EFI Comparison (MSD Atomic vs Holley Avenger vs FAST EZ vs Powerjection III)

Discussion in 'High Tech Retrofits' started by CDesperado, May 3, 2012.

  1. CDesperado

    CDesperado Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Just a quick update. I reached out to Holley with some questions and Jones20992 is filling out the info for MegaSquirt's product.

    I thought about this a good bit last night, and I think we will be adding in the information for a line-by-line comparison of the timing control features. In forum after forum, I see various bits of information... and a lot of conjecture. Hopefully this thread can be used to nail some of that down.

    I'm not sure how this will get laid out yet, but it's coming.
     
  2. hutchenc

    hutchenc Veteran Member

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    Sorry for the late reply here about timing control. You'd asked if this was relevant to your average street machine and I would say it's relevant to any car to be honest.

    OEM's have been working with full timing control since the 80's on every car including the ones with 110HP and lower. So, essentially, the MSD system is something that doesn't even do what EFI did in the 80's.

    A timing table isn't all that complicated...it controls timing based on load and rpm (amongst other things). The MSD system will not do that, but Holley's system will. There is considerable advantage to controlling timing on a street car with less than 300 HP...it's mostly improved idle quality, emissions, and torque lower in the RPM band. On newer engines (like the LSx motors) the ECM's can control timing on each cylinder independently of the others. Holley's system can do that too out of the box. Frankly, it makes MSD's system look antiquated but it costs the same amount of money.

    This is a good series of articles to read: http://www.diyautotune.com/tech_articles/megasquirt-carb-to-efi-part1-nova.htm

    Part 2 gets into the timing control part where you can see some pretty impressive gains: http://www.diyautotune.com/tech_articles/megasquirt-carb-to-efi-part2-nova.htm

    This is on a 200HP 350 V8 as well so I think it gets the point across.
     
  3. Fbird

    Fbird Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    After reading this about 5 times.........What is the way most of think of "controlled" timing in an EFI system?

    the only difference between "controlled" and NOT would be the timing relationship with the MAP and TPS sensor. While I have NOT checked out the other systems stated in this post, surely if the system is to control the timing it MUST be relative to the engine LOAD....not just a flat RPM based curve.
     
  4. Fbird

    Fbird Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    hahah...funny^^ i was typing while YOU were posting the answer....
     
  5. BonzoHansen

    BonzoHansen Administrator Lifetime Gold Member

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    Is all this about tbi?
     
  6. hutchenc

    hutchenc Veteran Member

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    I can't say what "most of us think" about timing control. What I can say is that the MSD system doesn't have a timing table, a 30+ year old GM system does, and it's as simple as that.

    All this info is on their website, but they don't make it obvious (which is a huge red flag for me). MSD seems to be trying to pass off real timing control for something that we've all had for years. See the following:

    No knock sensor retard (standard functionality since 1985): http://www.atomicefi.com/forum.aspx?g=posts&t=16487

    From MSD Atomic's FAQ (http://www.atomicefi.com/AtomicFAQ.aspx):

    Can I plot a custom timing curve, and can I lock the timing out in the software?
    Yes, you can set any base idle timing (minimum 500RPM) you would like, along with any total timing (minimum 1500RPM) you would like. In addition to this, you would be able to set a start RPM where the idle timing starts to advance towards total timing. You will also set the RPM at which timing reaches total timing. This will act like one of our distributor spring/bushing kits, but is not limited and can be set exactly. You cannot do a custom 3D timing table. No the timing curve cannot be locked out. The base timing can be set as early as 500 RPM and the fastest advance curve will end at 1500RPM.

    Oooh wow...I can set base and maximum timing as well as the initial and max RPM at which those are achieved??! Wait...I've been able to do that for 30+ years with weights, springs, and bushings. Yes, I know electronic means of doing that are likely more precise, but this is not real timing control.

    MSD's $2000 timing system does what any regular distributor from 1955 with a $100 conversion can do and that's about it. Pathetic and overpriced. Holley's system may be more complicated, but it wipes the floor with the MSD (oh...but it's not as pretty..who cares?). Holley's new system is simply the best bang for the buck unless you care about bling and timing control (you can run Holley's system without timing btw).
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2012
  7. newschool72

    newschool72 Veteran Member

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    Just for a little clarity on the FAST EZ from earlier in the posts. The FAST has a 750cfm throttle body but without boosters that a conventional carb has, flows 1000cfms. As far as nitrous with the FAST, It can be done but is not recommended because it is a pain to trick the self learning computer. Basically you have to ask for a super rich full throttle mixture,that way when the fuel solenoid on the nitrous kicks in,and the computer leans out the mixture,you still have the extra enrichment that you programed in. Too much of a hassle for me and most that buy this system, therefore not recommended.
    As far as the amount of HP the system will support, 550hp is the max at the recommended 43psi of fuel pressure, but you can increase the fuel pressure to 60psi and support 650hp.
    OK guys ,carry on. Most of the things you all are discussing are over my head. Just wanted to give some clarity on the FAST system.:)
     
  8. Zee

    Zee Veteran Member

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    OK, I don't have any of these systems but I am interested and have an open mind. Reading the Holley Avenger EFI installation instructions, it appears that you can utilize timing control only if you are using a GM small HEI cap distributor. (See Pg18: http://www.holley.com/data/Products/Technical/199R10552rev.pdf ) For those of us without a Chevrolet, if I am reading correctly, ignition control isn't going to happen using a Holley Avenger EFI and for those with a Chevy, a potential extra cost that should be factored in.

    Another item is that both the Holley and MSD inject fuel above the throttle plates and I would think would still have some of the same distribution and atomization issues that carbs have. For those of us with limited hood clearance but cannot use spacers to optimize our manifold combination we may see performance improvement with Fast's system as it is injecting under the throttle plates.

    IMO, I can't stand the guy answering tech questions on MSD's site. I had to ask the dude three times if it had a vacuum port for power brakes....How complicated of a question is that? There is a lot I don't like about MSD's system. Beyond the ignition control issue, I don't like that the computer is mounted to the throttle body. If this was a good idea, all of the OEM's would be doing it to save on the time and expense of wiring. Heat+vibration = Electronic Fail. Also, FAST's system uses many easily available GM based componets. MSD's is mostly proprietary and I don't see where they are individually available on their site.

    For me I have no intention of running N20 so it would be between FAST and Holley with FAST getting the nod. FAST is dedicated to FI and nothing else. FAST introduced EZ EFI a few years ago and it changed the market forcing Holley and MSD to play catch up. I prefer it's controller, display and in theory, the TB should improve performance for my application. Holley is trying to sell an updated version of the same set up they have been relatively unsuccessful with for the last ten+ years and change every 2-3 years. Projection, then Commander now Avenger...what's next? Not adverse to the Holley and maybe with the air cleaner, it is lower which would allow me to run a spacer while retaining hood clearance. I am all ears to hear more about the Holley system.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2012
  9. hutchenc

    hutchenc Veteran Member

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    I'm pretty sure the Holley system can be run with a Ford distributor set-up (wasted spark DIS type). It can also utilize a crank trigger which can be set up on any engine given money and time. Of course, it can also be run without spark timing.

    The new Holley Avenger and HP ecu's can be used on any MPFI setup as well, not just TBI. It will support TBI, batch fire, and sequential injection. The Avenger, HP, and Dominator ECU's are not just updated versions of their older systems, they're completely different. I think Holley's long experience in this area is a good thing, not a bad thing. And saying that they have been relatively unsuccessful is untrue. Like most successful companies, they update their offerings and make improvements and that's exactly what they did with the Projection and Commander ECU's. If you want direct communication with their lead EFI developer, he frequents the EFI forum on Chevytalk.com (it's mostly about Holley EFI). His username is Doug_F. There are lots of fellows over there that know a lot about EFI and frequently post new project installs. Their new Avenger an HP ecu's are the most capable offering on the market in their price range. Where FAST has them beat is on simplicity.

    Also, just fyi on the FAST...I can't remember where I read this but I seem to remember that the fuel rails don't allow for a drop style air cleaner. If you have low hood clearance, that may be a problem. I know for a fact that on my '72 Camaro it would not fit unless I changed my intake manifold to something shorter or I put on a cowl induction hood. Fast sells a retrofit kit that's intended to be used on MPFI that I have considered...it's on their website. It looks like a quality system to me.

    I like MSD's system, but I think if I were in the market for a new EFI kit, I'd wait for them to work out the bugs and see if anyone on the web posts some unbiased reviews. The FAST EZ kit and the new Holley stuff is proven at this point so I'd look there if you're in the market now. The thing that sold me on the Holley HP kit was the fact that I could download the software from Holley's website before I purchased it and the fact that I can re-use it if I decide to put an LS motor in my car. On top of that it has integrated datalogging, a nitrous controller, a water meth injection controller, can be used with a boosted application, and much more. It's really a very capable unit. The HP and the Avenger are the same ECU btw...the Avenger just comes with the handheld unit whereas the HP is aimed at guys who want to tune via laptop.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2012
  10. newschool72

    newschool72 Veteran Member

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    I am running an LS motor with the Fast system. An MSD 6012 box controls the spark to the 8 coils that spark my LS3.
    I had to modify my drop air cleaner to clear the rails on the EZ. I cut the lower lid to clear the rails and the linkage . I used percys cloth fill the cut-outs to fit the lower lid to the throttle body. Problem solved.
     

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