R/C Boat Maintenance

Common Maintenance Issues with RC Boats

Published: June 18, 2019


Categories: R/C Boating

RC boating can be a lot of fun for the whole family. You’re sure to find the best boat for you with such a wide variety available, all for different preferences and budgets. RC boat maintenance isn’t an issue to be taken lightly. In this article, we discuss common maintenance problems like leakage, inaccessibility of spare parts, and short battery life, as well as some quick fixes.

How do I improve my RC boat’s battery life?

A reliable battery is important for many reasons, not least because the boat could leave you in a lurch with a dead battery in the middle of a lake or river. Before you start charging it, make sure your battery is cool. Normally, batteries need a 20-minute break after they are drained before you plug them in to charge. Replace batteries immediately if they get hot after use. Also, replace inflated batteries as soon as possible, because they can explode and destroy the vehicle. The battery should not be used after 85% discharge or overcharged.

How do I prevent leakage?

Look for holes or cracks in the boat before taking it out. If you spot some, smooth marine glue or sealant on the blemish. To check if you glued it correctly, test in water. We have a video below showing the weatherproofing of   Traxxas Spartan from YouTube, though you can use the method for most boats.

What are some common problems with electronics?

Sometimes the contacts on RC boats can become disconnected. If this happens, unscrew the transmitter and remove the circuit board. Then, screw the board in closer by removing part of the screw pole or bend the metal contacts toward you. Inspect the board for burnt-out parts and loose components. Replace burnt-out components, including any electronics that have come into contact with water and become corroded as a result.  

How do I avoid drive-line problems?

One of the most important, yet commonly ignored maintenance issues involves the prop shaft area. To avoid drive-line problems, keep these parts properly serviced. Cleaning and lubricating the hull’s shaft, prop strut, and stuffing tube will make sure they function optimally. You need only basic manual tools to do this. An electric RC, nitro, and gas hull can all be cleaned and greased. As the RPM is high and the boat’s drive-line comes into very frequent contact with water, we recommend applying high-quality lithium grease (marine grade) to the prop shaft, stuffing tube, and strut bushings to guarantee smooth operation.

What is the best greasing technique?

For flexible cable shafts, the best greasing technique is running a generous amount of lubricant down the whole shaft and working the grease into the stub shaft and the cable’s wire strands using your hands. There is a greasing hole in the strut. After you pass the lubricated shaft through the strut, add a little bit of lithium grease to the shaft end. Then, insert the prop shaft into the hull. This is done through the stuffing tube.
As the shaft comes out of the inner tube, you will see some extra grease. This signals lubrication of the tube/shaft is complete. Secure the shaft to the motor coupler once you’ve wiped the excess grease off it.

R/C Boat waterproofing
From gettingstartedinrc.com

What are some common mechanical problems?

Pieces of plastic can break, particularly in the steering system. Secure broken pieces using strong glue.
Some boat owners complain of engines that keep stalling. If your engine doesn’t start or keeps stalling, there is most likely a fuel issue. Maybe the fuel lines are leaky or clogged, air has entered them, or the screen filter is dirty.

Your tank ventilation might be impeded if your motor stalls after just a few runs. This means you need to clean it. There might be cracks in the gas lines as well. Check everything carefully and have any amortized parts replaced.

Why won’t my boat accelerate?

Check for carbon deposits in the exhaust port if your boat won’t accelerate or will take long to do so. There may be such on the spark arrestor. Cleaning this area will remedy the issue.

How does radio interference affect boats?

External interference may be hard to control, but with internal interference, this isn’t the case. It is normally caused by a broken spark plug, an unprotected receiver, or only semi-charged batteries, which render the radio more vulnerable to interference. You can fix the receiver by wrapping it in protective foam. Use a resistor plug to resolve spark plug issues.

How do I limit damage to my RC boat?

Always inspect your boat to limit and prevent damage. Defects like broken axles are obvious to spot, while worn seals and tiny punctures will require more detailed inspection. Manufacturing defects can cause certain issues. If you suspect this is the case, google the model name of your boat to check.

Where Do I Find New Parts?

RV boat owners will need to replace one part or another now and then. If you know exactly what you need, Amazon and eBay are the best places to go, but if not, there are other websites* you can check out. Parts for hobby-grade RC boats aren’t hard to find. Most manufacturers and sellers offer outboard motors and seam-repair glues. Install the parts according to assembly instructions or original plans.
Toy-grade RC parts are more difficult to obtain because many of these units are monolithic. They are made using special parts that are hard to disassemble. If you’re having issues with this type of RC unit, buying a new one altogether would make more sense than looking for parts.

Final Thoughts
One of the best things about RC boats is that you can spend as much time on them as you like. You can get a simple, ready electric unit or make your own powerful device! Whatever you decide, know that improper maintenance is the cause of many common issues, so always check the manual to make sure you’re not overlooking anything.
Sometimes, RC owners can’t remedy issues themselves. If this is the case and your warranty is still effective, just send the boat back to the seller or manufacturer for repair.

*If this is a competitor’s site, I’m sorry! I’ll get rid of the link