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How To Troubleshoot a Nitro RC Fuel System


Part of the fuel system of a nitro RC

Keep your fuel system clean for the best performance from a nitro RC engine.

Photo © M. James
If your nitro engine isn't getting a sufficient supply of fuel or the fuel has become contaminated it affects engine performance.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: 10 min to 1 hour to troubleshoot fuel system and clean or replace parts

Here's How:

  1. Is it the fuel supply that's causing the problem?
    Some of the indicators that the fuel supply is the culprit is when your nitro engine:
    • runs too hot
    • runs erratically
    • runs too lean (won't richen)
    • runs a short time then dies out
    • won't idle
    • won't start
    While any of these symptoms could be indicators of other problems, the fuel system is a major one to consider. Try some of the following fixes:

  2. Adjust your needle settings.
    Before dismantling the fuel system, try leaning out or richening the fuel mixture by making adjustments to the low-end and high-end needles.

  3. Check for a kink in the fuel line.
    Just like bending a water hose can cut off or reduce the flow of water, a sharp bend in the fuel line could be intermittently cutting off the fuel supply.

  4. Disconnect the fuel line and check for blockage.
    Clean out or replace the fuel line entirely if it has become clogged with debris.

  5. Clean or change the fuel filter, if equipped.
    Fuel filters can become clogged with debris and need regularly cleaning.

  6. Drain the fuel tank and fill it back up with fresh fuel.
    Use fuel from a new, unopened container. Make sure you are using the right fuel for your vehicle. Nitro fuel for RC cars and that for RC airplanes and helicopters is formulated differently.

  7. Replace a too small fuel line with a slightly larger one.
    If erratic behavior or a too lean engine is the problem and adjusting needle settings isn't doing the trick, a too small fuel line may not be delivering enough fuel to the engine.

  8. Replace a too large fuel line with a slightly smaller one.
    You may need to descrease the flow of fuel to the engine if the engine isn't idling or dies after a short run and adjusting your needle settings isn't working.

  9. Check for air leaks in the fuel system.
    Look for leaks in all componenents of the fuel system. If the fuel line and fuel filter have been replaced, inspect the tank lid and tank itself for leaks. It may be necessary to replace the tank lid spring.


  1. Try fresh fuel.
    Simply using fresh, clean nitro fuel or changing the type of fuel can alleviate some problems.
    Compare PricesNitro Fuel
    Buy Direct Blue Thunder Fuel
    Buy DirectTeam Losi Nitrotane Fuel
    Buy Direct Monster Horsepower Fuel

  2. Get a new fuel line.
    Go smaller or larger or replace a fuel line that has worn spots, holes, or kinks.
    Compare PricesFuel Tubing for Nitro RCs

What You Need

  • Fuel Line Tubing
  • Fuel Filter (if equipped)
  • Nitro Fuel

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