How Much Nitrous Can a Stock Engine Take Before It Explodes? These Guys Put It To The Test

If you're looking for some added horsepower on the cheap, then nitrous oxide is going to give it to you. But it doesn't come without its dangers either—use too much or if you're not careful enough, and you'll have an engine that won't be in a great state afterwards. But do it right, and you'll reap the benefits of added horsepower without destroying your engine.

YouTube show Engine Masters decide to test how much nitrous a Chevrolet stock small-block engine can take. In the process host David Freiburger talks through using power adders, what to do and what not to do.

As David tells us, "nitrous does not blow up engines, people blow up engines, and we are going to show you how to not be that guy." Definitely some words of wisdom to ponder over.

But lets face it, we all want to see what happens when too much really is too much.

So Freiburger and his colleagues take a Chevy 305 and begin to add different doses of nitrous, starting small so they don't destroy the engine too early. However the stock engine goes from a modest 358hp before the nitrous is turned on to an amazing 557hp and they are very impressed. The next stage takes it even further to a staggering 620hp (2hp per cubic inch).

All of a sudden they start to feel that the Chevy 305ci Chevy small-block has proved it's worth and are reluctant to push it further. But, inevitably, they go again and end up doing the 305ci Chevy small-block some damage. Quite a bit of damage, in fact.

Because there's only so much the engine will take before the cast crank, rods, and pistons give up, throwing in the towel when they've had enough of Freiburger's experiments.

It doesn't have to end this way for everybody though, as the Engine Masters guys point out at the end of the vid. They made a few mistakes, if you don't follow their lead but follow their advice then it could end a lot better.


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