Horsepower rules the streets and many performance-orientated consumers invest thousands of dollars into their cars with hopes of entering that upper echelon of those with supreme horsepower. With the high costs of aftermarket products (e.g. turbo kits for the 350Z), taking two mortgages on the house doesn't sound as ludicrous as it might have been a few years back. But what upgrades are possible that don't put a heavy dent in your wallet? Hmm...Nitrous Oxide sure does sound good right about now.
What is nitrous oxide and what does it do? In terms of human consumption, we label the use of Nitrous Oxide for recreational use a bad idea. In automotive performance, we can't argue it's the most bang-for-the-buck product on the market when looking for horsepower. Indeed, nitrous oxide used in grandma's station wagon can transform her "hemorrhoid special" into a tarmac-scorching "Hell on wheels." Is nitrous the modern-day snake oil? We think not; but what's really in that bottle and how does it work? To fully understand the advantages of using nitrous oxide is to know the its chemical composition. A nitrous oxygen molecule is made up of two nitrogen atoms and one oxygen atom held together by a chemical bond. Taking two parts of molecular nitrogen and one part oxygen, the chemical bond is separated from heat upon entering the engine's combustion chamber, thus providing more oxygen to burn fuel efficiently. Nitrous oxide has this effect because it has a higher percentage of oxygen content than does the air in the atmosphere. Nitrous has 36 percent oxygen by weight while the atmosphere has 23 percent. Also note, nitrous oxide is 50 percent denser than air at the same pressure. Thus, a cubic foot of nitrous oxide contains 2.3 times as much oxygen as a cubic foot of air. Drawbacks of using nitrous are balancing the delivery of nitrous oxide and receiving additional fuel at the correct proportions. Feed nitrous to the engine without proper fuel and a lean air/nitrous condition will occur, causing detonation problems and engine failure. In adverse situations, if the proportions are such that too much fuel is delivered to the engine, the engine will bog down and minimal horsepower gains will be seen.
Sound intimidating? Fear not. Edelbrock and its R&D team have developed its own kit for the popular 350Z. Edelbrock has introduced a nitrous kit specific for the Nissan 350Z and its potential VQ35DE. Developing a dry nitrous system, this complete kit is offered with two stages of jets (60 hp and 90 hp) enabling the baseline 230whp VQ35DE engine to up the tempo to the tune of 352 whp of tire-smoking enjoyment with a flip of a switch. Keep in mind the 60 hp (34 jet) was tuned using standard 91 octane fuel. When using the 90hp (42 jet), Edelbrock highly recommends using race fuel or a fuel additive (octane booster) to minimize the chance of detonation. On the 125 hp (50 jet) Edelbrock recommends race gas and a change to a set of colder heat range plugs (non-platinum or Iridium) for this particular setup.