5.0 Mustang & Super FordsHow To Engine
1989 Ford Mustang Project Shocker - Holley Dominator EFI Install
Dominating Control - Holley Performance brings cutting-edge fuel injection to our street/strip 'Stang
Horse Sense: Holley has been in business since 1903 and made a name for itself by selling over 250 million carburetors. However, Holley's high-technology Avenger, HP, and Dominator electronic fuel-injection systems have earned it a place among the finest EFI systems on the market.
Technology moves at a staggering pace. It's amazing to consider that NASA put a man on the moon using less computing power than the smart phones we carry around in our pockets. Last year's killer laptop computer is this year's standard model. Knowing how quickly technology progresses, we simply could not bring ourselves to run an EEC-IV-based EFI system with its '86-model-year technology controlling Project Shocker's monstrous powerplant. So when Holley announced its Dominator EFI system, we picked one up to see what it was all about.
Like most standalone EFI systems, the Holley Dominator system is ordered a la carte. For our setup, we ordered the Dominator ECU (PN 554-114), main harness (PN 558-104), SBF injector harness (PN 558-209), universal ignition harness (PN 558-306), auxiliary harness (PN 558-401), two wideband O2 sensors (PN 554-100), two 0-to-100-psi pressure sensors to monitor fuel and oil pressure (PN 554-102), a three-bar MAP sensor (PN 554-107), air temperature sensor (PN 9920-107), and the coolant temperature sensor (PN 534-10). These were all of the parts we needed to set up the Dominator EFI with dual wideband oxygen sensors, our existing dual inductive pickup distributor, and the factory throttle-position sensor and idle-air-control valve.
It should be noted that there is a lot of flexibility with regard to ignition strategies when using Holley EFI. It integrates perfectly with OEM and aftermarket TFI distributors for a plug-and-play installation using factory components. It can also be used with a crank trigger, a dual-inductive-pickup distributor, even a distributorless ignition system. We chose the dual IPU distributor because it was on hand when we installed our stroker Windsor.
Installing the Holley Dominator EFI was simple and straightforward. Rick Anderson at Holley supplied a base tune for our initial engine calibration. After we took care of the mechanical gremlins, which we addressed in the previous installment of Project Shocker, the 428ci Windsor fired right up on the first try.
Much to our amazement, it only took three full-throttle pulls for us to nail down a solid air/fuel tune using Holley's powerful self-tuning fuel-table Strategy. Rick told us that many of his customers rely solely on the system's base fuel Learn Mode to automatically create their tune as they drive along. After seeing the Learn Mode in action, we're sure that is a viable option. However, we opted to bring Project Shocker to J&J Performance (www.jnj performance.com) in Cape Coral, Florida, where owner and tuner Justin Nelson dialed in our combo.
Follow the captions to see how the Holley Dominator system came together, and don't miss the sidebar with our preliminary dyno results. The Shocker is already showing potential—and stay tuned for our next installment when we'll tighten up the converter and head back to the dragstrip!
Base Fuel is probably the most frequently accessed tuning table within the Holley system. Any changes made here take place instantaneously. Additionally, the Learn Table can be opened to view how the ECU has added or subtracted fuel in order to reach the target air/fuel ratio at any rpm and boost/vacuum level. The cells in the Learn Table can be cleared or transferred to the Base Fuel table at any time. The orange ball on the table indicates where engine rpm and boost/vac are at any given time. In this case, the engine is not running, so the orange ball is at ambient air pressure and at the bottom of the rpm range. Notice also that the Sensors window in the bottom left corner of the screen lists Stall as the rpm value since the engine isn’t running. This window can be configured to display any parameter which the ECU monitors in real time. Finally, you’ll notice that two of the cells in the Base Fuel table are red. This is because the ECU has calculated that those cells are outside the range of our fuel system's capability. However, this isn't an issue for us because those cells occur at 8,000 engine rpm and 30 psi of boost. Our rev limiter is set to 7,500 rpm. This extra column of cells is there in case of an accidental over-rev, which could theoretically occur in the case of an overzealous downshift.
On the Dyno
The good news is that our wicked little ProCharger F-1R is pumping out 28 pounds of boost and the 428ci Windsor is taking it like a champ! By our crude estimate, those figures should be good for roughly 1,300 horsepower at the crankshaft. Unfortunately, we estimated that the blower would supply only 20 pounds of boost, so we overshot the estimated power level listed on our torque converter tech sheet by a significant amount.
On the dyno, the converter is stalling at 6,450 rpm, and our converter slip percentage wound up at 16 percent. These numbers indicate that we are making enough power to push through the converter. Fortunately, TCT offers a free one-time stall-speed adjustment within 90 days of shipment. By the time you read this, we will have already sent the torque converter back for its adjustment so we can take another shot at breaking 1,000 horsepower to the tires, which was our original goal.
It's worth noting that these dyno figures should not be viewed too critically because dynos load non-lockup converters differently than the street. For example, if you take the exact same engine combo and dyno it with a manual transmission like a T-56, then an automatic with a lockup converter like an AOD, then an automatic with a non-lockup converter like a C4, the manual-trans combo will make the most power because it has no slip and little parasitic loss. The automatic trans with the lockup converter will make slightly less power because there is more parasitic loss from the transmission. The non-lockup converter will make the least power because it has both parasitic loss and slippage in the torque converter. However, the non-lockup converter setup is usually the quickest on the dragstrip.
Also, our current torque converter, which stalled at 6,450 rpm on the dyno, actually stalled at 6,000 rpm on the street. So to some extent, the chassis dyno is primarily a tuning aid. Still, we know Project Shocker is capable of making over 1,000 rear-wheel horsepower, and we're determined to prove it!