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Real HorsePower - F.A.Q. -
Frequently Asked Questions
1 horsepower = 745.699872
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.
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?
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?
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)?
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?
Yes, there are kits
available for every car manufactured in the world today.
Q. Can I
hide my nitrous system from a novice tuner?
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?
are some general rules for creating the most horsepower without damaging
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?
No other power
additive in the world offers such a bargain as nitrous oxide.
much does it cost to get nitrous refills?
The cost of nitrous
oxide varies depending on your location, however a general estimate would be
between $3.50 - $5.00 per pound.
long will a bottle of nitrous last?
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?
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 quality nitrous
bottle heater is essential for proper system performance.
Q. Can I
run my car all-motor with nitrous installed?
Of course. The
nitrous hookup only affects performance when it is being used.
nitrous blow my engine up?
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
A. Nitrous backfires
can be caused by two situations.
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.
A system that is operated
Q. What is
the difference between a wet and a dry system?
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.
does nitrous have such a scary reputation?
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.
doesn't everyone use nitrous?
Nitrous is not for
everyone, some prefer turbos, some like blowers, and others feel like it is
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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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