Nitrous FAQS

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How does nitrous work?

A: Nitrous oxide is made up of 2 parts nitrogen and one-part oxygen (36% oxygen by weight). During the combustion process in an engine, at about 572 degrees F., nitrous breaks down and releases oxygen. This extra oxygen creates additional power by allowing more fuel to be burned. Nitrogen acts to buffer, or dampen the increased cylinder pressures helping to control the combustion process. Nitrous also has a tremendous “inter-cooling” effect by reducing intake charge temperatures by 60 to 75 degrees F.


Q: Will Nitrous affect engine reliability?

A: The key is choosing the correct H.P. for a given application. A kit that uses the correct factory calibration does not usually cause increased wear. As the energy released in the cylinder increases so do the loads on the various components that must handle them. If the load increases exceed the ability of the component to handle them, added wear takes place. Ny-Trex kits are designed for use on demand and only at wide-open throttle. Nitrous can be extremely advantageous in that it is only used when you want it, not all the time. All Ny-Trex kits are designed for maximum power with reliability for a given application.


Q: How long does it generally take to install a Nitrous kit?

A: Most kits can be installed using common hand tools in approximately 3 to 5 hours. The instructions manual have step by step instructions and include specific installation drawings, wiring diagrams, and bottle mounting procedures as well as performance tips and a thorough trouble shooting guide.


Q: What kind of nitrous kit should I buy?

A: Many manufacturers offer complete systems. They usually include every component that may be needed for a complete installation; parts such as drill bits, pipe tap, fuel hose, brackets, fittings, thread sealer, hardware, wiring, 10 lb. bottle and the switches needed.


Q: Can I simply bolt a nitrous kit to my stock engine?

A: Yes, most Nitrous Oxide Performance Systems fit virtually any stock engine application. The key is to choose the correct jetting for a given application, i.e: 4 cylinder. Engines normally allow an extra 40-60 HP, 6 cylinder engines usually work great between 75-100 extra HP, small block V8’s (302/350/400cid) can typically accept up to 140 extra HP, and big block V8’s (427/454) might accept from 125-200 extra HP. These suggested ranges provide maximum reliability from most stock engines using cast pistons and cast crank with few or no engine modifications.


Q: Will I have to change my ignition system?

A: Most late model ignition systems are well suited for nitrous applications. In some higher HP cases, it may be advisable to look into a high quality high output ignition system.


Q: Should I modify my fuel system to use nitrous oxide?

A: Most stock fuel pumps will work adequately for smaller nitrous applications. It is important to check to see if your pump can flow enough fuel to your existing fuel system (whether carburetor or fuel injected), as well as being able to supply the additional fuel required by the nitrous kit under full throttle conditions. It may be a good idea to dedicate a separate fuel pump to the nitrous kit.


Q: How much performance improvement can I expect with a nitrous system?

A: For many applications an improvement from 1 to 3 full seconds and 10 to 15 MPH in the quarter mile can be expected. Factors such as engine size, tires, jetting, gearing, etc. will affect the final results.


Q: What are some of the general rules for even higher H.P. gains?

A: Generally, forged aluminum pistons are one of the best modifications you can make. Retard ignition timing by 4-8 degrees (1 to 1½ degrees timing retard per 50 H.P. gain). In many cases a higher flowing fuel pump may be necessary. Higher octane (100+) racing type fuel may be required as well as spark plugs 1 to 2 heat ranges colder than normal with gaps closed to .025″-.030″.

For gains over 250 H.P., other important modifications could be necessary in addition to those mentioned above. These special modifications may include a forged crankshaft, a high quality race type connecting rod, a high output fuel pump dedicated to feeding the additional fuel demands of the nitrous system, and a racing fuel with high specific gravity and an octane rating of 110 or more. For more specific information about your application, please contact the Ny-Trex technical dept.


Q: How long will the 10lb. bottle last?

A: This largely depends on the type of nitrous kit and jetting used. For example, a 75 HP Power Shot kit with a standard 10 lb. capacity bottle will usually offer up to 15 to 18 full quarter-mile passes. For power levels of 125 HP, 7 to 10 full quarter-mile passes may be expected. If nitrous is only used in 2nd and 3rd gears, the number of runs will be more.


Q: How long can I hold the nitrous button down?

A: It is possible to hold the button down until the bottle is empty. However no longer than 15 continuous seconds at a time is recommended.


Q: When is the best time to use nitrous?

A: At wide open throttle only (unless a progressive controller is used). Due to the tremendous amount of increased torque, you will generally find best results, traction permitting, at early activation. Nitrous can be safely applied above 2,500 RPM under full throttle conditions.


Q: Will I have to rejet my carburetor on my car when adding nitrous?

A: No! Most nitrous systems are independent of your carburetor and injects its own mixture of fuel and nitrous.


Q: Is nitrous oxide flammable?

A: No. Nitrous oxide by itself is nonflammable. However, the oxygen present in nitrous oxide causes combustion of fuel to take place more rapidly.


Q: Will nitrous oxide cause detonation?

A: No, not directly. Detonation is the result of too little fuel present during combustion (lean) or too low of an octane of fuel. Too much ignition advance also causes detonation. In general, most kits engineered for stock type engines work well with premium type fuels and minimal decreases of ignition timing. In racing applications where higher compression ratios are used, a higher fuel octane must be used as well as more ignition retard.


Q: Where can I get my bottle refilled?

A: Here, of course!


Q: Is there any performance increase in using medical grade nitrous oxide?

A: None! Ny-Trex recommends only the automotive grade, called Ny-trous Plus. Ny-trous Plus contains a minimal amount of sulfur dioxide (100 ppm) as a deterrent to substance abuse. The additive does not affect performance.


Q: Can you use an aftermarket computer chip in conjunction with a Nitrous system?

A: Only if the chip had been designed specifically for use with nitrous oxide. Most aftermarket chips use more aggressive timing advance curves to create more power. This can lead to potential detonation. You may wish to check with the manufacturer of the chip before using it. The top manufacturers, such as Hypertech do make special chips for use with nitrous.


Q: Does nitrous oxide raise cylinder pressures and Temperatures?

A: Yes. Due to the ability to burn more fuel, this is exactly why nitrous makes so much power.


Q: Are there any benefits to chilling the nitrous bottle?

A: No. Chilling the bottle lowers the pressure dramatically and will also lower the flow rate of the nitrous causing a fuel rich condition and reducing power. On cold evenings you might run on the rich side. For optimal running conditions, keep bottle pressure at approximately 800-900 psi. Ny-Trex has a nitrous pressure gauge that allows you to monitor this. If you live or operate a nitrous system in colder climates, we recommend purchasing a bottle heater kit. Generally, ambient temperatures of 70-90 degrees F. will allow for best power potential of Ny-Trex kits.


Q: Are there benefits to using nitrous with turbo or supercharger applications?

A: Absolutely! In turbo applications, turbo lag is completely eliminated with the addition of a nitrous system. In addition, both turbo and superchargers compress the incoming air, thus heating it. With the injection of nitrous, a tremendous intercooling effect reduces intake charge temperatures by 75 degrees or more. Boost is usually increased as well, adding to even more power.


Q: What effect does nitrous have on an engine with considerable miles on it?

A: This depends largely on the actual condition of the engine components. Any performance modification to an engine that is worn out or poorly tuned will have detrimental effects. However, an engine in good condition, with good ring and head gasket sealing, should be able to use nitrous without any abnormal wear.


Q: Will the use of nitrous oxide affect the catalytic converter?

A: No. The increase in oxygen present in the exhaust may actually increase the efficiency of the converter. Since the use of nitrous is normally limited to 10-15 seconds of continuous use, there usually are no appreciable effects. Temperatures are typically well within acceptable standards.


Q: Will the performance increase be the same in a highly modified engine compared to a stock engine when using the same kit and jetting?

A: Not really. In most cases the percentage of increase is greater from a stock engine because it is not as efficient as the modified engine in a normal non-nitrous mode. However, since the effects of nitrous oxide magnify the output of any engine, the total power output will be much higher in the modified engine.


Q: Can high compression engines utilize nitrous oxide?

A: Absolutely. High or low compression ratios can work quite suitably with nitrous oxide provided the proper balance of nitrous and fuel enrichment is maintained. Ny-Trex kits are used in applications from relatively low compression stock type motors to higher compression racing engines, which often exceed 15 to 1. Generally, the higher the compression ratio, the more ignition retard, as well as higher octane fuel, is required.


Q: Can service station fuel be used for nitrous oxide applications?

A: Yes. Use of a premium type leaded or unleaded fuel of 92, or greater, octane is recommended for most applications. Most Ny-Trex performance systems are designed for use with service station pump gas. However, when higher compression or higher horsepower levels are used, a racing fuel of 100 octane, or more, must be used.


Q: What type of cam is best suited for use with nitrous oxide?

A: Generally, cams that have more exhaust overlap and duration. However, it is best to choose a cam tailored to normal use (when nitrous is not activated) since 99% of most vehicle operation is not at full throttle. There are special cam grinds available for nitrous competition, which have more aggressive exhaust profile ramping, etc. Since cam selection depends largely on vehicle weight, gearing, etc., it is best to stick to cam manufacturer’s recommendations for your particular goal.


Q: Which is the best position to mount a nitrous bottle?

A: All nitrous bottles come with internal siphon tubes and, in order to maintain proper liquid nitrous pickup, it is important to mount the bottle correctly. We recommend mounting the bottle at a 15-degree angle with the valve end higher than the bottom of the bottle. The valve end of the bottle should point to the front of the vehicle and the valve outlet port should face passenger side of vehicle.


Q: What are the advantages of using nitrous compared to other performance options?

A: The cost of many other performance options can be very expensive. Nitrous systems, by far, give the most bang for the buck. With a nitrous system, performance and reliability can be obtained for a much more reasonable price while retaining the advantages of a stock engine during normal driving. And, nitrous offers tremendous gains in torque without having to rev the engine to excessive rpm’s. These factors help your engine last longer than many other methods of boosting horsepower.

Q: What kind of pressures are components subject to in a typical nitrous kit?

A: Pressures often exceed 1,000 psi. This is why most kits use only high-pressure aircraft quality components like stainless steel braided Teflon lines throughout its systems.

Q: How do I know how much nitrous is left in the bottle?

A: The most reliable way is to weigh the bottle to determine how many pounds remain. When a bottle is near empty (about 20% or less nitrous remaining) a surging effect is normally felt.

Q: What is the function of the blow-off safety valve on the bottle?

A: It is very important not to overfill a bottle; i.e., a 10 lb. capacity bottle should not be filled with more than 10 lb. of nitrous oxide by weight. Over-filling and/or too much heat can cause excessive bottle pressures forcing the safety seal to blow and releasing the contents from the bottle.