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How To Rebuild Your RC Engine - Reassembly - Part Four

Article by Kenny McCormick

Now, reinstall the engine in the RC model. Leave the exhaust off for now, it's pretty much the last thing you'll be putting on. Once the engine is firmly bolted in place, slip the drive washer back onto the engine. If, like mine, it was a press fit, also slip the little copper cone on, before you slip the drive washer on. Then, slip on your drive system of choice. My engine is a typical rc aircraft engine, so on goes a Master Airscrew 10x5 three-blade, along with a spinner backplate to act as a spacer. Bottom the parts out by hand, then spin the nut on until it just bottoms.

You should be able to rock the engine a bit but it will slip as soon as it hits compression. If you're installing a prop, rotate it in the normal direction until one blade is roughly at the 2-o'clock position. Then, grab a firm hold of the prop. If you're installing a flywheel you should be using a flywheel tool to hold it, channel locks will work but they will damage it and could throw it out of balance. Now, with a well fitting socket or wrench, cinch the prop nut on good and tight. These are usually grade 6 or grade 8 and the crank is usually hardened, so don't worry about stripping it... get that SOB on as tight as you can. Do NOT, and I repeat do NOT, use a piston locking device to hold the engine in place. You WILL damage your brand new parts. Punching holes in pistons and bending rods is bad, mm'kay?

With the drive accessories installed, remove the glow plug from the head. Pour a bit more assembly lube into the cylinder, with the engine tilted exhaust side up. It only takes a few degrees. Then, slowly and carefully rotate the engine through TDC a few times. The engine will be very tight, but it should turn over. You can blast it with a hair dryer to free it up a bit. You're feeling for some sort of mechanical obstruction, and you want to make sure the engine will smoothly turn over when you're ready to start it. With that done, tilt it exhaust side down and drain the excess out onto a suitable catch pan. At this point the engine is probably so full of oil that trying to start it would just cause hydraulic lock, so you want to drain the excess.

Final step is to install the exhaust and light the fires. Installing said exhaust varies from model to model, but you should always apply medium threadlocker to the bolts and make sure they're nice and tight, just like the head bolts. Not too tight, they're kind of soft, but you don't want them wobbling loose either. Hook up any fuel lines and linkages your model has, then turn the radio on and make sure everything is adjusted properly. Once it is, reset the carb needles to the factory defaults.

Take the rc model outside and fuel it up. You are now ready to light the fires for the first time! Remember that your engine needs to be broken in again. You can't just lean it out and rip right off the bat, you'll lunch it in short order... again. Most engine manuals come with suitable breakin instructions, follow those and you should be good.

Take good care of that engine and you'll get another lifetime of fun, coupled with the self-satisfaction of knowing that your own hands have taken a paperweight and made it a powerhouse once more. Enjoy!

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