Colt Nitro – Tuned exhaust upgrade

When I found these cheap tuned exhausts for “1/10 sized” RC engines (I’ll read that as about .15 engines, which seem to be the norm for this scale), I thought they seemed pretty cool, and cheap. If you search tuned pipe on ebay, you should get a range of different pipes. The store I bought mine from can be found HERE.

ebay picture of the exhaust

Here is the picture of the exhaust from the ebay store

The pipe was cheap, really cheap, at about $12.50 Australian. But are they too cheap? I guess we’ll find out. At this price, I wonder how “tuned” they really are, but that won’t stop me from giving it a go.

Assembling the pipe

The first delema I had was linking the manifold with the pipe. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the pipe needs a short piece of silicon tube to join the two, and it wasn’t supplied with the  pipe.

A trip to the local hardware store yelded a length of clear PVC pipe. I wanted silicone pipe, but they didn’t have any of that. It will be an experiment to see how the PVC holds up to the heat. My money is on not very well.

With the tube in hand, I went home to cut off a piece.

To get the piece of tube to fit tightly on the exhaust pipe and its header, I placed the tube in a cup of boiling water. This had the effect of softening it up, so I could get a firmer fit. I put zip ties on each end of the tube, so it held firmly onto the exhaust pipe, and the header.

Getting everything ready to join the header and the pipe.

ziptied pipe

The pipe with zip ties in place

Fitting the tuned exhaust

Before I could put the new pipe on the car, I had to pull the old pipe off. It wasn’t too difficult, but to get to one of the screws, I had to take the top off the radio box, and the arm off the throttle servo. After that, I had a clear shot straight to both screws. The screws undid easily, and the old exhaust dropped off.

When the exhaust does come off, you will want to be careful that you don’t loose, or damage the gasket which is between the exhaust and the engine. Should you want to put the old exhaust back on again, it will be easier if you already have the gasket. Otherwise you would have to make a new one.

I had to pull the top off the throttle servo to get to one of the screws which hold the exhaust on.

With the old exhaust now off, I was free to screw the new one on. Using the original screws, the new pipe bolted on nicely. I’ll note here that I didn’t fit any gasket between the engine and exhaust this time, but when it goes on properly, I will have to make one up.

When I got the pipe screwed on, it was clear that the pipe wasn’t going to be able to stay where it was. You’ll see in the photos that the pipe was litterally touching the fuel tank.

As you can see from this picture, the pipe touches the fuel tank, and is way too close to the front tire.


My future plan will be to attempt to modify things so there is some more clearance between the pipe and the tank. I’m actually thinking of having a go at making a custom header for the engine that will sit the pipe back a bit further, and away from the front wheels. Before I do that, I need to learn how to braze. The header that came with the pipe seems to be made out of aluminium alloy, but I think the new one will most likely be made out of brass and/or copper, which I see as the easiest and cheapest metal for me to work with.

So stay tuned


7 thoughts on “Colt Nitro – Tuned exhaust upgrade

  1. gday guys i have a colt 10 nitro buggy just wondering if u guys can tell me how much a engine would b for them or any 1 that can get them running and tune them to race it was running fine as 1 day then the next it wont even start thank you

    • Hi Jacob, I’m no expert on these things, but to my knowledge, most (all?) nitro engines from .15 to .18 should fit straight in with minimal issues.
      A quick google gives me the price starting at about $70 australian for a .18 sized engine, which I think would be similar quality to the ones that come originally in the car (the engine that comes with the colt is a .15). Higher quality engines from name brand manufacturers are likely to be a fair bit more, but I don’t know exactly.

      I do wonder if the issue with your car is a completely dead engine, have you checked things like your glow plug, glow plug starter and everything else?

      I know my car usually takes a little to get it started after its been sitting for a while, but with a little perseverance it will fire up and run smoothly, I suspect its usually a matter of getting the car primed properly, and I usually end up flooding the car

      Once you get your car running again, there are a lot of stuff online on how to tune your car. Google is your friend here, however I’ve linked to a couple I found with a quick google to get you started:

      I wish you luck with your car. They can be a lot of fun when you get them running!

  2. hi my name is adrian and i was just wondering if the exhaust and manifold upgrade you have for your colt buggy would fit my .15 nitro colt engine the engine is in a onroad car not a offroad buggy it is a nissan skyline calsonic they seem to be the exact same engine but not sure of the same fit can you help. the manifold is round and wondering how it fits to the engine due to the rectangle outlet on the engine itself. thanks!!!

    • hi adrian,
      I’m not completely sure how it will fit on your car, but I think it probably would fit on there to. From my very limited experience, these engines seem to be very similar

      The biggest question I have is: is the engine located on the right side of the car, with the exhause leaving the right side? If it does, I suspect you shouldn’t have any major issues with getting it to fit.
      You may, or may not have clearance issues like I have on mine (where the exhaust sits rather close to the fuel tank), I’m not sure

      as for fitting the manifold attaching to the engine, while the pipe is indeed round, there is the flat mating surface (bottom left of picture attached below). With my car, I could just unbolt the old exhaust, and bolt on the new one.
      new exhaust with manifold


  3. thanks so much for posting this pic and to anwser your question yes the engine is on the right side and the exhaust pipe also leaves the right side of the car just as yours does so i think with your help it is time i went shopping for this upgrade. i’m also upgrading my car with a two speed gear box kit so with the both of these upgrades it should perform better i’m looking for somewhere to race it soon. thanks again for your help.

  4. hey matt i just bought a nitro falcon racer (road car) having an issue with it running, will start but only run for a sec or two it has the colt .15 engine in it ive checked the idle screw seems to in the the rite spot do you think it could be the low speed needle thats not set right?? if so any suggestions on how i could get it in the right place??

    • I’m no expert scott, but I wouldn’t go adjusting the low speed needle. From what I understand, you shouldn’t need to mess with it too much. If you haven’t touched it, I’d say leave it where it is.
      I’d reset the high speed needle to factory. If you haven’t taken note of where it was when you got it, I’d suggest gently screwing it right in (fully closed) and then opening it up again 2 1/2 turns. from memory, I think that is where mine was from factory. Its a good thing to note down, as if you are tuning your car, and get it drastically wrong, then you can always go back to the beginning and start again!

      Then, I’d suggest trying some fresh fuel. empty out your fuel tank in the car and put fresh fuel in. it seems to go off expecially fast in the car tank. A day or two seems to be enough to sent it off around here. If you’ve had the fuel for a while, I’d suggest getting some fresh stuff from the hobby shop.

      the next thing I suggest would be make sure your glow starter is fully charged, and if all the above doesn’t help, maybe try a new glow plug as well. If your car does start for a few seconds, I suspect this isn’t the issue, but I’m not 100% on that.

      Hopefully that will help you get going,

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