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Fuel-Injected Firepower

Posted in How To on July 7, 2004
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The advent and proliferation of electronic fuel injection has made the trucks we drive far more enjoyable. Cold starts and fuel mileage are just two of the things benefitting from this milestone in automotive engineering.

Factory injection systems are fairly sophisticated; they have to operate within the vast array of conditions automobiles experience throughout the world. When it comes to high-performance engines, though, they are not always capable of dealing with parameters exceeding a stock motor's specifications. Therefore, you may need to turn to an aftermarket source to control your high-strung horse.

Aftermarket EFI systems can be broken down into three categories: stand-alone systems, piggyback systems, and peripheral systems.

Stand-alone systems include their own electronic control units, wiring harnesses, and often times, sensors. Some, such as the Edelbrock unit, even include their own induction hardware, such as intake manifolds or throttle bodies.

Piggyback units usually attach to the stock computer in some fashion. They use all the factory wiring and sensors for data collection, and then offer the end-user the ability to manipulate the stock computer -- with some offering more manipulation than others.

Peripheral devices are generally handheld units, such as the Predator from DiabloSport. These usually access the stock ECU by plugging into the service ports of the factory fuel-injection systems, and then the user makes changes through the handheld programmer. While some of these make only minor changes to specific engine parameters, others can reflash the entire ECU and load a whole new program.

What exactly determines which system is right for you is not a question we can answer in this story. Things you should look into, however, are price, included or needed equipment, and the unit's capabilities. You should also inquire about the level of skill needed for operation and installation and if the unit is upgradeable. All of these things and, of course, your vehicle's needs will help you decide which system is for you. Also, don't be afraid to be an educated consumer. Ask others who use the systems for their opinions, search Web sites and Internet forums, as well as ask the vendor who is selling the product to you. Aftermarket EFI systems can give you complete control over the engine by allowing precise adjustments to fuel, timing, and other operating parameters. Should you need this control over your vehicle, here are some systems you might want to look into.

ACCEL DFI
More than four years of research and development have resulted in one of the most advanced engine management systems available.

Now on its Gen VII version, the ACCEL system's idle air control, fueling control, knock control, and acceleration enrichment management have all been enhanced over the previous version. Better communications allow for faster program file uploads and downloads, and a new water-resistant enclosure and main harness connections offer options in the mounting location for the Gen VII electronic control unit. With wide-band O2 capability, the system can operate in closed loop at all conditions and allows the end-user to select the air/fuel ratios desired at different rpm/load points.

Every Gen VII ECU has the capability of operating as many as three stages of nitrous oxide and can calculate the amount of fuel enrichment for each stage. Ignition and fuel shut-off rev limiters are also built in, and the ignition rev limiter can be wired through a trans-brake or line-lock button to act as a starting line rev limiter. Both rev limiters are adjustable in 50-rpmincrements.

ACCEL's Gen VII features a new graphical "online" high-speed data recording for as many as 30 minutes of data recovery. Data recordings can be replayed in real time, stepped through point by point, and also replayed in the volumetric efficiency table.

The all-new CALMAP 2003 PC Windows-driven calibration software provides fast, user-friendly access to all fuel- and ignition-related tables. CALMAP 2003 offers "help" screens, so if a user is unsure of a screen they are looking at, they can simply push the "F1" key and a verbal description of the screen being viewed appears. With the CALMAP 2003 software, the Gen VII ECU can fire the fuel injectors in sequential, bank-to-bank, batch, or staged batch modes, and individual cylinder fuel trim is possible in all modes of injector operation. This function is used to compensate for intake manifold distribution inadequacies, poorly matched injectors, or a combination of both.

Gen VII has a self-diagnostic capability with a provision for a malfunction indicator lamp. CALMAP 2003 will display the trouble code and what action the Gen VII ECU is taking because of the trouble being sensed. A malfunction indicator lamp can also be incorporated, which will flash the trouble code number.

ACCEL PN 77030 is the Gen VII Spark/Fuel kit for Fords with the TFI distributor, and PN 77030U is for Fords with a universal ignition system. ACCEL also has a complete fuel-injection system with its Gen VII controller. PN 77302 is for small-block Fords and includes the ProRam induction with 36 lb/hr injectors and a 1,200-cfm throttle body.

FAST
Formerly known in the aftermarket as the Speed-Pro system, FAST (fuel, air, spark, technology) converts your engine to electronic fuel injection with a stand-alone system.

The specially designed C-Com WP PC Windows-based software allows easy tuning and simultaneously displays and edits fuel maps, timing curves, enrichment tables, and data logs. Key features include the ability to monitor and control as many as four stages of nitrous and any mechanical improvements, from cam changes to a blower or turbocharger. The system is available in two versions and accommodates most four-, six-, or eight-cylinder engines.

This system's most unique quality is that it has the ability to be tuned online over the Internet. Several of FAST's dealers have started using this patent-pending technology, and it's worked very well for them. All the user has to do is plug the laptop into his ECU, have Internet connection, and give the tuner the I.P. address. The tuner will then have the ability to tune the car remotely -- in real time -- while it's running.

The FAST software offers the ability to use either speed/density or alpha-numeric to tune with and also lets you simultaneously edit fuel maps, timing curves, enrichment tables, and data logs. All systems come with integrated wide-band O2 sensors for precise tuning feedback over a broad range of air/fuel ratios. The complete package includes the ECU, main wiring harness with labeled connectors, injector wiring harness, 5-foot PC communications cable, and C-Com WP software.

Holley
Holley's MPFI systems for the 5.0L Ford engine are powered by the Holley Commander 950 electronics.

Included with each system are Holley's upper and lower SysteMAX II intake manifolds, Holley's 70mm CNC-machined billet aluminum throttle body, EGR spacer, high-output inline fuel pump, fuel rails, fuel injectors, fuel rail crossovers, fuel pressure regulator, wiring harness, all sensors, and of course, Holley's powerful Commander 950 ECU. Separate adapter plugs allow the Commander to plug directly into the Ford TFI distributor, giving the tuner complete timing control.

Also included with each system are Holley's easy-to-use comprehensive Commander 950 tuning manual and Holley's PC Windows-based software loaded with pre-calibrated fuel maps, which allows real-time tuning from a laptop computer. Holley also makes additional fuel maps available from its Web site at no charge.

Holley's Commander 950 MPI systems are available for naturally aspirated and supercharged 5.0L Ford engines producing 200-750 hp. The 5.0 Commander systems are perfect for any '86-'93 factory-equipped EFI Ford truck owner looking for ultimate engine control and upgrade power over the factory ECU or 289-302 small-block carbureted Ford engines converting to EFI.

MoTec Systems
The M48 provides sequential injection and individual cylinder fuel/ignition trims for up to eight-cylinder engines and is designed to provide you with the power and quality you need.

MoTec's base system uses three-dimensional fuel and ignition mapping and ignition control to give you the ability to drive your ignition modules and set your spark timing to be at its absolute best at all points. Sequential ignition lets you fire the injectors at the optimum time in the engine cycle. Advanced tuning is an option and offers many features such as traction control and the ability to configure the ECU to your existing sensors. Another option is 512KB of onboard data logging to let you analyze the engine as it has been running. This system can be configured to suit your needs and enables more options if they are required later.

All M48 models have the accurate control necessary to meet legislated emissions requirements, including closed-loop, narrow-band lambda control. The engine must, of course, be emissions-capable.

Comprehensive diagnostics report on injector current usage and any wiring open/short circuit after each firing of the injector. There is a comprehensive group of computer software tools available for the M48, including engine setup, tuning diagnostics, and utilities.

This software has been designed with the emphasis on usability, enabling you to quickly optimize the setup for your vehicle. A programmable flash memory chip to store the control program means there is no program chip or EPROM to change to upgrade the program. When a new program feature is offered, you simply send the M48 the new code over the optional MoTec connector cable, and the latest features are available to you.

Edelbrock Performer
RPM Pro-Flo EFIEdelbrock's Performer RPM Pro-Flo EFI systems convert carbureted 289-302 (PN 3521) or 351-W (PN 3541) small-block Fords ('64-'72) to powerful multipoint fuel-injected machines with the potential to surpass 400 hp when used as part of Edelbrock's "Total Power Package."

The Pro-Flo EFI includes Edelbrock's unique calibration module for total adjustability without a laptop computer. Made in the USA, Edelbrock EFI systems come with an assembled induction module (manifold, air valve, fuel rails, and injectors), ECM, wiring harness, sensors, fuel pump, and fuel lines. These new Ford systems also include a high-quality MSD Pro-Billet distributor.

This speed-density system offers total engine control for excellent throttle response throughout the rpm range, great fuel economy with a significant increase in horsepower, smooth engine operation, and improved cold starting.

Anderson Ford Motorsport PMS
With less than an hour expected for installation, the Anderson Ford Motorsport Programmable Engine Management System is a plug-and-play deal using the factory computer and harness. Designed to be user-friendly, the PMS comes with a processor, a handheld programmer, and a detailed owner's manual explaining all functions. Filling out the AFM data sheet will get you a base program already in the system when it is delivered. The PMS allows you to take control of your stock computer and make changes as needed.

The EEC-IV PMS features a start fuel setting, which controls the injector when the starter is turning the motor over, and it eliminates hard-starting with 42 lb/hr and larger injectors. Air/fuel mixture is fully adjustable, as well as idle mixture and timing. Everything higher than 4,000 rpm and half throttle is run off the PMS only, which allows for better fuel and timing control. Now the rev limiter can be moved as high as 9,200 rpm with a faster processor. Total spark and rate-of-advance is fully adjustable, and a two-step rev limiter is built in.

This latest PMS system benefits from increased RAM, EPROM, and EEPROM internal memory capacity. Three data display screens let you monitor air/fuel mixture, spark timing, injector function, oxygen sensor, manifold pressure/vacuum, and boost or nitrous.

With AFM's Inter-Acq, you can use a laptop for data logging, and the Inter-Acq can also record exhaust gas temperatures with the auxiliary EGT probe. AFM expects to have its PMS for the EEC-V out by the time you read this. It operates in the same fashion, but the rev limiter has been extended to a sky-high 10,000 rpm, and the system also controls the electric fan.

WMS SDS
The Western Motorsports DFI replaces the Ford EEC fuel-injection computer and allows you to program all parameters for fuel injection and ignition to tune for maximum power from your engine. The WMS/SDS is available as a plug-in system for the Ford EEC-equipped 5.0, 351W, 460, and 2.3. An engine harness is also available for use on street rods, race cars, and other Ford engines.

The system was engineered so that installation can be easily handled by a first-time installer. The handheld programmer is a big part of this, as no laptop or software is needed. Everything is done in the programmer. The SDS system includes the SDS Electronic Control Unit, SDS Programmer, injector drivers, lean/rich controller, MAP sensor for naturally aspirated or blown applications, a complete wiring harness that plugs into the Ford engine harness, and an installation and tuning manual.

Installation typically takes less than two hours, as the factory Ford engine harness, water temperature, air temperature, and throttle position sensors are retained. The system uses the Ford EEC distributor Hall Effect sensor to trigger a Crane or MSD Ignition box. Only the basic MSD 6A or Crane Hi-6 is required, as the system controls ignition retard and rev limiters. The ECU can control both factory and aftermarket fuel pumps.

All programming functions are performed through the handheld programmer. There are five separate fuel curves that SDS uses: rpm, manifold pressure, air temp, water temp, and cold start. Each fuel curve can be fine-tuned to the engine combination for maximum power and driveability. The SDS uses your factory oxygen sensors in closed-loop operation for excellent mileage when highway cruising.

Western Motorsports also has an SDS for Modular engines, and the hardware is basically the same. The SDS is set up to drive an MSD DIS4 Ignition Box for reliable spark with boost, high-compression, or nitrous engines. All timing and fuel functions are controlled by the SDS and are fully programmable. The '96-'98 Mustangs/Cobras require no further modifications for the system and car to function. The '99-and-newer Mustangs and Cobras will require a return-style fuel system and aftermarket speedometer and tach. All systems come with a one-year warranty and complete technical support.

The TwEECer
The TwEECer is an adapter that connects to the J3 service port of a Ford EEC PCM. It gives you the ability to substitute parameters in the calibration data with parameters matching the modifications you have made to your engine combo. So, as you add performance to your car, you can easily match the EEC's calibration to your combo.

Four customizable calibration locations allow you to have a program for high-octane race gas or pump gas, or any combination of programs needed for your setup. Real-time data logging and display (TwEECer RT), along with playback capabilities, allows you to see how the EEC sees things. This is a tremendous tool for tuning, as there will be no more guessing as to what the EEC is setting important values to.

The TwEECer has a Graphical User Interface (GUI) that is feature-rich and constantly being improved. The TwEECer is the first product of its type that allows you to disable the unit and revert to stock settings without having to remove it from the EEC. Future enhancements are only a download away. Diagnostic trouble-code reading and clearing without popping the hood to disconnect the battery are just some of the benefits.

DiabloSport
The DiabloSport Predator is an improvement on the handheld Hellion. The Predator packs even more features and functions, which make the unit quite versatile.

Inside the handheld programmer are a performance tune-up, diagnostics, and the ability to load a custom tune. The Predator re-maps fuel curves and timing curves; extends speed limiters; extends rev limiters; and adjusts part- and full-throttle shift points, shift timing, and shift pressure. The end-user can also recalibrate the speedometer for gear- and tire-size changes as well.

As a diagnostic tool, the Predator can read and erase fault codes and monitor live data. Diagnostics will work on all '96-'03 OBD-II F-150 trucks.

This flash tuner can accept custom programs, then download them into the ECM. A large backlight makes things easy to read in any condition. The DiabloSport Predator is available for '99-03 Lightning/Harley Davidson supercharged F-150 trucks.

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