NEW HOLLEY SNIPER EFI: A SIMPLE BOLT-ON?
WE PULL THE CARB OFF A 440 AND BOLT ON A SNIPER TO TEST HOW EASILY IT WOULD ADAPT
We pulled the carb off of a 440 and bolted on a Sniper to test how easily it would adapt.
Electronic fuel injection isn’t new. There hasn’t been a car built with a carburetor in about 30 years. Granted, early versions were forced on us by emissions regulations, and their performance was less than ideal, but there’s no question that as the technology has evolved it has brought greater and greater benefits.
Thirty-five years ago most of us had given up hope of ever seeing a real muscle car come out of Detroit again. There was a whole slew of anti-tampering laws and talk of sealed hoods to prevent us from modifying anything. We thought the muscle car era was over forever, so we struggled to hang onto whatever we could that was left.
Today, we can walk into a Dodge dealer and drive away with over 800 hp and over 700 lb-ft of torque in a package that outperforms our classic muscle in every way. Thank you, EFI.
Not that long ago, talk of installing EFI on classic muscle was akin to blasphemy. But as the tech improved so did the benefits. Early systems worked well enough, but most didn’t want to put in the effort to learn how to set them up. We’re good at turning wrenches not programming.
More recently, there’ve been bolt-on throttle body systems with self-learning capability. Again, technology continues to bring greater and greater benefits.
The latest is the new Holley Sniper EFI — touted as a true bolt-on self-learning carb replacement. When we got word that Muscle Car Restorations in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, was about to bolt one onto a 480hp 440, we thought this would be a good time to check out a real-world install.
The 440 was a fresh build just off an engine dyno tune that MCR had dropped into a ’69 GTX resto. It was running an Edelbrock Performer carburetor that the car owner wanted to swap for the Sniper. The car wasn’t complete, but it was close enough to test on MCR’S Mustang chassis dyno that would allow simulated street driving as well as full power runs.
Frankly, the Sniper surprised us. After a brief crank to get fuel into the system, the big-block just popped right off. After a brief fast idle, it settled down to a perfectly smooth idle speed. Subsequent restarts were no more than click, vroom, every time.
Once the engine was up to full operating temp, we went straight for a full power dyno pull. Again the Sniper surprised us. Not only was the pull smooth and clean, it registered within 1 hp and 4 lb-ft of what the dyno-tuned Performer delivered. The Sniper wasn’t expected to yield significantly more power than a properly tuned carb, but we certainly didn’t expect it to match it on the first pull.
Four complete runs later, the total power output remained the same but the midrange (2,900 rpm) torque was up 30 lb-ft and the horsepower was up 75. This thing really learned in a hurry. Next up was some simulated driving, which demonstrated equally impressive results. The short version is that it just worked. Even off-idle throttle blips and other erratic moves failed to produce even one hiccup. No stumbles, bumbles, or bogs of any kind. Multiple times we let it sit for a few minutes to check hot restarts and each time nothing but click, vroom.
Installation just may be as simple as it’s possible to achieve. Yes, you’ll need to add an O2 sensor, an electric fuel pump, and an extra fuel line, but after that it’s just two wires to the battery, one to the
coil and one for the temp sensor. The ECU is attached to the throttle body and the fuel pressure regulator is internal so there’s no extra stuff to have to mount on your firewall. Just bolt it on, push on your vacuum lines, attach the throttle cable and kick down, connect the fuel lines, and you’re good to go.
Of course there are advanced features if you’d like to go there. The Sniper can be set up to control a pair of fans, add an A/C idle bump, control an aftermarket tach, etc. It’ll also work with a variety of aftermarket ignitions, it supports nitrous and can even be configured to control your timing.
Set up is also super simple. Using the included 3½-inch touch screen, you’ll enter displacement, desired idle speed, cam type, accelerator enrichment, A/F ratios at idle, cruise and WOT, and even a rev limiter value. The touch screen also functions as a mini dashboard, allowing you to monitor a whole host of engine vitals. You can even turn the learning mode off once you’re satisfied with the tune.
It might be hard to guess where the technology will take us from here, but with this new Sniper, it’s safe to say that bolt-on EFI has matured enough for just about anyone to benefit from it. Nice job, Holley!
This is the basic Sniper kit (minus all the hardware) in silver, also available in black and classic gold. The base kit is $999.95, but Holley also sells a master kit that includes everything you’ll need to upgrade your fuel system. Don’t freak out by...
Installing the throttle body is just like swapping a carb. Dual bolt pattern ensures it’ll fit whatever you need.
MCR used a Lokar cable mount for the throttle and kick-down cables for both the carb and the Sniper. Cable hook up was a direct swap.