Carburetor versus EFI is a long-standing debate in the hot rodding world, and one with no end in sight. Does EFI make more power, is it easier to tune, more efficient, and offer better driving manners? Maybe. In our experience it all depends on who's doing the tuning, and how often they're willing to get under the hood.
Don't get us wrong, we've nothing against carbs; quite the contrary in fact. We spend a great deal of time testing and working with the experts to bring you the right way to dial them in. But as good carbs can be made to run, the real rewards EFI offers are daily driveability, precise tunability, and the utmost in reliable, repeatable performance without turning a screw or swapping a jet. If you want to tune it and forget about it, or know exactly what's going on at all times with readings from a half dozen sensors, EFI takes the win.
So you're interested in EFI, but where do you start? Have you even heard of all of the options on the market? To save you the time, we touched base with 21 companies that manufacture or create fuel-injection conversion systems that run the gamut from bare-bones kits that supply simple solution for putting street-driven muscle cars on a zero-carb diet, to top-of-the-line, cutting-edge stuff that can be found on some of the most competitive race cars in the world.
Perhaps we should also preface this roundup by saying that there really is no wrong choice here among theses kits; just different ways to solve a problem, each with their own unique approach or theory. Do some work better than others? That all depends on what you're building, what you're planning to do with it, and how deep you want to be able to dig into the tuning. Do you want single day bolt-on kits with auto-tuning simplicity? Check. Need something with nitrous staging, launch controls, and data logging capability? Double check. Just need it to drive well and look bitchin? Check and mate.
From mild street cruiser, to quarter-mile terror or full-on road racer, we guarantee there's something here that fits your budget, your style, your level of expertise, and your expectations.
What packages do they offer?
Plug-and-play systems are the least expensive bare-bones packages, but ACCEL offers complete Engine Builder kits only require fuel lines and a 12V source to operate.
The Throttle Body kit (PN 77135) can bolt up to any 4150-flanged manifold, and is designed with near stock engines in mind (300hp max), but can be upgraded down the road for higher horsepower applications.
Best for racers?
The Engine Builder kits are the best bang for the dollar when it comes to components and usability. Engine Builder kits come with the entry-level Thruster EFI ECM that can be upgraded to a full-blown GEN7 PRO ECM that offers numerous options/functions to accommodate 99 percent of racers. For nitrous guys, the controller has auto fuel compensation; just input pill size, number of pills, average bottle pressure, and the ECM will build the fuel table. The data logger can record up to 16 channels (14 from the ECM and two internal), and the systems are totally upgradable and customizable.
What do you get?
ACCEL DFI Engine Builder Plug-and-Play systems are complete EFI kits and include: Thruster EFI Engine Management System, wideband oxygen/data-logger, EFI sensor kit, dual-sync distributor, DFI 6A ignition module, DFI E-Core high-output ignition coil, high-performance fuel pump, DFI billet fuel pressure regulator, intake manifold with rails and fittings, fuel injectors, and DFI billet throttle body.
What options are available?
Options include: torque converter lockup, dual coolant fan control, shift light control, A/C control, Boost Builder (pro only), Boost Control (pro only), multistage NOS control (pro only).