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My Experiences Trying to Make a Gas-Powered R/C Car Run

I've come in to possesion of a Silver Fox gas-powered r/c dune buggy. It was manufactured by Varicom, circa 1987.

I've done some work cleaning and adjusting it, but at this point I have been unable to make it run. Lack of an operating manual is a major problem.

I will have some pics and descriptions up here shortly describing what I have done so far and what isn't working. Hopefully someone can give me some feedback so I can get this thing running. If nothing else, this is interesting from a historical perspective.

Here's a pic of the car:

And here's a series of other pics.

--phil 7/8/2001

More details: when I first got this car, the engine was completely gummed up - you couldn't rotate it by hand at all. I took the engine apart and cleaned it with carb cleaner. I found the book All About Engines by Harry Higley (available at Tower Hobbies) to be an invaluable resource for understanding how these little things work.

After cleaning and reassembly, the engine turns smoothly. The bearings seem to be in fine shape, and compression seems ok (I can spin the driveshaft easily, but you have to give it pretty firm push to pop through).

However, I can't get the darn thing started. One annoyance is that this old engine doesn't have a pull starter, so you have to start it with an electric spinner. The main problem seems to be that the engine is not getting fuel. That's a two-part process - the engine compression should suck fuel, and the engine exhaust is also used to pressurize the fuel tank to push gas in to the engine as well.

My suspicion at this point is that the carb is not seating properly on the engine, and air is leaking in through that joint. I might try a new o-ring there, or maybe a new carb (the existing one is a little dented).

That's where it stands at this point. I suppose if worst comes to worst I can always purchase a new engine and fit in on the buggy. The rest of the mechanical and electrical components are in great shape.

--phil 3/19/02

I spent several hours attempting to start this car with my good friend Andy. We actually managed to make it catch several times, but each time the car stalled out in a few seconds. It seems that fule flow is still a problem. We're not quite sure how to adjust carb screws, particularly since there is also a fuel flow adjustment in the fule line as well. If anyone has info on that, I'd love to hear it.

Also, I searched on ebay and found a Kyoto Landjump for sale. Thanks to Ruenjou Lu, I now know that is the same car as the Silverfox (although apparently with a different engine). That buggy was selling for $255. I'm low on cash right now, so selling this thing is really tempting. Guess we'll see...

I've also added Ruenjou's comments at the bottom of the page. This Silverfox seems to be the one thing on my website that everyone is interested in.

--phil 1/29/03

Update: I sold the SilverFox! I never really got it running, and I realized I just didn't have the time to devote to it. The good news: it went for $406.00 on ebay! So, I don't feel too bad.

--phil 3/19/03

Update: Bob Harald sent me a link to his page about engine problems. I don't need the info now, but maybe one of you out there will find it useful.

Comments from old broken phpwiki comments plugin, for posterity:

Comment on SilverFox:

Hello there,

I'm Dotan and i'm from Israel. I'm like you searching for information about the dune buggy SILVER FOX and without any result. I have also this kind of car and beleave me she is running VERY GOOD. Please fill up what type of problem you have, so i can help you. My mail acount is "[email protected]" Please response fast.

Hi there,

My name is Vincent, but everybody call me Vince. I also have a Silver Fox and I still have the manual. Not the one from Varicom, but the older one, from Thunder Tiger. In fact it's exactly the same buggy with just few minor changes, so the manual I have may help you. If you would be interested, maybe I can scan it and give it to you by email in PDF format. I have to admit that there is not a lot of information in it though. Anyway, if you want to contact me, feel free. [email protected]

Good luck with that great buggy!!

From an unknown hobbyist:

i used to own a kyosho vanning and this silver fox which i have never heard of looks exactly like it other than the suspension placement.

Hi! I also have the Varicom Silver Fox with the 21 size Thunder Tiger engine. I have been completely unable to find any information about it. I've gotten some funny looks from people who have seen the car also. I believe my engine needs to be rebuilt. It doesn't really pop at the top of the stroke. I really HATE not having a pullstart. If anyone has any idea on parts or any additional information on this car, let me know! [email protected] Thanks a lot! -Cameron

Hi Phil, I was reading your article about your Silver Fox. I actually bought one of those in 86 or 87. I only used it a couple of times but I still have it. Not as good as shape as yours but it is just begging to be taken out and cleaned up. Have you gotten anywhere on yours? I loved seeing the pics of my car on the net. I actually forgot what kind it was until I saw your article. :) Well, look forward to hearing about your success on your car. Thanks...Tony

Found your site through yahoo via "Kyosho Landjump" and saw a nicely finished Sliverfox. Knowing that you have some troubles starting it, I'll offer my 0.02. I owned it a few years ago. It was made by Thunder Tiger in mid 80's. It's a knockout of Kyosho Landjump.

To start the engine you need an airplane style starter with a rubber starting wheel on it. It is cumbersome to hold the car still and make sure good contact of the starter to flywheel. It also depends on your experience level on model engines.

I was able to start my Silverfox and adjusted the car to have some fun. Unfortunately the major problem of this car, including Kyosho Landjump and Vanning, is the chain drive. Either the chain breaks or the main gear is stripped with a short run time. I eventually sold both cars. The new generation buggies are shaft driven and are much more reliable.

I still collect vintage buggies. It is a 2WD Kyosho Baja Rowdy or Baja Racing. If you are interested, take a look at

I am also in the Bay Area and belong to Bayside RC Club in Fremont. If you need help starting the Silverfox, drop me a line and I can help you out.


Comment modified on Thursday 14 October 2004 14:58:41 by PhilHollenback

Hi, Jessie here.

I found myself buying up all the Silver Fox on eBay to build a fleet (wife killed me)! I have 20 plus of these heart pumping buggies in many levels of construction and have parted out many of them. The weakest point on the buggy seems to be the front end. Many of the units I bought had major repairs to this piece. I also collect the Kyosho Vanning, Landjump, Mint Las Vegas, Impacata Baja, and many others, but I have only run the Silver Fox because I have so many replacement parts. Here is a link to one of my Foxes:

The Silver Fox came in THREE versions. GOLD (all the upgrades and gold pieces), GREEN shock version, and SILVER shock version. Thought I would share. Cya, Jessie.

Email me if you need parts: [email protected]

i wont pdf to plz give me to pdf for a- silver fox like you have ok plz [email protected]

[email protected],

I don't have pdf of the Silver Fox manual, but I do have fresh hard copies if you want one. Drop me an email to [email protected] Do you have pictures of your project?

More info on the old O.S. Engine... Here is a link to the first engine manual I am uploading. I am working on the others.

Just bought a Silver Fox, would like a manual, but I'm interested in selling.

As far as the alternative to a pull start, mine, the guy made a custom attachment for an electric starter, uses a plane starter and a shaft. Works kind of like the HPI Roto Start, I guess.

[email protected]

I now have manuals for Silver Fox and all Kyosho off road vintage 1/8th buggies NEED ONE, email me to [email protected]

need parts for thunder tiger silverfox buggy 4x4

sorry need parts for thunder tiger silverfox 4x4 green ver can you help [email protected]

Here's the two I want to sell:

if eney one cen help me with a silver fox my dad baot one a long time ago and he gave it to me and i have had it for 3 year's now but it wont run so if eney one now's a place in tronto that repares silver fox'src gas i wont to see it run plz help///[email protected]//e mail me with the number plz or some thing i need help bad

hey i have a76 kyosho rowdy for sale. check [email protected],thanks

I bought a silver fox brand-new when I was a kid. Never got the thing started... even sent it into Tower Hobbies and they put in a new OS engine for me. By that time I was off to college and sold it.

Now that I'm an engineer I'd get it running easily. That was one of the first gas cars of it's time and there wasn't much support for it. The rip cord and pull start cars today are a snap in comparison.

First I'd get the engine running on a bench before putting it in the car (that thing was a pain installing). Gravity feed the gas... make sure your glowplug is hot... and while turning over the engine make adjustments on the carb. I'd rig up a fixture to allow me to turn over the engine continuously (that was my biggest problem as a kid).

Same thing after you install it in the car... make sure you have an easy way to turn over the engine continuously. Build some sort of rig to hold your starting motor and car sits on top (out of wood?).

Engines only need 3 things. Gas, air and spark (or in this case a glow plug to get the engine started).

Good luck.


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