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The end of nitro engines?

HPI, Losi and SH Engines lead the charge with mini gasoline engines for 1/8-scale applications!

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Gasoline engine development continues and makes the case even stronger to switch away from nitro!

The revolution continues with the new mini size gasoline engines that are designed to compete and possibly replace nitro engines. Don’t get confused with the term mini when it is associated with gasoline engines. I am not implying that they are for a mini RC car, but rather to the size of the actual engine compared to your traditional gasoline engine found in a 1/5-scale vehicle. The gasoline engines we are most familiar with for RC are around 26cc (1.59ci) like what is used in a 1/5-scale HPI Baja 5B buggy and are way too big to fit in smaller scale vehicles. Well, that is until now.

HPI was the first to show a 15cc (.92ci) gasoline engine shoehorned into a 1/8-scale Savage monster truck named the Savage XL Octane followed by Losi with its 1/8-scale LST XXL 2 gas-powered monster truck that was spec’d with 5.1cc (.31ci) Dynamite gasoline engine. At the time of writing this article, both of these vehicles are not out on shelves yet. The HPI Savage XL Octane seems to have some development woes since it was first announced way back at the Nuremberg Toy Fair in 2013, then shown again at the 2014 Toy Fair and now the truck is not even listed on the HPI site except for a small preview page. The Losi LST XXL 2 monster truck was announced at this year’s Toy Fair (2014) and appears to be quite polished compared to the Octane. The question is, which will make it to market first?

I am betting that the Losi LST XXL 2 will be first. The Dynamite .31 engine looks to have the R&D behind it and from what I understand, Dynamite’s engines are based on SH Engines powerplants which have a better than decent track record. The Savage XL Octane has been shown with different engines and the engines still seem quite large and just too much power for a 1/8-scale monster truck. Below is a video showing a SH Engines Micro Gasoline Engine installed in a 1/8-scale off-road buggy. The video claims that it is a 4cc engine, but the engine head has a .31 printed on it which is 5.1cc like what is used on the LST. Both the engine in the SH Engines video and the one that comes with the LST look quite similar, so the connection between the two brands seem sound.

VIDEO — 1/8-scale buggy powered by the SH Engines Micro Gasoline Engine!

SH Micro Gasoline Engine Trailer (1 min 37 sec)

Why would you switch away from Nitro?

Actually, for a couple great reasons. First off, since these gasoline engines run off of good-old pump gas, there is a huge savings in the cost of running your RC vehicle. Nitro fuel will cost you around $25 to $30 per gallon and pump gas is around $4 per gallon. You also benefit from the longer run times and ease of tuning a gasoline engine compared to that of a nitro powerplant. The biggest obstacle for gasoline engines to overcome is the performance factor. Will they give you the same type of performance that a nitro mill can? Manufacturers have shared with me that the performance is right there with nitro engines. With that said, all of this is moot until these gasoline-powered 1/8-scale vehicles start getting in the hands of the masses and we will see what is propaganda and what is the truth. I will say that these ‘micro’ gasoline engines will change nitro racing and bashing forever.

VIDEO of the HPI Savage XL Octane!

HPI Savage XL Octane preview - Nürnberg Toy Fair 2014 (1 min 9 sec)

VIDEO of the Losi LST XXL 2

First Look: Losi 1/8 LST XXL 2 Gas Powered Monster Truck (1 min 21 sec)

Learn more—

Last edited by Paul Onorato; Apr 21, 2014 at 04:03 PM..

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Old Apr 21, 2014, 08:06 PM
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Matt Gunn's Avatar
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I was under the assumption that nitromethane carried way more energy than gasoline. Im curious if the same size mills with produce the same power as the manufacturers have stated...
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Old Apr 21, 2014, 08:06 PM
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pathfinder's Avatar
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That 1/8th scale buggy is very cool! I would like to see a 10th scale gasoline powered truck.It might revive the class once again around here
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Old Apr 21, 2014, 08:17 PM
Registered User
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In my opinion; Good riddance! Noisy, smoky, hight maintenance, and they even pollute the environment. Eugh....
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Old Apr 21, 2014, 09:17 PM
The Sweet Aroma of 92 Octane
electricrc68's Avatar
United States, PA, Downingtown
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I'm liking that the gas engines are moving into smaller scales as well. Personally, I have the HPI Savage XL Octane on the wishlist. I own a Losi Desert Buggy XL, and gasoline power is VERY fun. I owned a nitro before, and that was a headache, so I'm glad that these gasoline engines are being built. Much more robust and easier to use.

Electric always has its place too though. Even if it doesn't have a soul.
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Old Apr 22, 2014, 12:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Gunn View Post
I was under the assumption that nitromethane carried way more energy than gasoline. Im curious if the same size mills with produce the same power as the manufacturers have stated...
With real cars the power has been increased a lot lately, small engines with still a lot of torque and overall power. Maybe the same technical advance has been made with model engines?
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Old Apr 22, 2014, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Gunn View Post
I was under the assumption that nitromethane carried way more energy than gasoline. Im curious if the same size mills with produce the same power as the manufacturers have stated...
So did I. I do know that where the gasoline gurus are finding some of the power is with specially designed carbs and exhaust pipes. Working with the exhaust alone can definitely bring on more horsepower. Now it is a waiting game until these gasoline engines get in our hands.
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Old Apr 22, 2014, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Gunn View Post
I was under the assumption that nitromethane carried way more energy than gasoline. Im curious if the same size mills with produce the same power as the manufacturers have stated...
It's all in the gearing. Gas engines make more toque so you can make up the loss of RPM through gearing.
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Old Apr 22, 2014, 02:16 PM
The Sweet Aroma of 92 Octane
electricrc68's Avatar
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Originally Posted by Paul Onorato View Post
So did I. I do know that where the gasoline gurus are finding some of the power is with specially designed carbs and exhaust pipes. Working with the exhaust alone can definitely bring on more horsepower. Now it is a waiting game until these gasoline engines get in our hands.
Yep the exhaust pipes make a HUGE difference. They can add all kinds of fun stuff like more low end torque, more top end speed, a mixture of both top end and low end....the possibilities are endless.


But yes, an exhaust pipe is the major performance booster for a gas engine.
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Old Apr 22, 2014, 04:04 PM
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Notice the size of some of these engines? 15cc is a .90, that's A LOT more displacement to match the nitro power. Even the buggy has a 5.1cc gas vs a 3.5cc nitro.

Gas doesn't instantly mean more torque than nitro, but it can lead to that due to the differences in chemistry. Nitro is WAY more knock resistant than gas (that's why top fuel dragsters run it), but also requires a much richer fuel/air ratio than gas. Less knock resistance means lower compression, which tends to favour lowering revving and more torque than hp.
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Old Apr 22, 2014, 07:41 PM
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I just read the article on the losi xxl 2 with the dynamite engine, it was in RCA this month and they got their hands on one to test it out.
So far i like what i see. though they have the extra cdi component, capacitor discharge ignition for the engine. The cdi also has a sensor that tracks timing. the muffler is specially designed for correct back pressure for gas engine as well
One benefit was longer idle time than a nitro similar to having a mini spark plug and another was that you can kill the motor by shutting off the power. it is .31 but case fits in cars that fit .28-.21 nitro and rpm bands were similar to nitro engine of xxl
they claim longer run times too due to better efficiency of the gas engine but i will leave that to you folks with exp with nitro to determine. retail they say will be $800
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Old Apr 23, 2014, 03:07 AM
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I'm not a Nitro guy, never have been. I thought it was cool as heck when I was younger though. However, seeing people tune them all the time put me off as I got older. Now that I'm a full fledged adult I still have to admit Nitro is cool, and they do grab my attention when I see them--but still--they aren't cool enough for me to own one. So I will probably always stick to electric from the ease of use standpoint.

My point here is to give a factual real world example of someone in the hobby (me) and then say that I don't think I'm alone. I think most guys like me that have always been electric will stay electric and not get pulled in to the new tech just because its a new tech.

That being said--for those that like combustion R/C--I hate to be Capt. Obvious but my answer to the OP's title question is that I think gas engines will take over nitro in our hobby if these points turn out to be true:

huge savings in the cost of running your RC vehicle..gas is around $4 per gallon

longer run times and ease of tuning (compared to nitro engines)

give the same type of performance that a nitro mill can
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Old Apr 23, 2014, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Bluebox View Post
In my opinion; Good riddance! Noisy, smoky, hight maintenance, and they even pollute the environment. Eugh....
Just...wow...

Because open pit mines to get lithium and rare-earth minerals for LiPOs and brushless motors totally doesn't pollute the environment.

Anyway, I've been interested and been watching gas mills getting smaller and smaller. I'm wondering how it'll turn out. Because for a long time, it took something in the neighborhood of a 23cc gasoline engine to match a .61 2-stroke or 1.20 4-stroke. Not to mention the added weight and space of the ignition system.

So we'll see. I don't think the nitro engine's going anywhere. The gas craze is most likely a fad. Kinda' like the diesel craze was a while back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoloProFan View Post
With real cars the power has been increased a lot lately, small engines with still a lot of torque and overall power. Maybe the same technical advance has been made with model engines?
This has been mostly achieved by things we'll never see on a model engine. Like variable valve timing and MPFI.

And honestly it hasn't really improved THAT much.

My 1985 Honda CRX Si made 91 horsepower and 93 ft/lbs torque in 1985. A 2013 Fiat 500's 1.4L with VVT makes 101 horsepower and 98 ft/lbs torque.

So you're talking nearly 30 years separating the two engines of nearly identical displacement, and the difference is 10 horsepower and 5 ft/lbs torque?

Then you compare that same 1.4L in the Fiat 500 to Honda's early-90s VVT (VTEC) 1.6L and it's just laughable at how bad some of today's engines are..
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Old Apr 23, 2014, 02:32 PM
The Sweet Aroma of 92 Octane
electricrc68's Avatar
United States, PA, Downingtown
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Originally Posted by Rampage View Post
Just...wow...

Because open pit mines to get lithium and rare-earth minerals for LiPOs and brushless motors totally doesn't pollute the environment.

Anyway, I've been interested and been watching gas mills getting smaller and smaller. I'm wondering how it'll turn out. Because for a long time, it took something in the neighborhood of a 23cc gasoline engine to match a .61 2-stroke or 1.20 4-stroke. Not to mention the added weight and space of the ignition system.

So we'll see. I don't think the nitro engine's going anywhere. The gas craze is most likely a fad. Kinda' like the diesel craze was a while back.



This has been mostly achieved by things we'll never see on a model engine. Like variable valve timing and MPFI.

And honestly it hasn't really improved THAT much.

My 1985 Honda CRX Si made 91 horsepower and 93 ft/lbs torque in 1985. A 2013 Fiat 500's 1.4L with VVT makes 101 horsepower and 98 ft/lbs torque.

So you're talking nearly 30 years separating the two engines of nearly identical displacement, and the difference is 10 horsepower and 5 ft/lbs torque?

Then you compare that same 1.4L in the Fiat 500 to Honda's early-90s VVT (VTEC) 1.6L and it's just laughable at how bad some of today's engines are..
I hope its not a fad. I enjoy these gas engines more than my electrics. Nitro had an appeal, but the finicky nature didn't. I know this isn't a performance upgrade, but its still a pretty cool upgrade that may lead to more advanced upgrades for these gas engines. Losi has a remote start system on the mini WRC and an "Electronic Fuel Injection System." Pretty cool I would say. Heres the link:

http://www.losi.com/Products/Default...rodID=LOS05000
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Old Apr 23, 2014, 03:00 PM
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Yucca Valley, California
Joined Aug 2005
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I got a kick out of that mini WRC.

Fuel injection, remote start--still can't go in reverse.

That is pretty neat tho. The EFI is really cool. Now I want to see it on a nitro engine.

And then I want to see it turbocharged..
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