are quite a few misconceptions that get thrown around a lot when talking
about nitrous. Stuff like "it will kill your engine" and
"your tranny cannot take it" and so on. Well those
overstatements are just plain wrong if you follow some of these steps I am
about to outline and also just be safe and patient with things.
Step 1) First you got to ask yourself, "Why do I want this
power and what for"?
Sometimes people only want about 20-30 more hp and really don't even need
to go with a nitrous setup. This is where some of you should be truthfully
answering to yourselves, "Am I wanting to do nitrous for the power or
am I wanting to do it because it would sound cool to say I have
nitrous?Ē Another 20-30 hp is easily attainable with most basic
aftermarket boltons like CAI, exhaust and tune and so on. With allot of
vehicles just those three mods alone will usually net you between 20-30
additional horsepower alone.
Step 2) Once that is decided you will need to see if your vehicle
can take it. This will be based upon the condition, mileage and overall
upkeep of the drive train of the vehicle over its life so far. For those
of you who bought used just go back as far as you can go into the vehicles
history. There is no set rule here. Your choice as to whether or not you
choose to install nitrous oxide onto your vehicle is totally dependent
upon your confidence in your vehicle's condition. If it is in good to
great condition then your vehicle is probably a good candidate.
Step 3) Now you need to establish what SIZE of shot you want to go
with. This will be based upon your power aspirations and also upon your
vehicles limitations, not only engine and transmission but also stock fuel
system limitations as well. A good rule of thumb is to not spray more than
half the stock horsepower of your cars engine. So for instance if you have
a stock 2000 5.0 V8 Explorer that originally came with 215 hp then you
would want to keep your shot around 100hp at the flywheel. This is
assuming a stock engine, transmission and fuel system. If those are
modified to take the power then you can run a much bigger shot.
Step 4) Wet or Dry??? This debate has gone on since the dark ages
of nitrous. Which one is safer and which one is easier to tune? Both have
their places within the world of cars. All a dry nitrous kit is a bottle
with nitrous oxide under high pressure, a hose (line), a nitrous solenoid
(think of this as the nitro on/off switch) another short hose (line) and
the nozzle with its jet. The way the shot is sized is based upon how much
bottle pressure the kit manufacturer tells you to stay at. For the 100
wetshot I run in my 2005 Lincoln LS the jet size is .055 if I am not
mistaken. That is just the size of the hole through which the nitrous has
to get through. The smaller the hole at a given bottle pressure and the
smaller the shot of nitrous. Most nitrous systems usually operate between
900-1100 psi of nitrous bottle pressure. No when you go to a wet kit all
you do is take the aforementioned dry kit and add a hard-line or steel
braided fuel hose going from the fuel injection line to another solenoid
to control the fuel (on/off) and then to a slightly different kind of
injection nozzle. Now instead of having one port to hook up the hose and
one port that lets the nitrous spray out and into the intake. You have two
(one for fuel and the other for nitrous). Now being that most fuel
injection systems operate anywhere between 40-65 psi of fuel pressure you
will have to pick the right fuel jet that matches the corresponding
nitrous jet to give you the correct air/fuel ratio. If you have any
question on this just contact your nitrous kits manufacturer.
Step 5) How do I activate the nitrous shot? Some will tell you to
use a wide open throttle switch and a RPM window switch along with a
master arming switch to activate the nitrous. While this is a good way to
do things and keep it safe, there are better.
What I am talking about are progressive nitrous controllers. All a
progressive controller does is not only act like a WOT switch and RPM
window switch but they also ramp the power from your nitrous up instead of
letting it all hit at once. The nitrous hitting all at once is what can
really kill a stock drive train. The way the controller does this is that
is pulses the nitrous and/or fuel solenoids. Since the solenoids are
either one or off and no in between they must be pulsed and left open a
certain amount of time to get whatever percentage of your nitrous shot you
want at that certain RPM. If you understand how your fuel injectors work
in our EFI systems it is pretty much the same concept.
Progressive controllers used to cost an arm and a leg and were very hard
to set up. Even some nowadays still are. While the one I am about to
mention isn't exactly a walk in the park to install, any skilled
mechanic/electrician/home DIY'er should be able to do it. My progressive
controller cost me $206 and has all the options I would ever need. The
best part is that if you add the price of the WOT switch and the RPM
window switches up they usually come right close to the Controllers price.
The great thing is that the controller does all the stuff that a window
switch and WOT switch does but much more too.
Step 6) Now that we talked about the more technical stuff lets go
ahead and talk about more of the other necessities that you will want to
include in a safe and reliable nitrous system. Timing is one thing that
people question if they need to retard when spraying nitrous. While some
say that you donít have to pull timing until spraying 100 shot or
bigger, I like to err on the side of caution with my daily driver car. I
would keep things safe and retard spark timing 1 degree for the first 50
hp of nitrous and then 2 degree's of retard for every additional 50 hp. I
would venture a guess that not many in here will be going past 100 shot
which keeps things simple. 1 degree for 50, 2 degree's for 75, and 3
degree's for 100 shot. Pulling timing will keep a safety net in there so
that the vehicle will be less likely to detonate if problems somehow do
Step 7) Do I need to go with colder plugs? Yes you do. I would
suggest going with one heat range colder plug for 50 shot and 2 ranges
colder for 100 shot of nitrous. If you are running a platinum type of plug
I suggest you also go to a copper type of plug instead. The plats tend to
burn too intense and can sometimes cause ill effect with nitrous.
Along with the plugs and heat range you should usually start gapping your
plugs at .035" for nitrous up to 100 shot. If you go with a bigger
shot then you will need to either close the gap a little more (to
eliminate spark blowout) or install an aftermarket ignition to make the
spark intense enough so as not to blow out.
Step 8) Do I need a nitrous bottle pressure gauge? Yes you do. The
reason for this is that in step 4 if your nitrous kit manufacturer tells
you that their 75 shot jets work with 900 psi bottle pressure the if
bottle pressure goes up then the shot size will too. Depending on how your
nitrous is tuned, that may cause enough of a lean condition to cause
damage. Say if bottle pressure went from 900 to 1200 psi due to a hot day
in the sun. Well that would be about 33% more nitrous injected. So that 75
shot that you thought you were running now has turned into a 100 shot. Bad
day if youíre only injecting enough fuel for 75 hp worth of nitrous.
Step 9) Should I get a nitrous filter or fuel filter? Yes to both.
The name of the game here is keeping your nitrous and fuel solenoids
clean. If they gum up or otherwise cannot function correctly then you
might run into a condition where your system tries to close the solenoids
but they stay open and still spraying. That is another bad day. You can
install your nitrous filter anywhere in the nitrous tract. I happened to
put mine right after the bottle which is in the trunk. The fuel filter
(wet nitrous system) I put as close to my fuel solenoid as possible to
make sure no particles or gunk reached the fuel solenoid.
Step10) How do I make sure my stock fuel pump can keep up with the
fuel needs of my wet nitrous shot if something somehow goes wrong? Install
a Fuel Pressure Safety Sensor (FPSS). It only allows the nitrous to be
active if it senses above 30-psi fuel pressure. Once the fuel pressure
drops below that threshold it will break the circuit and not allow the
system to be armed anymore which will stop the nitrous from being
Step 11) How do I add more fuel in my dry nitrous system setup?
With dry nitrous instead of dealing with an extra fuel line and solenoid
you will have to add more fuel via a tune intended for your nitrous. The
new tune will need to be able to retard your spark timing and also add
more fuel through the stock fuel system.
The problem some of the newer vehicle PCM's (Power PC processors) people
are running into is that the only way to program those PCM's is with an
SCT Xcal2. Anyone that has programmed on of those vehicles knows it takes
about 15 minutes to do so with the unit. That is a long time just to wait
to retune your PCM then run it on the nitrous and then switch back to the
regular tune right after running. Nitrous is usually used on a little more
spur of the moment basis. What I did to counteract this was just retard my
spark timing all the time even when not running nitrous and then used a
wet nitrous kit to add in my fuel too. That way I would not have to retune
all the time because the spark is always retarded and the fuel is taken
care of by the wet nitrous system instead of the PCM and stock fuel pump
Those of you that have the Ford vehicles with the EEC-V computer have the
ability to hotswap programs on the fly because your computers can be
chipped through the rear J3 service port on the back.
is an addendum that I also included for my previous nitrous write-up with
a little additional information. Some of the info is redundant, but most
is not. Enjoy!
How much does it cost?
Nitrous will be MUUUUUUUCH cheaper in the short run than a supercharger.
But people do argue that in the long term the supercharger wins out over
the nitrous because of the bottle refills. I own both a blown vehicle and
a nitrous injected vehicle so I can speak from both perspectives here.
Yes, my complex nitrous setup for parts alone cost me about $500 total (I
got good deals) where as my supercharger ran me $5,000+. It will take A
LOOOOT of refilled nitrous bottled to equal that out! In some peoples
situation I am pretty sure they aren't about to throw $3,000+ at a
supercharger or turbo so that option is out the window for some. Nitrous
when setup properly can be very reliable and safe too.
Which TYPE of nitrous kit..wet or dry???
I highly recommend wet nitrous shots because they are inherently safer
when setup and ran correctly. You will hear a lot of bad stories of
"fuel puddling" in the
intake and blowing it off with a wet system, but that is simply not true.
Very RARELY does that ever happen (happens with dry kits too) and if it
does it is ONLY because the system was not setup, used, and/or tuned
Which brand of kit???
Some say only to go with this or that brand but there are many good brands
out there. Some of the well proven ones are: NX, NOS, Nitrous Works,
Edelbrock, Venom and Zex. Any of these are great brands to pick from so if
you see one that is a REAL good price and is what you think you want then
don't hesitate to pick it up.
Which type of kit???
Don't worry if you cannot find a kit made SPECIFICALLY for your vehicle.
The reason why it is not a big deal is because nitrous oxide systems are
VERRRRRY simple in design and construction. Any generic universal EFI V8
nitrous kit will work just fine for what most people will need in here. If
you have a carbed engine then some of the items such as jetting
recommendations and fuel pressures stated in here will be different from
what you would run. Most will still apply.
How can I make it safe???
First...Install (or have it installed) correctly...This is a very
simple job that most any skilled vehicle DIY'er can do IMPO.
Second...Have it tuned by a professional in person (mail order
tunes get real close, but not maximum safety) who knows what they are
doing so they get the A/F and timing spot on for good power and, more
Third...Make sure your running a safely sized shot. Rule of thumb
is no more than 50% more than the vehicles stock horsepower (up to 125
shot maxx on 99% of vehicles).
Fourth...Make sure that in addition to the kit that you also get a
wide open throttle activation switch along with an RPM window switch.
Those when used in combination will only allow the nitrous system to
activate once the master arming switch is on, the gas pedal is all the way
to the floor, and the engine RPM's are where you want it to spray.
Fifth...If you really want a lot of safety for your vehicle then
get a 40 psi Hobbs fuel pressure switch. What it will do is, also in
conjunction with all the other aforementioned switches, only allow the
nitrous to be active when fuel pressure is above 30 psi. This is good to
have just in case a stocker fuel pump takes a dive and fuel pressure drops
while spraying nitrous. More air and low fuel causes a lean condition and
BOOM! This switch is not necessary but is advisable.
Overall if approached correctly nitrous can be a cheap and reliable way to
make a lot more power in a relatively stock vehicle.
hope this helps some of you in your future nitrous endeavors. When setup,
tuned, and used properly nitrous can be just as safe as any other part on
If you have ANY questions about this write-up or are not sure about
something that I may have forgotten to cover consult a local nitrous
system expert or email me, do not guess. While nitrous can get kind of
complex, it is still very basic in concept.
type of kit???
"Any generic universal EFI V8 nitrous kit will work just fine for
what most people will need in here."
are some instruction manuals for
Ford EFI Nitrous Kit
Express Ford EFI Nitrous Kit
Ranger Nitrous Works Nitrous Kit