Gas RC Engines – All The Power You Need

Elvis Elvis

First, let’s briefly go over the benefits of gas RC engines. Let’s admit it, most of us enjoy tinkering and messing with stuff and gas RC engines require several gadgets and do-dads. Glow plug igniters, electric starters, fuel pumps, adjusting the needle valve and the mixture screw to get it to run just right. It’s a challenge that we enjoy.

Next, they sound more like the real thing so we get to feed our fantasy even more.

The drawbacks are that they require lots of gadgets and do-dads and are noisy like the real thing. That’s right, it all depends on your point of view and your personal preferences.

Gas RC engines, also called glow engines are internal combustion engines. They require a special “glow fuel” that is basically methanol mixed with different amounts of nitromethane and oil, lots of oil, that loves the right side of your plane. A roll of paper towels is an absolute necessity after any engine run.

The different types of gas RC engines used in RC models include 2-stroke or 4-stroke, (which can also be used to power a ducted fan unit for an RC jet) or for bigger models, actual gasoline engines similar to or even borrowed from weed eaters, chainsaws and even motorcycles.

2-stroke and 4-stroke glow engines are by far the most common and we’ll compare them here.

Gas RC Engines   All The Power You Need

A 2-Stroke engine ignites the fuel in the combustion chamber or “fires” with each revolution of the piston. The 2-stroke engine is more powerful, louder and less expensive than a 4-stroke engine of the same displacement. In general, they are easier to operate as well.

A 4-Stroke engine fires once with every two revolutions of the piston. Even though they aren’t as powerful as a 2-stroke of the same displacement, they provide more torque to turn bigger props. They also sound more realistic and burn less fuel.

You can decide which benefits are most important to you.

Why Do They Call Them Glow Engines?

With this type of engine, there’s no coil, magneto, points or spark plug. It starts and runs by use of a glow plug. A glow plug looks similar to a tiny spark plug but it doesn’t produce a spark.

It contains a wire or element that is initially heated to red-hot by clipping a battery powered glow plug igniter to it. When you spin the prop with you electric starter, fuel enters the combustion chamber and is ignited by the red-hot glow plug. Once this ignition takes place, you remove the glow plug igniter but the constant explosions of the fuel inside the engine keep the glow plug element red hot which in turn keeps igniting the fuel. To shut off the engine, just close the throttle completely.

Other than the throttle arm, the carburetor has two controls for adjustment. A high speed needle valve that controls the fuel to air mixture at mid to high engine speeds and an idle mixture screw that does the same thing but at idle speed.

You’ll need some accessories to complete the gas engine package.
· Glow fuel (get the proper percent of nitromethane mixture that the engine manufacturer recommends)
· A fuel pump (electric or manual)
· 3 or 4 feet of fuel tubing
· Fuel bottle cap fittings (including a fuel line filter)
· A glow plug igniter (with charger if required)
· 12 volt electric starter (recommended) or a chicken stick
· Four way glow plug wrench
· After run oil
· Extra glow plug or two (optional)
· Roll of paper towels (required!)

If you don’t get a model with the engine included, you can find quite a few gas RC engines at RC Models, (That’s the RC division of E-Hobbies). I’ve been pretty happy with their selection. Just make sure you follow the manufacturers recommendations for proper engine size for your model.

Well, that’s it, now gas up and go have fun!