Monday, July 13, 2009

RC Glow Model Airplane Engine Tips

Well through the span of time in the hobby of remote control jets and airplanes, I have experimented and gathered few ideas and tricks which have saved me money, time and a lot of hassle when we talk of taking care of rc jets and rc airplanes. In my previous post of RC jet airplane maintenance tips I discussed some of my ideas, this post is a continuation of the same. Here are maintenance tips for RC glow model airplane engines, plugs and care for its fuel:

Through the experience I have developed a methodology for maintenance of my rc glow model airplane engine in a immaculate condition, this is what you can do:
You should run dry your rc glow engine of fuel after at least a day of flight. You must drain the fuel out of the glow fuel tank and then run the rc glow engine to burn any fuel left in the lines. This is very much necessary as glow fuel is an alcohol based fuel which draws water contents from the atmosphere and has the tendency of rusting steel bearings. When you run dry your glow engine clean of fuel, you should apply after run oil to replace any water contents in the engine. Marvel mystery air tool oil is the best choice for glow engines as an after run oil for displacing water contents in glow engines.

Marvel Air Tool Oil

4 stroke glow engine for RC glow model airplane:

You can use a small squeeze bottle with a small silicon tube fitted with it so marvel air tool can be applied to the glow engine. Your 4 stroke glow engine can be oiled by attaching fuel tubing to your crankcase breather so a small amount of oil can be forced to bearings. Keep the bottle attached through silicon tube and use electric starter or carefully hand turn to blow the excess amount of oil back to the oil bottle. You can cap off the breather tube with a plug to avoid losing any oil.

2 stroke glow engine for RC glow model airplane:
For your 2 stroke glow engine you do not need a breather tube to oil bearings, you can simply drop 10 to 12 drops of oil into the carburetor and hand flip the oil into the engine. For your RC Helicopters or ducted fan type rc airplanes, you cannot reach the carburetor opening but you can attach the squeeze bottle to their fuel line. You can squeeze some of the oil into the carburetor and then you can use electric starter to force the oil in. you must store your rc jet airplane models pointed upwards or crankcase horizontal because the used fuel residue makes a lower grade acid if not used for a while, this rusts the bearings.

Afterwards you can leave the carburetor in the open position so to allow any residue alcohol evaporates into the air and out of the engine. If your rc glow model airplane engines or any other type are not used for a few weeks, don’t forget to hand rotate engines in order to keep the bearing coated with oil to keep your RC Engines healthy. While you are hand flipping rc glow engines, you need to be very careful as they can kick with the glow ignition and cause an injury.

RC glow model airplane cleaning:
You can use any cleaners you are comfortable with but in my opinion green degreaser is the best and economical solution for safely cleaning glow fuel oil off your rc glow model airplane no matter how bad the covering they are in. you can use simple green degreaser on paint, plastic or even fabric without any side effects. You can just mix one part of green degreaser with 8 parts of water in a spray bottle and easily use it on your rc model airplane body. This mixture is not going to harm the finish of the aircraft which is a normal tendency of ammonia based cleaners. But simple green can strip glossy surfaces so you better use some non ammonia glass cleaner to clean up glossy surfaces.

Few Tips on Glow plugs:
There are numerous types and manufacturers available in the market to choose from and it can be a tough job to find the right one amongst them. Whenever you change the glow plug or even the glow plug igniter you need to tune your engine again with respect to the glow plug you have chosen as there is no standard of glow plugs available and every manufacturer is following their own standard. There is a rule of thumb for all glow plugs is that thinner the igniter coil hotter the glow plug and thicker the igniter coil colder the glow plug. Keeping in view this scenario the better choice is to stick to one manufacturer so you don’t have to re-tune your glow engine every time you switch to another one. Since glow plugs are used in remote control Trucks and remote control cars too and if you are a ground RC vehicle enthusiast, you may want to check out this site of Remote Control Trucks.

This is all for now from me, we catch you soon. Don’t be a stranger if you are reading this far, leave a comment to give me some feedback.

Happy flying!!



  1. Very interesting article. I actually work on engines for a living. Mainly used engines for vehicles. But this article was not only very informative, but taught me what the differences in the fuel and mechancis are of R.C. engines Vs. a real vehicle.

    I've always had a love for remote control cars and boats. I also loved watching planes, but I was always scared that I'd spend a bunch of money on one and crash it the first time I used it.

  2. Thanks Used Engines!!
    I know this scary thought :) but you know if you have the thing for it you would go for it. there is always a safer way to do it and you can do it by going for beginners plane, get a kit which comes cheap and build it yourself. you work with engines, you will enjoy doing it.
    check my earlier posts for that matter.
    I have checked your website, seems you do good with engines.

  3. I don't understand how the two strokes can be at all reliable. Unless you inject fuel at the top of compression like a diesel or light the glow plug then why would it not pre or post ignite and blow apart?

  4. Could someone explain what number of glow plug to use for 2 and 4 stroke engines....this has always confused me

  5. since there are many types of glow plugs for rc plane engines but the one you select will depend on the type 2 stroke or 4 and where it is used either in a rc airplane or an rc helicopter. the heat rating is the thing differentiate between glow plugs but this rating is not significant iff you are using it in an rc aircraft becasue unlike surface vehicle rc planes do not variate in throttle setting resulting in much less temperature variations.

    For an average rc plane 0.46 2 stroke engine
    a glow plug OS#8 will run smooth or the Enya#3 for helicopter engines and for 4 stroke you can try Supercat 4-stroke glowplug P4S, this works best.
    But largely to choose the right glow plug for your engine is mostly a hit and trail and comes with spending time with your engines.
    hope this helps

  6. Hi
    Helpful article thanks. I have a Wen-Mac Hustler .049 which has re-sufaced in it's original box with prop and instructions after nearly 60 years!! I can recall that it had very little use but it is seized with nitro "varnish" and I'm looking for tips on how to free it up without causing any damage. I'm going to sell it - perhaps the clean-up should be left to a more experienced enthusiast. What do you think?
    John, Napier New

  7. hi Jhon!
    great find.

    Please send me more information and pics about it.
    I ve emailed you at

  8. Hi Zane,
    Thanks for these tips, I just got my first Plane that uses a Glow .40 Evolution engine. My previous planes were all electric planes.

    One question I have and I have not been able to find much on this is on how to keep the oil off my plane... I have a Calmato 40 sports, its a low winger trainer/intermediate plane... and after every flight I have a lot of oil spray on the wing and fusilage all the way back to the vertical/horizontal stabilizer...
    I was wondering if I can use a deflector, if so what are the problems of it...
    but the deflector will only deflect the spray a bit away and looks like i will still get spray on the plane...
    what about fixing a long and wide deflector ?? will that work... may be even somthign like a tube going all the way to the rear of the plane ?

    please let me know...

  9. I enjoyed reading your blog ~ thanks for posting such useful content./Nice article and great photos. Very nicely done!