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2bbl & 4bbl EFI Conversions: are they worth it?

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  • 2bbl & 4bbl EFI Conversions: are they worth it?

    Ok...... one of my golden rules for a rat rod, is it has to have at least one carburetor.
    I like the old school look, and in my book.... having a Carb (or more) on your car means you have to "tinker" with it.
    And that's what we do. With a hands-on tool, not a PC computer that makes me lazy.
    Pushing buttons instead of turning screwdrivers is frustrating to me........
    BUT!
    Breaking/Bending the rules is also part of being a Rat/Hot Rodder.
    Even if it's your own Rules.
    So in the words of Red Green, and "The Man's Prayer"
    "I'm a man.... but I can change...... if I have to...... I guess."

    So.....

    Holley Sniper or Fitech EFI kits.

    They may have converted me to the electronic era for 2 reasons.
    1 - They still look like a carb, and don't require a messy 1,001 wires & PLASTIC doo-dads that totally mess up my traditional look when you open the hood.
    2 - Some of these old "Odd-Ball" engines just don't have the aftermarket speed goodies support that Chevy has. And "Thou Shall Not Leave A Motor Stock" isn't a rule, its a commandment.

    The 200 I6 Ford for example. That motor is designed to do 7,000 rpm on the bottom, but Ford stuck that integrated 1bbl fuel log on it to cut it down and you Can't Change It without Major Machine Work and 1,000's of dollars (for a low hp hot rod)! Offy still makes the tri-carb kit for these, but by the time you buy/build all the carbs pay for all the machine work needed to even put it on the damn thing........ your looking at 2-3,000 dollars for "a look" (because if HP was the main goal, it wouldn't have that lil' 6 banger in it).
    I gave my daughter my '51 Studebaker Land Cruiser but kept the 232 V8 and (air cooled) auto tranny from it. It's cool, and would make a great motor for an "odd-ball-rat". Problem in it though...... they haven't made speed goodies for that in years, and they where rare when they where still making Studebakers. How do I make the fuel delivery better on that, without dropping major cash on something that isn't going to give the same results as a SBC for a 10th of the investment?

    Ok..... enough of me boring you all with my "Traditional Rat Rant" conflictions in all this, and let's get to the skinny on these new toys that Holley & FiTech have dropped into the market to tempt us with. So far, this is what I've come up with in all my research on these things.

    Pros:

    1 - Both the Holley and the fitech use the same basic Holley 2bbl & 4bbl set up. So with an adapter, or simple fabrication/welding skills you can pretty much put either of these on any intake ever made.
    2 - They are both self-learning, so they will both auto tune themselves for any aplication you toss them on. In theory, you could buy 1, stick it on an early 1200 VW Bug drive it for a while, unbolt it, and put it on a 500 Caddy, and it would run either motor. A stupid example, but you get the drift in it.
    3 - They LOOK THE PART! it's not a hunk of plastic and wires that totally kills the "I'm a Mechanic, not a Rocket Scientist" vibe of a Rat/Hot Rod (imo).
    4 - They ARE a cheaper way to go when it comes to certain applications. Such as mentioned above.
    5 - You can get them in a "multi-carb" type configuration to really jump up on the "coolness" factor and Hp as well.
    6 - They range from 45Hp (single 2bbl) - 1,500+Hp (multi 4bbl, turbo and supercharger) setups. Again, fitting a wide range of "unique" configurations.
    7 - Cost & Afordability. Fitech claims to be more afordable and gives you more bang for the buck. But after comparing the two, the price difference between the two isn't that much (usually around $100 bucks & in the pieces & parts stuff, a C-Note isn't that much).
    8 - Some (or most) of these also control Ignition, which kinda takes the place of an MSD Box. Saving some cash there, or using them with an Ignition Control box to gain even more out of them. *This is why I'm kinda leaning to the smaller Holley Sniper 2bbl set up, as it does this, where the FiTech equilivant doesn't.*

    Cons:

    1 - Personally, I don't think I'd do this to a Chevy. Simply because of the cheaper aftermarket base that Chevy has. I wouldn't say never, but the money saved in going mech carb set up here could go to other gooies on a Chevy powered Rod.
    2 - There are many Youtube reviews on both of these, saying which one is the better way to go (Holley or FiTech), but the common factor against both of them is Customer Service and Tech Support. To me that sounds like a "hot new goody" that everyone bought, and is now flooding out each of there call centers with "now how do I get it to work", and "what does this button do again" questions. Each one says the other one is less user friendly, but the Holley Sniper seems to be the go to in this catagory.
    3 - They both require high-pressure fuel systems with return lines, making it a bit more to plumb in. Not really a big deal, but is required on all of them.

    Questions:
    1 - Some of these (namely the 2bbl kits) only come with 1 O2 sensor. Will this be ok on a Split Dual exhaust system? Will it read ok if it's only reading one bank? Or is it better to Y-Pipe and bring the exhaust back together, so it will read the full spectrum of the motor?
    2 - Do any of you have hands on, fingers to metal experience with the 2bbl versions of these? For me, if it can take a 4bbl, I can usually make something off that as it is, but if I can only use a 2bbl, this is becoming my "go to" option for performance hop-ups on a limitted goodie engine.
    3 - Which one do you like better, Holley Sniper or Fitech? and why?
    Last edited by BareRose; 06-10-2018, 11:18 AM.

  • #2
    I like your passion! I'm a big fan of FI however, I like mine computer controlled. There's just something about getting in, turning the key and the car fires right up and settles into a perfect idle! No constant tinkering to get it just right. I checked Jegs for FiTech prices and I saw $1000-$1200. For me, it's all about finding something used/old for cheap then refurbishing/adapting that piece to work on a build. I could do a lot with $1200! Not to downplay your ideas, at all! You seem quite knowledgeable.

    I adapted the ECU/harness/engine from an SVO Mustang and put it in my '27 T. Computer controlled/EFI/turbo'd built 4 cyl. Around 350 hp. It's a rocket ship! Probably $3K in the whole car.



    Next up is a factory computer controlled/EFI 5.0 into a '54 Ford Customline. $1500 for the donor Mustang that I'm driving all over right now. I'll be adapting the 5.0/AOD, ECU, harness and even the dual Flowmaster exhaust to the '54. Just sayin'...…….I'd rather spend a chunk of change on an entire car and use everything I can instead of spending it on one piece. That doesn't sound right. Sorry! I'll get off my soapbox now!



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    • #3
      Didn't you buy an EFI Dakota? You should have everything you need.

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      • #4
        Haven't yet, still on the hunt for a decent priced one. The price of steel went up, so my go-to sources on donors have hiked their prices, and what they did have, they crushed.
        Yeah 2.3Turbo_T, a full on swap out like that doesn't look bad at all, and you cleaned it up right nice.
        What I struggle with, is how to keep these old power plants in there, and going, while adding a bit more than stock to them.
        I really dig the look of these vintage engines, some even more than the car/truck they came in.
        And studying up on these new toys has got the gears in my head a turning in the EFI direction.
        As Gene was saying in the other thread (Cher's Swan) it is definitely an option to find a late 80's early 90's Dakota EFI, strip it bare as possible, make the adapters for this and hide the box.
        And that is in the back of my "noodle" telling me "don't spend the money"
        Last edited by BareRose; 06-12-2018, 05:41 AM.

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