Michael Galimi
April 1, 2009

Nitrous Madness!
The exact time and place of the first use of nitrous in an automotive application is not known, but we do know that it occurred in the mid-to-late '70s. The instant rush of power sent diehard hot rodders into disbelief and immediately labeled the wonder drug as a sort of "cheating" way to get horsepower. It was perceived as being too easy, and enthusiasts who used nitrous were considered not as good as people who went the all-natural route.

Fast-forward 30 years later and most will agree that nitrous is not only acceptable, but one of the most popular modifications Mustang enthusiasts can make. Ford's latest Pony powerplant is no different--and the sauce (as it is commonly referred to) is a popular addition to both naturally aspirated and forced-induction combinations.

Nitrous oxide injection is as effective on this engine as it is on any other motor out there. The complex electronics did force manufacturers to rethink the arming system but once it was overcome, it was business as usual. Adding nitrous to the S197's Three-Valve motor is as easy and cheap as any other EFI system. Over the years, MM&FF has tested many different nitrous kits for the '05-'07 Mustangs, including over-the-top 600-plus horsepower force-fed combos. This time, we enlisted the help of Real Speed Automotive (Bohemia, New York) to add a Nitrous Pro Flow wet system to a near stock '08 Mustang GT. Real Speed keeps Nitrous Pro Flow kits in stock, so anyone can show up and be juiced right away.

Adding a nitrous kit to the '08 Stang is a bit different than its predecessors, as there are two changes under the hood when compared to the '05-'07 models. First, the Nitrous Pro Flow solenoids are bolted to a bracket coming off the strut tower. The '08 models do not have that same bracket; the NMRA Real Speed crew used self-tapping screws to mount the solenoids in the same location. We felt that mounting it there would mean we wouldn't run into any problems with the pre-made fuel and nitrous lines.

The next difference is a major one for those who want to run some serious horsepower levels. As it turns out, the spark plugs are finally changed--for the better, the only problem is that the aftermarket has yet to come out with a heat range colder in the new style plug. Stock spark plugs are okay up to the 100 hp hit of nitrous. Above that, the plugs need to be one heat range colder and non-platinum. The '05-'07 cars used a unique plug end, which is patented, and only two companies we know of bought into the patent--Brisk and Autolite. The end of the '05-'07 plug is squared off, creating a difficult way to re-gap the ends as well--another critical modification required when running large doses of nitrous, or big boost. Some of the blower manufacturers sell a tool to crush the end in order to re-gap the plug. The new '08 spark plugs are different and offer a traditional strap, but the aftermarket has not ramped up production in a variety of heat ranges and non-platinum styles. Brisk Spark Plugs should have '08-style plugs available by the time you read this. Spark plugs and the mounting location are the only differences between the '08-'09 cars and '05-'07 models.

The installation is as ordinary as any kit, save for a WOT activation box. Remember we mentioned earlier that the complex electronics required some new components? The S197 Mustangs use a drive-by-wire throttle body, so the normal activation switch mounted under the throttle blade lever won't work. In traditional applications, when the blade goes WOT, a simple micro-switch is tripped and the nitrous and fuel solenoids are opened. There isn't an external throttle blade lever on the S197 throttle body. Nitrous Pro Flow developed a box that is wired into the throttle position sensor (TPS). A process is used to sync the box with the TPS and learn the WOT position. No need to worry, there are a few simple steps to follow that include pressing a button and going WOT with the pedal.