Converting a carbureted guy to fuel injection is like converting a Chevy guy to a Ford or a die hard domestic owner over to imports. While carburetors might be more simple as a form of air and fuel distribution, they can be far from simple from a tuning perspective. And let’s face it, a carburetor isn’t going to control four stages of nitrous other than slapping the throttle linkage back against a micro switch.
One of those who has made the recent switch to fuel injection is Chad Henderson and his EZ Street Grand National. With the 632 cubic inch, 14-degree Big Chief big block Chevy, Chad has run about every type of carburetor on the market before his switch to EFI. Before his pre-electronic days and even currently with his new Holley Dominator EFI standalone, Chad has won the majority of races he has attended, including NHRA Unleashed and ORSCA titles. Chad has even gone as quick as a 4.78 @ 154 mph as of the ORTC SGMP race, and he says it should go .60s without a problem. But what a minute, did I just say Holley and standalone in the same sentence? Oh, yes I did.
“The wiring on it is pretty much plug and play, it is really nice,” says Chad Henderson. “The capability to move pins and wires around makes it easy to work with. Best of all, it has done everything we have told it to do in the hundred passes we have on it. It has been a learning curve for sure, but has been well worth it.”
Monte Smith is a renounced nitrous tuner with over thirty years of experience and is the man behind Chad Henderson’s Grand National. Though Smith owns his own shop in Alabama, he also works as a technical representative for NOS and played a big role in the development of the Holley Dominator EFI system. “To me it is more user friendly when compared to a lot of the other EFI systems I have worked with,” said Smith. “What scares a lot of people away from EFI is that they don’t speak the language. The terminology isn’t what a normal carburetor guy is use to. Holley re-wrote all the typical terms into words that are easier to understand, like the fuel table being in lbs/hr.” Before we get deeper into the Dominator EFI, let’s overview the other tuning options offered through Holley’s new EFI line:
The Avenger – A Moderate Crate Engine Solution
The product line starts at the Avenger, which is a bolt-on-and-go EFI system that will self tune with a variety of pre-determined questions through the hand held LCD display. The self-learning ECU will give you the option to do some global spark and fuel tuning for idle and wide open throttle while also displaying an array of data from the sensors. This is a great solution for a mild to moderate street car setup.
The HP Upgrade – Adding Power Adders and Custom Tuning
The HP EFI is the second level on the Holley EFI line. Similar to the Avenger with its self learning capability, the HP adds four programmable inputs and four programmable outputs that are ideal for most vehicles with a single power adder, as well as laptop programmable tuning. This feature allows the user to configure the system to support a wide range of controls including boost control, progressive nitrous (up to four stages), water/methanol injection, speed inputs, fuel pump control, AC inputs, timing retard inputs and various other uses. Also this is a direct plug and play ECU for GM LSx applications. This is perfect for an aggressive street car or moderate racing application.
All-Out Race Car Management with the Dominator
Holley’s top of the line standalone is the Dominator EFI ECU. The Dominator is designed for all out racing applications with its extensive expandability options. Holley has a “Build to Order” program setup with their Dominator EFI systems to ensure that the consumer is getting a kit designed specifically for their application. The highlight of the Dominator’s tuning capability is that all the fuel mapping is done in actual lbs/hr of fuel flow instead of co-efficient calculation value based throttle position and engine speed. “The fuel table, ignition table, and nitrous tables are easy to find on the programming and you don’t have to do a lot of bouncing around between different menus,” explained Henderson.
The bonus in this is that you can change injector size and enter the desired lbs/hr into the fuel map and your fuel rate will be pretty close. The actual vs rated flow is corrected in the System Setup for specific pressure and dead time response curves vs voltage for each injector tested. What this basically does is tighten the margin of error for the desired input lb/hr vs actual flow.
The second feature that Smith likes about the Dominator is the nitrous controller capabilities. “I had a lot of input on the nitrous controls, but overall I think hands down it has the best power adder controls – the nitrous controls are just fantastic,” said Smith. “The Dominator is the only system that gives you the ability to the progressively control a dry system.”
Chad Henderson’s nitrous is injected completely dry, with the additional fuel enriching of the four nitrous kits coming from the 160 lb/hr injectors. A built-in four stage progressive nitrous controller does exactly what they need it to do, with each stage controlling a different kit on the Grand National. “We haven’t sprayed all four yet, but we have used three kits about 30 to 40 times without any problems,” Henderson explained. Even for boosted applications, a built in “Boost Builder” function will allow you to use nitrous as an anti-lag function. Then when the run is completed, it can be reviewed on the internal data-logging function that can store up to 2 GBs of information.
Converting from carbureted can be perceived has harder than weening off a highly addictive illegal substance. There is nothing wrong with a carburetor, but if you are looking for precision control for every imaginable aspect of your engine, there is no denying the Dominator EFI. Regardless if you have a stock carbureted vehicle you want to convert to fuel injection, a healthy street beast with a power adder, or even an all-out 3000 horsepower race car, Holley has something to offer through their new EFI line. Tuning is easy with the built-in, self-learning function or go all-out with full tuning capabilities.
Additional Information on the Dominator EFI below:
- Twelve sequentially driven 8:2 peak and hold injector drivers, capable of driving up to 24 low or high impedance injectors as a standard feature. Multiple staged injector strategies
- Twelve channel Distributorless Ignition (DIS) outputs capable of directly driving “Smart” ignition coils or Holley DIS coils. Will drive 2 wire coils with the addition of PN 554-112 high current coil driver module
- Plug and Play control of factory GM 24x and 58x LSx engines
- Integrated electronic transmission control. Controls GM 4L60E and 4L80E transmissions with more to come in the future
- Integrated dual channel wide band oxygen sensor controls. Works with NTK or Bosch sensors. More channels can be added via CAN bus
- Integrated drive by wire throttle body control. Can control two drive by wire throttle bodies
- 4 stage progressive nitrous control
- Turbo boost control
- Integrated water/methanol injection control
- Integrated “Data Acquisition and Control” allowed with massive amount of programmable inputs and outputs
- Internal data-logging standard with a huge 2GB of memory
- Self-tuning fuel table strategy greatly simplifies tuning process
- Store and change between four calibrations
- Individual cylinder fuel and spark control allows you to unlock your engine’s potential
- Optional 5.7” full-color touchscreen LCD allows easy on-the-fly tuning, data-logging or can be used as an easy to see graphical gauge panel
- Unique lb/hr based fueling strategy greatly simplifies and commonizes tuning
- Advanced idle, closed loop, and enrichment strategies allow for very stable operation
- ECU is fully potted and can be mounted in the engine compartment or interior
- Sealed automotive and marine grade connectors
- Works with 4, 6, 8 and 10 cylinder engines
- Allows for use of common OEM sensors as well as customer sensor calibration input
1-5 Bar MAP sensor capability
- Ignition Plug and Play with GM 24x and 58x LSx engines, GM HEI, Ford TFI, magnetic and hall effect trigger, and other ignition systems. New Plug and Play applications in process. Custom settings can be configured to allow many other applications.
- Two channel knock control sensor inputs for both one or two wire knock sensors
- Dedicated fuel and oil pressure inputs
- Controls both stepper and PWM Idle Air Control (IAC) motors
- Speed density, Alpha-N, or combination fueling strategies
- 3 Rev Limiters
- Massive amount of inputs and outputs allow for limitless combination of options. Allows for unit to be used as a complete data acquisition system as well.
- 13 – “Multi-Inputs” – Can be configured as a 0-5V sensor input, 0-20v sensor input, thermistor temperature input, or high or low voltage input
- 30 – 0-5V Sensor Inputs – Configures any 0-5V sensor as well as some can be used as switched high or low inputs
- 4 – Speed Inputs – Can be configured as a digital (square wave) input or an inductive input
- 20 – 12v PWM Outputs – Can be configured as PWM or switched 12V outputs. Rated at 2A maximum
- 16 – Ground PWM Outputs – Can be configured as PWM or switched ground outputs.
- All inputs and outputs are programmed using innovative new “Pin Mapping” strategy that allows inputs and outputs to be pinned as desired by the user, allowing for inputs and outputs to not be “wasted” by non-used dedicated functions.
- Fully featured nitrous control eliminates the need for a separate nitrous controller device
- Can be configured “Wet” or “Dry” with closed loop feedback
- Progressive control based on time, RPM, or boost, requires part # 554-111
- Lean or rich safety cutoff
- Full timing retard/control configurability per stage based on RPM or time
- Integrated water/methanol injection control
- Uses Holley water/meth solenoids specially designed and calibrated for use with this EFI system to allow the user to enter water/meth flow as a percentage of fuel injector flow for water/meth tuning precision unmatched in the industry
- Allows for two nozzles to be controlled
- Nozzles available from 400 to 1000 cc/min
- Complete control of pump activation, and low system safety features
- Turbocharger boost control
- Fully featured boost control capability eliminates the need for a separate boost control device
- Can be configured to control boost based on time, gear, speed, and manual inputs
- Gear based boost control configurable by several different methods
- “Boost Builder” functions offer the ability to assist building boost on the starting line by altering ignition timing, fueling, as well as nitrous oxide activation. Also can be used as an anti-lag function
- User configurable input and output programming
- Outputs can be programmed as pulse width modulated or switched.
- Unique circuitry allows inputs to be programmed as speed/frequency, 0-5V, 0-20V, thermistor, or switched high or low
- User configurable inputs and outputs can be programmed to have a variety of different inter-dependencies
- Configurable for: dual cooling fans, dual fuel pumps, AC inputs, basic TCC lockup, and multiple timing retard inputs
- User programmable caution and warning outputs for all sensors.