Over the course of the last year, our ’00 F-250 has been sub­jected to a long list of mod­i­fi­ca­tions. Hy­brid in­jec­tors, an up­graded fuel sup­ply sys­tem, higher vol­ume HPOP, fire-ringed heads, GTP38R turbo, built 4R100 trans­mis­sion, and cus­tom tun­ing have all made their way onto the truck in an ef­fort to help the build live up to its name: Project 600 HP 7.3L. To en­sure we get as close to our horse­power goal as pos­si­ble, we’re throw­ing one last power-ad­der at the 7.3L Power Stroke this month: ni­trous ox­ide.

Ar­guably no other method of adding power to a diesel is as cost-ef­fec­tive as No2—and no one un­der­stands this bet­ter than the folks at Ni­trous Ex­press. The com­pany’s “Stacker” sys­tems were specif­i­cally de­signed for diesel ve­hi­cles, and can pro­vide be­tween 50 and 300+ ad­di­tional horse­power. For that lit­tle some­thing ex­tra, we opted to run one of NX’S Stacker 2 kits—a sys­tem ca­pa­ble of adding an­other 150hp to the mix. Once every­thing was but­toned up, it was time to face the mu­sic in the form of strap­ping the truck to the chas­sis dyno. Fol­low along for the in­stall and the data we col­lected on the rollers.


As for wiring up the sys­tem, NX sup­plies a wiring har­ness that ac­com­mo­dates a 30-amp re­lay. The re­lay con­trols the open­ing and clos­ing of the so­le­noid, while a mi­cro switch (also in­cluded) ac­ti­vates the re­lay tra­di­tion­ally at wide open throt­tle. Since we wanted to be able to turn on or off the ni­trous when­ever we felt the need, we de­cided to use our own switch, you’ll see it later on. The re­lay is ba­si­cally a re­mote switch so you don’t have to run large wires into the cab and back out to the so­le­noid. In or­der for it to work it needs a sup­ply of power from the bat­tery; a ground to chas­sis; a lead to the so­le­noid; and a feed in from the switch in the cab.

For an even dis­tri­bu­tion point, we planned to have the ni­trous en­ter the 7.3L en­gine’s in­take stream through the in­take Y that feeds boost to each cylin­der head. With boosted air al­ready hav­ing been routed through the in­ter­cooler by the time it reaches this point, we be­lieve it’s the best place to in­tro­duce ni­trous.

De­signed for diesels with fac­tory to mod­er­ate fuel sys­tems, the Stacker 2 ni­trous sys­tem from Ni­trous Ex­press is a safe, cost-ef­fec­tive way to add up to 150 hp to your com­bi­na­tion. The NX kit em­ploys a 0.093 ori­fice Light­ning series so­le­noid, -4 AN braided stain­less feed lines, a 15-pound ni­trous bot­tle with NX’S 45-de­gree bot­tle valve, and all fit­tings and nec­es­sary in­stal­la­tion hard­ware. The Stacker 2 sys­tem re­tails for $641.63.

Both the so­le­noid and re­lays were grounded us­ing an ex­ist­ing ground on the fire­wall.

We be­gan the in­stall by thread­ing the N2O fil­ter fit­ting into the in­let port of the Light­ning so­le­noid. This fit­ting’s screen-type fil­ter is good in­surance against any de­bris mak­ing it into the so­le­noid, as any trash that makes it into the so­le­noid can hang it open. It’s also im­por­tant to note that Te­flon tape should not be em­ployed when in­stalling the ni­trous so­le­noid fit­tings into the so­le­noid. Ni­trous Ex­press sup­plies its own thread sealer with each Stacker kit it sells.

With the so­le­noid mounted, the sup­plied in­let and out­let fit­tings were in­stalled next. Af­ter that, one end of the -4 AN braided stain­less feed line that spans from the so­le­noid to the en­gine (la­beled “out”) was at­tached to the so­le­noid.

By in­cor­po­rat­ing a raised in­let and bot­tom exit fea­ture into its Light­ning so­le­noids, NX elim­i­nates up to four 90-de­gree turns and one ex­pan­sion area in this so­le­noid body. No sharp bends or ex­pan­sion ar­eas mean ni­trous doesn’t have a chance to be­come gaseous. In­stead, it stays in liq­uid form longer—which means more power can be made. It’s worth men­tion­ing that, while the in­cluded thread sealer was used to in­stall the in­let and out­let port fit­tings into the so­le­noid, none should be used when the feed lines are at­tached to the fit­tings. Be­fore mov­ing for­ward with the in­stall we pres­sur­ized the sys­tem (with the so­le­noid off of course) with the 15-lb NX bot­tle and checked for leaks with a lit­tle soapy wa­ter. No bub­bles means no leaks.

Once we’d de­cided where the ni­trous so­le­noid was go­ing to go (above the A/C con­denser), we fab­ri­cated a quick mount­ing bracket us­ing some 2-inch alu­minum flat stock. Two Phillips head ma­chine screws se­cure the so­le­noid to the mount­ing bracket.

In an in­stall such as this, it’s im­por­tant to mock up the so­le­noid, fit­tings, feed line(s), and wire rout­ing be­fore you de­cide to mount any­thing. We ended up mount­ing the afore­men­tioned so­le­noid re­lay and its re­spec­tive wiring har­ness next to the brake fluid reser­voir.

Be­fore we mounted the re­lay and se­cured the wire har­ness where we wanted it (out of harm’s way and away from ad­di­tional sources of heat), the wiring was wrapped in plas­tic wire loom. This added a layer of pro­tec­tion to our wires, but also made for a clean look. We don’t want to call at­ten­tion to any­thing other than the ni­trous so­le­noid. At this point we also ran the re­main­ing wire (switch) through the fire­wall into the cab to be hooked up later.

Wiring up the Light­ning so­le­noid is very ba­sic. The unit has just two wires: one for the switch and one for ground. The switch wire we then ran to the re­lay.

The bot­tle brack­ets sup­plied in the NX Stacker 2 sys­tem in­cor­po­rate stain­less steel, T-bolt clamps with wing nuts for quick re­moval and in­stal­la­tion of the bot­tle. Mount­ing the brack­ets called for four 3/8-inch holes be­ing drilled af­ter check­ing to en­sure no ob­struc­tions ex­isted be­neath the area of the bed we elected to drill through.

Last con­nec­tion un­der the hood was plumb­ing the feed line from the so­le­noid into the in­take. We used a plug from Riff Raff Diesel that in­stalls in place of the IAH to tap into said in­take. The kit comes with dif­fer­ent size jets de­signed to re­strict ni­trous flow in vary­ing lev­els, they get in­stalled here be­tween the line and fit­ting on the in­take.

With every­thing wired up and mounted, it was time to test the so­le­noid to en­sure it’d been in­stalled (and would work) prop­erly. Af­ter con­firm­ing the ni­trous bot­tle was off and that no pres­sure was present in the sup­ply line, we tog­gled the arm­ing switch to the on po­si­tion and ac­ti­vated the wide-open throt­tle switch un­til we heard the so­le­noid click. And then, well, be­cause we just couldn’t wait (do not do this), we ca­ble tied the line from the so­le­noid and pressed the but­ton a cou­ple times.

The Light­ning 500 bot­tle valve is about as good as it gets when it comes to ni­trous ox­ide tech­nol­ogy. It fea­tures a 0.500-inch lift stem as­sem­bly, a large 5/8-inch siphon tube, 45-de­gree out­let for ul­ti­mate flow, and dual gauge ports. A -4 AN bot­tle nip­ple comes stan­dard, but -6 AN, -8 AN, and -10 AN nip­ples are also avail­able.

The wire we ran ear­lier into the cab will be tied in now. It needs a pos­i­tive volt­age sig­nal in or­der to ac­ti­vate the so­le­noid. So we grabbed a “key on” power source from a wire run­ning to the ra­dio, ran that to the arm­ing switch (the one with the red cover for safety), from that switch we ran it to this pis­tol grip style hand held switch for easy ac­ti­va­tion on the track. This way the sys­tem will only work if both switches are on.

For con­ve­nience and con­ceal­ment, we de­cided to mount the 15-pound NX bot­tle in our tool­box, next to our Snow Per­for­mance wa­ter-methanol reser­voir. How­ever, we made sure that, once in­stalled, we would still have plenty of room to ac­cess the bot­tle valve.

Af­ter us­ing the sup­plied mount­ing hard­ware to se­cure the bot­tle brack­ets in place, we in­stalled the bot­tle. The fi­nal step of the in­stall en­tailed rout­ing the ni­trous sup­ply line up to the so­le­noid on the en­gine.

Be­fore rout­ing the feed line from the bot­tle’s mount­ing lo­ca­tion in the bed to the so­le­noid un­der the hood, we capped off the end so no de­bris could en­ter the line. The feed line was se­cured via zip ties wher­ever pos­si­ble and was routed as far away from heat sources as pos­si­ble. We then drilled a ¾-inch hole in the bot­tom of the tool­box (and the bed) near the bot­tle nip­ple’s lo­ca­tion for the feed line to pass through.

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