So, you have a carbureted vehicle. Maybe it’s a classic vehicle, a muscle car or a street rod. How can you get improved power and performance out of your ride? This brief guide explores two excellent options that are compatible with carburetors: performance fuel injection systems and turbochargers.
Carburetors Vs. Fuel Injectors
While most modern vehicles already come with fuel injection systems, cars produced before the 1970s still have carburetors. Carbs are also present on many muscle cars and street rods. Key benefits of carburetors include longer lifespans, simple installation and cheaper maintenance. However, fuel injection systems overcome notable downsides of carburetors: sensitivity to outdoor temperatures, difficulty cold starting and less precise control of an engine’s air-fuel ratio.
Electronic Fuel Injection Upgrades
You want the benefits of fuel injection, but you love the advantages that come with your carburetor. Fortunately, you don’t have to make a tradeoff. Compatible systems can bring electronic fuel injection capabilities to carbed vehicles.
EFI systems come in many different makes, models and flavors. Manufacturers like Edelbrock, FITech and Holley offer a wide range of options. One of the most popular choices is Holley’s Sniper EFI tuning master kit, an out-of-the-box solution that installs in just a few hours. This all-inclusive set contains the major components you’ll need:
- Bolt-on carburetor replacement (for single and dual-carb manifolds)
- Four wire connections
- Throttle body mounted ECU
- Color touchscreen
- Integrated timing control and coil driver
The Sniper EFI master kit is plug-and-play and comes with a handy Calibration Wizard. Thanks to its self-learning feature, you don’t need to hook up a laptop to program fuel data into the system. The kit also has complete fuel system components, including a fuel pump, hose, filters, fittings and installation hardware. The Sniper also comes with a wideband oxygen sensor, which relays air-fuel mixture data to the ECU to make adjustments as needed.
The 411 on Turbochargers
Turbochargers are an excellent option for boosting engine power and performance. They work on a simple principle: compressing incoming air into denser form before it enters the engine. This process involves forced induction — in response to the denser air flowing into the engine, the ECU increases fuel intake to match. Thanks to more air molecules going into the engine plus increased fuel supply, turbochargers can provide a serious power boost.
You’ll probably notice complete turbochargers and individual components when shopping for your upgrades. Complete turbo kit options are available from leading manufacturers such as Precision Turbo, BD Diesel and Turbonetics. As for single turbo parts and hardware, you’ll find these from brands like TiAL Sport, JEGS, Turbosmart and Vibrant Performance.
Improving Power and Performance
Electronic fuel injection systems have come a long way since their inception. Carburetor-compatible systems such as the Holley Sniper EFI make upgrading possible without a more invasive conversion process. Turbochargers use forced induction to pack more air into the engine, which the ECU supplies with more fuel. Both EFIs and turbochargers are useful ways to achieve engine performance and power gains for your carbureted vehicle.
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