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Carburetor Vs.Electronic Fuel Injection - Tech
We Put Dynatek Racing's New Fuel Injection To The Test Against A Classic Carburetor.
When It comes to carbs versus computers, this ain't exactly my first rodeo. Almost since the inception of the fuelinjected 5.0L Mustang, the carbureted contingent has taken exception to the fancy new fuel injection. They (of course) openly admit the fuelie 5.0L was responsible for ushering in a new era of Ford performance, and have no problem taking full advantage of all the latest cylinder heads, intake manifolds, and cam profi les. The "carbies" however, are still a little reluctant to embrace the electronics associated with EFI Fords, criticizing complication of the magic black box for their reluctance.
Backing up their position are a number of tests run by yours truly, illustrating the carbureted contingent certainly had a leg to stand on more often than not, as carbs have come out on top in a direct performance comparison. As antiquated as the carburetor may seem (compared to today's modern fuel injection), they remain a serious player in the hands of the right tuner.
As good as the carburetor is, however, there was more to the many comparison stories than simply carbs versus computers. From a basic standpoint, modern electronic fuel injection would certainly be able to equal or exceed the performance offered by a carburetor, if for no other reason than it provides the ability to precisely dial in the air/fuel and timing values to maximize performance.
Don't discount the drop in charge temperature offered by the atomization of the fuel through the carburetor. It is possible to get exceptional results with a carburetor and conventional distributor, but ultimately fuel injection could provide an ideal combination not only at every rpm run under full throttle, but an ideal combination run under every possible combination of load and engine speed. No matter how well tuned a carburetor and conventional distributor are, the same can't be said about that combination. All the carb jetting and advance weights and springs on the distributor can't match the precise tuning offered by electronic fuel injection (especially at the OEM level). Score one for modern technology.
With such an advantage offered by the electronics age, how can a carburetor possibly compete? In many of the previous carbs versus computers shootouts, power differences came not from the ability to dial in the air/fuel or even having timing control, but rather the differences in the intake manifold design associated with each system. Were we to run a carburetor versus injection on the same intake (say a converted Edelbrock Victor Jr.), we'd certainly see that the injection could provide the idealized air/fuel over every possible rpm and load combination.
But testing between a conventional carbureted intake versus a typical aftermarket 5.0L EFI intake often showed different results. Tested on the same motor, it was diffi cult for the typical long-runner EFI intake to best a carbureted Victor Jr. in terms of peak power. The long-runner intakes usually offered exceptional low- and midrange torque production, but the carbureted contingent usually took top honors in terms of horsepower. The majority of the credit for the impressive peak power numbers goes to the short (and large) intake ports offered by the single-plane carbureted intake. Optimized for high-rpm power production, a Victor Jr. carbureted intake is tough to beat.
The excellent results posted by the Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake in our past carbsversus- computers comparisons are exactly why we selected it for this shootout. After all, if you want to demonstrate the merits of your fancy new fuel injection, why not go up against the best?
Speaking of new injection, this Classic Fuel Injection from Dynatek Racing was so named for its combination of retro classic good looks and modern electronic sophistication. Any true Ford enthusiast should recognize it as a conditions. Keeping them in an optimized state of tune for every combination of engine speed, load condition, and temperature can be an exercise in frustration.