Nitrogen in tires | FerrariChat

Nitrogen in tires

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by Bill Sawyer, Feb 26, 2004.

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  1. Bill Sawyer

    Bill Sawyer Formula 3

    Feb 26, 2002
    How important is it? I hear that the Enzo requires nitrogen inflation rather than air. Is this hype or does it really work?

    I ran across this web site What do you think?
  2. Sean F.

    Sean F. F1 Rookie

    Feb 4, 2003
    Full Name:
    Sean F
    Air has more moisture which will mess up the pressures/temperatures when the tire gets hot. When your tires heat up, the pressure/temp will be easier to control with Nitrogen. That being said, it's mostly used in racing. The compressed aire you get out the gas station is fine.
  3. TOM B

    TOM B Formula 3

    Jul 24, 2003
    Orange County, NY
    Full Name:
    Thomas Buckley
    I've been racing for over 20 years and have only used nitrogen in my Penske shocks. I have not heard of anyone using nitrogen in tires. Sorry if i'm bursting bubbles.

  4. BigTex

    BigTex Seven Time F1 World Champ
    Owner Rossa Subscribed

    Dec 6, 2002
    Houston, Texas
    Full Name:
    Well, we ran nitrogen at the Texaco Grand Prix of Houston, in our go karts.

    Of course, we did have to borrow it, from Firestone!

    Goodyear is #1 in Racing
  5. -FROG-

    -FROG- Formula Junior

    Nov 3, 2003
    Full Name:
    Paul Daniels
    Yea, I've heard about people running nitrogen in tires for racing too. It helps keep them inflated at a constant, instead of changing pressure with temperature.
  6. G-force

    G-force F1 Rookie

    Aug 4, 2002
    so california
    Full Name:
    wayne skiles
    All Nascar cars use nitrogen. When I run Silverstate I run Nitrogen
    in whatever I'm driving.
  7. Mitch Alsup

    Mitch Alsup F1 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2003
    Nitrogen does 3 things: less leakage, less change in pressure, less rubber deterioration

    The nitrogen molecule is bigger than the oxygen molecule, and therefore leaks at a slower rate from a tire wheel combination. This is good for they who don't check tire pressures very often.

    Nitrogen is dry; that is without water vapor. Water vapor has a temperture dependent vapor pressure. A tire filled with nitrogen will only see about 60% of the pressure rise that the same wheel tire compbination sees when filled with regular air without any drying precaustions. This is useful to use racers who like the tire pressures at exactly the right pressures.

    Nitrogen does not degread the rubber from inside the tire. Air with oxygen does. This is important only to long range trucks and cars that keep the same tires on for more than 3 years before replacement. Long range trucks use nitrogen because those tires are retreaded several times, thus the carcus is the viable commodity, with the outside rubber just along for the ride. A carcus can last for several hundred thousand miles. Therefore nitrogen is useful in preserving the life of the carcus. Since few passenger car tires are retred these days, and no Ferrari should be riding around on such tires, this argument is moot for Ferraris.
  8. rexrcr

    rexrcr Formula 3

    Nov 27, 2002
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Full Name:
    Rob Schermerhorn
    I agree with Mitch (and we've covered this a few times {archives}), industrial applications for longevity (though getting a load of water in a $500 road car tire is not too good either), and race applications for stability/ predictability.

    Most club racers don't use it for cost or convenience reasons, though once one gets caught out by too much moisture in the tires and loses the set-up, you'll be a convert. All pro racers use nitrogen, in fact, F1 teams bring (or once did) nitrogen generators while on the continent because of mass consumption. Fly-to races, it's supplied by the locals in bottles.

    It can also be nicer than a compressor at the track, less noise, no water in the air tools. I've never raced with an air compressor, only tanks of N2. I even have a small aluminum one for autocrossing.

    Best regards,

    Rob Schermerhorn
  9. thecarreaper

    thecarreaper F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Sep 30, 2003
    N2 works great in car tires. required in aircraft tires. ( extremes of heat, cold and pressure).
  10. ChrisfromRI

    ChrisfromRI Karting

    Jan 28, 2003
    Foster, RI
    Full Name:
    Chris F
    One little warning to friends here about carrying high pressure tanks of any gas to the track. If your tank happens to flop over and its valve gets knocked off, it causes quite a commotion (basicly the tank can be propelled like a missle right through your race car, trailer, tow vehicle, you, and me).

    Kind Regards, Chris
  11. bluekawala

    bluekawala Formula Junior

    Jan 22, 2004
    Ormond Beach, FL

    Sounds like an interesting time, I hope you didn't learn this from personal experience. ;)
  12. kenster888

    kenster888 Formula Junior

    Nov 3, 2003
    Fill the tires up with helium and make the car lighter and faster.
  13. Wasco

    Wasco Formula Junior

    Dec 9, 2003
    Full Name:
    We fill 75% of each of our eight, 8 foot tractor tires with liquid calcium as it weighs more than water and won't freeze. Adds lots of traction, think it would do the same for a F-car?
  14. DGS

    DGS Five Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed

    May 27, 2003
    Full Name:
    You can't use helium nuclei in Ferrari tires!

    They're Alfa particles. ;)
  15. whart

    whart F1 Veteran

    Dec 5, 2001
    Grandview NY
    Full Name:
    Herr Prof.
    There's a guy named Watt on the Porsche board, who does those runs in Elko at speeds exceeding 160mph for some distance. He was discussing his experience with prolonged hi-speed driving and proper tire/suspension set-up, including the use of nitrogen in the tires. He's a pretty good guy, if you search that site, particularly in the 996 TT/GT-2 section, you can find him and PM him to discuss. Good Luck.
  16. Smiles

    Smiles F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Nov 20, 2003
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Full Name:
    Matt F
    Are you guys serious?

    This subject came up with SCTA land speed racers who race on the Bonneville Salt Flats. Almost ALL of those guys run a strict 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen mix, and there's absolutely negligible variation from car to car. This is with Goodyear Lanspeed Tires, good for up to 300 mph.

    I've ALWAYS followed the 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen formula in ALL of my cars.

  17. Brian C. Stradale

    Brian C. Stradale F1 Rookie
    Lifetime Rossa

    Mar 17, 2002
    Dallas, TX, USA
    For high performance apps, the issue is water vapor / moisture. The other issues Mitch mentions are for other apps (e.g., trucks with very long-life tires). For high-performance, your 78/21 mix (i.e., dry air) is just fine, too.

    My question: How do you who use Nitrogen or Dry Air get your tires mounted??

    The typical mounting process involves a guy lubricating the tire bead with a soap and water solution... leaving significant water in the tire when mounted. And with R-compound tires, they are really stiff... meaning they often need extra lubricating soap & water.

    Last time I thought about switching to pure Nitrogen, I had tremendous difficulty finding anyone who could mount the tires without the soap and water. Filling with Nitrogen when the inside of the tire is all wet would be wholly pointless!!
  18. Hubert

    Hubert F1 Rookie

    Jan 3, 2002
    The Left Coast
    You use wheels with two valve stems; you can bleed as you fill with nitrogen. Or, you simply get the tires mounted, and bleed/flush/refill your tires after with nitrogen -- not as efficent as the above-- but more pragmatic (since there aren't a lot of common wheels w/ 2 valve stems out there.)
  19. Mitch Alsup

    Mitch Alsup F1 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2003
    There is a dry lube you can ask for at the tire mounting place.

    After mounting, and inflating with normal air at the tire place, I take the tires (attached to the car) to my race prep shop. They deflate and reinflate the tires 3 or 4 times. At this point, you are running very closer to pure nitrogen. And you have gotten 75% of the water vapor out. Seems good enough to me. But the picky might say I'm running 94%N 5%O; so be it.
  20. Schatten

    Schatten F1 World Champ

    Apr 3, 2001
    Austin, TX
    Full Name:
    I've known about this trick for years, but never implimented it on any of the cars I've had, even though they've been through many autocrosses and track days.

    Interesting to hear about the tire deterioration and long-haul trucks. I hadn't heard of that before. Definately fascinating.

    But the NASCAR tires - interesting to hear about that too. I had changed many many many tires for Team Texas, which is a NASCAR school, or arrive and drive a few laps. We'd never do this. Only air. It was cheap for them as well. We'd charge 5 bucks for dismount and 5 bucks for mounting those damned things too. A tube, a liner and the tire around it. I guess running a school or arrive-and-drive facility, you wouldn't want to waste unnecessary dollars on tweaking the car to maximum potential for just a student anyways. Especially if they aren't going to see but 50-60% of the car's potential, if that.
  21. donv

    donv Two Time F1 World Champ
    Owner Rossa Subscribed

    Jan 5, 2002
    Portland, Oregon
    Full Name:
    I don't know, rubber deterioration seems pretty important in Ferraris, given the low number of miles most Ferraris average. I bet many Ferraris go for more than 3 years between tire replacement-- I think both of mine have tires older than 3 years.

  22. Mitch Alsup

    Mitch Alsup F1 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2003
    I even ran into a guy with a 95 F355 at the track (TWS) that had just undergone a major with only 3000 miles on the clock. The car had the original tires on the thing. He spun it twice, and his wife spun it once. $5000+ for a major and 8 year old tires;; sad, really sad.

    I can't seem to get a single year on a set of tires (2.5 sets last year) maybe the 18 track days negatively interacts with tire longevity also.................
  23. ferrarifixer

    ferrarifixer F1 Veteran

    Jul 22, 2003
    Full Name:
    Phil Hughes
    A serious race/specialist tyre installer will use bead wax rather than soap/water to mount their tyres.

    This removes the moisture problem, but does cost about 500 times as much.

    It also remains slippery for longer which can cause the tyre to turn on the rim in extreme cases (se old threads).

    A wax mounted slick tyre seems to need at least a week of standing before using (on a 360C/N-GT) to reduce the turning. Although when it happens, the turn only rarely causes a balance problem, and with tyres being changed every 250km or so, so what!
  24. bobafett

    bobafett F1 Veteran

    Sep 28, 2002

    HAHAHA. :D That one got an audible chuckle.

  25. Bryan

    Bryan Formula 3

    You beta believe it...

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