Nitrous oxide: the chemical compound that invokes fear in the hearts of some while raising the hair on the necks of those who have felt its unruly power. Despite the horror stories, most likely well-exaggerated, nitrous oxide can be as safe as any other power-adder and is, by far, the greatest bang-for-the-buck modification. So, why do so many fear the juice? Presumably, it is due to lack of understanding and a wealth of misconceptions and myths on the streets. Whatever the case may be, the key to running a safe and dependable setup is knowledge. We are going to install a basic wet nitrous system, as well as complement it with a stand-alone fuel supply and a host of accessories for a trick setup that safely adds 125 extra tire-melting ponies.

The subject chosen for the giggle-gas mod is an '03 Dodge Ram with the 5.7L Hemi engine. For some, the stock 345 hp would be sufficient, but when is factory horsepower ever enough? We went with the new Zex Hemi kit, which can be used on any 5.7L Hemi trucks, thanks to Zex's innovative fuel-line adapter that provides a source of fuel for '06-and-later trucks without a factory fuel-rail test port. We've also consulted the expertise of the pros at Aeromotive, so we can feed the beast with race gas while on the bottle, as opposed to pump gas from the tank. The higher octane fuel is for both performance as well as a safety; the increased compression provided by the nitrous thrives on slower-burning fuel, thus making more power, and the high octane will help us avoid detonation.

This system we're installing is more complex than most, yet it can be completed in the typical 20x20-foot garage in less than a weekend's time. However, the basic Zex nitrous systems can be installed on any truck, gas or diesel, in a few hours using common handtools. Whether you're an accomplished pro or a budding gearhead, you can turn your truck into a rubber-shredding freak in a single afternoon, without sacrificing driveability or having the headaches of tuning a supercharger or turbo system.