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Engine Swap, Ask Anything - February 2013

For headers, the best route would be a set of 1 5⁄8-inch long-tube headers. Shorter headers will fit better, but the long-tube headers increase torque and are just a better idea for overall power. They are more of a hassle to install, but well worth the effort. Some might consider 15⁄8-inch primary tube headers too small—and if you were going drag racing with a healthy 400 small-block, they'd be correct. But the smaller-tube headers won't be a restriction for this mild 400 and will help build even more torque. Hedman makes a 15⁄8-inch header that uses a ball-and-socket sealing flange for the collector that does not require a gasket, but these are a bit more money (PN 68291; $369.95, Summit Racing). This is a painted—not coated—header. I've used these Hedman headers before, and I like the ball-and-socket collector seal because it's easy to connect, and there's no gasket to blow out. I'd suggest carefully removing the paint on these headers using a Scotch-Brite pad and lacquer thinner, and then repainting them with the far superior VHT hi-temp Flameproof Coating (PN SP102; black, $9.95 Summit Racing). Basically, the paint on the headers is there just to protect them in the box and will burn off with the first exposure to exhaust heat. The VHT paint won't last forever, but might last a season, and the headers can be removed and repainted occasionally to maintain appearances. VHT even has a curing procedure: After the paint fully dries for 24 hours, idle the engine for 10 minutes, then cool for 10 minutes. Idle it for another 20 minutes, then let it cool for 20 minutes. Then run the engine normally for 30 minutes, and the paint should be fully cured. A fan blowing cool air across the headers during the first procedure will help to improve the paint's durability. Further, consider painting inside the headers. Most enthusiasts don't realize that the inside of a header corrodes, too. Eastwood sells a spray coating that comes with a 24-inch-long flexible tube that directs the paint down the header pipe. Since primary pipe lengths are usually around 32–34 inches, you can come in from both ends and coat the entire inside of each header tube. I don't have any experience with this paint, but it can't hurt and might keep the corrosion down on the inside of new pipes which would maximize your investment. The Eastwood paint is PN 13795 and sells for $19.99 per 11-ounce can.

As for your question about the Edelbrock versus the FAST EZ-EFI systems, I think a better question would be to address the four systems that operate in a similar manner with self-tuning capability: Edelbrock E-Street, the MSD Atomic EFI, the Holley Avenger EFI, and the one that started it all—the FAST EZ-EFI. These systems all employ a throttle-body mounting four large injectors, which means you don't have to plumb a manifold for injectors. All use the basic speed-density style of fuel injection that does not require a mass airflow sensor (MAF), and all use a wide-band oxygen sensor as the feedback mechanism for the self-learning capability. The MSD and FAST systems do not control spark, which means ignition will require a normal distributor. The Holley system offers an additional wire harness that can be purchased separately (for around $100) that can upgrade the Avenger to electronically control the spark using a GM small-cap HEI distributor. The Edelbrock also allows a similar situation, so these two at least have a small advantage if you are interested in digital ignition control. All four EFI systems require a high-pressure fuel-delivery system that operates generally around 43 psi. The FAST, Holley, and Edelbrock systems use a return system that requires a separate line back to the fuel tank. The MSD Atomic is simpler since it does not need a return line. It would require a full-blown story to get into all the details of all four of these systems (a good idea, don't you think?) but suffice it to say that all four are priced around $2,000 for a basic system with lots of options. For example, Holley offers two different throttle-bodies (700 or 900 cfm) with three different injector sizes (65, 75, and 85 lbs/hr) that offer greater peak horsepower potential up to around 600 hp. Most of the others also offer peak power up to around those same levels. An additional point for the Edelbrock system is a cool, 7-inch, touch-screen color tablet that offers built-in gauges for display as well as control over cooling fans. Most of the kits offer minor tuning control, while others are upgradable, like the Holley, and gives the user even more control over spark and fuel. Also, keep in mind that the EZ-EFI, MSD, and Holley kits include a fuel pump, while the Edelbrock does not. So you can see that depending upon how your car is currently configured, you have lots of options. The MSD basic kit is PN 2910 ($1,990, Summit Racing), the Edelbrock E-Street is PN 3600 (approx. $1,995.95), the Holley 700-cfm Avenger kit is PN 550-400 ($2,054.18, Summit Racing), and the FAST EZ-EFI TBI system is PN 30226 ($1,783.95, Summit Racing).

More Info
Autotronic Controls Corp. (MSD)
915/857-5200
www.MSDIgnition.com

Eastwood
800/345-1178
www.eastwood.com

Edelbrock
310/781-2222
www.edelbrock.com

Fuel Air Spark Technology (FAST)
901/260-3278
www.fuelairspark.com

Hedman Hedders
562/921-0404
www.hedman.com

Holley Performance Products
270/781-9741
www.holley.com

Hooker Headers
800/465-5391
www.holley.com

Torque Technologies
800/408-0016
www.torquetechexh.com

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