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Troubleshooting steps if nitro won't start?

Old 04-29-2012, 12:40 PM
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rcenth
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Default Troubleshooting steps if nitro won't start?

I'm pretty new to the RC world specifically nitros and at my rc shop sometimes customers come in who can't get their nitro to start and I don't really like to have to turn them away and refer them to the company for their issues, I'd like to help if I can but, two customers came in with their shockwaves today and they couldn't get it to start, they did start before since you can tell by looking at them they've ran before, so at one point and recently the engine was running. Just for some reason not starting anymore.

These are the steps I did:

- Check if glow plug is working, remove it, light it to the glow ignitor make sure glow plug lights up.
- Check if HSN is too rich, if so turn it in about 2.5 turns from flush.
- Prime it, make sure fuel is going through the tubing.

In both cases the starter was pulling fine, it was pulling easily without any issue, no toughness. Just kept pulling, maybe 30-40 pulls and both didn't start. Can see flywheel turning when pulling starter.

Not sure what else I can test or do to get it to start. One of them I even put a hair dryer to the engine to heat it up but, you're supposed to do that when the starter is tough and it wasn't was just trying to do as much as possible. Someimtes just doing those steps is enough to get it to start as just doing those steps has worked for me before, just not sure why today I was having this issue.

Can you share what steps you normally do for troubleshooting if having issues with nitro not starting?

Thanks



Old 04-29-2012, 05:18 PM
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Default RE: Troubleshooting steps if nitro won't start?

First thing I always do is put a brand new glow plug in it and make sure my ignitor battery is fully charged. My rc8 is very termpermental with even slightly used glow plugs and sometimes won't start even if the glow plug appears to be glowing outside the engine just fine. Also check to make sure the carb is not loose and the idle screw is set with a gap of about 1 mm.

Edit: One more thing, make sure fuel is actually making it into the carb.

Old 04-29-2012, 05:32 PM
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rcenth
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Default RE: Troubleshooting steps if nitro won't start?


ORIGINAL: ThePenguins

First thing I always do is put a brand new glow plug in it and make sure my ignitor battery is fully charged. My rc8 is very termpermental with even slightly used glow plugs and sometimes won't start even if the glow plug appears to be glowing outside the engine just fine. Also check to make sure the carb is not loose and the idle screw is set with a gap of about 1 mm.

Edit: One more thing, make sure fuel is actually making it into the carb.

Ok thanks for that. So, I'll keep an extra glow plug near by but, I hope I can reuse the same one if I use it only for this purpose and not have to open a new one every time. Maybe I can rotate them every 5-6 tests it wouldn't be too bad. How does the carb get loose? Is it screwed into the engine? Or a screw holding If it loosens up then it will prevent it from starting? I'm looking at an engine block right now but, don't see where it would get loose from this particular one everything is real tight.

Also how can you make sure that fuel is actually getting to the carb? I just check to see if fuel is running through the hose when I prime it if I can't see it flow through then I will blow air into it. Is there another way to check for sure it's getting to the carb?

Thanks

Old 04-29-2012, 05:56 PM
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Default RE: Troubleshooting steps if nitro won't start?

The carb is held in by a pinch screw that will on occasion shake itself loose causing the carb to become loose. You will pull to much air into the engine.

Hold your finger over the exhaust and pull a few times or pull the fuel tube off the exhaust and blow into it to get fuel to run to the carb. Once it hits the carb blow just a little bit more to make sure the fuel is getting all the way in. You may flood the engine doing this but thats an easy enough fix.

You can also try taking the glow plug out and dropping a few drops of fuel into the cylinder.

If you do all this stuff with the engine needles set at factory settings you should get it to start. Does the engine fire at all right now?
Old 04-29-2012, 06:04 PM
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Default RE: Troubleshooting steps if nitro won't start?


ORIGINAL: ThePenguins

The carb is held in by a pinch screw that will on occasion shake itself loose causing the carb to become loose. You will pull to much air into the engine.

Hold your finger over the exhaust and pull a few times or pull the fuel tube off the exhaust and blow into it to get fuel to run to the carb. Once it hits the carb blow just a little bit more to make sure the fuel is getting all the way in. You may flood the engine doing this but thats an easy enough fix.

You can also try taking the glow plug out and dropping a few drops of fuel into the cylinder.

If you do all this stuff with the engine needles set at factory settings you should get it to start. Does the engine fire at all right now?
Ok, as for priming it that's how I did it put my finger over exaust and pulled it until I saw fuel run through the tubing.I didn't put fuel into the cylinder since I thought I might over flood it but, I'll be sure to try it next time. These two cars were customers after about 30 pulls or so I gave up and referred them to redcat support.

So basically this is all we can do, if it still doesn't start then is it possible somebody could have blown up the engine that fast? Just after a few runs? Or there's nothing else that we can do right? They have to speak to redcat support and maybe send it in?


Old 04-29-2012, 06:17 PM
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Default RE: Troubleshooting steps if nitro won't start?

It can still be lots of stuff and it's also possible that the owners messed up their engines. I have personally never taken one beyond disrepair. Redcat support probably won't be able to do much good over the phone but if you send it in they should be able to help.

For you, as a shop owner, I strongly suggest picking youself up a nitro. They are tons of fun but also a very useful tool in learning about the hobby.
Old 04-29-2012, 06:39 PM
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rcenth
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Default RE: Troubleshooting steps if nitro won't start?

yes I have had experience with these nitros, mostly the shockwave and I've never had much issues on starting the ones that have been in my possession only from brand new, when I was very new it took some getting used to and understanding everything, I'm still new to all this and barely understand most of the terminology still but, feel like I'm getting there slowly. Usually when I do the steps I mentioned I can get it to start, not sure why I couldn't get there's to start. So, I suppose I pretty much did all I could but, I made notes of your steps also so I'll keep that in mind.

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Old 04-30-2012, 04:33 PM
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Default RE: Troubleshooting steps if nitro won't start?

If the pull start feels too loose is that sign of a possible issue? that was one thing that was in common with those two they pulled really easy. I believe I recall this same issue with one shockwave I had when the exaust manifold had came loose it wouldn't start anymore and pull start seemed quite loose. Like normally when I pull a pull start it feels like there are "notches" as you pull it if it that makes sense but, in these there wasn't it was just like in one really easy pull you can just pull it all the way out without any effort at all. Maybe that means there's no fuel going to the engine? Since if a flooded engine makes the pull start extremly hard where you can't pull it and a "normal" pull start feels like it's in the middle it's not too easy to pull, you have to put your hand on the rc to hold it down and then you put a bit of effort and give it a quick pull not too hard so if there's no effort at all required then could you assume that means there's no fuel going to the engine?

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Old 04-30-2012, 06:06 PM
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Default RE: Troubleshooting steps if nitro won't start?


ORIGINAL: rcenth

If the pull start feels too loose is that sign of a possible issue? that was one thing that was in common with those two they pulled really easy. I believe I recall this same issue with one shockwave I had when the exaust manifold had came loose it wouldn't start anymore and pull start seemed quite loose. Like normally when I pull a pull start it feels like there are "notches" as you pull it if it that makes sense but, in these there wasn't it was just like in one really easy pull you can just pull it all the way out without any effort at all. Maybe that means there's no fuel going to the engine? Since if a flooded engine makes the pull start extremly hard where you can't pull it and a "normal" pull start feels like it's in the middle it's not too easy to pull, you have to put your hand on the rc to hold it down and then you put a bit of effort and give it a quick pull not too hard so if there's no effort at all required then could you assume that means there's no fuel going to the engine?

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When the engine is cold the pullstart should feel somewhat tight. Even without fuel the piston will be tight in the sleave until it warms up. Thats why when you first start it, it's kind of hard to pull. But if you run it out of fuel, then re-fuel it right away and start it, the pullstart will typically pull easily since the engine is warm. The little notches your feeling when pulling are the piston in the up stroke of the engine creating compression in the cylinder. Then when it feels like it's easing up, the piston is on it's way back down the cylinder. If the pullstart is pulling very easy when the engine is cold, it could be a few things. Like you suggested, a loose exhaust header, loose under head. Thats the part the glow plug screws into. Make sure the under head is tight and also the glow plug. If the glow plug is loose you will lose compression. The one way bearing could be bad or the pull start itself. Just when you thought this was getting easy...
Old 04-30-2012, 06:20 PM
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rcenth
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Default RE: Troubleshooting steps if nitro won't start?

lol yeah I can't put it down though have to try and figure these things out like I'm trying to solve puzzle or something haha. yeah it was pulling really easy, I understand what you're referring to when the engine warms up it's easier to start, I know the first start of the day usually takes more pulls but, after it warms up it's easier. Though in these situations the pull start was just really loose if I remember correclty even more than when you're trying to start a warm engine. I mean no "notch" at all, even if it's warm and it's not as difficult to pull you still feel like the notch though, don't you? Usually when it's warm I pull it quick and like up to 2 notches, and it starts don't have to pull the cord far at all, or if I go past the first notch and then just pull it from there, it will start in a quick short pull.

If "The one waybearingcould be bad or the pull start itself" then the flywheel wouldn't turn would it?Since I'm pretty sure I noticed the flywheel turn on both of them. Though I didn't take the pull start out, probably should have. I bought an electric starter kit it wasn't charged though, I bought it for a customer but, didn't come by and was thinking if a customer has an issue with it not starting if I should screw on the electric starter and that would rule out the pull start right away or if it is the pull start acting up then I would know immediately?

The only thing is that it's difficult to deal with these issues and also tend to new customers coming in, actually it's our policy for all their support needs to go to redcat but, I feel bad and if there aren't customers or it's close to closing time I'm able to spend more time on it and I don't turn anybody away but, in those two situations there were more people in store so I could only quickly check the usual things and then had to refer them to redcat support. Plus, I mean I had to learn (still learning) everything myself so I'm pretty sure everybody needs to have that passion for the hobby and learn the same way.I'm pretty sure most hobby shops do the same thing or charge for their own support/repairs or whatever may be involved. I can tell this was their first nitro, and to avoid these situation with noobies, I've bought a couple redcat electric (just the lightning epx drift and volcano epx for now) this week and am going to expand in that area and if I don't feel comfortable with a customer buying a nitro or if I explain to them briefly what they are getting into and if they are not prepared or if it's their first I'm going to recommend electric to avoid these issues. Since I mean I can understand how they would feel they are putting their money down and it ran a couple times and not any more, and now have to deal with support and warranty and shipping back/forth have to spend more money on that. I mean I have to do the same thing and understand it but, I don't know I guess not everybody does, I mean one of them got pretty pissed and started cursing and so I'm going to bring in electric to try and prevent these situations. Some people are well aware of nitros and have experience, it's funny when that one upset customer was first buying the nitro another person was in the store that is experienced with nitros was talking to him about it and he repeated it several times telling him that they are going to break, but he said that's where the fun is, putting them back together etc. I guess he didn't understand it, he is the exact type of customer that I would recommend an electric to in the future. Lesson learned.



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ORIGINAL: rcenth

If the pull start feels too loose is that sign of a possible issue? that was one thing that was in common with those two they pulled really easy. I believe I recall this same issue with one shockwave I had when the exaust manifold had came loose it wouldn't start anymore and pull start seemed quite loose. Like normally when I pull a pull start it feels like there are "notches" as you pull it if it that makes sense but, in these there wasn't it was just like in one really easy pull you can just pull it all the way out without any effort at all. Maybe that means there's no fuel going to the engine? Since if a flooded engine makes the pull start extremly hard where you can't pull it and a "normal" pull start feels like it's in the middle it's not too easy to pull, you have to put your hand on the rc to hold it down and then you put a bit of effort and give it a quick pull not too hard so if there's no effort at all required then could you assume that means there's no fuel going to the engine?
When the engine is cold the pullstart should feel somewhat tight. Even without fuel the piston will be tight in the sleave until it warms up. Thats why when you first start it, it's kind of hard to pull. But if you run it out of fuel, then re-fuel it right away and start it, the pullstart will typically pull easily since the engine is warm. The little notches your feeling when pulling are the piston in the up stroke of the engine creating compression in the cylinder. Then when it feels like it's easing up, the piston is on it's way back down the cylinder. If the pullstart is pulling very easy when the engine is cold, it could be a few things. Like you suggested, a loose exhaust header, loose under head. Thats the part the glow plug screws into. Make sure the under head is tight and also the glow plug. If the glow plug is loose you will lose compression. The one way bearing could be bad or the pull start itself. Just when you thought this was getting easy...
Old 04-30-2012, 06:39 PM
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Default RE: Troubleshooting steps if nitro won't start?


ORIGINAL: rcenth

lol yeah I can't put it down though have to try and figure these things out like I'm trying to solve puzzle or something haha. yeah it was pulling really easy, I understand what you're referring to when the engine warms up it's easier to start, I know the first start of the day usually takes more pulls but, after it warms up it's easier. Though in these situations the pull start was just really loose if I remember correclty even more than when you're trying to start a warm engine. I mean no "notch" at all, even if it's warm and it's not as difficult to pull you still feel like the notch though, don't you? Usually when it's warm I pull it quick and like up to 2 notches, and it starts don't have to pull the cord far at all, or if I go past the first notch and then just pull it from there, it will start in a quick short pull.

If "The one waybearingcould be bad or the pull start itself" then the flywheel wouldn't turn would it?Since I'm pretty sure I noticed the flywheel turn on both of them. Though I didn't take the pull start out, probably should have. I bought an electric starter kit it wasn't charged though, I bought it for a customer but, didn't come by and was thinking if a customer has an issue with it not starting if I should screw on the electric starter and that would rule out the pull start right away or if it is the pull start acting up then I would know immediately?


Good observation, yes if the flywheel is turning then that should rule out the one way bearing and the pullstart. I would lean more towards the underhead being warped or loose, or the glow plug loose, or like you said, maybe the header is loose or cracked, bad exhaust gasket? I would be careful with the electric starters. This is a very personal subject. I hate them. I think it's an easier way to tear up an engine, bend a rod. I like to feel the engine when starting it. I also don't want to carry that thing around with me when running my car. If I flip it and it stalls, I like just pulling out my igniter and starting it rather than having that drill thing in my pocket. I will say Traxxas has it down with the electric start. Starter motor and glow plug built in, just drop it on and hit the button.
Old 04-30-2012, 06:45 PM
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ah ok, that's a good thing to keep in mind then, I probably shouldn't do it then, wouldn't want to further mess anything up.


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ORIGINAL: rcenth

lol yeah I can't put it down though have to try and figure these things out like I'm trying to solve puzzle or something haha. yeah it was pulling really easy, I understand what you're referring to when the engine warms up it's easier to start, I know the first start of the day usually takes more pulls but, after it warms up it's easier. Though in these situations the pull start was just really loose if I remember correclty even more than when you're trying to start a warm engine. I mean no "notch" at all, even if it's warm and it's not as difficult to pull you still feel like the notch though, don't you? Usually when it's warm I pull it quick and like up to 2 notches, and it starts don't have to pull the cord far at all, or if I go past the first notch and then just pull it from there, it will start in a quick short pull.

If "The one waybearingcould be bad or the pull start itself" then the flywheel wouldn't turn would it?Since I'm pretty sure I noticed the flywheel turn on both of them. Though I didn't take the pull start out, probably should have. I bought an electric starter kit it wasn't charged though, I bought it for a customer but, didn't come by and was thinking if a customer has an issue with it not starting if I should screw on the electric starter and that would rule out the pull start right away or if it is the pull start acting up then I would know immediately?


Good observation, yes if the flywheel is turning then that should rule out the one way bearing and the pullstart. I would lean more towards the underhead being warped or loose, or the glow plug loose, or like you said, maybe the header is loose or cracked, bad exhaust gasket? I would be careful with the electric starters. This is a very personal subject. I hate them. I think it's an easier way to tear up an engine, bend a rod. I like to feel the engine when starting it. I also don't want to carry that thing around with me when running my car. If I flip it and it stalls, I like just pulling out my igniter and starting it rather than having that drill thing in my pocket. I will say Traxxas has it down with the electric start. Starter motor and glow plug built in, just drop it on and hit the button.
Old 04-30-2012, 06:54 PM
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ORIGINAL: rcenth

ah ok, that's a good thing to keep in mind then, I probably shouldn't do it then, wouldn't want to further mess anything up.

Well you should get other opinions on it. My friend loves his Roto start on HPI. He thinks I'm nuts for liking pull starts. I just think if it's going to start it's going to start. There's been about three times where I've just sat there and pulled and pulled and then when I was done pulling I said "yup, the pull start works". If it doesn't start in 5-10, maybe 15 pulls, it's not going to start. Most of the time my engines either start or cough in two pulls. If not I've learned to stop and look at whats going on.
Old 04-30-2012, 07:01 PM
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well i suppose i could try it out one car and see how i like it, the thing is that i'm tearing up my fingers i don't know what i'm doing or how i'm pulling it but the skin is coming off on the sides of my fingers from where i hold the pull start i guess it's sliding between my fingers somehow, i have to end up putting band-aids. i guess i'm pulling it too much and not trying to figure out what's the actual problem and just thinking that i'm not pulling it right or if i keep trying it will eventually start, i'll make sure to note " If it doesn't start in 5-10, maybe 15 pulls, it's not going to start. " and to start troubleshooting.

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ah ok, that's a good thing to keep in mind then, I probably shouldn't do it then, wouldn't want to further mess anything up.

Well you should get other opinions on it. My friend loves his Roto start on HPI. He thinks I'm nuts for liking pull starts. I just think if it's going to start it's going to start. There's been about three times where I've just sat there and pulled and pulled and then when I was done pulling I said "yup, the pull start works". If it doesn't start in 5-10, maybe 15 pulls, it's not going to start. Most of the time my engines either start or cough in two pulls. If not I've learned to stop and look at whats going on.
Old 04-30-2012, 07:19 PM
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well i suppose i could try it out one car and see how i like it, the thing is that i'm tearing up my fingers i don't know what i'm doing or how i'm pulling it but the skin is coming off on the sides of my fingers from where i hold the pull start i guess it's sliding between my fingers somehow, i have to end up putting band-aids. i guess i'm pulling it too much and not trying to figure out what's the actual problem and just thinking that i'm not pulling it right or if i keep trying it will eventually start, i'll make sure to note " If it doesn't start in 5-10, maybe 15 pulls, it's not going to start. " and to start troubleshooting.

Well for one thing you don't have to death grip the pull start. Second is you should really just be using your wrist to pull it. Short quick pulls. Holding the pull start handle gently between your fingers will work just as fine and will keep you from beating up your hands. I know how frustrating this can be but your taking all the fun out of it if you have to go through all of this when your just trying to start your car. These engines are pretty simple, thats not to say they can't drive you crazy but basically if you have fuel and you have glow you should get bang. If it's not firing the first thing I do is check the plug, this eliminates bad glow plug or dead igniter. If it's working, do I have fuel? Remember, you can always give a good 1/2 turn out on the HSN to give you some go go juice. Nothing says you can't crank it up nice and rich and just lean it out after a few passes. Remember, temp does everyhting to the mixture on these engines. Here at the beach, in the spring and fall the temp will swing 15-20 degrees in a day. I can go out on a sunday and it's 50 degrees, but it was 67 yesterday. The engine is going to be very lean and hard to start. Also another quick thing, if you have the plug already out and it's good, put 3 or 4 drops of fuel in the cylinder before you put the plug in. Try these things before you try your patience.
Old 04-30-2012, 08:54 PM
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Ok, I'll try that. I'm pretty sure the reason my hand is getting like that is since I was running the car for about 5 hours continuously on each day (sat and sun.) and so tank after tank I think that's the reason my hands got like that. Well except recently that Caldera that I was trying to start that day which was pretty dumb of me to sit there for 2hrs messing with it trying to get it to start. I don't know if I can just pull it with my wrist though it seems it's harder than that to me, but, I'm always messing with new ones since the used ones people end up buying so maybe when they are new it's more difficult I guess.well actually the caldera seemed to have a smoother pull than the shockwave.  Anyway I'll try to keep these things in mind and be sure to take it easy and if it's not starting then something isn't right. I've made notes of everything, will keep this list with me to refer to. 
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:25 AM
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Default RE: Troubleshooting steps if nitro won't start?

Another way to get them to start better is to take off the air filter (being carefulk not to get any dirt in) and actually pour a little bit of fuel directly in the carburetor to prime it.
I do it almost every time I start my savage.
After you do that put the air filter back on before you try and start it, of course.
Then it should start right up. if it does but then dies after only a couple seconds them your fuel is probably not getting to the carburetor.
Old 05-03-2012, 06:04 PM
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Another way to get them to start better is to take off the air filter (being carefulk not to get any dirt in) and actually pour a little bit of fuel directly in the carburetor to prime it.
I do it almost every time I start my savage.
After you do that put the air filter back on before you try and start it, of course.
Then it should start right up. if it does but then dies after only a couple seconds them your fuel is probably not getting to the carburetor.
If fuel isn't getting to the carbuerator what would be causing that to happen and how can you resolve it? just priming it?

Old 05-05-2012, 06:29 AM
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Default RE: Troubleshooting steps if nitro won't start?

Myself and 2 other friends all bought vortex ss. All three of them ran the first 3 tanks of gas through with no problem starting. On the 4 th tank, we spent about an hour trying to get them to start. one of the problems might have been the cooler night temperature which dropped from the initial time on the first tank to the 4th. I think more then likely though what happens is that after the 3rd tank the engine is starting to break in, and more fuel is getting to it. A 1/4 turn in on the High Speed Needle the next day and they were all running absolutely normal again. A few more tanks of gas and they have become really easy to start. Check the basics as others have suggested, make sure everything is tight. Also make sure you use fuel that is known to be good, you never know what some people not familiar with Nitro engines might do. Finally, assuming you have the HSN at a good point, and they haven't messed with the LSN, pull the plug get all fuel out of the system by draining tanks, pinch the fuel in tube with your fingers and pull until you don't seem to have any mist of fuel coming out (there might always be a little, so don't go overboard). You now know exactly where you are starting from. Fill the tank with good fuel, prime it, couple of pulls without the glow, attach glow and see what happens. If you find it gets flooded, you know the HSN is too rich, give it a 1/4 turn in. On the other side, if you find it's not firing after 10 pulls or so and you are questioning wether its getting fuel, put a drop of fuel down the carb, just a drop though. If it fires, you are probably too lean and obviously it's not getting fuel. Again this is all assuming the glow plug and igniter are in good working order. I highly doubt your customers would have destroyed the engine after a few tank full of fuel, certainly not 2. Also, were these cars left sitting for a long period of time with fuel in them ? if so, the carb should be cleaned.
Old 11-09-2022, 10:28 AM
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TomTom2022
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Default Redcat earthquake 3.5 nitro rc car

So I got a redcat earthquake 3.5 nitro rc car from a friend of mine and it has been sitting in his garage for 2 years and I got it turn over and it won't even start at all and I noticed that there is a little bit of gas coming out of the exhaust tip and the engine cooler is that good or bad and what should I do to get it to running and driving and I am new to these gas powered nitro RC Cars so if anyone can out there can you give me some pointers on what I need to do to get it to start and run so I can drive it around if anyone can help me out with my situation I would appreciate it thank you

Last edited by TomTom2022; 11-09-2022 at 12:43 PM.

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