The Nitrous Bottle
A typical nitrous system has six main components. The first of these is the nitrous bottle. Nitrous oxide is stored as a liquid in a cylinder that’s referred to as a bottle. The most common size bottle is a 10 lb. bottle, although there are several sizes that can be used. The bottle is normally mounted at the rear of the vehicle, with the valve handle pointing to the front of the vehicle. The top of the bottle is generally higher than the bottom of the bottle. This positioning is important for a reason. Remember that nitrous oxide is stored as a liquid, so the goal is to have the pickup tube inside the bottle, fully immersed, so that there’s no interruption in the delivery of nitrous. As the vehicle launches, the front of it lifts. With the top-high/bottom/low set up, the pickup tube will remain immersed in the liquid nitrous.
In some situations, it may be necessary, or desired, for the bottle to be oriented differently. In these cases, the pickup tubes positioning should be considered and altered if needed. In some circumstances, the pickup may even be removed, and the bottle mounted upside down.
The nitrous feed line carries the nitrous from the bottle, through the trunk bottom, to the front of the car, stopping at the solenoids. This line will be routed under the car, and it’s important that it’s kept away from areas that may cause it to become damaged. You’ll also have a vent tube that connects to the bottle, which will be routed out of the car. Usually, this goes through the trunk bottom in the same manner as the feed line does. The vent tube allows the nitrous to exit the cabin of the car, should the bottle’s safety valve fail. An entire bottle of nitrous venting inside the car would be a very dangerous situation.
The solenoids control the flow of the nitrous, as well as the extra fuel needed, if a wet-nitrous system is being used. In the past, nitrous solenoids were essentially the same, and easily recognized under the hood. In more recent times, they have become more complicated. Sometimes the traditional solenoid is shunned, in favor of a management unit that regulates the flow of nitrous and fuel, if needed. Regardless, the purpose is still the same. Send the nitrous towards the engine when called upon to do so.
Jets are small items that resemble nozzles on a garden hose sprayer, although at a much smaller size. The jets allow you to control the rate of nitrous, and fuel for wet-nitrous kits, into the engine. The jets are often categorized by the amount of horsepower they’ll add. So adding horsepower is as simple as swapping the jet that’s used in the system.
The switch is used to activate the system, and begin the flow of nitrous. In reality, there is often more than one switch used, forcing several criteria to be met before the nitrous begins to flow. When discussing the basics, however, they’re all part of the same genre of component. Falling into the category of possible switches are: the wide open throttle switch, windows switch, and boost switch. Several of these are often used together.
Even after the solenoid of management unit allows the flow of nitrous, there must still be a way to direct the nitrous into the engine. This is the job of the injector plates or nozzles. Depending upon the system you’re installing, you may use a plate, or a nozzle, as an exit point for the nitrous. Regardless, the purpose is the same, which is to provide you a method to feed the nitrous, and possibly fuel, directly into the engine.