Converting Electric RC Cars to Gas: A Step-by-Step Guide

Converting Electric RC Cars to Gas: A Step-by-Step Guide

Converting an electric RC car to gas can be a fun and exciting project for RC enthusiasts. Gas-powered RC cars are generally faster and more powerful than their electric counterparts, making them a popular choice for outdoor racing. However, the process of converting from electric to gas can seem daunting at first. There are several different parts needed for the conversion, including a nitro engine, fuel tank, muffler, and other accessories. Additionally, the conversion process requires disassembling the car and reconfiguring the drive train to accommodate the new engine. Despite the challenges, many hobbyists find the conversion process to be a rewarding experience that allows them to customize and upgrade their RC car to meet their specific needs and preferences. In this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide for converting an electric RC car to gas, including tips for tuning the engine and troubleshooting common problems that may arise during the conversion process.

Parts Needed for Conversion

To convert an electric RC car to gas, there are several parts that you will need to acquire before getting started. These include:

  • Nitro engine: This is the heart of your gas-powered RC car. Choose an engine that is compatible with your car’s make and model, and be sure to select an engine that offers the speed and power you need for your desired level of performance.
  • Fuel tank: You will need a fuel tank to store the gas (usually nitro fuel) that will power your car. Choose a tank that is appropriately sized for your car and engine.
  • Muffler: The muffler directs exhaust gases away from your engine and helps to reduce noise. Choose a muffler that is designed for your engine and car model, as mufflers are not always interchangeable.
  • Igniter: This is a small device used to ignite the fuel in your engine. You’ll need an igniter with a battery, as well as a charger to keep the igniter fully charged.
  • Tuning tools: RC cars need to be carefully calibrated for optimal performance. You will need tuning tools like a hex wrenches, a <a href=”

Can you convert an electric RC car to nitro?

Yes, you can convert an electric RC car to nitro, but it requires a bit of work and upgrades. Here are some things you need to consider before attempting the conversion:

  • You need to replace the electric motor with a nitro engine.
  • You need to install a fuel tank and fuel system.
  • The chassis and suspension may need to be modified to accommodate the new engine’s weight and power.

Before attempting a conversion, it’s essential to research and gather all the necessary parts and tools needed to convert an electric RC car to nitro. Some websites and forums such as and offer helpful tips and advice on how to perform the conversion. It’s also helpful to consult with experienced RC hobbyists for guidance and assistance.

Installation Process

Now that you have acquired the necessary parts, it’s time to install them in your RC car. Here are the basic steps:

Step Description
1 Disconnect the battery and motor wires from the ESC (electric speed controller).
2 Remove the motor and ESC from the car’s chassis.
3 Install the nitro engine in the car’s chassis, using mounting screws to keep it in place.
4 Mount the fuel tank in the car’s chassis and attach the fuel lines to the engine.
5 Attach the muffler to the engine and run the exhaust pipes out of the car’s chassis.
6 Install the throttle servo, linkage, and receiver into the car’s chassis, connecting them to the engine’s carburetor.

Things to Keep in Mind
While converting your RC car to gas can be a fun and rewarding experience, it’s important to keep the following things in mind:

  • Take your time during the installation process to ensure that everything is properly connected and secured, as mistakes can lead to accidents or damage to your car.
  • Be sure to test the engine in a safe, open area before taking it out to more challenging terrain.
  • Keep spare parts and tuning tools on hand in case of emergency repairs or adjustments.

Additional Resources
For more information on converting your RC car to gas, check out these helpful resources:

How do I upgrade my RC car to brushless?

Upgrading your RC car to brushless is a great idea if you want to experience faster speeds and overall improved performance. Here are the steps you can take:

  • Choose a brushless motor that is compatible with your RC car model.
  • Install the new motor onto the car’s motor mount.
  • Replace the old ESC (electronic speed controller) with a new brushless ESC.
  • Connect the new ESC to the motor.
  • Reprogram your RC car’s radio control and transmitter to accommodate the new ESC and motor.

There are many options available for brushless motor upgrades and ESCs, so be sure to do your research and choose products that are high quality and fit your specific car model. Websites like HobbyKing and Tower Hobbies offer a variety of options for RC car upgrades.

Tuning Your Gas-Powered RC Car

After you have installed your nitro engine, it’s important to take the time to properly tune it. Here are some basic steps to follow:

  1. Start the engine and let it idle for a few minutes to warm up.
  2. Adjust the low-speed needle until the idle is smooth and consistent.
  3. Gradually increase the throttle and note how the engine responds.
  4. If the engine bogs down, adjust the high-speed needle to increase the fuel flow.
  5. If the engine revs too high and begins to sound strained, adjust the high-speed needle to decrease the fuel flow.
  6. When you have found a balance between power and fuel efficiency, adjust the throttle servo so that the carburetor operates smoothly and consistently at all speeds.

Tuning Tips

  • Be patient and take your time when tuning your engine, especially when making major adjustments to the carburetor. Small adjustments can make a big difference in the way your car performs.
  • Be sure to test your car in a safe area with plenty of room to maneuver.
  • Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for recommended tuning procedures and specifications.

Tools for Tuning Your Engine

To properly tune your nitro engine, you will need the following tools:

  • A temperature gauge to measure the engine’s heat.
  • A tachometer to check the engine’s RPMs (revolutions per minute).
  • A glow plug igniter to start the engine.

Additional Resources

For more information on tuning your nitro engine, consult the following resources:

How to Tune a Nitro Engine?

Here are the basic steps to tune a nitro engine:

  • Warm-up the engine by idling for a few minutes.
  • Check the high-speed needle by rapidly accelerating the engine, and listen for the sound of the engine.
  • The low-speed needle determines idle speed and the fuel mix ratio; turn it until the engine runs smoothly at idle.
  • Adjust the idle screw until the engine idles smoothly and accelerates without hesitation.
  • Test the overall performance by running the vehicle and making small adjustments as needed.

For more information on tuning a nitro engine, check out hobby stores that carry nitro models or visit relevant online forums.

Common Problems and Troubleshooting Tips

As with any complex modification, there are a number of issues that can arise when converting an electric RC car to gas. Here are some of the most common problems and tips for troubleshooting them:

Fuel Line Problems

  • Make sure that the fuel lines are properly connected and that there are no leaks.
  • Check the fuel filter and replace it if necessary.
  • Ensure that the fuel tank is clean and free of debris.

Carburetor Issues

  • If the engine is running too lean, adjust the high-speed needle to increase the fuel flow.
  • If the engine is running too rich, adjust the high-speed needle to decrease the fuel flow.
  • Check the air filter and clean or replace it if necessary.

Exhaust System Problems

  • Check the exhaust system for leaks or blockages.
  • Make sure that the muffler is properly installed and secured in place.
  • Check the gaskets and replace them if necessary.

When to Seek Help

If you encounter a problem that you are unable to solve on your own, don’t hesitate to seek help from a knowledgeable hobbyist or mechanic. Additionally, there are a number of online forums and communities where you can ask for advice and connect with other RC car enthusiasts.

Helpful Websites

Can you convert any car to electric?

Unfortunately, not every car can be converted to electric. Here are some factors to consider:

  • The age and condition of the car
  • The weight of the car and battery
  • The availability of electric components that fit the car
  • The regulations in your country or state regarding EV conversion

Some popular do-it-yourself EV conversion kits are available on websites such as or However, it is always recommended to consult with a professional EV conversion company before attempting any conversion.

Conclusion: A Challenging but Rewarding Project

Converting an electric RC car to gas requires a significant amount of time, effort, and technical know-how. However, for those who are up to the challenge, it can be an incredibly rewarding project that results in a fast and powerful racing machine. By following the steps outlined in this article and taking the time to properly tune and maintain your car, you can enjoy hours of outdoor RC car racing and have a blast customizing and perfecting your creation.

Remember to Follow Proper Safety Protocols

It is important to remember that working with gas-powered engines can be dangerous if proper safety protocols are not followed. Always wear appropriate protective gear, use caution when handling fuel and other chemicals, and work in a well-ventilated area away from flame sources. If you are unsure about any aspect of the conversion process, seek advice from a knowledgeable professional or experienced hobbyist before proceeding.

Explore Further Resources

There are many websites, forums, and other resources available for hobbyists who are interested in RC car customization and modification. Take some time to explore these resources and learn as much as you can about the hobby. With dedication, patience, and a willingness to learn, you can create a gas-powered RC car that is fast, powerful, and customized to your exact specifications.