Project Fridge Ford Lightning Nitrous Install - Calcium Injection - Tech
Nitrous Express' Boost Reference controller is a step ahead of those previously produced. According to Mathis, it's a set-it-and-forget-it controller, though to program it you will need use of a laptop. "Once the controller is programmed, nothing else is needed for it to function," he says. "The laptop is only needed in the programming of the box."
The use of a laptop makes this controller the first of its kind. Instead of being based on time or rpm, the Nitrous Express controller uses a MAP sensor to gradually bring in the nitrous. "All controllers beforehand have been time, or time and rpm, based," Mathis explains. "The new Boost Reference controller uses a MAP sensor integrated into the box to adjust the ramp according to boost pressures. This allows for boosted vehicles to use the nitrous to spool their turbo, while limiting high nitrous along with high-boost scenarios. It also includes a multi-ramp, which allows you to adjust the percentage ramp along multiple points in reference to boost."
Who says being healthy isn't fun?
After the bottle brackets...
After the bottle brackets were installed, it came time to assemble the bottle fittings and install the bottle itself. We placed the bottle on a bench and carefully installed the nitrous pressure gauge, pressure relief valve, and heater solenoid. Of interest here was how Lacko positioned the gauge. In the mockup we did before, he checked all the angles of the valves and such on the bottle and put the gauge in a position where it was very easy to read when he looked at it in the bed. Once everything is tight on the bottle, install it in the truck.
With the bottle in, it was...
With the bottle in, it was time to run the nitrous feed line and heater solenoid wires to the front of the truck. Before we ran the lines, however, Spector from JDM wrapped the feed line and wires in loom and electrical tape to protect it from the harsh New Jersey environment. Before he fed the lines through the previously drilled holes in the bed, he hooked them up to the bottle and put a rubber grommet in the holes to keep the wires and lines from chafing on bare metal. He then put the truck on the lift and ran the line and wires along the left side framerail towards the front of the truck. The wires made their way into the cab while the nitrous line made its way into the engine compartment.
While Spector was running...
While Spector was running the lines, Lacko had to fabricate a bracket to mount the nitrous, fuel, and purge solenoids on. The solenoids in the kit were different from previous solenoids he worked with, as the outlets on the solenoids came out from the bottom, where the older-style came out from the side. Lacko had to rework the bracket to make the solenoids fit. Once he got everything marked, he cut the bracket from aluminum, wiped it down, bent it how it needed to be bent, and painted it black.
Seen here is the template...
Seen here is the template we used and the bracket that resulted. The bracket has yet to be bent and drilled, however. It took a bit of time to get the bracket made, but in the end, it was worth it.
Once the bracket was finished,...
Once the bracket was finished, Lacko put all of the necessary wiring and fittings on the solenoids, and then put them on the bracket. When he put on the fittings, he made sure to use the supplied thread-locker, and methodically linked everything up so as not to strip any of the threads. Once the solenoids were installed on the bracket, he bolted the assembled piece under the hood of the Fridge. The bracket was made to bolt to the power-brake booster, so that's where it went.
In this photo series, you...
In this photo series, you can see how Lacko mounted the arming switch, purge button, and bottle heater switch in the dash bezel. He started by removing the bezel from the dash, leaving the area open for Spector to run the wiring for the purge, nitrous power lead, and bottle heater under the dash and into position. With the bezel on the bench, Lacko sourced some rocker switches and the push-button switch (for the purge) from a local auto parts store, marked off where they needed to be installed, and carefully drilled out the needed holes in the bezel. We wanted to go for the sleeper/factory look, so we used these slick switches instead of those supplied in the kit. Once the switches were in, the wires were hooked up and the bezel reinstalled on the dash of the truck. Unless you know what to look for, you can hardly tell what the switches are for.
Once the dash bezel was back...
Once the dash bezel was back on, Spector got underneath the dash to install the wide-open throttle switch. The switch operates in a similar manner to the brake-light activation switch in that it's positioned behind the main post of the pedal. When the throttle is planted wide open, the post pushes the plunger of the switch in and activates the nitrous system if the circuit is complete and the power switch to the system is on. Once the switch was in place, Spector ran the wiring to the engine bay, and then he and Lacko teamed up to make sure that when the truck was at wide-open throttle, the switch was working.
To make installing the nozzle...
To make installing the nozzle easier, Spector removed the cold-air intake that was on the Fridge. A hole needed to be drilled and tapped in the inlet tube of the Whipple, and it would be a much easier job with the cold-air intake removed, as it afforded more room to work.
With the cold-air intake out...
With the cold-air intake out of the way, it came time for Lacko to drill and tap the hole for the nozzle. First and foremost, stuff a rag down the inlet tube to the blower, and then place tape (sticky side up) around the area where you plan on drilling the hole, both inside and outside of the inlet tube. The last thing you want to happen is for a small piece of aluminum to make its way into the blower case. With only around 10-thousandths of an inch clearance between the blower rotors, even a small sliver of aluminum will stop the blower from spinning faster than a space shuttle heading towards space on blastoff. Once Lacko had the hole drilled, he cleaned it out, ran it with a tap, and screwed in the nozzle. Notice he wrapped tape around the threads of the nozzle to seal it in the hole. One more thing: Do not forget to carefully remove the tape and the rag. As added insurance, Lacko put a rag over the mouth of the inlet tube and blasted the area with compressed air to get all of the shavings out of there.
The positioning of the nozzle...
The positioning of the nozzle is crucial to optimum performance. There is an orifice for the nitrous to come out of on the other side of the nozzle, as seen here. You want that orifice to face downstream; this way, the incoming air charge carries the nitrous with it towards the blower. If you have the orifice facing the opposite direction, it will spray the nitrous against the incoming air charge, which will prevent it from blending properly with the incoming air stream.
The last couple of things...
The last couple of things we needed to do was hook up the hot leads to the solenoids and purge, along with the appropriate grounds. Lacko tapped into the fuse block to hook up the hot leads and had an auxiliary ground wire mate to the ground wires from the solenoids. The ground wires were then promptly bolted to the fender. When the final electrical connections were made, he shortened up the supplied stainless feed lines and linked them from the solenoids to the nozzle and to the holes he drilled and tapped in both fuel rails. When everything was finished, Lacko took the bottle to get filled while Jim D'Amore came up with the appropriate tune for the ECM. When the tune was loaded, the truck was started and readied for a shot at the Dynojet chassis dyno.
Express Lane To Higher Power...
Express Lane To Higher Power Figures
We asked the folks at Nitrous Express to send us all the parts and pieces we would need to juice up the Fridge. They sent us over their Ford EFI kit (PN 20922-15; photo 1) that comes with a 15-pound unfilled nitrous bottle, solenoids, and all of the wiring, plumbing, and hardware needed to hook it up. The kit is good for a shot of juice between 50 and 150 hp. In addition to the kit, we ordered Nitrous Express' GenX-2 accessory kit (PN GENX-2; photo 2), which came with the purge kit, automatic bottle heater, fuel-pressure safety switch, pressure gauge, and NHRA-approved pressure-release fitting and blow-down tube, along with all of the necessary hardware.
Before we got down to business...
Before we got down to business on the dyno, we took out the 15-pound nitrous bottle and installed the Carnivore Nitrousaurus-X nitrous pressure control system. We had to swap the 15-pound bottle for a 10-pounder, but once everything was buttoned up, we were ready to rock.
In addition to being a bottle...
In addition to being a bottle heater, the Nitrousaurus-X is also a bottle cooler. A small fan is activated when the pressure of the bottle gets higher than desired. This is great for those warm days at the track that would have you wrapping the bottle in ice-cold rags to get the temperature down before a run. Using the screen on the front of the casing, you program the Nitrousaurus-X to what you want the bottle pressure to be at, and the microprocessor does the rest.
Before we put our foot to...
Before we put our foot to the floor on the dyno with the nitrous system activated, we drained the fuel tank of the 93-octane high-test gasoline that was in it. To do this, Lacko undid the fuel line to the fuel solenoid of the nitrous kit, and after activating the fuel pumps, emptied the gas into a 5-gallon jug.
With all of the high-test...
With all of the high-test drained, we refilled the tank with 100-octane race gas to prevent against detonation when running the nitrous.
Facilitating a shorter turnaround...
Facilitating a shorter turnaround time between dyno pulls meant we had to cool down the blower and engine quicker. To aid in cooling the blower before, during, and after the dyno pulls, Lacko jumped the relay for the water pump, allowing it to stay on even when the truck was off. To keep the water pump from draining the battery, he hooked up a battery charger between each pull.
D'Amore monitored the air/fuel...
D'Amore monitored the air/fuel ratio on each pull. After determining the truck was in want of more ignition timing after the first two pulls that had the 50 shot and the first 75 shot activated, respectively, he added 1 degree of timing before taking another crack at the 75 shot. The added degree of timing gave the truck eight more horsepower at the rear wheels.
Instead of throwing in a few...
Instead of throwing in a few gallons of C116 race gas and jacking the timing to 14 degrees and the boost to 20 pounds, we decided to go another direction and see what an average bolt-on Lightning would rip off with a standard street tune. The street tune we dyno'd the truck with showcased 9 degrees of ignition timing and 14 pounds of boost. In forced-induction-only mode, the Fridge recorded a peak horsepower number of 565.75 and a peak torque number of 605.52. We hooked up the system with a 50 shot, put in 100-octane race gas, and saw the power number rise to 643.21 and the torque increase to a stump-pulling 725.86.
Our final test run of the...
Our final test run of the day saw us throw in a 100 shot of the sauce. Once again, the truck probably could have benefited from a degree or two more of timing, but with the hit of the laughing gas, the Fridge clicked off peak numbers of 719.43 rwhp and 788.10 rwtq. Overall, the 100 shot added 153.68 ponies at the rear tires and 182.58 lb-ft of torque. Who said nitrous wasn't fun?
When we were done, the Fridge...
When we were done, the Fridge kicked out nearly 720 rwhp and 788 rwtq with the 100 shot of nitrous activated. After registering 565 rwhp and 605 rwtq on the blower alone, the 100 shot of the juice gave the truck an increase of 155 rwhp and 183 rwtq, all with a press of a button. Ahh, it's all in a day's work.
We changed the jets from the...
We changed the jets from the 50hp setting to the 75hp setting and let the truck run on the rollers. The first dyno run with the 75 shot resulted in a peak power number of 675 rwhp. We noticed, however, that the curves, as was the case with the 50 shot, showed the engine's need for more timing. We raised the timing from 9 degrees to 10 and then let the ponies run once more. The result was an increase of 8 rwhp over the first 75 shot dyno pull, and the overall numbers increased to 683.27 rwhp and 770.51 rwtq.
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