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-   -   To mod or not to mod (https://www.rctech.net/forum/nitro-off-road/365735-mod-not-mod.html)

RAlmeida 01-30-2010 02:08 PM

To mod or not to mod
Well like the title says, what do you all think of moded motors?
Life span?
Fuel economy?

wallot 01-30-2010 02:29 PM

I did have:
AB MOD WS7 - modded after 2 gallons, still runs in my friends buggy. motor has 6+gallons on it
ProTwister Mods JX Ninja - great power, Great fuel economy, died after broken piston pin retainer clip (well can happen to any engine). Engine had 4 gallons.
PTM JX Ninja in my friends Mugen - as good as mine, died after 2 gallons thanks to cracked piston. Bad luck

For next season My friend got EB Mods JX Ninja and have on the way EB MODS JS full mod.

Power - more power, more linear power
Life Span - I guess same as before
Fuel Economy - Beter than stock
Cost - Worth the investment

I like modded engines. As if you get a new one it comes broken in and I don't have usually time and 230V for heat gun available to break in new engine.
Better fuel economy is also very nice. Most top racing engines already have more than enough power (we use RB C6 and B9 as backup and they scream bone stock)

Frank L 01-30-2010 03:03 PM

The right engine modder will increase all the above. Power, economy, performance, and usually they have a meaner growl when on the track. It does cost 80-100 but well worth the investment with the right engine modder. I have been using powerhousercperformanc with great results. I espically like the way the owner who is the engine modder as well takes the time to personally take phone calls and give good solid advice. Actually I just got off the phone with Mark at powerhouse and he answered my questions and reconfirmed what I already know - be patinet. As for engine life. I have never seen a powerhouse modded engine die prematurely. I think it's more the tuner that kills the engines and not the modder. The wrong engine modder will do nothing for the engine and may actually hurt performance. Personally powerhousercperformanc just gets it done for me. So modded better than stock obj hell ya.

RC-ZOMBIE 01-30-2010 03:05 PM

I think it's a waste of money, there are engines out there that have great fuel economy, smooth power and so on.... Then let's say something happens to the internals, now you have to buy piston, sleeve, con rod, crank, bearings... then spend the $ on mods. maybe if your on a groomed track in Florida, California and get the power to the ground it might be worth it. There are many pros that run box stock engines, that should say something IMO!

jbright33 01-30-2010 03:35 PM

i think all pros run stock engines at big events. maybe cause they want to but mostly cause its stock class there running..

RAlmeida 01-30-2010 03:45 PM

There is no such thing as stock class in 1/8 nitro as long as it is a 21

helivaguy 01-30-2010 04:31 PM

most mods are done for better fuel ecomomy with an increase in performance,
nothing wrong with getting your internals massaged a bit:D

PowerHouse 01-30-2010 04:33 PM

Modified engines are not for everyone. Many will argue that most stock engines run well enough to be competative and in most cases, they do. A modified engine isn't about just making as much power as possible. Some people need their engines to be stronger, some need them smoothed out, some need more fuel mileage and some need a combination of things. Some things to keep in mind is that some people want the performance of a higher end mill but cannot afford one. Someone like myself who can take an engine that is considered an entry level engine and make it run as good or better than engines more than twice the money is a great selling point. Another great example are the .28 line of engines. A lot of people love the torque of a .28 but can't compete in the fuel mileage game with most of the .21's. They send them to me and most .28's I have modified average 9-10 minutes a tank. Some guys have even gotten 11-12 on some and that depends on a lot of variables but the main thing is, the .28's are now on a level playing field and with the mileage issue out of the equation, it comes down to personal preference. There are a lot of other forms of performance requirements in different areas of the hobby so depending on what you may be trying to do, may dictate whether a modified engine is better suited for that particular application.

Integra 01-30-2010 04:37 PM


Originally Posted by jbright33 (Post 6931282)
i think all pros run stock engines at big events. maybe cause they want to but mostly cause its stock class there running..

You are sadly mistaken my friend. :nod:


Originally Posted by helivaguy (Post 6931458)
most mods are done for better fuel economy with an increase in performance,
nothing wrong with getting your internals massaged a bit:D

X2 :nod:

portyansky 01-30-2010 05:26 PM

I can get over 13 minutes on 1 tank (truggy) on my AB modded Vspec.
1/2 an hour main 2 pit stops. Others 3 pit stops.
1 hour main... 4 pit stops, Others 4-5 pit stops

The proper moder can get you what you want. Fuel economy, power, better tune.

As far as pros running none modded engines, im pretty sure thats b/c the engine company they are sponsored by want to prove their engine can win without needing a mod.

SteveP 01-30-2010 05:41 PM

Let me give you a little background so you know where I'm coming from. I've been working in the RC business for the better part of 26 years and I've been involved in RC for another few years. I helped to start Car Action Magazine in 1985, and for most of my years there and elsewhere, I've been the nitro engine guy. I've raced nitro for many years, been a mechanic/pit biotch for local, national and world championship races, and I've run and evaluated upwards of 1000 engines. I've also done my fair share of modifications for myself. Additionally, I have close relationships with some of the true engine gurus around the world and have spent countless hours on the phone and in person discussing engine technology, theory, modifications, etc. with many of them. I don't like to "resume in" to discussions like this, but it's good to know who is offering you advice on this topic.

MY response is going to be a little lengthy because I want to explain thoroughly my opinion on the subject. If you simply want to know the quick answer, I don't recommend spending money to modify an engine. If you're interested in knowing why, read on and I'll give you my opinion.

Many of the people that will give you feedback are either biased customers that have purchased modified engines and want to defend their purchase, "sponsored" drivers that are shills for their sponsor, or someone who modifies engines for a fee - most of which will tell you that they can make any engine better. There are a handful of people that modify engines that truly know what they're doing. There are hundreds more that are learning as they go, and at the expense of their customers. It takes MANY years of experience with RC nitro engines (not cars, snowmobiles, motorcycles, airplanes, helicopters or lawnmowers - REAL RC nitro engines) to even begin to know what modifications will be beneficial, and many more years to learn how to measure and execute the modifications in a productive manner that will not unnecessarily compromise performance elsewhere. None of the people that really know what they're doing after 30 years of experience are publishing step-by-step modification instructions on the internet. It doesn't really make sense to spend decades to learn your trade, then tell someone else how to do it so they can profit from your knowledge. So, much of what the average person can learn in a short period of time is either from others on the internet (who don't know what they're doing themselves) or by trial and error.

Nitro engines from 20-30 years ago were made using machines and manufacturing technology that couldn't efficiently produce the intricate features and tolerances needed to maximize power, efficiency and economy. CNC machines didn't exist for the most part, so the older engines were mostly machined by hand on manual mills. This created an opportunity for the quality to vary significantly from one engine to the other, and the time needed to take the engines to the next level was prohibitive because the cost would be astronomical for the average customer. In that environment, there were significant gains that could come from an experienced engine tuner. Ron Paris, Jean Paul (JP), Rody Roem and a few others were the engine tuners that emerged from that era as having a reputation for knowing their stuff.

Even those that are legends in the engine business concede that today's market is an entirely differently scenario. The advent of CNC machines evolved standard engines from a raw canvas back in the 80s to the refined, fully featured and more consistent engines of today. The precision and flexibility of modern casting and machining processes allow engine manufacturers to include the same features in production engines that were once only possible in the hand-modified engines of old. So the question becomes, how much more can be done to "improve" the performance of a modern nitro engine? Even if you know the answer to that question (there are few that do), the gains you can expect are minor at best, and it's rarely without exponentially compromising another aspect of engine performance that's also important in the overall picture. Manufacturers of quality engines spend thousands of hours testing and refining their products at the highest levels of competition. It affords them the opportunity to tune and tweak their engines to a refined balance of power, performance, efficiency and durability that produces the best overall package. To presume to know better than the engineers that design our best engines is, well, a little bit arrogant. These engineers work every day developing engines from a strong knowledge base and with mountains of test data from some of the world's best drivers. The deck is pretty well stacked against someone with just 5-10 years of nitro experience and a Dremel tool.

This brings me to your choice of engine. The aforementioned top quality engines are going to be tough, if not impossible to beat in ALL aspects of performance when they're modified by someone that lacks decades of high-level knowledge, and even then you're just trading more performance in one area for less in another. Some engine modifiers will strongly protest that they can improve power output without compromising fuel economy or durability, or increase economy without compromising power, etc. The truth is, in a "My Cousin Vinny" moment, the laws of physics do not cease to exist on just a few "modders" workbenches. You'll hear a laundry list of weasel words about how "my engines have more power AND more efficiency" etc. from many self-proclaimed prodigies, but the cold truth of it is, it doesn't happen. It's unfounded and unproven self promotion and you should clutch your wallet tightly.

Now, there is a class of engines, that I'll call copycat engines, which CAN benefit a little from a skilled engine tuner. These engines are usually "designed" by buying one of the proven high-quality engines and simply copying the specifications. The problem is, they're usually made with inferior quality materials, poor tolerances, and by people lacking the knowledge of the subtle nuances that can be as important as port timing and compression, but that can't be measured. It's here where you might realize some performance gains, but it will still not be at the level of the better engines in all aspects of performance. Which brings me to my last point – in the nitro engine market, you mostly get what you pay for. Some engines will offer SLIGHTLY better value than others, and over the short term, some engines may cost more or less due to fluctuating currency exchange rates, but over the long term, the better engines are going to cost you more, but they're also going to give you a better balance of all the best qualities that make a good engine. Some will attack the value of the better engines by seizing on instances when those engines were not perfect, and those moments do exist, but they don't define the long term value that you get from many of the better engines. It's an inconvenient truth to some that you mostly get what you pay for, but an unavoidable one that doesn't go away just because someone says otherwise.

So, long story short, I don't recommend modifying a good engine. In addition to losing some of your hard-earned money, you'll probably shorten the life of your engine and compromise an already-good balance of all those things that make good engines good.

Flame suit on...

Chris Reilly 01-30-2010 05:41 PM

Some Pro's have special engines. I know of a couple that have had engines that the public will never see. One guy on the team had 2 stock engines modified. Neither could hang with the one the factory did so he asked for one and they gave it to him. The stock engine couldn't ever hope to keep up. The company has a few World Championships. You never really know what they are running at the top level.

SteveP 01-30-2010 05:48 PM

Originally Posted by

Originally Posted by jbright
i think all pros run stock engines at big events. maybe cause they want to but mostly cause its stock class there running..


Originally Posted by Integra (Post 6931482)
You are sadly mistaken my friend. :nod:

No, jbright is correct. I spend much of my time around the pros and even wrench for them from time to time. Most of them run stock engines. Some will test prototype parts on occasion, but most run stock engines. It's a fact. Some of them even run junkyard stock motors that are assembled from a junk parts bin. You'd be surprised by some of the franken engines they run.

RC-ZOMBIE 01-30-2010 05:55 PM

SteeveP, very well put my friend

littlelane 01-30-2010 05:56 PM

well all i run are modded engines now from power house.Neither me nor my son have longevity issues with our engines.Mark has done an awesome job of providing a combination of smooth controlable power all the way through to awesome runtimes.Mark modded an n21 limited for my 9 year old that is perfect for him in every way i dont think you could talk him into another engine.if he can tell the difference thats enough for me.give mark a call and talk to him make your own decision on whats right for you.

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