This one’s going to be more of an opinion post than a project, as we haven’t installed our Fitech yet. There will be another post about installation and running in the near future. At the moment I just want to discuss why I chose the Fitech and why we stock it as opposed to some other units. And before anyone gets all up in arms, this is not a sales post. True we do sell them, but I don’t particularly care if you buy them or not. The profit margin on these things is so laughable that it’s hardly worth putting them in a box. Like everything else we sell, we sell them at a lower price than everyone else so that you guys get a lower price than everyone else we are not trying to get rich here. Far from it.
There are two ways to go about engine modifications. There are those who try to get every possible bit of power out of their engine and enjoy tweaking and working on it to make this happen. These are the guys who have a Caddy 500 with headers, a strong cam, multiport fuel injection, all the bells and whistles. Then there are those who modify for the sake of improvements in technology and convenience. These guys don’t need the most possible horsepower, don’t want to have to tweak and work on things, and don’t want to spend an arm and a leg to gain that last little bit. They just want a solid reliable engine that’s as convenient as possible and will get them to their destination trouble free.
When I am building motorcycles or muscle cars I fall into the first category, high compression pistons, hot cams, bored, stroked etc…Hell yeah count me in.
For my motorhome I am in the other camp. I want an engine that’s powerful enough to pull me along at 80mph and get me up and down the hills and get me to my destination with no fuss, no fight, and no tweaking.
EFI has been available for our coaches (or anything else you wanted to slap it on) since the early 90’s. It’s been expensive, complicated, and a hassle. Not anymore, today (as I’m sure you’ve noticed) Tech is the forefront of everything, and someone has finally put this tech into a useful package with the Fitech. For under a grand you get throttle body injection with full computer control, self learning (this means you need not sit at your laptop trying to figure out what the hell your engine is doing), instant cold starts, altitude correction, ect. And it’s easy. A few wires, 2 sensors, bolt it on, and you’re off and running.
There are other options out there for EFI. There are LOTS of other options out there for EFI. But none at this price tag and this level of convenience . To me (personal opinion) no one needs EFI. The GMC has been doing just fine on the quadrajet and mine runs like a top. EFI is a want kind of thing. A convenience thing. A peace of mind thing. To me that’s worth 995 bucks. It’s worth that to get fast starts, correct AFR at all times (including going over the pass at 12000 feet) and the peace of mind that comes with it. It’s not however worth 2200, 2500, 3000 for the other systems out there. Again personal opinion, but that’s a big damn jump. For over 2 grand I’ll clean my carb thank you.
Those 2000+ dollar systems do offer some advantages. They have the ability to control your timing in a more precise way than the Fitech. They have knock sensors that in effect allow you to lean out the mixture at cruise and get better mileage (~1 MPG, but hey that’s 10% right), and they are more “tuneable” than the Fitech.
So there are options, when I was shopping around I asked myself why I wanted EFI, and it came down to convenience and peace of mind. I don’t personally care about the MPG boost, I don’t personally want my engine running at the edge of sanity to gain a mile per gallon, and I personally want a learning EFI that learns how I drive (maniacally) and adapts.
A note on reliability.
There are those that will argue that a carburetor is the ultimately reliable piece of equipment, no computers to fail, no injectors to fail, no moving parts to fail. And this is certainly true. When you get down to it EFI has a lot of failure points that a carb doesn’t have. However, this is assuming that your carb is not 40 years old, not filled with old varnished gasoline, all parts are in good shape, your float’s not sticking, your vacuum lines don’t have any holes, your throttle plates don’t have any build up, your float doesn’t have a hole in it, you don’t have any clogged passages, your fuel pump pressure is not too high, your fuel filter isn’t clogged, and it’s tuned to peak performance by someone who knows what the hell they are doing. I think you get the picture. (BTW I have personally dealt with every one of those issues on 40 yr old carburetors, and a plethora more)
When is the last time that you go into an EFI car and had to get out and use ether to get it started? When’s the last time that you had to clean your injectors? When’s the last time you ran the battery down before it started? The last time you wondered “is this bastard ever going to start?
I now ask the same question to those of you with carbed vehicles. If you’re anything like me, you’ve got a few to choose from. When I hop in my 69 GMC Stepside, my fingers are always crossed as I turn the key. When I hop in the 70 chevy, same deal. When my carbed motorcycles have been sitting all winter I pray that the gods of batteries give me long enough cranking for them to get running that first time (or that my leg muscles are up to the task in the case of kick only).
Maybe you’re not like me and your carbed vehicles run exactly as intended, that probably means a few things: You’re better at maintenance than I am, you have better setup carbs than I do, and you don’t have my luck!
Anyway, this has gotten a bit long winded, so I’ll leave it here and go outside and work on the plumbing in the coach.