So, you just had fun tearing your RC across the track or your favorite bash site. It’s now filthy and you want to clean it. What to do?
There are some people who are anal about cleaning like I am. There are also those who do want to clean as often as it takes too much time. Cleaning is a choice and it is not mandatory as it is your kit and yours to do what you feel. However, top pros will tear down their kit after every race, or bash period, as it is a good practice to get into. If for nothing else, have a clean RC means that you take care of it, inspect it, and know that when you pull it off the shelf it will work. Cleaning is not just removing dirt off of the chassis. It is inspecting for worn parts, broken or cracked parts, missing parts, and extreme wear.
The following are just the basics and general guidelines. It is up to yourself, the user, to adopt the procedures that you feel is necessary.
After run procedures with recommendations for periodic inspections are located here:
Air filters should be cleaned about every 4 to 5 runs regardless of if they appear to be dirty or not. In my example’s case, it is very much so time to clean! I ran this through some dirt and mud during my super charger experiment
So, with any first step, you have to remove the filter. Go ahead and lift it off the carb!
With the filter off you will want to start to prepare the bath for it. Use warm soapy water. I use regular dish detergent and it works fine.
Whoa! Now slow down there fella! You do not want to just throw the filter in there. Take it apart first and then put the pieces in the water to soak for a little bit.
For the filter tube, you will want to ensure that water is inside and flowing through the tube. If you feel that it is necessary then you can use a pipe cleaner to get around the inner walls of the tube.
For the filter, you are going to want to work the soap into the element and mash it in your hand while the water is going over it washing the dirt and soap out.
After everything is clean you will want to let everything dry. You do not want to leave any water on the parts. For the tube it is recommended that you use an aerosol can of air to push any remaining water out of it.
Once the filter is dry then it is time to re-oil it. Put drops of air filter oil all over the filter (about 40 dots or so) and work the oil into the filter.
Reassemble the filter and you are done!
Cleaning the RC itself
For cleaning the RC there are three main ways to do this. A few seem simple enough but each posses their own issues.
– Hose method
– Denatured alcohol method
– Slow and disassembly method.
The hose method is where you take the RC outside and hose it down with a hose. It’s very simple and straight forward. However, you will want to remove all of your servos, receiver, and battery. You will also want to ensure that no water gets inside the engine, filter, or pipe. It’s for these reasons that you will be disassembling the RC anyways so you might as well use the slow method. I say this as if you just hose it down and call it done then you are not inspecting for any signs of wear, cracked parts, missing parts, etc. The pressure from the hose could also cause these parts to fall off and be un-noticed.
The Denatured alcohol method is where you pour denatured alcohol onto the kit. This will break up the dirt and an aerosol can of air or air compressor will knock the dirt off. Again, you want to be careful around the engine internals but it is safe for the electronics as it dries somewhat clean. I say this as it might also allow dirt to collect in places and the air can push it into electronic crevasses like the inside of a receiver. This method is fairly effective and fast.
The slow disassembly method is where you tear the RC down and wipe the parts off and use brushes to get into tight corners. This method can take longer but it allows you to inspect the RC for damage and other signs that will warrant attention. If you are racing, you will want to use this method as a loose screw could come out and cause you to loose a race. Anything you can catch while you have the time and it is sitting on your bench is better than when you are on the track.
Hose Method I will not cover the hose method as it is straight forward enough. Remove electronics and protect the engine, apply water via a hose, let the kit dry.
Denatured Alcohol For the denatured application you will want to apply it to the area that you want to clean. I am just using a cup as I want to control where it goes. Also, I am doing a small area and I feel fine with the risk of doing it indoors. However, if you do the entire RC then you will want to be outside in the open air.
Once you have the alcohol on the kit, and the dirt starts to break loose, it is time to hit it with the air compressor.
And the results look something like this:
Slow method For this method you are removing the components that need to be cleaned. Personally, I am just going to show the engine as it is the main critical area. So, remove the engine as shown:
With the engine gone take note of the chassis and what is on it. Is there nitro under the front part of the engine? This could indicate a bearing leak that you will want to fix ASAP. Or if there is some in the back then it could mean that you need to seal the engine there as well. Either of these will cause inconsistent operation as air will lean your engine and cause it to wear prematurely. Mine is clean.
Next, you can get into the tough corners around the area with a brush. Look at the spur gear and how it is wearing. Are you aligning the gear mesh right? This will tell you after a few runs. Are you missing any screws? Anything loose? As you comb around with a towel and brush you will be able to notice all of these details that the engine normally covers up (you can also remove them to clean and inspect as well).
Next is the engine. You will want to use a degreaser to remove the nitro off of it. I got mine from Cowrc.com and it works very well on electric motors to remove the dirt and brush wear. It also works great to remove nitro as well. From here you will be able to clean the engine cooling head fins to ensure that nothing is affecting their ability to cool, more signs of air leaks, and any other sign of potential wear that can be fixed. Simply spray on the degreaser and the nitro and dirt will fall right off.
And you will continue cleaning the rest of the kit in the same manor. The end result will be a clean RC, that when you pull it off the shelf to run again, you know that it will work.