“It seems as though there’s a lot of competition in the gas engine market these days, and there are a few names that everyone is familiar with. Some of the big ones are DA, DLE, and 3W – just to name a few. There’s more to the gas engine game than just them! Over the past decade, several smaller companies have sprung up – some have stayed, and some have gone away. But, just because these smaller companies may not be as well known, doesn’t mean they don’t have good products at good prices!
RCGF, a Chinese manufacturer of gasoline engines, designs and manufactures engines specifically for the RC aircraft market. They have a line of gas engines as small as 10cc, all the way up to 120cc! With twin cylinder engines ranging from 21cc to 120cc, they’re bound to have an engine to fill your need.”
This is a quote from one of my previous RCUniverse reviews, and my statement is still true today! They’ve added more engines to their lineup, and have an even wider selection from which to choose. There are now two US service centers, and each RCGF engine comes with a two-year warranty! This review will be focusing on the new 35cc Rear Exhaust engine, and I can’t wait to show you what’s in the box! Have I piqued your interest? Read on!!!
Price: $279.99 USD
Type : 2-cycle reed valve gasoline engine for airplane
Piston displacement Cylinder: 35cc (2.13 cu.in)
Bore x Stroke (mm): 1.53 in (39mm) x 1.18 in (30mm)
Carburetor : Genuine Walbro
Ignition : DC-CDI (Computer Controlled, Auto-Advance, Electronic Ignition System)
Power supply: 4.8-8.4V
Maximum Output :4.1 HP @ 9000 RPM
Requires: Gasoline, 2-cycle oil, ignition battery & propeller
Speed Range : 1500-9000rpm
90% high octane unleaded Pre-mixed gasoline – Recommend: 30:1
Lubrication Oil : 2 cycle engine oil (Synthetic Oil Recommended)
Suggested Propellers: 19×8, 20×8, and 20×10 Two-blade Propeller
Suggested Break-in Prop: 19×8
Spark plugs: NGK CM6 Type
Engine: 2.03 lb (923 g)
Muffler: 3.4 oz (97 g)
Ignition Module: 4.4 oz (125 g)
Total: Weight: 2.52 lb (1145 g)
Ignition Battery Required: 4.8-8.4 NiCd or NiMH, 6.6V LiFe or 2S LiPo pack
Like all of RCGF’s engines, the 35ccRE arrived very well packaged in a nicely adorned cardboard box. The dense foam inside the box should be able to handle even the roughest of delivery guys! The individual parts were bagged, and placed neatly in the box. The manual, warranty card and some awesome decals laid on top of the engine and accessories.
As you can see, the RCGF includes everything you’ll need for installation!
The rear mounted carburetor and muffler should allow the 35ccRE to be installed in many different aircraft without cutting too many holes in the sides of the cowl. I was impressed with the casting and machining of the engine, and the aluminum piston sports a single ring. A genuine Walbro carburetor feeds the 35ccRE through a reed block, and has a brass inlet nipple for the fuel line.
RCGF is using a standard 4-bolt prop hub that should keep any propeller secure, and the 5mm threaded hole in the end of the crankshaft makes it easy to secure a spinner with a center retention screw. I really liked the design of the cylinder head cooling fins, and again, the casting was of excellent quality!
The included ignition module is very high quality, and is capable of handling 4.8 to 8.4 Volts. With such a wide Voltage range, it makes choosing your ignition battery really easy!
The included manual is great, but RCGF has a newer version available online. They have also included some really nice decals and a warranty card with each engine – fill out your warranty card and send it in, because each RCGF engine has a TWO YEAR WARRANTY against manufacturer’s defects.
Additional Items Used for Installation
DuBro offers a complete line of hardware and accessories to make installing and mounting anything RC easy. For the RCGF 35ccRE installation in the Avistar 30cc, I used their Large Tygon Fuel Tubing, a sheet of 1/4″ Protective Foam Rubber, a Fill It Fueling System, Socket Head Servo Mounting Screws (for the throttle and choke servos), and 1/8″ I.D. Fuel Line Barbs. All of these items are available at dubro.com!
One last item I want to mention is the propeller. My ‘go-to’ prop of choice for the past several years has been Falcon. They have an extensive line of propellers, the props perform VERY well, and they’re reasonably priced! For the RCGF 35ccRE, I’m using a Falcon 19×8 Beechwood prop – I get all my Falcon props from justmodelprops.com.
Reviewer’s note – The installation part of this review is an excerpt from my review of the Great Planes Avistar 30cc Sport Trainer. It covers a little more than my ‘standard’ engine review, but I left in all the good stuff… You can read the full review on the Avistar 30cc Here.
The RCGF 35cc Rear Exhaust engine I’m installing has the same mounting pattern as the DLE 30, making installation pretty simple. To make it even easier, the RCGF stand-offs are exactly 10mm longer than those of the DLE 30. Because of this, I will not need the included DLE spacers. I’m glad to see that Great Planes has included them, but this time, I don’t need them! The RCGF 35cc Rear Exhaust engine, like its DLE counterpart, will be mounted with the engine rotated slightly. I’m not 100% certain why Great Planes has done this, other than to perhaps keep the DLE 30’s muffler inside the cowl.
The engine stand-offs were installed, along with the included (with the Great Planes Avistar 30cc) 2-56 pivot balls for the throttle and choke arms on the carburetor. I then temporarily installed the engine to mark the location of the throttle and choke pushrods. With the locations marked, I removed the engine.
The throttle and choke pushrod holes were then drilled – I have a 12″ long 3/16″ drill bit that makes it really easy to drill these holes without removing the stand-offs. I really like having this long drill bit!
The second included 12″ strap was cut to the lengths provided in the manual – one of them will secure the ignition battery and module, and the other will secure the fuel tank. After installing the longer strap for the fuel tank, the ignition battery, which was mounted on the underside of the forward battery tray, and module were installed with the shorter strap. I used more of the DuBro 1/4″ protective Foam Rubber to protect the battery and module from engine vibration. The second Tactic Heavy Duty switch and Ernst charge receptacle were installed in the cut-outs provided, and the forward battery tray was installed with four wood screws.
The exhaust gaskets, heat shield, and muffler were attached to the RCGF engine before permanently installing the engine on the stand-offs. I applied a couple of drops of blue thread locking compound on the exhaust bolts and engine mounting bolts. The spark plug was then installed, and the plug cap was snapped onto the plug. A zip tie was used to tie the plug wire to one of the stand-offs.
The throttle servo and 7-1/2″ throttle pushrod guide tube were installed, and the ignition pickup wire was secured to a stand-off with zip ties.
The throttle pushrod was assembled according to the manual and then installed. after a quick test to make sure it would work smoothly, a second servo, guide tube and pushrod were assembled and installed for the choke. This is a relatively easy installation, but did require removal of the detent ball and spring from the choke mechanism on the engine. With the detent in place, there was too much tension on the choke to open and close it with the flexible pushrod.
Remember those DuBro 1/8″ I.D. fuel line barbs I mentioned earlier? Here’s where I used them. After cleaning and prepping the three brass fuel tubes, I soldered a barb to each tube. The three tubes were then slid through the stopper assembly, and a barb was QUICKLY soldered onto the two shorter tubes. I say quickly because if you don’t do it quickly, you’ll run the risk of damaging the rubber stopper! With the 5 barbs in place, the vent tube was bent to shape.
A pair of DuBro Large Tygon fuel lines were attached to the included fuel clunks and the two shorter fuel tubes and secured with the included small zip ties. I marked the fuel tank to correspond with the three tubes in the stopper, and installed the fuel stopper/fuel line assembly.
The assembled fuel tank was then strapped in place with a piece of DuBro 1/4″ foam rubber between the tank and the tank tray. Three more of the included small zip ties secured the three Tygon lines to the fuel tank tubes.I also added a couple of extra zip ties to keep the carburetor and vent lines in place until they went through the firewall. The vent line was run up and over a stand-off, and then secured to the firewall and run past the bottom of fuselage. To secure the vent line to the firewall, I modified a pair of coaxial cable mounts (think cable TV wiring) by removing the nail and replacing it with a screw. A zip tie keeps the vent line attached to the modified mount.
After finding a location that didn’t interfere with anything inside the fuselage, I installed the DuBro Fill It Fueling System. I really like this fueling system, because they are really easy to install and use!
After trimming the cowl to fit around the RCGF 35cc engine, I mounted the cowl per the manual. This is one of the easiest methods I’ve used to date!
I installed the spinner backplate, Falcon 19×8 Beechwood propeller, and prop washer…
…Followed by the Propeller bolts, and included aluminum spinner. As always, I applied a few drops of blue thread locking compound to the propeller bolts and the center spinner retention bolt.
With the Avistar’s cowl installed, there’s not much to see, but there’s plenty of action in the upcoming video!
Because I have always done so, I decided to run a tank of gas through the engine before flying it. Now, there’s been some controversy over this lately, but to each their own. I’ll continue to run engines on the ground prior to their first flight to make sure they’re set correctly and run well!.
With fresh 30:1 90-octane ethanol-free gas/synthetic 2 stroke oil mix pumped into the Avistar’s tank, I closed the choke and cranked the engine over with my trusty battery operated starter. The starter spun for just a couple of seconds before the 35ccRE coughed and popped. I opened the choke and spun the engine over with the starter again. just a few more seconds, and the engine started and stayed running. A minor tweak (opening) of the the high speed needle had the engine running very well. I let the engine run at a high idle of 2,500 RPM until the tank was nearly empty. The RCGF 35ccRE was running very well!
About a week went by before I was able to meet my video pilot, Jim Buzzeo, at the flying field. I filled the tank again, closed the choke, and the spun the engine over with my starter. like the first time, the engine popped in a matter of just a couple seconds, so I opened the choke and used my starter again. The engine came to life almost immediately, and settle into a nice low idle. We opened the throttle a little to let the engine warm up before taxiing the Avistar 30cc out to the grass runway. The engine was running very nicely, and pulled the large plane through the dense grass easily with the throttle pushed about three clicks above idle. The throttle had to be pulled back to idle when plane rolled onto the nylon mat runway as it taxied out to the grass – we didn’t want it to pick up too much speed!
The Avistar 30ccRE was then turned into the wind, and Jim slowly advanced the throttle. Surprisingly, the plane left the ground before the throttle was pushed much past the half-way point, and the Avistar cruised around the field briskly at less than half throttle. from 3/4 to full throttle, not much speed gain was detected, but the Avistar 30cc certainly didn’t need any more speed.
The engine performed so well over the course of the flight that, at times, I forgot is was nearly brand new – it ran THAT great! Though the muffler doesn’t offer much in the way of quieting the engine a great deal, it does give the 35ccRE an awesome ‘growl-ly’ sound throughout the operating RPM.
After a few more minutes of flying, we brought the Avistar 30cc back in for a landing. The engine settled into a really nice idle that allowed the plane to descend nicely and touch down easily!
Check out my video to see the RCGF 35ccRE in Action!
I’m really liking the new RCGF 35ccRE engine. It was easy to install, and even easier to get running and keep running. The wide rage of input Voltage for the ignition module is nice, and makes choosing a battery easy! The casting, machining, fit, and finish of the engine is definitely first rate, and I love that all RCGF engines come with a TWO YEAR warranty. Add to that fact that there are two US Service centers, and you’ve got a winning brand at decent prices! RCGF has added another great engine to their ever-expanding lineup – Nicely done, RCGF! -GB