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  1. #1
    1QwkSport2.5r's Avatar
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    So what really sets one engine make/model apart from another?

    In some other threads as of late, there has been some discussion about one engine being so much better than another. Some model specific, some make specific, others platform specific. So for each platform (Buggy, Truggy, Stadium Truck, Monster Truck, and On-Road), what engine make/model is better than the next and why? Is it the carburetor? The port arrangement/timing? The metallurgy? I am not talking about racing here either, I'm speaking strictly from a basher standpoint. I am asking honest questions and am seeking straight answers. Please no bashing of brand XX or person YY.
    GlowHead Brotherhood #3
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  2. #2
    well 1QWKsport , there are all different variables with nitro motors, ok

  3. #3
    cbaker65's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mugeyman View Post
    well 1QWKsport , there are all different variables with nitro motors, ok
    Yea +1 ok...LOL
    Just bash it!

  4. #4
    1QwkSport2.5r's Avatar
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    Of course there's different variables. What I'm asking is why engine A is so much more powerful and better than engine B, what sets each apart. Sure a Nova is better than a Traxxas, for some obvious reasons and some less obvious reasons. Is it as simple as better timing and a more refined carburetor? I don't know if I can compare longevity between two engines since I've yet to wear an engine out, or burn one up. I keep dumping fuel through my cheapie engines and they keep running and more importantly, I have fun with them. But I'd love to experience a balls to the walls rocking engine. I got a truck I want to go fast and more power is part of the equation. My hobby shop has a good deal on some Picco .28s, but what makes a Picco better or worse than a Nova or other make of engine? I'm leaving mod engines out of this for now.
    GlowHead Brotherhood #3
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    cbaker65's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1QwkSport2.5r View Post
    Of course there's different variables. What I'm asking is why engine A is so much more powerful and better than engine B, what sets each apart. Sure a Nova is better than a Traxxas, for some obvious reasons and some less obvious reasons. Is it as simple as better timing and a more refined carburetor? I don't know if I can compare longevity between two engines since I've yet to wear an engine out, or burn one up. I keep dumping fuel through my cheapie engines and they keep running and more importantly, I have fun with them. But I'd love to experience a balls to the walls rocking engine. I got a truck I want to go fast and more power is part of the equation. My hobby shop has a good deal on some Picco .28s, but what makes a Picco better or worse than a Nova or other make of engine? I'm leaving mod engines out of this for now.
    Ive been involved in rc's for 20 yrs,but ive never raced & been out & about with others.Im only a backyard basher in a small town.
    Ive only had the RTR low budget engines through the years!

    Most of these engine are mass produced,an not every engine is perfectly assemble,an I'm quite sure the accasional lemon
    is popped out.
    Then you have a ton of people that don't know how to handle & take care of a nitro engine.
    Ive bought new engines an Ive bought used engines in the past that other folks had. Most of the used engines ,there wasn't
    nothing wrong with them other than the people failed to tune them after break-in ,an they were still set in a flooding stage.

    I have engines that are wore out but still will give you a thrill.
    I also have engines that still run after 8 to 10 years that other people cant stand & say they are junk!
    I don't own a temp gun ,an I don't do no special heat method on break-in ,I just do afew tanks on a bench ,
    an toss it down on the ground & run ,an afew lazy tank runs,an I always run my stuff alittle on the rich side.

    I will never ever spend over a 150 bucks for an engine! Im a die hard rc addict,but I'm only in it for the love
    of the hobby.

    I think that I talked about everything that I feel about an engine ,but I didn't get to your ?.

    I think that manufactures produce the engines for the average rtr's ,because they are cheaper to produce.
    The more high end engines are more precise like an OS brand engine that cares about quality.

    I think maybe its all about on how the consumer knowledge about engine on how long it will perform & last.

    I don't have an answer!....
    Just bash it!

  6. #6
    1QwkSport2.5r's Avatar
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    Ive been in RC for almost 20 years myself. I've run a myriad of engines over the years, but never delved into the "premium" Car engines due to their cost and also due to the fact I've never worn an engine out. I have a huge pile of Aircraft engines that I rotate around among my 6 RC boats ranging in price of $45 to $505. I can appreciate a premium high performance engine, but since I never intended (and still have no interest) to race, I never felt it necessary to get a $300+ car engine to run in my monster truck. My $150 cheapies run good, hold a tune well, and just keep going. My RC boats are mostly all built for speed, so the higher performance engines put out a load more power than the average sport engines. More power = more speed. Since I have the speed bug, I figured I might as well see how fast I can get a car to go... Why bother? Why not... I don't want to buy a truggy or buggy, I have enough trucks as it is. I want to work with what I have, so an engine transplant and a set of speed gears is a start...
    GlowHead Brotherhood #3
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    cbaker65's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1QwkSport2.5r View Post
    Ive been in RC for almost 20 years myself. I've run a myriad of engines over the years, but never delved into the "premium" Car engines due to their cost and also due to the fact I've never worn an engine out. I have a huge pile of Aircraft engines that I rotate around among my 6 RC boats ranging in price of $45 to $505. I can appreciate a premium high performance engine, but since I never intended (and still have no interest) to race, I never felt it necessary to get a $300+ car engine to run in my monster truck. My $150 cheapies run good, hold a tune well, and just keep going. My RC boats are mostly all built for speed, so the higher performance engines put out a load more power than the average sport engines. More power = more speed. Since I have the speed bug, I figured I might as well see how fast I can get a car to go... Why bother? Why not... I don't want to buy a truggy or buggy, I have enough trucks as it is. I want to work with what I have, so an engine transplant and a set of speed gears is a start...
    Lol...Ive also been wanting to dable in a high speed nitro car!
    My problem is getting a car to be controllable at take off an a straight run.I wish the manufacture would focus on that like some
    kind of slipper clutch or traction control!

    I thought alittle about what your saying!
    I think its a fine line between fine tune & a blown engine.Theres a lot of factors in the mix.
    At some point ,something has to give when you try to squeeze more rpm's out of a nitro engine.

    Too much heat with out proper lubrication & cooling will surely kill any engine wether it be low or high end engine.
    as an airplane engine will get some prop wash ,that helps on an engine stay cool.

    If you can achieve keeping that engine properly cool & lubed ,I think that you can get a better long lasting performance
    out of it.
    However ,I think you can only go so far with them on mods.
    Just bash it!

  8. #8
    supertib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1QwkSport2.5r View Post
    Of course there's different variables. What I'm asking is why engine A is so much more powerful and better than engine B, what sets each apart. Sure a Nova is better than a Traxxas, for some obvious reasons and some less obvious reasons. Is it as simple as better timing and a more refined carburetor? I don't know if I can compare longevity between two engines since I've yet to wear an engine out, or burn one up. I keep dumping fuel through my cheapie engines and they keep running and more importantly, I have fun with them. But I'd love to experience a balls to the walls rocking engine. I got a truck I want to go fast and more power is part of the equation. My hobby shop has a good deal on some Picco .28s, but what makes a Picco better or worse than a Nova or other make of engine? I'm leaving mod engines out of this for now.
    tolerance is a big one.... the better the engine can seal itself the more vacuum and and pressure it can contain...more expensive engines have substantially better tolerances that allow them to run more aggressive timing and porting and still maintain stability...If we apply aggressive porting and timing to the cheaper engines they seem to lose their stability and generally wont run anywhere near as well as the quality engines even tho they share nearly identical porting and timing......Most of the cheap engines leak like crazy, poor tolerance in the nose at the crankshaft as well as most cheap engines are OWB engines with a shaft passing thru the backplate which is often a huge leak spot........ So once we go past tolerances we come into material quality...more expensive engines have low friction piston materials which allow for for higher RPM's... Some expensive engines also have low friction crankshaft coatings(DLC) which also increase performance from less drag on the crankpin and allowing higher RPM's without bushing failure.. Another big area is research and development...most cheap engines are just copies of existing engines and are designed and built without any real testing...whereas the higher end engines are actually used in competition and have substantial amounts of factory R+D into developing their performance....

    In the end for me there is no going back to the cheap RTR engines , after experiencing and running the higher end engines i just can't get excited to run the RTR engines..for me it would taking a massive step backwards in performance and fun.. once your used to driving something with a high power its very hard to go back to something without... The cars are no different... a T-Maxx drives awesome till you try a Revo, and a revo feels awesome till you try a truggy....... but once you drive a truggy and go back to a T-Maxx its almost comical how much difference there actually is.....the engines are the same way... most budget RTR engines feel awesome till you start running something better... then once your used to running something better its really hard to go back....
    Neal Smith..Owner of TheNitroShop www.thenitroshop.com

  9. #9
    cbaker65's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by supertib View Post
    tolerance is a big one.... the better the engine can seal itself the more vacuum and and pressure it can contain...more expensive engines have substantially better tolerances that allow them to run more aggressive timing and porting and still maintain stability...If we apply aggressive porting and timing to the cheaper engines they seem to lose their stability and generally wont run anywhere near as well as the quality engines even tho they share nearly identical porting and timing......Most of the cheap engines leak like crazy, poor tolerance in the nose at the crankshaft as well as most cheap engines are OWB engines with a shaft passing thru the backplate which is often a huge leak spot........ So once we go past tolerances we come into material quality...more expensive engines have low friction piston materials which allow for for higher RPM's... Some expensive engines also have low friction crankshaft coatings(DLC) which also increase performance from less drag on the crankpin and allowing higher RPM's without bushing failure.. Another big area is research and development...most cheap engines are just copies of existing engines and are designed and built without any real testing...whereas the higher end engines are actually used in competition and have substantial amounts of factory R+D into developing their performance....

    In the end for me there is no going back to the cheap RTR engines , after experiencing and running the higher end engines i just can't get excited to run the RTR engines..for me it would taking a massive step backwards in performance and fun.. once your used to driving something with a high power its very hard to go back to something without... The cars are no different... a T-Maxx drives awesome till you try a Revo, and a revo feels awesome till you try a truggy....... but once you drive a truggy and go back to a T-Maxx its almost comical how much difference there actually is.....the engines are the same way... most budget RTR engines feel awesome till you start running something better... then once your used to running something better its really hard to go back....
    Beatifully posted ,I couldn't have said it better!...AA +...
    Just bash it!

  10. #10
    1QwkSport2.5r's Avatar
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    Fair enough Neil... I can understand the tolerance part - but that still begs the question... What separates Picco from Nova from the next one? I'm not an OS guy so I wouldn't even consider one of those.. I would try a Picco or Novarossi, but since it would go into a Monster truck, a Pullstart/Rototstarter would be required most likely... The LST trucks are a real pain to get at the flywheel from underneath, so a starter box would probably have to be custom made.. I could do this, but is this a realistic way to go?
    GlowHead Brotherhood #3
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  11. #11
    supertib's Avatar
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    IMO many guys here are brand biased against the higher end names more then they are averted to the higher price tags...a while back I posted a link to a place called Novarossi Direct that sells Novarossi for SH prices... and sadly instead of taking advantage the guys here made every excuse why not to buy the Nova's........ I mean you can buy a Novarossi 28 8 port for $150 brand new.......yet some guys here will still prefer to buy a $130 Taiwanese engine and would go as far as recommend others to buy the Taiwanese over the Nova as well... Even with prices nearly the same the bias against the quality brands is strong... Sadly quite a few of the basher forums have the same prevalent mentality... almost like buying a higher end engine means you are conforming some how, I am not sure really LOL.....But regardless these days you can buy quality engines quite cheap and if there was ever a time to try one now is the time.........

    http://novarossidirect.com/LEGEND28-8_p_3226.html

    the price has gone up slightly but i believe there is a coupon code that can be used to drop 10% ...but even still for $169 this is a ridiculously good deal for a engine that used to sell for nearly $400
    Neal Smith..Owner of TheNitroShop www.thenitroshop.com

  12. #12
    supertib's Avatar
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    Nova has the best Roto assembly...the shaft that passes thru the backplate is sealed by a o-ring....stock it is a very powerful engine...and can tolerate very low head tolerance to really pump the power if needed........
    Neal Smith..Owner of TheNitroShop www.thenitroshop.com

  13. #13
    supertib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1QwkSport2.5r View Post
    Fair enough Neil... I can understand the tolerance part - but that still begs the question... What separates Picco from Nova from the next one? I'm not an OS guy so I wouldn't even consider one of those.. I would try a Picco or Novarossi, but since it would go into a Monster truck, a Pullstart/Rototstarter would be required most likely... The LST trucks are a real pain to get at the flywheel from underneath, so a starter box would probably have to be custom made.. I could do this, but is this a realistic way to go?
    The race OS are super expensive engines but are truly at the top of the heap when it comes to performance and stability.... The OS Speed engines are ridiculously good engines and even at a $400 plus price tag are huge sellers.. I run all the brands pretty equally and tend to promote Picco and Nova over OS due to price but I have to give credit where credit is due, OS are fantastic 1/8th scale engines......
    Neal Smith..Owner of TheNitroShop www.thenitroshop.com

  14. #14
    supertib's Avatar
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    So when your tuning the higher end engines you will find you can put a much sharper tune on the engine and it will still maintain its stability... on the cheaper engines you can attempt to tune like this but usually the engine loses its stability...what is happening is that once the tune starts to lean down the lesser tolerances start to cause bypass issues, the engine relies heavily on excess fuel being present to help maintain the crankcase seal.......The higher end engines have a better natural seal and do not need as much fuel present to be able to maintain seal......So where a cheap engine would be goat calling the higher end engine will not...so this is why to most bashers the race engines look and sound too lean... and to the racers the RTR engines seems like they are 4 stroking and not revving out......I watch videos of the RTR engines and to me they barely sound like they are able to clear out, and I know watching my videos many of the bashers think I am too lean and over revving the engines LOL !
    Neal Smith..Owner of TheNitroShop www.thenitroshop.com

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    supertib's Avatar
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    These engine use fuel to seal themselves, the front bearing has nothing at all to do with sealing the crankcase....... there is a vacuum activated flowing fluid ring seal built into the crankshaft of the engine....on the good engines the crankshaft to case tolerance is near a lapped fit, on the cheaper engines there can be substantial tolerance...so on the cheaper engines if we try to lean them down to a race tune they usually start to leak out the nose causing high idling and idle down issues off throttle, basically classic lean symptoms..whereas on the race engines we can lean them right down and even without being flooded with fuel they are able to maintain their crankcase seal at the nose.....
    Neal Smith..Owner of TheNitroShop www.thenitroshop.com

  16. #16
    1QwkSport2.5r's Avatar
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    Sounds good. Thanks for sharing all of that information. It is well received here. I tend to buy locally if I can, so I'll check my LHS and see what engines they have in stock right now. I know they carry Picco and Novarossi, but I think the Piccos sell for a little less. I don't have a huge budget and don't have the ability to buy anything high priced online right now.. But either way, I'll be in the market to put a thumper in one of my LST trucks. I have a benchmark speed of 39.8mph with stock spur gears, no gear-flip, and SH .28 6-port engine. I do think the SH engine has more power to give up, but is being highly limited by the pipe (Losi HT). The idea I have is change the trans output gears, gear flip the input gears, lower tooth count spur (hi gear), and hotter engine/pipe. What would be the ideal pipe so the engine is really "on the pipe" in be mid-upper rpm range in a 13lb MT? I have my doubts as to the HT pipe being that great on a better performance engine...
    GlowHead Brotherhood #3
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  17. #17
    supertib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1QwkSport2.5r View Post
    Sounds good. Thanks for sharing all of that information. It is well received here. I tend to buy locally if I can, so I'll check my LHS and see what engines they have in stock right now. I know they carry Picco and Novarossi, but I think the Piccos sell for a little less. I don't have a huge budget and don't have the ability to buy anything high priced online right now.. But either way, I'll be in the market to put a thumper in one of my LST trucks. I have a benchmark speed of 39.8mph with stock spur gears, no gear-flip, and SH .28 6-port engine. I do think the SH engine has more power to give up, but is being highly limited by the pipe (Losi HT). The idea I have is change the trans output gears, gear flip the input gears, lower tooth count spur (hi gear), and hotter engine/pipe. What would be the ideal pipe so the engine is really "on the pipe" in be mid-upper rpm range in a 13lb MT? I have my doubts as to the HT pipe being that great on a better performance engine...

    No dealer or hobby shop will be able to compete with Nova direct.... those guys are breaking the trend in a huge way....

    So heavier cars like bigger engines and for a LST I would actually say to run a LRP 32 instead........... but I would use a Novarossi 9886( 9853 second choice ) tuned pipe with a short Nova conical manifold.... remove 0.2 or 0.3 mm from the head stack ( I run mine with 0.5 mm removed ) .......30% nitro, 10% or less oil...........with this pipe,manifold and head setup it will outperform the Nova 28 ........

    Also off brand 086 pipes are not the same as the 9886, they are completely different......the Nova branded pipe is really really good ......the manifold also makes a huge difference, more then the pipe actually...the factory LST pipe is way too long for these engines and severely reduces output,,,, a short Novarossi conical will give the best power. , the difference between the short conical and the factory manifold is actually massive...more then I can change doing engine mods actually...... I can modify a engine to the extreme and it will never perform at all until it has the right manifold.....
    Neal Smith..Owner of TheNitroShop www.thenitroshop.com

  18. #18
    supertib's Avatar
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    Worst case use whatever pipe you can, 053. 086, whatever 2 chamber , but at the very lest look at the conical manifold.... a OFNA 086 or Dynamite 086 on the short conical manifolds are lethal combos, far more lethal then on their stock manifolds.....
    Neal Smith..Owner of TheNitroShop www.thenitroshop.com

  19. #19
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    so far to date the LRP 32 was the most potent engine I tested.... however the caveat is that I have tested 2 of them now on the dyno and they acted very differently with very different performance levels... The first engine had a traditional breakin and was using conventional manifolds..... the second engine I hand fitted the piston before breakin and then used conical manifolds.... The difference was massive from just these 2 changes, the first 32 i tested underperformed where the LRP 30 was, but the second one blew its doors off...so this is why I say to look at the 32 insteadof the Nova for your truck..use a Nova pipe and manifold, but stick to the 32............ now what I would suggest is getting a Nova carb for the 32...I have plenty of them come thru and they are everywhere if you look,......this carb change will make the negine much more stable and easy to tune , especially once the engine heat soaks...
    Neal Smith..Owner of TheNitroShop www.thenitroshop.com

  20. #20
    1QwkSport2.5r's Avatar
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    Well, pardon my thought here, but part of this idea I have is to get away from the SH engines and try something "better". The LRP is made by SH last I checked and I want to try something else. I'm more than capable of handling anything. I dont need the engine with the MOST power, I want a stout engine that will rev and do what I'd like. The adage usually goes as the engine's displacement goes up for a given case size, the capability of the case to flow enough fuel/air becomes limited and the thinner the walls of the liner, the less direction the fresh charge has and thus rpm gets more and more limited. I understand I'm not dealing with a race truck that weighs 6 pounds, but I am kind of in the mindset that a .26-.28 would have a better chance of having more rev range than a .32-.36 sized engine.. As it is, the SH .28 I have in the one truck now flips it over pretty easily, I'm not opposed to giving up a little bottom end range for more top end range as I dont mind backing off on the wheelies some.
    GlowHead Brotherhood #3
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1QwkSport2.5r View Post
    Well, pardon my thought here, but part of this idea I have is to get away from the SH engines and try something "better". The LRP is made by SH last I checked and I want to try something else. I'm more than capable of handling anything. I dont need the engine with the MOST power, I want a stout engine that will rev and do what I'd like. The adage usually goes as the engine's displacement goes up for a given case size, the capability of the case to flow enough fuel/air becomes limited and the thinner the walls of the liner, the less direction the fresh charge has and thus rpm gets more and more limited. I understand I'm not dealing with a race truck that weighs 6 pounds, but I am kind of in the mindset that a .26-.28 would have a better chance of having more rev range than a .32-.36 sized engine.. As it is, the SH .28 I have in the one truck now flips it over pretty easily, I'm not opposed to giving up a little bottom end range for more top end range as I dont mind backing off on the wheelies some.
    Surprisingly with the proper pipe and manifold the big 32 revs really hard.... actually it pumps so much air that it is held back by most air filters...

    You cannot go wrong with the Nova 28, it is really a fantastic engine....same deal it runs hard with a 9886 and a short conical manifold...... also can be run with less shim, easily take 0.2 mm out once its fully loosened up......

    Yes LRP is made by SH..but LRP keeps them on a fairly tight leash and in general they have better fit and finish then their RTR stuff.... Same deal when Force was making the JL 21 race engines....the JL .21 was a fantastic engine and of much better tolerance then a standard Force .21....

    The LRP 32 is a odd engine in that it has a short 17 MM stroke with a 19.9 mm bore...... the Nova 28 has a 17.8 mm stroke
    Neal Smith..Owner of TheNitroShop www.thenitroshop.com

  22. #22
    1QwkSport2.5r's Avatar
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    Are any of these modern engines over-square? As in longer stroke than bore?


    Also - anything to say about Picco .28's? Do they run as good as the Novas?
    GlowHead Brotherhood #3
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    R.i.P Jacob Wetterling #11 10/22/1989


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    Here is a dyno of my modified 32 vs my modified 28........as you can see the big 32 has no issue with RPM... One thing to add here tho is that my 32 has a lapped/shaped piston which drastically reduces friction and on such a big piston with so much surface area it really makes a big difference.....

    Neal Smith..Owner of TheNitroShop www.thenitroshop.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1QwkSport2.5r View Post
    Are any of these modern engines over-square? As in longer stroke than bore?


    Also - anything to say about Picco .28's? Do they run as good as the Novas?
    Picco are really good.. stock their power comes in right between the LRP 30 and 32........the main reason I don't promote them more is lack of support as well as price...today we can buy the Nova much cheaper, parts are easier to get and the distributor always has stock.....The Picco is a high quality engine but I like the mechanics of the Nova 28 better.....
    Neal Smith..Owner of TheNitroShop www.thenitroshop.com

  25. #25
    1QwkSport2.5r's Avatar
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    Neal - do you have a graph showing the stock variants of the two LRP's and the Nova? What's a ball park price of a Modded Nova pull start engine?
    GlowHead Brotherhood #3
    Real engines use glow plugs.
    R.i.P Jacob Wetterling #11 10/22/1989



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