5.0 Mustang & Super FordsHow To Engine
Installing ZEX Complete Nitrous System
Hoping For Sweet Dreams, We Add Zex Nitrous To Our Sleeper Project
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We wanted to see how much power we could reasonably produce with a stock-appearing Mustang. Previously, we've installed a Comp Cams Extreme Energy cam. With the addition of the cam, we were putting 244 hp and 297 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels.
To recap, our sleeper also features Power Heads' CNC-ported stock heads, an Extrude Honed Holley SysteMAX lower and stock upper, BBK headers and a 65mm throttle body, and Comp Cams roller rockers and replacement lifters. At this point we're quickly running out of performance components that fit within our sleeper concept (except for pulleys--see Pulleys, Finally sidebar), but we're not about to give up now. When you've exhausted every other option, a little laughing gas never hurts--at least in most cases.
We were curious to find out if we could install a nitrous kit that was hidden from view--no solenoids easily seen, nitrous and fuel nozzles out of plain sight, and the arming switch buried way under the dash. No, this would not be an easy task, but we knew Unlimited Performance's Bart Tobener (yes, that Bart Tobener) could perform the job admirably. Bart has a background in automotive sound systems.
We also knew most nitrous kits on the market would be equally hard to hide, so we decided to give the Comp Cams new ZEX Complete Nitrous System ($595) a try. The ZEX kit is known as a "smart" nitrous system because it uses bottle pressure to regulate the nitrous- to-fuel ratio, thereby optimizing the mix. This reportedly keeps the system from becoming too rich or too lean, which means you should always have the right amount of fuel, no matter what horsepower jets you may be using. ZEX made the system this way because other kits on the market don't take bottle pressure into account. Bottle pressure does change, making a dramatic effect on a nitrous kit's performance.
With some kits, ZEX says the nitrous/fuel mix may be off because of changing bottle pressures, potentially causing engine damage. The coolest part of the ZEX system, though, is its nitrous-management unit. With this unit there are no solenoids to give away our power-adder secret. The nitrous-management unit houses the major components and is roughly half the size of an ignition box. The unit's compact size means we can hide it somewhere out of view, fooling onlookers. We could paint the unit red or black and most people would think it's just an ignition box and not even look for the nozzle going into the back of the intake hose.
The ZEX kit is easy to install. In our case, the biggest challenge was trying to find a spot to hide the nitrous-management unit. The bottle mounts in the same manner as other nitrous kits, and the feed line routes like conventional kits as well. Find a spot for the management unit and you have most of the install out of the way. Everything else is rather straightforward.
Follow along for the skinny on the installation.
Horse Sense: Nitrous Oxide (N2O) is comprised of two parts nitrous and one part oxygen. That one part oxygen allows an engine to burn more fuel and thus make more power. Its chemical change from liquid to gas provides a pleasant, cooling side effect, which also helps produce more power.