Differences Between Wet and Dry Nitrous on a Mustang

Written by:

Email
Shop Mustang Nitrous
Nitrous will give your Mustang the spark it needs to blow the doors off the competition. With no other modification is it as easy to hook up tens of hundreds of horsepower will little more than a simple kit.
Shop Now
Wet vs Dry nitrous: Which should you install on your Mustang? Well, in the never ending quest for more power in the hot rod world, one of the most popular ways of achieving extra horsepower is the use of nitrous oxide, commonly referred to simply as nitrous or “NOS.” There are two general nitrous kits on the market today; they are the “wet”, and “dry” kit. There are also a lot of myths floating around about nitrous, and different advantages/disadvantages to each kit. Lets explain this “magic juice” and how it can improve the performance of your Mustang.

What is The Difference between Wet And Dry Nitrous Kits on a Mustang?

Differences Between Wet and Dry Nitrous Kits - Ford Mustangs

  • • Wet Kit mixes nitrous with the fuel directly

  • • Wet Kit incorrectly installed can result in a nitrous backfire

  • • Dry Kit delivers the nitrous oxide and fuel separately into your engine

  • • Dry Kit relies on more components to work perfectly

Ford Mustang With Nitrous Installed

How Nitrous Oxide Works with Your Mustang

Nitrous oxide is a gas containing nitrogen and oxygen. When heated above 570 degrees F, the nitrogen and oxygen break apart, releasing more oxygen into the combustion chamber. More oxygen means more fuel can be added to the mix, which of course, equals more power. Nitrous also has a cooling effect on the intake charge. The cooler intake air is thus denser, so more of it can be packed into the combustion chamber, also resulting in more power.

 

What parts are needed for a Mustang nitrous setup?

In general, a nitrous oxide system for a Ford Mustang consists of a pressurized bottle of nitrous, purge system, lines to plumb the nitrous to the engine, a switch for activation, and various plumbing fittings depending on the system. Of course, there are other parts depending on the exact kit and application. With a switch located near the driver, a “shot” of nitrous is delivered to the fuel system. A shot is slang for the amount of nitrous delivered per use, usually in a predetermined horsepower rating (examples would be a 50,100 or 150 shot, equal in number to the amount of horsepower each provides). The switch triggers a solenoid (electrically controlled valve) to open, delivering the nitrous.

Wet Nitrous Kits for Ford Mustangs

The wet kit mixes nitrous with the fuel directly. This mixture is then sprayed into the intake tube near the throttle body. Many Mustang tuners prefer the wet kit, as it is easier to deal with since the computer controls the air/fuel ratio. Usually, the tuner simply chooses how much timing to give the engine. Also, with a wet nitrous kit, there is no need to upgrade your Mustang’s injectors. Since the nitrous is mixed directly with fuel, there is no need to upgrade the injectors as there is no need for additional fuel over what is regulated for any one given time. You also don’t run the risk of a failed sensor like the mass airflow sensor.

Nitrous Bottle With Opener Installed Nitrous bottle with remote bottle opener

What are the drawbacks of installing a wet nitrous kit on my Mustang?

Of course, there are some drawbacks. This system, if not installed properly or poorly tuned can result in a nitrous backfire. Although very amusing to spectators, this can definitely ruin your day. Because of the nitrous in the fuel line, there is a more fuel vapor lingering in the intake. If this vapor ignites, it packs some serious power. Sometimes, the entire intake will detach from the car, in many, many pieces. Always make sure you select a quality tune for your Mustang before installing your nitrous kit.

 

Bottle pressure

Unlike the dry kit, bottle pressure with a wet nitrous kit is much more important. Oftentimes a bottle heater is preferred to keep the pressure constant and at an ideal level. In the event the bottle pressure gets low, the result will be a rich condition. Of course, this will cause a loss in horsepower when coming off idle.

 

Purging the nitrous lines

Purging is absolutely necessary. Purging involves venting nitrous into the open air, ensuring the nitrous supply lines are loaded with nitrous and devoid of air. This ensures the mixture will be correct. This is more critical with a wet kit than the dry kit.

Dry Nitrous Kits for Ford Mustangs

A dry nitrous kit delivers the nitrous oxide and fuel separately to your Mustang’s engine. The nitrous is generally delivered at the throttle body or mass airflow sensor (MAF). This system generally requires upgraded fuel injectors to handle the increased fuel demand to accompany the increase in air. The nitrous can also be placed before the mass air sensor. This allows the computer to recognize the nitrous and adjust the fuel accordingly.

A dry kit does not require a solenoid. Furthermore, the purge system is not as important, though it is still recommended for absolute safety. Also, there are fewer fittings required to install the kit. Since the nitrous is mixed with the intake charge, the mixture is pretty evenly distributed in the intake manifold. Also, because the nitrous and fuel are mixed separately, there are no pesky fuel vapors hanging out in the intake manifold and the risk of detonation is greatly reduced. So you don’t have to worry bout the intake rocketing off the engine and the embarrassment of calling for a tow.

What are the disadvantages of a dry nitrous system for my Mustang?

The dry kit also has its drawbacks. Most tuners are not fond of the dry kit. It requires a bit more skill than the wet kit. This system can be finicky and temperamental. Many times the injectors will need to be switched out to a high flow type. They must be in perfect working order and not driven more than 85% duty cycle. With the dry kit, you are relying on the injectors, MAF, and the computer to add the extra fuel required. If one of these electrical components fails, poof goes the engine.

Nitrous Oxide and Bottle Warmer

Myths Regarding Nitrous Oxide and use with your Ford Mustang

Due to the improper use and misunderstanding of nitrous, there are many myths circling about it. Many of these myths are from misinformed users and give the power adder a bad reputation.

Is nitrous oxide flammable?

Many think nitrous is a highly volatile flammable gas. Of course, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Nitrous is not flammable at all and used alone it will not ignite; nitrous only provides more oxygen to be burned and a colder intake charge.

Does nitrous cause premature engine damage

As with any power adder, it is recommended the engine be designed and built to handle the power. A forged rotating assembly is highly recommended. If properly installed and used, nitrous is no more damaging than a supercharger or turbo. In fact, since nitrous is only used on demand and not constantly, many consider it to be the safest power adder.

Is medical grade nitrous is the same as automotive nitrous used on a Mustang?

Before you start huffing your nitrous bottle, please realize it is not the same as what the dentist gives you. It is not intended for medical use. Medical grade nitrous is the purest form of nitrous oxide. There is also no performance advantage to using medical nitrous in your Mustang.

Choose the Best Kit for You and Your Mustang

For the money, nitrous is often considered the best power adder on the market. The ease of installation also makes it very appealing. There are numerous companies that sell nitrous kits that are application specific to your Mustang. Whether wet or dry, choose the kit that best fits you and your Mustang. Your goals dictate which kit and components will work best for you.

FItment includes:   •   1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, LX, GT, SVO, Cobra, V6, Mach 1, Bullitt, GT500, Boss Mustangs

Related Nitrous Info & Advice

Related Nitrous Categories

Related Mustang Categories