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Holley HP Avenger EFI Observations

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  • Engine: Holley HP Avenger EFI Observations

    Since my post yesterday, Sighting in a Michigan Woods, I've been asked to share my observations on the Holley HP EFI I've installed. I've decided to start a new post on the topic so I'll take some time and discuss how I arrived at the HP EFI. SNOOZE ALERT!!!

    I initially purchased the 355 SBC on Ebay for a great price. It included Aluminum heads, ported and polished with stainless swirl valves, Comp Cams 272 duration Hydraulic roller cam and a ton of other speed goodies. It initially came with an Edelbrock 650 CFM carb and MSD HEI vacuum advance distributor.

    It started up well after install but never really achieved it's total potential. I'd get great off line performance but a bog at downshift. I'd improve that and it would lose somewhere else. I could feel the potential but could not bring it all together by changing the carb setup and timing.

    About that time I was presented with the opportunity to purchase a Holley Commander 950 EFI, Holley's second generation, EFI system including the TBI and Holley small cap ECM timing controlled HEI distributor. So I put it on the 355 SBC. It had about the same difficulty in controlling the performance as the carb setup. I could get great performance in some areas but not across the entire RPM range. Just as a data point, This setup had a narrow band 02 sensor which will be important in later discussions as it does not allow Air/Fuel control.

    As fate would have it, I was presented with the opportunity to sell the ECM part of the system for about what I had in the complete 950 setup.

    I was looking around for which direction to go when I learned about the Holley Avenger EFI self programming EFI's. When I looked into them, the thing that compelled me to buy one was the presence of a Wide Band 02 sensor, which allows the computer to control all the engine functions to maintain a selected Air/Fuel ratio. So I purchased the Avenger HP setup as I had the Holley TBI and HEI computer controlled distributor.

    I installed the setup and had it on the road in mid-January, which in Michigan was two days when the temps were in the low 40's. It seemed to control the engine reasonably well but I had to change the cold start parameters due to the temperatures we had.

    It sat until late March before I got back to it seriously. The first time I drove it in the 50's I was impressed with the improved performance throughout the rev band. I drove it in short small increments (Less than 20 miles) as the front end needs alignment.

    MY OBSERVATIONS SO FAR.

    One thing the EFI setup allows is the ability to print out the tables the ECM creates to control the engine during the drive. Some of the things I noticed about the data was the ECM dialed in about 8 degrees more initial timing than I had even allowed, eventhough the max advance was still in the mid-high thirties. It also raised the fuel pressure at times above the 22 PSI norm for the TBI. There are subtle changes in the curves as the ECM controls the functions that I would have no way to anticipate otherwise, as it was controlling everything to maintain the air/fuel ratio.

    While my Sightings post was just goofing off in the driveway, this thing on the road just Hauls Arse through the entire rev band much better than anytime in the past. Even better, the tailpipes show little black coating from running rich and the plugs look grey as they should.

    MY OPINION

    If you drive a carb engine and it performs well in everyday driving, the Holley EFI is and expensive upgrade you probably don't need. Secondly, if you are an expert tuner or have a Dyno at your disposal, again it might be overkill. But for someone like me that has drag raced some and has built 8 or 9 SBC's over the years but can only be called an experienced amateur, it is a god-send. It is quite likely one of the best purchases I've made on this build. It's a joy to just hit the accelerator anytime and let the engine apply a significant kick in the butt.

    In the future, when I get more comfortable with the system, I'll start changing the A/F ratios and monitor the changes with the Speedhut speedo.

    The Avanti is scheduled for it's alignment this week so I'll be able to get a lot of miles on it in the future and report back.

    Bob
    Last edited by sweetolbob; 04-10-2011, 08:06 PM.

  • #2
    I have Edelbrock Pro-Flo RPM efi in my '70 Avanti and love it. I don't have an engine like yours, though...a GM Performance 350HP create engine...330hp rating, cast iron Vortec heads, Sanderson block hugger headers. While no race engine it can smoke the tires in any gear if I want.

    I agree...for casual driving a carburetor is fine. After all...that's what cars came with for generations and have proven themselves. I was tired of carburetors and wanted efi, and though the initial purchase price was more than for a carb setup, I'm very happy with the Edelbrock.

    I have no experience with the Holley so I can't give any kind of informed opinion between that and the Edelbrock, but if you're as happy with the Holley as I've been with the Edelbrock for the past three plus years, you'll be very satisfied indeed.
    Poet...Mystic...Soldier of Fortune. As always...self-absorbed, adversarial, cocky and in general a malcontent.

    Comment


    • #3
      While a programable EFI is a great way to go, they are still expensive.
      I've been tuning a motorcycle with a programable system. It's really interesting, on one hand, it a lot like a carburetor in many circumstances. On the other hand...it's (obviously) more adjustable with a LOT of Hex cells to change. Almost...infinetly adjustable.

      On the drivability with the original carburetor, the second EFI just did what you should have..increased the ignition timing. And maybe the curb idle fuel a little. Too many people just...go by the book...and never experiment. Low initial timing will perform just like you describe.

      Have fun with your new fuel injection.

      Mike

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      • #4
        Hi All..
        This is exactly the unit I am considering using on my new (to me) 62 R2. I spoke with some techs at Holley and they said this unit will work well with the supercharger and should fit nicely under the bonnet and all of that under the hood.
        I live at altitude, 9200 feet, they majority of my driving will be in the 6 to 7500 foot range. It is a pricey alternative.. I am having Jon Myer go through my Carburetor and Supercharger to improve the boost a bit and lean the carb out as well as go over things after 100K+ miles..
        But if the carburetor results aren't satisfactory I will probably go this route..
        I installed a GM TBI kit on my old GMC (76) 455 Olds motorhome along with a EBL learning card and it transformed that coach.... No more rich issues.. Just turn the key to start all of it.. It IS the way to go..
        ON my Avanti.. I will see pretty low annual mileage and if it runs reasonably well on the carb so be it.. We will see..
        Ron
        Ron Husak
        Conifer, CO
        Living at 9200 feet and lovin it!
        63 avanti R2 63R-2648

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by ronhusak View Post
          Hi All..
          This is exactly the unit I am considering using on my new (to me) 62 R2. I spoke with some techs at Holley and they said this unit will work well with the supercharger and should fit nicely under the bonnet and all of that under the hood.
          I live at altitude, 9200 feet, they majority of my driving will be in the 6 to 7500 foot range. It is a pricey alternative.. I am having Jon Myer go through my Carburetor and Supercharger to improve the boost a bit and lean the carb out as well as go over things after 100K+ miles..
          But if the carburetor results aren't satisfactory I will probably go this route..
          I installed a GM TBI kit on my old GMC (76) 455 Olds motorhome along with a EBL learning card and it transformed that coach.... No more rich issues.. Just turn the key to start all of it.. It IS the way to go..
          ON my Avanti.. I will see pretty low annual mileage and if it runs reasonably well on the carb so be it.. We will see..
          Ron
          Ron

          If you are forced to go with an EFI, use the ECM to control timing, whether a modified dissy or a crank trigger setup.

          Bob

          Comment


          • #6
            Bob..
            \ I would like to do that.. But in the GMC I used a knock sensor.. But I was told that the solid lifters in the R2 precludes that.. Too bad... A modified Distributor would be a possibility the one that is in it is using a Pertronix now.. But a trigger could be rigged I suppose.. The knock sensor is really the hot number though.. Makes the whole rig more efficient..
            Ron

            Originally posted by sweetolbob View Post
            Ron

            If you are forced to go with an EFI, use the ECM to control timing, whether a modified dissy or a crank trigger setup.

            Bob
            Ron Husak
            Conifer, CO
            Living at 9200 feet and lovin it!
            63 avanti R2 63R-2648

            Comment


            • #7
              So can you run E85 with the Holly EFI system?

              Comment


              • #8
                This is a very interesting thread. Thanks for sharing this information.

                I purchased a MassFlo EFI system for a street turbocharged studebaker 289 in a 53 coupe. This has been an involved project, primarily because of the fitment issues and plumbing of the turbos. The EFI system has actually worked well, and although it is definitely not 'plug and play' as advertised, there are advantages to a mass air metered sequential system as opposed to speed density setups. In my system, there is essentially no closed loop, because of the forced induction, and I use a pair of widebands to indicate the AFR - narrowband oxygen sensors aer not used in the tune. This system uses what is essentially an A9L Ford EEC lV, from the early 90's mustangs, and other Fords. Now that I have ironed out various 'issues', the car is running pretty well. I have had no detonation thus far, and have carefully done some driving under boost to about 8 or 9 psi; the car puts you back in your seat under those conditions. If I had done this without the turbos, it would've been much less involved, many less issues, and the EFI would use narrowbands such as you have described, and probably been more 'plug and play'..... It's a good system, but expensive.

                Comment


                • #9
                  This is very interesting to me, thanks for posting.
                  How difficult is the electronics part of all this?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mrobertweiss View Post
                    This is a very interesting thread. Thanks for sharing this information.

                    I purchased a MassFlo EFI system for a street turbocharged studebaker 289 in a 53 coupe. This has been an involved project, primarily because of the fitment issues and plumbing of the turbos. The EFI system has actually worked well, and although it is definitely not 'plug and play' as advertised, there are advantages to a mass air metered sequential system as opposed to speed density setups. In my system, there is essentially no closed loop, because of the forced induction, and I use a pair of widebands to indicate the AFR - narrowband oxygen sensors aer not used in the tune. This system uses what is essentially an A9L Ford EEC lV, from the early 90's mustangs, and other Fords. Now that I have ironed out various 'issues', the car is running pretty well. I have had no detonation thus far, and have carefully done some driving under boost to about 8 or 9 psi; the car puts you back in your seat under those conditions. If I had done this without the turbos, it would've been much less involved, many less issues, and the EFI would use narrowbands such as you have described, and probably been more 'plug and play'..... It's a good system, but expensive.
                    I'm looking forward to some pics, glad to hear you've got it running.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      So can you run E85 with the Holly EFI system?
                      From the Holley Forum:

                      http://www.holley.com/forums/showthr...=1181#post1181

                      They say it's one of the selectable fuels with the Avenger, but it will need the laptop and to do some tweaking on the fuel parameters on the ECU, so they recommend a step up to the HP to save the runaround.
                      1964 Studebaker Commander R2 clone
                      1963 Studebaker Daytona Hardtop with no engine or transmission
                      1950 Studebaker 2R5 w/170 six cylinder and 3spd OD
                      1955 Studebaker Commander Hardtop w/289 and 3spd OD and Megasquirt port fuel injection(among other things)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by johnod View Post
                        This is very interesting to me, thanks for posting.
                        How difficult is the electronics part of all this?
                        John

                        The wiring is as close to plug and play as you can get. The newer Avenger series are fully potted so they can be installed under the hood. For ease of installation, I moved the washer reservoir and used that area to install the ECM. One important note, The ECM requires clean power and must be installed directly to the battery terminals. It comes with a complete harness that plugs into all the sensors with Weatherpak connectors and you just need to find the appropriate 12V sources. If you can install a radio this will be a piece of cake.

                        Here's the install in the Avanti.



                        PBR2, I continue to read your posts on computer control with great admiration and now that I find MRobert is also doing a similar install I feel humbled. I build computers but after just programming the Commander 950 I stand in Awe of you two. The HP I installed required almost nothing comparatively speaking to the Commander 950.

                        As PBR2 said, I believe you can use it on E85 but I'd discuss it with Holley. In a previous post I explained why I was impressed with their tech service.

                        Bob
                        Last edited by sweetolbob; 04-14-2011, 08:02 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I need to add one of these setups to my wish list!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I need to add one of these setups to my wish list!
                            The Holley is one of the least expensive of the commercially available systems, but still not for CASOs. Anyone else who has installed a similar system care to share real world costs? Last one I did, including fuel pump, filter, lines, linkage, sensors and labor totaled more than $3,000.

                            However, there are many benefits: when dialed in, it starts and runs better, increased performance and fuel economy, never any chance of vapor lock.

                            I'd recommend an entire fuel system flush. Most Stude fuel tanks have a certain amount of crud in there. A high dollar EFI system should be new or professionally cleaned from the tank forward.

                            jack vines
                            PackardV8

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                            • #15
                              Thanks for all the info in this thread, I plan to put a '64 225 hp 289 in my Conestoga and I want to fuel inject it. It will be normally aspirated unless something really wild comes along. I have time to watch and decide if I attempt direct port or throttle body. Always nice to have someone cutting the big trees out of the path for me.

                              thanks

                              Pat
                              Pat Dilling
                              Olivehurst, CA
                              Custom '53 Starlight aka STU COOL


                              LS1 Engine Swap Journal: http://www.hotrodders.com/forum/jour...ournalid=33611

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