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Old 10/03/2015, 01:35 PM   #1
p51
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Thoughts on a recently introduced EFI system

I've been watching the evolution of aftermarket self-learning TBI fuel injection systems over the years and, *at least on paper*, it seems that FiTech might have come up with the near perfect system. The Go-EFI4 TBI + Fuel command center seems like it solves most of the biggest issues with TBI systems. And the price looks very reasonable (~60% of cost of other equivalent systems).

http://fitechefi.com/

My (limited) understanding of the evolution of some of self-learning TBI systems (at introduction) over the years is:

Fast EZ-EFI:
Pros: Self-learning
Cons: Multi-module, no timing control, return-style fuel system required, baffling in fuel tank needed to solve fuel starvation from fuel slosh

Powerjection III:
Pros: Self-learning (sort of), ability to fine tune, single module, supports return-less fuel system
Cons: No timing control, baffling in fuel tank needed to solve fuel starvation, sort of self-learning (most applications needed some amount of tuning to really get good performance), laptop required

MSD Atomic EFI:
Pros: Self-learning, single module, supports return-less fuel system, timing control
Cons: Baffling in fuel tank needed to solve fuel starvation, needed separate ignition box (eg MSD) to support timing control, no laptop support for fine tuning parameters

Edelbrock E-street TBI + Universal EFI Sump Fuel Kit
Pros: Self-learning, timing control, return-less with use of sump kit
Cons: Multi-module, needed separate ignition box (eg MSD) to support timing control

FiTech Go-EFI4 + Fuel Command Center
Pros: Self-learning, single module, timing control without need for external ignition box, return-less with Fuel command center sump, simple handheld controller but also ability to fine-tune parameters with laptop, priced at 60% of others similar equivalent systems,
Cons: New company so there are questions of quality and overall support.

The things that impressed me with the FiTech solution were:

Like Edelbrock they have solved one of the most vexing problems – fuel starvation – by putting the efi fuel pump in a small sump that is placed under the hood of the car. The existing mechanical fuel pump pumps fuel from the tank to the sump (think of the sump as similar to fuel bowls in a carb). The efi pump is immersed in the sump keeping it cool and eliminating starvation (the two biggest problems with previous efi fuel systems) and pumps high pressure fuel to the TBI module which is installed just like a carb.

They also state that they can control timing without the need of an external MSD ignition box. You only need to be able to “lock out” (disable the mechanical and vacuum advances) on your existing distributor. I think, however, that the distributor does need electronic pickup (aka like Pertronix) – I'm not sure if it would work with points or not.

They supposedly are using all “off-the-shelf” parts (injectors, O2 sensors, etc). I take that to mean that with possible exception of the actual ECU, you can source any failing parts directly from an auto-parts store.

You can use just the hand-held controller to set up the system or, according to FiTech, you can fine tune with a laptop. With the hand-held controller you can monitor various metrics (AFR, RPM, temp, etc) while driving. I also assume that you can disable your efi using the hand-held. If so, you now have a nice anti-theft system – disable the efi and take the controller with you.

The ability to easily swap back and forth from EFI to a carb (if needed). Say you're trying debug a problem and want determine if it is EFI related or something else. The ability to swap out the TBI module for a carb, swap some fuel lines, and unlock your distributor can make this job easy – a couple of hours of work.

The single biggest issue I see is that these are the new guys on the block. Will the quality be there and will the customer support be there? From other threads there seems to be a lot of interest in this system. Give it a year+ of people banging on it and see what people have to say then.

If nothing else, I hope this forces the other companies to bring down prices on their EFI systems.

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Old 10/03/2015, 03:55 PM   #2
robert campbell
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GREAT THREAD!! Thank you for the research. I have been leaning to one of these for a couple years.
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Old 10/03/2015, 04:01 PM   #3
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New kid on the block. As noted with all the competition with no history their only angle to get into the market is price. As most of the others are at a similar price point one could assume :

a) the costs of the existing units is based on the market, price for quality (or one would assume one of the 4 would cut prices to build market share?)
b) FiTech is selling low to build a name
c) FiTech has cheaper parts, allowing lower costs, which may be a quality issue
d) FiTech has somehow figured out how to do it all at the same level of quality for about half the price (seems too-good-to-be-true, but ya never know)

Only time and use can tell. An analogy is typical repro parts. Folks complain about quality, but still buy on lowest price. Sending mixed messages to the manufactures, they make mediocre parts (for the most part) and they sell... the high end folks (Scott Fuller, etc.) sell very few parts, which forces them to keep prices higher, no economy of scale.

Will be interesting to see where FiTech goes with respect to buyer testimonials. The cost issue kept me from adding EFI to the EXP, figured for a weekended street car the added cost over a carb just provided very little real value... as a well tuned and running Holley goes for a decade or more... maybe they've cracked that nut with a streetable system for a far lower price that pulls it within a not-too-far distance of the price of a new carb...
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Old 10/03/2015, 04:17 PM   #4
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I think the "niche" market for FI systems that bolt onto a 4 barrel manifold may be a bit self serving. The past few years have seen little in innovation other than a couple with "returnless" systems that do not require the return line. Some big names and some small companies vying for a small market of people who can afford their price.

This company "seems" to have figured out the main complaint I have seen about the slosh and baffle problem. And brought the cost down enough for the average guy to consider it as an option.

At $3,000 to $2,500 bucks it was to expensive for the average guy to consider. This is a realistic price in my mind over a carb.

I think the other companies have been riding a wave of the top tier guys that can afford their systems And then send the car to a tuning center to get it right. That market may be drying up.

I will watch this closely. This looks like a new company pushing the envelope! My glass is half full not half empty.

Thanks P51!! I agree with you that this may force this small market to get real. My gut tells me their is a lot of profit on these systems. Time will tell.

Rob
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Old 10/07/2015, 09:51 PM   #5
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Some info here, a few folks noting difficulty with delivery and backordering of parts, others noting no issues... time will tell....

http://forums.vintage-mustang.com/vi...-tech-efi.html

Last edited by dalorzo_f; 10/07/2015 at 10:56 PM..
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Old 10/08/2015, 10:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dalorzo_f View Post
Some info here, a few folks noting difficulty with delivery and backordering of parts, others noting no issues... time will tell....

http://forums.vintage-mustang.com/vi...-tech-efi.html
Yep. It seems there is quite a lot of demand or, at least that is what is being speculated on the various forums/threads. The acid test is going to be whether FiTech has really produced a (1) reliable and (2) plug-n-play system and, being a small company, whether their tech support can handle issues/questions as they arise. MSD controlled the tech support issue with their Atomic EFI by not allowing users to fine tune the system (no laptop support, boo!!), providing a forum on their site so that customers could easily interact with each other, and providing a method to get sw updates (eg bug fixes) out to users as they occurred.

If you google "FiTech" and "forum" (or something similar) you can find a number of build threads that are on-going.

BTW: It also seems like FiTech was started by some of the same folks who were at Retrotek and developed the Powerjection III.

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Old 10/08/2015, 03:25 PM   #7
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Not surprising that a new and cheaper alternative generates interest. Backorders are not uncommon in this hobby!

Most of the initial opinions are positive. As you note the support/warranty issues will develop over time to see how they handle these aspects of growing a business... unfortunately "a successful business" is not just about a good product at a good price!
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Old 10/11/2015, 09:55 AM   #8
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Did a bit more research... some more quasi-random thoughts about FiTech EFI system...

First, a correction from original post. Neither the PJIII nor the MSD Atomic EFI are single-module. MSD has a second module. And the PJIII is only single-module when used with a return style fuel system – it has a separate module when used in a return-less fashion.

So, I think it can be safely stated that the FiTech is the first single-module system that controls fuel injection, fuel pump, and timing all in the throttle body.

However, as I see it there are still some (small?) gotchas in the design.

Fuel system:

First, FiTech is claiming that you do not need a return line when using the fuel command center sump (or, I assume, a return-less system with the pump in the tank). *But* the fuel command center has a sump vent that is similar to vents in carb fuel bowls. Just like with a carb the idea is that the vent allows air to escape so you don't build up air pressure as the mechanical pump fills the sump. The problem is where to vent this air since it also contains fuel vapor. If you leave the vent unconnected all that fuel vapor will vent under the hood – a really bad idea. If you hook a tube to the vent and take that under the car then it's better, but you are still venting hydrocarbons to the atmosphere and if the floats in the sump fail, its gas on the ground, under your car! You might be able to vent back to the air cleaner and allow the engine to burn any excess vapor (not sure how dangerous that is or if it would screw up the EFI learning) but the short of it is that FiTech states in BOLD LETTERS in their installation manual that the vent must vent back to the only really safe place, the tank (this may be a CYA statement for the lawyers, not sure). Hey, in my book that is a return line. Moreover, it would seem (just me thinking about it) that since this is venting air/vapor the vent return line has to connect to the tank above the fuel level which is not where all EFI tanks with return lines have their return hookup point (some do). BTW: Everything stated above about the FiTech fuel command center is also true of the Edelbrock sump kit as well – they also state that the vent has to be back to the tank.

Timing:

All the EFI systems today can control timing – sorta, kinda, maybe. They do but, if you want the ECU to control the timing, it does not seem like you can use your stock distributor (from how I read it). I only looked in detail at FiTech and MSD but from a cursory glance the other EFI systems they also have restrictions on what kind of distributors will work with their systems. Anyway, to enable timing control with the MSD you need both a “2-wire” distributor (I think) and an MSD ignition box to switch the coil. The FiTech does not need an MSD box (although it can work with one) but it does need a “2-wire” distributor. Now I didn't know the difference between a “2-wire”, “ready-to-run”, and stock distributor. So, I tried to look it up on-line and there is no place I can find a precise definition. But from what I gather both a stock (eg with Pertronix) and ready-to-run distributor have a magnetic pickup for the rotor and an integrated driver to drive the coil directly. A “2-wire” only has the magnetic pickup and you need a separate driver for the coil. MSD requires the ignition box to supply the coil driver while FiTech has integrated the coil driver into the throttle body. The short of it is that if you convert to EFI and want to control timing from the ECU you may need to swap out your distributor (additional cost). It seems that if you already run an MSD ignition box and a “2-wire” distributor you're good to go.

Having said all of the above about timing I don't think its really a big deal just using your ready-to-run distributor for timing as you do with a carb. The flexibility of the ECU controlling this vs setting up the mechanical/vacuum advance via springs, stop bushings, etc on a ready-to-run or stock distributor seems about the same. Neither MSD nor FiTech allows a whole lot of customization of the timing curves. And when you start controlling timing with the ECU you also need to start worrying about more precise phasing of the rotor – a whole other topic...

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Old 11/05/2015, 10:08 PM   #9
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FY-EFI

Holley just introduced a sub $1K single module EFI system. Don't know any details but here is an intro video from SEMA on the system...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZKXaWfcmBM#t=2m33s

Looks like the FITech introduction earlier in the year might be forcing down prices from other vendors...

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Old 11/06/2015, 03:46 PM   #10
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A bit more SEMA hype/info here...

http://bangshift.com/general-news/ne...ess-than-1000/
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Old 11/06/2015, 04:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by p51 View Post
FY-EFI

Holley just introduced a sub $1K single module EFI system. Don't know any details but here is an intro video from SEMA on the system...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZKXaWfcmBM#t=2m33s

Looks like the FITech introduction earlier in the year might be forcing down prices from other vendors...
Cheaper, but not bad quality. Basically they are figuring out that if they get it down a bit more, they will sell a lot of product. Holley is a top tier company and they can drive the market.

Guess my days working on old dinosaur carbs is coming to an end!!!

Rob
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Old 11/06/2015, 06:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robert campbell View Post
.

Guess my days working on old dinosaur carbs is coming to an end!!!

Rob
Not if I am still building cars!
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Follow HCS restoration at http://68hcs.weebly.com
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Old 11/07/2015, 04:15 PM   #13
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Rob,

There are too many of us Dinosaurs left to give up on the old school fuel systems. Thats why we drive the cars we do.

So long as there are classics to drive, a Master Carb Guy like yourself will never come to an end, unless we are forced to stop driving them, HAHAHA, that will be a cold day in hell.


There are enough of us to keep your talents busy.


Bret
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Old 11/07/2015, 04:22 PM   #14
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I agree...EFI is fine for my 1990 5.0, but for my GT/CS only a carb will do.

Steve Cracknell
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Old 11/09/2015, 08:27 PM   #15
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Here are the general specs of the Holley Sniper EFI...
https://www.holley.com/blog/post/hol...r_efi_systems/

These specs look to be exactly the same as FITech's. I'm guessing that they got hold of a FITech unit and did some reverse engineering on it but that is just pure speculation...

They are going to be available in Q1 2016 - one year after FITech started selling their unit. Hopefully, there will be some price competition and by mid 2016 there should be enough info on the FITech units out there to have some history on reliability and tech support of the FITech system...

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