5.0 Mustang & Super FordsHow To Engine
Zex Nitrous-Level Gauge Installation - 5.0 Tech Inspection - September 2013
Attention, nitrous junkies! That's right, this call goes out to all ye fans of juice. This cool part is something we really think you're gonna love—we definitely do.
Those of you who regularly use nitrous oxide are well aware of the dramatic way it can change a late-model Mustang's attitude. With the flick of a switch, N2O can turn the most unassuming Pony into a tire-blazing beast. The seat-of-the-pants kick that comes from a shot of nitrous definitely is one of 'Stangbanging's simple, and in many cases, most addictive pleasures. However, as such, its usage is something that should be monitored closely.
Nitrous oxide is used in our Mustangs for street, dyno, and racing purposes. The gas is commonly stored in 10- or 15-pound, high-pressure cylinders called bottles, and is injected into an engine's intake-air stream or intake manifold. Nitrous increases air's density and help promote additional horsepower. The 10-pound nitrous bottle is basically the standard size for most street applications. The 10-pound value represents the maximum amount of gas that can be stored inside the cylinder.
Because of its relatively low initial cost, nitrous is known as the best bang for the buck when it comes to bolt-on performance. However, despite the small, amount you'll pay up front for a nitrous kit, the cost for the gas itself is variable, and directly contingent on the amount you inject and how often you spray it.
Take it from us, there's no worse feeling than being out of nitrous when you need it most. However, the standard for estimating the amount of nitrous remaining inside a bottle has long been based on the bottle's weight, or the ability to maintain average bottle pressure of 900 to 1,000 psi. If you can't sustain 900 psi, it typically indicates a bottle is empty or close to it. One of the worst ways of finding out a bottle is empty is when you tag the nitrous and you're greeted with the severe stumble of an engine that is overrun with fuel instead of the neck-snapping hit you were counting on. Surprise.
"Is the bottle half full or half empty?" Imagine the anxiety that occurs when you are about to engage in a contest of speed and you aren't sure how much nitrous is onboard. Engineers at Zex are cognizant of this, and they've developed a brand-new gauge that will help alleviate a lot of that worry.
The Zex Nitrous Level Gauge (PN 82395; $175) is the usage-based instrument that now makes accurately tracking the amount of available nitrous possible. It does this by calculating the number of times nitrous or purge solenoids activate, against the total amount (in pounds) of the bottle's contents and the amount (horsepower level) of nitrous being sprayed, and then presents it through an illuminated LED indicator and a fill-percentage readout.
With a stealth nitrous system being the one of the highlights on Project Cheaper Sleeper, our $1,000 '91 LX, we think adding the new Zex gauge is a great enhancement to the setup. Once a location for the gauge is established, installation (performed for us by Stevie Morrow of Stevie's Garage in Simi Valley California) is a connect-five-wires procedure that simply correlates with the wiring strategy of the Zex (or other brand) wet or dry nitrous system (a resistor must be ordered for dry systems) in your 'Stang.
Check out the following photos highlighting Stevie's killer custom installation, as well as details on how this slick, new gauge gets down.