Making the switch to EFI has traditionally been considered expensive and complicated-until now. The old story used to be that outside of the EFI system and hardware, the cost increased exponentially due to hiring a person who specialized in ECU tuning. But technology has a way of advancing, and the days of complicated programming and the need for a dedicated EFI tuner are almost all but gone for the typical mild street-driven combination. To prove our point, we recruited a '69 Pontiac Firebird that belongs to ABC News 20/20 anchor Chris Cuomo.
The Avenger EFI is offered in four versions including a two-barrel TBI, four-barrel TBI, f
The 400ci Poncho was the perfect candidate as it is mostly stock, save for full-length headers, a larger exhaust system, a mild camshaft, and an Edelbrock dual-plane intake. Cuomo upgraded to a larger carburetor last year, but the Firebird didn't run properly, even after making several adjustments. He turned to the newly released Holley Avenger EFI system to solve his idle and driveability issues. The Avenger EFI is an all-inclusive package of parts, and it offers self-tuning capabilities-making it easier for the average enthusiast to say "yes" to an EFI conversion.
Holley offers three different levels of EFI systems, and each one is a complete kit under one part number, making it easier to purchase. The Avenger EFI lineup is the base system, and users can upgrade to the next level, dubbed HP EFI, which offers more versatility. The Dominator EFI system is the top of the food chain and is a no-holds-barred setup for serious street and race engines. Given the mods on Cuomo's Poncho, the reps at Holley suggested a TBI system from the Avenger EFI lineup.
Throttle Body Injection (TBI) uses a body like a carburetor, but has four electronically c
Throttle body injection (TBI) is a simplistic EFI setup that was underhood many mid-'80s GM products. TBI incorporates the fuel injection with the throttle body-creating a simple system that eliminates the need for a new manifold when making the switch to EFI. A TBI system will bolt-on to an existing manifold with ease and even looks like a carburetor setup in many respects. It can be easily thought of as a combination between the digital world of EFI and the old days of carburetor induction. Holley does offer a multipoint fuel injection system in other versions of the Avenger EFI lineup. The multipoint fuel injection features a fuel injector spraying directly into each runner.
We decided to go with the Avenger EFI TBI system for two reasons: cost and ease of installation. The price tag for this Avenger EFI four-barrel TBI system (PN 550-400) is $1,999. Some might cringe when looking at the cost, but we didn't think it was unrealistic considering the Avenger EFI came nearly complete including a fuel pump, two fuel filters, ECU, wiring harness, bolt-on TBI unit, sensors, gaskets, and a handheld programmer (eliminating the need for a laptop). But the biggest selling point for us was the self-learning capabilities of the ECU, which eliminates the need for custom computer programming. That saves time and money.
The wiring harness is laid into place neatly, and Unique Performance technician Andy Schli
We ventured to Unique Performance in Coram, New York, a very popular muscle car specialty shop, for the installation. It was the first Avenger EFI system that proprietor Nick Giordano and head technician Andy Schlitz had installed, and both commented on how easy the system was laid out. The only parts not included in the Holley kit were fuel lines and a couple of fittings. One quick call to the local distributor netted us 10 feet of Earl's braided line and the required fittings for a total of $68.
The installation took Unique Performance just two days, and the hardest part was figuring out the best location for the ECU and fuel pump. The ECU was installed underhood and out of the way. The pump was bolted on the rear framerail away from any moving parts and the exhaust. It was mounted below the tank, so it's gravity-fed. Before firing up the engine, the ECU needed some important information inputted so it could reference a base program for the initial startup.
The ECU was mounted on the left side of the radiator, which provided a clean look, and for
A manifold absolute pressure (MAP) sensor is bolted onto the intake manifold and a vacuum
The idle air control (IAC) sensor controls the idle rpm, as determined by the ECU. It plug