Pete Epple Technical Editor
September 10, 2010
Photos By: Team MM&FF, Courtesy Of Zex, John Zeilinga

Your nitrous bottle valve should also be shut off when not in use, with the system purged. "Pressure in the system when it is not in use can cause damage to the plungers in the solenoids," Johnson adds. "If the solenoids fail and nitrous flows past the seals, nitrous in the intake manifold can cause a backfire when the engine is started."

Activating the nitrous system inside the proper operating window also is very critical. Engaging the nitrous at low rpm can result in a nitrous backfire and severe engine damage. With lower amounts of nitrous, the system should be activated no lower than 2,500 rpm. As the amount of nitrous increases, so should the rpm of when it is engaged.

The system should only be operated at wide-open throttle. Loading the intake plenum with nitrous and fuel under part throttle can also result in a nitrous backfire.

As nitrous systems become more advanced, there are components that can be added for more control of the overall system. Progressive injection controllers give you the ability to manage when and how much nitrous and fuel is being injected into the engine at any specific time. It allows you to ramp in the power, which can be helpful on the street or at the track.

If the system is capable of 300 hp, with a progressive controller, the system can be tuned to inject a smaller amount of nitrous and fuel first, and scale up to full power at a rate dictated by the tuner. These controllers are great in situation where traction is limited or with multiple-stage nitrous systems due to the torque spike when each stage is activated.

More horsepower definitely makes the hot-rodding world go round. When you want affordable power gains at the push of a button, nitrous oxide is the best way to go. It's relatively low initial cost and ease of operation make it a great power adder.

Bang For Your Buck
Nitrous oxide is one of the best bang-for-your-buck performance upgrades. Its simplicity, ease of use, and great performance gains make it an incredible way to add more power on demand!

When you look at the cost of a typical nitrous kit compared to a supercharger or turbo, which offers a better bang for your buck? A supercharger or turbo kit is often a one-time purchase, and the power is there whenever you want. Unfortunately, the up-front cost is much higher than a nitrous-oxide kit. Let's say the average supercharger kit is about $5,500, and the average cost of a nitrous kit is about $700. If you use a 100hp or 125hp shot, you'll get about four to five quarter-mile passes out of a 10-pound bottle before it needs to be refilled. The average cost to fill a 10-pound bottle is about $35. If $5,500 is our spending limit, how many times can we refill the nitrous bottle before it equals the cost of the supercharger kit? Once you spend the $700 on the nitrous kit, you're left with $4,800. With $4,800 to spend on refills, you'll get about 137 refills. If you go to the track about once a month and average 50 passes year, you can make your $5,500 last almost 14 years!

The downside is our calculations are based on track-only use. The supercharger will be there whenever you want the extra power, but as you know, there can be problems related to blowers. Nitrous allows you to maintain 100-percent stock-type driveability and mpg when the gas is not flowing. If you were looking for the same level of performance and nitrous oxide was your power adder of choice, street use would greatly reduce the length of time before the costs equalized.

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