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Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/12/2008 7:05 AM

A radio ad wants you to improve your car's mileage by 20% by having you stop by their Orlando shop and getting your car's tires filled with nitrogen. I'm sure that the 20% improvement is as real as many of the other attractions in the City of Famous Ducks and Mice. But, I also know that nitrogen cylinders are sometimes used for shocks and lifting cylinders. Therefore I suspect that there are some advantages to nitrogen over air. What are the pros and cons of nitrogen vs. air?

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#27

Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/13/2008 8:18 AM

I don't care if they pump my tire full of jello. As long as it is still round and rolls I am good to go.

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#30

Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/13/2008 11:39 AM

I also think that the nitrogen, being inert, helps to prevent oxidation of the rubber, making the tire last longer.

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#39
In reply to #30

Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/13/2008 4:00 PM

My tires are a testament to that. Six years, 100++k and still ok. Longest lasting set of tires I ever owned.

I've had to fill with N once only and that was because of a micro leak.

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#52
In reply to #39

Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/13/2008 8:40 PM

I'm sorry, man but that is one of the most OCD statements I've heard in a long time.

/Ari (Orpheuse)

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#58
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/14/2008 5:08 AM

1) it's neither a statement nor an opinion

2) it's based on observation...albeit my own

3) your terminology is self reflective...

4) thanks for the lecture (I've been to the temple where Mahayana began)

5) try yage

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#70
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/14/2008 9:34 AM

Sorry, what I meant was checking your tires that often is a bit OCD. You are probably correct when you say that I am projecting my feelings on to you.

My style of writing is always self-reflective. They told me to write about what I know. Well, all I really know is me.

Sorry if I've bored you with that but I felt, with all the science and math being slung around here I felt that a little comparative religion and mythology was in order.

Did you get a chance to visit Bohdgia? It would be a beautiful place, except for the damned tourists and the cows. At least you could hunt the tourists - just don't mess with the cows.

Yage = "Ayahuasca (pronounced [ajaˈwaska] in the Quechua language) is any of various psychoactive infusions or decoctions prepared from the Banisteriopsis spp. vine, native to the Amazon Rainforest (which is also called ayahuasca). The resulting drinks are pharmacologically complex and used for shamanic, folk-medicinal, and religious purposes. Occidental ethno-biologists report that a variety of 200-300 plants are used in the different brews made by the Ayahuasceras. It is an open question whether Ayahuasca should be regarded as one particular shamanic medicinal brew, or whether it should be regarded as an entire medicinal tradition specific to the Amazonas." Is this stuff legal in the 'States? Short of going into the rain-forest, how do you get this stuff? Just curious.

Take care, my friend, the duck season is coming up or is it rabbit season? Maybe we could hide in this opera house for a while. I understand that the orchestra is doing "Il Barbiery de Sevillla" by Joe Green.

Oh, yes, you reminded me to get back on topic.

Why not fill our tyres with nitrous oxide? At least then, if you get stuck on the highway, you can catch a buzz till the tow truck arrives.

Stay safe, my friend.

/Ari (Orpheuse)

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#80
In reply to #70

Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/14/2008 12:31 PM
"Sorry, what I meant was checking your tires that often is a bit OCD"

Whatever lead you to that assumption? In this thread I'm merely sharing my observations with my own experience. I live in the country with my family and their safety is my concern. Running on tires that have the potential to fail can have serious consequences here. If that comprises OCD then I would suggest everybody get a bit some.

I've never heard of Bohdgia. I have, however been to Buuduruwagala with my wife and kids. Didn't see any tourists or cows. We did see wild bears.

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#85
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/14/2008 1:33 PM

You mean you have been to Buduruwagala in Sri Lanka (my country). I am amused bcos not many people in this forum have even heard of the country!

By the way Bodhgaya, I understand is in North India. That is where great philospher Buddha was born

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#86
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/14/2008 2:41 PM

My family and I spent two weeks in your country and did not want to leave. We were treated like kings. It was also one of the very few places I could leave my sailboat and not worry about anything being stolen.

One day I will return there. There is something about ancient Sinhala........

We all touched the statues big toe..........much to the amusement of an old lady that was watching.

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#92
In reply to #70

Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/15/2008 3:29 AM

Yep...............one could always die laughing!!!!

That's of course while waiting for the Nitrogen to re-inflate your TYRES.

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#31

Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/13/2008 12:01 PM

The police department in the city of Ontario, Oregon is currently trying it. They are aiming for a rather modest 3% gas mileage improvement. The larger N molecule maintains inflation pressure better because it doesn't leak by diffusion as quickly.

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#116
In reply to #31

Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/15/2008 8:31 PM

I hoped they kept a 'representative sample' as a control group, and possibly an additional group where they OVERFILL the tires by 5PSI.

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#139
In reply to #116

Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/18/2008 12:05 PM

The newspaper article didn't go into that level of detail about their proceedures, but a government operation probably has pretty good paper work.

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#144
In reply to #139

Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/18/2008 9:29 PM

Though I didn't read all the post on this subject . I have worked on race teams and cars for the last 35 years and currently own a tire store in Ga.

We always used the N2 on track mostly for the convenience, and the small advantage in temps.

The sales people that tried to get us to sell it in my store left with their tails dragging

when I reminded them that most tires while doing the install to the wheels, the lube used is a water and soap formula. And the bigger the wheel and the fatter the tire the more lube it takes.So how do you calculate that ????

LOL

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#145
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/18/2008 9:59 PM

Ah, I have a question. Why do people put these huge wheels, with those extreme low profile tires, on large 4wd trucks? No good for off-road, no good for snow, what's the point? It makes your truck, look, well,....stupid.

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#148
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/19/2008 8:18 AM

"It makes your truck, look, well,....stupid."

Sssshhh! Don't tell 'em that! Just when they've been converted into good little consumers, you wanna go spoil it all? Looks good, right?!?

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#153
In reply to #148

Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/19/2008 10:19 AM

.......you can tell them anything............but............you can't tell them much.

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#154
In reply to #153

Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/19/2008 11:49 AM

DNPMSL!!!

But...you still haven't offered an explanation for why "tYres" instead of "tIres"? I don't see a reason for the Y...

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#155
In reply to #154

Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/19/2008 11:58 AM

This from the online Etymology Dictionary but I'm not sure it helps much;-

1485, "iron rim of a carriage wheel," probably from tire "equipment, dress, covering" (c.1300), an aphetic form of attire. The notion is of the tire as the dressing of the wheel. The original spelling was tyre, which had shifted to tire in 17c.-18c., but since early 19c. tyre has been revived in Great Britain and become standard there. Rubber ones, for bicycles (later automobiles) are from 1870s.

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#35

Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/13/2008 2:54 PM

There has been a lot of hoopla about nitrogen in tires. One of the big reasons it is supposed to be better than regualr air is that nitrogen is so much bigger than oxygen, that it stays inflated longer and with better inflation comes better mileage. Well, the better mileage if tires are properly inflated part is true and that must be where they are angling for the 20% increase in mileage although that is a much larger number than I have ever heard before for properly inflated tires (maybe they mean the difference between running on the rims and properly inflated). Anyway, back to the topic, 78% of the air you put in your tire is already nitrogen and in actuality, the oxygen molecules are larger than the nitrogen molecules although by such a tiny amount, there is too little difference to make a difference. All the talk about the tires staying inflated longer because nitrogen is so much bigger than oxygen is a bunch of hooey. There are, as always, anecdotal stories but where they originated is anyone's guess. There have been a couple legitimate studies on this topic and they found no difference in inflation times with air or dry nitrogen.

There are, however, some benefits to the nitrogen. If you get it free from Costco then you're good, if not, you may be paying through the nose for something that makes too little difference to the average driver to really even worry about. Now for the benefits:
1. The first real benefit is that nitrogen doesn't support fire so your wheels are less likely to have fire problems. So, how many of your cars have burned to a crisp because your tires caught fire? 'None,' you say? That's what I thought. Of course, if you own a space shuttle, airliner or a formula one car, the nitrogen would come in handy. They use it because they have a significant probability of tire fires. (Airliner had tire fire that started shortly after take off in a wheel mistakenly filled with air. The ensuing crash killed 167 people.) Although very rare, it can and does happen with cars - far more frequently if you drive a formula one or a dragster.
2. The second real benefit is simply the fact that it is dry - not wet (moisture laden).
a. Humid air expands and contracts more under heat and extreme conditions. This causes your tire pressure to be less stable and can even trip the little TPM sensors in your wheels as the tires inflate and deflate beyond the limit that will set off the sensors (if you have a fancy enough, new enough car). This is nothing to get excited about, your tires and your dad's tires have been this way forever. Using the dry nitrogen, however, keeps the pressure more consistent and even which has implications with both traction and tire wear. Despite better, more consistent traction and slower and more even tire wear, YOU STILL HAVE TO ROTATE YOUR TIRES. Once again, if you're not a formula one driver... it really makes little difference if you regularly check air pressure. However, if you are like most people and never or rarely check it, it actually is a small benefit.
b. Wet also means corrosion. However, rim and tire stem corrosion due to the water and the oxygen content of air is insignificant at worst for cars and trucks with steel rims and nonexistent for most vehicles since they use alloy wheels which don't rust or corrode at all. The only place this really makes a difference is for steel rimmed dump trucks and other heavy duty trucks in rough environments.
3. The third benefit is that nitrogen is much more inert than oxygen. At high temperatures (especially on hot days), the oxygen will attack the rubber and cause it to deteriorate. Again, this is much worse for a formula one racer where temperatures can get much higher, but it is generally believed that using the nitrogen will prolong the life of your tires.

So, there it is. There are some benefits, BUT if you have to pay extra for it, it is very likely not worth the cost difference. Just take care of your tires (check pressure regularly, rotate them etc.) and you'll be good.

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#79
In reply to #35

Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/14/2008 11:08 AM

Lots of good information. Thanks.

Following up on the fire issue: How does the fire start? Is there a risk beyond the "rock rubbing between the dual tires" mechanism? Is the air increasing the risk of having a fire start or is it just increasing the risk of a hot flash at burst compared to more of a fire extinguisher effect when the nitrogen bursts?

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#95
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/15/2008 4:18 AM

PhysicsProf -

I have not been on CR4 for a number of months. It is good to be back and reading a sane and reasoned answer on this topic makes it even better.

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#102
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/15/2008 7:50 AM

Welcome back! Stick around, sane and reasoned are ephemeral...

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#37

Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/13/2008 3:06 PM

When they fill the tire with nitrogen, do they lubricate the bead with a "dry" lubricant so they don't introduce a bunch of moisture into the tire cavity?

I'll bet not. Just watch them slather your rim and tire bead with that lube.

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#38
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/13/2008 3:46 PM

There is only one redemption for ye of little faith...............do not allow slathering while in the midst of nitrogen. Use graphite.

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#40
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/13/2008 4:45 PM

Not a matter of faith, but rather one of economics. In terms of nitrogen filled tires, I just can't justify the ROI to myself. But like all things in life, if someone wishes to spend their money in ways that pleases them (legally of course ), it's of little concern to me, as I would not want others telling me how I should spend my money.

I'm sure many would find fault in the ways I spend some of my money. (Motorcyle habit for instance. We have eight within the family, three for me and a dirt bike each for the missus and each of the four kids.) We could be hiking through the woods and save a ton of money, reduce our carbon footprint, and get good exercise to boot. But for my son, this is priceless.

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#53
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/13/2008 8:44 PM

Try telling that to the guy that has you on the lift. They can get awfully uppity when aroused, and it isn't pretty.

BTW, thanks for the COSCO tip.

/Ari (Orpheuse)

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#57

Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/14/2008 3:39 AM

The next step you can take in your race car, after filling the tires with Nitrogen, is to purge and fill all the tubes of your rollcage with nitrogen, to drop the weight of your racer.

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#60
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/14/2008 6:08 AM

Don't forget to chrome the roll centre..............

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#61
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/14/2008 6:14 AM

While you have it out to chrome it you could fabricate a couple of brackets so that it can be mounted a bit lower...

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#62
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/14/2008 6:18 AM

I've never had my roll centre mounted.

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#158
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/21/2008 9:29 AM

No! No! Helium! Must use helium!

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#166
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/21/2008 2:53 PM

How about this idea. Seal the trunk airtight. Purge the air and replace with helium. If a weight check is required, pop the trunk release and the weight of the air puts you back where you belong.

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#167
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/21/2008 11:18 PM

If you go to the trouble of sealing the trunk, then just pull a (partial) vacuum. This is of course assuming that the trunk is strong enough...

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#168
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/21/2008 11:36 PM

Which would be lighter?

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#169
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/22/2008 12:12 AM

one mole (22.4 liters at one atmosphere pressure) of He weighs 4.0 grams.

The same volume of Air at one atmosphere pressure weighs about 29 grams (basically the weighted average of N2 and O2).

4/29=0.138. If you can get the pressure of the air below 0.138 atm (about 2 lbs/in2), then the partial vacuum will be lighter than the atmospheric pressure He.

The lightest reasonable value would be obtained by purging the air with He, then drawing a partial vacuum, removing most of the He.

BTW, don't use H2, because H2 is known to cause embrittlement of the metal under some conditions.

Dick

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#59

Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/14/2008 5:21 AM

Nitrogen sounds cool..I'm developing an improved inflation system...
This includes a microphone, audio amp and speaker system which couples to the filling line. This allows you to tell jokes, sing or chat to the Nitrogen molecules as they go in. The molecules are thus much happier and liable to clump together in group hugs making them even less liable to leak out... a happy molecule stays put is my philosophy.

Just teasing guys..I'm not passing an opinion either way, as I have no experience of Nitrogen filled tyres...I just know my pressures slowly go down ... but never up weird that .

Del

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#63
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/14/2008 7:02 AM

My molecules are resistant to group hugs and refuse to clump under pressure.

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#64
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/14/2008 7:13 AM

"...my pressures slowly go down ... but never up..."

Obviously due to the overwhelmingly contented state of your molecules. No tension, no pressure - total relaxation! A happy molecule is a...well, it's a happy molecule...

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#66

Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/14/2008 8:04 AM

A friend came to visit recently in his Suburu wagon. As he was leaving, I noticed that one of his tires appeared to be low. Upon measuring the pressure, I found it to be 12 psia. I offered to fill his tire with air, but he refused, telling me that COSCO had recently installed the tires and filled them with nitrogen (that's why they had green valve caps). He left to go to COSCO to have his tires inflated with nitrogen, but had a blowout on the way. All other things being equal, nitrogen may have a theoretical advantage, but when the rubber meets the road, there is something to be said for the blended gas we call, "air".

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#68
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/14/2008 9:08 AM

but he refused
Ah...you can't help an idiot!

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#69
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/14/2008 9:29 AM

Yeah, as they say around here, you can fix a flat, but you can't fix stupid...

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#89
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/15/2008 3:11 AM

As they say...........I think................ Grumpy Old Men (and I am sure one of those.......so I am told by all my family, who keep re enforcing this fact)...............stupid is as stupid does.

Is this grammatically correct??????.............Ah!!!!.........Thinks??????...............It must be an Americanism!!!!.............How could this be so!

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#100
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/15/2008 7:42 AM

"Stewpid is as stewpid does, m'am." - Forrest Gump (not grump) quoting his Mother

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#71
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/14/2008 9:51 AM

"Ah...you can't help an idiot!"

Actually you Can help an idiot, you just need a firm hand. Being a cat you should know that.

Now, the willfully ignorant (those who WILL NOT LEARN), and the out-right stupid (those who do the same thing repeatedly and expect the result to be different) are hopeless and a waste of your time.

It's like trying to teach an Elephant calculus. You will only frustrate yourself and piss off the elephant.

Here, Del, have some catnip on me. Later I'll serve brownies and 'tea'..

/Ari (Orpheuse)

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#73
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/14/2008 9:57 AM

Being a cat you should know that..

Ah yes, very true...I have my idiot Hoomans very well trained...although sometimes I have to yowl pretty loud in the morning to get 'em out of bed.

Del

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#76
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/14/2008 10:20 AM

I believe the average elephant can do calculus much better than I ever will.

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#77
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/14/2008 10:22 AM

That is why God gave us computers! =D

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#113
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/15/2008 5:15 PM

Did you see some time ago the story of the John Galt construction company getting a very lucrative contract, I believe it was involving the Trade Center Cleanup? I am pleasantly surprised to see him recognized on this board...Or are you really trying to figure out who he is???

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#119
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/16/2008 7:45 AM

Deutsche Bank, I think. But as to the rest of it, like Atlas, I think I'll just shrug it off... (P.S. - Ayn Rand should never be read without supervision...)

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#93
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/15/2008 3:48 AM

This reminds me of a joke about elephants:-

A group of 5 year olds are learning to read and one of them pointed to a picture in an animal book and said, "Look at this! It's a frickin' elephant."

The teacher took a deep breath and asked...."What did you call it?"

"It's a frickin ' elephant! It says so in the picture!"

And...................so it does

African elephant

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#96
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/15/2008 6:07 AM

Two guys sitting on an elephant

"Hey, lookit the two assholes on the elephant"

so they get off to see for themselves

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#75
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/14/2008 10:19 AM

Hello Welderman, that is why we can not be too strict with the use of nitrogen, have to take whatever is available when the need comes , and also not to get too crazy about it until nitrogen service is expanded to least one out of every three gas station, no counting tire service stations.

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#81

Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/14/2008 12:36 PM

Coincidentally I was looking at nitrogen generators today to see if it's worth buying one instead of all the bottles of gas we get through. There seem to be a lot of people selling these machines into the motor trade so, whatever the pros & cons are, this is obviously big business. the machines are not cheap so the garage will have to recover the cost somehow.

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#83
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/14/2008 1:12 PM
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#84
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/14/2008 1:18 PM
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#94
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/15/2008 3:56 AM

Hi Nigh, (I'm a poet and I don't know it.........sorry...........couldn't resist it)

Refrigeration mechanics use dry Nitrogen to test units they are working on for leaks.

Saves sending all those "naughty" refrigerants being expelled into the atmosphere.........at least in countries where they have prescribed gases.

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#82

Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/14/2008 12:38 PM

A bit off the topic but I thought I'd mention another use for nitrogen gas.

Use it to displace the oxygen in paint cans. The paint will not oxidize.

I use expensive two part rayon based coatings ($240/1/2litre) which will degrade within 3 months after opening. Filling them with nitrogen extends the shelf life considerably.

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#97
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/15/2008 6:48 AM

At that price Duckinthepond one would certainly like to extend its shelf life.

Some months ago I was up on our roof and I was going to give the gables their first coat of paint.................our granny flat is 6 years old...........don't like to rush things.

Anyhow...............4 litre can of paint open.............paintbrush in hand..........dipped paint brush in paint...........wipe brush on side of can..............can of paint goes whooooosh, hits the gutter.............tips allover pavers, sliding French doors, etc.

Conclusion of the matter.............cables still unpainted.............doesn't matter, material used is weatherproof.

Somehow I don't think that I am agile as I used to be.

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#98
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/15/2008 6:52 AM

Still it could have been worse....
.
..
...
It might have happened to me .
Del

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#108
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/15/2008 8:25 AM

Here Del................what about this one!

"Cat on a hot bin roof"

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#99
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/15/2008 7:18 AM

I have the solution to your problem. Either get rid of the granny or failing that combine the nitrogen gas with oxygen and breathe in deep.

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#103
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/15/2008 8:05 AM

I have had the "granny" since 1964.............I guess that I have grown used to her.

Signed

Grandpa

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#114
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/15/2008 5:19 PM

Works with wine, too...

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#120
In reply to #114

Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/16/2008 7:48 AM

???You paint stuff with wine???

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#135
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/18/2008 8:50 AM

Only AFTER drinking it............pressurized N and vino makes nice bubbles.....reflects well on the paint job. Wife usually takes over the housepainting and I get to drink the wine.

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#133

Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/17/2008 12:59 PM

The consensus appears to be that there is little, if any, practical advantage to using nitrogen instead of air, in a standard automobile. One topic that keeps appearing, is the effect of moisture in the fill gas. Note that nitrogen is dried prior to storing it in high pressure tanks. Air can be dried the same way. Nitrogen gas is not inherently any dryer than air. Scuba air is just as dry as the driest nitrogen gas. The main reason we associate moisture with air is that air compressor tanks usually contain liquid water that saturates the compressed air at ambient temperature. While we are on the topic of moisture, water molecules are, by far, the smallest molecules in either fill gas, and will permeate through rubber faster than any gas (except hydrogen) under similar conditions. Fortunately, moisture rarely exceeds 1% by volume of the gas in a tire.

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#147
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/19/2008 7:34 AM

Molar mass of N is 14.007.

Molar mass of water is 18.0153. Water turns into a gas at 99.974'C (211.95'F) sea level.

Sorry........no consensus!

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#152
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Re: Fill Your Car Tires With Nitrogen?

08/19/2008 10:16 AM

.............or a saturated vapour......saturated steam.........wet steam!!!!!

.............and on the shores of the Dead Sea, 420m below sea level????????

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