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EFI or Carb - Why did you choose it?

5085 Views 89 Replies 43 Participants Last post by  Westmus
I’m looking to get a 96-01 Explorer 302 for my 67 FB build because it’s the cheapest path to build an engine up to 280-300 hp.

I’ve been putting off getting an engine because I can’t decide on whether to make EFI work or just switch to a carb. I’m familiar with a carb, and that hp range will be streetable and easy. The EFI route seems a bit daunting, what with all the wiring and such.

I’m just curious to get some opinions on why you did what you did if it was a reason other than originality.
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I have the Pro Flo 4 efi kit on my 351w engine. In terms of wiring, I had to hook up power and ground to the battery, a ground for controlling my electric fan, then a wire to my tach, and a wire to my ignition switch. Everything else was just hooking up connectors - O2 sensor, throttle position, water temp, fuel injectors, etc. Everything is already neatly harnessed and labeled. Definitely don’t be daunted by the installation aspect, it’s really not bad at all.

All of the setup after that was on my phone - input displacement and cam specs and it picks a base fuel map to start from. I picked this cause I can do any and all tuning from my phone, whether I’m in the driver’s seat or outside with the hood up. It starts up effortlessly whether it’s hot or cold. It integrates seamlessly with boost (supercharger is next). But the efi brain adjusts the fuel and spark maps for you as you drive. Lol I mean once you watch me tap the + or - button on my phone and you hear and feel the idle speed change correspondingly, it’s ridiculously cool.

Granted, you can do basically all the same stuff with a carb. It just takes a little longer and doesn’t tune itself. I think the efi does a little better job of wringing every last bit of awesomeness out of my engine regardless of conditions in a way that a carb can’t. It adjusts for hot, cold, humid, dry, whatever, and gets the best out of the engine regardless. I don’t have a start up procedure, I don’t have to pat the gas. I just get in and crank it and then drive it like I stole it.
 

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I’m looking to get a 96-01 Explorer 302 for my 67 FB build because it’s the cheapest path to build an engine up to 280-300 hp.

I’ve been putting off getting an engine because I can’t decide on whether to make EFI work or just switch to a carb. I’m familiar with a carb, and that hp range will be streetable and easy. The EFI route seems a bit daunting, what with all the wiring and such.

I’m just curious to get some opinions on why you did what you did if it was a reason other than originality.
No question. EFI is vastly superior unless all you do is drive at full throttle. It is worth the time and money over a carb any day. It was a pain to do the wiring, add the fuel return line, and get rid of the EM gremlins but now that all that is done, I would never go back. I recommend the Holley sniper or sniper stealth but if you go this route make sure you order the programming cable so you can tune using a laptop...
 

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I have used the tbi setups, fitech and holleys Sniper. I would never go back to a carb. First thing to go on a new project. As mentioned, the ease of use once it's in is shocking. It felt like a newer car.

I have looked into some of the newer mod motors for my latest build (82 Foxbody), the wiring for those is pretty daunting. I am still looking at doing one, just doing the research. I rewired my 68 with an AAW harness, how much harder can it be.
 

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I have always wanted to do this since early 90’s, when I had an 86 GT and the 65 at the same time.

I took the more difficult route, I used the factory EFI on a stock 92 5.0L.

It runs great and fit into my budget for my needs.

The aftermarket systems have come a long way.

BTW, I ran a carb for first 25+ years.
I have learned more about carbs after my EFI conversion…go figure.
 

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Fuel injection requires a bit higher cash outlay at first. Fuel injection is better at adjusting to changes. But carbs are simple, clean and they work (i truly enjoy carb tuning). No higher pressure pumps and associated wiring etc. I'm installing pro flo 4, just because it's kind of the theme of my build, modern car, old school looks.
 
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I'm well versed with carbs (Holley/QuickFuel/Edelbrock) and after getting them dialed in, find them to work perfectly fine and operate reliably for many years w/o any maintenance. I wouldn't disagree that EFI has some advantages and have considered. Then I read many horror stories about fussy glitchyness and people being held hostage by computers and get stuck w/o a way out. Currently, I'm perfectly content with my carbs and have put aside feeling that EFI is necessary or even an upgrade overall. The fact that I don't need an app to adjust my carburetor is comforting. On the flip side, I'm sure many people enjoy that aspect for good reasons. I suppose being fine with carbs in 2022 officially makes me "old school." I'm cool with that. Just like I prefer vacuum tube guitar amps and analog gear.
 

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I'd offer this person about $500 and then sell the maf and computer (as the computer is just a stock 5.0 computer with a chip). Then grab an efi single plain intake with fuel rails, a stock distributor 5.0 mustang distributor, and a microsquirt EFI computer and run speed density.

That's what I have on my 64 Falcon. Looks reasonably stockish and other than the computer runs Ford parts. Mega squirt options will be supported long after Holley or Edelbrock move to the next new thing.
 

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I went with Pro Flo 4 on my build. I am not running yet, but with a stroker and pretty big cam, I wanted the easy starts, good idle in traffic, etc. I had only bought the Vic Jr. before I decided to go EFI. Pro Flo-4 also comes with the distributor, so the package deal is there.
Be aware, with EFI you will have to figure in your fuel delivery/tank to the overall cost. You will most likely need some kind of fuel system upgrade no matter what EFI system you decide.
 

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Married with 3 girls. That’s why I’m going the budget route. The days of dropping an extra thousand on something just because are over.
Single dad with 1 in college and another starting soon living in Bay Area (ouch). Paypal no interest 6 month payment plan for all my mustang purchases are my friend....1 upgrade every six months for me max now....
 

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A perception from afar ... a carb will never be as good as EFI, but in general it is "good enough" and it is a lot easier to get up-n-running. In the end, it depends on your intended use of the car, your budget, available time and willingness to modify the entire fuel system. Like all things in life, pluses and minuses. Only you can weight them against each other.
As for me, my 390 runs just fine and I don't see a "need" to upgrade. And I could apply the almost $3k for a Pro-Flo system to something else that would increase my joy in life.
Let us know what you decide and how things work out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I’m starting from scratch, so I’m not already invested in anything fuel system-wise.
I’ve had a couple vehicles with 750cfm carbs, and I swore I’d never have a carbureted car again. I’m sure living with something closer to 600cfm would be much different.

I’m looking for affordable consistency.
 

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would love to have fuel injection, but a well tuned carb works just fine for me. simple to install and maintain for the most part. for the amount i drive my cars, which is local shows, i just can’t justify that over something else that needs done. granted if i had nothing, might be different. I already have sunken costs on my carb setup. i run a holley 600 on my built 302 and a holley 570 on my mostly stock 289.
 

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1965 Mustang GT. 11.898 @ 113.646, all motor, three pedals
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For simplicity and reliability, carburetors hands down. Besides, I think it’s part of the experience of driving these old cars. They have little quirks, and sometimes they’re a little grumpy. Kinda like the loose nut behind the wheel 😜
 

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I have used every kind and type of induction out there, applying advanced tuning techniques, so keep in-mind that's where I'm coming-from. My first comment is that they all work, and can all work very well. Like anything (cams, heads, gears, etc), each has certain pros and cons. After decades of carbs of every description, to mechanical FI, EFI and so on, all of them require very good knowledge and tuning to get very good results — not just run OK.

With that in-mind, I build my own systems from scratch to use the right components for the right reasons. I build my own custom carb-replacement EFI for under $500 and up (for me), including WBO2, ignition and fuel system, plus my time. Less for existing EFI. Yes, I am at that end of the scale. :geek: So, I'm happy to pass-along info and perspective on stuff, but it's up to you to choose your level of engagement. What level you choose will dictate what will fit "you" best.

Highly capable but not default automated is my thing, so I can squeeze everything out of them in the way that meets goals. Megasquirt, Speeduino and others have entry-level to pro options to get started there. If you know tuning and carbs, they are an easy transition. Carbs are fun, complicated and challenging to tune well, and becoming an oddity, but I'm mostly past the "sweat over the engine for 20 minutes, and do it again 37 times" stage. EFI is much more consistent and reliable, and as every function is separate instead of blended, is sooo much simpler to tune, troubleshoot and diagnose (which is what all tuning is) — if you are willing to learn. What will you learn about any of the choices?

You can choose to learn nothing, and that means paying someone else for their skills or engineered kit, and finding that someone to tune anything you like. Nothing wrong with that. You can learn a little, and use a basic carb or full EFI kit ($) so you don't have to do much to make it work "OK" to pretty good. Or you can commit to any level, learning all about tuning (which applies to all of them and simply applied differently), to get some amazing results. There are no bad choices, just best ones that fit you. I hope that helps. Do your thing! :cool:
 
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