Engine & Exhaust / Q&A / Tech

Mailbag: Nitrous or Not?

Got questions? 

We’ve got the answers—the Summit Racing tech department tackles your automotive-related conundrums. This week, we’re talking single- vs. dual-stage nitrous.

D.T. • Frackville, PA
Q: My daughter and I are planning a frame-up restoration of a 1993 Ford Ranger. She wants to swap out the original 4-cylinder with a new Ford Racing 302 GT-40 crate engine. Then she’s thinking about adding nitrous but she can’t choose between a single- or dual-stage system. What’s the difference in the systems? Should we run nitrous or just stick with the crate motor’s base horsepower?

A: A single-stage nitrous system is designed to give you a single boost of horsepower when you need it. A dual-stage system is ideal for drag racing applications. For instance, you engage the first stage (around a +150 hp shot) at the starting line. Then you fire up the second stage (around a +100 hp shot) later on down the track. So instead of unleashing a +250 hp burst right at take-off, you break it into two stages to maintain traction and win the race!

So should you juice up the Ranger? It all depends on why you’re building it. If it’s for street use, the 340 hp rated GT-40 crate engine will do just fine. But if it’s for all-out drag racing, then you may want to equip it with a nitrous system. However, it’s going to require some further engine mods to support the extra horsepower. For more information on nitrous systems, read our How to Choose a Nitrous System post.

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