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Real HorsePower - F.A.Q. - Frequently Asked Questions

1 horsepower = 745.699872 Watts

Nitrous Oxide Systems - NOS

Power additives can be used on just about any make or model car, from your Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Ford, Dodge, Chevrolet, Porsche, or any number of other car companies. The extra horsepower that you can get from these power additives is amazing. The price that you may pay for the extra horsepower is not much usually in relation to how much more horsepower you will probably gain. The main concern is having a good  platform to start with before adding your desired choice of horsepower gaining products. Your Engine and drive train will need to be strong, healthy, and in pretty good condition to start with, if not in better then good condition. Or else you will end up like a lot of people have in the past, with blown pistons, or other engineor drive train failures.

Read below for some of the most popular and frequently asked questions about NOS.

 

Q. How does nitrous oxide produce more horsepower?
A.
Nitrous oxide provides the oxygen that allows an engine to burn more fuel; more burned fuel produces more power.

Q. When is the best time to use my nitrous system?
A.
When you see blue lights flashing behind you (joking), or you want to go fast, or do an unbelievable smoke show.

Q. What is meant by 30, 50, 100, 150, and 200 shots?
A.
"Shot" is commonly used language in the nitrous community to refer to the amount of horsepower increase provided by the nitrous set-up.

Q. What is the safest way to activate a  nitrous system?
A.
The only safe way is to use a wide open throttle switch; however you may configure any number of ways to "trip" the system but all must be used in conjunction with some type of wide-open throttle switch.

Q. How can a nitrous set-up be activated (a "happy button," automatically, or what)?
A.
Some systems come standard with wide-open throttle switches; some offer an electronic TPS switch as well as a push button.

Q. Can I install a nitrous system on my car if there is no kit available?
A.
Yes, there are kits available for every car manufactured in the world today.

Q. Can I hide my nitrous system from a novice tuner?
A.
Yes, it is quite easy to hide a nitrous system from the casual observer.

Q. Can I use nitrous on my turbo or supercharged vehicle?
A.
Yes

Q. What are some general rules for creating the most horsepower without damaging anything?
A.
Generally speaking, the amount of power that can be created with nitrous is almost limitless. To avoid a fatal engine failure, the internal components of the engine must match the amount of power that is going to be produced. The use of proper air/fuel ratios is essential and the quality of the nitrous system is important.

Q. Is a nitrous system worth the money, horsepower per dollar wise?
A.
No other power additive in the world offers such a bargain as nitrous oxide.

Q. How much does it cost to get nitrous refills?
A.
The cost of nitrous oxide varies depending on your location, however a general estimate would be between $3.50 - $5.00 per pound.

Q. How long will a bottle of nitrous last?
A.
That depends on the level of power being produced. The formula for calculating your nitrous usage is: 0.8 lbs N2O X 10 seconds = 100 horsepower. I.E. If your system is jetted for 100 horsepower it will use 0.8 lbs of nitrous for every 10 seconds of usage.

Q. Can I vary the amount of nitrous injected when I want?
A.
Yes, some systems allows the user to precisely control the amount of nitrous delivered to the engine from the comfort of the driver's seat.

Q. Is a nitrous bottle heater good?
A.
A quality nitrous bottle heater is essential for proper system performance.

Q. Can I run my car all-motor with nitrous installed?
A.
Of course. The nitrous hookup only affects performance when it is being used.

Q. Can nitrous blow my engine up?
A.
Nitrous in and of itself cannot "blowup" your engine. Poorly designed nitrous kits, poor quality, and improper air/fuel ratios may damage your engine.

Q. What is nitrous backfire?
A.
Nitrous backfires can be caused by two situations. 1. A nitrous system that is too rich or a system that atomizes the fuel improperly, thus causing pooling or an excess of fuel in the intake manifold. 2. A system that is operated too lean.

Q. What is the difference between a wet and a dry system?
A.
A "wet" system blends a mixture of nitrous and atomized fuel into the incoming air stream, thus providing a superb air/fuel ratio for each.

Q. Why does nitrous have such a scary reputation?
A.
There have been some very low quality nitrous kits sold to unsuspecting customers in the past 20 years; this along with the abuse nitrous has suffered from idiots who damage their own engines.

Q. Why doesn't everyone use nitrous?
A.
Nitrous is not for everyone, some prefer turbos, some like blowers, and others feel like it is cheating.

Turbochargers

Turbochargers are a forced induction system. They compress the air entering into the engine. The advantage of compressing the air is that it lets the engine accommodate more air into a cylinder, more air means more fuel can be added. Hence, you get more power from each combustion in the engine. A turbocharged engine produces more power overall than the same engine without the turbocharger. This can greatly improve the power-to-weight ratio for the engine.

In order to achieve this boost, the turbocharger uses the exhaust from the engine to turn a turbine, which in turn rotates an air pump. The turbine in the turbocharger rotates at speeds of up to 150,000 rotations per minute, better known as RPMs, that is about 30 times faster than the average car engine turns. And since it is hooked up to the exhaust, the temperatures in the turbine are very high.

Basics
One of the best ways to get more power out of your engine is to increase the amount of air and fuel that it will run on. A turbo can be a simple, compact way to add power, especially for an aftermarket power additive.

Turbochargers allow an engine to burn more fuel and air by adding this to the existing cylinders. The average boost provided by a turbocharger is 6 to 8 pounds per square inch (PSI). Since normal atmospheric pressure is 14.7 PSI at sea level, you can see that you will be getting approximately 50 percent more air into your engine. Hence, you would expect to gain 50 percent more power. It's not always perfect though, so you might get a 30- to 40-percent increase instead.

One cause of the lack in extra power comes from the fact that the power to spin the turbine is taken from elsewhere. Having a turbine in the exhaust flow increases the restriction in the exhaust. This means that on the exhaust stroke, the engine has to work harder against a higher back-pressure. This takes a little bit of power from the cylinders that are firing at that particular time.

The turbocharger also helps in higher elevations, where the air is thinner. Normal engines will experience less power at high elevations because for each stroke of the piston, the engine will get a smaller amount of air. A turbocharged engine may also have loss of power, but the loss will be less dramatic because the thinner air is easier for the turbocharger to pump.

Older cars with carburetors automatically increase the fuel rate to match the increased airflow going into the engine. Modern cars with fuel injection will also do this to an extent. The fuel-injection system relies on oxygen sensors in the exhaust to determine if the air-to-fuel ratio is is at its proper levels, so these systems should automatically increase the fuel flow if a turbocharger is added.

If a turbocharger with too much boost is added to a fuel-injected car, the system may not provide enough fuel, either the ECM or the controller may not allow it, or the injectors and pump are not capable of supplying it. So other modifications may have to be made to get the greatest benefit from your turbocharger.

How It Works
The turbocharger is bolted to the exhaust manifold on your engine. The exhaust from the engine spins the turbine, which works like a gas turbine engine. The turbine is connected by a shaft to the compressor, which is located between the air filter and the intake manifold. The compressor pressurizes the air going into the pistons.

The exhaust from the cylinders passes through the turbine blades, making the turbine spin. The more exhaust that goes through the blades, the faster they spin.

On the other end of the shaft that the turbine is attached to, the compressor pumps air into the cylinders. The compressor is a type of centrifugal pump. It takes air in at the center of its blades and propels it outward as it spins.

In order to handle rotations of up to 150,000 RPMs, the turbine shaft has to be supported, unlike conventional shafts and bearings. Most bearings would fly apart at speeds of this magnitude, so most turbochargers use a fluid bearing. This type of bearing supports the shaft on a thin layer of oil that is constantly pumped around the shaft. There are two reasons for this: It cools the shaft and some of the other turbocharger parts and it also allows the shaft to spin without much friction.

Too Much Boost
With air being pumped into the engine under pressure by your turbocharger, and then being compressed more by the pistons, there is more danger of knock. Knocking happens because as you compress the air, the temperature of the air rises. The temperature may increase enough to ignite the fuel before the spark plug fires. Vehicles with turbochargers sometimes need to run higher octane fuel to avoid knock. If the boost pressure is really high, the compression ratio of your engine may have to be reduced to avoid knocking.

An intercooler or charge air cooler is an additional component that resembles a radiator, except air flows through the inside as well as the outside of the intercooler. The intake air flows through the sealed intercooler, while cooler air from outside is blown or drawn across fins by the engines cooling fan(s).

The intercooler further increases the power of the engine by cooling the pressurized air coming out of the compressor before it enters the engine. If the turbocharger is operating at a 7 PSI of boost, the intercooled system will put in 7 PSI of cooled air, which is denser and also contains more air molecules then the warmer air that would have went in without the intercooler.

Turbo Lag
One of the biggest problems with turbochargers is that they do not give an immediate power boost when you step on the accelerator. It takes a moment for the turbine to achieve the speed needed before the boost is produced. The result is a feeling of lag when you step on the throttle, and then the vehicle speeds up when the turbo kicks in.

One way to lessen turbo lag is to reduce the inertia of the rotating parts, mostly by reducing their weight. This will allow the turbine and compressor to accelerate quicker and start providing boost quicker.

Small vs. Large Turbocharger
One possible way to reduce the inertia of the turbine and compressor is to make the turbocharger smaller. A small turbocharger will provide boost quicker and at lower engine speeds, but may not be able to provide much boost at higher engine speeds when a large volume of air is going into the engine. It is also in danger of rotating too quickly at higher engine speeds, when lots of exhaust is flowing through the turbine.

A larger turbocharger can provide lots of boost at higher engine speeds, but will probably have bad turbo lag because of how long it takes to accelerate the heavier turbine and compressor.

Optional Turbo Features

The Wastegate
Most automotive turbochargers have a wastegate, which allows the use of a smaller turbocharger to reduce lag while preventing it from rotating too quickly at higher engine speeds. The wastegate is a valve that allows some of the exhaust to bypass the turbine blades. The wastegate senses the boost pressure. If the pressure gets too high, it could be an indicator that the turbine is rotating too quickly, so the wastegate will bypass some of the exhaust around the turbine blades, allowing the blades to slow down.

Ball Bearings
Some turbochargers use ball bearings instead of fluid bearings to support the turbine shaft. They are super-precise bearings made of special materials to handle the speeds and temperatures of your turbocharger. They allow the turbine shaft to rotate with less friction than the fluid bearings used in most turbochargers. They also allow a slightly smaller and lighter shaft to be used. This helps the turbocharger achieve its boost quicker and further reduces turbo lag.

Ceramic Turbine Blades
Ceramic turbine blades are lighter than steel blades used in most turbochargers. Hence, this allows the turbine to achieve boost speeds faster, which reduces turbo lag.

Sequential Turbochargers
Some engines use two turbochargers of different sizes. The smaller one spins up to speed quickly while reducing lag, while the larger one takes over at higher engine speeds to provide more boost.

Intercoolers
When air is compressed, it heats up, and when air heats up, it expands. So some of the pressure increase from a turbocharger is the result of heating the air before it goes into your engine. In order to increase the power of your engine, the goal is to get more air molecules into the cylinder, not necessarily more air pressure.

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