PRI Magazine June 2013 : Page 46
M ore racers are uncovering the benefits of EFI systems. As a result, grassroots level enthusiasts and pro race teams alike are demanding more products and technology to meet their needs. “The gates to EFI have officially opened!” said Daniel Caciolo of VDO Fuel Supply and Engine Management, Continental Automotive Systems/Commercial Vehicles & Aftermarket, Allentown, Pennsylvania. It seems that the amount of EFI products available for race applications has expo-nentially increased in a short period of time. Chris Mills from DeatschWerks, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, explained why: “The carburetor has been king for a long time. Until recently, very few EFI solutions could provide the sheer volume of fuel required for high-horsepower racing. In addition, many of the popular racing fuels were not com-patible with the electronic fuel injectors. Recently, however, tuning solutions have improved, fuel injector sizes have increased, and fuel injector materials have been made compatible with many race fuels. With these hurdles now cleared, engine builders and tuners are able to enjoy the flexibility and greater total area under-the-curve power that EFI systems can provide.” EFI has been catapulted to the forefront of the market, and Clayton West from Torrance, California-based Edelbrock believes the reason is a combination of factors and not just one silver bullet. “The accep-tance of EFI in NASCAR, the rising cost of gas, modern ethanol-blended gas-oline and a lot of social emphasis on going green are all reasons the industry is really embracing it more than before,” he said. “In the racing market, most people believe the popularity of forced induction is what has really driven the development and sales to recent levels. Big power numbers are easier to make today than even two or three years ago with affordable, quality turbochargers and centrifugal superchargers as EFI allows them to work like never before. It could be argued, though, that the advance-ments in EFI have made forced induc-tion more popular because of the more precise control of fuel delivery. However, I feel they go hand in hand; one comple-ments the other.” Erik Brock from El Paso, Texas-based MSD Performance also believes there are several variables responsible for the current state of the EFI market. First, the “younger” crowd involved with racing doesn’t have that “fear of the scary electronics.” Second, EFI systems have become much easier to use and tune— as well as self tuning, thereby eliminating the need for a tuner and long hours on the dyno. Third, some racers were hesi-tant to experiment with EFI, so they sat back to see what the outcome would be from those dabbling with fuel injection. “Now cars are going faster than ever, leaving those with hesitations no choice but to join the EFI wagon,” Brock said. Lastly, EFI has become more affordable Performance Racing Industry 46 | June 2013
Racing Is Embracing EFI!
From the latest products--injectors, throttle boodies and more--to training tips, manufacturers of electronic fuel injection components provide detailed information to help your racing business succeed when selling EFI.
More racers are uncovering the benefits of EFI systems. As a result, grassroots level enthusiasts and pro race teams alike are demanding more products and technology to meet their needs. “The gates to EFI have officially opened!” said Daniel Caciolo of VDO Fuel Supply and Engine Management, Continental Automotive Systems/Commercial Vehicles & Aftermarket, Allentown, Pennsylvania.
It seems that the amount of EFI products available for race applications has exponentially increased in a short period of time. Chris Mills from DeatschWerks, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, explained why: “The carburetor has been king for a long time. Until recently, very few EFI solutions could provide the sheer volume of fuel required for high-horsepower racing. In addition, many of the popular racing fuels were not compatible with the electronic fuel injectors. Recently, however, tuning solutions have improved, fuel injector sizes have increased, and fuel injector materials have been made compatible with many race fuels. With these hurdles now cleared, engine builders and tuners are able to enjoy the flexibility and greater total area under-the-curve power that EFI systems can provide.”
EFI has been catapulted to the forefront of the market, and Clayton West from Torrance, California-based Edelbrock believes the reason is a combination of factors and not just one silver bullet. “The acceptance of EFI in NASCAR, the rising cost of gas, modern ethanol-blended gasoline and a lot of social emphasis on going green are all reasons the industry is really embracing it more than before,” he said. “In the racing market, most people believe the popularity of forced induction is what has really driven the development and sales to recent levels. Big power numbers are easier to make today than even two or three years ago with affordable, quality turbochargers and centrifugal superchargers as EFI allows them to work like never before. It could be argued, though, that the advancements in EFI have made forced induction more popular because of the more precise control of fuel delivery. However, I feel they go hand in hand; one complements the other.”
Erik Brock from El Paso, Texas-based MSD Performance also believes there are several variables responsible for the current state of the EFI market. First, the “younger” crowd involved with racing doesn’t have that “fear of the scary electronics.” Second, EFI systems have become much easier to use and tune— as well as self tuning, thereby eliminating the need for a tuner and long hours on the dyno. Third, some racers were hesitant to experiment with EFI, so they sat back to see what the outcome would be from those dabbling with fuel injection. “Now cars are going faster than ever, leaving those with hesitations no choice but to join the EFI wagon,” Brock said. Lastly, EFI has become more affordable And readily available.
UK racing businesses have also been selling large quantities of EFI parts. This, according to Simon Joyce, from Jenvey Dynamics, Shropshire, United Kingdom, comes down to product awareness and the large power increases available via EFI. “You have the added advantages of better reliability, throttle response, performance and efficiency,” he said. “With fuel at over $10 a gallon in the UK, the fuel economy of a well mapped EFI system is now a major requirement.”
With the growing demand for EFI comes a greater need for high-quality hard parts to help racers achieve a winning strategy—which arms retailers with a healthy inventory for their shelves.
ASNU Corporation Europe, based in Bushey, Herts, United Kingdom, offers 15 injectors specifically designed for performance engines. The range covers flow rates from 300–1050cc in 50cc increments, all the same resistance; and with rail and harnesses adapters, they can fit virtually any application. “ASNU have introduced a second tier range of six injectors with flow rates of 1200, 1300, 1400, 1500 and 1600cc, with the possibility to achieve 2000cc with higher pressure,” said Philip Ellisdon. “All these injectors have an average of 22 holes in the orifice plate to produce a finely atomized 30 degree spray pattern cone, to ensure that the fuel burns as efficiently as possible, giving maximum use of the fuel and maximum injector performance.”
“Continental uses our OEM manufacturing facilities and technology to bring the most reliable and robust VDO branded fuel injectors and electronic throttle bodies to the market,” said Caciolo. “Our most recent VDO product launches feature short-style injectors from 42 to 80 lb/hr for mild to wild applications. These injectors are ideal for late model vehicles with minimal rail to manifold space.”
DeatschWerks specializes in OE-quality drop-in fitment solutions for both injectors and fuel pumps. “This allows a customer to install these components themselves or saves shops from extensive, time-consuming installs,” said Mills. The company’s newest offering includes its Universal EV14 Injector Line-Up, which covers three heights (40 mm, 48 mm and 60 mm) and 10 flow rates from 42 lb/hr to 220 lb/hr.
“It is convenience and results that people pay for,” said Paul Yaw from Injector Dynamics, Dallas, Texas. “For that reason, the ID1000, a high impedance 1000cc per minute injector, is our bestseller. It will run small displacement engines comfortably, as well as providing enough fuel flow for 125 hp per cylinder.”
The company’s latest injector was designed in partnership with Bosch Motorsport to provide additional flow required by E85. “The ID1300,” said Yaw, “will go low enough to provide factory idle and drivability while providing enough flow for 125 hp per cylinder on E85. It is essentially an E85 version of our ID1000—all the same qualities, but with a flow rate suitable for E85.”
Hobe Sound, Florida-based Fuel Injector Clinic specializes in performance fuel injectors. “Our high-flow, high-impedance injectors (900cc/min + or 85 lb/hr +) are our most popular injectors,” said Jens von Holten. “The moving parts inside this newer technology style high-impedance injector is less than half the weight of the older fat-body style high- or low-impedance injectors. The lower weight allows for much more precise control of fuel pulses.
“Of all the high-impedance injectors we offer, in sizes ranging from 365cc/min (35 lb/hr) to 2150cc/min (205 lb/hr), our most popular seller is our 1100cc high-impedance injector (105 lb/hr),” he said. “Fuel Injector Clinic’s 1100cc injector is currently the largest high-impedance injector with excellent short pulse width control. The plug fits all EV1/Jetronic/Minitimer/ and Honda OBD0/1 applications. And, our 1100cc high-impedance injector is 22 percent larger than our similar 900cc high-impedance injector (also called the 1000cc injector by others).”
Hebron, Indiana-based Precision Turbo & Engine offers a one-stop solution for customers’ EFI needs. “Fuel injectors are our bestseller, and we offer a wide variety of sizes for domestic applications from 24 lb/hr to 550 lb/hr, and 310cc to 2200cc for import applications,” said Joe Krivickas. “All of our fuel injectors from 50 lb/hr to 550 lb/hr and up come in flow matched sets to plus or minus 1 percent. When building any high-performance EFI engine, it is critical to use matched fuel injectors to provide smooth, equal fuel delivery.
“Some of our newest and most exciting products are our range of larger size fuel injectors,” he continued. “These units, available in 225 lb/hr and 550 lb/hr, are typically used in high-horsepower, twin-turbocharged gasoline and alcohol applications, making in excess of 3000 hp. We are currently developing even larger Fuel injectors to support the 4000-plus hp turbocharged combinations that will be competing in the XDRL Pro Turbo class.”
“We’ve just rolled out a line of weld-on injector bungs that fit a variety of injectors,” said Jerry Hoffmann from DIYAutoTune.com, Suwanee, Georgia. “If you’re injecting an engine that they don’t make EFI manifolds for, this makes the process a lot easier—just drill your existing manifold and TIG these things on. They are designed so you supply them fuel through an AN hose or hard line, avoiding the need to make a fuel rail, and avoid the injector placement constraints that come with a rail.”
“Borla Induction (as TWM Induction) introduced the concept of replacing carburetors with throttle bodies in 1991,” said Garry Polled from Borla Induction, Johnson City, Tennessee. “The market was small in those days, limited by the availability of reasonably priced electronics (ECUs). In the ensuing years, the market has grown consistently as competitors have become more familiar with the advantages of EFI and more electronics have become available.
“Borla Induction sells a variety of throttle bodies based on the various Weber carburetors, which have been ubiquitous in road racing and rallying throughout the world over the last 40 years,” said Polled. “We make throttles to replace DCOE, IDA, IDF and DCNF carburetor types together with the 2000 series Individual Throttle Bodies (ITBs), which have dominated the import drag racing market since their introduction in 2000. Our IDA type throttles have achieved major success in the V8 engine market.” The company’s newest addition includes its racing barrel throttles.
“Our biggest seller has to be our TB range of throttle bodies, which are a direct replacement for Weber DCOE carburetors,” said Joyce from Jenvey. “As we sell huge numbers of these we have been able to keep developing the design to make them extremely reliable, light and strong. They are ideal for anyone wanting a reliable, well-priced kit.”
Andrew Starr from Aliso Viejo, California-based Hilborn Fuel Injection described some of its best-selling EFI manifolds. “Our individual runner EFI manifolds are fast sellers because they Typically make more power across the board than a common plenum MPFI manifold. Although they make broad power, the rpm curve can easily be tailored by changing the ram tube length.
“Our BBC with a three-inch butterfly makes tons of power and is a hot seller,” Starr added. “Our LS IR manifold is popular for those looking to maximize power output of their engine program.”
When it comes to a Hilborn IR manifold, Starr said there’s a tendency to look at it as old technology. However, he said, “nothing could be further from the truth. A Hilborn IR manifold helps keep the airflow much more laminar than a common plenum while also isolating the runners from the disruptive pulses generated by adjoining cylinders. This results in superior cylinder fill manifesting its efficiency with a tremendous increase in low-speed torque and enhanced engine acceleration throughout the rpm range.”
Edelbrock’s EFI manifolds are its biggest sellers. “We offer EFI-ready manifolds for most all common engine combinations with fuel rails, so all the customer has to do is supply injectors and electronics and he’s ready to go,” said West. “Coming on strong as of late is our high-flow throttle body elbows. These offer the performance of a custom billet or sheet metal elbow without the high price. They have really found a home with the forced induction crowd.”
Bestsellers from Memphis, Tennessee-based FAST include its EFI intake manifold assemblies. “This is where we have an engineered package comprised of an EFI-specific intake, matching throttle body, integrated fuel injectors, fuel rails and necessary hardware,” said Brian Reese. “It is a one-stop solution, offering a high-confidence assembly with proven and proper compatibility integration. These kits take the guesswork and Risk out of the picture, all while offering a higher value as a package sale.”
More on EFI’s Hot List
Troy, Michigan-based Kinsler Fuel Injection’s model K-140 Pressure Relief Valve is one of the company’s bestsellers. “It is on every Indy 500 car, 85 percent of the NASCAR Cup cars, 90 percent of the serious sprint cars, most of the top-end series of road race cars, etc.,” said Brad Cauzillo. It’s designed to maintain steady pressure throughout the operating range with absolute reliability. “We have not had a single failure since the valve was introduced in 1996,” he said.
Kinsler has recently introduced its new mono valve and four barrel air throttle that have extra attention paid to the bearing setup to give extremely smooth operation for many years. “The mono valve has an LS bolt pattern and accepts a GM LS throttle position sensor,” said Cauzillo. “It has a cable arm that starts off with a 2:1 ratio. The ball bearings have lip seal style dust seals. The four barrel has a 4150 bolt pattern with a high-flow IAC, ball bearings and lip seal style dust seals.”
“EFI is not just for OEM applications anymore,” said Blane Burnett from Holley Performance Products, Bowling Green, Kentucky. “The largest difference between the EFI systems of yesteryear and those of today are the faster processors and the utilization of wideband O2 sensors in tuning.”
For motorsports, Dominator EFI kits are some of Holley’s bestsellers, as racers are always looking for reliable EFI setups. “They can control all aspects of engine control, traction control, and other considerations, such as electronic transmission control and boost control within one unit,” said Burnett. “This greatly eases installation, simplifies use, and helps to keep overall weight down on a vehicle.”
MSD offers its Atomic LS EFI system for GM Gen III and IV engines. The Atomic features a consolidation of the control circuits into the fuel rails of the system, which was designed to reduce underhood clutter with no bulky ECU to mount, and it reduces the amount of wiring to route for a clean and simple installation. It is compatible with returnless fuel systems, and no PC is required.
HOW TO BECOME AN EFI EXPERT
Most racers would rather buy EFI hardware from a knowledgeable entrepreneur than from an unsure sales clerk behind the counter, which is precisely why there’s a need for not only beginning education but also continued education for business folks.
“EFI is one area where consumer trust is a huge decision factor for racers,” said Clayton West of Edelbrock, Torrance, California. “Most racers have little to no experience with EFI, but if they have someone they believe in and know that person will be there with the knowledge to assist them, then that customer is more likely to make the change to EFI.”
Proper implementation of EFI hardware requires education. “Electronic fuel injection does not respond well to trial and error methods left over from the early days of performance tuning,” said Paul Yaw of Injector Dynamics, Dallas, Texas. “We strongly support EFI University and Calibrated Success, who offer first-class education. Additionally, Injector Dynamics offers seminars each year at PRI, as well as monthly technical articles and detailed training for our dealers.”
Since nobody’s born knowing how to install and tune EFI, Matt Cramer and Jerry Hoffmann from Suwanee, Georgia-based DIYAutoTune.com wrote a book on understanding and tuning EFI systems for those just moving over to EFI: Performance Fuel Injection Systems, available from HP Books. “We offer extensive technical support on all of our products, but currently do not offer our own training classes,” said Cramer. “Ben Strader and his EFI 101 classes have been doing an excellent job teaching EFI tuning, and we highly recommend their classes.”
Brian Reese from Memphis, Tennessee-based FAST also encourages entrepreneurs to attend EFI classes, such as those offered by EFI University. “Also, it is common for us to give presentations and educational seminars at various industry events throughout the year,” he said. The company’s webpage and ‘EFI help’ tech line are valuable resources for education, answers to questions, and more.
Because fuel is such a vital component to safe and proper operation of the engine, DeatschWerks in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, includes on its website
questions customers should ask when sourcing fuel products. “We have a fuel injector calculator that will allow the user to properly size the injector needed for their application, and we follow it up with a fuel pump calculator that shows the amount of fuel flow required to feed the injectors in the system,” explained Chris Mills. “Beyond knowing the amount of flow required, you also need a set of injectors that are balanced within the set so each cylinder is getting the same amount of fuel—running lean in one cylinder during race conditions will certainly end the race early. Tuning the engine management is as important as tuning the chassis for each track. Having the data available to allow the users to get the engine dialed in for conditions is paramount.”
Mike Pinsker of Zero Tolerance Industries, Warrenton, Virginia, explained, “Remember, ‘fuel injection’ is not a new thing; in fact, it is old technology. For many reasons it was never common as it is now. EFI has replaced conventional carburetion on virtually all production cars. EFI exists in production more for emissions and CAFE standards than for performance. Many racers prefer the conventional carb to any ‘fuel injection.’ To clarify, fuel injection and carburetion is of the utmost importance. The US Patent Office rules that all of the EFI or mechanical systems are actually carburetors. In our market, all devices out there are technically carburetors. In the case of EFI, it is a carburetor that is electronically managed. There was a patent issued for a ‘fuel injection’ years ago and that was the only one. This one is the type you see on heavy-duty equipment that requires very high pressure. Our industry and the vehicle manufacturers have co-opted the name EFI, which is OK if the truth is told.”
“Knowledge is power, and it is important that shop owners understand how EFI systems work, to properly educate their customers and get them excited about the endless possibilities with the products,” said Joe Krivickas from Hebron, Indiana-based Precision Turbo & Engine. “Shop owners can hold an EFI training seminar to explain the basic features and benefits of EFI, as well as advanced training, which could cover EFI tuning.”
“A knowledgeable and confident salesman will help reassure the customer,” said Erik Brock of MSD Performance, El Paso, Texas. “A basic understanding of how EFI works is the first step in learning fuel injection.” To help with this process, MSD is currently shooting instructional EFI videos. —Ilona French
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