This old-school Camaro is lovingly titled Project Rover because we are “teaching an old dog new tricks.” Our very first example of updating the many dated components involves outfitting the healthy 482 cubic-inch big-block Chevy with a Fuel Air Spark Technology (FAST) EZ EFI 2.0 fuel injection system.
The 4500 Dominator carburetor has the appearance of having seen better days. When we made our first shakedown passes at the dragstrip with Project Rover, we saw a slightly rich condition when looking at the spark plugs. We also sensed a slight hesitation with the carburetor’s accelerator circuit. This hesitation made us wonder if we should start experimenting with jets, pumps, and squirters, or pursue an entirely new concept of “carburetor.”
What we’re talking about looks like a carburetor, mounts like a carburetor, and has straightforward tuning. It’s the self-learning and easy-to-install version of fuel injection called the FAST EZ-EFI 2.0. It bolts up just like a carburetor and has minimal wiring associated with it.
This new FAST injector version 2.0 offers new features not previously available, and it can definitely handle more horsepower. The throttle body has the general appearance of a 4150 Holley racing carburetor but with eight injectors in this throttle body instead of the previous four. The new 2.0 body will flow about 1050 cfm and will run gas, racing fuel, or ethanol blends of E85, E98, and E15 fuels. With our goal to run the cost-effective E85 racing fuel in bracket racing, we consider this a great application.
All the setup and tuning are handled through a little touchscreen which simplifies the process tremendously; you won’t be utilizing those complicated EFI fuel maps involved with Pro Modified and Outlaw racer laptops. In fact, you don’t have to use a computer at all. This system can handle up to 1,200 horsepower while using late model automotive sensors to feed data to the FAST electronic control unit (ECU).
With our 11.5:1 compression and solid roller camshaft making power in the 750 horsepower range (for now), this is a great opportunity to experiment with some various fuels and let the ECU figure it all out. Step by step, the hand-held programmer will walk you through setting the starting point parameters of the ECU. One of the first questions is “fuel type” where you will input your fuel of choice and if you are using a circulating or returnless fuel supply system.
The FAST engine control unit (ECU) can alter engine ignition timing, and if you’re looking to add a dose of nitrous, it also has a nitrous feature that will trigger an ignition timing retard and also a little bit of fuel control to handle it.
The EZ-EFI does use a wide-band O2 sensor with a feedback loop in it to adjust the air-fuel ratio. With provisions for an O2 sensor completed, the remaining chores of the installation are as elementary as bolting on a carburetor.
The throttle body is set up just like a typical 4150-style carburetor, and it has the typical flanges on it, as well. The throttle linkage also matches a typical carburetor setup to make it easy to hook up your throttle, transmission kick-down, or any other standard connecting points.
We’re also installing a new fuel cell to replace the archaic spun aluminum tank previously located in the Camaro’s trunk. Combined with the FAST in-line fuel kit, we will have a recirculating fuel system to feed the throttle body and use a return system to the new cell. The EZ-EFI can be fueled in two different manners. It can either be utilized as return style or returnless. The recirculating system will keep the fuel cooler. The recirculating fuel system for the FAST EZ-EFI also runs at 43 psi instead of about 6 psi for a carburetor.
Though you can run the fuel system similar to a single or dual carbureted inlet with the fuel pressure regulator mounted upstream from the throttle body, with this FAST system alternatively you can run in one side and out the other and then back to a return-style regulator and ultimately return to the fuel tank.
One important accessory included in the kit is a junction block to mount the fuel pressure sensor. It needs to be located on the pressure side of the system to feed fuel pressure data to the ECU.
Once the fuel system is all plumbed up, the last step is to install a boost reference vacuum hose between the throttle body and the regulator. When the engine is idling, and for example, pulling ten inches of vacuum, it will actually pull ten pounds of fuel pressure off the regulator because it doesn’t really need that pressure at idle.
Four inputs will feed information to the FAST ECU for a racing application. These sensors are no more complicated to install than the sensors based on your typical dashboard gauge set. They include a coolant temperature sensor, crank trigger or distributor signal hookup, the fuel pressure sensor, the O2 sensor, RPM (tach) input, and the general throttle body hookup. The single throttle body pigtail not only feeds all the needed manifold pressure readings to the ECU, but also sends the firing signal to the injectors.
The wiring harness is well-labeled and easy to match following the FAST installation instructions. With this guidance, this becomes essentially a plug-and-play system. Extra wires are included for any added functionality you might choose. The EZ-EFI can turn on one or two electric fans, it can operate an air conditioning idle up solenoid, and there’s a wire that senses if your nitrous is activated so you can go into the timing retard setting.
The hand-held controller simply plugs into the main harness and FAST’s setup wizard is very easy to use, as well. You need to give the computer some information, and then go through some calibrations. It asks for engine cubic inches and the type of engine. It will need to know your idle rpm, and you can also set a rev limiter. On startup, the controller asks you some simple questions like fuel type, fuel delivery system type, and how you’re adjusting your timing based on the ignition system you’re using. In our next issue, we will be mating the FAST racing ignition system to our EFI and bringing our entire fuel and spark system to life.