The Nitrous Project

By: Sean B. | 03/14/2013 < Back to Motor Life Home
Last year we delved into some performance products to help get the most out of your blower with The Supercharger Project, now we take on how to maximize your return from adding nitrous. It's important to know how nitrous actually works. Nitrous Oxide is a chemical compound that is made by leprechauns to make your car, magically, go faster. OK, that's only partially true. Nitrous Oxide is a chemical compound of 2 parts nitrogen and 1 part oxygen. As you know, what makes your combustion bigger, leading to more horsepower, is a greater air-fuel mixture. When the nitrous oxide reaches a certain temperature, around 600° F, inside the combustion chamber, the nitrogen molecules separate from the oxygen, allowing more potential oxygen to be burned by the spark. The nitrous oxide also dramatically cools in temperature when being converted from the liquid in the N2O tank to gas in the intake. This also allows for more potential air and fuel to be added into the chamber for combustion. Now there is more oxygen, but that means you need more fuel as well, because if your engine burns too lean, it could lead to blown pistons. There are a few ways in which fuel can be added to the mix. In a dry nitrous system, fuel is added the existing fuel system based on oxygen readings given by the O2 sensor. In a wet nitrous system, fuel molecules are combined into the nitrous mix, either by a plate spray bar system located near the throttle body or carburetor, a single fogger or direct port fogger system. In order to add more fuel into the mix, you will need a more powerful fuel pump. The extent of your need depends on horsepower. For carbureted engines with a horsepower up to 650hp, we recommend Mallory #4142 series 140 Comp Pump paired with an included return style regulator. If you will be reaching over 650hp, step up to the Mallory #5250 series 250 Comp Pump and a Mallory #4300M 5-port competition regulator. If you have a fuel injected engine, Mallory offers the 110+ GPH #5110FI Comp Pump, or for higher horsepower engines, the #5160FI Comp Pump, which delivers 160+ GPH free flow at 12.5 volts. Mallory Ignition products that are specially engineered to work with power adders such as nitrous The right ignition system is crucial when introducing any power adder to your car. We like to get a feel for what you are trying to do, and then recommend the perfect product combination.

Street Performance

If you're using this car mainly for daily driving, Mallory has the #6865 HyFire Nitrous 6 CD ignition box. A key included feature of this system is the single stage ignition retard, adjustable in .1 degree increments up to 9.9 degrees of retard when your nitrous oxide system is activated. You should use a Mallory #30440 e-series coil with this CD ignition box.

Street and Strip

It is truly a challenge to get through a blog about upgrading your performance without mentioning the #685 HyFire VI CD box. This particular multi-strike CD ignition jam-packs the features you need for sportsman drag racing into an affordably priced, easy-to-control unit. Set your preferences with a digital display and push button controls. The built-in RPM window switch is a great perk for nitrous oxide equipped engines. Depending on your RPM range, you can go with a #30440 e-series coil or the higher RPM #29625 Promaster classic series.

Drag Racing

Our HyFire VII (7) Series CD boxes are simply your best choice for professional level drag racing. The HyFire VIIC #667C has 3 rev limiters and 3 retard stages an RPM switch to turn on or off accessories based on RPM, high speed advance, automatic start retard and a remote digital display with push button controls. You can get the same features, but with 2 rev limiters and 4 retard stages in the HyFire VIICR #667CR. For these ignition boxes, you will need the high RPM #28880 Promaster racing coil. All of these ignition boxes feature ignition retard. This is a fundamental component when adding nitrous. Retarding the timing can prevent a blown piston and also allows the N2O mixture more time to reach it's critical heat in order to split its molecules.

Sealing the Deal

Power adders also increase the stress on your head gaskets. A good high compression gasket that will provide the industry's best seal is a Mr. Gasket MLS head gasket. Even under pressure, these gaskets have excellent torque retention, because of the state-of-the-art manufacturing process where we temper the gasket to relax stresses from the forming process. Mr. Gasket MLS head gaskets are especially good when adding nitrous because with large shots of nitrous comes cylinder head lift. Our MLS head gaskets are manufactured from type 300 full hard stainless steel which is also known as "spring steel" for its ability to act like a spring, maintaining a tight seal in the event of cylinder head lift. As you might know, Mr. Gasket MLS head gaskets also carry a lifetime warranty.

A Nitrous Mastermind

ACCEL released a ground breaking nitrous controller called the ACCEL Digital Nitrous Mastermind. The concept behind this controller was to allow you to modulate the flow of nitrous based on RPM, time or both. This allows your system to use more nitrous without harming the engine or losing traction to wheel spin. The RPM progression mode starts the nitrous flow at 1% and progressively increases to 100% as RPM increases This is because when an engine is at low RPM, adding too much nitrous can cause strain on engine internals. The launch mode ramps up nitrous over time, this is to prevent wheel spin from too much nitrous at lower speeds. This controller can also trigger a retard in your ignition system up to 15 degrees of timing while nitrous is flowing. The Digital Nitrous Mastermind also has a number of safeguards to cut off nitrous and/or fuel based on different scenarios. For instance, if fuel pressure drops, the nitrous will automatically be cut-off to prevent too lean an air-fuel mixture*, which can cause damage. The top end rev limiter progressively cuts spark at a user selected RPM to eliminate engine damage caused by over revving. This also cuts fuel and nitrous flow 50 RPM before the rev limit, so nitrous is not built up in the exhaust system, which could lead to backfires. Its Fuel/N2O offset allows you to adjust the time difference between when the fuel and N2O solenoids pulse, which makes sure that the fuel is injected first, avoiding a possible lean spike.
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