carb. No point in damaging or shortening the life of these items. Also, you will put the prop on AFTER the engine comes out of the oven.

    Heat gun? Takes too long and impossible to get the engine heated up evenly. Oven works best. I too have an old toaster oven in my shop for purposes such as this.

    You can get some great deals on engines at swap meets that seem to be frozen up! 😉

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