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Nitrous Oxide Guide

One of the most controversial modifications on the market (you either love it or you hate it), nitrous oxide is undoubtedly the cheapest way to give your car boatloads of horsepower. Unfortunately, there are a lot of outdated myths and rumors surround nitrous use. This page is intended to separate fact from fiction and to give you a good understanding of what to do should you decide to equip your V6 F-Body with this amazing power-adder.

Before we even begin, we very strongly recommend that you read this article:

New To Nitrous - at

Commentary by James Dowles, aka 12SecondV6

Nitrous does two things:
1. It super oxygenates the air/fuel mixture allowing it to hold more fuel so the combustion process produces more power
2. It cools the air/fuel mixture which both allows the air/fuel mix to hold more fuel and also helps reduce hot spots in the cylinder that could lead to detonation.

Kits add anywhere from 50 to 150 hp on stock engines and modified up to 250 hp, and all out race up to 400 hp. Actually the sky is the limit if the engine has enough fuel and can withstand the pressure generated by the nitrous combustion process. Typical 15-second bursts are at WOT only, timing reducing devices are a benefit.

Costs: (From Jegs or Summit)

  • Fuel pressure safety switch - prevents engagement of your nitrous system if fuel pressure is below a safe level. $35.99 from Jegs, $35.95 from Summit
  • Bottle Heater - maintains bottle temperature at 75-85 degrees F, helps keep bottle pressure at 800-900 psi for optimal performance (ideal is 1050 psi, purge at the line, bring it to 950-1000 psi and go). Includes thermostat and other parts. $111.99 from Jegs, $111.95 from Summit
  • Bottle Blanket - insulated nylon blanket keeps nitrous at a constant temp for better performance. $29.95 from Summit, $29.99 from Jegs
  • Remote Bottle Valve Opener - open and close your bottle from the comfort of the drivers seat. $156.95 from Summit, $158.99 from Jegs
  • Purge Valve Kit - bleed vapor from nitrous lines, included power shot solenoid, buttons, wiring, and other parts. Two sizes are available: -04 and -06. $94.95 from Summit, $94.99 from Jegs
  • Blow Down Tube - attaches to safety nipple on bottle, if pressure gets too high in the bottle then the safety disc will rupture and let all of the nitrous out. $19.99 from Jegs
  • Be realistic about the amount of additional power that your engine can reliably handle: if at any time you're in doubt it's always better to guess less than more. The various nitrous companies can lend some very valuable info concerning particular engine and component strength and durability. Heed their suggestions: they don't want you to reach the point of damage any more than you do.

    Consistency is everything: fluctuating fuel pressure, different nitrous cylinder temperatures, worn or sticky mech advance mechanisms, intermittent wiring problems, etc. can all lead to erratic system performance and possible engine damage. Nitrous won't fix a problem you already have: before you install your nitrous system be sure youe engine is in perfect mechanical condition. Ignition and fuel calibration problems become more dangerous when combined with nitrous.

    Install as many safety devices as possible: power relays, oil pressure safety switches, WOT switches, rpm window switches, FPSS. All of the power comes from the fuel, not the nitrous: nitrous is simply a tool that allows you to adjust how much and how quickly the engine burns that fuel. If the fuel isn't there then the power isn't either and the possibility of engine failure rises dramatically. When you check your spark plugs, check them all: don't just check one plug and think they are all okay. Even though it's much easier to only check the easiest accessable plug, you'll need to make sure they're all in good working order. Due to the wide possibilities of the air/fuel mixture you need to check every plug for signs of detonation or other problems.

    Always start with the recommended calibration that came with your system: if your system is adjustable, start with the smallest supplied level. The levels depend on the different size nitrous and fuel jets you use together. At the first sign of detonation, backfire, or misfire always reduce the nitrous jet first: don't think that you are cooling things down by adding more fuel. Since nitrous is an oxidizer the safest approach is to reduce the nitrous jet first, identify the problem and go from there.

    Check the nitrous and fuel filter screens on a regular basis: this rates up there with the most common problems that can leave you in circles for days. It doesn't take much to alter the calibration, even a small piece of pipe sealing tape can cause problems. When something doesn't feel right or sound right, back off: if you hear any detonation or feel anything unusual, get off the throttle. It's a lot cheaper to check everything over than it is to blow a motor.

    Manufacturer Websites:

  • Nitrous Oxide Systems (NOS)
  • Nitrous Express
  • Nitrous Works

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