We normally think of aftermarket bolt-on EFI systems as the perfect modern upgrade for carbureted applications, which they are. But it seems that throttle-body-style systems like Edelbrock’s new E-Street EFI can also greatly simplify the retrofitting and tuning of a modern EFI engine in an older project vehicle.
Our test case is Karl Roekle’s shop truck, a mutated ’47 Ford pickup that was shortened, lowered, and modified with Model A body parts by his uncle many years ago. At one point, this “Roekle rat rod” was saddled with a small-block Chevy onboard, but Karl bleeds FoMoCo blue, so once he got title to the truck, he soon swapped in an EFI 351W sourced from a ’91 F-250 pickup. To run its port injection and processor- commanded distributor, Karl has been utilizing a non-mass air EEC-IV connected via a custom-made wiring harness. Backed by a non-electronic AOD tranny, his Windsor has remained pretty much stock, save for some long-tube headers. The problem? Actually there were three:
First and foremost, Karl and the EEC-IV could never get the combo to run quite right. It regularly fouled plugs and overall didn’t perform the way he thought 351 cubes should in such a light vehicle. Second, with its long-runner factory intake up top, the Windsor just never looked very cool or hot-roddish in Karl’s eyes (or ours, for that matter.) And lastly, if the EEC-IV couldn’t be tricked into making his 351W run properly when practically bone stock, Karl figured it would be utterly hopeless if he ever swapped in a racier cam and/or cylinder heads. And believe us; he wants to.
All of this led Mr. Roekle to Edelbrock’s recently introduced E-Street EFI, a plug-and-play system using a 4150-style, square-bore flange throttle body, and a processor that “learns” as you drive and self-tunes the fuel curve accordingly. It is also custom tunable via an included 7-inch touchscreen tablet with Bluetooth connectivity. In short, this is a sophisticated EFI system that doesn’t require an engineering degree to install or live with. Let’s see how it all worked out…